St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Rabbitts run fast in night race

In the bay, Windancer, a 27-foot vintage boat, wins Spinnaker B.

By DORAN CUSHING

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000


ST. PETE BEACH -- The Davis Island Yacht Club's Labor Day Night Race tested racers' versatility with navigation, weather prediction and working in the dark -- skills not commonly joined in a regional sailing venue.

Meeting the challenge were about 150 sailors who raced from Davis Island Yacht Club to Pass-a-Grille Friday night aboard 21 monohulls and four multihulls.

The distance race ran from Hillsborough Bay to Tampa Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The competitors not only needed to trim sails and maximize speed, but also had to navigate through the dead of night. They had to watch for larger commercial ships and the myriad of navigational buoys and towers, many unlit, which dot greater Tampa Bay.

"There was a little bit of everything out there," said Jamey Rabbitt, who skippered his family's 27-foot vintage C & C Windancer to first in the Spinnaker B division.

His mother, Karen Rabbitt, said, "We used just about every sail on the boat."

With a start at 7:30 p.m. just west of Seddon Channel, the crews had less than an hour of daylight. Storm cells to the northwest provided a healthy wind building into the high teens that went against the choppy waves from the day's prevailing southwesterly breeze.

The fleet had a fast departure but it didn't last. The wind faded as the boats searched for the navigational towers used as rounding marks.

Hours of fluky winds and contrary currents tested the teams as most of the boats crossed under the Sunshine Skyway, headed for additional course marks in the Gulf of Mexico near Egmont Key before turning downwind to the finish line at Pass-a-Grille Channel.

And the breeze came back, along with rolling waves generated by storms offshore.

Windancer finished at 5:40 a.m. after covering the 41-mile course in 9 hours, 50 minutes.

Sailing a 48.6-mile course in 8:24, Jeff Fishman's J/35 Hot Water topped the Spinnaker A division for larger boats. Other winners included Don Highnote's Rocket in non-spinnaker and Tri Southwinds in the Florida Offshore Multihull Association division.

"Good crew, with everyone working together, is how you win sailboat races," Fishman said. "We got out of the current at the right time, and got into the current at the right time," he said about the tactics getting out of Tampa Bay quickly.

Regatta organizer Jay Tyson said, "It's a fun way to kick off the racing season and to play in the dark."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk
  • Cloutier changes more than his diet
  • King may be a prince, but can he be a leader?
  • Again, Rays let win slip away
  • It's good to be King
  • Capel credits successto a 'greater power''
  • Sports digest
  • Random Thoughts
  • UF wants tough start? Check your back yard
  • Bosox bully is just a big baby
  • Vaughn's demotion sparks his offense
  • Rays tales
  • Rothschild's future put on hold for now
  • Baseball briefs
  • Tampa holds off Sarasota
  • Ripken mulls tough decision
  • Golf briefs
  • U.S. Open briefs
  • Drivers want improved wall at New Hampshire
  • Winston Cup: Five to watch
  • Yarborough keeping busy in the slow lane
  • Fast pit speeds Martin to victory
  • Mutiny shut out by Meola, K.C. again
  • Autos briefs
  • NHL briefs
  • Lightning: 10 questions going into camp
  • Rabbitts run fast in night race
  • Draft pick will play in Italy
  • Olympics briefs
  • Gymnast White's roots in Pinellas
  • Go with current, catch more fish
  • Lake reports
  • Swimming through dark fear
  • Captain's corner
  • Central, TBT get wins at Land O'Lakes meet
  • Terrapins primed for rebound
  • TBT girls earn win at Land O'Lakes race
  • Crusader star turns focus to team goals
  • Warhawks remain county's best
  • Fiedler gets his chance for Miami
  • NFL games today
  • 'We believe in balance. I think you'll see that.'
  • Kiffin's enthusiasm got an early start
  • Steckel's hero comes through
  • The best and the worst of week 1
  • Dungy has earned benefit of the doubt
  • Answers still lacking on Gruber goodbye
  • 'I think I'm afraid of failing'
  • Patriots' gains linked to Glenn
  • South Florida wastes no time
  • It's ugly; it's a win; it'll do
  • Questions remain for Palmer
  • Gillespie runs wild in starting debut
  • Gator Sidelines
  • Freshman has big hand in win
  • SEC briefs
  • Gramatica kicks up celebration
  • It is early, but Bulls seem well-grounded
  • Bulls Sidlines


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts