Shockwave and Ran in the chocolates
Day two of Quantum Key West Race Week and the breeze had built to a welcome 12-16 knots from the north, making for near perfect conditions, with plenty of shifts and pressure changes to challenge the afterguards.
In the 52 Super Series, a first place and a second for Niklas Zennström’s Rán allowed her to step clear in the six boat fleet, with a lead of two points over defending 2012 52 Super Series champions Azzurra. Ironically neither of the top two boats sailed an error free day, both making penalty turns in successive races.
With Adrian Stead calling tactics for owner-helm Zennström, Rán proved to be most consistent in the quest to use the shifts and changes to best effect. Azzurra’s coach Rod Davis summarised the challenge: “There were some reasonably big shifts, especially going back and forth in the first race. So the quest was to try and stay in phase with the shifts and still keep tabs on the whole fleet. It was a little bit complicated that way.”
In the first race of the day Rán took the lead at the bottom end of the first run, while early leaders Azzurra had to take a two turns penalty as they left the leeward gate for fouling Rán on the approach to the gate. Azzurra’s resulting 720 proved a high tariff initially as they dropped to sixth, but the Italian-flagged series champions managed to recover to fourth by the finish.
After a modest start to the second race, during which the breeze built to 16 knots in the puffs, Rán was first to push to the right side of the course and were able to very quickly build a strong lead ahead of Azzurra, nearly 60m clear half way up the second beat. But tactician Vasco Vascotto hooked into a 30° shift which came in so quickly for the Italian 52 that Rán could not get across to it and the blue hulled boat was able to lead at the second top mark. On a tight approach to the final windward mark Rán judged themselves to have fouled Azzurra and, being safe, they chose to take a turn. But, holding on to second, sets them up as overall regatta leaders.
“There is nothing in it right through the fleet," said Stead. "All credit to the guys on Rio. We know Synergy was always a very good boat and the guys are doing a good job in getting the boat up to speed and are sailing well, and the Interlodge guys have had a year in their boat and definitely have some pace. And Gladiator much stronger, stuff with the extra righting moment and so good for them, and Doug DeVos is doing a great job jumping into Quantum Racing and driving the boat. It is lovely, great racing. All six boats are in it, and you make a mistake and are suddenly sixth.”
Azzurra’s fourth in the first race could so easily have been better. Tactician Vasco Vascotto was less concerned about the big errors they have made than the fact he feels they have just not been sailing as well as they can as a team: “We are lucky to be in the position we are because we have not sailed very well. So we are happy to be where we are. It gives us the opportunity to go out tomorrow and fight for something important. We can sail better, we made mistakes around the course and we need to sail a better level if we want to win. There are plenty of mistakes. The result is about how you sail the boat and if we carry on sailing the way we have been then we will not win the event.”
A disappointing sixth place in the second race of the day saw Tony Langley’s Gladiator slide from second overall to lie fourth, but still only four points separate the top five boats after four races.
As expected IRC1 is seeing a match race between the 72ft Mini Maxis Bella Mente and Shockwave. Skipper George Sakellaris and his Shockwave team got the better of things today, winning both races. Upon returning to the dock, Bella Mente skipper Hap Fauth stood up and applauded Sakellaris.
"We're having a lot of fun racing against Bella Mente. The boats are evenly matched, both in terms of performance and crew work," said Sakellaris. "I think it's good training for both teams."
North Sails professional Steve Benjamin and his crew aboard the Carkeek 40 Spookie have dominated the High Performance Class, winning two races in moderate breeze on Monday and two more in heavier air on Tuesday. Decision, a newer and lighter version of the Carkeek 40, has finished second in three of those starts.
In Division 2 competitors in the Melges 24, Melges 32 and J/70 classes sailed three races.
"It was a great day of sailing," said Full Throttle Melges 24 skipper, Brian Porter. "The wind was fantastic and the race committee did a superb job of giving us some quality racing."
Full Throttle is engaged in a good battle with Alec Cutler and his crew on Hedgehog, the Melges 24 class being second-largest at the regatta with 23 boats. Porter posted a solid line of 2-3-1 today, but has not been able to completely overcome a seventh suffered in Race 1 the result of a poor start.
Cutler won Tuesday's first race and has also posted three seconds in totalling 10 points - four better than Porter. "We have good speed and so do they. It's all about minimizing mistakes and right now they are making fewer than we are," Porter said. "Getting off the line is huge in this fleet and we've had a couple rough starts."
