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11 March 2005, 12:45 pm
Europeans Have The Upper Hand
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Acura Miami Race Week 2005
Miami, FL, USA

Bright sunshine and challenging conditions greeted the top sailors from around the world at the Acura Miami Race Week. The first day of racing saw boats from the Netherlands, Greece and Germany provide their American rivals with some very tough competition.
Fresh conditions, deep swells and a strong northerly breeze that faded to less than ten knots made the races both tactical and physical. The deep currents of the Gulf Stream running fast against a dying northwesterly breeze made the conditions tricky, tough and challenging.

'It was difficult up and down in the dying northwesterly,' said Michael BRENNAN (USA), owner of the Transpac 52 Sjambok and currently locked in a three-way tie for first place after three races. 'But, this is a great venue with the level of competition being the best in the world. Seeing Olympic medallist and America's Cup winners on the same racecourse says to me that this is the only sport in the world where you can sail with the best. I can't play golf against Tiger Woods but with team work and luck and skill we can do well against the best.'

The first day of Acura Miami Race Week has the European teams with a slight edge over the Americans with strong performances setting the stage for three more days of highly competitive yacht racing.

In the International Farr 40 fleet a talented team from Greece, including Olympic gold medallist Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE), sailed three strong races but they trail Mean Machine's Peter DE RIDDER (NED) by three points. The Dutch and Greek boats face challenges from the Germans Wolfgang SCHAEFER, owner of Strunje Light and Opus One owned by Wolfgang STOLTZ.

'We have had some great racing today and overall the boat is sailing very well,' said STOLZ, who is sailing with America's Cup helmsman Jesper BANKS (DEN) and currently tied in third.

In the PHRF 1 fleet, Farr60 Numbers owned by Dan MEYERS (USA), leads by four points with three-time America's Cup winner Brad BUTTERWORTH (NZL) calling tactics. William DOUGLASS' (USA) Swan 45, Goombay Smash, had a strong race with New Zealander and America's Cup mainsail trimmer Murray JONES onboard.

'Today's racing was difficult because of the dying breeze. The current off the Gulf Stream is less of a factor and it was about finding wind,' said BUTTERWORTH.

In PHRF 2, the ID35 boat Midsummer owned by Stig OSTERBERG (USA) is in first place followed by Brendan BROWNYARD's (USA) Hell Hound.

Stuart HEBB's Thin Ice leads the PHRF 3 while PHRF-4 has the J-World Racing Team aboard Pamilico in first-place.

Laurie Fullerton (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action From The Day's Racing:© Tim Wilkes 2005
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