by Bill Wagner
Key West 2013 has already completed four days of spectacular racing off the beautiful beaches of Miami, producing action-packed races and tight finishes across different classes.
Key West Race Week 2013
With four days of racing complete, it is not difficult to identify the stars of Quantum Key West 2013: The sun and the wind!
Even the most veteran sailors have been amazed by the fact every day of the regatta has brought spectacular conditions with warm temperatures and solid breezes. Wednesday brought 18-22 knot winds and Thursday was equally ideal as the breeze held steady between 14-18 knots.
Key West Race Week 2013
'We've had an incredible string of great sailing days. I think that is really the story,' said Jonathan McKee, tactician aboard the Farr 40 Struntje Light. 'We keep waiting for a crappy day and it just hasn't happened. We've just been really lucky that each day has been spectacular.'
That good fortune is expected to continue on Friday as George Caras of Commanders' Weather is forecasting winds in the 12-18 knot range and more sunny skies. George Collins was once a regular competitor at Key West, but hasn't attended for many years. The 72-year-old skipper of Chessie Racing was equally amazed by the caliber of sailing throughout the week.
'What another beautiful day of racing,' Collins said upon returning to the dock in front of the Half Shell Raw Bar. 'I can't remember a week that had such consistently good breeze. There are usually one or two light days, but not this week. The Key West Chamber of Commerce gets five stars.'
Key West Race Week 2013
Event chairman Peter Craig and his Premiere Racing team take pride in giving sailors a full week of action. Over the past 20 years, the annual regatta off the Florida Keys has lost just six days of racing. Barring some unforeseen situation, this will be another year that Premiere Racing has completed the target number of 10 races. More remarkable is that Division 2, under the direction of principal race officer Dave Brennan, is likely to get in 12 races.
It's been a knockdown, drag out fight in IRC 2 (52 Class) all week and the winner probably won't be decided until the last leg of the last race on the last day. Azzurra and Ran are tied atop the standings with 21 points apiece while Quantum Racing is just one point behind.
Helmsman Guillermo Parada and tactician Vasco Vascotto led the Italian entry Azzurra to victory in Race 7 on Thursday while skipper Doug DeVos and tactician Ed Baird led the American boat Quantum Racing to victory in Race 8. Ran, the Swedish program skippered by Niklas Zennstrom, also had a strong day with a second and third.
'We're looking forward to a great final day of racing here in Key West. We have three boats, possibly four, in contention so it is going to be all on,' Ran tactician Adrian Stead said. 'We've had fantastic racing all week in the class. Every race has been hard fought from start to finish.'
It has been a tremendous week of match racing between the 72-footers Bella Mente and Shockwave with the two trading wins. Skipper George Sakellaris and his crew aboard Shockwave won both races on Thursday and have clinched the overall victory. With two races remaining, Shockwave's lead of four points is insurmountable.
Key West Race Week 2013
'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, a resident of Framingham, Massachusetts. Andreas Visintini was aboard as navigator. 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 a tight two-boat duel in the High Performance class between the Carkeek 40 sister ships Spookie (Steve Benjamin, Norwalk, CT) and Decision (Stephen Murray, New Orleans). Spookie was walking away with the regatta until blowing out its spinnaker in both races on Wednesday. That opened the door for Decision, which won both races on Wednesday to take the lead.
Spookie rebounded to win both races on Thursday, 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 and getting 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 (Miami Beach) 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 (Sled Shelhorse, Virginia Beach).
Key West Race Week 2013
'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 on Thursday 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 honor.
When Deneen Demourkas 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 Championships last September and this is 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 Swing (Keisuke Suzuki).
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 (Newport, RI), who posted a first and second in three races on Thursday and leads Savasana (Brian Keane, Weston, MA) 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 (Evanston, ILL). 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.'
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 and 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 and 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 and 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
Key West Race Week 2013