Five retain titles in national regatta.
By DORAN CUSHING
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2001
After three breezy days on Tampa Bay, the Sailing World St. Petersburg National Offshore One-design Regatta ended Sunday with five class champions defending their titles. Six new champions were crowned.
Sailing in the largest fleet on the bay, Peter Bream of Jacksonville had six wins in the 30-boat J/24 class to defend the title he won the previous two years. Bill Rogner of Punta Gorda won six of his nine races in the 15-boat Melges 24 class, his third straight St. Petersburg NOOD title. Richard Karran of Apollo Beach won eight of his 11 races in the eight-boat Wavelength 24 class. He won in 2000 after finishing third on a three-way tiebreaker in 1999. Bill Embree of St. Petersburg won nine of his 11 races in the seven-boat SR Max class and Martin Kald of East Elmhurst, N.Y., had four wins in the 11-race J/80 series to win for the second year.
The windless sailing pattern on Tampa Bay in recent weeks was broken for the national event. The sailors from 21 states and Canada were provided with three days of strong winds mixed with some short, choppy waves and a cold front that moved across the region Saturday.
"It was chamber of commerce stuff," Karran said. "We liked it best when it was white-capping, but you couldn't ask for anything better all three days."
The closest series was the nine-boat Henderson 30 class, decided in the final race. Michael Carroll's St. Petersburg-based team aboard New Wave won three of the four closing races to edge the Sarasota-based Speed Racer by two points after nine races.
Citing his crew's teamwork and helmsman Marty Kullman for the win, Carroll said: "These guys put us in the right spots at the right times. We had consistent starts ... good starts, but conservative."
Patriot, skippered by Case Whittemore of Richmond, Va., led the eight-boat J/29 class from the first race but collided with Ray Mannix's Semper Fi on a crossing situation early in the final race and withdrew because of the right-of-way violation. Whittemore's team dropped to second for the series behind Jay McArdle's Fast Lane from West Point, Va.
Patriot crew Jeff Bright of Pensacola said: "We thought we were clear of the other boat but we didn't turn down quickly enough. It's very disappointing to lose that way."