The Wind goes right on Tampa Bay

2007 Star Western Hemishere Championship at Davis Islands Yacht Club; DIYC startline
Gill Williams
This is the second time in the past five years that Davis Island Yacht Club has hosted the Star Western Hemispheres.

These Olympic Class keelboats and their crews have the run of the new clubhouse and all of the facilities. You can tell that an important event is taking place here just by all of the flags that adorn the second floor balcony and the flagpole.

Continental Vice President of the Star Class, Joe Zambella says, 'It’s so nice to come to a club that caters to sailors. Yesterday, the Optis and the Stars were out practicing and the PHRF boats were returning from Sun Coast Race Week.'

Joe has been responsible for selecting the venues for the Star Spring Championship for the past several years hopes for a large turnout form the New England and Mid Atlantic fleets for next year’s championship on Seneca Lake in New York State.

Rick Burgess, the Chairman of the International Governing Committee of the Star Class, and his club, Seneca Yacht Club will host the 2008 Westerns. He is taking cues from his skipper, host of tomorrow night’s party and Star Class Vice President of the Western Hemisphere, Claude Bonanni of Davis Island Yacht Club.

Davis Island Yacht Club not only has an impressive view of Tampa Bay, the starts can take place within a couple of hundred yards of the club’s shore.

The Star sailors took advantage of these assets today. There was hardly a breath on the bay when they headed out for the noon start. After drifting in the warm air and sun for about an hour, the fleet returned to the shade and air conditioning of the clubhouse. T

he competitors had enough time to eat lunch and soak in the pool before the Davis Island Race Committee turned on the wind switch at exactly 2:57 pm and transformed Tampa Bay from a glassy mirage fit for water skiing into a sailing arena very similar to San Diego’s Mission Bay.

It’s no surprise that George Szabo and Andrew Scott read the wind and the water conditions like tea leaves and rounded the first weather mark in front of Kiwis Rohan Lord and Miles Addy; Aussies Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey; Canadian Brian Kramer and crew, Tyler Bjorn and Americans Karl Anderson and Edward Morey.

While George and Andrew extended their lead, the pack of 6-7 boats behind them remained tight all the way down the run and there was at least one pile up around the leeward mark.

Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom worked their way past one boat at a time and moved from seventh around the first weather mark to third for the race. They were followed closely by John Dane and Austin Sperry, Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey, Carl Anderson and Edward Morey and Jock Kohlaus and Larry Scott.

The wind shifted right throughout the second race of the day. Freddie Loof and Anders Ekstrom port tacked most of the fleet from the pin to lead around the first weather mark and hold the lead all of the way to the finish.

As Larry Scott said, following his and Jock Kohlaus’ comeback from 13th at the final leeward mark to second at the finish, 'we went just where we were supposed to go. The wind went right as the sun started to set, and we followed it.'

The right hand shift threw more than a few boats for a loop. Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven finished third, Rohan Lord and Miles Addy were fourth, Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pederson were fifth.

Preliminary results following two races:
1. Loof/Ekstrom 5 points,
2. Lord/Addy 6 points,
3. Szabo/Scott 9 points
4. Kohlaus/Scott 12 points
5. Dane/Sperry 12 points
6. Melleby/Pederson 16 points
7. Murray/Palfrey 16 points
8. Macdonald/Wolfs 19 points
9. Cramer/Bjorn 20 points
10. Anderson/Morey 20 points.