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Bermudian sailor Paula Lewin celebrates wins International Match Racing Championship


Paula got more good news -- she is now a Category A sailor as per the Bermuda Olympic Committee and will receive financial assistance for her Athens 2004 Yngling campaign. She recently qualified Bermuda for one of just 15 spaces in that class' Olympic regatta.

In three fleet races, Sonesta Beach Resort proved themselves the best prepared of the Bermuda Gold Cup sponsors to win the day's 2002 Pro-Am Regatta. The traditional annual event--which invites sponsor representatives to crew with the sailing stars gathered here for the Bermuda Gold Cup-- took place on Hamilton Harbour in front of the hosting Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC). Professional match racing skipper Jesper Radich of Denmark guided the Sonesta Beach Resort Team to a victory in race one and second-place finishes in races two and three.

"The crew did all the boathandling; I just steered," said Radich, who, like the other participating Pro-Am skippers, has progressed through a series of qualifiers to make it to tomorrow's Bermuda Gold Cup quarterfinals. "It was a lot of fun."

The races were run in 12-14 knot breezes that were perhaps the most challenging here so far. Gusts of 15-16 knots tested both teamwork and stamina.

"There was a lot of rocking and rolling out there," said RBYC Commodore Les Crane. "That makes it difficult, especially when you're a skipper with guests instead of a regular crew."

For a second-place overall, the Bermuda Department of Tourism (BDOT) turned in finish positions of 2-1-4 with Poland's Karol Jablonski at the helm.

"I have a great appreciation for what these sailors do now," said crew Deanne Wade, the BDOT's Assistant Director who sees the Bermuda Gold Cup as an important one in Bermuda's mix of offerings that generate worldwide media attention. The BDOT has been a sponsor of the 54-year-old Bermuda Gold Cup since 1989 and Wade believes participating in the event first-hand gives her product development team the ability to "talk up the event."

Friday's Bermuda Gold Cup Quarter-Final Round will feature eight teams, including top Bermudian sailors Paula Lewin and Peter Bromby, who will match race down to just one champion on Sunday. Lewin's brother, Andreas Lewin, joined in the Pro-Am fun as part of the Sonesta team. About his sister's progress so far, he says, "I'm very excited. Our family is very excited. I think all of Bermuda is very excited!"

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