Spookie Extends Her Lead In Charleston

Charleston, SC – On a day that started with an AP flag but finished in a perfect 11-knot seabreeze, and with three more races on the scorecard, yesterday’s winners in the HPR class have extended their lead at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s Carkeek HPR 40 Spookie once again won all three windward-leeward races today with the kind of error-free racing that comes from lots of practice and refined teamwork.


“This is the most fun we’ve had on the boat, it's a really great team,” said Heidi Benjamin, who is sharing strategic and tactical decisions with Rolex Award-winning Moth champion Bora Gulari. “We have been sailing together for quite some time now, and put a lot of practice and effort into learning and tuning the boat. The mood is great, everyone is positive and helps each other out, and everyone contributes.”

But in addition to the strong teamwork it was Heidi and Bora who found a lane of building pressure on the left side of the course in the second race that vaulted them ahead of even the largest and fastest boat in the class, Jim Grundy’s Carkeek 47 Grundoom, to take the elapsed as well as corrected time win. Similarly, in the last race of the day Grundoom found better pressure on the left side of the last beat to the finish of the five-leg course to save her time to earn third place, her best finish yet in the series.

Charleston Race Week

“Today our teamwork was 50% better than yesterday, and boatspeed 10-15% better,” said Grundy. “We are still learning to tune the rig for the conditions, and got half a knot faster on the upwind legs. In the last race this all started to come together, so we had a better result.”

On racing against the more experienced teams with a new boat and crew, Grundy said “This has been fantastic for us: we will learn more this weekend than in weeks of practice on our own. It’s been great having the other guys as a benchmark, they are at the top of their game."

This same sentiment was expressed by current series runner-up Stephen Murray, Jr on his HPR Carkeek 40 Decision: “Benj and the Spookie team are providing for all of us a top-level reference in performance, where when we make a mistake, we get punished for it. I think this is fantastic, its exactly what we were looking for in this class.”

Bill McKinley’s Denali^2 team has been racing in the Great Lakes in the last two seasons, and this is their first time up against their Carkeek HPR 40 sisterships. While coming to within 15 seconds of defeating Decision in the second race of the day, the Michigan-based team is also seeing value in being up against stronger teams.

Charleston Race Week

We came here a few days early to be tuning and practicing,” said McKinley. “We don’t see this at home, so it’s been great to have this level of racing.”
Two more races will be held tomorrow, the final day of the 2014 edition of Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, followed by final awards at the main venue at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.
For more information, results, videos, and photos from Meredith Block and Karen Ryan, visit www.charlestonraceweek.com.

For more information on HPR, visit www.hprsailing.org.

Spirit Walker Wins 2013 ORR Great Lakes Championship Series

Spirit Walker, owned by Vern McCain & Bob Hillier, Takes Top Honors in the Offshore Racing Rule 2013 Great Lakes Championship Series.

The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) todayannounced the winners of the 4th annual Great Lakes Championship Series.  Winners of this series received silver award places and custom applique brag flags.

  •          First place: Vern McCain & Bob Hillier, Muskegon, MI, with their boat Spirit Walker, a BSH41
  •          Second place: Chris Saxton,Detroit, MI,with Vortices, a J 145
  •          Third place: Bill Martin, Ann Arbor, MI, with Stripes, a Great Lakes 70  


First place winners McCain and Hillier were excited and proud to have won the 2013 ORR Great Lakes Championship Series. “Racing under the ORR rule is a very honest handicapping system and makes for great competition between boats of different designs,” said McCain. Hillier remarked that he and McCain are very proud of their crew and the entire Spirit Walker family for their hard work and dedication to their program. “We also want to express our thanks to the ORR Great Lakes Series organizers for developing this great series.”

According to ORR spokesperson Frank Kern, 2013 is the first year in which all current ORR certificate holders qualified.  “In 2012, we had 48 entries versus 93 for 2013,” stated Kern. “Again, the winners showed how diverse the rule is for a variety of yachts.  And once again, we believe that the skill of the skippers and crew is what brings these boats to the winners list.” Kern  expects an even larger fleet of competitors with the Chicago Race to Mackinac following the Bayview Mackinac Race. He predicts many of the competitors from the eastern Great Lakes will participate in both events.

