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Archive for December, 2009

Handicap Winner Still In Balance

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The smallest boat in the fleet, Zephyr Hamilton Elevators, was as of this evening, still well in the running to win the IRC overall handicap division of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Zephyr is a Sea Nymph 33 co-owned by James Connell and Alex Braddon from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. She won division E in the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

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Tattersall’s Cup Still in Doubt

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The smaller boats at the back of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, after surviving frustrating light air and calms off the southeastern coast of New South Wales, are blowing home fast today.

A light but steady nor’easter in Hobart this morning, has been giving the yachts finishing a comfortable one-leg day over the last 11 nautical miles of the course up the Derwent River.

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Southerly Slow Up

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

A strong southerly to southwesterly change sweeping up the Tasmanian coast this afternoon slowed the 87 yachts still at sea in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

At 1600, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a strong wind warning for the lower east coast, from Wineglass Bay to Tasman Island for southwest to southerly winds of 30 knots in open waters at first, easing to 5 to 15 kn by late evening, with two to three metre seas and a southwest swell of 2.5 to 3.5 metres.

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Torresen Offers Discount Strictly Sail Tickets Online

Monday, December 28th, 2009

By using the promotional code: “Torresen Marine, Inc.” when ordering your Strictly Sail Chicago tickets online you can receive special discounted pricing.

Alternatively, just use this link and your promotional code will already be pre-entered in the online form:

There is also another special offer for an additional discount good only for Facebook Fans (good only until Jan. 7):

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The Rich Get Richer – Rolex Sydney Harbour Race

Monday, December 28th, 2009

The maxis leading the Rolex Sydney Harbour race fleet cleared a barrier of light air and calm in Bass Strait in the early hours of this morning to reach away on a new westerly flow at speeds of up to 20 knots.

Race leader Alfa Romeo, a Reichel/Pugh 100 owned by Sydney-based New Zealander Neville Crichton, first to clear the calm-creating ridge of high pressure to the north of Tasmania, opened a healthy lead of 30 nautical miles on her nearest maxi opponent for line honours, Mike Slade’s Farr 100, ICAP Leopard.

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Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo remained in control of her nearest maxi opponents through a changing wind pattern overnight and into the second day of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

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Rosebud Team DYT Wins ’09 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Rosebud/Team DYT, the Reichel/Pugh-designed STP65, sailed by owner Roger Sturgeon of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has won the 2009 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series (GSS) Trophy. The award will be presented next summer at the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, which will also host the 2010 Rolex US-IRC National Championship from July 21-24.

“The US-IRC Gulf Stream Series is a fantastic way to judge sailboats on a level playing field,” said Sturgeon. “There were plenty of different inshore and offshore races that we could enter to qualify for the series, and the comprehensive ratings system allowed for boats to be ranked against each other in an extremely fair manner. Rosebud/Team DYT is optimized for all-around racing, not just downwind or upwind, and this series is a true test of all racing conditions. The GSS scoring formula is complicated enough that we didn’t know if we actually won the series. It is an honor we proudly accept, and we challenge others to campaign their way to the top next year.”

On the way to winning the fourth annual US-IRC GSS, Rosebud/Team DYT logged some impressive finishes. It finished first in the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, Ft. Lauderdale to Charleston Race and Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex. It also finished second in the Acura Key West Race Week and the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex before going to Europe where its successful season there ended with a fallen rig in rough conditions at the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Finishing second overall for the 2009 US-IRC GSS series was Privateer, a Cookson 50 owned and skippered by Ron O’Hanley (Ipswich, Mass.). The boat finished first at the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race and Block Island Race Week, second in the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, Acura Key West Race Week and New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, and third at the Ida Lewis Distance Race.

“US-IRC is delighted to have had two excellent programs at the top of this year’s GSS,” said US-IRC President John Brim, who won the series in 2008. “The wide range of events these two boats entered in 2009 show the great diversity of the Gulf Stream Series, and we are looking forward to an exciting and expanded series for 2010.”

