Key West Race Week 2011 is officially on the homestretch to completion with absolutely no change in the top three Melges 32 fleet leaders.
Steve Howe's Warpath (Morgan Larson, tactician) is very much in charge, Doug Douglas' Goombay Smash (Chris Larson, tactician) holds steady in second while Alex Jackson on Leenabarca (Rob Greenhalgh, tactician) is third overall. Friday's racing is destined to be intense as only three points separate the top runners.
Thursday commenced under foggy conditions, prompting a short on-land postponement and practically no breeze. Once out on the water, the fog lifted and the breeze built just enough to enable the fleet to go racing around noon.
Both Japanese teams got out front early with Keisuke Suzuki on Swing (Vasco Vascotto, tactician) proving he was the boat to beat in race one. Yuikihiro Ishida's Yasha Samurai (Hamish Pepper, tactician) commanded the fleet through the first mark then the gate with Suzuki overtaking the lead on last beat to the finish. Suzuki took first, Ishida was second and Italy's Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica (Michele Paoletti, tactician) finished in third.
Fleet newcomer Mark Plaxton on INTAC (Anthony Kotoun, tactician) took home top honors in race two — a proud, yet humbling experience. 'This feels amazing. This class, and the sailors within this class are awesome so, the victory that I feel now is only for the moment.' said Plaxton, post racing.
'Our plan is to remain humble and respectful. We know we need to be more consistent. This class is so much fun. I'm lovin' it. The whole team is lovin' it. Today's success is attributed to a great team, so hats off to, in particular, to Peter Holmberg for making this event great.'
It's the first time that Plaxton has competitively sailed his new-found purchase. 'In addition to having never sailed a Melges 32 before, I've never sailed an asymmetrical before now either.' continued Plaxton. 'There is such a steep learning curve, but my favorite part about the Melges 32 is the class and the people that I am sailing against. It's simply amazing.'
Terry McSweeney's Flat Stanley (Seadon Wijsen, tactician) celebrated a remarkable second race finishing second, just ahead of Douglas in third. Cirillo finished fourth and Jackson rounded out the top five.
Undoubtedly, Friday will be epic. With only three points separating the top three, the class is anticipating a great final day of racing.
Event Website - click here
Melges 32 website