tampabay.com

Winds die down early at TransBay

By DAVE ELLIS
Published June 27, 2007


The St. Petersburg Sailing Association and Tampa Sailing Squadron's annual TransBay race was a light air affair this year. It took more than four hours for all but the fastest boats to complete.

The start was in the center of the bay, near the 25-foot "J" Range tower, about three miles east of the Municipal Pier. The fleet went the short distance to the 58-foot "J" Range tower and then to Buoy 3 off the St. Petersburg waterfront.

As is often the case in the summer, the wind quit in the early afternoon in that area. Nine of 15 racing boats decided that home was much closer than the 7-mile leg across the bay to Apollo Beach and turned on their engines.

Time Bandit, a J/35 sailed by George Haney and crew, won the Spinnaker class. Its corrected time was just seven seconds in front of the second-place boat, Ka-Ching, a Soveral 33 sailed by Matthew Dalton.

In the Non-Spinnaker class, the Pearson 30 Pilgrim sailed by Kent Bailey was followed by Ed Werner's Bandersnatch.

The True Cruising fleet had a start that belied the "laid-back" nature of the boats. Jack O'Connell on the Hunter 29.5 Gael Force with crew Elizabeth and Ben Mills hit the line perfectly at the pin end and sailed the course expertly to capture the Division II trophy.

George Oerlel's catamaran Magnum aced the multihull fleet. He was the only competitor, but the hope is that his being welcomed to the race will encourage other large multihull sailors to take part in future racing.

FINN EUROPEANS: Clearwater's Zach Railey placed sixth in Hungary. All of the Olympic players in the class were there. The light and shifty air made it difficult for anyone to have consistent results.

On Day 5 of the event, Railey posted a 6 and 1 in more breeze, setting the stage for the medal race where only the top 10 compete.

The final finishing spots came down to the last 100 yards of the medal race. He was able to pass enough boats to move up to his final position. Since his finish last year in the same event was 28th, he and coach Kenneth Andreasen are happy with the progress.

LASER NORTH AMERICANS: St. Petersburg junior sailor Cameron Hall won the Laser 4.7 championship. He will represent the United States at the 4.7 Worlds in South Africa. Cameron's sister, Corey Hall, finished fifth overall and was selected to race in the U.S. Junior Women's Leiter Cup. Local sailor Fred Strammer placed second in the Olympic Laser class. Zach Marks also qualified for the Olympic Trials.

KIEL RACE WEEK: The largest sailing event in the world is held in Germany. St. Petersburg Windsurfer sailor Ben Barger placed third behind competitors from Poland and France. This is the best finish of a U.S. sailor in the Windsurfer Olympic class for many years.

Rick Merriman, who grew up in the local sailing program and has family in the area, placed second in the Star class.

COLLEGE SAILING: Tampa Bay sailors have been given honors by college sailing. Evan Brown of Stanford, class of 2008, is a women's All American; Shannon Heausler, College of Charleston (2010), women's honorable mention All American; Betsy Bryant of Dartmouth (2008) and Timothy King of USF (2009) as All American crew.

DISCOVER SAILING DAY: The St. Petersburg Sailing Center, BlazeSports, SPYC and Shriner's Hospital teamed up June 9 to show a dozen youngsters with special needs the joy of sailing.

BlazeSports' mission is to maximize the potential of children and adults with physical disabilities through sport. This is the first time sailing has been included.

Paralympic team member Jen French led volunteer helpers Colin and Karen Park, Gloria Davis, J.P. Creighnou, Diane Fowler, John Gough, Maurice McGough, Caroline Spitzangel, Marc Holtzberg, Kelsea Connor, Tim French, and Ann, Tony and Monica Norungolo.

Leaving their wheelchairs and crutches behind, the kids used the fully accessible sailing center facility to board the Rhodes 19 keelboats and enjoy the morning sailing on Tampa Bay. Several helped steer and trim the sails.