Crunch!


Dobbs Davis reports for The Daily Sail on Thursday's spectacular at Key West Race Week
Ed: We're hunting down some photos of smashed up boats, so check back later. Today's action in Key West resembled what everyone comes for: steady 12-17 knots of breeze, steep and choppy azure seas, and plenty of sun. For the first time all week we were out on the Division 1 course where the action was indeed fast and at times furious among the Farr 40, 1D35, and Mumm 30 classes. While a strong flood current kept all but one boat (Dutchman Peter de Ridder's Farr 40 Mean Machine) off the starting lines, there was the usual multiple boat pile-ups at the weather marks and gates, especially in the Farr 40 class. An approaching cold front promised building breeze and a significant right shift, yet those that stayed left in the shallower water out of the current prevailed. This winning strategy eluded plenty of smart tacticians, including Paul Cayard on John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti, who rounded the top mark well back in the pack. Since Kilroy has historically shown great speed in the breeze, they managed to dig back into the middle of the fleet. With an excellent start at the pin end of the line, Owen Kratz's Joss, guided by Terry Hutchinson, was finally taking their turn in the front of the pack, closely followed by Bob Hughes' Heartbreaker, led by Jeff Madragali. Kratz and Hughes are both alumnists of the 1D35 class, where they enjoyed a good rivalry for three years. On the final run, however, Heartbreaker managed to sneak by Joss for the win, their second in an otherwise mediocre week for a former winner of the overall Boat of the Week prize. We watched with that same morbid fascination one has staring at car wrecks as some especially close weather mark roundings turned into disasters in the day's

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