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Southern Spars - North Technology

Key West 2012 - Unexpected day off

by Bill Wagner on 19 Jan 2012
Yesterday’s racing at Key West 2012 © Ingrid Abery http://www.ingridabery.com

Key West 2012 competition on Wednesday was cancelled, due to the fickle and light breezes.

An early start, to allow for three races, is now planned for Thursday when winds are forecast to be 7 to 12 knots.


Event director Peter Craig, after consulting with the principal race officers from all three courses, called for a postponement and held the 112-boat fleet at the dock in the morning. Craig postponed again at noon for an hour before deciding to call off racing entirely.

'While forecasts would suggest an early abandonment was the right move, there was a chance the northerly would develop in time to get in a fair race around mid to late afternoon,' Craig said. 'However, it became apparent from looking at updated weather models and actual wind observation out on the water that the best course of action was to not go out today and try our best to get in three races on Thursday.'

Every sailor seemed to have a different idea as to the best way to spend a rare off day at Quantum Key West 2012.

Mummbles skipper Brad Kauffman was talking about going fishing - directly off the stern of his Farr 30! After staying home and doing laundry on Tuesday night, Ryan Glaze and his crew aboard the J/80 Team Gringo figured a casual afternoon of sipping frozen drinks sounded good.

A crewman from one of the 52-foot racers quickly grabbed a paddleboard while others were talking about playing golf or tennis for exercise. Jon Von Schwarz, grinder aboard the TP52 Bella Mente, said the simple pleasure of tossing a Frisbee would be relaxing.

Craig made the decision after spending most of the morning reviewing wind data with renowned forecaster George Caras of Commander's Weather as well as three other forecasts. Premiere Racing also sent two boats out on the race courses to take wind readings.

'My biggest concern would have been to start a race and not have it be a fair contest,' Craig said. 'We have five races already in the books and I feel very comfortable that we can complete five more. We could have waited a bit longer, but we wanted to make a final determination early enough for the sailors to enjoy a warm, sunny afternoon in Key West.'

Ken Legler, principal race officer for Division 1, wholeheartedly endorsed the decision. Legler said there is nothing worse than sending all the boats out of the harbor then finding out the wind is not stable or strong enough to race.

'I much prefer to postpone ashore rather than on the water and I think most sailors would agree,' Legler said. 'Some say 'You gotta try' while others say 'What's the point?' Based on all the forecasts were monitoring, this is the right move. I'm highly confident we can still complete a 10-race series.'

In 19 years of directing the annual race week off Key West, Craig said this marked only the fourth lost day of competition - a truly remarkable record for a five-day regatta. 'No racing is certainly a real rarity for this event,' he said.

Veteran professional sailors applauded the decision not to race and were thankful for not being sent out on the water. Peter Holmberg, tactician aboard the 52-footer Highland Fling, said the team was able to complete some small repair jobs and other tasks while waiting for the final determination to be made.

'It's been a great regatta so far and the committee was really smart to capture three races on Tuesday. It didn't make sense to send the boats out today with such a spotty forecast,' Holmberg said. 'We're hearing the wind will be better tomorrow and if the committee can hold another three-race day we'll be right back on schedule.'

Ed Baird, tactician aboard Melges 32 class leader Pisces, seconded that opinion. 'It's much appreciated to be held ashore when it looks unlikely the committee would have been able to get a race off,' he said.

Baird said it does place a bit more pressure on teams to perform well on Thursday if indeed three races are held. 'We've got to be ready to come out swinging tomorrow,' he said. 'At the same time, the mentality has to stay the same and you have to focus on each race as it comes. It's a 10-race series and we do those races whenever they tell us to.'

Bill Sweetser, whose J/109 Rush was named Lewmar/Navtec Boat of the Day on Tuesday, had been hoping to build off that momentum. 'We're hot so naturally we want to keep it going. We're disappointed the wind didn't cooperate so we could continue racing while we're in the groove,' he said.

