Jazz on song

At day two of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta

Saturday March 5th 2011, Author: Louay Habib, Location: none selected

Racing sailors know it as Moving Day, the midpoint in a regatta when the time has come to make a move, either to solidify your place in the standings or, for boats that have not yet sailed to their potential, to elevate your position in the fleet. And on day two at St Maarten Heineken Regatta, with a pair of contests conducted for the CSA racing classes 1-6, the opportunity to move up - or down - was at hand.

For CSA Classes 1-6, the second day of action brought two very different races, a morning windward/leeward affair around the buoys off the south coast of St. Maarten, and the traditional Saturday afternoon point-to-point destination race from a starting line off the Dutch harbour of Simpson Bay to a finish off Marigot on the Caribbean isle’s French side. Meanwhile, the Bareboat fleets; CSA divisions 7 and 8; and racing and cruising Multihull classes enjoyed a single afternoon race to Marigot.

As on Day 1 of the proceedings, a light easterly breeze of 8-10 knots - with a brief rise in air pressure to around 15 knots in the morning racing - fuelled the competition. But it was another challenging day for both the sailors and the race committees, which shortened the entire slate of Bareboat division courses off Marigot to ensure that racing would be completed in faltering breeze.

In the afternoon racing, under crystal-clear blue skies, colorful spinnakers dotted the horizon as the racers flew downwind to a mark off Bass Terre and then into the Anguilla Channel. As on Day 1, Genuine Risk assumed her usual place at the front of the pack, sailing hot angles at better than 11 knots under a big, white asymmetric kite and staysail.

Hoisting as much sail as possible seemed to be the order of the day for the leaders, with the 115ft Sojana, flying a big mizzen spinnaker as well as her regular kite, towering above the 82ft Nikolita as she rolled past her to weather. Moments later, two of the quickest mid-size Grand Prix racers - Chris Bull's 50-footer Jazz, and Richard Matthews' 54ft Oystercatcher XXVIII - flew down the race course with the latter in steady pursuit of Jazz.

When all was said and done, the new canting-keel 50-footer, Jazz, was one of the day’s big movers. With a pair of bullets today, the hot Cookson 50 canting keeler moved to the top of the CSA 1R leade board. But as steering committee chairman Robbie Ferron pointed out, the division’s second-place boat, the Caribbean-based Peake Yacht Services Storm, a Reichel-Pugh designed 43-footer built several years ago, was more than holding her own; with two second-place finishes today, she remained ahead of Richard Matthews’ new Tom Humphries-designed Oystercatcher XXVIII.

In CSA 1C, Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80 Team Selene, with two wins today, was also moving in the right direction. Team Selene now leads the 8-boat class, with the Swan 82 Nikata holding second place.

In CSA 2, another Caribbean-based boat - Mark Plaxton’s Melges 32 Team INTAC - crewed by a host of local rock stars, including Peter Holmberg, Maurice Burg and Ben Beer, retained their lock on first place with their third consecutive victory in three races.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Jim Kilroy’s string of Kialoas dominated the maxi-boat class. And the last in the family of that famous line of boats, the 80ft Frers-designed Kialoa V, reminded sailors of those bygone days of glory today by moving up to third in CSA 3 following a 1-2 scorecard in a pair of races.

In CSA 6, as the old Led Zeppelin song goes, “the song remained the same.” Another local boat, Ian Hope-Ross’s Beneteau 36 Kick ‘em Jenny retained her grasp atop the leaderboard with a first and second to go along with their victory on day 1 of the regatta.

The CSA 7 and CSA 8 classes sailed, as mentioned, a single race today, and when it was finished Bobby Velasquez’s Beneteau 45F5 L’Esperance from St. Maarten, and Tanner Jones’s J/30 Blue Peter from Antigua, were the leaders of their respective classes. Clearly, the 31st running of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is turning into a fine, memorable event for Caribbean boats and sailors.

In Multihull 1C, Lloyd Thornburg’s Gunboat 66 Phaedo won its second race in as many days to maintain its lead in the 6-boat class. There’s a tie at the top of the Multihull 2 division, with Claude Bocquet’s Outremer 49, today’s winner, and the Lagoon 440 Glink locked in first with five points apiece. In the Lottery Class, the Beneteau First 38 Tzigane took a second today, but remains in the overall lead.

Following the racing in the Bareboat classes today, the respective leaders were Sweet Pleasure (Bareboat 1), Brand Boot (Bareboat 2 Cyclades 50), Something Hot (Bareboat 3 Sun Odyssey 44), KH+P Sea You Later (Bareboat 4) and Siren Racing (Bareboat 5).

Early Saturday evening, the results for the following classes—CSA 4, CSA 5 and Multihull 1R—were still in question due to outstanding protests.

More images at www.rick-tomlinson.com



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