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Acura Miami Race Week 2006 Reports

 
 

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MARCH 22, 2006

Grand Prix Sailboat Racing in Miami – The Thrill is Back

-- Acura Miami Race Week 2006 a Resounding Success

 
MARCH 12, 2006

Thrilling Conclusion to Acura Miami Race Week 2006

--- Farr 40 and TP52 Among Many Classes Decided by the Final Race

 

MARCH 11, 2006

Stage is Set for Final Day Battles at Acura Miami Race Week

--- Nine Classes Up for Grabs With Two Races Remaining

 
MARCH 10, 2006

Incredibly Close Competition at Acura Miami Race Week

--- One Second Victory in IRC 1 Typifies Tight Racing

 
MARCH 9, 2006

Miami Delivers Ideal Conditions

--- Acura Miami Race Week Off to a Thrilling Start

 

MARCH 8, 2006

 

Innovation and Competition at Acura Miami Race Week

-- Swing Keel Debuts; Farr 40s Ready for Battle

 

MARCH 7, 2006

 

Acura Miami Race Week Preview

-- Top Competition, Great Breezes, and Warm Florida Sunshine Draw International Flee

 
     

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.

 

Miami 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 the outcome.”

 

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.

 

Patches, 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 Heartbreaker for 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.

 

Moneypenny, 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 Moneypenny.

 

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 than that."

 

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 Nautica to 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."

 

Bill Wagner

Press Officer

Acura Miami Race Week 2006

bwagner@capitalgazette.com

 

 

Acura Miami Race Week 2006 results, photographs and news:  www.Premiere-Racing.com

 

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Title Sponsor Acura is the Official Vehicle. Supporting Sponsor Mount Gay® Rum is the Official Rum. Rolex is the Official Sponsor and Official Timekeeper for the 2006 TP52 Global Championship. Suppliers include Spaten, the Official Beer and Sperry Top-Sider, the Official Footwear.

 

Twenty-eight Industry Partners bring their support through a program that is now in its 5th year.

 

About Acura

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With the support of the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.


 

 March 12, 2006 – For Immediate Release

 

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 Rolex TP52 Global Championship in dramatic fashion, placing second in the 10th and final race to overtake Pegasus 52.

Pegasus, 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.

"I 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 outcome.

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.

El Ocaso, 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.

"I 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 new fleet.

"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 said.

A 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.

No 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 Etchells class.

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).

Bill Wagner

Press Officer

Acura Miami Race Week 2006

bwagner@capitalgazette.com

 


 

March 11, 2006 – For Immediate Release

 

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 classes.

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 feat."

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.

Pegasus 52, 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.

Helmsman Stuart 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.

Norwegian Steam posted a 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."

Mascalzone Latino, 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 (Sunday)."

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.

DIVISION 1
 TP52
 1, Pegasus 52, Philippe Kahn, Waikiki, Hawaii, 6-1-1-5-4-3-4-2=28.5
 2, Patches, Eamon Conneely, Galway, Ireland, 1-6-3-1-1-1-dnf-1=29.25

 3, Beau Geste, Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, China, 4-3-6-4-2-5-2-6=34.5
 

DIVISION 2
 IRC 1

 1, Aera, Nick Lykiardopulo, Cowes, UK, (2)-1-1-2-2-1-2-1=10

 2, Moneypenny, Jim Swartz, Newport, RI, 1-(2)-2-1-1-2-1-2=10
 3, Goombay Smash, William Douglass, Newport, RI, 3-3-3-4-5-(9)-3-3=24

Farr 40

 1, Norwegian Steam, Eivind Astrup, Oslo, Norway, 8-1-2-5-6-4-6-3=35

 2, Mascalzoni Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy,9-6-4-3-3-1-4-7=37

 3, Heartbreaker, Robert Hughes,Holland, MI, 10-10-1-1-1-12-1-4=40
 Melges 32
 1, Full Throttle, Brian & John Porter, Lake Geneva, WI, 3-1-1-1-1-3-(5)-1=11
 2, Grins, Rick Orchard, Flowery Branch, GA, 2-(3)-2-3-3-2-1-3=16

