Croc takes a big bite

Rich Roberts reports on a smashing day at Key West Race Week.

Thursday January 23rd 2003, Author: Rich Roberts/Fi Brown, Location: United States
Big winds, collisions and a contentious crocodile have brought Terra Nova Trading Key West 2003 to its climax. A new weather front sweeping the southernmost corner of the country was forecast to hit town with winds up to 25 knots and accelerate the action into frenzy.

How rough was it Thursday? The grounds around the race jury tent looked like a Farr 40 class meeting afterward. The heaviest protest activity revolved around a three-way contretemps in which Jim Richardson's Barking Mad claimed it was bitten by a denizen of a nearby swamp - namely, the Scott Harris/Alexandra Geremia Crocodile Rock, which wound up crunched between Barking Mad and Vincenzo Onorato's Breeze.

The race jury disagreed and Barking Mad was disqualified for failing to give way to the Croc. Unlike the other three courses, there are no throwouts in Division 1, which also includes the 1D35s and Mumm 30s, so the jury's decision is not only final but sometimes fatal.

Before protests were resolved, Crocodile Rock, with two fourth places Thursday, was in first place by nine points over Barking Mad, which then fell to fourth as Croc walked away from the hearing with a near-insurmountable 20-point lead over John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti. George Andreadis' Atalanti XII, looking for its fourth consecutive title here, was a distant third and all but out of the hunt.

Barking Mad, Crocodile Rock and Breeze were near the second windward mark in Thursday's second race, with Breeze on starboard tack and the other two on port. Barking Mad, windward of Croc by less than an arm's length, bore away to duck Breeze at about the same time Croc started to tack. Moments later, all three boats were three abreast, stalled head to wind and slamming sides.

Back on shore, the mood of Richardson's tactician, Volvo and America's Cup veteran Gavin Brady, was appropriate to the boat's name.

"Quite simply, Crocodile Rock put us and then the Italian boat in a situation where there was no way to avoid a serious collision," Brady said. "We were one foot apart and we were just dipping to duck the Italians and [ Crocodile Rock] just spun up."

Crocodile Rock helmsman Scott Harris and tactician Vince Brun did not immediately comment, but two crew members and a sailor on another boat not involved in the incident said Crocodile Rock was forced to tack to avoid a collision with a second Italian boat, Bottadi Culo, which was following Breeze on the starboard tack layline.

A Croc crew member said his boat followed the rules because "we hailed Barking Mad for room to tack and then hailed them again. By then we didn't have any choice."

Nobody was seriously injured and the boats sustained superficial damage. Buddy Cribbs' 1D35, Victory, was not as lucky. Victory took what Cribbs called a "full-on T-bone" in the middle of its port side from Hugh O'Brien's Ripple. A gaping hole was patched over with a heavy application of duct tape.

Cribbs' sail trimmer, Jon Rogers, said, laughing, "I almost got killed today. When we were on the starboard tack layline. When they were 20 boat lengths away on port tack, I got a little nervous, and when they were six lengths away I yelled, 'Don't even think about it!' "

A chagrined O'Brien, who suffered a cut index finger, said, "We thought we had 'em [crossed]. We didn't have 'em. We withdrew. We had no leg to stand on."

David Kirk's Détente clinched the class with its fifth consecutive win, and Australian Richard Perini's Foreign Affair has a vise grip on defending the Mumm 30 title he won last year.

In the International Team Competition for the Key West Trophy, there are 10 teams but only two contenders. Going into the last day, Italy's Breeze (Farr 40), Printel-Wind (Mumm 30) and Joe Fly (Melges 24) has gone from one point behind Germany's Struntje light, Rainbow and Blu Moon, respectively, to one point ahead, 84-85.

Class leaders (after 7 of 9 races, except 6 of 9 in Div. 2):

FARR 40 (24 boats)---Crocodile Rock, Scott Harris/Alexandra Geremia, Santa Barbara, 2-2-4-17-5-4-4, 38 points.

1D35 (8)—Détente, David Kirk, Chicago, 2-2-1-1-1-1-1, 9.

MUMM 30 (15)—Foreign Affair, Richard Perini, Sydney, Australia, 2-3-4-1-4-1-3, 18.

MELGES 24 (57)---Blu Moon, Flavio Favini, Switzerland, 2-4-(12)-7-4-1-3, 21.

J/105 (29)---Wet Leopard, Jim Sorensen, Sag Harbor, N.Y., (12)-1-7-1-3-9-7, 28.