Brim explained that 19 events will make up the 2010 GSS (an increase of three events over last year), with events running as far north as Newport, R.I., and this year stretching deeper into the Caribbean to include the second running of the RORC’s Caribbean 600.

2010 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series Announced

The US-IRC Gulf Stream Series (GSS), America’s only year-long racing series that spans the entire East Coast of the U.S.A. and Caribbean islands, returns for its fifth annual running in 2010 with an expanded list of events that starts with the 2009 Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race (January 13) and ends with the Storm Trysail Club IRC East Coast Championship (October 29-31).

The 2010 series will follow the format of the 2009 series with a few minor differences.

• Yachts will be entered in the series automatically when they compete in their first series event. All yachts that qualify by sailing the required number of long distance, medium distance and regatta events will be scored for the series.

• The races and regattas will be divided into three groups as they have been in the past. To qualify for the series a boat must participate in the required number of events from Group 1 – Buoy Races (5 required), Group 2- Medium Distance Races (2 required) and Group 3 – Long Distance Races (1 required).

The Groups are:
Group 1 – Buoy Races (5 events required)
Key West Race Week, January 13, 2010
Miami Grand Prix, March 4-7, 2010
International Rolex Regatta, March 26-28, 2010
Charleston Race Week, April 8-11, 2010
American Yacht Club Spring Series, April/May 2010
New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, June 11-13, 2010
New York Yacht Club Race Week by at Newport presented Rolex/Rolex US-IRC National Championship, July 21-24, 2010
US-IRC Long Island Sound Championship, September 18-19, 2010
American Yacht Club Fall Series, September, 2010
Storm Trysail Club IRC East Coast Championship, October 29-31, 2010

Group 2 – Medium Distance Races (2 events required)
Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, January 13, 2010
Miami to Nassau Race, November, 2010
Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race, May 21, 2010
Around Long Island Regatta, July 29, 2010
Ida Lewis Distance Race, August 20, 2010
Stamford Vineyard Race, September 3, 2010

Group 3 – Long Distance Races (1 event required)
Ft. Lauderdale to Charleston Race, March 31, 2010
Newport to Bermuda Race, June 18, 2010
Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600, February 2, 2010

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For Disney Ensenada Was A Special Race

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Roy E. Disney led several notable lives—creative artist, entrepreneur, philanthropist—but the one where his loss will be felt most personally by his peers is that of a world class sailor and selfless promoter of the sport.

Disney passed away last Wednesday at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian less than a month shy of his 80th birthday of Jan. 10 after a year-long battle with stomach cancer—possibly the only circumstance that would have kept him out of the 63rd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race starting April 23 just a couple of miles away off Newport Beach, where he also made his home in recent years.

He had sailed his various high-performance Pyewackets—named after a mythical witch’s cat—and earlier boats in about half of the previous 62 races and twice held the elapsed time record for monohulls.

“I know he loved it,” said Robbie Haines, who organized the crews and racing schedules and served as tactician on Disney’s boats for the last 21 years. “As crazy as the race is, he really looked forward to it, every single year.”

Disney loved the race so much that in 1978 he produced a documentary film about it—”Pacific High”—based on his first ocean racer, Shamrock.

Disney held the record that Doug Baker’s Magnitude broke in 2002 when Disney was off campaigning Pyewacket in the Caribbean . . . while the cat was away, the record went astray. But a year later when Baker had sold Magnitude and was sailing on another boat, Pyewacket reclaimed the mark with a time of 10 hours 44 minutes 54 seconds.

Baker said at the time, “I’m glad for Roy. He’s been great for the sport, and he deserves [the record].”

It stood until last April when after several tries Baker’s newer Magnitude 80 rode moderate but steady straight-line winds to beat Disney’s six-year-old record by 7 minutes 3 seconds with a time of 10 hours 37 minutes 50 seconds.

“I’m in shock,” Baker said afterward. “I don’t have any fingernails left. I’ve been doing this for 40 years and I’m still amazed by what happens out there.”

At Disney’s passing, Baker saluted his rival: “I broke his record and then he came back and broke it again. We had a good rivalry.”

