John Kilroy, skipper of Samba Pa Ti wrapped up first place for the Farr 40 class at the 60th anniversary regatta of the Acura Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) by one quarter of a point.
Kilroy led the class on points for three days of the four-day regatta but came under increasing pressure from the steadily improving Barking Mad, skippered by Jim Richardson, from Boston, MA. Kilroy was the 1999 World Champion of the class while Richardson was the 1998 Champion. "We knew that we had to finish sixth or better in this last race if Barking Mad was first," Kilroy said. "At the first mark she was leading and we were in 11th place. We set up too early at the start and we took a couple of bad waves that just stopped us. We had to fight our way through the pack. At one point we were 16th or 17th. By the second weather mark we were in sixth place and that is where we finished. When you get a quarter of a point separating first and second, you know you've had a helluva regatta." Barking Mad finished second overall in the Farr 40 Class, while Australian skipper John Calvert-Jones, the current World Champion, sailed his Southern Star to a third place overall.
In addition to winning the class trophy, Kilroy was awarded the Mark Baxter Memorial Trophy for the best Farr 40 of the week. Like all skippers who competed in four-day series, he also received an Omega Seamaster 300-Meter Professional Diver watch.
The Acura Cup for the best all-around performance for a boat in a competitive class was awarded to Robert Hughes, skipper of the 1D35 Heartbreaker. Hughes scored a convincing win with a 12.25-point margin in a hotly-contested 15-boat class. For Hughes, who is preparing to campaign a new Farr 40, it was a fitting end for a three-year tenure in the class. His boat is hull #4 and last year he won here in Miami and won the season championship. "This was our last event in the 1D35 Class. The boys were really motivated to sail as best as we could," Hughes said. "Everything was perfect. It was like a storybook ending for us."
A one-quarter-point winning margin also featured in the battle for the Governor's Cup for the best all-round performance by a boat in the PHRF Class. Stephen Murray, skipper of the Santa Cruz 52 Decision, from New Orleans, LA, won the trophy after swapping the points lead all week with George Collin's Chessie Racing.
The Farr 50 Esmeralda, campaigned by sailmaker Ken Read and owner Makoto Uematsu, locked up the seven-boat IMS Class with seven victories in three days of racing and elected not to sail the final day.