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St Thomas International Regatta- Day 2 - Flight Risk en route to Rio

by Bob Fisher on 30 Mar 2014
The USVI’s John Holmberg sails in the beach cat class with Terri McKenna as crew. The two will bid to represent the USVI in the Nacra 17 at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Dean Barnes - St. Thomas International Regatta - Press Release Photos Dean Barnes
Reputations, based on results, were to change on the mid-day of the extravaganza that is the 41st St. Thomas International Regatta, and some may be boosted to greater things.

None more so than the performance of John Holmberg and Teri McKenna in their Nacra 17, aptly named Flight Risk.

Neither of the pair is in the first flush of youth and they are aiming to represent the US Virgin Islands in the upcoming Olympics in Rio, where they will not find the crystal clear waters that surround their home island. They are racing in the class for Beach Cats – a motley collection of Nacras and Hobies of various sizes, and anyone who has tried to handicap catamarans will know it is as difficult as herding cats.

In the four races held in Great Bay on Saturday, Holmberg and McKenna scored four bullets, but had only one first in the previous three races. The other firsts were scored by a pair of Hobie 16s to which the Nacra 17 has to give 16 minutes in every hour sailed. Holmberg shrugged his shoulders when asked about the competition. 'Every minute spent in the boat is valuable,' and then listed the regattas he and Teri will be attending in order to qualify for a place, with 19 others at the Olympics. It was comprehensive and showed their seriousness.


Another local hero, superstar Taylor Canfield, the world match racing champion, came into his own in the largest class numerically, the IC-24s. He was totally unbeatable, recording four victories in four races. His secret appeared to be in his starting on the ’75-mile legged windward/leeward courses. Each time he chose well and was generally soon in the lead. Only once, in the third race, did he fail to round the first windward mark in the lead.

He had overcome the one point of vulnerability he had shown on the opening day – his performance to windward. A query as to whether he had re-tuned the mast of his Team Line Honors brought a wry smile. Later he admitted that he and the crew had tweaked it considerably – and it appeared to work extremely well. 'But I’m sure there’s more left,' he added. Now he has a single point lead over Marco Teixidor with cachondo, the leader after day one. Their battle on the last day, tomorrow, will be sharp.

In the big-boat division, Frank Noel’s TP52, Near Miss, driven by Karol Jablonski, recorded three bullets to lead the field. Pieter Vroon’s Ker 46, Tonnere de Breskens, holds on to second place with a 2-4-3 set of placings but six points astern of the leader. Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling XII, with Peter Holmberg calling the shots, is third.

One division down, the remarkable performer is Dale Morgan’s Boogaloo, a Melges 24, whose 1-3-2 on the day puts her ahead of three Melges 32s, the best of which is Jaime Torres’ Smile and Wave two points behind. In the next division down, Rick Wesslund’s El Ocaso, a J-122 is nine points ahead of Todd Stuart’s Swan 56, White Rhino.

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