It came down to the last day in the Lightning Worlds, but Tampa's Jeff Linton with crew Amy Smith Linton and J/World instructor John Tahanski were victorious.
The waters off Athens, Greece, were picturesque, the view of the city's famous sites breathtaking. But this is Europe's hottest summer in memory and the wind, or lack of, made it worse with half the race days canceled.
Racing was tight among the 48 boats. In the penultimate race, when Allen Turhune and crew from South America garnered their second double-digit result in the series, Linton had the event won with his consistent finishes.
The final race was difficult. The Linton boat was over the starting line at the starting signal. They were in the middle of a long starting line with the requirement to round an end of the line before restarting. The resulting 21st was their throw-out race, saving the event's victory.
Linton had previously won the Lightning Worlds in 2001, sailed in Sardinia. He is a partner at Masthead Enterprises in St. Petersburg.
PAN-AMERICAN GAMES: Sailing is one of the sports in the event, this year held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Clearwater's Page Railey won the Laser Radial class after a close battle with Mexico's Tanja Elias Calles Wolf. Each ended the series with 25 points, with Railey winning the tiebreak. Other Tampa Bay area sailors competing were Ben Barger, placing fifth in the RS:X windsurfing class and Nate Vilardebo, who crewed on the USA J-24 representative boat, also placing fifth.
Barger was elected by Olympic windsurfers worldwide to be their representative at the International Sailing Federation.
CATAMARAN REGATTA: When Beth Hesselton joined the Gulfport Yacht Club five years ago, she didn't know how to sail, but thought it looked like fun. Now, after five years of never missing a race, mostly doing race committee work and occasionally crewing on catamarans, it was time to recognize her value to the club.
It seemed appropriate to name the event the Five Rum Regatta after her favorite beverage and to note her 50th birthday.
Twenty fast catamarans raced on lower Boca Ciega Bay on Saturday until lightning caused them to rush back to Gulfport Beach. Excellent racing was completed for the two classes of boats Sunday.
The A-Cat continues to grow in numbers and skill level. Olympic contender Robbie Daniel of Clearwater topped the fleet. He has qualified for the 100-boat A-Cat Worlds in the Florida Keys this fall. Ben Moon placed third and Jennifer Lindsey fourth in the A-Cat fleet.
All of the remaining catamarans sailed together with handicaps applied. The winner was Karl Langefeld with crew Greg Radda on a NACRA 20, followed by Tom Hirst sailing his Super Cat 15.
Catamaran racing continues through the fall on the first and third Saturday afternoons of each month. Racing is open to all multihulls. Go online to gulfportyachtclub.com for details.
LEITER CUP: The junior women's sailing championship sailed in Massachusetts had two local competitors. Corey Hall of St. Petersburg Yacht Club placed fifth and Jennifer Burke of Clearwater Yacht Club placed 33rd out of 51 competitors nationwide. The girls sailed in Laser Radials, the boat used at the Olympics for women.
STAR NORTH AMERICANS: Mark Mendelblatt with crew Magnus Liljedahl placed fifth in the Olympic Star class, sailed in Vancouver.