Three boats have clinched class championships with a race to spare in Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004

Three boats have clinched class championships with a race to spare in Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004, presented by Nautica, but center stage is set for a fiery final act in the internationally spiced Farr 40 and Melges 24 classes today.

The top five of 23 Farr 40s are within two points, precariously led by Crocodile Rock. Alexandra Geremia and Scott Harris’ defending champion from Santa Barbara has no wins but a one-point lead. Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad, Newport, RI, and Peter de Ridder’s Dutch entry, Mean Machine, share second, with Steve and Fred Howe’s Warpath, San Diego, and Marc Ewing’s Riot, another point back.

How the day will go between France’s Sebastian Col and California’s 14-year-old world champion, Samuel (Shark) Kahn, to settle the Melges 24 issue is anyone’s guess. Although Kahn won both races on a windy Thursday yesterday, Col, helmsman for Philippe Ligot’s P&P Sailing Team, discarded his 59-point second race and leads by five points coming into the ninth and final go-round. Nobody else can catch them.

Talking about the racing Col said: “Tomorrow we can match race. I’m very confident with my match racing because I’m match racing all the time. He’s very fast but we can sail fast, too. If I was in his place I would match race us, especially on the start.”

Les Crouch, Mike Rose and Michael will be more laid back. Crouch’s R/P 43 Storm, Rose’s J/133 Raincloud and Gray’s Melges 30 Tiburon have first place secured in PHRF 2, 3 and 4, respectively.

Thursday’s sidelights included an America’s Cup veteran, Peter Holmberg, going overboard off Tom Hill’s R/P 75 Titan, the largest boat in the regatta, and Joerg Esdom’s J/105 losing its mast in a collision with a non-regatta powerboat while returning to port after winning the last race.

Holmberg suffered a sprained left ankle but none of Kincsem’s crew was injured, although they’ll be unable to sail today. An unidentified woman on the powerboat was treated for a head injury.

Meanwhile, the California roll continued for Boat of the Day honors. Tom Coates’ J/105 Masquerade made it 4 on 4 on Lewmar Day after first and fourth places and is six points behind a familiar California foe, Rich Bergmann’s frontrunning Zuni Bear.

Crocodile Rock finished seventh and 13th Thursday – the first double-digit finish – but hung onto its lead. Tactician Vince Brun said: “It’s like a basketball game in this class. The first part is just showtime. The last five minutes is when everything happens.”

CLASS LEADERS (8 of 9 races)

Swan 45 (8 boats) RUSH (Reloaded), Thomas Stark, Newport, R.I. (4-2-2-4-1-2-4-5), 24 points

Farr 40 (23) 1. Crocodile Rock, Alexandra Geremia/Scott Harris, Santa Barbara, Calif. (9-2-8-9-3-8-6-7-13), 59

2. tie between Barking Mad, James Richardson, Newport, R.I. (2-8-6-8-16-4-15-1) and Mean Machine, Peter de Ridder, The Netherlands (6-7-18-5-6-12-4-2), 60

4. tie between Warpath, Steve and Fred Howe, San Diego (10-6-7-1-1-19-9-8) and Riot, Marc Ewing, Northeast Harbor, Me. (18-12-3-6-11-3-3-5), 61

Mumm 30 (13) Turbo Duck, Bodo Von Der Wense, Annapolis (1-2-2-1-2-4-3-5), 12

Melges 24 (58) 1. P&P Sailing Team, Philippe Ligot/Seb Col, France (1-(59)-1-2-1-6-7-3), 21; 2. Pegasus 492, Samuel (Shark) Kahn, Waikiki, H.I. (4-5-4-1-(14)-10-1-1), 26

J/105 (29) Zuni Bear, Richard Bergmann, San Diego (1-(19)-1-2-1-1-9-6), 21

J/80 (20) Warrior, Craig and Martha White, Ft. Worth, Tex. ((13)- 2-2-1-7-6-1-1), 20

J/120 (7) Euro Trash Girl, Nicole Weaver, Annapolis, Md. (2-1-4-5-(7)-4-2-2), 20

Corsair 28R (10) Bad Boys, Bob and Doug Harkrider, Augusta, Ga. (1-1-3-2-1-(5)-1-2), 11

Corsair 24 (9) I-Fly, Steve Marsh, Miami, Fla. (1-(2)-2-2-2-2-2-1), 8

C&C 99 (11) Trumpeter, Wally Hogan, Toronto (1-(4)-3-1-2-2-2-3), 13

T-10 (8) Liquor Box, Chuck Simon/Bill Buckles, Key West (1-2-(3)-1-1-3-1-1), 10

PHRF 1 (9) Chippewa (Swan 68), Clay Deutsch, Road Harbour, BVI (7-1-1-1-(8)-1-1-1-1), 13

PHRF 2 /IMS (8) Storm (R/P 43), Les Crouch, San Diego (1-2-1-1-4-(5)-1-1), 11

PHRF 3 (8) Raincloud (J/133), Mike Rose, Kemah, Tex. (1-1-(2)-1-1-1-2-1), 8

PHRF 4 (10) Tiburon (Melges 30), Michael Gray, New Orleans (1-(5)-1-1-2-1-1-2), 11

PHRF 5 (12) K2 (J/120), Luis Gonzalez, Mallets Bay, Vt. ((10)-2-1-2-4-1-2-3), 20

PHRF 6 (14) Bounder (Sydney 36), David Hudgel, Detroit (1-(5)-1-2-2-1-3-1), 11

PHRF 7 (12) Phaedra (Evelyn 32-2), Robert Patroni, Pensacola, Fla. ((7)-1-3-2-2-1-2-5), 16

PHRF 8 (9) So Far (Swan 48), Lawrence Hillman, Chicago ((9)-2-1-5-2-1-2-1), 14

PHRF 9 (11) Kelly (Beneteau 1st 10), Andrew Cheney, St. Petersburg, Fla. ((7)-3-1-5-6-2-1-1), 19

PHRF 10 (7) Phantom (B-25), Frank Silver, Kill Devil Hills, N.C. (1-(6)-1-2-4-2-3-1), 14

PHRF 11 (12) Circus (J/30), Team Circus, Chicago (3-2-3-2-3-3-1-(4)), 18