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Sailing: Clermont sailor has multihull breakthrough

For kids interested in learning to sail, Optimist dinghies, such as these competing in an event in Sarasota, are the boat of choice.

Special to the Times

For kids interested in learning to sail, Optimist dinghies, such as these competing in an event in Sarasota, are the boat of choice.

Clermont sailor Alex Shafer teamed with Nigel Pitt of Hartwell, Ga., to win the U.S. Multihull Championship on April 26 in Gulfport after several days of intense racing on Capricorn F18s.

Though Shafer and Pitt had a history of finishing in the top three at this event, they had never broken through until now.

They held the lead going into the third day of the regatta and held off defending champions John Casey and John Williams of Longwood by the narrow margin of two points.

Youth sailing: Treasure Island resident and St. Petersburg Yacht Club junior sailing team member Mateo Vargas went to Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego for the Laser Midwinter's West Championships on March 27. Mateo left the calm Florida waters to take on challenging Pacific swells and finished second out of 55 Laser Radial sailors.

St. Petersburg Yacht Club sailors representing Lakewood High School traveled to Jacksonville recently to compete in the High School District Championships. Lakewood sailors Vargas, Margaret Spears, Kyle Sowers, Teddy Nohren, Chris Gardiner and Dylan Curley finished second overall and qualified to sail for the national title this month in Annapolis, Md.

Also in April, SPYC junior sailor Trevor Avila placed first overall in the Optimist Green Fleet Division. This was Trevor's first big win.

Rolex wrapup: Massachusetts' Sandy Hayes and her team might have won the 2008 Rolex Women's Match, hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club April 10-13, but two local teams showed that St. Petersburg may have some more world-class sailors in the making.

St. Petersburg's Corey Hall may still be in high school, but she and her teammates proved they could get out there and run with the best of them. Hall and her friends — Kelley Simpson, Mary Kate Hall and Mallory Willet — finished eighth overall, not bad considering it was their first match race.

The big star was the USF's Rachael Silverstein, who sailed consistently, winning seven matches in each round robin. Silverstein and her teammates Jee Lee, Kristen Herman and Abby Ethington finished third in the 10-boat field.

More USF news: A team of USF coed sailors finished second at a recent District Team Racing Championship in Charleston, S.C. Mitch Hall, Tim King, Chris Keimig, and Zack Marks were at the helms with Stephanie Reynolds, Liz Foy, Ash Landes, Diana Cabili, and Matt Gardiner as the crews.

This qualifies them for the National Team Racing Championships hosted by Brown University in Newport, R.I., running May 30 through June 1.

Summer sailing: The St Petersburg Sailing Center is offering summer sailing lessons for children age 8-16.

Learn-to-Sail classes for kids age 8-13 are taught in Optimist dinghies.

Youths age 14-16 learn sailing skills in two-sailor 420 dinghies, the same boats used by high school team sailors.

For the first time this year the sailing center will also be offering beginner windsurfing lessons for kids age 8-16.

Upon successful completion of the learn-to-sail classes, campers may continue with intermediate classes, then join the learn-to-race group.

Classes begin June 9 and run throughout the summer. For registration online or for more information, visit www.spyc.org and click on the Youth Sailing link or call coach Britt Price at (727) 896 8101.

Regata del Sol al Sol: Light wind is hampering the fleet as boats try to finish the 40th annual 456-mile race from St. Petersburg to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Several boats have reportedly reached the island town just off the coast of Mexico, while some have withdrawn and still others are pressing on despite unfavorable wind and currents. According to Nancy Ammon, a SPYC member affiliated with the race, these boats have reached Isla Mujeres, though no adjusted times and a finishing order have been announced as of Wednesday: XTC from New Orleans, Tampa Girl from Tampa, Carinthia from Grose Pointe Park, Mich., and Engima from Key West.

Send us your News: To submit sailing information, go to community.tampabay.com and click on the "Submit info here" link. You can reach Terry Tomalin at (727) 893-8808 or e-mail him at tomalin@sptimes.com.

Sailing: Clermont sailor has multihull breakthrough 05/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 1, 2008 4:40am]

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