Grand Prix Sailboat
Racing in Miami – The Thrill is Back
-- Acura Miami Race
Week 2006 a Resounding Success
After four days of intense competition
in glorious conditions, the consensus among skippers was that Miami
was back as a big-time sailboat racing venue.
Premiere Racing provided professional
regatta management on and off the water while south Florida delivered
strong breezes, sunny skies and warm temperatures. That proved the
perfect combination for the 142 boats entered in
Acura Miami Race Week and
sent sailors from 22 states and 10 foreign countries home happy.
"It has been a fantastic week of
sailing. Everything about this regatta has been first class and the
conditions were spectacular," said Eivind Astrup, skipper of
Norwegian Steam, which
placed second in Farr 40 class.
was once the hub of winter sailing activity as the Southern Ocean
Racing Conference circuit brought in heavy hitters from all over the
world. That event declined in prestige over time until
Premiere Racing was asked
to spark the "SORC Renaissance." In just two years, event director
Peter Craig and his veteran team of volunteers have revamped the
renowned regatta and put Miami back on the map as a spectacular site
for grand prix sailing.
“Hosting World Championships for the
Swan 45 class and then the TP52s at our Acura Key West and Miami
events this year was challenging to say the least,” said Premiere
Racing’s Event Director Peter Craig. “There aren’t many regattas I
know that can pull that off – particularly with another 18 and 12 one
design and handicap classes, respectively. Both championships came off
beautifully, with the participating owners and classes thrilled with
Rick Wesslund is one of many owners who
added Miami to their season schedule after discovering it was being
run by the same folks who have made Key West the most prestigious
winter sailing event in North America.
"I sailed this regatta four years ago
and wasn't happy with the way things were run so I didn't return,"
said Wesslund, skipper of the J/120 El Ocaso. "Premiere has made this
is a high-quality event again in every aspect. We will definitely be
back next year."
Of course, not even Craig and his superb
race committee could guarantee the fabulous conditions that prevailed
off Miami from March 9-12. Temperatures that held steady between 75-80
degrees along with winds that ranged from 12-20 knots every day made
for exciting action on all four courses while allowing organizers to
easily complete the full race schedule.
"You get a lot of bang for you buck with
this regatta. We've come back to the dock exhausted every day because
we're doing so much sailing," said Worth Harris, owner of the
victorious J/105 Rum at Six.
"We sailed 10 races in four days. Hats off to Premiere for packing a
lot of racing into a short amount of time."
There was stiff competition on both the
Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay as nine of 12 classes were not decided
until the last day. Three of the prominent grand prix fleets - TP52,
Farr 40 and IRC 1 - came down to the final race.
owned by Eamon Conneely of Ireland, captured the
Rolex TP52 Global Championship
in dramatic fashion - placing second in Race 10 to overtake
Pegasus 52. Stuart
Childerly served as helmsman while Ian Walker called tactics aboard
Patches, which erased a
three quarters of a point deficit on the last day.
"I am very, very excited. I was nervous
last night because the pressure was on us," said Conneely, who went
home with the massive Poseidon Trophy that was commissioned for the
inaugural event. "We had to beat
Pegasus in both races today. It was incredibly close, so
close you couldn't have engineered it."
Owner Philippe Kahn had an all-star crew
featuring tactician Ken Read, navigator Chris Larson and trimmer
Morgan Larson aboard Pegasus 52,
which was edged 32.25 to 33.5 by
Patches. Hong Kong owner Karl Kwok led
Beau Geste to third place
in the nine-boat fleet with help from helmsman Harry Dodson and
tactician Gavin Brady.
"What can you say? With 15-20 knots all
week, it couldn’t have been better conditions. Two days of
windward-leeward races, a distance, a coastal race and back to the
windward leewards - it is a fantastic mix of racing," said John
Coumantaros, who skippered
Bambakou to fourth place overall.
Action was equally tight and intense in
the professional-laden Farr 40 class, which attracted 19 entries.
Astrup and his team aboard
Norwegian Steam sailed impressively in leading for the
initial three days of the regatta. However, Robert Hughes and his
Heartbreaker crew stole
the overall victory at the last possible moment, vaulting from third
to first on Sunday.
Hughes, who owns an employee benefits
company in Grand Rapids, Mich., scored a second in Race 10 to nip
Norwegian Steam by one
point. Hughes had to wait nearly two hours to confirm his most
noteworthy victory since joining the Farr 40 class as the Italian
entry Nerone protested
tacking too close.
"To win a biggie like this is
incredible. I'll be walking on the tips of my toes for a week," said
Hughes, who took home the Acura
Trophy as overall Boat
of the Week.
a Swan 601
owned by California native Jim Swartz, needed a tiebreaker to take the
title in IRC 1. Moneypenny and the Ker 55
Aera (Nick Lykiardopulo,
Cowes, UK) both totaled 13 points with the former coming out on top by
virtue of winning the last race.
"It was a terrific battle all week and
we really had to work hard at all times in order to pull out the win,"
said Mark Rudiger, navigator aboard
Wesslund (Tiburon, CA) and the
El Ocaso crew sailed a
terrific regatta in leading PHRF 2 from start to finish. The San
Francisco-based J/120 opened with five bullets in six starts then held
off hard-charging Peregrine
(Hunt Lawrence, Oyster Bay, NY) by one point to earn the
City of Miami Trophy as
PHRF Boat of the Week.
"It really was a wonderful week of
racing. You could not have asked for better wind and weather while the
people with Premiere did their usual excellent job of organization,"
said Wesslund, who also won PHRF 3 at
Acura Key West 2006.
