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By DORAN CUSHING
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 28, 2001
Representing the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, Brett Davis and Zach Railey have qualified for the U.S. Sailing team in the full rig Laser Class based on the results of three recent national regattas.
Davis leads all qualifiers after posting a 3-1-5 record in events sailed in Miami, Clearwater and San Diego. Railey is third in the rankings with a 10th in Miami's Olympic Classes Regatta, eighth in the Laser Midwinters East and a third in the Laser Midwinters West in California.
Railey, a high school student, is the youngest sailor on the Laser national team.
Rounding out the squad are San Diego's Andrew Campbell, who is ranked second overall, Clay Johnson of Toms River, N.J., and Andrew Scrivan of Riverside, Conn. The points tally allows each sailor to drop the score from their worst regatta and count only the top two results.
With the next summer Olympic Games more than three years away, and with the rankings changing each year, having a spot on the U.S. team provides little financial support for the top sailors this year. But the recognition will allow each to include the honor in their programs to fund Olympic campaigns.
In the same San Diego Laser event, Chuck Fulmer of Clearwater finished second (losing the tie-breaker for first) in the Laser Radial Class. Railey's younger sisters competed. Paige Railey placed sixth overall, and Brooke Railey finished 23rd in the 39-boat field.
Mike Hall of Clearwater was 29th in the 85-boat full rig Laser Class, and Ian Lineberger of St. Petersburg was the top Master sailor, finishing 13th overall. Tim Landt of Tierra Verde was 33rd overall and fifth in the Masters division.
BOAT OF YEAR STANDINGS: Ken Friedman's J/27 Instant Karma finished second in class in the Michelob Cup regatta March 17.
He maintains a two-point lead in the spinnaker class in the West Florida Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) Boat of the Year series.
Ray Mannix's J/29 Semper Fi finished third in the Michelob Cup, dropping back one point. But his team remains in second place overall.
Defending boat of the year champion Joe Blouin -- who took the honor with his previous boat, Evangeline -- finished fifth in the Michelob aboard his 1D-35 Storyville. He trails Friedman's team by three points, with Jay Tyson's Nancy's J one point behind Storyville.
Terry and Susan Tibbits added one point to their lead aboard Grand Illusion in the non-spinnaker class with a Michelob victory. Ken Wilus held onto second overall in the series aboard Cakewalk, with defending champ Richard Neal's Back Off trailing the leader by five points.
It all comes down to the April 6-8 Suncoast Raceweek, a three-race distance venue. The traditional raceweek will continue its point-to-point venue in 2001 with three days of racing scheduled for all fleets except True Cruisers, which are competing only on the weekend of April 7-8.
Friday's opening race will take the boats from a starting line near the Pier in St. Petersburg to fixed marks around upper Tampa Bay with a finish on Hillsborough Bay near Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa. Day 2 will offer a course from Hillsborough Bay, through the Sunshine Skyway, to the finish at the mouth of the Manatee River, with the Bradenton Yacht Club playing host to the fleet on April 7.
The final race, April 8, begins at the Manatee River that morning and finishes near the middle of Tampa Bay east of St. Petersburg. April 2 at 5 p.m. is the entry deadline for Suncoast Raceweek. For more information, call Mike Dawson, (813) 949-4840, or George Pennington, (727) 595-8206.
The West Florida PHRF series opened in late September during the Bradenton Yacht Club's fall regatta and has seen a dramatic range of racing conditions and formats through the seven-event, 13-race series. Boat of the year awards will be presented to the winning teams at the Suncoast Raceweek trophy presentation, scheduled for 6:45 p.m. April 13 at Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club.
RACE OF MILLENNIUM: After two emergency stops for repairs along the way around the world, the American-based Team Adventure maxi-catamaran finished the race March 24 in Marseille, France.
Two additional boats, Team Legato and Warta-Polpharma, have some 3,000 miles left to sail to reach the finish line. Cam Lewis' Team Adventure, with Florida sailmaker and multihull guru Randy Smyth aboard, finished third in the six-boat fleet while making the circumnavigation in just under 83 days. The winning French-based Club Med finished March 3 after racing around the southern capes in 62 days.
Despite an anticipated finish after the official deadline, the two remaining boats will be considered finishers when they reach Marseille. Race organizers elected not to close the finish line April 2 as previously stipulated in the rules.
Lewis' team has announced plans to race across the Atlantic, retracing the path of Christopher Columbus in 1492, soon after reaching Europe and regrouping.
Steve Fossitt's Play Station, which pulled out of The Race of the Millennium early because of damaged sails, is staged in south Florida with a planned record-setting attempt in mid-April on the route from Miami to New York.
SUMMER CLASSES: The Clearwater Community Sailing Center on Sand Key is offering sailing classes beginning April 7 and continuing weekly through October. For more information, call (727) 462-6368.