tampabay.com

No choppy seas in race to Mexico

By DAVE ELLIS Sailing
Published May 16, 2007


The 39th edition of the race from St. Petersburg Yacht Club to Yucatan Peninsula's Isla Mujeres was a mostly smooth-seas adventure for the 456-mile journey.

Fred Bickley, on last year's winner Mango Latitudes, reported that they had a "mutiny' aboard. It seems that among the crew was son Freddie and his bride-to-be's wedding gown. The wedding was to be on the Mexican island and the groom and dress really had to be there. So they elected to motor until the breeze picked up halfway across. They made it to the church on time.

First to finish to the island was the longest and fastest-rated boat of the fleet, Robert Walker's Macgregor 72 Enigma hailing from Key West. Their handicap rating, however, dropped them in the standings.

Finishing a little over two hours later, Renegade, Tom Slade's Santa Cruz 52 from Ponte Vedra, saved her time to win the spinnaker class

The nonspinnaker winner was Malcolm Smith of Ormond Beach on his Lafitte 44 Twilight. They recorded the event's best finish time after handicaps were applied.

The True Cruising fleet was divided into three divisions. Mi Vida Loca, the Beneteau 40 sailed by Mike Boom, one of the race organizers, finished well ahead of TC-A fleet. TC-B was led by Ted Riley of St. Petersburg on the Pearson 424 Bel Esprit II, while the TC-C winner was Mike Noble of Madeira Beach on Nobility, his Morgan 41 Out-Islander. Their corrected time was second in the fleet.

In the multihull class Otis Tavlin's Condor 40 Thunderbird had a rudder problem. Bob Webster's Catana 52 Minnow towed him all the way across the Gulf, making it in time for the parties. That left Rick Short of St. Petersburg's Vitamin Sea, a Voyage 43, the winner.

The event's tradition of doing something for the inhabitants of this idyllic island continues. This year Larry Wissing and Mike Boom implemented a boat poster coloring contest among the island's 600 elementary school students. The winner's creation was reproduced on the back of the official T-shirt. Almost all of the three elementary schools' students were given rides around the island.

For many boats the delivery back to their port was rough and windy. The end of that wet, lumpy sail was made more enjoyable by the cooperation of officials when re-entering the states. Homeland Security had preregistered those boats that chose to do so before departing. Upon arriving back at any U.S. port, a phone call with the boat's assigned number was all it took to clear customs.

For full results and the track of each boat across the Gulf, visit mexicorace.com.

Twenty boats already are registered for the 40th edition of the race. Entries will be limited to 50, the harbor's capacity.

HIGH SCHOOL SAILING: Sarasota's Pineview High placed fourth and Tampa's Plant High fifth in the National High School Double-handed Championship in Long Beach, Calif. Twenty schools competed. The Pineview skippers were Zeke Horowitz and Justin Doane. The Plant skippers were Robert Vann and Ian Heausler. Crews were Michael Gallagher, Mackie Spencer, Andrew Lorenzen, Taylor Vann and Trey Lehan. Complete results at ussclb.org.

- A regatta at St. Petersburg Sailing Center qualified Plant and Lakewood for the National Team Racing Championship in New Orleans the end of the month. Only 12 teams qualify nationally. Lakewood's sailors include Mateo Vargas, Chris Gardiner, Andrew Jones, Margaret Jones and Kyle Sowers.

ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK: Robert and Darlene Hill, who usually sail out of Davis Island YC, raced a 51-foot catamaran competing in the Cruising Multihull class. They won all five races in the event. Crew was local sailors Neil Harvey, George Smith, Loren Potts, Jamey Rabbit and Bob Glaser. After racing, the boat departed for the Azores on the way to the America's Cup venue in Spain.