Two of the most impressive performances
at Acura Miami Race Week came on the Biscayne Bay course, which
featured the regatta's two largest classes. Italian skipper Riccardo
Simoneschi gave a command performance in the 25-boat Melges 24 class
while Massachusetts sailmaker Jud Smith was equally dominant in the
28-entry Etchells class.
Smith, with daughters Lindsay, 17, and
Darby, 16, aboard as crew, finished first or second in five of seven
starts then sat out the final race and still won by 11 points. Smith,
a legendary figure in the venerable class, was pleased with the
competition and conditions.
"This is the perfect time of year for
this event. Miami tends to have steady wind during March and of course
it's warmer here than most anywhere else in the states," Smith said.
"We're sailing in shorts and a t-shirt... it doesn't get any better
Simoneschi was simply on fire after
finishing third in Race 1. He reeled off a string of seven straight
bullets en route to an 11-point victory. He was one of six winners of
the Acura Grand Prix Trophy,
awarded for combined excellence at the two winters regattas organized
by Premiere Racing.
"To be honest, that was one of my
objectives. I saw the trophy here last season and thought it would be
very nice to win," said Simoneschi, who changed his boat name from
Giacomel Audi Racing but
had the same crew in Key West and Miami. "I appreciate the idea behind
it, and will be very happy if I am able to hold it."
Acura Miami Race Week
Acura Miami Race Week 2006 results, photographs
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March 12, 2006 – For Immediate
Thrilling Conclusion to Acura Miami Race Week 2006
--- Farr 40 and
TP52 Among Many Classes Decided by the Final Race
There's nothing more thrilling than to have a major sailing regatta
come down to the last race of the last day. That proved the case in
multiple classes at Acura Miami Race Week.
Just ask Eamon Conneely, owner of the Irish TP 52 Patches.
Conneely and crew captured the inaugural
Global Championship in dramatic fashion, placing second in the
10th and final race to overtake Pegasus 52.
skippered by Philippe Kahn of Waikiki, Hawaii, entered the day leading
by three quarters of a point and wound up 1¼
points behind after finishing one place behind Patches in both
races on Sunday.
am very, very excited. I was very nervous last night because the
pressure was on us," Conneely said. "We beat Pegasus, which is
what we needed to do. It was incredibly close. In fact, you couldn't
get much closer."
Actually, the IRC 1 class was closer as the Swan 601 Moneypenny
nipped the Ker 55 Aera by tiebreaker after both boats totaled
13 points. Owner Jim Swartz and his team aboard the recently launched
Moneypenny broke the deadlock by winning the last race.
"It reinforces what I was saying about how close the IRC rule has
gotten these two boats," said Moneypenny navigator Mark Rudiger,
part of an all-star afterguard that included helmsman Mike Toppa and
tactician Gary Weisman.
Things were tense on the Farr 40 dock as a result of a protest
involving on-water winner Heartbreaker. Skipper Robert Hughes
vaulted from third to first on the last day, edging week-long leader
Norwegian Steam by a mere point. However, the Italian entry
Nerone protested Heartbreaker for tacking too close in Race
10 and that led to an uneasy two-hour period of waiting for the
Hughes, who owns an employee benefits company in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
was ecstatic when word came the protest had been dismissed. "To win a
biggie like this is incredible. I'll be walking on the tips of my toes
for a week," said Hughes, who took home the Acura Trophy as
overall Boat of the Week and the Baxter Trophy as top
performing Farr 40.
Tactician Bill Hardesty and trimmer Wally Cross were key crew members
for Hughes, a two-time winner of Farr 40 Nationals. Heartbreaker
stood third, six points behind Norwegian Steam and five
astern of Mascalzone Latino going into Race 10. Hughes admitted
his team benefited from a tacking duel between the Norwegians and
Italians, who finished ninth and 11th in the last race.
"We got a great start and sailed our own race while those two covered
each other. It worked out perfectly," Hughes said. "One of the reasons
we were going so fast is because the crew hiked so hard.”
Five other classes were decided by two points or less with all but one
coming down to the last race. Skipper Rick Wesslund and El Ocaso
led PHRF 2 from start to finish, but almost suffered disaster at the
end. The San Francisco-based J/120 was winning Race 10 when a lifeline
broke and dumped two crew members overboard.
"By the time we stopped and picked them up we were in last place.
Fortunately, we were able to claw our way back to fourth," said
Wesslund, a resident of Tiburon, Cal.
which won five of the initial six races, held off hard-charging
Peregrine by one point and was rewarded with the City of Miami
Trophy as PHRF Boat of the Week. "We felt really good about
the way we sailed early in the week, but we faced some challenges the
last two days. The level of competition got better each day and we
feel fortunate to win."
Wesslund had high praise for Acura Miami Race Week, which has
been dubbed the "SORC Renaissance." Organizers with Premiere Racing
have revamped the renowned regatta, providing more professional
management on and off the water.
sailed this regatta four years ago and wasn't happy with the way
things were run so I didn't return. Premiere has made this a
high-quality event again in every aspect. We will definitely be back
next year," Wesslund said.
There figures to be more Melges 32s in Miami come 2007 after a strong
debut showing this week. Brothers Brian and John Porter got the gun in
half the races in leading Full Throttle to a one-point victory
over Rick Orchard and Grins. "It was great racing all week. The
boats are a blast and very evenly-matched," said John Porter, who
steered while getting tactical calls from his brother.
