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Four Bradenton sailboats compete in race to Isla Mujeres


The race known as the Regata del Sol al Sol started Friday morning from St. Petersburg to the tiny island off Cancun, Mexico, called Isla Mujeres. Thirty-one sailboats are competing in this 41st race sponsored by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, testing the sailors' skill as they complete their 500-mile journey.

The boats from Bradenton are members of the Bradenton Yacht Club. Chris Cantolino, Thomas Rose, Blaise Pierson and Dr. Richard Peterson were past the halfway point with about 150 miles to the finish line as of Sunday morning. Tom Rose is sailing a Mason 53 called Seraphin, which was leading the other Bradenton boats.

The last 60 miles of the race are the most challenging, as the currents flow north at speeds of over 4 knots. Since these currents are against the direction the boats must sail, it reduces their speeds to sometimes as little as a knot. If the winds stop, the current can drift the boats away from their destination at the speed of the current.

At this time the winds of 15-20 knots out of the southeast are favorable, and should continue. The first boat to finish off Isla Mujeres may be Enigma. Enigma is a Macgregor 72 skippered by Robert Parker out of Key West, and is a rocketship that can exceed speeds of 12 knots.

All of the boats all have a GPS transponders which send their position to the internet and can be tracked on the Iboats Web site. This is a mandatory requirement and allows continuous updates of the sailboats' positions.


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