After day two in the Melges 32s Andrea Pozzi on Bombarda sits atop the podium, featuring Italian pros tactician Lorenzo Bressani and trimmer Frederico Michetti, but they are being chased by Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino in second and Keisuke Suzuki's Swing in third - both on 23 points.
"Lorenzo is doing a really good job of calling the shifts while Andrea is driving very well," Michetti said. "In such a small fleet, it's almost like match racing. The racing is really difficult tactical-wise, especially with the wind changing so much in both direction and intensity."
The first race of the day marked great success for Onorato as he powered up, took an early lead and extended for the win. Overnight leader Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica on the other hand suffered a severe set back being called OCS, resulting in his worst score yet. Richard Gorranson's Inga from Sweden and Deneen Demourkas on Groovederci battled throughout, Demourkas ultimately getting the upperhand to grab a second place finish.
With an all-clear start in Race Two Pozzi had the speed he needed in order to take the bullet over Onorato in second with Cirillo getting back in the groove to take third.
Relatively brand new Melges 32 owner Gorranson found himself at the forefront of attention when he put his Inga From Sweden ahead in race three. Suzuki had a fantastic final race placing second while Alex Jackson's Leenabarca finished third.
There has been considerable trading of places in Farr 40 class, which has six well-sailed boats. Jim Richardson steered Barking Mad to a second and third on Tuesday to take the lead away from John Demourkas and Groovederci. German skipper Wolfgang Schaefer has Struntje Light in second place, two points behind Barking Mad and just one ahead of Groovederci.
"Our fleet may be small in numbers, but the boats that are here are high, high quality," said Barking Mad tactician Terry Hutchinson.
Barking Mad was named Lewmar/Navtec Boat of the Day by virtue of winning the close competition atop the Farr 40 fleet. Hutchinson noted that all four races have been won by boats that did not lead at the first weather mark: "Our boat-handling was better today than yesterday, which it needed to be. We started the boat well and were very fast upwind. We're not so great downwind so that is something we need to work on."
The J/70 is the largest class in the regatta with 38 boats and features several top-notch sailmakers such as Kerry Klingler, Tim Healy and Dave Ullman among its number. However, an upstart team of recent college graduates is leading the fleet after two days and five races.
Brothers Cole and James Allsopp grew up sailing together before heading off to College of Charleston and the Naval Academy, respectively. Cole is driving while James is handling the bow aboard Moxie, which closed with a fourth and third on Tuesday to overtake Ullman, the day 1 leader.
"I can't say enough about the crew work: I'm not starting very well, but those guys are bailing me out," said Cole Allsopp, who has former College of Charleston teammates Zeke Horowitz and Brendan Healy aboard as tactician and trimmer. "Brendan is really dialed in on making the boat go fast, Zeke has been putting us in the right places while James does an amazing job of trimming the chute."
Cole Allsopp said Moxie was among the last boats to come off the start line in Race 5, but managed to fight through the fleet to third place. "We are catching boats around the corners and passing boats all around the track," he said.
There's a new leader in Swan 42 class as Apparition jumped all the way from sixth place after winning Race 5 and taking second in Race 4, both in photo finishes according to skipper Ken Colburn. Philip Williamson's Hoss and Philip Lotz' Arethusa are tied in second, one point behind Apparition.
"There were lots of changes of leads and the key was to be patient and play the shifts," Colburn said. "Positions kept changing as the fleet would split and get back together. Our team did a great job overcoming a lost jib halyard at the start of the first race, which was an ominous way to begin the day."
Teamwork has posted two bullets and two seconds in building a four-point lead in PHRF 1. Skipper Robin Team only does three regattas per year, but always has his J/122 well prepared and sailed by a well-oiled team.
"We're fast and the crew work has been impeccable. We're going really well both upwind and downwind," said Teamwork tactician Jonathan Bartlett, a North Sails pro. "Robin is quite amazing for someone who doesn't get a lot of practice with starts and mark roundings. He's just incredibly skilled considering the small amount of time he races."