J/80 (22)---Warrior, Craig and Martha White, Fort Worth, Tex., 1-2-1(9)-1-3-4, 12.

J/29 (10)---Hustler, John and Tony Esposito, City Island, N.Y., 1-2.2-1-(3)-3-2-3, 12.2.

TARTAN 10 (8)---Liquor Box, Robert and Bill Lehnert, Cutchogue, N.Y., 1-(2)-1-1-1-1-1, 6.

CORSAIR 28R (14)---Tie between Hot Flash, Robert Gleason, Wareham Mass., 1-3-1-6-6-3, and Bad Boys, Bob and Doug Harkrider, Belvedere, S.C., 7-1-7-2-2-1, 20.

IMS (4)---Idler (N/M 50), George David, New York, 1-1-2-1-1-1, 7.

PHRF 1 (5)---Rosebud (Transpac 52), Roger Sturgeon, San Francisco, 1-1-2-2-1-3, 10.

PHRF 2 (6)---Bandolier (1D48), Charles Burnett III, Seattle, 2-4-1-2-3-2, 14.

PHRF 3 (12)---Tsunami (Farr 395), Ostberg/Aras/Daily, Annapolis, 1-1-2-1-5-3, 13.

PHRF 4 (10)---New Wave (Henderson 30), Michael Carroll, Clearwater, Fla., 1-1-1-1-5-1, 10.

PHRF 5 (13)---Fitikoko (Tripp 38 ML), Andrew Wilson, Annapolis, 3-2-1-3-7-5, 21.

PHRF 6 (12)---Defiance (B-32), Scott Taylor, Long Beach, Calif., 1-4-(13)-2-1-1-3, 12.

PHRF 7 (10)---Invincible (N/M 30), Brian Lees/Jeff Gastrau, Annapolis, 1-1-1-1-(2)-1-1, 6.

PHRF 8 (9)---Hot Ticket (Farr 37), Jim Hightower, Houston, Tex., (5)-1-4-1-4-1-1, 12.

PHRH 9 (10)---Areopagus, Ed Tillinghast III, New York, (5)-5-1-1-3-1-2, 13.

PHRF 10 (12)---Rumblefisch (J/24), Peter Fischel, Savannah, Ga., 1-3-1-(4)-2-1-1, 9.

Farr 40s

Pos Name Entrant Tactician R 1 R 2 R 3 R 4 R 5 R 6 R 7 Total Country
1 Crocodile Rock A. Geremia/S. Harris Vince Brun 2 2 4 17 5 4 4 38 USA
2 Samba Pa Ti John Kilroy Paul Cayard 4 7 3 23 7 12 2 58 USA
3 Atalanti XII George Andreadis Robbie Haines 11 3 1 2 15 13 17 62 GRE
4 Barking Mad James B. Richardson Gavin Brady 10 5 2 16 3 5 25 dsq 66 USA
5 Virago Stuart Townsend Steve Benjamin 20 6 11 7 6 p20 6 13 69 USA
6 Bambakou John G. Coumantaros Chris Larson 13 15 21 8 2 3 8 70 USA
7 Heartbreaker Robert L. Hughes Jeff Madragali 1 14 16 19 8 1 14 73 USA
8 LeRenard Steve Phillips Andy Horton 21 8 5 5 18 9 8 p20 74 USA
9 Breeze Vincenzo Onerato Adrian Stead 22 13 7 1 21 7 7 78 ITA
10 ISKRA Borys B. Jarymowycz Dave Curtis 7 12 6 10 4 23 18 80 USA
11 BOTTADI CULO Arrivabene/Mincione 3 4 14 6 12 24 19 82 ITA
12 Warpath Fred & Steve Howe George Szabo 14 17 8 3 20 14 6 82 USA
13 SLED Takashi Okura Yutaka Takagi 6 20 17 4 13 15 10 85 JPN
14 Joss Owen Kratz Terry Hutchinson 5 18 25 p20 18 10 2 14 p20 92 USA
15 Groovederci Deneen & John Demourkas Jesper Bank 15 9 13 15 14 17 12 95 USA
16 Struntje light Dr.Wolfgang Schaefer Iain Percy 8 1 9 21 19 18 20 96 GER
17 Honour Alek Krstajic Tony Rey 9 16 24 9 9 25 p40 5 97 CAN
18 Mean Machine Peter De Ridder Stu Bannantyne 16 10 12 22 6 25 p40 11 102 NED
19 Kokomo Lang Walker Roger Hickman 18 22 22 11 22 10 1 106 AUS
20 Racing Bull Jean Pierre Delmotte Franck Cammas 12 21 15 13 16 8 23 108 FRA
21 Nitemare Tom Neill Pat Considine 23 11 10 12 25 dsq 19 16 116 USA
22 Flash Gordon 4 Helmut Jahn 24 24 19 14 11 11 22 125 USA
23 Gone Too Farr David Carrel Jason Rhodes 17 23 18 25 dsq 17 21 15 136 USA
24 Diana S.A. Promendo Afonso Domingos 19 19 23 20 23 20 21 145 POR

