Monday Morning Digest—June 17, 2002

Pyewacket sets Newport Bermuda Record, Thompson reflects on Maiden2’s 24-hour record, plus news from one-design and match-racing championships.

**Pyewacket First to Bermuda With Race Record in Hand **

“It hasn’t been an easy run for the 182 boats that entered this year’s Newport Bermuda Race. “This is one of toughest ones I’ve done,” said Sailing World associate editor Tony Bessinger, a Bermuda race veteran who’s navigating George David’s IMS 50 Idler. “It’s a really tight reach and it’s blowing hard. I’d say there1s a lot of people in this fleet who’ve never been seasick who are seasick.”
Bessinger was about 45 miles from the finish line when he checked in at just before 8:30 a.m. Monday. According to the race website, Roy Disney’s sled Pyewacket was the first boat to finish, crossing the line Sunday evening just before 8 p.m. for a total elapsed time of 53h:39m:22s, nearly four hours better than the previous record. George Coumantaros’ Boomerang, which held the record since 1996, also finished inside its previous time, finishing nearly 20 minutes after Pyewacket.
As might be expected with record-breaking conditions, some boats have struggled in the strong southwesterly breeze. No fewer than seven boats have had to drop out. Fred Detwiler’s Trader, an Andrews 70, had its mast break in three different places Sunday night. Two boats reported man-overboard recoveries, and two boats retired; one with mechanical problems, and one with a rudder failure.

**Maiden2, Three Miles Shy of 700 **


Tracy Edward’s Maiden2 (ex-Club Med) set a 24-hour distance record of 697 nautical miles in the North Atlantic last Wednesday, June 12. With 13 crew onboard, the team set sail from Newport earlier in the week to a pre-determined starting point south-southeast of Newport. During the record attempt, the team reported a top speed of 44 knots and an unofficial average of 29 knots. Despite a brief window of 15-knot winds, they nailed the record with little room to spare. “The high point for me was driving the last three hours into the finish,” wrote co-skipper Brian Thompson, who was a watch captain for Steve Fossett’s PlayStation when it set the previous 24-hour record in March, 1999, “level pegging with the record at first and then slowly pulling ahead of the pace required, hour by hour until by the last hour we had dragged the average required to a ’mere’ 27 knots. Then we knew we had it in the bag, and any extra miles were just a bonus. All that last three hours we were riding on the edge, flying the hull much of the time, the entire crew up on deck .We had the boat cooking, a moment to remember. Low point was in the early morning when the wind dropped to 15 knots and it looked like the record was slipping out of our reach. We never stopped pushing, we pulled out the reef and started hunting down the record.”

**Chicago NOOD Regatta Showdown **

More than 1,700 sailors competing in 22 classes at the Sailing World Chicago NOOD were dealt a difficult hand: this event drew the toughest sailing competition in the region, yet wind conditions were erratic, with 50-degree wind shifts, rain, no-wind conditions, hail, and squalls.
Heidi Backus Riddle (Vermilion, Ohio) and her crew on the Tartan Ten (T-10) NUTS went into the final race only 1 point behind class leader US, skippered by Rick Strilky of Chicago. In the final race, Backus-Riddle got a clean start, got ahead, and covered her closest rivals until the finish. Backus Riddle’s three sisters–Amy Backus, Susan Starr, and Gretchen Loper–husband John, and childhood friend Christy Parsons were in her crew. Strilky finished second.
The 22-boat J/105 class, the second-largest class in the regatta, was won by Chicago racer Len Siegal and the crew onboard Lucky Dubie. Siegel. It wasn’t easy though: On the final day, the J/105s had a general recall, and then a black flag at the start; a handful of boats–including the two boats that were leading the class. Bill Alcott’s Santa Cruz 70 Equation (St. Clair Shores, Mich.) won the Great Lakes 70s class. For complete results: http://


Ex-College Star Wins Southern California UBS Challenge Qualifier

Two-time college sailor of the year Brad Rodi led a team from San Diego YC to a first-place finish in the UBS Challenge Regional Qualifier at Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, San Pedro. Rodi was a four-time All-American sailor (1990-1993) while at the U.S. Naval Academy. By winning the Los Angeles regatta, one of six regional qualifying races in the UBS Challenge national sailing event, Skipper Rodi advances to the UBS Challenge U.S. Championships, held in Newport, Rhode Island on July 27 to 29. The top three finishers from that event will go on to compete in the UBS Challenge Finals, July 31 to August 4, also in Newport, competing for the $100,000 purse.

**49ers In Paradise and J/80s in La Rochelle **


The practice race for the 2002 49er Worlds was held yester day in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, (with no official results). Racing resumes on the Pacific today through June 22. Keep on eye on the 49er class website for real-time results and photos. Meanwhile, the J/80 class begins competing for its second world championship title today in La Rochelle, France. Kerry Klingler, of UK Sails Long Island is in France to defend.

The Time Is Now to Prepare for the Next Cup

The 2006 America’s Cup is a ways off, but Ortwin Kandler’s French effort, K-Challenge, is hoping to keep momentum with its pair of IC45s (formerly known as Corel 45s). In Saint-Tropez’s harbor last week, the K Challenge relaunched its two 45-foot training boats K Challenge One and K Challenge Two, which will be used for training and regattas before purchasing an America’s Cup class America boat in 2003. Dawn Riley is at the head of the Challenge Two team.