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
After four days of racing in a variety of conditions across a mix of around-the-buoys and distance, New York Yacht Club’s seventh biennial Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex came to an end this afternoon. Light winds threatened to cancel the last day of racing for the 35 competing boats, but by 2pm Newport’s classic southerly sea breeze filled in against a stubborn northerly and offered suitable conditions for racing. All classes raced on a four-leg windward/leeward course, and at the end of the day the Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce was determined the best performing boat and was named the 2010 Rolex US-IRC National Champion. Its owner and skipper, Richard Oland (St. John, New Brunswick, CAN), was presented with a specially engraved Rolex Yacht-Master at this evening’s Rolex Gala and Awards Party held at Harbour Court.
“This is a tremendous thrill for us,” said Oland, who won his IRC class in March’s International Rolex Regatta. He pointed out that competing against all of the boats in the fleet is exciting. “That’s the secret of IRC. The reason it’s become so good is because it allows for innovation. If you look at the results, and you look at boats you see how close they are. Like in our class, class 2, we were all within 50 feet.”
The overall winner was calculated by comparing all entries based on a formula of average seconds per nautical mile. In determining the overall winner, the NYYC Sailing Office noted that the time separating winner Vela Veloce from the second-place overall was 13/100s of a second.
Winning the class wasn’t enough; it was the overall performance that counted. Not much of a consolation to Steve Benjamin (South Norwalk, Conn.) and his team onboard his Tripp 41 Robotic Oncology, which won IRC Class 3 and finished in second place overall.
“We knew we won our class quite easily,” said Benjamin. “We knew we had a good shot at the overall title. Today was great, but we were nervous because there was so much on the line. We have been trying to win with this boat for the past five years, and although we have had some success there was all this added pressure.”
Vela Veloce won IRC Class 2 with an impressive score line of four first places and two seconds. In second place was Captivity, George Sakellaris’s (Framingham, Mass.) Farr 60, 10 points back. Although Blair Brown’s (Padanaram, Mass.) 55-foot Sforzando won today’s final race, it wasn’t enough to move up in the standings, and it finished in third.Robotic Oncology finished the regatta with five wins and one fifth-place finish in six races. After racing, Benjamin’s oncologist Dr. Samadi of Mount Sinai Hospital, who was on the water watching today’s race was clearly impressed with his patient’s racing skills. “The way that he worked with his team is the same as when you do robotic surgery. You have to work together with your team in the same way. Steve did an amazing job.”
John Cooper’s (Springfield, Mo.) Mills 43 Cool Breeze placed second in IRC Class 3, while Philip Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) NYYC Swan 42 Arethusa finished in third.
Daniel Meyers’s (Boston, Mass.) J/V66 Numbers took a second in today’s only race and held onto the lead in IRC Class 1. George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) Rambler finished in second place, while Ray Roberts’s (Sydney, Australia) STP65 Evolution Racing is in third.
IRC Class 5 winner was Storm, Rick Lyall’s (Wilton, Conn.) J/109 that moved up to win the overall class by placing third in today’s race. “We only started racing in IRC, and this is our fourth or fifth IRC event. It’s a very good measurement and rating system. We seem to have a competitive boat. We worked really hard at making sure we had a good configuration in the sail plan, and we sailed really well. To have beat Carina, the winner of Newport Bermuda Race, in the Annual Regatta and now here. Well, that’s top-notch competition. You know, Rush beat us earlier this year, and it’s been back and forth with them. They put in a really good effort.”
Bill Sweetser’s (Annapolis, Md.) J/109 Rush finished in second, while Nordlys, Robert Schwartz’s (Port Washington, N.Y.) J/109, finished in third by winning the last race.
Lyall went on to give credit to the split-format of Race Week. “The first half of the week was our J/109 North American championship,” he said. “And that was very tough and competitive racing. Coming into it I was the defending champion. I was disappointed we didn’t’ defend, but Gut Feeling is a bunch of great sailors and we take no shame in losing to them. In the IRC event, we had a really terrific distance race. You can’t ever beat a race like that with 25 knots of wind. We were going 14 knots; it was fantastic racing!”
Christopher Dragon held onto its IRC Class 4 lead going into today’s final race, finished second and held on to win overall. “To tell you the truth, we were hoping for no race,” joked owner and skipper Andrew Weiss (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) “It turned out pretty well. The breeze filled in, and the wind wound up being steadier than yesterday.”
The J/122 won by one point over Craig Albrecht’s (Sea Cliff, N.J.) Farr 395 Avalanche. “All we did for today was cover Avalanche and the other J/122, Partnership,” said Weiss. “We sailed more conservatively, after being over the line early yesterday. To win the series was our goal.”
About the Rolex US-IRC National Championship
With the concept of moving the Rolex US-IRC National Championship around the country to encourage growth in IRC fleets, the 2009 championship was run in conjunction with St. Francis Yacht Club’s Rolex Big Boat Series, in San Francisco, Calif. and crowned a winner in Vincitore, the Custom 52 owned by Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI/Chicago, Ill.). In 2008, the championship was sailed in conjunction with the 48th Little Traverse Yacht Club Regatta and One Design Series, in Harbor Springs, Mich. and won by Stripes, the Great Lakes 70 owned by Bill Martin, (Ann Arbor, Mich.), and in 2007, the inaugural championship was held as part of the Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex and won by Blue Yankee the Reichel/Pugh 66 owned by Bob and Farley Towse (Stamford, Conn.).