Fi Brown reports on the Melges 24

Races six and seven were completed in near perfect conditions with the Melges 24 fleet enjoying some spectacular sailing. Flavio Favini, helming for Franco Rossini, continued his outstandingly consistent performance scoring a first and third to give him an eleven point lead over Brian Porter.

The wind had swung overnight into the South West and was up to 12-14 knots with a slowly building chop. With a strong current against them the boats had problems making the line and the fleet got away cleanly at the first attempt with the centre right seeming favoured. Favini made the best of the beat to lead round the weather mark ahead of Luca Santella, one of Italy's top sailors and a new face in the Melges class helming for Maspero Giovanni. Porter followed in third with Argyle Campbell fourth and Jeff Jones fifth. Going into the weather mark Art Brereton had looked set for the fourth slot but a slightly misjudged approach resulted in a last minute tack during which he fouled Campbell and by the time he'd done his turns he was back in thirteenth.

Down the run Favini opened up his lead while Santella held off Porter and Jones overtook Campbell. At the top of the second beat Porter was just able to sneak through Santella while Jones held fourth. Campbell had dropped back to eighth behind Alec Cutler, helming for John Sherlock, Kristian Nergaard and Jamie Lea, helming for Richard Thompson.

On the final run Favini just kept on extending his lead to the finish ahead of Porter and Santella. Behind them the pack was fighting for fourth with Cutler eventually coming out on top ahead of Jones, Nergaard and Lea.

By the start of race seven the wind was up to 16-18 knots with a commensurate increase in the chop. Again the current was holding the boats back making it difficult to cross the line. Several boats, including Cutler, Nergaard and Favini, found themselves so well buried that the only solution was to tack, take some transoms and come out on port at the right hand end. "Everyone just had such a hard time getting to the line. We started in the middle but to weather of the centre line boat and Santella started with us right there and the two of us were really pushing one another right up to the line." commented John Porter, crewing for brother Brian, "No one was close to the line, I think we were closest and we were like a boat length and a half off."

Santella rounded the weather mark first ahead of Jones, Larson, Porter and Lea. Down the first run Larson managed to get past Santella and Jones to take the lead while Porter and Lea held fourth and fifth. The strengthening breeze and increasing chop gave the crews plenty to get their teeth into up the second beat and at the second weather mark it was Santella back in the lead with Porter second, Larson third, Lea fourth and Favini fifth. Down the second run the lead pair held their places but behind them Lea managed to squeeze past Larson and Doug Clark, helming for Paula Zubrzycki, snuck into fifth ahead of Favini, Jones and Nergaard.

Although the lead pair were fairly secure up the final beat third place was by no means a dead cert and the tacks were fast and furious as the pack scrabbled for an advantage. Favini showed that he sure has the ability to turn it on when necessary by coming from sixth to third up the last leg ahead of Clark, Larson, Lea, Jones and Nergaard.

Overall Favini now leads with 21 points from Porter (32), Nergaard and Campbell are tied on 41 with Cutler fifth on 48.

