Welcome to the Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race: ____________________________________________
Race Starts February 6th, 2015
February 17, 2015 Shockwave Claims Victory Testing conditions prevailed for the 32nd edition of the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, a biennial 811 nautical mile jaunt from Port Everglades, Florida, to Montego Bay, Jamaica. With speeds that were furiously fast at the start but frustratingly slow at the end, George Sakellaris’s (Framingham, Mass.) defending 72-foot Shockwave took line honors plus overall victory. (Plans for an IRC division were, by consensus, scratched before the start, and the 12-boat fleet sailed under PHRF handicap for the purpose of overall scoring.)
Team Shockwave was the big winner at the 2015 Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race. (Credit Andrea Visintini)
Organizers called the Friday (February 6) start a “raucous affair,” with one competitor over the line early, two others pushing port/starboard boundaries, and every boat carrying shortened sail on the first leg that would take them to the Bahamas. A tough slog across the Gulfstream got everyone into race mode right off the bat, especially Shockwave, which looked on course to break the record set in 2005 by Titan 12 but in the end fell 40 minutes short of it, finishing just after midnight on Monday with an elapsed time of 2:11:05:03. (In 2013, the team fell 58 minutes short of the record.)
“They were well ahead of the record early in the race,” said Race Coordinator Evelyn Harrington, “but that’s the thing with this race…it’s typically fast all the way to the North Coast, and if you come inshore at night, you can lose your breeze. Shockwave’s last expected two hours of racing turned into four as the wind died.”
Shockwave is the first “MoBay” boat to arrive in Montego Bay. (Credit Nigel Lord)
Shockwave’s Reggie Cole said his team was ahead of its 2013 pace by six hours at Eleuthera and five hours ahead at Cuba. With just 20 miles to go, the team was still one hour ahead. “We were going 10 ½ knots, reaching with the spinnaker up, when a cloud line appeared and killed the wind,” he said. “We took a header and had to beat the last way to the finish.” Cole added that wind speeds reached up to 25 knots at times with boat speeds reaching 15-16 and his team did an “excellent job at pushing the boat.”
Also dialed in to win was MacKenzie Davis/Brian Harris’s (Mill Valley, Calif.) Class 40 AMHAS, which claimed the one-design Class 40 class of four boats with an elapsed time of 4:05:56:40 and impressively finished second in fleet based on corrected time. The team finished just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday night just in time for the Early Bird Party at Montego Bay Yacht Club.
Oakcliff Racing/Bodacious Dream finished about four and a half hours later and were proud to be the first double-handed boat to finish. Canadian Liz Shaw, co-skipper with New Jersey’s Jeffrey MacFarland, described the race as a “challenging experience through 10 latitudes, eight of which were sailed on the same port tack, in heavy air and seas.” She added that it was an experience the left side of her body would never forget.
Undoubtedly the most anticipated arrival was that of the J/120 MISS JAMAICA; its mostly local crew included Montego Bay Yacht Club Commodore Nigel Knowles and his 16-year-old daughter Zoe Knowles, who is Youth Commodore for the club. On Thursday, just after 1:00 pm, the hometown team, a.k.a. Team Easy Skanking, crossed the finish line to close out the finishers and join the jubilant celebrations with family, friends and local hosts at Montego Bay Yacht Club.
Two boats retired: the J/120 Tampa Girl, which suffered steering failure 30 miles into the race and the double-handed Class 40 First Light, which made it as far as Cape Maisi and chose to discontinue racing.
(left) Brian Harris of Amhas accepts Class 40 first-place prizes from Montego Bay Yacht Club Commodore Nigel Knowles. (right) Representatives from the “MoBay” fleet pose with their participation gifts (with race Coordinator, Evelyn Harrington, fourth from left).
(Photo Credit Nigel Lord)
The Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race is endorsed by the Jamaican Tourist Board and managed by the SORC. JetBlue is the Official Airline of the race and sponsors include the Montego Bay Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club, and Lauderdale Yacht Club along with Appleton Estate Rum, SelectBrands, Doctors Cave Bathing Club, Budget Rental Car and Café Blue.
