Grand Prix Sailor’s Tuesday Morning Digest

Ptarmigan Wins 2002 IMS Mid-Atlantics

Not Dead Yet
The East Coast IMS racing season ended with an exclamation point last weekend off Annapolis as 22 boats in two divisions competed in the second edition of the IMS Mid-Atlantics sponsored by Dirty Dog Sunglasses last Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 2-3). Top honors went to Larry Dickey’s carbon-hulled Nelson/Marek 47 Ptarmigan (nee Virago), which won not only IMS Fleet 1, but IMS overall as well. “This was a big win for us,” said Britt Hughes, 42, of Stratford, Ct., Ptarmigan’s helmsman, “because Idler [George David’s N/M 50] beats us most of the time. Our goal was to have no blowups and to sail well.” Ptarmigan led by one point after a weather mark foul by Idler in the last race of the day. “If Idler hadn’t fouled us,” said Hughes. “They would have probably won the regatta.” After fouling Ptarmigan and hitting the weather mark, Idler did circles and finished eighth in Race 3 and third overall in the event.

The big surprise in the IMS fleet was the Farr 40 Predator, owned by Steve Kaminer of Washington, D.C. Although Farr 40s suffer a bit under IMS, in a breeze they can hold their own, and it was “breeze on” for the first three races of the event and Predator won two of them. In Sunday’s lighter conditions, Predator scored a fourth in the only race of the day and won a tiebreaker to finish second.

The winner of IMS Fleet 2 was the well-sailed, shoal draft Beneteau 40.7 Moonracer, owned by Ken Comerford of Annapolis. Comerford, 37, bought the 40.7 this year to replace his Cal 40 Phantom, and has been doing well in both buoy and distance racing this year, finishing third in class and 25th overall in the Newport Bermuda Race.


Beneteau 36.7 National Championship
Held at the same time and on the same course as the IMS regatta was the inaugural Beneteau 36.7 National Championship, with 10 of the 2001 Sailing World Boat of the Year winners competing. Wes Siegner, of Chevy Chase, Md., won the regatta after buying Abino last spring, as he put, “to keep in touch with sailing. This is the first racing I’ve done since I was 18,” said Siegner, 50.” I used to race Lightnings in Lake Erie, near Point Abino, and I basically burnt out and quit when I was 18. I wanted to get back into racing, maybe race Wednesday nights, so I bought the boat.” And he staffed it last weekend with some quality crew, we might add. In addition to longtime Lightning star Ian Jones of Buffalo on main trim, Siegner invited Jay Hansen of North Sails aboard as his tactician. “Ninety-nine percent of the credit goes to the crew, ” said Siegner. “They did a great job and we had a good time.”

Around Alone
Bernard Stamm’s Bobst Group Armor Lux still leads the Around Alone, a little over 2,000 miles from the Cape Town finish line. Emma Richards’ Pindar holds second, 229 miles behind Stamm. In Class II, with 4,300 miles to go, Brad van Liew has a big lead and sent this e-mail as his latest journal entry:

“Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America has her wings stretched at their max with the canting keel pumped all the way up and the speedo licking at 20 knots as we surf our way south. So far the cloud formations still have a very trade wind look and the winds have a very trade wind feel. The doldrums should put the brakes on soon but maybe we’ll get lucky. The time for studying is over! We have committed to a southbound alley through the notorious weather pattern, and now it’s a matter of getting every bit of boat speed possible while we maintain a southbound heading which yields the greatest VMG (velocity made good) to the south. Hopefully we won’t lose too much to our fellow Class II competitors and pop out the other side to a new set of trades coming from the South East generated by the powerful south Atlantic high-pressure area.”


The Around Alone management team has pushed back the restart dates for the rest of the event due to the delays for all Class II and some Class 1 competitors who sailed into port during a huge Atlantic storm earlier in the second leg. The new itinerary follows:

Leg 3: Cape Town, South Africa – Tauranga, New Zealand
Restart: 14 December 2002
ETA first boat: 11 January 2003

Leg 4: Tauranga, New Zealand – Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Restart: 2 February 2003
ETA first boat: 2 March 2003


Leg 5: Salvador De Bahia, Brazil – Newport, R.I. U.S.A.
Restart: 30 March 2003
ETA first boat: 20 April 2003

Etchells Worlds
Although many felt that Dennis Conner’s recent stint at the helm of USA-66 may have heralded a shakeup in the crewlist on Stars & Stripes, nothing could have been further from the truth. All Conner was doing was sharpening his skills for the Etchells World Championship being held in Auckland this week. After three races, Conner, sailing Kiwi Menace III, sits in ninth place in the 93-boat fleet with a 10,9,40. Leading the event with two seconds and a first is Stuart Childerley, of Great Britain. The next-highest American on the leaderboard is John Ulbrich in 13th.


1D35 Nationals
Windquest, driven by Dick DeVos with John Bertrand as tactician, won the 8-boat 2002 1D35 Nationals hosted by Key Biscayne YC last weekend. Smiling Bulldog, driven by Garth Dennis of Ithaca, N.Y., took second.

A New Race to Mexico
The inaugural Isla Navidad race, a 1,185-mile run from Long Beach, Calif., to Isla Navidad, Mexico got underway with a staggered start on Oct. 31-Nov.1. Eleven boats started, and there were some players on the scratch sheet, including Bob McNeill’s 86-foot Zephyrus V, which led the fleet as of Monday night. The three-boat big-boat class, which also includes Magnitude and Medicine Man, are ahead of the rest of the fleet on corrected time.The TP-52 Victoria 5 has retired.

A meeting that could help sort out current problems with the kinetics rule in many classes will take place next year in Southampton, England. Over the weekend of Mar. 21-23, ISAF will be hosting a Judges Conference to educate International Judges about RRS 42, the Propulsion Rule. According to ISAF, the goal is to “achieve a consistent and accurate approach to the policing of the rule worldwide.”

Led by a team of experienced International Judges, these topics will be presented and discussed:

1. RRS 42, to include:

-Review of RRS 42 and modifications.
-Problem areas and interpretations from the Racing Rules Committee.
-Athlete perspective on kinetics judging.
-Coach perspective on kinetics judging.
-Equipment necessary for on the water judging.
-Coverage of the course area.
-Interaction between judges and competitors.

2. Jury Policies, including press and other observers at hearings, discretionary penalties

3. Redress, including redress for OCS.

Middle Sea Race
Market Wizard, a J-109 owned by John Ripard and Andrew Calascione of Malta, won the Overall Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy. Sailed by a core of the crew that was aboard last year’s winner, Strait Dealer, a carbon-built J/125, the smaller Market Wizard topped a fleet that included Volvo race participant AmerSportsOne.

Market Wizard is new to Ripard and Calascione, and the crew had barely two weeks to get familiar with the boat. “We had confidence in the design based on its results at other major regattas and the Round Britain Race, said Calascione. “Its potential for good offshore racing was clearly there. We just had to get the best from the yacht. Fortunately, John Ripard, Timmy Camilleri, and myself have sailed together for many years. Winning the race last year also stood us in good stead,” added Calascione.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is 607 nautical miles and is sailed counter-clockwise around Sicily and some neighboring islands.