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Striking Gold in Newport

Makoto Uematsu's recently splashed Farr 50 Esmeralda set the pace among the 11-boat PHRF Class.
Throughout its first five editions in as many years, the Newport Gold Regatta has raised over $250,000 for the Rhode Island Foundation for Children, and staged some strong racing as well. This year's three-day affair attracted just over 100 boats, a record number for this rapidly growing event, and among the fleet was a staggering array of boats and talent that had congregated here to open the summer sailing season.

With three days of racing for the Mumm 30, 1D35, and Farr 40 classes and two for the competitors in the J/105, 12-Meter, and three PHRF classes, the fleet witnessed the full gamut of conditions. Light southerlies ruled the first day, giving way to a brisk, shifty, and faltering northwesterly on Day Two. The final, 'round Conanicut Island Race was staged in a classic southwesterly seabreeze and an ebb tide.

George Andreadis' Atalanti XI crosses the fleet upwind to maintain her usual lead position.
Twenty-six Farr 40s registered for the event, which served as an important tune-up prior to the class's World Championship regatta that begins tomorrow and runs through Friday. With help from gold medalist Robbie Haines calling the shots, George Andreadis and his team on Atalanti XI managed to take an early lead with double bullets on the first day of competition out on the Atlantic. Though the racing was characteristically tight with some of the top names in the sport among the afterguards on these boats, Andreadis and his team kept their momentum and their lead through the two moderate-air races that were held inside on Narragansett Bay. Despite scoring an uncharacteristic 11 in Race Four, they hung on in the final contest around Conanicut Island to score a fifth and win the series by seven points. Second place went to current World Champion John Kilroy and his team aboard Samba Pa Ti, while John Calvert-Jones Australian team aboard Southern Star slipped in just a few points ahead of Jim Richardson's Barking Mad to take third.

Tight action in the 1D35 Class as the leaders round the upwind mark.
The Newport Gold Regatta was also an important contest for the 1D35 Class, as it was the third of six events that count toward the 2000 Season Championship. Unlike the Farr 40s, however, there were no clear leaders in this class, with the standings determined by the outcome of the final race. The action in that contest was so heated that four of the 16 entries hit submerged rocks during furious jibing duels that kept the boats close to the western shore of Conanicut Island as they attempted to stay out of the strong ebb tide. Nick and Tina Worth's Widowmaker jumped out to an early lead to win the race, but Owen Krantz's Joss—the early points leader—along with Frank Schinco's Avanti, and Sledd Shelhorse's Avalanche all had poor showings in the race, allowing Buddy Cribb's Victory to live up to its name and win the class.

Closed course racing always puts an emphasis on good crew mechanics, like getting the kite down fast as seen here aboard Wiarere.
Sailing in a borrowed boat, reigning World Champion Ed Collins and his team on USA 48 managed to stay ahead of Phil Garland and Rich Shulman's Trouble in a tough 13-boat Mumm 30 Class. Trouble finished the event with double bullets, but it wasn't enough as Collins and company ended up six points ahead.

The event also served as the grand prix debut for two new big boats, Makoto Uematsu's Farr-designed IMS 50 Esmeralda, which won the the 11-boat PHRF 1 Class with Ken Read at the helm, and George Collins new Farr 52 Chessy Racing, which placed fifth in the same class. Bache Renshaw's Virago gamely chased its new rivals around the course, managing a second overall, while the last individual race win went to Chris and Trice Bouzaid's Thompson 30 Wairere.

With 26 boats registered and some of the top names in the sport participating, the Farr 40 Class tuned up for its third world championship regatta, (June 6-9).
Tom Rich's venerable Peterson 42 Settler took the overall honors in the 15-boat PHRF 2 Class with consistent 4-3-2 finishes, while Steve Thurston's Pearson 36 Mariah dominated the six-boat PHRF 3 Class with scores of 1-2-2. Among the two classic 12-Meters, Edgar Cato's team aboard the chartered Courageous handily won over Fred Van Liew's Fiddler, while Jeff Johnstone led the 10-boat J/105 group aboard Polar Eclipse.

For full scores and additional information on the event, visit the regatta web site


Dobbs Davis is offline  
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