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Collegian Doyle adding his name to local honor roll


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 21, 2000

The waters of Tampa Bay and the local sailing club youth programs have long been the launching grounds for top sailors.

You have to look back only 10 or 15 years to build a mind-boggling honor roll of racing accomplishments posted by St. Petersburg sailors. That honor roll includes Olympic medalists, world champions, an America's Cup skipper, and countless other international and national adult and youth sailors.

Following in the wake of Olympian Alison Jolly and world champion match racer Ed Baird, Sean Doyle of St. Petersburg is making his own waves on the national collegiate scene. Doyle, who just turned 20 and will be entering his junior year at Harvard University this fall, was named to the All-American honor roll following the recent collegiate championships.

With Doyle as captain, the Harvard co-ed team finished third overall in the Inter-Collegiate Yacht Racing Association (ICYRA) team championships. Doyle said it took a tiebreaker duel with Ivy League rival Dartmouth University to lock up third-place honors.

"We had been chasing Dartmouth all year and having little problems, but this time everything went right," Doyle said.

The All-American designation for Doyle carried special significance as he was the only sophomore skipper named to the elite list of men and women collegians.

Doyle said that he was particularly proud of his crew, Susan Bonney of Westfield, Mass., who also received All-American honors. "I picked her up off the docks and taught her how to sail," Doyle said. "That was really cool -- training a crew from scratch."

Doyle will continue putting those teaching skills to use this summer while running a youth program at Tom's River Yacht Club in New Jersey before heading back to Harvard to complete his degree in economics.

His next major competition will come in late July, racing Lasers in the O'Day single-handed championships at Santa Barbara, Calif. "It's been a great year," he said.

BIXBY THIRD IN WORLD: Sailmaker Ethan Bixby of St. Petersburg, a mainstay as a sail trimmer in the cockpit of George Andreadis' Farr 40 Atalanti XI, was aboard the Greek-based racer as it finished third in the Farr 40 world championships June 6-9 at Newport, R.I.

Bixby said the competition was extremely close and collisions were not rare as many of the 28 teams fielded crews made up of America's Cup veterans, professionals and top amateurs from around the world. Olympic gold medalist Robbie Haines was the tactician aboard Atalanti XI.

"We finished third with an average finish of ninth place," Bixby said. "That's an indicator of how tough it was. On the last day we had a 10th and a 15th and moved up a place."

Bixby said racing was in the Atlantic Ocean for all but one of the days, as competition opened on a cold and blustery day with racing restricted to the protected waters of Narragansett Bay.

"The first day was pretty miserable," Bixby said. "The wind chill was in the 40s -- we weren't expecting that in June."

Bixby also sailed aboard Atalanti XI when the team won the Nantucket Gold Regatta, a tuneup event for the worlds.

CHANGES FOR LOFT: UK Sails Gulfcoast, which had been operating out of a small industrial park in north St. Petersburg, has moved to Tampa and streamlined its management. Owner Tom Barry bought out his partner in the sailmaking business and also hired a new sales representative.

"We've gone from less than 2,000 square feet to more than 4,000, and because of the added width we get three times the work area," Barry said. "And Juan Mauri has joined our team."

Mauri, a champion racer from Peru, was aboard a Vermont-based J/24 that finished second in the recent J/24 national championships at Cape May, N.J. The crew included Nate Vilardebo and Dan Borrer of Tampa. Mauri formerly worked with the Doyle/Ploch sail loft in Clearwater.

Barry said the new location will give his business better access to the Tampa market, which he said "is very active right now."

UK Sailmakers Gulfcoast is at 1717 W Cass Street west of the University of Tampa campus. The phone number is (813) 250-1968.

SOLO SAILING: Born to the Wind, a new film on the 1998-99 Around Alone single-handed race around the world, will air on WEDU Channel 3 Saturday at 2 a.m. The 90-minute film, narrated by Peter Fonda, repeats at 4 a.m.

YOUTH PROGRAMS: Day camps, sailing lessons and racing series for children of various ages are offered by local sailing clubs.

Contact the St. Petersburg Sailing Center (822-3113), the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club (367-4511), the Clearwater Community Sailing Center (462-6368), the Clearwater Yacht Club (447-6000) or the Davis Island Yacht Club (360-0103 in Pinellas).

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