March 16, 2003 – New bottom paint, replaced stanchions and repair of a cracked keel surely helped and a collision in the last race didn't hurt as St. Thomas skipper John Foster sailed his J-27 Magnificent 7 to first place in its class this weekend at the 27th Puerto Rico International Regatta. Foster recapped Magnificent 7's performance afterward: "We beat everyone in the fleet, including the fast Farr 40, the first day. The second day we settled down into good races that helped us solidify our position in the class. On the final day, we sailed clear from a collision, a close call at the windward mark, and ultimately won our class."
St. Croix's Jack Bishop placed first in the J-29 fleet aboard Broken Drum. And St. Croix's Paul Lordi, sailing his Tartan 10 Sorceress, finished second to Foster in that mixed-design class.
Fifty-eight yachts in 11 classes competed in the Friday-through-Sunday event out of Fajardo. They raced under partly cloudy skies with a moderate chop on the seas and winds that gradually built from 8 to 10 knots on Friday to a squall on Sunday with gusts topping 32 knots.
The regatta was the second in this year's Cape Air Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle Series. The series began with the St. Croix International Regatta in February and will conclude on April 4-6 with the BVI Spring Regatta.
In this weekend's event, six of the 11 classes were one-design boats. This means that the boats in each of these classes raced without any handicaps, and whoever crossed the finish line first was the winner. When boats of different designs compete together, handicap calculations are a factor in determining the standings.
St. Croix's Carlos Skov, who co-helmed the J/29 class winner, Broken Drum, with owner Jack Bishop, enjoyed the one-design competition. "It was fun racing boat for boat," he said. "But on the other hand, most of our competitors were in the other classes, and we do like to be up against them. That's how we get pushed."
On Friday, Skov said, "We had a very good day. We pretty much controlled our class."
For many boats that first day out, tweaking was the strategy — from spinnaker work to functioning smoothly as a team. On Saturday, the focus was on reading the wind shifts correctly.
St. Croix's Stan Joines, who skippered his Auburg 35 Windflower with a crew made up of students from Central High and Good Hope Schools, said at the end of Saturday's racing: "We did everything wrong today. When the shifts went right, we went left and vice versa. I'm usually at least 50 percent to 100 percent right on my calls, but not today."
On Sunday, the collision occurred in the racing class on the final race of the event. At the windward mark, a Tripp 26 from Puerto Rico, Guilt Tripp, tacked to round the mark, fell short, darted east and plowed its bow into Foster's Magnificent 7. The were neither injuries nor serious damage to either boat, but then a J/29 from the British Virgin Islands, Generation, piled into the other two.
"We were able to pull free and continue downwind," Foster said afterward.
Fun was a big part of the Puerto Rico event, from the salsa music to the saucy swimsuit show. "This regatta has been a blast," Bishop said. "We have some new crew and some of us have sailed together for years. But we just gelled, on the course and off. We laughed the whole time. It was great, a great time."
In an event within the event, the Suiza Fruit Youth Regatta, St. Thomas sailor Thomas Barrows won the Laser class competition. "I was leading pretty both days," Barrows said.
Results – top 3 finishers in class
Class A Racing
1. Riot, Farr 40, Mark Ewing, Chicago
2. Red Fever, Mumm 30, Stanley Lopez, P.R.
3. Rhumb Squall, Antrim 27, Dave Cooper, B.V.I.
Class B Racing – all Olson 30's
1. Lost Horizon, James Dobbs, Antigua
2. Willy T, Kevin Rowlette, B.V.I.
3. Kosa Loka, Quinque Gonzalez, P.R.
Class C Racing – all J-29's
1. Broken Drum, Jack Bishop, St. Croix
2. Generation, Jay Phillips, B.V.I.
3. A Frayed Knot, P.R.
Class D Racing
1. Magnificent 7, J-27, John Foster, St. Thomas
2. Sorceress, Tartan 10, Paul Lordi, St. Croix
3. Guilt Tripp, Tripp 26, Mariano Richinza, P.R.
Class E – all J-105's
1. Umakua, Papote Reguero, P.R.
2. Abracadabra, Carlos Camacho, P.R.
3. Buscando A Malen, P.R.
Class F – all Melges 24's
1. 2 Contact Carib, Frits Bus, Sint Maarten
2. Don Q Limon, Enrique Torrullas, P.R.
3. Mistress Quickly, Guy Eldridge, B.V.I.
Class G – all J-24's
1. Don Q Cristal, Mauricio Constanzo, Venezuela
2. Orion/Coors Light, Efrain Lugo, P.R.
3. Tax Return, P.R.
Class H – Racer/Cruiser
1. Pipedream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft, B.V.I.
2. Cold Beer, Tartan 10, John Schlutheiss, B.V.I.
3. Por Fin 4, Beneteau 42S7, P.R.
Class J – Cruising
1. Poco A Poco, Pearson 30, Agustin Diaz, P.R.
2. Balaju II, C&C 36, Jose Sanchez, P.R.
3. Catimba, J-30, Ritchie Barreto, P.R.
Class K – Jib & Main
1. Nemesis, Hunter 43, Edwin Romero, P.R.
2. Dottie II, Pearson 10m, P.R.
3. Windflower, Auburg 35, Stan Joines, St. Croix
Class L – all Hobie Cat 16's1. Suzuki Movistar, Enrique Figueroa, P.R.
2. Spookie Monkey, Pedrin Colon, P.R.
3. Exodus, Keki Figueroa, P.R.
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