The Porters, who grew up sailing on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, have
enjoyed tremendous success in Melges 24 class the last decade. They
thoroughly enjoy the larger Melges and predict rapid growth for the
"This was our first time on the 32 and we had a lot of fun. We had a
little difficulty figuring out when to heat it up going downwind. We
broached a couple times and dropped the spinnaker once," John Porter
tiebreaker was also required in PHRF 3, where Scott Taylor's B-32
Defiance and Jeff Rubin's Tripp 33 Triptease scored 19
points apiece. Peter de Ridder's Mean Machine and Deneen
Demourkas' Groovederci traded first and second places in Mumm
30 with the former ultimately winning by two points.
skipper was happier than Gordon Ettie, a Miami resident who has been
trying to win this regatta since it was known as the Southern Ocean
Racing Conference. Ettie, an equity investor who authored the book
Demystifying Business with Cookies and Elephants, finally broke
through with his Swan 40 Sazerac.
"We've come in second in this regatta so many times. I went all out to
win it this year," said Ettie, who topped PHRF 4 by two points.
One of the more impressive victories came in J/105 as skipper Worth
Harris steered Rum at Six to first or second in nine of 10
starts. "It was all in the crew work. We go around the corners fast,"
said Harris, a beer distributor from Beaufort, N.C.
However, it was another J/105, Philip Lotz's Indefatigable,
that picked up the Acura Boat of the Day award after posting a
pair of bullets on Sunday.
There was terrific action on the Biscayne Bay course, which featured
the regatta's two largest classes. Italian skipper Riccardo Simoneschi
gave a command performance in the 25-boat Melges 24 class while
Massachusetts sailmaker Jud Smith was equally dominant in the 28-entry
Smith, who was sailing with his 17- and 16-year-old daughters,
finished first or second in five of the initial seven starts and was
able to sit out the final race and still win by 11 points. "Racing was
a lot closer than the results would indicate. This was a strong fleet
and the competition was very good," said Smith, a legendary figure in
the venerable class.
Simoneschi was simply on fire after finishing third in Race 1. He
reeled off a string of seven straight bullets, much to the amazement
of top-notch competitors such as John Pollard and Argyle Campbell.
Simoneschi was one of six winners of the Acura Grand Prix Trophy,
awarded for combined excellence at the two winters regattas organized
by Premiere Racing.
Other boats that posted the top combined scores at Acura Key West 2006
and Acura Miami Race Week were Groovederci, the TP52 Stay
Calm (Stuart Robinson, Royal Thames, UK), Farr 40 Mascalzone
Latino (Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy), J/105 Gumption 3
(Kevin Grainger, Rye, NY), Swan 45 Goombay Smash (William
Douglass, Newport, RI).
Acura Miami Race Week 2006
March 11, 2006 – For Immediate
Stage is Set for Final Day Battles at Acura Miami Race Week
--- Nine Classes Up for Grabs With Two Races Remaining
It's down to the wire at Acura Miami Race Week.
Winners in nine of 12
classes won't be determined until the final day of the 142-boat
regatta, organized by Premiere Racing. Adding to the intrigue is the
fact the Acura Grand Prix Trophy is also up for grabs in six
One entry in the
TP52, Farr 40, J/105, Mumm 30, Melges 24 and Swan 45 will be honored
for outstanding combined performance at Acura Key West 2006 and
Acura Miami Race Week.
"For years, winning
Key West has been one of the greatest achievements in U.S. sailing.
Now the competition at Miami Race Week is just as stiff in several
one-design classes," event director Peter Craig said. "Winning the
Acura Grand Prix Trophy shows a tremendous level of excellence. To put
forth a consistent performance at two major regattas is not an easy
Stay Calm II,
skippered by Stuart Robinson of Thames, England, holds an eight-point
lead in the battle for the Acura Grand Prix Trophy. Adrian Stead is
calling tactics aboard the British boat, which won Key West and stands
fourth here in Miami.
owned by Philippe Kahn of Waikiki, Hawaii, held her overall lead in
the nine-boat Rolex TP52 Global Championships by placing second
in Saturday's coastal race. However, Eamon Coneely's Patches is just
three-quarters of a point behind after winning the 42-mile jaunt into
the Gulf Stream, up to Ft. Lauderdale and back to Miami.
It was a remarkable
comeback for Patches, an Irish entry that broke its deck during
the overnight distance race that began Thursday afternoon.
Boat-builders worked fast and furiously to repair the Reichel-Pugh
design in time for Saturday's start and the crew took over from there.
Childerly and tactician Ian Walker led the way as Patches
completed the coastal race with an elapsed time of 4 hours, 51
minutes, 35 seconds - 1:33 ahead of Pegasus 52.
Action is equally
intense in the 19-boat Farr 40 class, where skipper Eivind Astrup and
Norwegian Steam maintained their overall lead for the third
straight day. A sixth and a third on Saturday gave the Norwegians 35
points - two better than Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino.
"It's been a
fantastic week of sailing and it feels great to be in contention. The
crew is gaining confidence with every day," said Astrup, who has not
won a Farr 40 regatta since joining the class five years ago.
podium finish at the Sardinia Cup and there have been moments of
brilliance in other major events, just not the consistency needed to
win. There was a sign this could finally be the regatta for the
Norwegians, who fell into last place after hitting the top mark during
Race 7 yet battled back to finish sixth.
"We've had high
positions in individual races, but we have been irregular. We get a
third then follow it with a 15th," Astrup said. "The trick is to avoid
those huge downturns. So far, we have been able to do that here."
It must be unsettling
for Astrup to have Mascalzone Latino breathing down his neck.
The Italian entry has three-time America's Cup winner Russell Coutts
calling tactics and has made a steady climb through the standings -
going from sixth on Day 1 to third on Day 2 to second on Day 3.
