80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


March 30, 2002 – As the bang of the gun signaled the start of the Spinnaker Racing classes, St. Thomas' s John Foster, driving his J/27, Magnificent 7, was officially under way in his 29th annual International Rolex Regatta.
"The wind conditions were a little out of phase with what we've been used to at Rolex all these years, but it was good to get out sailing today," Foster said afterward, keeping intact his record of having competed in every Rolex since the first.
After cancellation of the Governor's Trophy Race Thursday and the first official Rolex race day Friday due to lack of winds, the building breeze was a breath of fresh air to the sailors aboard the 78 boats competing in the traditional Easter weekend regatta.
St. Thomas's John Holmberg, who has competed in 27 of the 29 Rolex Regattas said, "The race committee did a yeoman's job of pulling off three races today."
Holmberg, who in recent years has been racing his Inter 20 Beach Cat, Red Hook Agencies, said, "We had big thermal activity that made for rain showers off the south side of St. John and really created a huge thermal engine that had winds gusting to 15 to 18 knots. As sailors, we had to watch how the shifts played out to know which way to go."
In the Beach Cat class, Puerto Rico's Keki Figueroa aboard his Olympic Tornado, Suzuki Tornado, is leading. "Keki's really figured out how to step on the gas, and we're all trying to catch up with him," Holmberg said.
The biggest one-design grouping in this year's Rolex is the IC-24 class. The unique hybrid boat, a cross between a J/24 and Melges 24, was created by St. Thomas's Chris Rosenberg and Morgan Avery as a way to boost club racing. There are 10 of them competing this year, up from six in 2001. In this class, the champion to watch is Rosenberg, who has won the regatta four times before, most recently last year board a Melges 24.
"It's hard to sustain the spending of money for sailing in a slow economy, but if you can spend a little and have so much fun, it's great!" said Rosenberg, who is sailing the IC-24 Old & Gray. "We wanted to find a boat that an 80-year-old could sail against a junior. The J/24 was a good performer but uncomfortable, and the Melges 24 was a good performer and comfortable but quite expensive, so we put the open-cockpit layout of the Melges on the hull of a J/24."
Rosenberg's envisioned senior-vs.-junior scenario is playing out well. One of the IC-24 skippers is Dick Johnson, who brought the very first J/24 to the islands when it was first introduced a quarter-century ago. The competition for Johnson's Stinger includes 12-year-old Taylor Canfield, who is helming his father's IC-24, Boat Drinks. "It's a lot tougher this year with 10 boats out there," Taylor said.
This year, the Rolex Regatta is not a part of the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle. In another change from past years, no prize will be awarded this year to an overall winner based on handicap and time. Instead, the focus has shifted to class racing. Each of the 12 class winners will receive a Rolex watch at the awards banquet to follow Sunday's second and final race day.
In addition to the 10 boats racing in the IC-24 Class, the field comprises seven in the Melges 24-J/80 Class, seven in the J/24 Class, three in the Racing Over 50 Foot Class, seven in the Spinnaker Racing Class 1, seven in the Spinnaker Racing Class 2, seven in the Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class 1, six in the Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class 2, 10 in the Beach Cats Class 1, six in the Beach Cats Class 2, three in the Non-Spinnaker Racing Class, and five in the Fun Class – Jib & Main (no pole).
Despite the changes, the significance of the event remains the same, Foster said. "The Rolex is about people, looking forward to seeing friends from all over — like England, Puerto Rico and Antigua — that we sometimes don't see for a year at a time," he said. "It's lovely to get together with people who share the same spirit and love to compete hard on the course and party equally hard on land."
Foster, a previous Rolex winner, added, "Yes, winning is nice, but it isn't necessary. The satisfaction is the overall ingredient that makes Rolex special."
Top 3 results after three races (protests pending)
Racing Over 50 Ft. Class (3 boats)
Tital XI, Andrews 70, Tom Hill, San Juan 1-1-1; 3
Equation, Santa Cruz 68, Bill Alcott, St. Claire Shores, Mich. 2-2-2; 6
Donnybrook, Custom 73, James Muldoon, Washington, D.C. 3-3-4; 10
Spinnaker Racing Class 1 (7 boats)
Mermaid II, Custom 40, Bill Berardelli, Bluebell, Pa./Tortola 1-1-3; 5
Red Fever, Mumm 30, Gilberto Lopez, P.R. 4-3-1; 8
Twisted Lizard, Mumm 30, Mike Lathrope, Naperville, Ill./St. Thomas 3-2-4; 9
Spinnaker Racing Class 2 (13 boats)
Orion, J/24, Efrain Lugo, Ponce, P.R. 1-2-1; 4
Uncle Sam, Beneteau 10, Sam Lang, St. Thomas 2-1-4; 7
2 Contact Carib, Melges 24, Fritz Bus, Sint Maarten 3-3-2; 8
Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class 1 (5 boats)
Hullabulloo, Beneteau First, Phillip Allen, Southampton, U.K. 2-1-1; 4
Pipe Dream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft, Tortola 1-2-2; 5
Spirit of Isis, Farr 65, Harry Spedding, U.K. 5-3-3; 11

Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class 2 (5 boats)
Cold Beer 3, Tartan 10, John Schultheiss, Tortola 1-2-1; 4
Disco Inferno, Sigma 33, Matt Abbiss, Herts, U.K. 3-1-2; 6
J.Doe, J/30, Cynthia Ross, St. Thomas 2-4-3; 9
Beach Cats Class 1 (10 boats)
Exodus-Sambiago, Hobie 16, Enrique Figueroa, San Juan 1-1-1; 3
Yuisa, Hobie 16, Rosarito Martinez, San Juan 7-3-2; 12
Blame It on Rhea, Prindle 19, Mark Chong, St. Thomas 6-2-4; 12
Beach Cats Class 2 (6 boats)
Suzuki Tornado, Tornado 20, Enrique Figueroa, San Juan 1-1-1; 3
Red Hook Agencies, Inter 20, John Holmberg, St. Thomas 2-2-3; 7
Century 21, Tornado, Terry Jackson, St. Thomas 3-3-2; 8
Non Spinnaker Racing Class (3 boats)
Wildflower, Ron Noonan, Marion, Mass./Tortola 1-1-1; 3
ATN, J/27, Marcus Compton, St. Thomas 2-2-2; 6
Jecy, Oceanis 461, Emanuel Giancomelli/Stefano Spangaro, Rimini, Italy 3-3-3; 9
Fun Class – Jib & Main (no pole) (5 boats)
Nemesis, Hunter 42, Edwin Cruz, Fajardo, P.R. 2-1-1; 4
Windflower, Alberg 35, Stan Joines, St. Croix 1-2-2; 5
Far Cry, Bombay Clipper, Herve Chassin, St. Thomas 4-3-3; 10
IC-24 Class (10 boats)
Old & Gray, Chris Rosenberg, St. Thomas 1-1-1; 3
Red Dog, IC-24, Mike Williams/Skip King/Jessica Rosenberg, St. Thomas 2-3-4; 9
Voila, Tracy Roberts/Anthony Kotoun, St. Thomas/Newport, R.I., 5-2-3; 10
J/80 Class (4 boats)
Ex Mero Motu, J/80, Antonio Mari Jr., San Juan 1-1-1; 3
Abracadabra, J/80, Carlos Camacho, P.R., 2-2-3; 7
Sun Bum II, J/80, Angel Ayala, Carolina, P.R., 3-4-2; 9
J/24 Class (7 boats)
Jersey Devil, J/24, Scott/Peter Stanton, St. Croix 1-2-1; 4
Don Q Cristal, Michael Serralles, P.R., 3-1-3; 7
Bacardio/Urayo, Gilberto Rivera, P.R., 4-3-2; 9

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