Azzurra and Ran still tied
Day four of Quantum Key West Race Week saw another day of immaculate 13-18 knot conditions. In the same type of puffy, shifty offshore breeze as Wednesday, Thursday’s notable improvement in the conditions was merely that the sun shone longer and stronger.
After two more great races in the 52 Super Series, the top two boats Azzurra and Rán Racing still remain tied on the same points aggregate. Alberto Roemmers’ Azzurra still just holds the edge overall, having now won three races. Azzurra paired an outstanding win in race 7 with a fourth place from race 8 that allowed them to keep Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing only just in check going into Friday’s final two scheduled races.
In turn Zennström's crew kept the pressure on Azzurra with their second place in the first race and then they got the better of the champions in a straight head to head match race up the final beat to take third and fourth in race 8.
According to tactician Vasco Vascotto, on Azzurra everything clicked perfectly in that first race, better than at any stage yet this season and they were able to work the shifts and the gusty breeze to their maximum advantage. At one point they were over 200m ahead of second placed Rán Racing, in part attributable to a great first run when they turned a 40m lead at the first top mark to at least 120m by the downwind turn. Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing held themselves in the hunt for the overall title with third in this race, but they still went into race 8 with a four points deficit on Azzurra.
Vascotto: “The good thing is we are still leading overall but the bad thing is that we are still losing opportunities every day. In the second race we did a good job to come back but we felt Interlodge played a bit more against us than the others, we were controlling Rán Racing to try and hold them into the final day, but Interlodge made a couple of tacks on our bow which I did not really expect. So suddenly we lost our place. Now I am aware that can happen in the future, so wake up Vasco!
"The first race was great we stayed in phase all the way through. It was good, the star, the crew work. It was the first race here that we sailed at the best we can do together. We are very happy with that. Tomorrow is still a northerly breeze, shifty, start well and sail properly – really sailing like we did today but just tack on Rán if we get the chance.”
Niklas Zennström added: “I think we sailed much better today than we did yesterday. We had a big debrief last night. We made some mistakes yesterday and today I think we sailed better. The second race at the first bottom mark we picked the wrong mark, but we came back and it was okay.
"The conditions were better than yesterday there was more breeze and it was quite unstable making it quite difficult upwind, but we were quite okay downwind. Downwind we were always comfortable but upwind we struggled. And today we sailed the boat much more consistently. We tried to improve on these today. Out boat is a little more narrow which does not give us as much stability."
Quantum Racing knew they needed a high calibre result to give themselves a chance of still being title contenders Friday. That they started well from close to the pin end of the start line and lead at the first windward mark seemed to have set them up for their third win of the series. But Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge sailed a great first beat to round second and were then able to pass Quantum on the second run. But Andy Horton and Ed Baird read the extra pressure and left shift best on the final beat and were able to get out there, Quamtum Racing easing past Interlodge. This last upwind saw some of the most exciting upwind racing so far, with Quantum Racing containing Interlodge by a boat length in their duel and Rán Racing going toe to toe in an exciting battle against Azzurra.
Quantum strategist Andy Horton said: “We had a good start in the second race which made a difference, we hit a couple of shifts, there was less current on the left side and made some gains there. Then we got to the top mark and with the race course under the Key, there are puffs which come down and get in the right place on the run. We were forced into a position where we were not quite where we wanted to be on the downwind. We got sucked into the group and got passed by Interlodge and then got passed by another boat at the gate. Then we had a good second beat, we got back into second place, at the bottom second time we were tied for first and then an awesome final beat and pulled it out by a boatlength against Interlodge. Rán and Azzurra were having a nice battle too and so we end up right in there for the final day. You’d like to go out and win twice tomorrow. We need to make sure we are fast and we minimise mistakes and really just keep on with what we are doing.”
In the match race between the 72ft Mini Maxis Bella Mente and Shockwave, George Sakellaris and his crew on Shockwave won both races today and have clinched the overall victory. With two races remaining, her lead of four points is insurmountable.
"Great racing and great competition," Sakellaris said. "Bella Mente is a terrific team and a real pleasure to compete against. Every race was back and forth. They would lead and then we would lead. It all depends on who picks the shifts first."
Legendary sailmaker Robbie Doyle called tactics while former Olympian Mark Mendelblatt served as strategist for Sakellaris. Racing was incredibly close between the Judel Vrolijk and Reichel-Pugh designs with one race being decided by six seconds and another by less than 20 seconds.
There's also a tight two-boat duel in the High Performance class between the Carkeek 40 sisterships Steve Benjamin's Spookie and Stephen Murray's Decision. Spookie was walking away with the regatta until blowing out its spinnaker in both races yesterday, opening the door for Decision, which won both races taking the lead. Today Spookie rebounded winning both races, but Decision notched two seconds and maintains a narrow one-point lead. Spookie beat Decision by just one second in race 7, crossing the line nine seconds behind but recovering 10 seconds of time on handicap.