"We've been getting
better as we go along. We might be winning if we'd been able to get
better starts. We've spent the week battling through the fleet," said
Coutts, the cool and confident New Zealand native. "We've had very
good downwind speed, which has enabled us to make up ground."
which won at Key West, holds a healthy 8-point lead over Warpath
(Steve Howe, San Diego) for the Acura Grand Prix Trophy.
It appears there is a
runaway winner for the Acura Grand Prix Trophy in Melges 24. Italian
skipper Riccardo Simoneschi is dominating the 25-boat class here in
Miami after finishing fourth out of 60 entries at Key West.
"To be honest, that
was one of my objectives. I saw the trophy here last season and
thought it would very nice to win," Simoneschi said. "I appreciate the
idea behind it, and will be very happy if I am able to hold it
While the boat name
has changed from Nautica to Giacomel Audi Racing,
Simoneschi is sailing with the same crew as he did in Key West. After
finishing third in Race 1 of Miami Race Week, the Geneva resident has
reeled off five straight bullets.
"We are pleased with
how we've performed at both events. We were battling for the win up
until the last mark of the last race at Key West when we had to do a
720. We were determined to do better here," said Simoneschi, who
picked up the Boat of the Day honor. The Melges 24 class was
deemed the most competitive class.
Other leads in the
Acura Grand Prix Trophy competition are Groovederci (Deneen
Demourkas, Santa Barbara, CA) in Mumm 30, Gumption 3 (Kevin
Grainger, Rye, N.Y.) in J/105 and Goombay Smash (William
Douglass, Newport, R.I.) in Swan 45.
Monaco resident Peter de Ridder missed Key West because he was
launching a new TP52, but was determined to make Miami because the
Mumm 30 world championships will be held here in November. New Zealand
professional Ray Davies is calling tactics for de Ridder, who has
steered Mean Machine to victory in four of five starts en route
to building a four-point lead over Groovederci.
"We have been
battling with Deneen for many years and it is always very close," said
de Ridder, noting that he had not mathematically clinched the regatta.
There has been close
competition in the Melges 32 class with the top four boats routinely
overlapped at the finish line. Full Throttle, owned by brothers
Brian and John Porter of Lake Geneva, WI, holds the overall lead on
the strength of five bullets.
However, only five
points separate the next three boats - Grins (Rick Orchard,
Flowery Branch, GA), New Wave (Michael Carroll, Tampa, FL) and
Star (Jeff Ecklund, Fort Lauderdale, FL).
"It's been a really
tight regatta with lots of close racing and changing of places.
Full Throttle has been strong, but with another good day we could
possibly overtake them," said Steve Burke, crew member aboard Grins.
"There are a lot of very good sailors in this fleet. The New Wave
guys are real good and Star is always very tough."
Class organizers are
hoping to have 12-14 boats at the North American Championships off
Newport in July and possibly even more at Key West in 2007.
Two remain to be
sailed on Sunday with close battles being fought in PHRF 2, 3 and 4,
where four points or less separates the top two boats. The weeklong
battle in IRC 1 goes in to the final day in a tie.
1, Pegasus 52, Philippe Kahn, Waikiki, Hawaii,
2, Patches, Eamon Conneely, Galway, Ireland,
3, Beau Geste,
Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, China, 4-3-6-4-2-5-2-6=34.5
1, Aera, Nick
Lykiardopulo, Cowes, UK, (2)-1-1-2-2-1-2-1=10
Jim Swartz, Newport, RI, 1-(2)-2-1-1-2-1-2=10
3, Goombay Smash, William Douglass, Newport, RI,
Steam, Eivind Astrup, Oslo, Norway, 8-1-2-5-6-4-6-3=35
Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy,9-6-4-3-3-1-4-7=37
Robert Hughes,Holland, MI, 10-10-1-1-1-12-1-4=40
1, Full Throttle, Brian & John Porter, Lake Geneva, WI,
2, Grins, Rick Orchard, Flowery Branch, GA,
3, New Wave,
Michael Carroll, Tampa, FL, 1-2-3-(4)-2-4-4-2=18
1, Mean Machine,
Peter de Ridder, Monaco, 1-1-2-1-1=6
Deneen Demourkas, Santa Barbara, CA, 2-3-1-2-2=10
3, Terra Firma,
Dan Cheresh/Eric Wynsma, W. Michigan, MI, 3-2-3-3-3=14
1, Goombay Smash, William Douglass, Newport, RI,
2, Better Than,
Marcin Rojek, Newport, RI, 4-2-3-2-1-1-2-2=17
3, Fever, G. Gordon/K. Diederichs, Southampton, UK,
PHRF 1 (IRC 1 – dual scoring)
1, Moneypenny, Jim Swartz, Newport, RI,
2, Aera, Nick Lykiardopulo, Cowes, UK,(2)-2-2,2-2-2-2-1=13
3, Goombay Smash, William Douglass, Newport, RI,
1, El Ocaso, Rick Wesslund, Tiburon, CA, 1-2-1-1-1-1-(4)-3 =10
2, Peregrine, Hunt Lawrence, Oyster Bay, NY,
3, Emocean, Bill Hanckel, Charleston, SC, (5)-3-5-4-2-2-1-2
1, Defiance, Scott Taylor, Long Beach, CA,
Jeff Rubin, Fischer Island, FL, 1-(7dsq)-4-2-3-1-1-3=15
3, Temptress, Robert Hibdon, Charleston, SC,
1, Rum At Six, Worth Harris, Beaufort, NC, 2-1-1-1-2-2-2-3=14
2, Gumption 3, Kevin Grainger, Rye, NY, 1-2-2-2-3-4-5-2=21
3, Eagles Wings, John Gottwald, Chicago, IL, 3-3-4-4-5-1-1-5=26
1, Sazerac, Gordon Ettie, Miami, FL,
2, Kalevala II,
Tapio Saavalainen, Annapolis, MD, 4-2-1-5-(dnc10)-2-2-1=17
3, Primal Scream, Steven Stollman, Key Biscayne, FL,
1, Giacomel Audi
Racing, R Simoneschi, Genova, Italy, 3-1-1-1-1-1=8
John Pollard, Torquay, UK, 7-5-2-2-2-2=20
3, Rock N Roll,
Argyle Campbell, Newport Beach, CA, 1-3-3-3-4-9=23
1, La Calaca,
Iker Belausteguigoitia, Miami, FL, 3-2-1-1-1-(4)=8
Peter Benziger, Miami, FL, 1-(5)-3-4-2-1=11
3, Pick Up Styx,
Jonathan Luscomb, Palm Beach, FL, (4)-3-2-3-3-2=13
Express, Jud Smith, Marblehead, MA, NC, 2-4-1-2-1-(6)=10
Buddy Cribb, Miami, FL, 4-3-7-(22)-3-4=21
3, Pipe Dream XII,
Scott Piper, Miami, FL, 1-(13)-4-9-2-9=25
March 10, 2006 - for Immediate Release
Incredibly Close Competition at Acura
Miami Race Week
--- One Second Victory in IRC 1
Typifies Tight Racing
Mark Rudiger stared at the scoreboard and shook his head in disbelief.
