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The fall racing season is about to take some time off for the holidays, and several local sailors will enter the break with national awards. Longtime St. Petersburg sailor and innovative naval architect Glenn Henderson is best known for his sport boat designs, including the SR line and Henderson 30.
Now working for Hunter Marine in Alachua, Henderson's newest creation -- the Hunter 356 -- has been cited as the Cruising World Boat of the Year in the category for production cruisers under $200,000.
The 35-foot sloop is sold locally for about $114,000 by Sailor's Wharf in the Salt Creek Marine district. Representing Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Evan Brown and Betsy Bryant won the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) Great Oaks Invitational Regatta, Nov. 10-11 in New Orleans. Competing in 420 dinghies, Brown and Bryant topped 21 other teams for the national championship. Each of the competing schools had qualified at regattas in seven regions across the United States.
The event is open to schools with sailing programs less than three years old.
Shorecrest Preparatory qualified for the Great Oaks finals with Chris Fontana and Michael Curran finishing seventh in the 10-race series on Lake Pontchartrain.
MORE KUDOS: Competing in the ISSA National High School Single-Handed Championship for the Cressy Trophy, Charles Fulmer of Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg finished second in the Laser Radial class.
Clearwater High's Paige Railey placed fourth in the same class. Railey's older brother, Zach, took second in the full rig Lasers. Chris Branning of Osprey placed 11th in the 16-boat field.
The Raileys were mentioned in the current issue of Sailing World magazine as two of the nation's top up-and-coming youth sailors. REGATTA REPORTS: After a mid-morning start in drifting conditions, 41 monohulls and multihulls took off down Hillsborough Bay from Davis Island Yacht Club in search of wind and favorable current in the annual Egmont Key distance race Nov. 10.
Sailing the 60-mile course for multihulls and faster spinnaker-class monohulls, Bob Buzzelli's 35-foot Merlin took line honors as the first to finish. The dark green catamaran covered the distance in just over 11 hours en route to a multihull division victory.
George and Barbara Wolf's J/35 Pocket Rocket was the first monohull to complete the course but dropped to second after rating handicaps were applied. George Cussins' J/105 Fire & Ice captured top honors in Spinnaker A.
Posting the best corrected time in Spinnaker A and B was Harvey Ford's J/29 Wildkat. Ray Mannix's J/29 Semper Fi finished 16 minutes later for the runner-up spot in Spinnaker B.
Sailing a 53-mile course on Hillsborough and Tampa Bay, Ron Kinney's TMI 27 Eclipse was first among eight Spinnaker C boats. Dave German's J/24 Mad Cow was second.
You wouldn't expect much of a race with only two boats competing in the True Cruising division. But Richard "Radar" Picchi's Seawind 31 Some Fun Now edged Patrick Burger's Beneteau 29 La Mia Bella by 16 seconds after the ratings were applied over a 26-mile course.
Other winners included Warick Cahill's Santana 30 Moette (Non-Spinnaker) and Steve Grote's Warp Speed (Melges 24). Despite light winds early in the race, most of the boats attempting the longer courses were helped by a strong push out of the bay on a falling tide. They, consequently, swept toward the finish on the incoming tide as the winds died late Saturday night.
CHAMPIONS: Colin and Karen Park of St. Petersburg were the dominant team in the Florida State Open Snipe Championships, Nov. 17-18 on Tampa Bay.
The duo won three of five races to capture the title after two days of competition in light to moderate winds.
Finishing second, 10.5 points behind the Parks, were John Hagman and Chris Russick. Ethan and Trudy Bixby took the third spot. Tampa's Gail Heusler captured the Florida State Women's Sunfish Championship on Nov. 17. The event was hosted by the Clearwater Yacht Club.
Mindy Strauley of Clearwater finished second in the champion division, and Clearwater's Nancy Rickend won the Challenger division honors.
OSPREY CUP: The Rolex Osprey Cup women's match racing championship is coming to Tampa Bay, Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
The world's top-rated women's racer, Marie Bjorling of Sweden, is among the invited competitors.
Eight teams, including three from Europe and one local crew of junior sailors, will compete in Sonar keelboats.
There will be one-on-one match races through a series of round robin eliminations, semifinals and finals during the four-day schedule.
The venue will have a match racing competition for youth sailors. Coaching will be provided by former world champion and America's Cup skipper Ed Baird of St. Petersburg.