Chris Saxton, second place winner, commented, “Thank you for the recognition.  We love sailing the Great Lakes and we love ORR for a rating system that allows a fair and impartial system for yachts of all sizes to compete.”  Bill Martin, third place winner, was pleasantly surprised to be part of the winners list.  “We are never able to sail the entire series; however, as a class, the ORR Rule has served us well,” Martin observed.  “While there are small differences in our boats, ORR has more than adequately adjusted to provide fair racing.”

This was the fourth consecutive offering of the ORR Great Lakes Championship Series and entries continue to rise each season. To qualify for the series, racers needed a valid 2013 ORR certificate and must have raced in two of the following races, with one of the two being a Mackinac Race:  Queen’s Cup, Bayview Mackinac Race, Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, Verve Cup (point to point race) or Bayview Long Distance. 

Offshore Racing Rule Announces 2013 West Coast Championship Winners

Top three winners announced for inaugural season of 2013 West Coast Championship Series. 

The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) today announced the winners of the inaugural 2013 ORR West Coast Championship Series.  The following winners received engraved silver award plates and custom appliqué brag flags. 

  • First place: Pyewacket, an Andrews 70 of California, owned by Roy P. Disney
  • Second place: Alchemy, an Andrews 68 of California, owned by Per Peterson
  • Third place: Grand Illusion, a SCZ70 of Hawaii, owned by Edward and James McDowell

 "Our congratulations to the Skippers and crews of the winners," said Dick Hampikian, spokesman for the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR).  The ORR's Inaugural 2013 West Coast Championship Series welcomed 19 eligible yachts competing in many events, including: The Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Islands Race, Balboa and Newport Harbor Yacht Clubs' Long Point Race Week, Newport Ocean Sailing Association's Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race, Newport Harbor Yacht Club's CABO RaceSanta Barbara to King Harbor Race, St. Francis Yacht Club’s Big Boat Series and Trans Pacific Yacht Club's Transpacific Yacht Race.

A big draw for these competitors was the opportunity to compete under the ORR Rule in a variety of races.  Mr. Roy P. Disney stated:  "We enjoyed racing Pyewacket last year under the ORR rule which is and has been the very best measurement rule for racing in this country. From the 2300 mile Transpac to the around the buoys in other races, there appears to be no fairer rule in place. Well done ORR."


The ORR equalizes competitive boats in competitive events, and as a result, race winners are those crews who work best together and use superior strategy and tactics.  The ORR West Coast Series Championship was based on the results of a minimum of 3 of the selected ORR races (see above) and was open to yachts holding a valid 2013 ORR certificate.  To qualify, each yacht had to compete in at least one distance race (NHYC Cabo Race, Newport to Ensenada Race and Transpacific Yacht Race). Yachts competing in more than the qualifying number of events saw their worst placing(s) discarded.  When races and regattas did not use ORR scoring, the ORR Committee used overlay scoring.

Dreamcatcher wins 2013 ORR East Coast Championship Series

Dreamcatcher, owned by Stephen Kylander, takes top honors in the Offshore Racing Rule 2013 East Coast Championship

Newport, Rhode Island – March 25, 2014 – The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) announced the winners of the 2013 ORR East Coast Championship Series. Winners of this season receive engraved silver award plates and custom appliqué brag flags.

· First place: Dreamcatcher, a Swan 48 S&S, owned by Stephen Kylander
· Second place: Cygnette, a Swan 441, owned by Bill Mayer
· Third place: Rambler, a Custom Maxi, owned by George David.

Dreamcatcher and Rambler placed in the top three in the 2012 inaugural East Coast Championship Series.
“Over the past decade, we have worked very hard getting the boat and our great ‘Dreamteam’ aligned with the wonderful sailing qualities of this classic Olin Stephen's designed offshore racer/cruiser,” said Kylander. “We are so pleased these efforts made us competitive and we look forward to the upcoming 2014 season and many more years of offshore racing with a great group of friends and family.”

John Winder, spokesman for the Offshore Racing Rule, stated, "The racing on the East Coast this year was extremely close and we had a number of repeat participants sailing in multiple events. The series allowed choices in a wide array of distance. Seeing two Swans finish in the first and second spots was really special."

