Sailing World Regatta Series – St Pete

Published on February 18th, 2024

The 2024 Sailing World Regatta Series attracted 227 teams on February 16-18 in St. Petersburg, FL. Among the 19 divisions, Steve and Catherine Boho dominated the Melges 24 and were selected as the regatta’s overall winner, which earns them the first berth at the year end Caribbean Championship in the BVIs where they’ll race other winners from the 5-event series, as well as the defending champion.

“It’s very special that we’ve been able to sail together,” Steve says of sailing with his wife, who does bow. “It’s something that we both love to do, and to share our passion together at home and to be able to come to places like St. Pete, and now the BVIs…it’s going to be a real treat.”

Mike Schroff and teammate Abby Brown won the 31-boat Melges 15 class with all top-five finishes, celebrating their one-year anniversary of sailing the Melges 15 together in St. Pete.

“We trusted in us being fast downwind,” Schroff says, “but the story of this regatta is all Abby. She called ferocious tactics and perfectly called the starts of the last two races.”

Their newfound confidence in their speed, both upwind and downwind, Schroff says, is also attributed to working with a coach over the past year, but the team’s real success is the chemistry that’s now been established between the skipper and crew. “We were quick enough, and that made the tactics nice and easy,” Schroff says, “but Abby is the story of the weekend—we’ve made believers of each other.”

Bill and Jackie Baxter’s J/111 team on Fireball notched its third consecutive win in the ORC division with another impressive performance that included four wins in six races. A pre-start port-starboard incident on the second day of the regatta marred their nearly perfect scoreline with a 12-point disqualification, but they put it behind them on the final day by dominating both races from start to finish to close the series with a 2-point win over Adam Prettyman’s Tartan 10 Ghost.

With stormy conditions on the final day, many of the regatta’s Distance Race teams opted to stay in harbor, but those who set off were rewarded with long miles of hard but rewarding sailing. Bob Harkrider’s Aerodyne 38 Shark Rider secured the Spinnaker division while Gail Hausler’s Beneteau 40 Liquid Time won the Racer-Cruiser division. Dan Gross’s Salt D did the same in the Cruising division while Antonio Sanpere, in his C&C 24, won all races to secure the non-spinnaker division.

Further north on the regatta’s C Division racecourse, a tight battle at the top of the J/70 fleet played out in favor of Joel Ronning’s team on Catapult while Mike Ingham’s all-family program topped the J/24 division.

The regatta hosted four class midwinter championships; for the Melges 24, Hobie 33, Sonar, and S2 7.9 classes, and it was John Spierling’s Rebel that emerged as the top team in the S2s, Steven Attard’s Rhumbline in the Hobie 33s, and skipper Kevin Holmberg in the Sonars.

While Hall of Famer Augie Diaz was leading the competitive Lightning division leading into the final day, it was the more experienced team on Jody Lutz’s crew that excelled in the breezy races with a 1-2 to take the lead and the regatta win.

In the Contender class, Michael Smits, of Toronto, won by 10 points, while Oscar Rogers was the top A Class Classic skipper and Larry Woods topped the A Class Foiling division. Pete Merrifield locked up the Weta class with a perfect scoreline while Pat Huntly won the Windmills and Paul Scoffin was the top skipper in the Flying Dutchman.

Series detailsEvent informationRace results

Source: Sailing World

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