After 27 days of sailing, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede of France has pushed his lead over the pace set by Philippe Monnet to two days. Van Den Heede is now sailing off the coast of Argentina and has consistently been able to make better 24 hour runs than Monnet did during the same stretch of his solo westward circumnavigation two years ago.
Van Den Heedes next tactical challenge will be passing the Falkland Islands. “The usual way is to pass between them and the coast,” said Van Den Heede in a posting to his website, “then to take the Lemaires strait as the main winds of the Cape Horn are West. But I am not sure to be able to do it.”
IMS Revival in Annapolis
Those who predicted the death of the IMS rule in the United States spoke too soon. A new regatta, the IMS Mid-Atlantic Championship, hosted by the Storm Trysail Club in Annapolis last weekend, didnt sport huge numbers of entrants, but revealed what may become a viable American IMS 50 class.
Annapolis regulars Varshek II (Farr 49), Javelin (Farr 49), Chessie Racing (Farr 52), Ramrod (Farr 47), and Le Renard (Concordia 47), welcomed Long Island Sounds Harrier (S&S; 47) and Idler (Nelson/Marek 50) for a four-race series that also served as a backdrop for a productive first U.S. IMS 50 Class Association owners meeting.
Decisions made during the weekend meeting included a schedule of events for the class for 2002: Terra Nova/Yachting Key West Race Week, Acura SORC, the NYYC Onion Patch series (and possibly the Newport-Bermuda Race), New York YC Race Week, and the IMS Mid-Atlantics. With the possible inclusion of Numbers 97 (Taylor 49), the late Bache Renshaws Virago (Nelson/Marek 47), and a 50-footer from the Mediterranean, the class expects to get their own starts in some, if not all, of these events.
“This group is now funded,” said US SAILINGs Offshore Director Dan Nowlan, who attended the event and the class meeting. “It should have a good season next year.” The class association also appointed Ennio Staffeni as president and Hale Walcoff as class manager.
Decisions about an owner-driver rule, and the possibility of hosting the IMS 50 World Championship sometime in the next few years, were also discussed. Nowlan acknowledged that in the European IMS 50 circuit, pro drivers and crews are the norm and getting those boats involved in U.S. competitions would be difficult if there were an owner-driver rule in effect for events held here. “After listening to what was said at the meeting,” said Nowlan, ” I see that they (U.S. 50 owners) have to figure out at what level they want to compete.”
George Davids Idler won both its class and the event overall with a 3,1,1,2, topping Larry Bulmans Javelin in class by 7 points. Idler, an owner-driven boat, carried Davids regular crew, joined by Ken Read as tactician and Tony Rey as strategist. Read sailed with the Idler program during the 1999 Admirals Cup and both he and Rey are teammates in the NYYC/Stars and Stripes Americas Cup syndicate. Second place overall went to Henry Fretzs Wahoo, a Sydney 41, and third overall was the Sydney 38 Canvasback, owned by Doug Croker.