KWRW Division 1 Course
High Performance Class (HPR - 9 Boats)
1. SPOOKIE, HPR Carkeek 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , Norwalk, CT, USA, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. Decision, HPR Carkeek 40, Stephen Murray , New Orleans, LA, USA, 2-2-2-4; 10
3. Chessie Racing, Farr 400, George Collins , Miami Beach, FL, USA, 6-4-4-2; 16
IRC 1 (Mini Maxi Class) (IRC - 2 Boats)
1. Shockwave, Reichel/Pugh mini maxi, George Sakellaris , Framingham, MA, USA, 1-2-1-1; 5
2. Bella Mente, Judel-Vrolijk Mini Maxi, Hap Fauth , Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2-1-2-2; 7
IRC 2 (52 Class) (IRC - 6 Boats)
1. Rán, TP 52, Niklas Zennstrom , Southampton, Hampshire, UK, 5-2-1-2; 10
2. Azzurra, TP 52, Alberto Roemmers , Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy, 1-6-4-1; 12
3. Quantum Racing, TP 52, Doug DeVos , Ada, MI, USA, 4-1-5-3; 13
Farr 40 (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Barking Mad, Farr 40, James Richardson , Boston, MA, USA, 1-4-2-3; 10
2. Struntje light, Farr 40, Wolfgang Schaefer , Lueneburg, GER, 5-1-1-5; 12
3. Groovederci, Farr 40, John Demourkas , Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 2-2-3-6; 13
Swan 42 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Apparition, Swan 42, Ken Colburn , Dover, MA, USA, 7-3-2-1; 13
2. Hoss, Swan 42, Glenn Darden / Philip Williamson , Fort Worth, TX, USA, 3-1-3-7; 14
3. Arethusa, Swan 42, Philip Lotz , Newport, RI, USA, 6-4-1-3; 14
KWRW Division 2 Course
Melges 32 (One Design - 11 Boats)
1. Bombarda, Melges 32, Andrea Pozzi , Milano, ITA, 1-8-6-1-6; 22
2. Mascalzone Latino, Melges 32, Vincenzo Onorato , Milano, ITA, 6-10-1-2-4; 23
3. Swing, Melges 32, Keisuke Suzuki , Nishinomiya, Hyogo, JPN, 5-4-8-4-2; 23
Melges 24 (One Design - 23 Boats)
1. hedgehog, Melges 24, Alec Cutler , Pembroke, BER, 2-2-3-1-2; 10
2. Full Throttle, Melges 24, Brian Porter , Lake Geneva, WI, USA, 7-1-2-3-1; 14
3. West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, Melges 24, Bora Gulari , Detroit, MI, USA, 6-4-1-4-4; 19
J 70 (One Design - 39 Boats)
1. Moxie, J 70, Cole / James Allsopp , Annapolis, MD, USA, 5-10-14-4-3; 36
2. USA 69, J 70, Joseph Colling , Bath, OH, USA, 2-2-15-11-13; 43
3. Helly Hansen, J 70, Tim Healy , Newport, RI, USA, 23-14-3-3-1; 44
J 70 (Corinthian) (One Design - 12 Boats)
1. Spring (COR), J 70, David Franzel , Somerville, MA, USA, 3-5-4-2-1; 15
2. B Squared (COR), J 70, Brian Elliot / David Hyer (T) , Sayville, NY, USA, 1-1-9-1-4; 16
3. Nostalgia (COR), J 70, Blake & Lud Kimbrough , Newport, RI, USA, 4-6-1-7-2; 20
KWRW Division 3 Course
J 80 (One Design - 4 Boats)
1. Vayu 2, J 80, Ron Buzil , Evanston, IL, USA, 1-1-1-2; 5
2. Participant III, J 80, G. John Krediet , Stamford, CT, USA, 2-2-3-1; 8
PHRF 1 (PHRF_ToT - 6 Boats)
1. Teamwork, J 122, Robin Team , Lexington, NC, USA, 1-2-1-2; 6
2. White Gold, J 44 MOD, James D. Bishop , Jamestown, RI, USA, 3-1-5-1; 10
3. Lake Effect, J 111, Robert Hesse , Youngstown, NY, USA, 2-3-2-4; 11
PHRF 2 (PHRF_ToT - 8 Boats)
1. Rush, J 109, Bill Sweetser , Annapolis, MD, USA, 2-1-2-1; 6
2. Tangent, Cape Fear 38, Gerald Taylor , Annapolis, MD, USA, 5-5-1-2; 13
3. Rhumb Punch, Farr 30, John and Linda Edwards , California, MD, USA, 1-3-5-7; 16
Photos from Ingrid Abery/www.ingridabery.com