February 12, 2015 Elapsed time 6 days The Home Town Miss Jamaica crossed the finish line just after 1 p.m., to close out the finishers in the 32nd Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race. First Light has officially withdrawn. Arrival photos and a full race recap will be posted shortly. Congratulations to Team Easy Skanking and all competitors who completed the course and arrived to the warmest welcome in racing. A job well done by all. Enjoy Montego Bay!
Elapsed Time: 5 days, 18 hours Miss Maris finished the 2015 Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Senara finished just before 1 a.m. and Hot Ticket finished just before 4 a.m. on Thursday, to start their celebrations and set the stage for undoubtedly the most anticipated arrival in Montego Bay, that of local favorites Miss Jamaica. First Light should finish today as well, to round out the arrivals. It looks like Class 40 winner Amhas will also win the predicted arrival contest, finishing within an hour of their predicted time.
February 11, 2015 Elapsed Time: 4 days, 19 hours The four remaining competitors in the 2015 Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race are making their way down the final leg from the Windward Passage to Montego Bay, mostly staying close to the rhumb line, with Hot Ticket being the exception to that rule, well to the southeast, closest to Jamaica, but headed about halfway between Ocho Rios and Port Antonio. Miss Maris leads the way down the center, followed by Senara a bit to the left of rhumb, and Miss Jamaica a bit to the right of rhumb, and about half-way down the final leg.
Amhas 2 finished at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, in time to catch a good bit of the Early Bird Party at Montego Bay Yacht Club. Oakcliff Racing/Bodacious Dream finished about four and a half hours later, followed by Renegade at 1:30 Wednesday morning. Vortices and Dragon finished in that order, around 3 a.m. Dragon confirms that a warm welcome by their host family and cool-running Red Stripe happen, even at 3 a.m.
Watch for updates later today, as the rest of the fleet arrives in Montego Bay.
February 10, 2015 Elapsed time: 4 days, 9 hours Amhas 2 finished the Pineapple Cup Race, arriving in Montego Bay just after 7 p.m. tonight, just in time for the Early Bird Party at Montego Bay Yacht Club and a case of well-deserved cold Red Stripe for the winner of the Class 40 class. Amhas finished within an hour of their estimated arrival time, a level of accuracy that will be tough to beat.
Next up should be either Oakcliff Racing or Renegade (a few miles behind as of their afternoon ping on the tracker), in the wee hours of the morning, followed by Vortices and Dragon, near dawn on Wednesday. Miss Maris is sticking pretty close to the rhumb line, and is approaching the midway point between the Windward Passage and Montego Bay. Hot Ticket and Senara have worked well to the southeast of rhumb, but are working back to the center, as is Miss Jamaica, a bit farther back. First Light made it around Cape Maisi, but retired shortly after, and are heading to Cuba. There is no word of any problem on board, but they are sailing doublehanded; perhaps they are tired, or perhaps they did not want to wait until next January to race to Cuba, time will tell. (Photo courtesy of Nigel Lord)
Predicted Log Most of the competing boats gave us their predicted finish times at the skipper's meeting. Which boat will finish closest to their anticipated time?
February 9, 2015 Elapsed Time: 2 days, 19 hours
Photo courtesy of Nigel Lord
Shockwave finished just after ten minutes past midnight, leaving her about 40 minutes off of record pace. Her frenzied pace throughout the race was not enough to overcome the light winds that settled over Montego Bay yesterday. Light wind is beginning to be a factor for the rest of the fleet, with Class 40 leader Amhas, the second boat through the Windward Passage, feeling the effects, and Oakcliff Racing heading off to the west to look for a passing lane, parallel to the Cuban coast. Renegade looks to be the next boat to the Windward Passage, with Dragon and Vortices close behind. Miss Maris, Hot Ticket and Senara and Miss Jamaica are nearing Great Inagua, with First Light working the coast of Long Island.
February 8, 2015 Elapsed Time: 2 days, 7 hours Shockwave is closing in on the finish line of the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, fighting light winds as they seek to break Titan 12's race record. The rest of the fleet is closing in on the Windward Passage, with Amhas leading the way, as Oakcliff Racing not far behind. While the tracker does not show it, Renegade is not far off of that pace, along with Dragon and Vortices, all looking to converge with the leaders when they reach the light winds that they will face up ahead. Hot Ticket and Senara are at the southern end of Long Island, chasing Miss Maris, with Montego Bay favorite Miss Jamaica not far behind, and First Light rounding out the fleet as it skirts the east coast of Cat Island. Stay tuned for a finish report when Shockwave finishes.
