Big winds disrupt third day's racing at Swan Gold Cup in Key West 19/1/06

Day three of the Swan 45 Class World Championship saw another delayed start to racing due to severe squalls and a surge in wind from the north. The forecast 20-25 knots turned into much stronger gusts mid-morning, with 32 knots measured on the Acura Key West Race Week jury boat. A second race of the day was considered, but postponed due to severe weather conditions, so after the third day of the Swan 45 Gold Cup 2006 there are four races still to go and everything to play for.

Jeroboam (Vittorio Codecasa, ITA) ended the day’s slightly shortened race triumphant, with a confident win over second placed Fever (Gordon/Diederichs, GBR), and Goombay Smash (William Douglass, USA), who came in third. A great start and seamless teamwork was how Italian sailing pro and Jeroboam’s tactician Gabriele Benussi summed up the crew’s performance: “We had a very good start today. I preferred to go right over the course area, and we made the right choice. Vittorio helmed very well and we were first at the first windward mark. Downwind, we increased our advantage over the rest of the fleet with good speed, and on the second leg we built a really good distance between us and the next boat.”

And Codecasa and his crew will have double reason to celebrate tonight – after an outstanding race win, they have been awarded one of the highest accolades of Acura Key West – the Boat of the Day award.

The top four Swan 45s on the leaderboard remain unchanged from yesterday, with Goombay Smash out in front on 13 points, DSK Comifin (Danilo Salsi, ITA) second place with 21, Massimo Ferragamo’s Bellicosa (USA) third on 25 points and brother Leonardo Ferragamo’s CuordiLeone (ITA) in fourth with 32 points. A well-deserved second place in today’s race for Fever resulted in a shift in the mid-leaderboard positions, with the jubilant crew taking fifth place overall. From ninth position at the first windward mark, Fever sped through the fleet to round the second windward mark in second place.

After a rough day for many of the Swan 45s, and for many of the 300 or so other boats competing at Acura Key West, there were several bumps and bruises to be nursed this evening. Current Swan 45 champion Mintaka (Stefano Polti, ITA) and Murka 2 (Mikhail Mouratov, GBR) both retired early, but Bandit sailed a good, clean race. “We started the race quite badly” commented Andrew Fisher, “but worked hard to make it up to sixth. It felt really good. The important thing was keeping consistent – we just sailed very conservatively, and it paid off.”

Results (provisional)

1. GOOMBAY SMASH – William DOUGLAS (USA) 4,3,1,2,3 – 13 points

2. DSK COMIFIN – Danilo SALSI (ITA) 8,1,3,5,4 – 21

3. BELLICOSA – Massimo FERRAGAMO (USA) 1,14,4,1,5 – 25

4. CUOR DI LEONE – Leonardo FERRAGAMO (ITA) 9,5,7,4,7 – 32

5. FEVER – G.GORDON / K.DIEDERICHS (GBR) 3,11,5,12,2 – 33