Freezing in the sun

Favini wins Melges, Croc the Farr 40s on final day of Key West race week

Friday January 24th 2003, Author: Rich Roberts/Fi Brown, Location: United States
Italy's Flavio Favini finished off a repeat Melges 24 triumph with a flourish at Terra Nova Trading Key West 2003 Friday, while some of his successful peers played the hefty breeze like snake handlers hoping just to hold onto leads and claim class titles.

Wind was still whistling through the rigging as boats returned from a single windup race and the winners discussed their good fortune.

"This is our best win," said Alexandra Geremia, who shares ownership with helmsman Scott Harris in the Farr 40 Crocodile Rock.

Like Croc, Australia's Richard Perini also was delighted with a ninth place that earned him his second consecutive Key West championship in the aggressively International Mumm 30 fleet. The first six boats were from five countries.

With the 1D35 title assured, David Kirk's Détente along with all but one of the rest of the class, sat out the day. The exception was Doug and Dick DeVos' Windquest, which sailed to a solitary victory and second place overall.

The 14 Corsair 28R trimarans also stayed in port, allowing Bob and Doug Harkrider sailing Bad Boys, to stand on their three-point lead over Donald Wigston's Whipper Snapper.

Favini, discarding a 12th, had no other finish worse than seventh and ran away on a 4-1-3-2 streak the last 2 1/2 days. Somehow, rivals have marveled, he just seems to make a Melges 24 go faster than anyone else, even after a year's absence with Vincenzo Onorato's America's Cup campaign.

The Key West Trophy for the International Team Championship - as close to a world championship of inshore sailing as the sport has these days - was won by Italy for the fourth time in five years by two points over Germany. The Italians' boats were Onorato's Farr 40, Breeze; Pierpaolo's Cristofori's Mumm 30, Printel Wind, and Maspero Giovanni's Melges 24, Joe Fly.

The Terra Nova Trading Boat of the Week Trophy was won by Zuni Bear, Richard Bergmann's J/105 from San Francisco. Zuni Bear started slowly but won three of the last four races to edge out Jim Sorensen's Wet Leopard by one point, with three others within three points.

Among the heavyweights on the Division 2 course, George David's Nelson/Marek 50, Idler, had IMS wrapped up but returned to the elements to claim a second trophy by overtaking Bandolier, Charles Burnett III's 1D48, and win PHRF 2 by two points.

Ken Read, helmsman for Team Dennis Conner in the America's Cup challenger trials, drove the boat the first two days until David arrived Wednesday, then called tactics.

"Today was the best day by far," Read said of the uncommonly cold northeast winds of 20 knots gusting to 27. "This is what you go sailing for. It was a little chilly, but compared to Auckland this was a balmy summer day. I had fewer layers [of clothing] on here."

Perini, judging the weather by Australian standards, didn't entirely agree. "It's the coldest race I've ever done with the sun out," he said.

The day's high temperature was 57 degrees, a record Key West low for the date in the 137 years of local weather tracking, but it was far warmer than where many of the competitors came from.

Small craft advisories were posted as the fleet left port 1 1/2 hours later than usual, counting on a forecast that the early morning's 25-knot winds would ease to 20 by mid-day. Roger Sturgeon and his Rosebud crew from San Francisco felt right at home in the breeze as they nailed down PHRF 1 with their third win in four races to complete a turnaround, week-long domination of the other two Transpac 52s from California, David Janes' J-Bird III and Mike Campbell's Victoria 5.

"We were hoping to improve," said Sturgeon, 58, a retired software developer. "We had training wheels on for a while."

Bob Harkrider, who drives, is a semi-converted monohull sailor - lightnings, mainly - and he led Bad Boys' comeback from a 7-1-7 start with a 2-1-2 finishing string.

"In our first race we missed a shift and wound up on the wrong side," he said. "Then on Tuesday one of our crew, Doug Fisher of Ullman Sails, got sick and was unable to sail. My wife Sharon filled in and did a really good job. Finally, the luck turned and went our way. If you hang in there long enough it will sometimes happen that way.

