Davis Island regatta adds twist to rulesBy DORAN CUSHING
© St. Petersburg Times,
With the majority of regional races following short courses around marks in the bay or Gulf, the Egmont Key distance event Saturday is a special challenge for area sailors. The largest and fastest boats -- monohulls and multihulls -- likely will get a course covering more than 80 miles out past the mouth of Tampa Bay and back to the Davis Island start/finish line.
Race organizer Jay Tyson of the host Davis Island Yacht Club has made several additions to the rules with hopes of attracting more of the less-serious racers.
For the first time, cruising multihulls will be allowed to compete against cruising monohulls. There are modifications to the normal rules concerning the types of sails the True Cruising fleet can use. It will include the use of spinnakers, with some restrictions. Tyson said the True Cruisers will sail an out-and-back course from Hillsborough Bay to St. Petersburg, but he's added one more feature to make the experience more cruising-friendly.
"The course is from Davis Island to a marker near The Pier," Tyson said.
"At that point, they have the option to record their time, stop for dinner or overnight, then race back to Davis Island as long as they finish before the time limit Sunday," he said.
The one-design class for Melges 24s will take its fleet to a marker near The Pier at St. Petersburg and possibly to another mark on Tampa Bay before finishing Saturday afternoon at Davis Island. The smaller spinnaker class boats will compete over an approximate 60-mile course, sailing out to Egmont Key. Non-spinnaker entries will race to a mark in the vicinity of the Sunshine Skyway before finishing a 40-mile course at Davis Island.
Tyson said entries will be accepted at Davis Island Yacht Club until Friday afternoon. The skippers' meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
The race, which is scored with double points in the West Florida PHRF Boat of the year Series, begins 10 a.m. Saturday. For information or an entry application, call (813) 251-1158.
The boat of the year series continues Nov. 17 with the third annual Fall Bay Race. St. Petersburg Yacht Club will play host to the event.
For entry information, call Phyllis Eades, (727) 822-3873, or go online to www.spyc.org home page and click on offshore racing.
SERIES ENDS: The Davis Island Yacht Club's annual Thursday night summer series ended with the return of Eastern Standard Time in late October after 22 races and more than 100 boats competing in nine divisions.
Ed Collins' Heart of Gold won top honors for the season in Spinnaker A, edging Allen Thomas' Solar Express on a tie-breaker that wasn't resolved until the final race Oct. 25.
Other winners included Richard Karran's Mal De Mer in Spinnaker B, Bob Bilthouse's Bobsled in Sportboat, and Jeff Linton's Lightning Blue Bell in Day Sailers.
Also recording victories were Susan Fox's Bay Wolf in Non-Spinnaker A, Tom Allen's Copesetic in Non-Spinnaker B, Tyler White's Morning Glory in Non-Spinnaker C, Rush Bird's Nacra 5.5 in the Boards & Cats division, and Lon Ethington's Pigs in Hiding in the J/24 one-design class.
CHAMPIONS IN TEXAS: Robbie Daniel of Clearwater and crewmate Eric Jacobson took top honors Nov. 2-4 in the Tornado Class North American Championships on Galveston Bay near Houston. Daniel and Jacobson won four of the six races to easily outdistance the 14-boat field.
The team, competing under the Suncoast Sailing Campaign banner, hopes to qualify for the U.S. Sailing Olympic squad in 2004.
Racing mostly in heavy winds, Alex Shafer and Patsy Shafer of Eustis cruised to victory in the Hobie 20 Continental Championships, Oct. 29-Nov. 2.
The event, which attracted 41 double-handed teams from across the U.S. and Canada, was hosted by the Davis Island Yacht Club.
The Shafers won the opening and closing races and finished in the top five 16 times through 18 events to defeat last year's champions -- Greg Thomas and Jacques Bernier of San Diego -- by 31 points.
Placing third overall were Stuart Bernd and Ian Sammis of Sand Springs, Okla.
ON AND OFF WATER: The Windjammers of Clearwater will play host to a basic sailing class for beginners 7:15 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center on Sand Key.
The course, with opportunities for on-the-water training, is open to the public.
For information, call (727) 531-6173 or send an e-mail message to email@example.com.
The Windjammers meet the second Tuesday of each month at the same location.
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