Elapsed time 1:19:00 Shockwave stormed through the Windward Passage in the wee hours of the morning today, and took aim at Montego Bay and the finish of the 32nd Biennial Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race. The crew is making a strong push to cover the final 150 miles or so in the roughly fifteen hours remaining in which to break the record set in 2005 by Titan 12, currently showing almost 16 knots of boatspeed on the tracker. Time will tell if they can do it, but after falling 58 minutes short of the record in the last race, George Sakellaris’ crew would likely be the first ones to caution against counting domestic fowl before they fully incubate.
The rest of the fleet is making good progress as well. Double-handed Class 40 Oakcliff Racing is making a strong push against the fully-crewed Amhas, who currently leads the Class 40s as they head down the shore of Long Island with Dragon close behind. Dragon reports that shifty breeze kept the double-handed crew busy with trimming throughout a long night along the eastern side of Cat Island. A bit farther back, the two boats with father/daughter combinations aboard are now covering that same ground along Cat Island, with Arielle and Eammon deLisser on the Farr 395 Senara leading Zoe (age 16) and Nigel Knowles on the J-120 Miss Jamaica. The action in the Take-Your-Kids-Ocean-Racing-Class (or is it the Take-Your-Parents-Ocean-Racing-Class?) promises to be good all the way to the finish.
Watch this page and the SORC Sailing Facebook page for updates as the day wears on.
February 7, 2015 Elapsed time: 18 hours
The first morning finds the majority of the fleet either just past or just approaching Great Stirrup, with Class 40 leader Amhas about half way from Great Stirrup to Hole in the Wall. Shockwave scorched this part of the course, and is most of the way past Eleuthera, taking aim at Cat Island and perhaps Titan 12's 2005 record. The race’s second day will decide much of how that tale is told. Tampa Girl is safe in Ft. Lauderdale, after suffering a steering failure 30 miles into the race.
February 5, 2015 “Fasten Your Seatbelts, It’s Going to be a Bumpy Ride.” Bette Davis’ quote from “All About Eve” provides an apt warning for the competitors in the 2015 Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club, Montego Bay Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club. Friday’s start off of Ft. Lauderdale was a raucous affair, with one competitor over the line early, two others pushing port/starboard boundaries, and every boat carrying shortened sail for the first leg of the 811 mile trek through the Bahamas to the place with the chilled RedStripe case, Montego Bay. A tough slog across the Gulfstream will get everyone into race mode right off the bat.
February 4, 2015 Class 40s and Others “In for a Blast” MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA (January 27, 2015) – Set to begin Friday, February 6, the 32nd edition of the venerable Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race will start in Port Everglades, Florida, and send its 12-boat fleet on a challenging 811 nautical mile course to Montego Bay, Jamaica. George Sakellaris’s (Framingham, Mass.) 72-foot Shockwave will be the largest boat competing, so it should be interesting to compare her results with those turned in by the balance of a fleet comprised primarily of 40 footers.
Quite convincingly at the 2013 “MoBay,” Shockwave won both overall honors and her IRC division after finishing just 58 minutes short of the elapsed time record (two days, 10 hours and 24 minutes, set in 2005 by Titan 12). It is anyone’s guess, however, as to what this year’s conditions will bring and whether they will favor new talents or veteran teams.
“You can expect every point of sail during the race,” said Principal Race Officer Chris Woolsey, “and I always advise teams to save their spinnakers for the last legs, since in some conditions this race can be a war of attrition.”
That was the case in 2013, when Michael Hennessey’s Class 40 Dragon had the misfortune of losing both of its “kites” off the coast of Cuba, forcing it to limp the last 300 miles to the downwind finish. Hennessey has entered again with the same boat, which he said “loves the typical reaching and running conditions of the MoBay race.” Using boxing terms, he embellished: “We tend to be able to punch above our weight in those conditions.”
