By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The Smyrna Yacht Club battled it out with the Halifax River Yacht Club at the Lipton Cup Yacht Regatta April 13-14 along with several crews competing on an individual level.
"For the first time ever, a visiting club took away the traveling trophy, Halifax River Yacht Club," said Warren Mann, SYC member. "I suspect this will instill a new level of competition for next year as the Smyrna Yacht Club seeks to regain the trophy."
The Corinthian style regatta consisted of two races on Saturday and one on Sunday. There was a team entry category as well as three different classes consisting of Division I -- Spinnaker Class Racing Boats, Division II -- Non-Spinnaker Class Racing Boats and Division III -- Cruising Class Boats.
The sailboats are given handicaps based on their particular hull configuration, which includes type of sail, length of the boat and several other factors in an effort to equalize them and promote a fair race. This can mean that even if a boat is the first to cross the finish line, it may not actually be the winner once the handicaps are figured into the equation.
The annual race is sponsored by the Smyrna Yacht Club, with support from The Rotary Club of New Smyrna Beach, Collado Real Estate, Regions Bank, Ocean Properties, Buddy Davenport State Farm Insurance Co., WSBB 1230 AM radio, Edgewater Power Boats, Toni & Joe's Patio, Blackbeard's Restaurant, North Causeway Marine, Pusser's Rum, New Way Electronics, Barracuda's Restaurants, Brown & Brown Insurance, Hampton Inn New Smyrna Beach and Wild Side T-Shirts.
HRYC entered three boats on their team. The first was Obsession, a Morgan 41, captained by Norman Church and was the Division I winner. Spongecake, a Benatueu Oceanis 44-foot captained by Clyde Rogers, took the win in Division III and Password, a Morgan 38 captained by Dave Huff was third in Division II, clinching the team competition win for Halifax River Yacht Club. Dreamy Daze, a 38-foot Catalina 380 skippered by Mike Stambersky was the other boat in Halifax's four-boat team.
The only other entry in the team competition was from the Smyrna Yacht Club. Their team totaled eight boats. Sailaway, a 31-foot Pearson captained by Phil Cornett took first in Division III. Team entry Incommunicado, a Hunter 28.5 captained by Dave Smith, took second in Division II and Sassy, a 29.11-foot S-2 9.2A captained by Jeff Steblien, came in second in Division III.
Both teams scored a five overall, but in a tie breaker, two first places and one third place win over one first place and two second places made it a very close team competition.
"Congratulations to all competitors for surviving the weekend and especially to the division winners who will have their names engraved on the trophy base," said John Jacobs, Lipton Cup Regatta chairman, at the award ceremony on Sunday. "My thanks to everyone who sailed, all of our sponsors, and all who worked to make the regatta a fun weekend."
Director of Sailing David Smith said, "The Lipton Cup is Smyrna Yacht Club's season opening premier event of the year. The history dates back to 1899 but the enthusiasm and organization since 2004 has been generated by John Jacobs and his team." At the "Skybox" party at Randy McHenry's rooftop deck at Atlantic Villas on North Atlantic Avenue, David Westerheide was on hand to explain the racecourse to VIP members.
The triangular course consisted of one trip around the three markers, Leeward, Windward and Jibe, and then a second lap around the Windward mark and back to the Leeward marker. The high winds on Saturday delayed the start of the first race as the course had to be adjusted according to wind direction but increased the excitement. Most of the Division I boats did not unfurl their spinnakers and those few that did had difficulty dumping the spinnaker due to the winds.
The regatta was started by an avid yacht-racing enthusiast Sir Thomas Lipton of Lipton Tea back in 1932 with the first International Regatta sponsored by the SYC. Sir Thomas was famous for his many America's Cup Challenges and donated a sterling cup to perpetuate the sport of yacht racing in Florida in 1922. Thousands of people came in those days to watch the races from Europe and all around the world. In 1941 at the start of World War II the cup was placed in a bank vault for safety and forgotten until 1982 when Smyrna Yacht Club adopted the cup to preserve and rekindle the tradition.
The central Florida cup, one of several Sir Thomas had made and donated to various groups around the world to promote the sport, is on display at the Smyrna Yacht Club. The Lipton Cup Regatta today attracts sailors from central Florida and is open to yachts in the 20-foot to 40-foot or more size range. The race is open to a variety of boat sizes and types and welcomes the public.
The SYC wants to get the word out that this regatta is for serious competitors but not exclusive to the elite, said Mary Jane Kolassa, SYC's media coordinator. "Competitors don't have to be members of the club and the admission fee to the race is only $50."
The club is sponsoring three more races this year, including the Solstice Regatta on June 22 and Boatoberfest, a three weekend Intracoastal sailing funfest starting Oct. 12, Ms. Kolassa said. "We want people to come and have fun while enjoying some friendly competition."
Racing season is from January to May for the SYC. The club organizes sail training for local youth through the New Smyrna Beach Parks and Recreation Department. "This is your opportunity to enjoy all that New Smyrna Beach and the Smyrna Yacht Club have to offer," Mr. Smith said.
Other entries and their captains in the regatta were in Division I: Epic, David Nesbitt; Misty, John Jacobs; and Morning Dew, Chris Herbster. In Division II was Adios, Hamilton Sirls; Ariel, Al Norman; and Perpetual Motion, Patrick Fisher-Carne. In Division III was Aardvark, Richard Sturge; Drag N Fly, Rob Barker; El Viente Cay, Rick Shipp; First Again, Randy Pritchard; Louise, John Bill; Windfall, Mike Woods; Ya-Ya, Nick Opreanu; and Strange Bird, Dan Mielke.