With three races conducted in strong winds, there was opportunity for boats to make a significant move in the standings on the second day of Quantum Key West 2012. Or in some cases it was a chance to further increase leads taken on Day 1. Pisces fit into the former category, moving into the overall lead in Melges 32 class by winning two of three races on Tuesday. Skipper Benjamin Schwartz and company showed superb boat speed and made some sound tactical decisions and now lead the 19-boat fleet by tiebreaker over John Kilroy and the Samba Pa Ti team. “We are a new program so it is a tremendous feeling to be doing well in a big-time regatta like Key West. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said Schwartz, who joined the class last summer and promptly placed fourth at U.S. Nationals. Schwartz has America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird calling tactics and Quantum professional Scott Nixon trimming the jib and spinnaker. “You have to give Ed and Scott a lot of credit for getting our boat up to speed,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew. Today was very challenging because the wind velocity was up and down and the sea state was not very forgiving, but the guys never stopped working and we were able to change gears pretty well.” Race committees on all three courses completed three races in 8-14 knot easterly winds.
With five races in the bag, organizers with Premiere Racing are already halfway to the stated goal of holding 10 races during the five-day regatta. There was a lead change in the Farr 40 class as well with Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) and Struntje Light (Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany) overtaking Groovederci (John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Cal.). Struntje Light has posted a pair of seconds and finished no lower than fourth in the seven-boat fleet, but Charisma holds the overall lead via tiebreaker by virtue of winning Race 5. “We had a very good day on the water and are happy with where we stand at the moment,” Schaefer said. “We have nice boat speed upwind and our crew work has been excellent. We have a very good tactician and he’s made some fantastic calls that have kept me in phase.” Renowned Italian professional and America’s Cup veteran Vasco Vascotta is calling tactics aboard Struntje Light, which has competed in Farr 40 class at Key West ever since 2002 with a top finish of third. “Wolfgang is doing a good job of driving and is getting better every day. The guys onboard have a great attitude and are ready to fight to the end. The good news is that we can still improve our performance.” PowerPlay lived up to its name by making a strong move in IRC 2 class with a strong line of 1-3-4 on Tuesday. Owner Peter Cunningham, a resident of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, has a nice mix of amateur and professional crew with tactician Tony Rey, trimmer Dave Scott and bowman Geordie Shaver among the superstars aboard. “We’ve only had the boat for six months and we’ve made a lot of modifications during that time,” Cunningham said. “We’re pretty happy with our performance so far. We’re sailing fairly well and having a lot of fun.” Quantum Racing, skippered by Doug DeVos, continues to set the pace in the 52-foot class and leads PowerPlay by six points. Terry Hutchinson, helmsman for the Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing that is Challenge of Record for the America’s Cup, has made strong tactical calls in leading Quantum to victory in three races and second in the two others. “Today was far from straightforward. The wind was very shifty and there are some tricky current patches to deal with,” Hutchinson said. In other classes, the three-race day merely served as an opportunity for the early leaders to extend on the competition.
Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer, continues to sail impressively in the Mini Maxi class (IRC 1), winning all five races so far. Red, skippered by Joe Woods of Great Britain with Paul Goodison aboard as tactician, has accomplished the same feat in the inaugural Farr 400 class. “I guess we’ve just figured the boat out a little faster than the other teams,” said Woods, who has previously sailed a Melges 32 at Key West. “We’re winning, but not by much. The racing has been awfully close.” West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes has posted straight bullets in Melges 24 class and built a commanding 10-point lead over Alan Field and the WTF team. Detroit resident Bora Gulari is steering and getting tactical advice from Australian native and North Sails pro Jeremy Wilmot as West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes seeks to follow up on its 2011 national championship. Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., has won all five races in Farr 30 class. Teamwork, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, N.C., has posted two bullets and a pair of seconds in grabbing a narrow one-point lead over the 1D35 Tres Hombres in PHRF 1. “We’re having a great time because the conditions have been terrific and the competition has been spectacular,” said Team, who has his brother and two sons in the crew. “We’ve been mixing it up with Tres Hombres and finished overlapped with them in the first two races today. Rush is also tough so I think it will be a dogfight the whole way.” Rush, a J/109 skippered by Bill Sweetser of Annapolis, was named Lewmar / Navtec Boat of the Day after posting a superb score line of 3-2-1. Tom Babel is calling tactics while Quantum pro Tad Hutchins is calling tactics on Rush, which is currently third in PHRF 1 and second in the J/Boats Subclass. “The conditions were very good for us today. When the wind is 14 knots or less we can fly our big jib, which is kind of like our secret weapon,” Sweetser said. “We pay for that jib in our rating so it’s good whenever we can use it.” It’s been close but no cigar for Rush at Key West as Sweetser’s boat has finished first or second in class several times, but never come away as overall winner at week’s end. “One of these years we’re going to finally break through and it’s going to be wonderful,” he said. Regatta dates are January 15 – 20, 2012.
For more Key West Race Week photos by Tim Wilkes check out Tim Wilkes Photography
CST Composites International Moth World Champion Bora Gulari and Semaine Olympique Française Laser Radial Champion Anna Tunnicliffe today were named US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A shortlist of 10 male and five female sailors – determined from nominations submitted by members of US SAILING – was evaluated by a panel of sailing journalists who selected these two sailors for the noteworthy distinction.
“I just do this because I love it, and I think this year was the start of great things to come for dinghy sailing in the U.S.,” said Gulari. “With the addition of the foils, the Moths became easier to sail and a lot more rewarding . . . generating a level of excitement for sailing in some of the top sailors in the country that I have not seen before. I don’t think it will take people away from traditional dinghy classes, but the Moth is so fun that it’s attracting people that have never had any interest in dinghies, and its bringing people back to dinghies who thought they were done getting wet.”
Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year
– Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) has been named US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. She was nominated to the award’s shortlist for the fifth consecutive year, and, having won the award in 2008 as well, becomes the first woman in 27 years to win the award in back-to-back years, a feat previously accomplished by only four women in the award’s 48 year history: Jan O’Malley in 1969/70, Jane Pegel in 1971/72, Sally Lindsay Honey in 1973/74, and Betsy Alison in 1981/82.
Tunnicliffe’s success on the 2009 match racing circuit was also notable. She won the Detroit Cup in Ultimate 20s and was second at U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in St. Thomas sailed in IC 24s. Her medal haul also included bronze collected at the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in Brazil sailed in J/24s, and at Skandia Sail for Gold in England, sailing the Elliott 6 Metre, the equipment chosen for the debut of the new women’s match racing event at the 2012 Olympic Regatta.
In October, Tunnicliffe was fleet racing J/24s in Rochester, New York, where she won the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship. (It was during the 1997 running of this event that she first gained national prominence – at age 14 she was the youngest skipper in the fleet.) Less than a month later, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) named Tunnicliffe its female 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for accomplishments during the qualifying period of September, 2008, through August, 2009.
The 27-year-old Tunnicliffe, a native of England, grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, sailing from the North Cape Yacht Club in Michigan. Her college sailing career at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.), where she earned ICSA All-American honors three times (2003, ’04, ’05), was highlighted with being named the 2005 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year. Ranked number one in the world in the Laser Radial class since April of 2008, Tunnicliffe’s recent commitment to a match racing campaign in the Elliott 6 Metre focused on the 2012 Olympic Games shows the versatile sailor has no plans to slow down.
“I’m so happy I can do this [sail] for a living,” added Tunnicliffe. “I have more goals to reach in my sailing career, and starting this year  with this award is amazing.”
The nominees will be reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists who discuss the merits of each nominee and vote to determine US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The ultimate winners will be announced in mid-January and honored on February 26, 2010, during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, when they will be presented with Rolex timepieces.
Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport’s ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. Over its history the coveted award has been presented to 37 men and 33 women, including these notable sailors who have claimed the honor multiple times: Ed Adams, Betsy Alison, Sally Barkow, Buddy Melges, Ken Read, Lynne Shore, Jody Swanson and Ted Turner., JJ Isler, Allison Jolly, John Kostecki,
Nominees shortlisted for US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award: Lightning World Champion Matt Fisher (Columbus, Ohio); CST Composites International Moth World Champion Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.); Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis Chris Larson (Annapolis, Md.); Sunfish World Champion David Loring (Charleston, S.C.); SAP 505 World Champion Mike Martin (Newport Beach, Calif.); Finn Gold Cup Silver Medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.); Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Jim Richardson (Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I.); 2.4 mR World Champion John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wisc.); World Champion Matt Struble (San Diego, Calif./Bay City, Mich.); and Star World Champion George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.).World Champion
Nominees shortlisted for US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award: ICSA/Laser Performance Women’s Singlehanded National Champion Anne Haeger (Lake Forest, Ill.); Kieler Woche Champion (Clearwater, Fla.); U.S. Women’s Match Racing Champion Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.); Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Champion Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (San Diego, Calif.); and Semaine Olympique Française Laser Radial Champion Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.).
2008 Terry Hutchinson/Anna Tunnicliffe
2007 Jeff Linton/Sally Barkow
2006 Jud Smith/Paige Railey
2005 Nick Scandone/Sally Barkow
2004 Paul Foerster & Kevin Burnham/Jody Swanson
2003 Augie Diaz/Hannah Swett
2002 John Kostecki/Liz Baylis
2001 Steve Fossett/Cory Sertl
2000 Mark Reynolds & Magnus Liljedahl/JJ Isler & Pease Glaser
1999 Eric Doyle/Dawn Riley
1998 Paul Cayard /Betsy (Gelenitis) Alison
1997 Chris Larson/JJ Isler
1996 Dave Ullman/Courtenay (Becker) Dey
1995 Ed Baird/Cory Sertl
1994 Ken Read/Danielle Brennan
1993 Cam Lewis/Betsy (Gelenitis) Alison
1992 Kevin Mahaney/Julia Trotman
1991 Ed Adams/JJ Isler
1990 Jim Brady/Courtenay Becker
1989 Larry Klein/Jody Swanson
1988 John Kostecki/Allison Jolly & Lynne Jewell
1987 Ed Adams/Susan Dierdorff Taylor
1986 Dennis Conner/JJ Isler
1985 Ken Read/Kathy Steele & Heidi Backus
1984 Bill Buchan/Betsy Gelenitis
1983 Dave Curtis/Wendy Thomson
1982 Randy Smyth/Betsy Gelenitis
1981 Dave Curtis/Betsy Gelenitis
1980 Dennis Conner/Lynne Jewell
1979 Ted Turner/Nell Taylor
1978 Buddy Melges/Bonnie Shore
1977 Ted Turner/Jan O’Malley
1976 Lowell North/Allison Jolly
1975 Dennis Conner/Joan Ellis
1974 Ted Hood/Sally Lindsay
1973 Ted Turner/Sally Lindsay
1972 Buddy Melges/Jane Pegel
1971 Ding Schoonmaker/Jane Pegel
1970 Ted Turner/Jan O’Malley
1969 Robert F. Johnson/Jan O’Malley
1968 Lowell North/June Methot
1967 Bus Mosbacher/Betty Foulk
1966 Bill Cox/Jerie Clark
1965 Dick Tillman/Timothea (Schneider) Larr
1964 Bob Bavier/Jane Pegel
1963 Joe Duplin/Leggie Mertz
1962 Bus Mosbacher/Sue Sinclair
1961 Buddy Melges/Timothea Schneider