My 2014 season kicked off with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta on the TP52+ HIGHLAND FLING in early March. This event has grown to over 200 boats, with the full spectrum of classes from big boats to small, multihulls, and a major bareboat class. Our 52 was designed and built in 2011 and we had our first outing at Key West 2012. After working out a few bugs and modifying our twin rudders, we entered the 2012 Rolex in St. Thomas with high hopes of seeing the true performance of the boat which was designed for coastal racing, rather than Windward-Leewards like most of the TP52’s. We took off in race 1 and were leading our division, only to see our mast break at mark #1. What a crying shame. The owner decided to pursue other racing for the next season, and so only now built a replacement rig and started racing the 52 again, with Heineken as our first event. After a few training days and getting all systems working, we had 4 fantastic days of racing. Days 1-3 were 15-20kts, and the final day was a light tricky day. Showing that she loves big breeze and off-wind sailing, we romped around the course on the first 3 days, winning all our races. Top speed I saw was on the around the island race when we were hitting sustained 20-25kts of boatspeed. Now that’s sailboat racing! The final day was like sailing through a minefield, avoiding the clouds and their no-wind zones. We did a really good job, but got nipped by a Kerr 43 by one minute to finish second for the day. So a great event, wining our class, and starting to see the potential of this great boat. Next events for the team are the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR, formerly the Rolex Cup) and then the BVI Spring Regatta.
I now take a quick diversion to San Diego to race in the 1,000 mile race to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on the Santa Cruz 70 HOLUA. One of my rare distance races, but sailing with the legend Dave Ullman, plus ace naviguesser Wouter Verbak, should make for a great experience.