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Saturday, December 3, 2022


July 21, 2002 – Reading the wind shifts correctly and avoiding dead air holes on a race course around St. Thomas gave Sam Laing and the crew aboard his Beneteau 10M Uncle Sam the victory in Sunday's St. Thomas Yacht Club-hosted Lady Tristram Regatta.
"Getting through the fluky conditions was more important than just sheer tactics," Laing said. "There were wind shifts and holes where the trick was just to get to the next wind line. We were lucky to be able to fly the spinnaker down the entire length of the south side, and that gave us good boat speed." But, he continued, "coming up to the little islands around Pillsbury Sound, it was more challenging because of the shifty winds. We had to constantly trim the sails, and even adjusting crew weight on the boat made a difference."
It was the fifth Lady Tristram win for Laing, who has raced in the St. Thomas circumnavigation regatta off and on for more than two decades.
The regatta is named for an early STYC member, John Brindley, who regularly raced his 46-foot Rhodes yawl, the Lady Tristram, in club events. The regatta really honors the monohull with the fastest elapsed time circumnavigating St. Thomas.
Brindley crossed the finish line first in several yacht club events but never won a race with times corrected for handicap. He felt so strongly that what really counted was who finished first that he donated a perpetual trophy for doing just that and named it after his boat.
Uncle Sam was the first monohull over the line.
The the race committee figured handicaps, too, and on corrected time, John Schulthesis's Cold Beer III from the British Virgin Islands finished first, Uncle Sam was second, the BVI's Eddie Brockbank on Fastidiots was third, and STYC's John Haracivet on Tempest was fourth in the spinnaker racing fleet.
In the non-spinnaker fleet, St. Thomas's Warren Stryker on Fifties Girl was first, Marcus Compton's ATN was second, Wind Glory was third, Northern Lights was fourth and Osprey was fifth.
The yacht club's IC-24 class also competed in a shortened course that criss-crossed Pillsbury Sound from Great St. James island over to Lovongo Cay. The winner was Morgan Avery, whose boatbuilding ingenuity created the hybrid IC-24 design.
Verian Aguilar, who sailed with Jeff Miles aboard the second-place boat, said, "We were ahead most of the race except for the last, when Morgan overtook us past Current Cut. The racing was all so close." Chris Thompson was third; Bill Newbold, fourth; Bill Canfield, fifth; Skip King, sixth; Ruth Miller, seventh and Frank Barnes, eighth.

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