J/122 LOST HORIZON Wins Spinnaker Racing Class(St.Thomas, USVI- Mar 26-28)- The three-day event, hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club, has a track record - spanning 37 years - for delivering the goods when it comes to racing and island-style hospitality. This year, it delivered again. With sixty-nine teams competing in four divisions (IRC, CSA, One-Design IC 24s and Beach Cats), the forecast of 12-17 knots over the three sunny days, and plenty of Caribbean parties, music and cuisine to fill any time not used up by racing, there's no question this year's International Rolex Regatta completely delivered a getaway to remember!
"This year we arranged for some races to snug up next to St. John, so competitors could expand their horizons and our sister island could share in some of the excitement of seeing the spectacle of the fleet racing," said Regatta Co-Chair John Sweeney. "For the same reasons, we had the IC-J/24s racing off the beachfront at the Ritz Hotel on Saturday, and later that night, hundreds of sailors, organizers, volunteers and townspeople took part in a giant reggae music concert and food festival at Yacht Haven Grande, where some of the event's larger boats are berthed. All to say, everyone really enjoyed getting around to different places on the island and out on the water."
Last year he lost this event in the final races on the last day, but this year at the 37th International Rolex Regatta (March 26-28), Puerto Rico's Fraito Lugo had built some good padding into his score line over two days and followed form on the third, today, to win the IC/24 class and a Rolex timepiece (which he awarded to his trimmer Milton Gonzalesz) as proof of his team's prowess shown over 17 races. Lugo now can claim eight International Rolex Regatta victories in a variety of classes. The IC/24s kept with short round-the-buoy races after the event's opening "town races" on Friday, while their counterparts in six other classes (IRC, Spinnaker Racing 1 and 2, Non-Spinnaker Racing, Spinnaker Racing/Cruising and Beach Cats) took to the more scenic winding courses through and around the cuts, cays and islands off the east end of St. Thomas, USVI, where host St. Thomas Yacht Club is located.
Another winner of a Rolex timepiece was James Dobbs' (Antigua) J/122 LOST HORIZON in Spinnaker Racing/Cruising Class. "I knew which boats had a chance of winning before the race," he said, referring to a tight group at the top of the scoreboard that included second-place finisher Three Harkoms, a Beneteau 442 skippered by James Hudleston (Yarmouth, UK). "I've sailed against them before, and they are serious about racing, as we are." Just behind them finishing third was Rick Wesslund's crew on EL OCASO, the very well sailed J/120 that has won Key West Race Week in the past. Not to be missed was the beautiful J/46 MISS MAGIC, sailed by Jim Baus, finishing a well-deserved sixth overall.
In IRC class, Bill Coates' J/122 OTRA VEZ consistently sailed in top three handicap overall during the three days. However, two bomber finishes in the fourth and sixth races hurt their opportunity to get a Rolex Submariner! After sailing well enough to be second at one point, they fell off the podium to finish fifth overall.
Yet another proud winner of a Rolex watch was Tony Sanpere. For CSA Non-spinnaker Racing, it was all CAYENNITA GRANDE, the J/36 sailed by Tony and friends and family. They won with straight firsts in five races! 'It's my crew's fault,' deadpanned Antonio Sanpere (Christiansted, VI), who handily won both races on the last day with his J/36 CAYENNITA GRANDE in CSA Non-Spinnaker Racing Class. 'No matter how I tried to screw up, they made it right.' In the following easterly at the start of the first race, Sanpere launched his 120% reacher to easily pass to port of natural navigational obstacles that others had to come 'way up' to avoid. That was the start of his winning moves, which have enabled him to win this regatta four times before as a skipper. For more Rolex Regatta sailing information