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Key West 2012 - Down to the wire

by Bill Wagner on 20 Jan 2012
Key West 2012 Day 4 racing © Ingrid Abery http://www.ingridabery.com
The outcome of several classes remains in doubt at Quantum Key west 2012.

Eight races have now been completed, with two scheduled for tomorrow.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the deep and talent-laden Melges 32 class has come down to the wire with Samba Pa Ti holding a slim four-point lead over Pisces. Skipper John Kilroy and the Los Angeles-based Samba team posted a strong score line of 2-4-3 on Thursday and will look to protect its advantage on Friday when two races are expected to be held.

'Like most good regattas, it comes down to the last day and probably the last race,' Kilroy said. 'We just have to relax and minimize our mistakes. We’re going to go out there and sail the way we normally do.'

Kilroy said Italian professional Lorenzo Bressani has done a superb job of calling tactics while the sail program has been well organized by Fuzz Foster, owner of the North loft in Hawaii. 'The guys are sailing really well, the boat is going really well and we’ve giving ourselves opportunities to make gains.'

Pisces, skippered by Benjamin Schwartz with America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird aboard as tactician, is a class newcomer that has performed at a high level all week. The New York-based boat placed second in Thursday’s last race and was able to drop the eighth it absorbed in Race 7 and trails Samba, 18-22.

There is a good battle brewing in PHRF 1 as well where Teamwork and Tres Hombres have been exchanging blows all week. Skipper Robin Team and his crew aboard the J/122 beat the 1D35 by one point on Thursday and that is also the difference in the overall standings.

Tres Hombres, owned by Steve Ghormley, Mike Tyer and Jeff Kitterman, has notched three bullets and finished second or third in three other races. Quantum pro Terry Flynn is calling tactics on the Texas boat.

'This regatta starts tomorrow,' Flynn declared. 'I was hoping we’d have it locked up by now, but there is still work to do. The Teamwork guys are sailing really well and we still have to worry about the J/111 because it’s only three points behind us.'

Flynn said Tres Hombres, Teamwork and Mental (Paul Stahlberg, Barrington, Ill.) have been so close with one another that it mimics one-design racing. 'It’s almost boat-for-boat, which makes for great racing.'

Farr 40 is another class that won’t be decided until the fifth and final day of the regatta. Struntje Light, the German entry owned by Wolfgang Schaefer, leads Charisma by four points. Those two were tied going into Race 8, but Struntje Light placed second while Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) finished sixth.

Barking Mad got the gun in two of three races on Thursday and might well be winning the class had it not lost a man overboard and failed to finish Race 2. Skipper Jim Richardson is still only seven boats out of the lead despite taking eight points for the DNF.

'We haven’t been sailing to our usual level. Today was the closest to feeling like the old Barking Mad,' veteran trimmer Morgan Trubovich said.

Organizers with Premiere Racing managed to complete the second three-race day of the regatta and that gave some class leaders a chance to really put the hammer down on the competition. Quantum Racing enjoyed a spectacular day with three first place results to build an insurmountable 14 ½ point lead in the 52 Class (IRC 2).

Tactician Terry Hutchinson and navigator Micheli Ivaldi, both of whom have multiple America’s Cup campaigns under their belts, have proven a formidable tandem in helping skipper Doug DeVos post a total of six bullets in eight starts. Quantum, a Botin Partners designed 52-footer, finished second in the two other races.

'It was a great team performance all day. We had good starts in all three races and great boat-handling,' Hutchinson said. 'We were a bit fortunate in the second race. We went to the right side of the course, found a little more pressure and moved from seventh to first.'

Second place PowerPlay, owned by Peter Cunningham of Grand Cayman, cannot mathematically overtake Quantum in two races tomorrow. Hutchinson said the class leaders will sail on Friday nonetheless.

'To be honest, I wasn’t expecting us to have this kind of scorecard at the beginning of the week. It’s just been one of those events when a lot of things have gone our way,' he said.

