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Top competition expected, as ever, at next week's Acura Key West race week
The 2007 Northern hemisphere racing season officially gets underway on Monday with the start of Acura Key West race week, this year celebrating its 20th birthday and a stronger than ever field with more than 20 nations represented. Many top names from the Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup will be taking part including Brad Butterworth, Bouwe Bekking, Russell Coutts, Hamish Pepper, Ken Read, Tom Whidden, Vince Brun and Peter de Ridder to name but a few. They will have to be at their best next week with the long range forecast showing winds ranging from 6 to 26 knots. New designs competing include the Club Swan/NYYC 42, which will likely have a one design start here next year. There are two new IRC designs - the R/P 45 Sjambok and RORC Commodore David Aisher's Rogers 46 Yeoman XXXII. The regatta will also be the first competitive outing for John Kilroy’s new Botin & Carkeek designed TP52 Samba Pa Ti. The new Beneteau 10R and J/92s make their debut with enough entries for one design sub-class status. The fleet has been divided up into divisions: Division 1 (Farr 40 - Melges 32 - Mumm 30) and Division 3 (Melges 24 - J/105 - J/80) will be exclusively one design affairs. Division 2 will host the three IRC classes and two fastest PHRF sections. Division 4 has a one design (Corsair 28R – J/109) and handicap (PHRF 3-6) mix. Boat Name Model LOA IRC rating Owner / Entrant Homeport Tactician IRC 1 BonBon R/P 81 81 1.534 Stephan Reith/M.Maritime Hamburg, GER Gary Weisman Bella Mente JV 66 66 1.452 Hap Fauth Newport, RI Peter Staulkus Hissar Farr 60 60 1.376 Edgar Cato Newport, RI Morgan Reeser Numbers CM 60 60 1.374 Daniel Meyers Newport, RI Hamish Pepper Artemis Swan 601 60 1.351 Torbjorn Tornqvist Stockholm, SWE Russell Coutts Cuordileone Swan 601 60 1.351 Leonardo Ferragamo Scarlino, ITA Nico Celon Moneypenny Swan 601 60 1.351 Jim Swartz Park City, UT Dee Smith Spirit of Jethou Swan 601 60 1.351 Sir Peter Ogden Guernsey, UK IRC 2 Rusal Synergy TP52 52 1.367 Alexey Nikolaev Gibraltar Alexey Nikolaev Samba Pa Ti TP52 52 1.352 John Kilroy San Francisco, CA Stu Bannatyne Trader TP52 53 1.343 Fred Detwiler Fort Lauderdale, FL Windquest TP52 52 1.362 DeVos / John Bertrand Holland, MI Curt Oetking Chieftain Cookson 50 50 1.319 Ger

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