Haines, who sailed with Disney on 13 of his 15 Transpacific Yacht Races to Hawaii and many other ocean races, described him as “not your typical owner-skipper. His demeanor was very informal

“He’d come on board and you’d know that Roy was in charge, and especially in the long races you would want his input because of his vast [sailing] experience. But he would take the opinion of everybody he respected and together come up with a decision on strategy.”

It was unusual for the sport but normal for Disney to sail with essentially the same crew of 12 to 15 for a decade or two.

Haines said, “The Pyewacket group was such a family over the years that I would get phone calls from all kinds of sailors asking, ‘Is there any room?’ and Roy was so loyal that I’d just say, ‘I’m sorry, we’re gonna keep the same guys.’ It’s extremely rare. A lot of people want the best pros or latest world champion or Olympic medalist. Roy was happy with the guys he had.”

During longer races Disney would regale the crew with tales of making movies and cartoons as he grew up through the ranks at the Walt Disney Co., founded by his uncle Walt and father Roy.

“I can remember many races when we’d be on deck or down below asking him about old-time Disney studio stuff,” Haines said. “It was fascinating listening to him. Certainly, there’s nobody in the Disney company that knows more than he does about it. He was very well read. He knew a lot about everything.”

And he didn’t mind striking impromptu conversations with friends or strangers.

“He just had this very unassuming way with people,” Haines said. “He treated everybody the same. He was just a nice guy to the average guy.”

It was no different on the boat. Even at night in cold wind and rough seas, Disney would ride the rail with the rest of the crew.

“For many years he would take his turn at every job on the boat,” Haines said. “There was this rotation where you’d steer and then you’d do the main and then you’d grind and then you’d trim. He’d do all of that . . . he was just part of the team, although in the last few years he would mainly drive. But he was always in charge of cooking. He’d make lunch and dinner. He loved that. He didn’t like freeze-dried [food] very much.”

Ralph Rodheim, marketing director of the Newport-to-Ensenada race, offered thoughts in the same vein.

“My fondest memory was when we selected Roy as Grand Marshall for the race,” Rodheim said. “Although his boat went back to San Diego he stayed for the entire trophy presentation. He then needed to get back to L.A., so Penny and I took him to the Ensenada military airport in our Dodge caravan mini-van—not the transportation he was used to. However, he was as friendly as anyone could be. At the airport we got to board his ‘Shamrock’ jet where we were invited to join him on the flight to L.A. unfortunately, we could not take him up on the offer. Roy Disney was a sailor’s sailor, and will be missed.”

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Maxi Rendezvous Set For Rolex Sydney Hobart

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

The world’s biggest and best assembly of maxi yachts in recent times will contest this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Seven of them will be on the start line, and five have a real chance of leading the fleet of 100 entries into Hobart in the 65th running of the Australian 628-nautical mile ocean-racing classic, which starts on Boxing Day, December 26.

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American Sailors Big Screen Event Benefit This Friday

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Theater Presentation for the Benefit of the Muskegon Yacht Club Juniors

Experience the sights and sounds of the Chicago to Mackinac Yacht Race on the big screen of the Cinema Carousel Theater, 4289 Old Grand Haven Road, Muskegon, Michigan 49441.

December 4, 2009 – 7:30 p.m.

This event is to benefit the Muskegon Juniors Sailing Program (a charitable 501(c)3).

American Sailors takes you on board and behind the scenes as four great skippers prepare and race their boats in the longest and oldest freshwater race in the world. In 2008 the Chicago Yacht Club expanded the field to more than 400 boats for the historic 100th running of the magnificent race from Navy Pier in Chicago to beautiful Mackinac Island. See and experience the race as never before aboard:

* Peerless – with first time skipper Brian Torresen
* Souvenir – skippered by school teacher Steve Schiller
* Windquest – the previous year’s overall winner
* Windancer – with John Nedeau Racing in his record 61st MAC

There’s no better seat in the house to see yacht racing for what it really is – a test of skill, teamwork, and technology all at the mercy of the unpredictable breeze.

Tickets will be available at the door.

Follow the event on Facebook at:

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