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19 January 2006, 11:37 am
Squalls And Strong Gusts Leave Championship Wide Open
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Swan 45 Gold Cup 2006
Key West, Florida, USA

Day three of the Swan 45 World Championship in Key West, USA saw another delayed start to racing, due to severe squalls and a surge in wind from the north. The forecast 20-25 knots turned into much stronger gusts mid-morning, with 32 knots measured on the Acura Key West Race Week jury boat. A second race of the day was considered, but postponed due to severe weather conditions, so after the third day of the Swan 45 Gold Cup 2006 there are four races still to go and everything to play for.
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Vittorio CODECASA's (ITA) Jeroboam ended the day's slightly shortened race triumphant, with a confident win over the second placed Grant GORDON and Klaus DIEDERICHS (GBR) jointly owned Fever and overall leader William DOUGLASS' (USA) Goombay Smash, who came in third.

A great start and seamless teamwork was how Italian sailing pro and Jeroboam's tactician Gabriele BENUSSI (ITA) summed up the crew's performance, 'We had a very good start today. I preferred to go right over the course area, and we made the right choice. Vittorio helmed very well and we were first at the first windward mark. Downwind, we increased our advantage over the rest of the fleet with good speed, and on the second leg we built a really good distance between us and the next boat.'

CODECASA, elated with Jeroboam's consistent rise though the rankings from day one, added, 'Fantastic! Everything was perfect - the teamwork was very good and it was easy to steer. We were not particularly influenced by the tough conditions, because after many times sailing in Sardinia, we are used to weather like this.' And CODECASA and his crew will have double reason to celebrate tonight - after an outstanding race win, they have been awarded one of the highest accolades of Acura Key West - the Boat of the Day award.

Leaders Unchanged

The top four Swan 45s on the leaderboard remain unchanged from yesterday, with Goombay Smash out in front on 13 points, Danilo SALSI's (ITA) DSK Comifin in second place with 21, Massimo FERRAGAMO's (USA) Bellicosa third on 25 points and brother Leonardo FERRAGAMO's (ITA) Cuor Di Leone in fourth with 32 points.

A well deserved second place in today's race for Fever resulted in a shift in the mid-leaderboard positions, with the jubilant crew taking fifth place overall. From ninth position at the first windward mark, Fever sped through the fleet to round the second windward mark in second place.

GORDON declared, 'We had a really fantastic day on the water - I feel a lot better about our performance after today's race. We were more consistent upwind and really got in the groove a lot better today. Downwind, we managed to hold it together, we managed to keep the boat nice and tight, keep her really in the groove. Everybody's happy.'

On the conditions, he added, 'Compared with yesterday, the water was smoother, so the conditions were actually easier, even if the wind strength was about the same as yesterday. Our home waters are the Solent, and we get strong wind there too - it was quite similar to home out there today, but the colour of the water is much more beautiful in Key West!'

Another crew that came off the water pleased with their performance was Bandit, owned by Andrew FISHER (USA), who took sixth place in today's race and seventh overall.

After a rough day for many of the Swan 45s, and for many of the 300 or so other boats competing at Acura Key West, there were several bumps and bruises to be nursed this evening. Current Swan 45 Champion Stefano POLTI's (ITA) Mintaka and Mikhail MOURATOV's (GBR) Murka 2 both retired early, but Bandit sailed a good, clean race. 'We started the race quite badly,' commented FISHER, 'But worked hard to make it up to sixth. It felt really good. The important thing was keeping consistent - we just sailed very conservatively, and it paid off.'

After a dramatic and eventful day on the water, no doubt many of the crews will be tuning into, where race footage from the Swan 45 Gold Cup, as well as from the other divisions, can be viewed. With strong winds and high pressure forecast for tomorrow, we can expect to see some equally dynamic racing on the Swan 45 course.

Top Ten

Pos Nation Boat Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Pts
1 USA Goombay Smash William DOUGLASS 4 3 1 2 3 13
2 ITA DSK-Comifin Danilo SALSI 8 1 3 5 4 21
3 USA Bellicosa Massimo FERRAGAMO 1 14 4 1 5 25
4 ITA Cuor Di Leone Leonardo FERRAGAMO 9 5 7 4 7 32
5 GBR Fever Grant GORDON/ Klaus DIEDERICHS 3 11 5 12 2 33
6 ITA Mintaka Stefano POLTI 5 4 10 11 7.5 37.5
7 USA VIM Craig SPECK 2 15 9 3 9 38
8 USA Bandit Andrew FISHER 12 9 2 9 6 38
9 ITA Jeroboam Canova Vittorio CODECASA 15 12 6 6 1 40
10 ITA Atlantica Racing Carlo PERRONE 7 7 8 7 13 42
Jennifer HOLL (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from Florida:© Thierry MARTINEZ/SEESEA.IT
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