"The boats are very, very even so it's been neck-and-neck, back-and-forth all week," said Heidi Benjamin, who calls tactics for her husband. "We're really looking forward to tomorrow. It should be very exciting racing. Johnny Lovell is a very good tactician while Stephen Murray is a very good driver so Decision will be tough to beat."
Decision and Spookie have left the rest of the High Performance Class in the dust, leading George Collins and Chessie Racing to focus on winning the Farr 400 One Design competition. Chessie has won six of eight races within that sub class and holds an eight-point lead over Meridian X.
"Our crew work has been phenomenal. We've had very few mistakes," Collins said. "I'm having a ball doing the starts and driving. The boats have a nice groove to them and are very quick. A little wet, but very fun to sail."
There was some tremendous competition in Swan 42 class today between Apparition and Stark Raving Mad VI. Skipper Ken Colburn and the Apparition crew notched results of third and first to beat James Madden and the Stark Raving Mad team by one point. That effort earned Apparition The Marlow Trophy Boat of the Day honour.
When Deneen Demourkas and her Groovederci arrived back at The Galleon Docks her husband John was waiting to hand her a mudslide. That's because Deneen scored her first victory as a Melges 32 skipper, getting the gun in race 7. Demourkas made her class debut at the Melges 32 World Championship last September and this is only her second regatta.
"Worlds was our first event and none of us really knew the boat. We had a lot to learn so we took a lot of advice and tips from friends," Demourkas said. "Today, we finally got off the line in good shape. Our boat speed has been fantastic so it felt good to finally get a nice start."
Bombarda, skippered by Andrea Pozzi, posted a second and third on Thursday and remained the overall leader for the third straight day. Past class world champion Lorenzo Bressani is calling tactics for Pozzi, who holds a somewhat comfortable nine-point lead over the Japanese entry Keisuke Suzuki's Swing.
Full Throttle and hedgehog are engaged in a heated battle in Melges 24 class, second-largest of the regatta with 23 boats. Skipper Brian Porter and Full Throttle opened the series with a seventh, but have been able to throw that out and have finished no lower than third ever since. Skipper Alec Cutler and the hedgehog crew had put up a steady string of firsts and seconds before sailing their throw out on Thursday, an eighth in race 7.
Cutler was annoyed because hedgehog had come back from dead last at the start to second place by the leeward mark, but subsequently missed a shift and lost six boats in race 7. Full Throttle won two races on Thursday and now leads by four points.
"We can still win this thing. We just need to stay positive," Cutler said. "Our boat speed is there and our crew work is there. We need to win the first race tomorrow then see where things stand."
North Sails professional Tim Healy and his team on Helly Hansen seized the lead in J/70 class, largest of the regatta with 39 boats. Geoff Becker is calling tactics for Healy who posted a first and second in three races on Thursday and leads Brian Keane's Savasana by two points.
Ron Buzil and his crew on Vayu 2 have put forth an impressive performance in J/80 class, winning seven of eight starts with the lone slipup being a second place in Race 4. Andrew Kerr, who holds the distinction of having competed in every Key West regatta since its inception in 1988, is calling tactics for Buzil. Jahn Tihansky, offshore sailing coach at the Naval Academy and owner of J/World Annapolis, is also part of the crew.
"It's been a combination of a lot of things," Buzil said when asked the reason for his team's success. "We have good boat speed, strong boat-handling and Andrew really knows the weather conditions down here."
