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Local Sailing Firsts Mark Thanksgiving Regatta

Nov. 25, 2006 — For the first time ever, John Costanzo's Cowhorn 30, Callabreeze, beat out Les Anderson's 34-foot schooner, Penelope, at the 25th annual Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta.
"He looked good out there with everything flying," master of ceremonies Dave Dostall said Saturday at the awards ceremony, held at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay, St. John. Both captains hail from St. John.
Costanzo said he passed Penelope on the downwind leg.
"I never did that before," he said.
On Friday, the boats sailed in the class for gaff-rigged boats under 35 feet. Saturday had them in the traditional class for boats less than 40 feet. The two-day event ran in the waters off Coral Bay. It does not have an overall winner, but rather gives awards by class. A total of 41 boats participated.
Winds were lighter than expected and blew at about eight to 12 knots, said race director Dick Burks. There were no collisions, he said, but one boat was disqualified because the skipper had to turn on the engine to avoid running into Leduck Island.
The regatta grew from the construction of six Cowhorns on the beach at Coral Bay more than 25 years ago. The skippers of those boats formed the nucleus of the Coral Bay Yacht Club. Paul Hellings, the first commodore, built the boat Costanzo now owns, and sailed with him in this event.
"Back then we weren't into working," he said, laughing. "We were into sailing."
Several other early Coral Bay boaters joined Hellings — who now lives in St. Augustine, Fla. — for the event.
Seven gaff-rigged boats raced on Friday and eight on Saturday, a turnout that pleased Anderson.
"This was one of the finest days I ever experienced," he said.
Liberty, an Alden 52, sailed to first place both days, with St. John resident Thatcher Lord at the helm. The boat belongs to Robin Clair of St. John, whose husband, Fletcher Pitts, skippered the boat to top finishes for many years. Pitts died in 2004.
"It was very strange because an old friend wasn't there," Lord said.
A long-absent relative joined another sailor. St. John resident Andrew Cameron took first place in the single-handed under-30-foot class on Friday and second Saturday in the Cruising 1 class on his 27-foot boat, African Queen. Cameron's brother made his first visit in 20 years to sail with him.
"It was fantastic," Cameron said.
While most of the sailors hailed from St. John, the event also saw a few visitors. Mary Ellen Silverman and her family sailed their 50-foot Jenneau, Mary Ellen, around the Virgin Islands from their home port of Dover, Mass. Their boat took first in the Cruising III class.
"My kids had a great time," Silverman said.
Two boats from Tortola also sailed over for the event. Marty Halpern on Ruffian and Mike Kirk on Oulala, which won its Cruising II class, both said they came to support the Coral Bay Yacht Club.
"Because they support us," Halpern said.
The event also saw a fleet of Lasers, 420s and Optimists sail around Coral Bay. St. John resident Jen Robinson, who organized the small-boat portion of the event, said it was important to include younger sailors, who sailed on the Optimists, because the money raised at the event goes to fund the St. John Kids and the Sea (KATS) program. Pitts and Clair founded KATS in 1988.
Here's a list of the winners. The Coral Bay Yacht Club could not supply a list of names, home ports and boat descriptions.
Friday
Gaffers 35 feet and under
1. Callabreeze 4:27:28
2. Penelope 4:29:10
3. Buxom II 5:08:18
Gaffers over 35 feet
1. Liberty 3:34:35
2. Breath 4:32:35
Single-handed 30 feet and under
1. African Queen 3:18:15
2. Sil 3:27:45
3. Zephyr 3:41:37
Single-handed over 30 feet to under 40 feet
1. Windshift 2:54:58
2. Odege 3:02:22
3. Jezephyr 3:32:28
Single-handed 40 feet and over
1. Rainbow Maker 2:41:45
2. Levana 3:36:44
3. Chancy 4:04:52
Optimists
1. Addison Hackstaff
2. Jozsi Nemeth
3. Abel Phillips
Lasers
1. Vicki Rogers
2. Merryn MacDonald
3. Brent Lynn
420s
1. Ian Beam and Hugo Roller
2. Mimi Roller and Sarah Burks
Saturday
Traditional less than 40 feet
1. Callabreeze 4:16:58
2. Penelope 4:23:20
3. Buxom II 5:22:15
Traditional over 40 feet
1. Liberty 3:25:37
2. Breath 4:27:36
3. Luludu 5:33:30
Cruising I
1. KATS 3:15:01
2. African Queen 3:25:04
3. Sil 3:29:21
Cruising II
1. Oulala 3:15:03
2. Ruffian 3:19:12
3. Living on Cloud Nine 3:34:58
Cruising III
1. Mary Ellen 2:45:33
2. Simone's Voyage 2:55:12
3. Luna 2:59:43
PHRF
1. Windshift 2:23:50
2. Zing 2:30:47
3. Reality Switch 2:34:56
Elliot Class
1. Silver Cloud 3:02:00
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