USF sailors, unranked going into the 2008 Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women's National Championships in late May at Newport, R.I., finished a strong 10th against the top 18 schools in the country.
Boston College won the title, but with four freshmen, two juniors and only one senior, USF should be a powerhouse on the collegiate scene in the years to come.
Kim Witkowski sailed with Liz Foy, Christine Sayler, and Diana Cabili to finish 13th in the A division. Rachael Silverstein sailed with Darby Smith, Ash Landes, and Christine Sayler to finish ninth in the B division, posting the second-best performance by a freshman skipper.
Women's sailing: The Florida Women's Sailing Association held its championship regatta, featuring spinnaker Sonars, and non-spinnaker Rhodes, last month at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.
In the spinnaker division, the yacht club's Salty Sister Team 1 skippered by Lori Leadbetter with crew Helen Larsen, Rosemary Sherman and Linda Meehan took top honors.
The non-spinnaker division was won by a mixed team from the SPYC and the Treasure Island Yacht & Tennis Club consisting of Brooke Taliaferro with crew Dena Kohlbecker and Karen Errico. Complete results can be found at www.fwsa.net.
New wave: One of the most successful racing teams in the Tampa Bay area is headed for Melges 32 National Championships in Newport, R.I. on July 24. New Wave recently finished second at the Annapolis (Md.) NOOD, losing to a British team by two points in the most competitive fleet among the 17 classes at the April 25-27 event. The team consists of St. Petersburg's Marty Kullman, co-owner and helmsman; Sarasota's Steve Liebel, mainsheet; Annapolis' Scott Nixon, tactician; Fort Myers' Judah Rubin, trimmer; St. Petersburg's Josh Wilus, trimmer; Jay Jennings, mast and Ron Hyatt, bow; Clearwater's Mike Carroll, co-owner and pit.
High Schools: Three area high schools finished in the top 10 at the high school national championships at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., last month. Sarasota finished seventh, followed by Plant in eighth and Lakewood in 10th.
The Lakewood sailors had a particularly good year. In April, the team of Mateo Vargas, Kyle Sowers, Teddy Nohren, Margaret Spears, Chris Gardiner and Sarah Gardiner finished fourth overall at the High School District Team Racing Championships hosted by the SPYC at the St. Petersburg Sailing Center.
Also in April, that same team finished second in the High School District Fleet Racing Championships in Jacksonville. That finish qualified them for the nationals.
With only one graduating senior, Lakewood will be a team to watch next season.
Laser action: The SPYC laser team also traveled to Fort Myers to compete in the Laser Gulf Coast Championships. Cam Hall won the Laser 4.7 fleet convincingly with a string of seven first-place finishes. In the Laser Radial division, John Wallace was the top local performer with a ninth-place finish overall, followed by Vargas in 10th place, Ian Holtzworth 12th, Kyle Sowers 13th and Corey Hall 15th.
Opti news: The Clearwater Community Sailing Center also recently hosted the historic Clark Mills regatta for Optimist sailors. The SPYC development team known as the Green Fleet had five sailors with top 10 finishes.
The SPYC Opti race team traveled May 17 to Fort Lauderdale for the Florida State Team Racing Championships, which drew teams from as far away as Ecuador. The two local teams sailed well against teams with much older and more experienced sailors.
The SPYC2 team finished 14th overall and was represented by Trevor Avila, Nic Baird, Silvia Hopkins, Nick Rudnicki and Leo Willett. SPYC1 finished 16th and was represented by Liam McCarthy, Ty Baird, Hayden Grant and Sofia Juster-Kruse.
Youth sailing: On May 24 the SPYC Racing Team traveled across Tampa Bay to compete in the Davis Island School's Out Regatta. In the Laser Division SPYC's Cam Hall won the 4.7 fleet convincingly. His sister, Corey, finished sixth overall in the Laser Radial Fleet and was also the top female.
Max Baird, sailing in only his second laser regatta, finished third overall in the Laser Full Rig division. In the competitive Opti RWB division, Hayden Grant placed 15th, followed by McCarthy (22nd), Ty Baird (25th) and Nic Baird in 26th.
In the Green Fleet, Sylvia Hopkins was seventh overall followed by Trevor Avila (13th), Alexa Lynch (15th), Martin Hood (20th), Kurban Ali (23rd), Zach Lynch (30th) and Nevin Avila (31st).
Twilight Series: The SPYC summer racing season is well underway. Every kind of boat, from 40-foot cruising sloops to Snipes and Sonars, gather around the Pier on Friday evenings and begin racing around 6:30 p.m.
Since there are so many classes of boats participating, skippers are required to obtain a "handicap" PHRF rating. Each competitor must "check in" with the race committee on the water. The races are free and no preregistration is allowed. New boaters and racers are welcome.
The series is also six races into the season, with 14 left to go. The leaders so far: Spinnaker A (PHRF less than 170) — Mike Siedlecki, Tack Tick; Kai Cox, Free Range Lobster and Don Rychel, Volcano. Spinnaker B (PHRF greater than 170) — Josh Wilus, Cakewalk; Tim and Jen French, V1 Rotate and Diane Fowler, SPYC Sonar. Non-spinnaker — Skip Ennis, Freebird; Peter Watts, Sazerac and Noah and Mike Blacker, Pulse; True Cruisers — Greg Cahanin, Juju; Richard Boler, Desiderata and Matt Blaine, Lucille.
Sea Scouts: Looking for a way to get your teenager interested in sailing? The Sea Scout Troop at the Boca Ciega Yacht Club in Gulfport is looking for new recruits. Formed in January 2007, the Gulfport Sea Scouts recently finished first out of 11 teams at a regatta held by Tampa Sailing Squadron in Apollo Beach. The Sea Scouts compete in large boat racing, Sunfish racing and navigation. Sea Scouts must be between the ages of 14 and 20. They meet Wednesday evenings at the yacht club, 4600 Tifton Dr. S.
For more information, call Tony Angel at 727-459-7900.