 3, New Wave, Michael Carroll, Tampa, FL, 1-2-3-(4)-2-4-4-2=18

Mumm 30

 1, Mean Machine, Peter de Ridder, Monaco, 1-1-2-1-1=6

 2, Groovederci, 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

 Swan 45 (sub-class)
 1, Goombay Smash, William Douglass, Newport, RI, 1-1-1-1-2-3-1-1=11

 2, Better Than, Marcin Rojek, Newport, RI, 4-2-3-2-1-1-2-2=17
 3, Fever, G. Gordon/K. Diederichs, Southampton, UK, 2-3-2-4-3-4-4-4-=26
 PHRF 1 (IRC 1 – dual scoring)

 1, Moneypenny, Jim Swartz, Newport, RI, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-(2)=7
 2, Aera, Nick Lykiardopulo, Cowes, UK,(2)-2-2,2-2-2-2-1=13
 3, Goombay Smash, William Douglass, Newport, RI, 3-3-3-3-5-(8)-3-3=23

 DIVISION 3
 PHRF 2
 1, El Ocaso, Rick Wesslund, Tiburon, CA, 1-2-1-1-1-1-(4)-3 =10
 2, Peregrine, Hunt Lawrence, Oyster Bay, NY, 2-1-2-2-(dnc)-3-2-1 =13
 3, Emocean, Bill Hanckel, Charleston, SC, (5)-3-5-4-2-2-1-2 =19
 PHRF 3
 1, Defiance, Scott Taylor, Long Beach, CA, (4)-1-1-1-4-2-3-1=13

 2, Triptease, Jeff Rubin, Fischer Island, FL, 1-(7dsq)-4-2-3-1-1-3=15
 3, Temptress, Robert Hibdon, Charleston, SC, 3-2-2-(5)-2-3-2-2=16

J/105
 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
 PHRF 4
 
1, Sazerac, Gordon Ettie, Miami, FL, (3)-1-3-1-2-3-1-2=13

 2, Kalevala II, Tapio Saavalainen, Annapolis, MD, 4-2-1-5-(dnc10)-2-2-1=17

 3, Primal Scream, Steven Stollman, Key Biscayne, FL, 1-3-2-3-3-4-(5)-3=19

DIVISION 4

Melges 24

 1, Giacomel Audi Racing, R Simoneschi, Genova, Italy, 3-1-1-1-1-1=8

 2, Excellent, 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

J/24

 1, La Calaca, Iker Belausteguigoitia, Miami, FL, 3-2-1-1-1-(4)=8

 2, Gottago, 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

Etchells

 1, Oriental Express, Jud Smith, Marblehead, MA, NC, 2-4-1-2-1-(6)=10

 2, Victory, 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.

Moneypenny 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.

"I 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 standings.

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 Norwegian Steam.

"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, Mich.

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.

Norwegian Steam 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," Astrup said.

Mascalzone Latino 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," Onorato said.

There was significant shakeup in the Rolex TP52 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.

By 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.

Patches, 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 the regatta.

Bambakou, 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.

A 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!

Miami 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.

As 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.

"It 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?"

All 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 adjustments."

Norwegian Steam 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.

"It 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.

Twins, 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."

Mascalzone Latino, 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.       

It was 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," Fanstone said.

There 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 a.m. Friday.

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 going into the distance race, which was weighted more than the six buoy races held Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rum at Six 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.

"We've 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 beer."

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 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.

Rubin 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 Thursday.

Scott Taylor's B-32 Defiance leads PHRF 3 by one point over while Robert Hibdon's SR 33 Temptress.

"It's a competitive class, but I think Defiance is starting to show it's the boat to beat," Shellow said.

 

 


MARCH 8, 2006 – For Immediate Release

 

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 knot winds.

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. Moneypenny and 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 Groovederci.

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 teams. Patches, 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.

Stay Calm, a 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.

Not 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 Immediate Release

 

Acura Miami Race Week Preview

-- 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.

 

Key West 2006 champions Mascalzone Latino (Farr 40), Stay Calm (TP52) and Aera (IRC 1) lead the line-up in their respective classes.

 

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.

 

The 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 contest.

 

IRC 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.

 

All 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 (Torquay, UK).

 

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.

 

The 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.

 

Key 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:  www.Premiere-Racing.com