Rudiger, navigator aboard the Swan 601 Moneypenny, was checking
the results of IRC 1 class and did a doubletake upon seeing the
corrected times for Race 4 of Acura Miami Race Week 2006.
Much to the surprise of sailors from both sides, Moneypenny
nipped the Ker 55 Aera by just one second in the morning race
off Miami Beach. After 11.9 miles and 1 1/2 hours, a mere second
separated the two burgeoning rivals once time allowance was factored.
"That sure doesn't happen very often. It's remarkable how evenly
matched these two boats are," Rudiger said.
and Aera are continuing a tremendous battle that began at Acura
Key West 2006. Aera edged Moneypenny by two points in
that nine-race series, but the bigger boat came away with the
inaugural U.S. IRC Championship that was scored by a complex formula.
am very surprised because they are different types of boats with
different characteristics," Rudiger said. "We tend to do better on the
beats while they are catching us on the runs. We are working very hard
on our downwind speed because we know that every second counts."
Owner Jim Swartz has not been aboard Moneypenny so far due to
business commitments. He arrives Saturday, but left the newly-launched
Swan 601 in the capable hands of Rudiger, tactician Gary Weisman and
helmsman Mike Toppa. That afterguard trio led Moneypenny to
victory in both races Friday and the Newport, R.I. entry leads Aera
(Nick Lykiardopulo, Cowes, UK) by one point in the overall
Competition is just as close in Farr 40 class, which features 19
fully-professional teams. Robert Hughes and his Heartbreaker
team posted a pair of bullets on Friday to vault from seventh to
second in the overall standings - one point behind Eivind Astrup and
"It was one of those days when everything went right. We got good
starts, the crew hiked real hard and we hit the shifts just right,"
said Hughes, who owns an employee benefits company in Grand Rapids,
Hughes credited bowman Mike Hill and tactician Bill Hardesty with
helping Heartbreaker nail a perfect pin-end start in Race 5.
Heartbreaker led around every mark and won going away, a rarity in
the talent-laden fleet.
"In this class, you live for days like this. When we crossed the
finish line, I looked back and saw more Olympic medals and America's
Cups and Volvos than I could shake a stick at," said Hughes, who
kindly carried a cameraman from the Outdoor Life Network aboard his
boat on Friday.
held the overall lead for a second straight day after fifth and sixth.
Astrup and crew sailed both races without instruments after banging
masts with another boat. "We are only halfway through the regatta.
This is a lot more racing to go. We cannot get too happy just yet,"
made a move on Friday, finishing third in both races to take over
third in the regatta. The Italian entry, led by owner Vincenzo Onorato
and tactician Russell Coutts, got better every day en route to winning
at Key West and hopes to do the same here. "I got bad starts, but we
made up ground because Russell is a genius and the crew is fantastic,"
There was significant shakeup in the Rolex
52 Global Championships following an overnight distance race that
finished Friday morning. Philippe Kahn's Pegasus 52 seized the
overall lead in the nine-boat fleet after placing fourth in Race 7.
Skippers and crews thoroughly enjoyed the distance race, which took
the fleet east across the Gulf Stream to a turning mark off the
Bahamas then north past Bimini around a turning mark at Great Isaac
Light. From there, the TP52s sailed west across the Gulf Stream to the
Florida coast before heading back to the finish just north of Miami.
far the biggest news came around 8.30 p.m. when the Reichel-Pugh
designed Patches, owned by Eamon Conneely of Ireland, broke its
deck at the forward end of the cockpit on the port side. "The core
fully split - you could put your hand in there when you were sailing
along," tactician Ian Walker said.
which had seized the regatta lead with three bullets on Wednesday, was
forced to withdraw and return to Miami. Designer Jim Pugh was on hand
to help boat-builders fix the damage so the Irish entry could complete
skippered by John Coumantaros of Newport, R.I., hit 24.5 knots of
speed on the downwind run en route to winning the distance race.
Beau Geste, owned by Karl Kwok of Hong Kong, placed second and
moved into second overall - one point back of Pegasus.