Top Three in Class After Five Races
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points
Mini Maxi (IRC 1) (IRC - 3 Boats)


1. Rán, Niklas Zennstrom , UK - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 5
2. Numbers, Daniel Meyers , USA - 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, ; 11
3. Shockwave, George Sakellaris , USA - 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, ; 14

52 Class (IRC 2) (IRC - 8 Boats)
1. Quantum Racing, Doug DeVos , USA - 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, ; 7
2. PowerPlay, Peter Cunningham , CAY - 3, 2, 1, 3, 4, ; 13
3. TeamOrigin 1851/ Team Bella Mente, Hap Fauth , USA - 4, 4, 5, 2, 1, ; 16

IRC 3 (Shared start with High Performance) (IRC - 5 Boats)
1. Antilope, Willem Wester , NED - 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Cool Breeze, John Cooper , USA - 3, 2, 3, 4, 2, ; 14
3. Vitesse, Jon Halbert , USA - 5, 6/DNF, 1, 3, 3, ; 18

Farr 40 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Charisma, Nico Poons , Monaco - 5, 4, 2, 3, 1, ; 15
2. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer , GER - 2, 3, 4, 2, 4, ; 15
3. Groovederci, John Demourkas , USA - 4, 1, 6, 1, 6, ; 18

Farr 400 (One Design - 5 Boats)
1. Red, Joe Woods , UK - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 5
2. Team Premier NorCal, H. Blackett & S. Shapiro , USA - 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, ; 13
3. Meridian X, W.S. Shelhorse , USA - 2, 3, 4, 5, 2, ; 16

High Performance (Shared start with IRC 3) (ToT - 4 Boats)
1. Stray Dog, Charles Engh , USA - 3, 2, 3, 1, 1, ; 10
2. Carbonado, Rob & Sandy Butler , CAN - 1, 3, 2, 2, 3, ; 11
3. Big Booty, Pat Eudy , USA - 2, 1, 4, 4, 2, ; 13

Melges 32 (One Design - 19 Boats)
1. Pisces, Benjamin Schwartz , USA - 3, 3, 1, 1, 6, ; 14
2. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, Jr. , USA - 1, 1, 5, 3, 4, ; 14
3. Hedgehog, Alec Cutler , BER - 4, 2, 8, 4, 7, ; 25

Melges 24 (One Design - 15 Boats)
1. West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, Bora Gulari , USA - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 5
2. WTF, Alan Field , USA - 3, 2, 5, 3, 2, ; 15
3. Blu Moon, Franco Rossini , SUI - 2, 3, 2, 8, 3, ; 18

Farr 30 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Groovederci, Deneen Demourkas , USA - 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 5
2. Theend, Richard Goransson , SWE - 2, 2, 5, 2, 3, ; 14
3. Mummbles, Brad Kauffman , USA - 4, 4, 2, 3, 2, ; 15

J 80 (One Design - 18 Boats)
1. Le Tigre, Darden Hillard , USA - 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, ; 8
2. BAB - Team Gringo, Ryan Glaze , USA - 2, 3, 6, 7, 2, ; 20
3. Rocad Racing, Mikael Lindqvist , SWE - 8, 1, 4, 4, 6, ; 23

PHRF 1 (ToD) (PHRF - 10 Boats)
1. Teamwork, Robin Team , USA - 2, 1, 3, 3, 1, ; 10
2. Tres Hombres, Kitterman, Tyer, Ghormley , USA - 1, 3, 1, 2, 3, ; 10
3. Rush, Bill Sweetser , USA - 5, 5, 2, 1, 2, ; 15

PHRF 2 (ToD) (PHRF - 11 Boats)
1. Tangent, Gerry Taylor , USA - 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, ; 7
2. L'Outrage, Bruce Gardner , USA - 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, ; 8
3. Kalevala II, Tapio Saavalainen , USA - 3, 4, 3.5, 3, 3, ; 16.5

J Boats Subclass (ToT) (ToT - 7 Boats)
1. Teamwork (J), Robin Team , USA - 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, ; 7
2. Rush (J), Bill Sweetser , USA - 4, 4, 1, 1, 2, ; 12
3. Mental (J), Paul Stahlberg , USA - 2, 2, 5, 3, 3, ; 15
Regatta dates are January 15 - 20, 2012.

Results at event website
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