Top three results:
KWRW Division 1 Course
High Performance Class (HPR - 9 Boats)
1. Decision, HPR Carkeek 40, Stephen Murray , New Orleans, LA, USA, 2-2-2-4-1-1-2-2; 16
2. SPOOKIE, HPR Carkeek 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , Norwalk, CT, USA, 1-1-1-1-3-8-1-1; 17
3. Chessie Racing, Farr 400, George Collins , Miami Beach, FL, USA, 6-4-4-2-4-6-4-4; 34
4. Santa, Farr 400, Jesper Bank / Michael Hestbek (T) , DEN, 3-3-3-8-6-2-7-6; 38
5. Stray Dog, GP 42, Charles Engh , Lusby, MD, USA, 7-6-7-3-8-3-3-5; 42
IRC 1 (Mini Maxi Class) (IRC - 2 Boats)
1. Shockwave, Reichel/Pugh mini maxi, George Sakellaris , Framingham, MA, USA, 1-2-1-1-1-2-1-1; 10
2. Bella Mente, Judel-Vrolijk Mini Maxi, Hap Fauth , Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2-1-2-2-2-1-2-2; 14
IRC 2 (52 Class) (IRC - 6 Boats)
1. Azzurra, TP 52, Alberto Roemmers , Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy, 1-6-4-1-2-2-1-4; 21
2. Rán, TP 52, Niklas Zennstrom , Southampton, Hampshire, UK, 5-2-1-2-3-3-2-3; 21
3. Quantum Racing, TP 52, Doug DeVos , Ada, MI, USA, 4-1-5-3-1-4-3-1; 22
4. Interlodge, IRC 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA, 3-4-2-5-4-1-5-2; 26
5. Gladiator, TP 52, Tony Langley , Retford, Nottinghamshire, UK, 2-3-3-6-5-6-4-5; 34
IRC 2 (52 Super Series) (IRC - 6 Boats)
1. Azzurra (SS), TP 52, Alberto Roemmers , Buenos Aires, Caba, ARG, 1-6-4-1-2-2-1-4; 21
2. Rán (SS), TP 52, Niklas Zennstrom , Southampton, Hampshire, UK, 5-2-1-2-3-3-2-3; 21
3. Quantum Racing (SS), TP 52, Doug DeVos , Ada, MI, USA, 4-1-5-3-1-4-3-1; 22
4. Interlodge (SS), IRC 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA, 3-4-2-5-4-1-5-2; 26
5. Gladiator (SS), TP 52, Tony Langley , Retford, Nottinghamshire, UK, 2-3-3-6-5-6-4-5; 34
IRC Sub-Class (IRC - 4 Boats)
1. Catapult (IRC), Ker 40, Marc Glimcher , New York, NY, USA, 3-3-2-2-1-2-1-1; 15
2. SPOOKIE (IRC), HPR Carkeek 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , Norwalk, CT, USA, 1-1-1-1-3-4-3-2; 16
3. Decision (IRC), HPR Carkeek 40, Stephen Murray , New Orleans, LA, USA, 2-2-3-4-2-1-2-3; 19
4. Chessie Racing (IRC), Farr 400, George Collins , Miami Beach, FL, USA, 4-4-4-3-4-3-4-4; 30
Farr 400 One Design (One Design - 4 Boats)
1. Chessie Racing (OD), Farr 400, George Collins , Miami Beach, FL, USA, 3-1-1-1-1-3-1-1; 12
2. Meridian X (OD), Farr 400, W.S. Shelhorse , Virginia Beach, VA, USA, 2-4-2-3-2-2-2-3; 20
3. Spaceman Spiff (OD), Farr 400, Rob Ruhlman , Cleveland, OH, USA, 4-3-4-2-3-1-3-2; 22
4. Team Premier (OD), Farr 400, Hannes Waimer , Dubai, UAE, 1-2-3-4-5/DNF-5/DNS-5/DNC-5/DNC; 30
Farr 40 (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Barking Mad, Farr 40, James Richardson , Boston, MA, USA, 1-4-2-3-3-1-4-3; 21
2. Flash Gordon 6, Farr 40, Helmut Jahn , Chicago, IL, USA, 3-6-5-2-1-6-1-2; 26
3. Charisma, Farr 40, Nico Poons , Monaco, MON, 6-5-6-1-2-5-2-1; 28
4. Struntje light, Farr 40, Wolfgang Schaefer , Lueneburg, GER, 5-1-1-5-6-3-3-4; 28
5. Groovederci, Farr 40, John Demourkas , Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 2-2-3-6-5-2-6-6; 32
Swan 42 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Apparition, Swan 42, Ken Colburn , Dover, MA, USA, 7-3-2-1-4-4-3-1; 25
2. Stark Raving Mad VI, Swan 42, James Madden , Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, 5-2-4-5-3-1-2-5; 27
3. Arethusa, Swan 42, Philip Lotz , Newport, RI, USA, 6-4-1-3-1-5-4-7; 31