Hennessey, like three others of the five Class 40s competing, will sail double-handed this year rather than with a full five-person crew like he had last time. His team will be scored against the other Class 40s as one-design and additionally under a PHRF handicap to determine the overall outcome in that division, which will be racing for the Silver Seahorse Perpetual Trophy. There is also a division for IRC, which will be racing for the Pineapple Cup Trophy. (The Silver Rose Bowl Perpetual Trophy is presented to the first monohull boat to finish.)
“If I think about all the great distance races out there, whether it’s Newport to Bermuda, Rolex Fastnet or Middle Sea, they all have something that makes them unique and interesting,” said Hennessey. “In this case, it’s special to be racing in warm conditions in the middle of February, with beautiful long stretches of reaching and running where you can let the boat cut loose. Then you arrive, and the Montego Bay Yacht Club provides the best hospitality – with great warmth and friendliness – of any race I’ve ever participated in.”
In 2013, Elizabeth Shaw (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) was participating in a development program at Oakcliff Sailing in Oyster Bay, N.Y. Now, two years later, she is worthy of competing in the MoBay race with accomplished shorthanded New Jersey sailor Jeffrey MacFarland (also an Oakcliff graduate) aboard the Class 40 Oakcliff Racing Bodacious Dream.
“I am acutely aware of what an opportunity this is for me; You don’t get to just jump into a role like this,” said the 30-year-old Shaw, adding that Oakcliff only recently acquired the Class 40 as part of its fleet and made it possible for the duo to enter. As for sailing with only one other over such a long period of time (an estimated three to four days), she added: One of the most interesting things about shorthanded sailing is learning when to take your rest, how to take care of each other, getting into a groove that’s working, and making sure there’s enough energy in the tank for emergencies and good decision making. It’s always a physical and mental challenge.”
With entries hailing from as far away as Michigan and California, none will be more supported by well-wishers than the one representing Jamaica itself. Sailing in IRC division, the J/120 Miss Jamaica will have aboard it Montego Bay Yacht Club Commodore Nigel Knowles and his 16-year-old daughter Zoe Knowles, who is Youth Commodore for the club. “It felt only right to have our own team compete in a race that we run (in partnership with Storm Trysail Club and Lauderdale Yacht Club),” said the elder Knowles, “and the breaking news now is that we have the youngest-ever participant aboard as well.”
Knowles said his team will arrive in Fort Lauderdale February third for two days of training before the start. “It will be a fairly steep learning curve; we’ve mostly never sailed together as a group but one of us (Jim Wilson) has sailed on an identical boat, and we are all very active in a smaller version of the boat, the J/22, which we sail every two weeks at Montego Bay and Kingston.”
Knowles looks forward to going head-to-head with one other J/120 signed up (Tampa Girl); however, that boat is signed up to be scored under PHRF while Miss Jamaica is sailing IRC. The J/120s are 40 feet long.
“The Pineapple Cup-Montego Bay Race has a special place in the hearts of sailors,” said Race Coordinator Evelyn Harrington, ”both for the unique challenges of its course and for the warm Jamaican hospitality waiting at the finish.” Harrington explained that every boat has a local host – “somebody to be a familiar face in a strange place” – and sailors are treated to a week of fun that includes parties and events with a local flare and a final dinner, dance and prize giving ceremony on Friday, February 13. “And now that we are part of something bigger – the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series – we have a great chance to showcase our race on the world stage.”
The Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race is endorsed by the Jamaican Tourist Board and managed by the SORC. JetBlue is the Official Airline of the race and sponsors include the Montego Bay Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club, and Lauderdale Yacht Club along with Appleton Estate Rum and SelectBrands. Immediately after the start, racers cross the Gulf Stream for the Northwest Providence Channel. The middle of the race offers a fetch down the eastern side of the Bahamas Island Chain toward the tip of Cuba. The final stretch is typically a sailor’s dream: a 240-mile downwind sleigh ride from Cuba’s eastern tip, known as the Windward Passage, to the finish at Montego Bay.
For more information or to follow the race, visit this website, or contact Pineapple Cup Race Coordinator Evelyn Harrington at 876-979-8469.