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L’Esperance wins Best Boat at Captain Oliver’s Regatta

sailOYSTER POND—Bobby Velasquez’s L’Esperance rounded off the season on a high this Sunday by winning Cruising Class and an inscription on the perpetual Captain Oliver’s Memorial Trophy for Best Boat of the Regatta, the second time the Beneteau 45 crew has earned the accolade in Oyster Pond since 2011.
  The crew in their distinctive orange shirts—some are of a certain age but work instinctively well with each other--show no signs of easing up and were faultless in both races on Saturday and Sunday.
  Bobby had multiple reasons to be cheerful having won just about every regatta he has entered this year...St. Barths, Anguilla, and Most Worthy Performance at the Heineken are on his list of triumphs.
  “We’ve had a very good year, L’Esperance and the crew are finely tuned now,” he agreed, adding that he enjoys racing more and more. “She’s a great, well maintained boat. Over the years we’ve learnt how to get the best out of her.”
  Second and third places in Cruising Class overall went to the St. Barths boats Maelia and Speedy Nemo respectively after the two boats tied on points in the last race.
  The Kidz at Sea group on Sail La Vie skippered by Garth Steyn finished fifth overall, with a fourth place on Saturday and a fifth on Sunday.
  The 11th edition presented by Coors Light kept to a similar format as previous years with the anti-clockwise around-the-island race, this time including a rounding of Blowing Rock. Sustained S.E. winds of 16-18 knots kept crews on their toes on both days.
  In Racing Class Ian Hope-Ross’s Kick em Jenny took line honours on Saturday with a 20-minute advantage but was just short of time in hand to beat the Melges 24 Budget Marine on corrected time, but fast enough to beat third placed Island Water World Melges.
  Sunday’s course gave the classes a reaching start, taking the racing boats out on a long course to Proselyte and Table Rock while cruising boats went out to Pelican and Table Rock and back.
  As usual the rivalry between the two Melges 24s was ramped up again, this time with Hope Ross’s Melges 32 in the mix.
  “Coming back we had a very fast reach with spinnaker, broaching two or three times, at the limit of control and reaching almost 18 knots of speed,” reported Budget Marine’s skipper Andrea Scarabelli. “We extended our lead over Island Water World and maintained the same timing against Kick em Jenny, so we were able to win on handicap.”
  Island Water World finished second overall with Kick ‘em Jenny in third and Wild Devil fourth.
  “We couldn’t hoist as quickly or point as high with the spinnaker as the 24s can so we suffered on the downwind legs” rued Ian Hope-Ross.
  Race Officer Paul Miller indicated there were no protests and no breakages as far as he knew.
  “It went very well.  I call it an end-of-term regatta that remains a firm favourite with the local boats,” he said. “We were lucky to have as much wind as we did this late in the year. Everybody enjoyed it.”
  Technical Director Stuart Knaggs and Mary Wrigley resumed their usual roles as organisers.
  “We are always open to change,” Stuart noted about the courses. “If there’s demand we can make changes. We don’t have to have the around the island race on the Saturday for example but the sailors like it. If they want something different we can adapt.”
 
 

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