True champions are those who excel in all conditions, and this week, some 2,500 racers competing at GMC Yukon Yachting Key West Race Week are getting their chance to shine in a range of breeze.
After an opening day of teen-strength wind that followed in the wake of a departing cold front, winds from the northern quadrant that never topped double-digit speeds blew for today’s racing.
“Today’s racing will really mix it up,” said one Farr 40 crew member after reaching the docks. With a seventh today, Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalone Latino still leads the Farr 40 class (after yesterday’s two races, they were tied for the lead with reigning World Champion John Kilroy). But with a 3-minute, 11-second margin at the finish today, George Andreadis’ Atalanti IX won today’s sole race to move into a close second place overall. Robbie Haines is calling tactics on this Farr 40 from Greece.
Long leads, however, were not the rule today: only 40 seconds separated the top five finishers in the Mumm 30 class. The French Mumm 30 Ville de St. Raphael, winner of the 26-boat Mumm 30 class, earned Boat-of-the-Day honors as the lead boat of this extremely tight pack. This French crew stands in second place, with Bodo von der Wense leading this class.
All sixteen classes sailed one race today in breeze that averaged 6 to 8 knots. A sailor in the 1D35 class, however, clocked the breeze as low as 4, and as high at 10 in the puffs. Twenty-degree shifts moved through on some legs, but the mean wind direction on all three circles remained consistent enough for all classes to have one race and one fair test to factor into their points totals.
George Collins’ Santa Cruz 70 Chessie Racing may be turbo-charged for the rigors of offshore competition, but this crew handled light air around the buoys with aplomb. Collins drove most of the race, with short breaks during their 11.36-nm race from former Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Chris Larson. According to Larson, having a hull with a substantial LOA underneath this crew was valuable in these light conditions, and Chessie had a birds-eye view of the shifts ahead and the out-in-front position they needed to keep their air clean. Chessie leads its class after three races in PHRF-1.
Melges 24 sailor Brian Porter and British skipper David Clark are tied in points for the Melges 24 lead – with 46 boats, the largest class in the fleet. Porter, defending champion from 1999, has come on strong in the last two races, taking a win today to mirror their first-place finish in yesterday’s final race. But in this large class, Melges sailors have an equal-opportunity chance to excel or go up in flames. “The water was the same for everyone,” said Melges sailor Tony Watson on Typhoon. “It was a matter of puffs and shifts.” The Typhoon crew is currently in ninth place, but, according to Watson, they are saving their best for last. “We usually wait until the third day to start our string of bullets,” he said.
All classes have completed three races as they head into the third day of racing at Key West Race Week; a series of eight races is planned. Winds are expected to be light again on Wednesday, but this fleet may have a chance to test their heavy-air skills as this regatta winds to its conclusion. An approaching front is expected to reach down to this southernmost island by week’s end.
CLASS A – IMS (9 Boats)
1. Highland Fling (Isle of Man, England) 2-1-1–4
2. Scream (Annapolis, MD) 3-4-2 — 9
3. Rima (Newport, RI) 1-5-3 – 9
CLASS B – PHRF 1 (10 Boats)
1. Chessie Racing (Gibson Island, MD) 4-1-1 – 6
2. Fatal Attraction (Norfolk, VA) 1-4-2 – 7
3. Uarshek (Annapolis, MD) 2-2-3 — 7
CLASS C – Farr 40 (27 Boats)
1. Mascalzone Latino (Italy) 4-1-7 – 12
2. Atalanti XI (Coconut Grove, FL) 3-9-1 — 13
3. Samba Pa Ti (Zuma Beach, CA) 2-3-9 — 14
CLASS D – 1D35 (21 Boats)
1. Tabasco (San D