One of the most impressive performances of the regatta has come from Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., which has won all eight races in Farr 30 class. Phillipe Mourniac is calling tactics for Groovederci, which is coming off a victory at the class world championships and clearly has not lost a beat.

'Felipe did a great job in tricky conditions today. He had a string on the wind and didn’t let go,' Demourkas said.
Winds were nine knots from the north to start the day, increased to 12 at one point then dropped back down. Demourkas said the Division 2 course saw wind shifts of 30 to 40 degrees. She also praised the work of trimmers Darren Jones and Cameron Biehl, who along with bowman Andy Hudson are holdovers from the world championship crew.
'Our boat is set up really well and we just have a few more gears than the other boats,' she said.

Another boat that is unbeaten is Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer owned by Niklas Zennstrom of Great Britain. Adrian Stead has done a brilliant job calling tactics on Ran, which has dominated Numbers (JV 66) and Shockwave (Reichel-Pugh 72) in the Mini Maxi (IRC 1) class.

It’s a runaway in the 18-boat J/80 class as Glenn Darden has steered Le Tigre to a steady stream of first, second and third place results. John Gluek is serving as tactician on Le Tigre, which holds an 18-point lead over second place Rocad Racing (Mikael Lindqvist, Sweden).

Le Tigre was named Mount Gay Rum Boat of the Day for winning the class which had the closest, most competitive racing for the day. The boat is co-owned by Reese Hillard, who works the bow while Karl Anderson trims the jib aboard the Forth Worth, Texas entry. They captured the class world championship in 2006 and are seeking to three-peat at Key West.

'Our team is really meshing well. We’ve had a lot of time in the boat and that makes a big difference,' Darden said. 'John has done a great job of keeping us in phase and everyone else is just doing their job at a high level.'

Bora Gulari and the West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes team continue to cruise along in Melges 24 class, counting all first place results after being able to drop the sixth it took in Race 6. That gives the Detroit entry a healthy 10-point lead over runner-up WTF (Alan Field, Los Angeles).

L’Outrage, a Benteau 10-meter owned by Bruce Gardner of Annapolis, has finished first or second in all eight races and appears headed to its third class victory at Key West. North pro Kenny Saylor is calling tactics on L’Outrage, which earned PHRF Boat of the Week honors in 2000, leads fellow Annapolis boat Tangent (Gerry Taylor) by six points in PHRF 2.

'I’m pleasantly surprised. We knew it would be good competition and were kind of worried about how we would do in the lighter air,' Gardner said. 'We worked hard to adjust the rig to fit the lighter conditions and it seems to have paid off.'

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Standings after eight races
Place, Yacht Name, Sail, Owner/Skipper, Results, Total Points
Mini Maxi (IRC 1) (IRC - 3 Boats)
1. Rán, GBR7236R, Niklas Zennstrom - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 8
2. Numbers, USA119, Daniel Meyers - 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, ; 19
3. Shockwave, USA60272, George Sakellaris - 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, ; 21

52 Class (IRC 2) (IRC - 8 Boats)
1. Quantum Racing, USA52011, Doug DeVos - 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, ; 10
2. PowerPlay, CAY52, Peter Cunningham - 3, 2, 1, 3, 4, 2, 6.5, 3, ; 24.5
3. TeamOrigin 1851/ Team Bella Mente, GBR1851N, Hap Fauth - 4, 4, 5, 2, 1, 4, 5, 8, ; 33

IRC 3 (Shared start with High Performance) (IRC - 5 Boats)
1. Antilope, GBR46N, Willem Wester - 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, ; 12
2. Vitesse, USA4240, Jon Halbert - 5, 6/DNF, 1, 3, 3, 4, 3, 1, ; 26
3. Sarah, USA52756, Greg Manning - 2, 4, 5, 5, 4, 2, 1, 4, ; 27

