The Master Driver Team Racing Regatta was planned and organized in record time by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. While events are usually planned a year in advance, this event was proposed, approved and slots filled since late fall.
The concept is to have sailing clubs field two teams, each with three sailors aboard, to race sonars against the two sonars of another club. All six team members must be members of their sailing club.
Each boat had one skipper who is at least 45 years old. One crew member must be under the age of 45. There is no age restriction on the third crew member. However, if he or she is also 45 or older, that person may co-skipper. There is no weight limit at this event.
St. Petersburg Yacht Club supplied the matched 23-foot sonar sloops. These are keel boats that are lively yet stable. The boat is also a Paralympic class for disabled sailors.
To make the racing closer and more tactical, no spinnakers were used. Team racing uses a set of racing rules that puts a premium on good boat handling.
Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club of Oyster Bay, N.Y., won, with New York Yacht Club coming in second.
Davis Island Yacht Club placed third with sailors Jay Booker, Tarry Grimsdale, Tom Barry, Carole Arnold, and George and Pat Haynie. Also competing was American Yacht Club of Rye, N.Y., and St. Petersburg Yacht Club sailors Rich and Char Doyle, Kai Cox, Andrew Jones, and Harvey and Kathleen Ford.
MOTH MIDWINTERS: The moth is one of the smallest sailboats raced by adults. Seeing these boats on the beach at Gulfport Yacht Club, one would think sailors need one boat for each foot.
Since it is a development class, each boat is different, within parameters. The length is set at 11 feet. There is a maximum beam of 5 feet, and the sail plan is set. Some moths are rounded, some have square chines, others are shaped like a piece of paper folded together at one end and loose on the other. All are tipsy and fast.
"You have to plane to windward in any kind of wind at all," moth national champ Jeff Linton said. "You have to keep the boat flat."
Linton, the 2007 U.S. sailor of the year, won all 10 races, often with a big lead over the second-place boat.
Derek Dudinsky of St. Petersburg counted all top four finishes to place second in the fleet with Mike Parson of Media, Pa., in third. Local sailor Rod Koch won the tiebreaker for fourth place with John Zseleczky of Arnold, Md.
Converted Europe dinghy and challenger hulls were scored with the fleet. But since they are not as fast as the custom boats, they were also scored separately. Walt Collins from Chesapeake, Va., outscored George Albaugh of Bowie, Md., in that fleet.
Dick Tillman stepped in a moth for the first time in his long sailing career. He was given the gag trophy "most improved" for his sixth-place finish, sailing a boat built by Paul Lindenberg.
KEY WEST RACE WEEK: Known as the premier big boat regatta in North America, KWRW again lived up to its billing.
While the wind was too light for one of the race days, the rest of the week produced plenty of breeze, with the final day a perfect medium, tactical wind.
Martin Kullman and Michael Carroll and crew John Jennings, Steve Liebel, Alex Shaffer, Judah Rubin, Ron Hyatt and Jay Kuebel sailed the Melges 32 New Wave to second place in one of the most competitive fleets.
On the Corsair 28R Trimaran course, Peter Katcha placed second.
ROLEX OLYMPIC CLASS REGATTA: Clearwater Yacht Club's Paige Railey beat chief rival Anna Tunnacliffe to win this Miami Grade One event in laser radials.