Ernesto Bertarelli and team take initial control of Farr 40 fleet on opening day of Acura Key West 2007 Week 16/1/07

Superb conditions with a constant 10-12kt breeze greeted the 260 boats on the opening day of Acura Key West 2007 Week yesterday.

Two races in each of the 17 classes were completed with fleet winners including Joe Fly sailed by Giovanni Maspero (Italy) in the 47-boat Melges 24 class – the largest class in the event. However, racing is close with just one point between him and Lars Horn Johannessn’s Siste Stein (Norway).

In the 17-boat Farr 40 class, America’s Cup defender Ernesto Bertarelli scored a 2-1 to take a four-point lead over Groovederci sailed by John Demourkas.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark making his Key West debut, in the Farr 40 class appeared impressed with the competition and conditions commenting: “This is a fantastic location for racing. The sailing conditions are excellent in every way with the great weather, stable winds and fairly flat water.”

Thirty-eight year old Prince Frederick has been involved with competitive sailing for six years mostly sailing Dragons. Now in his second season in the competitive Farr 40 fleet he is throwing up some good results including a ninth in yesterday’s opening race. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark added: “We have struggled with our speed in the past and finally today was the first time we were able to find that extra gear and stay with the lead boats.”

Numbers, a Carroll Marine 60-footer skippered by Dan Meyers of Newport Rhode Island is the early pacesetter in IRC 1, which features the eight largest entries at Acura Key West 2007. Meyers and his star-studded crew including America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans Hamish Pepper (tactician), Erle Williams (trimmer) and Jerry Kirby (bow) notched up a 1,2 yesterday. Commenting on his day Meyers said: “I’m fortunate to have a group of really good guys who all perform their jobs at a high level, which makes my job easy. Hamish just won the Star Worlds so we’re happy he joined the team. This is our first time sailing together, but our chemistry seems pretty good.”

In IRC 2 John Kilroy, debuting his new Boltin and Carkeek-designed Transpac 52 – Samba Pa Ti – has taken the initial lead with a score of 1,3. Volvo veteran Stu Bannatyne is calling tactics while Kilroy at the helm. Commenting Kilbroy said: “This is our first major regatta with this boat so we are still learning it. We’re a little behind the curve, but we are certainly pleased with how we’re progressing. We wanted this to be an all-around boat for doing a combination of offshore and buoy racing and seems to be performing the way we hoped.”

Other class leaders include
J/105: Convexity, Donald Wilson, USA
J/80: Lifted, Kerry Klingler, USA
Melges 32: Let’s Roll,Claudio Recchi, ITA
Mumm 30: Hiroshi, Giulietti Armando, ITA
IRC-1: Numbers, CM 60, Daniel Meyers, USA
IRC-2: Samba Pa Ti, TP52, John Kilroy, USA
IRC-3: Spirit of Malouen, Sinergia 40, Stephane Neve, FRA
PHRF 1: Blue, 1D48, Charles Buckner, USA
PHRF 2: Endorphin, BH 36, Erik Wulff, USA
PHRF 3: Man-O-War, J/35, Tom Beery, USA
PHRF 4: As-If, SR-33, Jeff Kitterman, USA
PHRF 5 Rhumb Punch, USA
J/29, J and L Edwards, Solomons, USA
PHRF 6: Jazzy Jr., Mariah 27, Dan Romano, USA
Corsair 28R: Dealers Choice, Steven Marsh Stuart, USA
J/109: Vitesse, Jon Halbert, USA