One day does not make a regatta, but opening day of Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004, presented by Nautica, left the dynamic international Farr 40 and Melges 24 fleets something to munch on besides conch fritters for the rest of the week.
Maspero GIOVANNI and his Joe Fly crew from Lecco, Italy, won the first Farr 40 race they ever sailed Monday and smoked that tough crowd with first- and fourth-place finishes, while Philippe KAHN and his 14-year-old world champion son Samuel (a.k.a. Shark) from Santa Cruz, Calif. and Hawaii are first and third among 58 Melges 24s. They are separated by Britain's unheralded John POLLARD in second.
Racing for 301 boats in 21 classes is scheduled to continue through Friday.
The Joe Fly guys also sail a mean Melges 24 (fourth here a year ago) and a Mumm 30 on the European circuit, but they hadn't seen their new Farr 40 until last week. They got in four days of practice, then went out Monday for real.
"The difference with the Farr 40 is that it's easy,"
said Giovanni, who was at the wheel in the owner-driver class, with Luca SANTELLA matching tactical wits with a flock of superstars.
In the second race, with the wind building to 15 knots, they were 15 at the first mark but picked off enough boats to put four points between themselves and three-time Key West winner George ANDREADIS' Atalanti XII (Robbie HAINES), followed by Jim RICHARDSON'S Barking Mad (Terry HUTCHINSON) and defending champion Alexandra GEREMIA'S and helmsman Scott HARRIS' Crocodile Rock (Vince BRUN).
The Kahns claim they aren't team-racing the fleet but that it's every man and boy for himself. "We're always racing in-house,"
Morgan Larson, a member of Philippe Kahn's crew, noted that "we gybed on [Shark's] wind a couple of times and passed him downwind to get second in the first race."
Shark the son was asked if he felt his rivals regarded him differently on the race course since he won the class Worlds convincingly at San Francisco last September.
Well, does anybody yell at you? he was asked.
Philippe KAHN had a right to shout. His Pegasus 575, with a pair of seconds, won Nautica Day Boat of the Day honours.
Philippe LIGOT'S French entry, the P&P Sailing Team with Sebastian COL driving, won the first race but took an OCS hit in the second and is 28 overall. Dawn Riley's debut with an all-girl Detroit team struggled in 43 place.
For sheer elegance, the Swan 45s stepped out in style for the first time with an eight-boat fleet and, appropriately, the Nautor's Swan brothers swapped wins as the elder Leonardo emerged atop the fleet on the day, while Massimo stood fourth.
San Francisco's Dee SMITH, tactician for Craig SPECK'S second-place VIM from Newport, R.I., liked the ride. "All the boats seem to go the same speed,"
he said, "although it's too early to tell after two races. They're great boats to race against other Swans."
Four boats, including both Corsair trimaran leaders, had perfect days. Bob HARKRIDER, Augusta, Ga., sailed his Corsair 28R Bad Boys to a pair of firsts, as did Robert REMMERS, Des Moines, Iowa, on Breaking Wind.
Mike ROSE'S J/133, Raincloud, from Kemah, Tex. and Jim HIGHTOWER'S Farr 37, Hot Ticket, Houston, Tex. also was unbeatable in PHRF 3 and 8, respectively.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.