Dreancatcher Wins 2013 ORR East Champtionship

This is the second year that ORR offered an East Coast Championship Series. The ORR East Coast Series Championship was based on the results of a minimum of 2 of the following races, with each yacht competing in at least one distance race in order to qualify. The races included: Block Island Race, Annapolis Newport Race, Marion Bermuda Race, NYYC Annual Regatta, Marblehead Halifax Ocean Race, and Stamford Vineyard Race. Yachts must hold a valid 2013 ORR certificate.

Change in 2014 ORR Rule Book

There has been a change in the 2014 ORR Rulebook that now requires a minimum ISP measurement.  The minimum ISP measurement will be used for the purposes of calculating the minimum rated spinnaker area. For more information, please see the updated 2014 ORR Rulebook.

Bjorn Johnson joins the Offshore Racing Rule as new Executive Director

July 23, 2013 - The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) recently announced the appointment of a new executive director, Bjorn Johnson of Newport, RI.  Johnson served as Chief Inspector for the Newport Bermuda Race in 2006 and 2008, and Race Chairman in 2010, and he was the Race Director for the Charleston to Bermuda Yacht Race.  Johnson is the Safety and Technical Chairman of the 2015 Trans-Atlantic Race.

“I’m excited to be part of growth in the ORR Rule and the sport of sailing.  The ORR is one of the best places for new racers to develop, because the rule fairly handicaps a diverse spectrum of boats and offers a great grassroots program for owners,” Johnson said.Bjorn Johnson

Johnson’s extensive background in management, strategic planning and partnership development, along with lifelong experience in the boating industry, were key factors in his selection, according to the ORR. Johnson has raced and cruised more than 80,000 nautical miles on boats ranging from dinghys to 100 footers.  His awareness of the needs of those who want to participate in the boating lifestyle and his work as a consultant for a variety of companies in the boating industry made him an ideal choice for this position.

“I grew up in a boating family that understood sailing as both a lifestyle and a business, and I’m proud to work with the ORR, because it’s especially important in managing and creating the fairest rating possible for the widest variety of boats,” stated Johnson. “Rating rules must be pro-active, anticipating new designs and innovations. We listen to our customers – owners, sailors, and crew – and provide them with services they need like education on the rule and its implementation, and why this rule works so well for so many.”

Johnson is a member or former member of a number of yacht clubs, several of which he held officer positions, including:  New York Yacht Club, Cruising Club of America, Midget Ocean Racing Club Station 5, Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and North American Station of the Royal Scandinavian Yacht Clubs.  He is also a member of the US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee, CCA Safety at Sea Committee and Offshore Committee of the Bermuda 1-2.

Attention Newport Bermuda Racers

 This year the New York Yacht Club is introducing a new division in its Annual Regatta (June 13, 14, and 15) for crews who want to do some relatively relaxed racing under ORR while tuning up for the Newport Bermuda Race. Called the Navigators Division, this new division will race around government marks. There will be one race per day, each scored separately (with a party each night). Come race on one day or all three. It’s a good way to warm up your crew the weekend before the Bermuda Race start.

There will also be a Navigators Division race under ORR in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta in Bermuda on June 27. With the Newport Bermuda Race, the Navigators Division races in Newport and Bermuda make up the new Onion Patch Navigators Race Series.

Meanwhile, there will be the usual racing under IRC on windward-leeward courses at the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. With the Newport Bermuda Race, these races make up the traditional Onion Patch Series, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Navigators Division Schedule

Friday, June 13: Around-the-Island Race (Conanicut or Jamestown Island)
Saturday-Sunday, June 14-15: day races that qualify for the Onion Patch Navigators Race Series (one race per day) under ORR.
Friday, June 20: Newport Bermuda Race start, first gun 1250.
Friday, June 27: day race in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta that qualifies for the Onion Patch Navigators Race Series under ORR.


To register for the NYYC 160th Annual Regatta: http://nyyc.org/yachting/racing/160th-annual-regatta

To learn more about the Onion Patch series: http://www.onionpatchseries.com