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Locals fare well in St. Petersburg Yacht Club event

Published February 8, 2006

Excellent facilities and an expert race committee make St. Petersburg Yacht Club popular with sailing classes in the winter.

But it is expensive to stage a regatta for one small class of boats. So seven years ago the Multi-Class event was established for the last weekend of January.

This year the Flying Dutchman, Snipe, Windmill and Classic Moth competed. The FD used the event as its national championship, the original date having been canceled by a fall hurricane scare.

A fleet of 15 competitive boats sailed a three-day event. Friday was windy, with some boats breaking gear and bruising egos. Saturday the conditions were light and lumpy for all classes, and Sunday produced a fine southerly breeze.

Perennial Flying Dutchman champion Lin Robson of St. Petersburg, with crew Erik Boothe, won six of the eight races and placed second twice. It seems they have figured out the new carbon spar allowed by the class.

Ben Moon of Australia was second, with crew Peter Dowdney. Third was Paul Scoffin of New Zealand along with Simon Garland.

SPYC will stage the World Championship for this largest of sailing dinghies in April.

The 14-boat Snipe class saw Robby Brown of Tampa and crew Josie Williams revel in the windier races Sunday. Brown is a top sailor in the J-24 class, and started sailing the Snipe after moving from Jacksonville about three years ago.

Colin and Karen Park dominated the first day but were overcome by Brown in the windier conditions Sunday. Third was Chris Klotz and wife Antoinette Falk.

The Windmill class drew competitors from as far away as California and New England.

Ethan and Trudy Bixby of the local club ran away with all but the final race.

Arthur Anosov of Jacksonville, with crew Joey Blanton, won that last race and was second overall. The 2005 Nationals winner had difficulty Saturday to end up third. His crew was new USF sailing team recruit Giselle Moya.

The Classic Moth produces several boat shapes within its 11-foot box rule. But the eight boats at this event all looked similar, as the "twisted ply" shape has proved fastest.

Most of the Moths were built by the sailors. Three sheets of thin plywood, some spruce stringers, a carbon windsurfer mast and home-built foils are put together in the garage or shop.

Some of the hulls look like fine furniture. Some do not. Tweaking the shape comes after discussion of the merits of ideas. Such has been the case in this class since the 1930s. It is still the sailor who wins the race.

Local sailing expert Jeff Linton was quick in all conditions and won every race. Virginia sailors Mark Saunders was second and Joe Bosquet third.

OLYMPIC CLASS REGATTA: Several Tampa Bay area sailors raced in the Miami pre-Olympic event Jan. 22-27.

Paige Railey won most of the races in the Laser Radial class. But she jumped the starting gun in two of the heats. Only one race result can be discarded, so the additional 48 points for the second mis-start dropped the Clearwater sailor to second.

In the Radial North Americans in Fort Lauderdale the next week, Railey won all nine races.

Zach Railey, a senior at the University of Miami, was the top USA finisher in the Finn class. He also was the top USA sailor in the Finn Midwinters that followed.

In the Laser fleet, Brad Funk finished second among USA sailors, tied in points with the leader.

Mark Mendelblatt, sailing a Star, finished 15th out of 67 boats.

Allison Jolly, coach of the highly-ranked USF sailing teams, showed the youngsters in the 470 fleet she can mix it up by a mid-fleet finish in top competition.

Robbie Daniel stood in second place in the Tornado catamaran fleet midway through, but faded to place mid-fleet by the end of the event, which still was good enough for second among USA boats.

[Last modified February 8, 2006, 01:15:22]

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