Despite losing a day to lack of wind, the three-day International Rolex Regatta finished on a good note yesterday with two races.
After waiting on the water for two hours yesterday (Sunday) morning, the 79-boat fleet got the weather break they needed when clouds over a course set on the south end of St Thomas spirited up enough wind for two races.
It was almost a repeat of the previous day’s scenario, when three races were completed in similar 10-15 knot north-easterly breezes that emerged during the afternoon. With five races to count in this 29th annual mainstay of Caribbean racing, 12 winners from as many classes went home with trophies and Rolex timepieces to show for their perseverance and skill.
In the event’s largest class–Spinnaker Racing Class 2, Puerto Rico’s Efrain Lugo (Ponce), aboard his Melges 24 named Orion, turned in a 5-1 scoring to combine with thre previous day’s 1-2-1 to take the class. According to tactician Robbie Ramos (Ponce), this is the seventh time Orion has sailed in this regatta with the same crew. “This was the first time we were not assigned to a one-design class, so it was a lot of fun to see how we sailed against other boats that are not like us.
“In the first race it was crazy wind, and we were mixed right in there with boats (from other classes) double our size. We had a bad start, but in the second race, two boats had a collision at the pin end of the start and left a six-foot gap for us. We port-tacked with the big boats coming at us and then went to starboard. We hit the left side of the course because there was a squall there and this paid off.”
It could be argued that squalls – prevalent but churning out only light showers and slightly increased winds – played into just about everyone’s strategy today.
“It wasn’t easy,” said crewmember Ben Beer (St Thomas) about winning the Over 50-Foot Class aboard Tom Hill’s Puerto Rican entry Titan XI, an Andrews 70. “It never is, but we had extremely good crew work.”
Equation, a Santa Cruz 68, was the defending champion in this class, which originally had three boats entered, but dropped to two after an incident the previous day left the Custom 73-foot Donnybrook too crippled to complete the series.
In Spinnaker Racing Class 2, Saturday’s leader Mermaid II, a Custom 40 footer, conceded to Twisted Lizard, Mike Lathrope’s (Naperville, (St Thomas) Mumm 30, which posted two bullets yesterday to rise from third to first in overall standings for the seven-boat fleet.
Hullabulloo, a Beneteau First owned by Phillip Allen (Southampton, UK), held onto the previous day’s lead by posting a 1-2 in the five-boat Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class 1, as did Cold Beer 2, a Tartan 10, owned by John Schultheiss (Tortola, BVI), by posting two wins in the five-boat Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class II.
It was no surprise that Enrique Figueroa (San Juan, PR), the multi-time world and national catamaran champion sailing Suzuki Tornado, topped the six-boat spinnaker Beach Cats Class 2 with two victories to add to his string of three yesterday the previous day. It was unusually intriguing, however, that another Enrique Figueroa, unrelated but from the same town, topped the 10-boat Beach Cats Class 1 aboard his Exodus-Sambaigo.
Also coming as no surprise was Chris Rosenberg’s five-zip win in the IC-24 class. Having won the regatta several times before in different classes of boats, Rosenberg has committed himself to sailing this unique Melges-J/24 hybrid that has helped rebuild the St Thomas Yacht Club racing fleet. “Today it was demanding upwind and downwind but that’s what it’s all about,” said Rosenberg.
Other winners were Ron Noonan (Marion, Mass/Tortola) aboard Wildflower in Non-Spinnaker Racing Class; Edwin Cruz (Fajardo, PR) aboard Nemesis in Jib & Main class; Antonio Mari Jr (San Juan) aboard Ex Mero Motu in J/80 class; and Scott/Peter Stanton (St Croix) aboard Jersey Devil in J/24 class.
Overall Results (after fi