Dobbs Davis reports from the final day of racing at Key West
The real story here today was not who needed to beat who on the final day of racing, but who needed to leave the dock in the sub-zero wind chill and brave the cold and wet for those few precious points. The promised cold front roared in last night with record low temperatures of 8 degrees and northerly winds of 20-25 knots. When race managers announced at 0830 their intention to postpone the harbour start until 1000 and conduct only one race for the day, fates were sealed in many classes, so many competitors chose not to even leave the dock. This was particularly true in the 1D35, IMS, and Melges 24 classes. However, the attrition rate in the Farr 40 class was minimal, with all but Atalanti XII gearing up for the 5-leg windward-leeward course. (Curious why the Greeks stayed away, given their mid-week lead of the class and Boat of the Week Trophy title to defend...) Sporting full mains and #4 jibs, the class looked impressive powering upwind and surfing down, with the Group surprisingly tight given the conditions. Leading comfortably around the first top mark, Bob Hughes' Heartbreaker looked as though they were in good position to add a third bullet to their scoresheet. But the more veteran players - John Coumantaros' Bambakou, Vincenzo Onerato's Breeze, and Jim Richardson's Barking Mad - were able to slip ahead, as did Peter de Ridder's Mean Machine. But it was Crocodile Rock who sailed to yet another top-ten finish to take their first Key West win. As always, consistency is what wins in this competitive class, and led by tactician Vince Brun they scored only one double-digit finish in the week. A controversial protest between Rock and Barking Mad over an incident in Race 7 led to the latter earning a DSQ,