Farr 40 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Struntje light, GER40, Wolfgang Schaefer - 2, 3, 4, 2, 4, 3, 3, 2, ; 23
2. Charisma, MON69, Nico Poons - 5, 4, 2, 3, 1, 2, 4, 6, ; 27
3. Barking Mad, USA50955, James Richardson - 3, 8/DNF, 5, 5, 2, 1, 1, 5, ; 30

Farr 400 (One Design - 5 Boats)
1. Red, UAE400, Joe Woods - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, ; 12
2. Team Premier NorCal, USA403, H. Blackett & S. Shapiro - 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, 1, 3, 1, ; 18
3. Meridian X, USA404, W.S. Shelhorse - 2, 3, 4, 5, 2, 4, 1, 2, ; 23

High Performance (Shared start with IRC 3) (ToT - 4 Boats)
1. Carbonado, CAN5, Rob & Sandy Butler - 1, 3, 2, 2, 3, 4, 2, 1, ; 18
2. Big Booty, USA60208, Pat Eudy - 2, 1, 4, 4, 2, 1, 3, 3, ; 20
3. Stray Dog, USA8668, Charles Engh - 3, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2, 4, 4, ; 20

Melges 32 (One Design - 19 Boats)
1. Samba Pa Ti, USA13131, John Kilroy, Jr. - 1, 1, 5, 3, 4, 2, 4, 3, [5] ; 18
2. Pisces, USA230, Benjamin Schwartz - 3, 3, 1, 1, 6, 6, 8, 2, [8] ; 22
3. Heartbreaker , USA201, Robert Hughes - 10, 13, 6, 8, 2, 1, 3, 4, [13] ; 34

Melges 24 (One Design - 15 Boats)
1. West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, USA820, Bora Gulari - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 6, 1, 1, [6] ; 7
2. WTF, USA811, Alan Field - 3, 2, 5, 3, 2, 1, 3, 3, [5] ; 17
3. Blu Moon, SUI825, Franco Rossini - 2, 3, 2, 8, 3, 3, 2, 2, [8] ; 17

Farr 30 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Groovederci, USA706, Deneen Demourkas - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 8
2. Theend, USA316, Richard Goransson - 2, 2, 5, 2, 3, 2, 3, 6, ; 25
3. Mummbles, USA704, Brad Kauffman - 4, 4, 2, 3, 2, 3, 4, 5, ; 27

J 80 (One Design - 18 Boats)
1. Le Tigre, USA1152, Darden Hillard - 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, ; 14
2. Rocad Racing, SWE243, Mikael Lindqvist - 8, 1, 4, 4, 6, 4, 1, 4, ; 32
3. Church Key, USA59, Chris & Liz Chadwick - 9, 8, 2, 2, 5, 1, 5, 3, ; 35

PHRF 1 (ToD) (PHRF - 10 Boats)
1. Teamwork, USA52939, Robin Team - 2, 1, 3, 3, 1, 4, 3, 2, ; 19
2. Tres Hombres, USA35029, Kitterman, Tyer, Ghormley - 1, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 5, 4, ; 20
3. Mental, USA022, Paul Stahlberg - 3, 2, 6, 4, 4, 2, 1, 1, ; 23

PHRF 2 (ToD) (PHRF - 11 Boats)
1. L'Outrage, USA73456, Bruce Gardner - 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, ; 11
2. Tangent, USA53228, Gerry Taylor - 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 12/DSQ, 3, 2, ; 24
3. Kalevala II, USA52439, Tapio Saavalainen - 3, 4, 3.5, 3, 3, 2, 2, 4.5, ; 25

J Boats Subclass (ToT) (ToT - 7 Boats)
1. Teamwork (J), USA52939, Robin Team - 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 3, 4, 2, ; 16
2. Rush (J), USA51, Bill Sweetser - 4, 4, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 4, ; 18
3. Mental (J), USA022, Paul Stahlberg - 2, 2, 5, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, ; 20

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Bakewell-White Yacht DesignKilwell - 6T Clewring One Design

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