The event is part of the 2010 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series http://www.us-irc.org.
New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex
Rolex US-IRC National Championship| July 21-24, 2010
Final Results, July 24 – Day 4 of racing
One race completed (six in the series)
Overall Rolex US-IRC National Championship
1. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross, Richard Oland, Saint John, Maine
2. Robotic Oncology, Tripp 41, Stephen Benjamin, South Norwalk, Conn.
3. Numbers, JV 66, Daniel M. Meyers, Boston, Mass.
4. Christopher Dragon, J122, Andrew Weiss, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
5. Storm, J/109, Rick Lyall, Wilton, Conn.
Position, Boat Name, Boat Type, Skipper, Hometown, Race 1-R2-R3-R4-R5-6, Total points
Class – IRC 1
1. Numbers, JV 66, Daniel M. Meyers, Boston, Mass, 2-2-1-1-1-2, 9
2. Rambler, Custom 90, George David, Hartford, Conn., 1-1-2-3-3-1, 11
3. Evolution Racing, STP65, Ray Roberts, Alexandria, AUS, 3-3-3-2-2-3, 16
Class – IRC 2
1. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross, Richard Oland, Saint John, Maine, 1-1-1-1-2-2, 8
3. Captivity, Farr, George Sakellaris, Framingham, Mass., 2-2-8(DNF)-2-1-3, 18
2. Sforzando, Kerr 55, Blair, Brown, Padanaram, Mass., 4-3-4-3-4-1, 19
5. Snow Lion, Ker 50, Lawrence Huntington, New York, N.Y., 3-4-6-5-3-7, 28
4. Privateer, Cookson 50, Ronald O’Hanley, Boston, Mass., 5-6-2-7-5-6, 31
6. Rima2, R/P 55, John Brim, New York, N.Y., 6-7-3-4-6-5, 31
7. Anema&Core, JV52, Ennio Staffini, Annapolis, Md., 7-5-5-6-7-4, 34
Class – IRC 3
1. Robotic Oncology, Tripp 41, Stephen Benjamin, South Norwalk , Conn., 1-1-5-1-1-1, 10
2. Cool Breeze, Mills 43 Custom, John Cooper, Springfield, Mo., 2-2-4-3-2-2, 15
3. Arethusa, NYYC 42, Philip Lotz, Newport, R.I., 3-4-1-2-3-3, 16
4. The Cat Came Back, NYYC Swan 42, Lincoln Mossop, Bristol, R.I., 7-7-2-4-4-4, 28
5. Devocean, Swan 45, Stephen DeVoe, Jamestown, R.I., 4-3-3-6-6-6, 28
6. Big Booty, Lutra 42, Pat Eudy, Charlotte, N.C., 5-5-7-5-5-5, 32
7. Temptation, Taylor 45, Arthur Santry, Arlington, Va., 6-6-6-7-7-8(DNF), 40
Class – IRC 4
1. Christopher Dragon, J/122, Andrew Weiss, Mamaroneck, N.Y., 1-1-1-3-4-2, 12
2. Avalanche, Farr 395, Craig Albrecht, Sea Cliff, N.Y., 2-2-4-2-2-1, 13
3. Partnership, J/122, David & MaryEllen Tortorello, Fairfield, Conn., 5-4-2-1-3-3, 18
4. Act One, Sloop, Charlie Milligan /Tom Roche, Newport, R.I., 3-7-3-4-7-5, 29
5. Alliance, Summit 35, Dominick Porco, New York, N.Y., 7-3-8-5-1-7, 31
6. Indra, Beneteau First 44.7, Thomas Linkas, South Hamilton, Mass., 8-8-6-6-5, 33
7. Settler, Cust. Peterson 42, Thomas Rich, Middletown, R.I., 4-6-7-8-6-6, 37
8. White Gold, J/44, James D. Bishop, New York, N.Y., 8-5-5-7-8-DNS, 42
Class – IRC 5
1. Storm, J/109, Rick Lyall, Wilton, Conn., 1-4-3(RDG)-2-4-3, 17
2. Rush, J/109, Bill, Sweetser, Annapolis, Md., 3-2-4-1-3-4, 17
3. Nordlys, J/109, Robert Schwartz, Port Washington, N.Y., 4-7-6-3-1-1, 22
4. Carina, Cstm Sloop, Rives Potts, Essex, Conn., 7-1-1-6-7-2, 24
5. Cowboy, N/M 46, Isdale/Cochran, Greenwich, Conn., 2-5-8-4-2-6, 27
6. Good Girl, J/100, Robert W. Armstrong, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI, 5-6-2-5-5-10(DNS), 33
7. Eclipse, Corby 33, Dave Kellogg, Oyster Bay, N.Y., 6-3-9-8-8-5, 39
8. Out of Reach III, X-35, Louis Nees, New York, N.Y., 8-8-5-7-6-10 (DNS), 44
9. Blue Rider, J/109, Eric Kamisher, Norwalk, Conn., 9-9-3-9-9-10 (DNC), 49