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Boats head north after Suncoast Raceweek

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2001

The boats are back in their slips or on the trailers, and the skippers and crews are back at work reliving the wind-challenged three-day Suncoast Raceweek, which ended Sunday.

This event, which traditionally signals the end of the bigger boat racing season in the Tampa Bay region, also marks a shift in the focus of the sailing scene as the weather gets more hospitable in the Northern states.

Suncoast Raceweek also marked the conclusion of the West Florida Performance Handicap Racing Fleet boat of the year series, which began in September at Bradenton.

While the standings will not be announced until the awards ceremony on Friday, preliminary results give the edge to Storyville in the Spinnaker Division rated under-111, Semper Fi in Spinnaker Division rated 111-and-over and Susan and Terry Tibbits' Grand Illusion in the non-spinnaker division.

The teams competed in all seven regattas and a dozen or more races in the series. Each of the top two teams will win the honor based on their winning performances during the last two races of the eight-month series.

Awards for Suncoast Raceweek and the West Florida PHRF boat of the year series will be presented Friday at Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club.

YOUTH SAILING: Two local youth teams -- Lakewood High and St. Petersburg High -- have continued to excel in regional regattas and will head north to compete at the national high school championships for the Toby Baker Trophy May 25-27 in Massachusetts.

Lakewood won the Interscholastic Sailing Association's South Atlantic district regatta at Jensen Beach last weekend. Team members include: Ryan Druyor, Hudson Herr, Everett Jones, Rick Korab, Kevin Reali and Mike Slater.

Members of the St. Petersburg team, which finished second at the Jensen Beach regional and will join Lakewood at the nationals, include: Frank Ball, Travis Ball, Stephen Cox, Karl Mittermayr, Garrett Pyros and Ryan Rey.

Both teams also are racing at the ISSA qualifier April 21-22 in Charleston, S.C., for the national double-handed fleet championship for the Clifford Mallory Trophy.

The finals also will be in Charleston May 11-13.

SAILING CLASSES OPEN: The St. Petersburg Sailing Center's summer classes for new and experienced sailors begins in June, but demand for a spot in the popular classes will require planning.

Registration for the classes, which begin June 11, opens at 8 a.m. May 5 and continues daily until classes are filled. The summer-long program includes Harbor Mice lessons for ages 5-7, Optimist lessons for ages 8-12, 420 dinghy lessons for ages 11-16 and Rhodes 19 classes for those over 16. There also are learn-to-race sessions throughout the summer.

Registration fees are $150 for those under 18, $250 for adults, and family rates are available. For information, call Andrew Sumpton at (727) 896-8101 or Morton Christoffersen at (727) 822-3113.

LOCAL UPDATE: Based on attendance and performance at a series of qualifying regattas around the country, several Tampa Bay sailors have earned berths on the U.S. Sailing team in pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team.

David Fagen of St. Petersburg, along with his crew Bora Gulari of Detroit, were named to the team in the 49er class -- a high-performance double-handed boat that was added to the Olympics for the first time in 2000. In the men's Mistral (windsurfing) class, Ben Barger of St. Petersburg joins the U.S. Sailing team while Robbie Daniel of Clearwater continues as a member of the Tornado catamaran class. Brett Davis of Largo and Zach Railey of Clearwater join the team in the single-handed Laser class.

Rankings on the team, and the designation as team members, will be revised during the year as the sailors compete in national and international events.

HAVANA RACE ON SCHEDULE: While there is no organized race scheduled to Cuba this year, the annual Morro Castle Race along the northern coast will be held May 30, hosted by Hemingway International Yacht Club.

In recent years the one-day regatta has included more than 20 boats from the United States and Cuba, but actions by the U.S. Treasury Department that shut down the Havana Cup race from Tampa Bay in 2000 might limit the number of boats making the trip south Memorial Day weekend this year.

For information on the race in Cuba, call Southwinds magazine at (727) 825-0433.

RACING ON THE HORIZON: The sailing season isn't over. It's just shifting gears. Davis Island Yacht Club hosts one of the largest midweek summer regattas each Thursday evening.

For information, call (813) 251-1158. Other regional clubs, including Clearwater Yacht Club, Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club and St. Petersburg Sailing Association, offer short-course races throughout the summer on weekdays and weekends.

The Windjammers of Clearwater will host the annual Bikini Cup regatta May 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and Clearwater Yacht Club is reviving the Clearwater-to-Key West race May 17.

For information, call Jacquie Albina at (727) 937-0124. Entries for the distance race to Key West have not been mailed, but information is available by calling the host club at (727) 447-6000.

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