Among the PHRF classes in Division 3, no boat has performed better
than El Ocaso. Skipper Rick Wesslund has steered the San
Francisco-based J/120 to four bullets in five starts and holds a
comfortable eight-point lead in PHRF 2. "Every morning I tell the
crew, 'Welcome to day one of Miami Race Week.' We don't ever think
about the standings, we go out with the mindset the score is still
0-0," Wesslund said.
Wesslund pulled a rarity by port-tacking the entire six-boat fleet at
the start. Peregrine and Emocean, two other J/120s,
stand second and third in the class, which also includes a pair of
Beneteau 40.7s and an Aerodyne 38. "These are clearly conditions that
favor the J/120s," Wesslund said.
Racing got underway on Biscayne Bay on Friday with the Etchells,
Melges 24 and J/24 classes basing out of the Shake-a-leg facility. Jud
Smith, a class legend from Marblehead, Mass., flashed his typically
tremendous boat speed in taking the early lead in Etchells - largest
class at Acura Miami Race Week with 28 boats.
Smith steered Oriental Express to an impresive line of 2-4-1
and earned City of Miami Boat of the Day for his efforts. Mike
Craig is doing the foredeck for Smith, who has daughters Lindsay, 17,
and Darby, 16, crewing for the first time in a major regatta.
"It's wonderful having a sailor the caliber of Judd out there. He's
always so fast, it's a good benchmark for everyone else," said Buddy
Cribb, a Miami resident who stands in third place.
10-15-knot Bermuda High breeze greeted the 65 boats on Biscayne Bay.
Riccardo Simoneschi of Italy put up back-to-back bullets to grab the
lead in the 26-entry Melges 24s while Iker Belausteguigoitia of Miami
had a solid line of 3-2-1 to move ahead among 10 J/24s.
"It was a beautiful day of racing. This is the perfect time of year
for this event. We're sailing in shorts and a t-shirt... it doesn't
get any better than that," said Smith, who also carried a camera for
veteran television commentator/producer Gary Jobson.
MARCH 9, 2006 – For Immediate Release
Thursday Race Video - Click Here!
Delivers Ideal Conditions
Acura Miami Race Week Off to a Thrilling Start
Nobody knows better than Jeff Rubin and Rich Shellow what fantastic
sailing conditions Miami Beach can deliver. The co-owners of the Tripp
33 Triptease are Miami residents who race here year-round.
Rubin and Shellow can attest, Miami Beach was at its best on Thursday.
Sunny skies, warm weather and big breeze - Chamber of Commerce
conditions - greeted the 142 boats competing in
Acura Miami Race Week 2006.
was absolutely awesome out there today. We had a lot of fun," Shellow
said. "Getting to sail in 20 knot winds, 80 degrees and big waves...
what more can you ask for?"
the professional sailors in the Farr 40 class certainly enjoyed the
opening act of the four-day regatta, organized by Premiere Racing.
Division 2 principal race officer John Craig set long courses which
made for a full and satisfying day of racing.
Skipper Eivind Astrup and his crew aboard Norwegian Steam were
exhausted but in good spirits after taking the early lead.
Norwegian Steam stormed into the lead on the initial downwind leg
en route to winning Race 2 then followed with a second in Race 3. "We
are very pleased with how we sailed today, especially downwind. That
is where we made huge gains," said Astrup, an Oslo resident.
Astrup had high praise for tactician Morten Henriksen, who is a
high-level hockey coach back home in Norway. "Part of the game is to
build a team, just like in soccer or any other sport. Morten has a
good eye for how the crew works together and knows how to make
holds a three-point lead over Opus One (Wolfgang Stolz,
Koenigstein, Germany) and Nerone (Massimo Mezzaroma, Punta Ala,
Italy), which are tied with 14 points.
is never good to lead the regatta on the first day. There is only one
way to go after that," said Astrup, who nonetheless was thrilled to
pick up the Industry Partner
Boat of the Day honor.
the Paris, France entry led by skipper Erik Maris and tactician
Phillipe Mourniac, is three points behind in fourth. "Our speed is
good, we were able to gain some boats in a couple races. We are in a
good mood today. It's always nice to be (in contention), but there is
a long way to go," Mourniac said. "The level of competition is so
strong. You can be the top boat one race, the bottom boat the next."
the Italian entry that won Acura Key West 2006, stands sixth - within
easy striking distance of the leaders. Three-time America's Cup
champion Russell Coutts is calling tactics for skipper Vincenzo
Onorato. "We didn't feel completely comfortable today," said Onorato,
who was not complaining. "We are still happy - it is freezing back in
Italy and we are sailing in warm weather and nice breeze."
In IRC 1, Aera (Ker 55) and
Moneypenny (Swan 601) continued their remarkably close duel that
began in Key West. So close were the boats that Aera won the
class while Moneypenny captured the inaugural U.S. IRC
Championship, which was scored by a complex formula.
more of the same Thursday as skipper Nick Lykiardopulo led Aera to
victory in two races and second in the other. Moneypenny put up
a 1-2-2 line and trails by a mere point in the overall standings.
"Both boats are well prepared and well sailed. They are faster in
certain conditions and we are faster in others," said Jez Fanstone,
helmsman aboard Aera.
Lykiardopulo, a Greek native who lists Cowes in the United Kingdom as
home port, has been sailing with a core crew for a decade. Fanstone,
skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race entry News Corp in 2001-2002, and
navigator Hugh Agnew are among a handful of regulars who also raced a
Swan 46 and Bashford 41 with Lykiardopulo. "It's like family, really,"
was considerable excitement on the Transpac 52 dock as the
fully-professional teams prepared for a 178-nautical mile distance
race that began Thursday afternoon and figures to finish between 6-9
Organizers sent the eight-boat fleet east across the Gulf Stream to
the Ocean Cay Buoy off Bimini, north to a turning mark at Great
Isaacs, west to the Hillsboro Inlet Sea Buoy then back to Miami.