4. Daring, Swan 42, John Hele , Newport, RI, USA, 4-5-7-2-2-7-1-3; 31
5. Hoss, Swan 42, Glenn Darden / Philip Williamson , Fort Worth, TX, USA, 3-1-3-7-5-3-5-4; 31
KWRW Division 2 Course
Melges 32 (One Design - 11 Boats)
1. Bombarda, Melges 32, Andrea Pozzi , Milano, ITA, 1-8-6-1-6-1-2-5-2-3-; 27
2. Swing, Melges 32, Keisuke Suzuki , Nishinomiya, Hyogo, JPN, 5-4-8-4-2-3-5-2-4-7-; 36
3. Leenabarca, Melges 32, Alex Jackson , Riverside, CT, USA, 11-2-4-7-3-7-1-7-5-1-; 37
4. Groovederci, Melges 32, Deneen Demourkas , Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 3-7-2-10-11-5-4-3-1-6-; 41
5. Mascalzone Latino, Melges 32, Vincenzo Onorato , Milano, ITA, 6-10-1-2-4-4-3-6-7-10-; 43
Melges 24 (One Design - 23 Boats)
1. Full Throttle, Melges 24, Brian Porter , Lake Geneva, WI, USA, 7-1-2-3-1-3-1-3-1-1-; 16
2. hedgehog, Melges 24, Alec Cutler , Pembroke, BER, 2-2-3-1-2-2-2-4-8-2-; 20
3. West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, Melges 24, Bora Gulari , Detroit, MI, USA, 6-4-1-4-4-4-4-2-2-5-; 30
4. Rock N Roll, Melges 24, Argyle Campbell , Newport Beach, CA, USA, 5-8-4-6-3-1-24/DNF-1-5-6-; 39
5. Monsoon, Melges 24, Bruce Ayres , Costa Mesa, CA, USA, 1-9-10-2-10-6-6-7-15-4-; 55
J 70 (One Design - 39 Boats)
1. Helly Hansen, J 70, Tim Healy , Newport, RI, USA, 23-14-3-3-1-1-19/SCP-1-6-2-; 50
2. Savasana, J 70, Brian Keane , Weston, MA, USA, 15-25-1-19-2-2-1-5-5-1-; 51
3. Stampede, J 70, Loring / Pasquinelli , Dallas, TX, USA, 18-33-5-1-4-12-2-7-4-4-; 57
4. Heartbreaker, J 70, Robert Hughes , Ada, MI , USA, 1-12-4-40/OCS-10.7/RDG-4-9-2-9-15-; 66.7
5. Relative Obscurity, J 70, Peter Duncan , Rye, NY, USA, 19-6-7-9-5-3-6-16-2-18-; 72
J 70 (Corinthian) (One Design - 12 Boats)
1. Nostalgia (COR), J 70, Blake & Lud Kimbrough , Newport, RI, USA, 4-6-1-7-2-1-1-1-3-3-; 22
2. B Squared (COR), J 70, Brian Elliot / David Hyer (T) , Sayville, NY, USA, 1-1-9-1-4-2-2-3-4-5-; 23
3. Spring (COR), J 70, David Franzel , Somerville, MA, USA, 3-5-4-2-1-3-7-4-1-1-; 24
4. Team ACAK (COR), J 70, Vicker / Steiner , Crownsville, MD, USA, 9-8-5-6-3-6-3-2-2-2-; 37
5. Sundog (COR), J 70, Kathy Parks / Paul Parks (T) , Shady Side, MD, USA, 6-2-3-3-6-7-5-5-6-4-; 40
KWRW Division 3 Course
J 80 (One Design - 4 Boats)
1. Vayu 2, J 80, Ron Buzil , Evanston, IL, USA, 1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1; 9
2. Participant III, J 80, G. John Krediet , Stamford, CT, USA, 2-2-3-1-3-2-2-2; 17
3. Courageous, J 80, Gary Panariello , Manhasset, NY, USA, 4-4-2-3-2-4-3-4; 26
4. Willy T, J 80, Dave Manheimer , Annapolis, MD, USA, 3-3-4-4-4-3-4-3; 28
PHRF 1 (PHRF_ToT - 6 Boats)
1. Teamwork, J 122, Robin Team , Lexington, NC, USA, 1-2-1-2-2-1-1-4; 14
2. White Gold, J 44 MOD, James D. Bishop , Jamestown, RI, USA, 3-1-5-1-1-6-2-3; 22
3. Lake Effect, J 111, Robert Hesse , Youngstown, NY, USA, 2-3-2-4-3-3-6-1; 24
4. Wicked 2.0, J 111, Douglas Curtiss , South Dartmouth, MA, USA, 4-4-4-3-5-2-3-2; 27
5. Fireball, J 111, Team Fireball , Annapolis, MD, USA, 6-5-3-5-4-4-5-6; 38
PHRF 2 (PHRF_ToT - 8 Boats)
1. Rush, J 109, Bill Sweetser , Annapolis, MD, USA, 2-1-2-1-3-2-5-5; 21
2. Tangent, Cape Fear 38, Gerald Taylor , Annapolis, MD, USA, 5-5-1-2-2-3-3/SCP-1; 22
3. Rebecca, J 120, Glenn Gault , League City, TX, USA, 8-8-7-3-1-1-2-2; 32
4. Alliance, Summit 35, John Borowski / John Cooper , Springfield, MO, USA, 3-6-4-4-4-5-4-6; 36
5. Heat Wave, J 109, Gary Weisberg , Gloucester, MA, USA, 4-7-3-5-6-7-6-4; 42
From Jesus Renedo/www.sailingstock.com