by Bob Fisher
The three-day St. Thomas International Regatta opened in style on Friday but there was nothing other than age-old tradition that would have made the competitors in the seventy boats believe that the racing would have been as good as it was.
Tonnere de Breskens 3 - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta
Grey clouds with rain squalls were present when the time came to start, but by the end of the racing it had all cleared and the typical sunshine positively glowed, and was reflected in the smiles of the competitors.
Two races were held for each of the eight classes – the first downwind from the St. Thomas YC and the second an upwind return with other legs to break the monotony of beating. It was a good work-out for the crews on the first day of this intensive racing series.
The much-heralded local sailor, Taylor Canfield (front and back page headlines on the Daily News) was performing in the most numerous (with 15 entries) of the classes – the IC-24s. These are much modified J-24s, more suitable perhaps than their progenitors for harbor racing (and the crew is not permitted to hike these boats – prevented by a single low lifeline) with more space in the cockpit.
Canfield, the current world match-racing champion, was ably abetted by his star-studded crew, Stephanie Roble, Taylor Ladd, Mike Rehen and Matt Clark to make the perfect start at the pin end of the line and was soon three lengths clear of the pack. A grey spinnaker was pulling the yellow Team Line Honors in the 15-knot breeze and the boats were surfing on the waves.
Soon, in close attendance came Puerto Ricans Marco Teixidor with cachondo and Fernando Irizarry with Por Fin Urevo and for almost an hour there was no perceptible place changing, but as they came to the leeward mark they closed up and rounded the buoy with about a foot between each boat. Teixidor had a slight edge up wind and went into the lead when Canfield strangely appeared to fail to cover. It was close all the way to the finish with cachondo claiming the honours from Team Line Honors and Por Fin Urevo third.
Little time was lost before the re-start and while Canfield led the fleet away on the opening reach, once they turned upwind it was Teixidor to the fore. They finished in the same order as the first race.
Tonnerre de Breskens 3. Ker 46, flies downwind. - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta
The other major attention was for the six boats in the large class under Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) handicap. There were some big names in this class and a near perfect start in the first race did wonders for Holland’s Piet Vroon with the Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens 3. He finished first on handicap from the Swiss Frank Noel’s TP-52 Near Miss with Karol Jablonski driving. The positions were reversed in the second race, when Irvine Laidlaw’s RP-52 Highland Fling, with local ace, Peter Holmberg, in the tactician’s role, placed third.
For full results from Day 1 click here
Coors Light Race Team, aboard their Beneteau First 40, racing in Charlotte Amalie Harbor. - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta
USVI’s Morgan Dale driving his Melges 24, Bogaloo - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta
Near Miss, Switzerland’s Franck Noel’s TP 52. Near Miss led CSA Class 0 after Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta
El Ocaso, the USA’s Rick Wesslund’s new J/122 - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta
Balearia, Toni Gulu’s TP 52 from Holland - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta
Puerto Rico’s Jaime Torres’ crew rides the rails on Melges 32, Smile and Wav - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta .
Riding the Rail on Australia-based Scarlett Runner. Credit: Dean Barnes - St. Thomas International Regatta - Photos to Accompany Bob Fisher's Daily Reports
Australia’s Rob Date sails his RP 52 Scarlett Runner for the first year in the regatta. Date left Australia in July 2013 to travel the world in search of his bucket list regattas v- Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta .
The USVI’s Taylor Canfield, currently the top ranked match racer in the world, competes with match racing crew and friends - Day 1 St Thomas Int Regatta