Patches, owned by Eamon Connelly of Galway, Ireland, led
2006 Rolex TP52 Global Championship
into the distance race, which was weighted more than the six buoy
races held Tuesday and Wednesday.
gave a strong performance in the seven-boat J/105 class, posting a
pair of bullets and a second. However, skipper Worth Harris can't rest
on his laurels since Kevin Grainger and Gumption 3 also had a
good day and trail by just one point in the overall standings.
sailed against Gumption a lot and they are good. It's going to
be a good battle," said Harris, a Beaufort, N.C. resident who placed
ninth at this regatta a year ago. Asked the reason behind the team's
improved performance, one crew member deadpanned: "We're drinking more
on Biscayne Bay begins Friday and features the two largest classes at
Acura Miami Race Week 2006. Local skippers Scott Piper and Buddy Cribb
are among the favorites in the 29-boat Etchells fleet after placing
second and third at this regatta last year. Riccardo Simoneschi and
his Nautica team will be a key player in the 26-entry Melges 24
class after finishing fourth in a loaded field at Acura Key West 2006.
and Shellow flashed their local knowledge in getting Triptease
off to a strong start. The Tripp 33 notched a bullet in Race 1 and
stands fourth overall in PHRF 3 after three starts were held on
Taylor's B-32 Defiance leads PHRF 3 by one point over while
Robert Hibdon's SR 33 Temptress.
a competitive class, but I think Defiance is starting to show
it's the boat to beat," Shellow said.
MARCH 8, 2006 – For
Innovation and Competition at Acura
Miami Race Week
Swing Keel Debuts; Farr 40s Ready for Battle
Miami, Fla. - Skippers of all 142 boats entered in
Acura Miami Race Week 2006
are anxiously awaiting racing in 75-80 degree temperatures and 12-20
However, California resident Jim Madden is looking forward to the
regatta a bit more than most. That's because Madden will debut his
innovative Custom 66-footer Stark
Raving Mad during the grand prix event that has been dubbed
the "SORC Renaissance."
Stark Raving Mad
features a canting keel to provide stability. That innovative
technology has already been used aboard specialty designs such as the
Open 60, Volvo 70 and MaxZ86.
"Like I told the crew, the objectives this week are to be safe and
have fun. However, I'd be lying if I told you we weren't competitive,"
Madden said. "We're here to sail the boat hard and see if we can win."
Stark Raving Mad,
designed by Reichel-Pugh and built by Westerly Marine, was launched a
month ago on the West Coast. Madden, a Newport Beach resident, took
the innovative racer offshore for some sea trials, but never saw winds
above eight knots.
"We're going up a very steep learning curve right now," said Madden,
who tested the boat in 14-21 knot breezes off Miami on Tuesday. "We're
still figuring out the timing of when to swing the keel during a tack
or a gybe."
Madden, who grew up sailing out of Oyster Bay, N.Y., was inspired by
the series of Australian-based canting keel yachts such as
Wild Oats and
Alfa Romeo. "It looked
fast, it looked exciting and it seemed like the wave of the future,"
Madden said of the technology. "I wanted to keep my boat under 70 feet
so it would be easier to handle."
Stark Raving Mad,
which is competing in IRC 1, has performed well during practice
sessions, Madden and tactician Robbie Haines both said. "We have found
the boat really accelerates. Once you get the keel set and the sails
trimmed, she really takes off."
Because of the canting keel, Stark
Raving Mad is the scratch boat in IRC 1 and will get stiff
competition from the Swan 601
Moneypenny, the Ker 55
Aera and four Swan 45s.
Aera duked it out at
Acura Key West 2006 in
January with the latter capturing class honors and the former taking
the inaugural U.S. IRC Championship. "We will have to work very hard
to sail to our rating," Madden said.
Organized by Premiere Racing,
Acura Miami Race Week 2006 has attracted 142 boats from 22 states and
10 foreign countries. As usual, the professional-laden Farr 40 class
is a focal point of the regatta. Big-name tacticians and trimmers can
be found on all 19 boats and the action figures to get intense. "It
will be another dogfight. There's a bunch of good teams here," said
Dee Smith, making his debut as tactician for John Demourkas and
Demourkas was disappointed with his placement at Acura Key West 2006
and was looking forward to significant improvement due to the addition
of Smith. "Dee has an uncanny ability to read the shifts, and it looks
like it could be shifty here the next few days."
Pre-regatta favorite is Mascalzone
Latino, skippered by Vincenzo Onorato and featuring
three-time America's Cup champion Russell Coutts as tactician. This is
the second event for Onorato and Coutts, who debuted together by
winning Farr 40 class at Acura Key West 2006.
Veteran Farr 40 owner Jim Richardson is thrilled to have longtime
tactician Terry Hutchinson aboard Barking Mad.
The two have been together six years and won numerous major class
events, including the 2004 world championship. However, Hutchinson has
been away from the program since signing on as tactician for Team New
Zealand a year ago.
"Terry is like family and the entire crew has certainly missed him,"
said Richardson, who has used Brad Read, Chris Larson and Vince Brun
as replacements. "Terry and I have an incredible level of
communication and he's the best leader of people I've ever known. He
gets the most out of every sailor on the boat."
Another event headliner is the inaugural Rolex Tranpsac 52 Global
Championship, which began Tuesday and features eight star-studded
skippered by Stuart Childerly of Ireland, dominated Day 2 of the
competition with three bullets in as many races. British Olympian and
America's Cup skipper Ian Walker is calling tactics on
Patches, which leads
Philippe Kahn's Pegasus
by seven points.