Results

Pos Name Skipper R 1 R 2 R 3 R 4 R 5 R 6 R 7 Total Country
1 Blu Moon Franco Rossini 2 4 -12 7 4 1 3 21 SUI
2 Full Throttle Brian D. Porter 11 5 -17 6 6 2 2 32 USA
3 Baghdad Kristian Nergaard 4 -23 1 15 7 6 8 41 NOR
4 Rock N' Roll Argyle Campbell 12 12 2 4 3 8 -15 41 USA
5 Frequent Flyer John Sherlock 1 2 22 9 10 4 -24 48 CAN
6 Joe Fly Maspero Giovanni -35 17 11 3 16 3 1 51 ITA
7 USA 399 Morgan Larson 13 11 13 1 -20 9 5 52 USA
8 Monsoon Bruce Ayres 3 8 3 8 -21 15 16 53 USA
9 Kilroy Jeff Jones -27 1 9 17 18 5 7 57 USA
10 Gorgeous Worgeous Quentin Strauss -20 16 7 5 5 14 13 60 GBR
11 First Crush Paula M. Zubrzycki -40 9 10 14 23 12 4 72 USA
12 Black Seal Richard Thompson 6 30 4 -45 22 7 6 75 GBR
13 Liberty 3 Paul Lovejoy 9 24 8 18 9 10 -28 78 GBR
14 Madison David Happ 14 19 5 2 -26 17 22 79 USA
15 Wicked Feet Art Brereton 5 -26 23 12 24 11 11 86 USA
16 Flying Toaster Mike Dow 15 18 20 -29 8 13 14 88 USA
17 Panty Raid Sean & Todd Scarborough 19 6 19 13 -35 18 17 92 USA
18 Pegasus Philippe Kahn 7 27 6 -31 27 16 12 95 USA
19 WKD Silver Joe Woods 17 7 21 -48 13 22 23 103 GBR
20 Xcellent John Pollard 10 - 58 ocs 16 11 38 20 9 104 GBR
21 No Manners D Clark/ T Wetherell 8 21 -28 16 12 28 20 105 GBR
22 Pegasus Samuel "Shark" Kahn 22 13 25 28 -32 29 10 127 USA
23 Mad Hatter Nick Halmos 26 22 14 10 30 27 -37 129 USA
24 Spider Cookie Steve Suddath 21 14 -31 26 28 23 19 131 USA
25 Defiant Peter Wright -33 28 33 24 2 25 21 133 USA
26 Own-It Chris Doubek 24 3 36 19 -43 33 26 141 USA
27 Cagey Karen Gottwald 16 25 18 22 33 -41 34 148 USA
28 Grinder Jeff Littfin 29 36 26 20 -39 19 18 148 USA
29 My Dixie Wrecked Brian J. Harrison 23 10 -35 30 34 21 35 153 USA
30 Sofa King Fast Bret Gripenstraw 18 -37 24 32 36 31 27 168 USA
31 Suzanne Routt Reigart 39 15 32 27 -40 32 31 176 USA
32 AF GAAT LIGGEN Carlo Vroon 28 35 29 37 -47 24 29 182 NED
33 booby trap Terry Gibson -44 32 34 35 11 38 36 186 CAN
34 Mach Schnell Kent Haeger 25 31 15 50 14 - 58 dnc 58 dnc 193 USA
35 Aura Sheldon Ecklund 30 -44 40 21 37 43 25 196 USA
36 Panic Pending Lainie Pardey -46 29 46 23 31 35 32 196 USA
37 Foursquare Spiced Rum Ron Weed 47 20 44 41 15 30 -48 197 USA
38 Star Tack Nicholas Maxwell 37 43 41 42 1 34 -45 198 USA
39 No Tourism John Raymont 31 38 30 38 19 44 -49 200 USA
40 Lamorak Mike Krantz 32 33 38 36 -45 40 33 212 USA
41 Bling Bling Evan Jahn 34 41 27 -51 46 39 30 217 USA
42 Adrenaline Wolf Lixfeld 38 34 45 -47 44 26 39 226 CAN
43 Highland Heritage Ian Cleaver 41 40 43 25 - 58 ocs 37 41 227 SCT
44 Ajax Cindy Cromwell 36 -52 39 34 25 51 43 228 USA
45 Adrenaline Michael Royer 45 45 42 44 17 45 -53 238 USA
46 MovingMtnsChalets Frits Bus 42 -49 37 40 42 42 42 245 ANT
47 Express Lane Frank A. Davenport -51 39 47 43 48 36 44 257 USA
48 USA 525 Tim Fay 43 -50 49 33 41 47 47 260 USA
49 Mellow Yellow Vladimir Butenko -50 46 50 39 49 50 46 280 RUS
50 Flyer 02 Chuck Holzman 52 48 53 46 29 - 58 dns 58 dns 286 USA
51 Nobody's Girl Scott A. Baker 49 51 48 -53 53 48 38 287 USA
52 Forerunner John L. Mathis -54 53 51 54 52 46 40 296 USA
53 Elektra Dan van Heeckeren 48 42 - 58 dsq 49 58 ocs 49 51 297 USA
54 CPB Tom & Deanna Hager 53 47 52 - 58 dnc 51 52 50 305 USA
55 Mayhem Colin Cassady - 58 dnf 54 55 52 50 53 58 raf 322 USA
56 Maiden Heaven E. Middleton/K. Maguire -55 55 54 55 54 54 52 324 GBR
57 TBA John Muir - 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 348

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