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Three titles up for grabs in one race this weekend

Someone could take home three first places for winning just one race this weekend. The St. Petersburg Sailing Association (SPSA) is host to the rescheduled Performance Handicap Rating Fleet (PHRF) Championships, the Vice-Commodore's Cup, and the Talbot Cup, all at the same time.

These three races will be held Saturday, with the PHRF continuing on Sunday, creating what regatta coordinator Wilson Barnes called "a scorer's nightmare."

Barnes said the Vice-Commodore's Cup is essentially an SPSA Winter Series race that has double points and a trophy. The Talbot Cup, dedicated to race committee leaders Pat and Gwenneth Talbot, alternates annually between the SPSA and the Treasure Island Yacht Club.

The PHRF Championship, which pits teams from local clubs against each other, was canceled in January because of a lack of wind. Race organizers had to fit the race into an already packed calendar.

According to Barnes, many of the PHRF teams have changed in the month since the championships were originally scheduled.

For instance, Ten, sailed by Tom Barry for the Davis Island team, has been sold. Taking its place for this weekend's races is Paul Johnson's Soveral 33 Infinity. On the Treasure Island team, John Dudinsky's Tinker Toy replaces Bobby Dudinsky's Sa Cuisine.

The timing has caused problems, as some sailors who normally sail on one boat for SPSA and who had planned to sail on another for PHRF end up juggling commitments.

"Because of the size of this race," said St. Petersburg sailor Michael Robertson, "lots of people are scrambling just to find crew."

More than 70 boats are expected for the weekend's racing, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday off The Pier.