"We were fast all week and that's always good. When you get into trouble it's easier to climb out of it."

Harkrider also said, "I was strictly monohulls until my brother took me out on a Corsair. It took one leg of one race to sell me on multihulls. It's a blast to be sitting there and going those kinds of speeds."

With the race committee deciding in advance to sail only one race Friday, Crocodile Rock had all but a lock following Thursday's disqualification of Jim Richardson's Barking Mad in a three-way collision with Croc and Vincenzo Onorato's Breeze from Italy.
Croc's boat manager, Austin Herlihy of San Diego, prefaced post-regatta comments with a tribute to Fred Kirschner, a longtime successful ocean racer of the Coronado Yacht Club who had died two days earlier.

"We'd like to dedicate this win to Fred," Herlihy said. "He was a beautiful man." Because most of the crew members are from San Diego, Harris said, "People think we're light-air sailors, but we love the heavier breeze."

Vince Brun, a 13-time world champion in various classes, was tactician. "Vince was awesome," Harris said. "When he's on board we're a very quiet boat, which I think makes it a faster boat. Everyone just knows his job and does it."

Geremia does her job, too - whatever is required. She bought the boat three years ago. "It's been a long time getting to this point," she said, "but we've worked hard. The guys are wonderful. We make a good team."

Class winners (8 races, except 7 in Div. 2; worst races discarded after 7, except no discards in Farr 40, 1D35 and Mumm 30):
FARR 40 (24 boats)---Crocodile Rock, Scott Harris/Alexandra Geremia, Santa Barbara, 2-2-4-17-5-4-4-9, 47 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, 27.
MELGES 24 (57)---Blu Moon, Flavio Favini, Switzerland, 2-4-(12)-7-4-1-3-2, 23.
J/105 (29)---Zuni Bear, Richard Bergmann, San Francisco, 6-12-11-(13)-1-4-1-1, 36.
J/80 (22)---Warrior, Craig and Martha White, Fort Worth, Tex., 1-2-1(9)-1-3-4-1, 13.
J/29 (10)---Rhumb Punch, John Edwards, Solomon, Md., 2-3-2-1-1-4-(5)-1, 14
TARTAN 10 (8)---Liquor Box, Robert and Bill Lehnert, Cutchogue, N.Y., 1-2-1-1-1-1-1-(9), 8.
CORSAIR 28R (14)---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)-1-1-1-1, 6.
PHRF 1 (5)---Rosebud (Transpac 52), Roger Sturgeon, San Francisco, 1-1-2-2-1-3-1, 8.
PHRF 2 (6)---Idler, (6)-1-3-1-2-3-2, 12.
PHRF 3 (12)---Tsunami (Farr 395), Ostberg/Aras/Daily, Annapolis, 1-1-2-1-(5)-3-2, 13.
PHRF 4 (10)---New Wave (Henderson 30), Michael Carroll, Clearwater, Fla., 1-1-1-1-5-1-(11), 10.
PHRF 5 (13)---Teamwork (J/120), Robin Team, Beaufort, N.C., 1-(9)-2-7-3-2-2, 17.
PHRF 6 (12)---Defiance (B-32), Scott Taylor, Long Beach, Calif., 1-4-(13)-2-1-1-3-5, 17.
PHRF 7 (10)---Invincible (N/M 30), Brian Lees/Jeff Gastrau, Annapolis, 1-1-1-1-2-1-1-(11), 8.
PHRF 8 (9)---Hot Ticket (Farr 37), Jim Hightower, Houston, Tex., (5)-1-4-1-4-1-1-1, 13.
PHRH 9 (10)---Areopagus, Ed Tillinghast III, New York, (5)-5-1-1-3-1-2-2, 15.
PHRF 10 (12)---Rumblefisch (J/24), Peter Fischel, Savannah, Ga., 1-3-1-4-2-1-1-(13), 9.
BOATS OF THE DAY
Monday, Nautica Day: Fitikoko (Tripp 38, PHRF 5), Andrew Wilson, Annapolis, Md.
Tuesday, City of Key West Day: Rock N' Roll (Melges 24), Argyle Campbell, Newport Beach, Calif.
Wednesday, Mount Gay Rum Day: Zuni Bear (J/105), Richard Bergmann, San Francisco.
Thursday, Lewmar Marine Day: Crocodile Rock (Farr 40), Scott Harris/Alexandra Geremia, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Friday, Terra Nova Trading Day: Mammy! (Mumm 30), Diarmuid Foley, Cork, Ireland.

FARR 40S
Pos Name Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R^ R7 R8 Total Country
1 Crocodile Rock A. Geremia/S. Harris 2 2 4 17 5 4 4 9 47 USA
2 Samba Pa Ti John Kilroy 4 7 3 23 7 12 2 8 66 USA
3 Barking Mad James B. Richardson 10 5 2 16 3 5 25 dsq 3 69 USA
4 Bambakou John G. Coumantaros 13 15 21 8 2 3 8 1 71 USA
5 Heartbreaker Robert L. Hughes 1 14 16 19 8 1 14 5 78 USA
6 Breeze Vincenzo Onorato 22 13 7 1 21 7 7 2 80 ITA
7 LeRenard Steve Phillips 21 8 5 5 18 9 8 p20 7 81 USA
8 Virago Stuart Townsend 20 6 11 7 6 p20 6 13 15 84 USA
9 Atalanti XII George Andreadis 11 3 1 2 15 13 17 25 dnc 87 GRE
10 Warpath Fred & Steve Howe 14 17 8 3 20 14 6 11 93 USA
11 ISKRA Borys B. Jarymowycz 7 12 6 10 4 23 18 14 94 USA
12 Struntje light Dr.Wolfgang Schaefer 8 1 9 21 19 18 20 6 102 GER
13 SLED Takashi Okura 6 20 17 4 13 15 10 17 102 JPN
14 BOTTADI CULO Arrivabene/Mincione 3 4 14 6 12 24 19 21 103 ITA
15 Mean Machine Peter De Ridder 16 10 12 22 6 25 p40 11 4 106 NED
16 Joss Owen Kratz 5 18 25 p20 18 10 2 14 p20 16 108 USA
17 Honour Alek Krstajic 9 16 24 9 9 25 p40 5 13 110 CAN
18 Groovederci Deneen & John Demourkas 15 9 13 15 14 17 12 18 113 USA
19 Kokomo Lang Walker 18 22 22 11 22 10 1 10 116 AUS
20 Racing Bull Jean Pierre Delmotte 12 21 15 13 16 8 23 20 128 FRA
21 Nitemare Tom Neill 23 11 10 12 25 dsq 19 16 19 135 USA
22 Flash Gordon 4 Helmut Jahn 24 24 19 14 11 11 22 23 148 USA
23 Gone Too Farr David Carrel 17 23 18 25 dsq 17 21 15 12 148 USA
24 Diana S.A. Promendo 19 19 23 20 23 20 21 22 167 POR

Fi Brown wraps up the Melges 24 action

Second place in the final race of the series was enough to give Flavio Favini, helming for Franco Rossini, his second consecutive Melges 24 Key West title ahead of Brian Porter.

Record 90 year low temperatures and strong winds made for unexpected conditions on the final day of racing. The start of the last race was postponed for 90 minutes while the wind dropped and the crews bundled up against the cold. "It's more like winter series racing in the Solent than Key West out there," said Olympic Silver Medallist Keith Musto.

Once underway the crews were in for some outstanding racing and one of the closest finishes of the week. With 18-22 knots from the NNE the committee wisely moved the course in under the lee of the island where the chop was a little less severe.

When an individual recall was signalled it was overnight fourth place Argyle Campbell who was forced to turn back. Up the beat left was definitely favoured and at the first mark Kristian Nergaard popped out just ahead of the pack with Jamie Lea, helming for Richard Thompson, and Morgan Larson right on his heels. Stuart Rix, helming for Quentin Struass, also had a good beat and rounded fourth but a problem during their host resulted in a serious broach put them back down in the teens. Among the boats who overtook them were Flavio Favini, Luca Santella, Shark Kahn and Brian Porter.

Nergaard held his lead down the first run with Lea still right behind him at the leeward mark and Santella now in third, Favini fourth, Porter fifth and Shark Kahn sixth. The second beat brought constant place changing. Nergaard determinedly hung onto his lead whilst Favini crept up to second ahead of Larsen and Santella. Shark Kahn made up two places to round fifth whilst Lea dropped back into sixth ahead of Porter.

Down the second run Lea was both smart and incredibly fast overtaking all but Nergaard by the penultimate mark. Larson tenaciously hung onto third with Favini now back in fourth, Porter fifth, Santella sixth and Shark Kahn seventh.

The last beat was an absolute hum dinger and had spectators on the edge of their seats despite the biting cold. Nergaard was forced to defend every inch of the way as places changed with each tack behind him. On the very last tack it was Favini who got the second slot from Lea with Santella fourth, Porter fifth and thirteen year old Shark Kahn sixth. After a disasterous regatta Lea was delighted to go out on a better note, "Despite the cold it was a fantastic finish to the event. We've had a really bad regatta so it was great to go out on a high." said Lea after racing.

Overall Favini took his second successive Key West Melges 24 title by an impressive 14 points. Not a bad result for a man who earlier in the week had commented that he felt his starting could do with a bit of improvement after a year out of the boat due to commitments with the Mescal Latino America's Cup team. Porter was disappointed to be the bridesmaid yet again but was as enthusiastic as ever about both Terra Nova Key West and Melges 24s commenting that "Despite the cold there's still no where better to be in January!" Third place went to Kristian Nergaard whilst fourth slot was taken by Maspero Giovanni's new team from Italy, helmed by Luca Santella. Having been forced to recross the line Campbell was only able to score a 23 in the final race pushing him down to fifth overall ahead of Bruce Ayres in sixth, Jeff Jones seventh, Alec Cutler eigth, Morgan Larson ninth and Stuart Rix tenth.

Overall a fantastic week for the 56 strong Melges 24 fleet with competitors from nine nations including the first ever Russian entrants in a Melges regatta.

Results

Melges 24s
Pos Name Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Total Country
1 Blu Moon Franco Rossini 2 4 -12 7 4 1 3 2 23 SUI
2 Full Throttle Brian D. Porter 11 5 -17 6 6 2 2 5 37 USA
3 Baghdad Kristian Nergaard 4 -23 1 15 7 6 8 1 42 NOR
4 Joe Fly Maspero Giovanni -35 17 11 3 16 3 1 4 55 ITA
5 Rock N' Roll Argyle Campbell 12 12 2 4 3 8 15 -23 56 USA
6 Monsoon Bruce Ayres 3 8 3 8 -21 15 16 9 62 USA
7 Kilroy Jeff Jones -27 1 9 17 18 5 7 12 69 USA
8 Frequent Flyer John Sherlock 1 2 22 9 10 4 24 - 58 dnc 72 CAN
9 USA 399 Morgan Larson 13 11 13 1 20 9 5 - 58 raf 72 USA
10 Gorgeous Worgeous Quentin Strauss -20 16 7 5 5 14 13 15 75 GBR
11 Black Seal Richard Thompson 6 30 4 -45 22 7 6 3 78 GBR
12 First Crush Paula M. Zubrzycki -40 9 10 14 23 12 4 7 79 USA
13 Liberty 3 Paul Lovejoy 9 24 8 18 9 10 -28 11 89 GBR
14 Flying Toaster Mike Dow 15 18 20 -29 8 13 14 8 96 USA
15 Wicked Feet Art Brereton 5 -26 23 12 24 11 11 14 100 USA
16 Madison David Happ 14 19 5 2 26 17 22 - 58 dnf 105 USA
17 Panty Raid Sean & Todd Scarborough 19 6 19 13 -35 18 17 21 113 USA
18 Xcellent John Pollard 10 - 58 ocs 16 11 38 20 9 10 114 GBR
19 Pegasus Philippe Kahn 7 27 6 -31 27 16 12 20 115 USA
20 No Manners D Clark/ T Wetherell 8 21 -28 16 12 28 20 13 118 GBR
21 WKD Silver Joe Woods 17 7 21 -48 13 22 23 18 121 GBR
22 Pegasus Samuel "Shark" Kahn 22 13 25 28 -32 29 10 6 133 USA
23 Spider Cookie Steve Suddath 21 14 31 26 28 23 19 - 58 dnf 162 USA
24 Defiant Peter Wright 33 28 33 24 2 25 21 - 58 dnc 166 USA
25 Mad Hatter Nick Halmos 26 22 14 10 30 27 37 - 58 ocs 166 USA
26 Cagey Karen Gottwald 16 25 18 22 33 -41 34 19 167 USA
27 Own-It Chris Doubek 24 3 36 19 43 33 26 - 58 dnc 184 USA
28 Grinder Jeff Littfin 29 36 26 20 39 19 18 - 58 dnf 187 USA
29 My Dixie Wrecked Brian J. Harrison 23 10 35 30 34 21 35 - 58 dnc 188 USA
30 Sofa King Fast Bret Gripenstraw 18 -37 24 32 36 31 27 22 190 USA
31 Suzanne Routt Reigart 39 15 32 27 -40 32 31 17 193 USA
32 AF GAAT LIGGEN Carlo Vroon 28 35 29 37 -47 24 29 25 207 NED
33 Mach Schnell Kent Haeger 25 31 15 50 14 - 58 dnc 58 dnc 16 209 USA
34 Panic Pending Lainie Pardey -46 29 46 23 31 35 32 26 222 USA
35 booby trap Terry Gibson 44 32 34 35 11 38 36 - 58 dnc 230 CAN
36 Aura Sheldon Ecklund 30 44 40 21 37 43 25 - 58 dnc 240 USA
37 Bling Bling Evan Jahn 34 41 27 -51 46 39 30 24 241 USA
38 Star Tack Nicholas Maxwell 37 43 41 42 1 34 45 - 58 dnc 243 USA
39 Foursquare Spiced Rum Ron Weed 47 20 44 41 15 30 48 - 58 dnc 245 USA
40 No Tourism John Raymont 31 38 30 38 19 44 49 - 58 dnc 249 USA
41 Lamorak Mike Krantz 32 33 38 36 45 40 33 - 58 dnc 257 USA
42 Adrenaline Wolf Lixfeld 38 34 45 47 44 26 39 - 58 dnc 273 CAN
43 Ajax Cindy Cromwell 36 52 39 34 25 51 43 - 58 dnc 280 USA
44 Highland Heritage Ian Cleaver 41 40 43 25 - 58 ocs 37 41 58 dnc 285 SCT
45 Adrenaline Michael Royer 45 45 42 44 17 45 53 - 58 dnc 291 USA
46 MovingMtnsChalets Frits Bus 42 49 37 40 42 42 42 - 58 dnf 294 ANT
47 Mellow Yellow Vladimir Butenko -50 46 50 39 49 50 46 28 308 RUS
48 Express Lane Frank A. Davenport 51 39 47 43 48 36 44 - 58 dnc 308 USA
49 USA 525 Tim Fay 43 50 49 33 41 47 47 - 58 dnf 310 USA
50 Nobody's Girl Scott A. Baker 49 51 48 -53 53 48 38 27 314 USA
51 Flyer 02 Chuck Holzman 52 48 53 46 29 - 58 dns 58 dns 58 dnc 344 USA
52 Forerunner John L. Mathis 54 53 51 54 52 46 40 - 58 dnc 350 USA
53 Elektra Dan van Heeckeren 48 42 - 58 dsq 49 58 ocs 49 51 58 dnc 355 USA
54 CPB Tom & Deanna Hager 53 47 52 - 58 dnc 51 52 50 58 dnc 363 USA
55 Maiden Heaven E. Middleton/K. Maguire 55 55 54 55 54 54 52 - 58 dnc 379 GBR
56 Mayhem Colin Cassady - 58 dnf 54 55 52 50 53 58 raf 58 dnc 380 USA
57 TBA John Muir - 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 58 dnc 406

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