Freezing in the sun
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.|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|