There will be opportunity for the trailing boats to make up ground as
Thursday brings an 18-24-hour distance race and Friday features a
5-7-hour coastal race. Both are weighted more than the eight buoy
races in the series.
Kahn, who lists Waikiki, Hawaii as home port, has assembled an
all-star afterguard that features multi-time America's Cup helmsman
Ken Read as tactician and includes highly-decorated pros Chris Larson
and Morgan Larson.
British entry owned by Stuart Robinson, is another top contender after
winning Acura Key West 2006. British America's Cup sailor Adrian Stead
is calling tactics for Robinson.
Racing on Biscayne Bay begins Friday and features the two largest
classes at Acura Miami Race Week 2006. Local skippers Scott Piper and
Buddy Cribb are among the favorites in the 28-boat Etchells fleet
after placing second and third at this regatta last year. Riccardo
Simoneschi and his Nautica
team will be a key player in the 26-entry Melges 24 class after
finishing fourth in a loaded field at Acura Key West 2006.
many PHRF entries will have as talented a crew as the J/100
Moxie, owned by Fischer
Island resident George Collins. North Sails pros Jim Allsopp and Willy
Keyworth are sailing with Collins, the retired investment banker who
funded the Chessie Racing campaign in the 1997-98 Whitbread.
Collins, who has not steered a sailboat since last year's Miami Race
Week, did not participate in a Wednesday practice session with the
team since he was still on a skiing vacation.
MARCH 7, 2006 – For
Acura Miami Race
-- Top Competition, Great
Breezes, and Warm Florida Sunshine Draw International Fleet
Miami, Fla., USA. Racing sailors from 22 states and 10 foreign
countries are converging on the waters off Miami Beach for the 2006
edition of Acura Miami Race Week. The ‘SORC Renaissance’
will feature over 140 boats racing on 4 separate courses.
Racing sailors are looking forward to ideal conditions - the long term
forecast calls for 75-80 degree temperatures and winds ranging from
12-20 knots every day. Ten races are scheduled over the next 6 days.
Star-studded, international Farr 40, TP52 and IRC fleets are the big
boats on the ocean divisions that begin racing on Thursday. The Melges
24, Etchells and J/24 classes begin racing on Biscayne Bay on Friday.
West 2006 champions Mascalzone Latino (Farr 40), Stay Calm
(TP52) and Aera (IRC 1) lead the line-up in their respective
Vincenzo Onorato and Russell Coutts proved in Key West that they are a
formidable Farr 40 team, but 18 other Farr 40s with the likes of
Kostecki, Appleton, Chieffi and Harrap in the afterguard, will
certainly challenge a repeat win. The World Champion combination of
Terry Hutchinson and Jim Richardson makes Barking Mad one of
the pre regatta favorites.
2006 Rolex TP52 Global Championship kicks off race week on
March 7. This inaugural event brings together high performance
thoroughbreds from Europe, Hong Kong and across the US. Monday’s
practice race took place in ideal conditions. PRO Tom Duggan was all
smiles as he came off the water, remarking that the fleet was ready to
go on Tuesday with racing that includes a distance and coastal
1 features a Key West rematch with Jim Swartz’ Swan 601 Moneypenny
against Nick Lykiardopulo’s Ker 55 Aera, Jim Madden’s
swing-keel R/P 66 Stark Raving Mad debuts this week with Dave
Ullman and Robbie Haines aboard. Jim Bishop’s venerable J/44
GoldDigger, Larry Bullman’s newly acquired Farr 40, and 4 Swan 45s
round out the big boat class.
four Swan 45s competed in the Gold Cup World Championship at Acura
Key West in January. William Douglass’ Goombay Smash
finished just 2 points shy of a Gold Cup win.
Melges 32 and Mumm 30s complete Division 2. Mike Carroll’s New Wave
won the Melges 32 one design class debut in Key West and he’ll be
defending against a field of proven veterans like Brian and John
Porter’s Full Throttle (Lake Geneva, WI) and Joe Woods’ Red
Peter deRidder’s Monaco-based Mean Machine Mumm 30 crew and
Deneen Demourkas’ Groovederchi from Santa Barbara, Cal. team
will see a lot of each other this week as they look forward to their
November World Championship in Miami.
Three PHRF classes and a J/105 class comprise the third ocean
division. PHRF 2’s big boats to watch are Rick Wesslund’s J/120 El
Ocaso and Greg Manning’s Beneteau 40.7 Sarah. They finished
1st and 2nd in class at Key West, with Wesslund
also taking home PHRF Boat of the Week honors.
Biscayne Bay racing begins on Friday. The Melges 24, Etchells and J/24
Floridians will need to apply whatever home field advantage they can
muster. Melges 24s have traveled from France, Italy, Germany, the UK
and 9 different states to prove their skills in the bay waters. 8
races are scheduled over the 3 days. Headquarters is again based at
the Shake-A-Leg facility in Coconut Grove.
Etchells fleet boasts 28 entries – many of them looking for rematches
and second chances following their recently completed Jaguar series.
Local favorites Scott Piper and Buddy Cribb will be looking to repeat
their Acura Miami Race Week success from 2005. They were 2nd
and 3rd at last years inaugural.
West set the stage for the
Acura Grand Prix trophies to be awarded at the conclusion of Acura Miami Race Week.
These prestigious awards
debuted in 2005 and recognize the top boats with the best combined
score from both Key West and Miami Race Weeks. TP52s, Swan 45s, Farr
40s, J/105s, Mumm 30s and Melges 24s are eligible.
Results, photographs and news: