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26 January 2002, 10:36 am
Racing Concluded
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photo:Walter Cooper

Key West Race Week
Florida

A subtropical climate that presented nearly 3,000 sailors with three days of dream conditions had no more to give Terra Nova Trading/Yachting Key West Race Week Friday. Racing, scheduled to start at 10 a.m., was abandoned at 11:25.
What wind there was of 2-3 knots peaked at 10 o'clock and died.

"We checked with all our weather experts, who told us there was nothing on the way," said Peter Craig, event director and principal race officer for Div. I, the big-boat course.

Midweek winds approaching 20 knots followed a quiet Monday of 6 knots, tops, until dying off Friday. That made Thursday's leaders regatta winners and expanded celebrations around the globe.

Grecian George Andreadis' Atalanti XI led the cork-popping. The former banker was the Farr 40 winner for the third consecutive year and Yachting Magazine Trophy winner as Boat Of the Week for winning the most competitive class for the second year in a row.

Othmar von Blumencron, a former German and Swiss Olympian, now homeported at Annapolis, Md., won the Key West Trophy as PHRF Boat of the Week by outsailing a tight PHRF-5 fleet.

Italian veteran Flavio Favini, under siege by the rest of a powerful flock of 76 rivals hoping to check his runaway victory, won the 2001 Melges 24 world championship, which was resurrected after its cancellation at Ft. Lauderdale last autumn.

U.S. national champion Argyle Campbell of Newport Beach, Calif., won the class's Corinthian award as the top amateur. He placed 10th overall with best finishes of third and a pair of fifths. A complete Melges 24 report folloows this release.

The above winners followed Australia's Richard Perini, who clinched the Mumm 30 title Thursday.

With 54 foreign boats from 14 countries, the International Team Competition for the Terra Nova Trading Trophy packed a spirited punch. Runner-up finishes by Harry Melges' Melges 24, Star; the Wally Tsuha/Bob Hughes Farr 40, Heartbreaker, and Fred Sheratt's Mumm 30, Steadfast, carried the USA Great Lakes team to victory among 11 three-boat teams representing eight countries.

Flags sagged limp in the Historic Seaport section of town as the fleet of 324 boats towed and motored out to the four races courses south of the island and the temperature, unassuaged by any air movement, crept into the humid 80s.

And there they sat. Some crew went swimming while others competed for shade. George Collins' Chessie Racing rigged its main sail cover as an awning. Finally, after nearly an hour and a half, came the welcome sound of abandonment.

A few contenders were disappointed not to have a last shot at their class leaders-notably, the Heartbreaker team, which trailed Atalanti XI by only two points, 24-26.

"We wanted to race and have a chance to win," Tsuha said. "Without the throwout, we would have beaten them. But it was a good series."

A system allowing a boat to discard its worst finish was introduced this year. Under the old system, Atalanti XI would have had to eat a 26-point disqualification, which it simply tossed. Atalanti XI tactician Robbie Haines was asked if he would rather have sailed Friday.

He thought for a moment, then replied with a smile: "It's OK."

Andreadis said, "It's best to win it by racing, but . . . " He shrugged and smiled, then continued to pour champagne for friends and crew.

His victory wasn't nearly as dramatic as last year when Atalanti XI exploded from out of the pack on the final day with second- and first-place finishes. This year Andreadis and his crew won while drifting lazily on a green, glistening sea.

But who is George Andreadis? Sailing followers know he is Greek and used to own a bank-actually, the Commercial Bank of Athens, his hometown. At 60, he is a fourth-term International Sailing Federation (ISAF) vice-president and is involved in the organization of the 2004 Olympic sailing in Pireaus, the port of Athens.

"I have been sailing for 50 years," Andreadis said.

He met Haines when both were campaigning for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which the U.S. boycotted under President Jimmy Carter's direction.

Andreadis sailed a Flying Dutchman in the 1968 and '76 Olympics and owns several boats which have won five world titles. It is assumed there have been 10 previous Atalantis.

"At least," Haines said.

Besides a passion for sailing, Andreadis and Roy E. Disney have something in common: Robbie Haines.

The San Diego sailor, 1984 Olympic gold medallist and longtime North Sails executive has been Andreadis' tactician/sidekick/mentor not only at Key West but for other major international events since 1979.

Haines also has managed Disney's offshore campaigns in the Transpac, Pineapple Cup and other events. But Andreadis and Disney have never met.

"[Andreadis] will not go offshore or do a race overnight," Haines said, noting that Disney doesn't do many buoy races.

With Andreadis, Haines said, "George is an excellent helmsman. I tell him when we need to [bear away to] go fast or [head up to] go slower. He communicates very well with the crew. If we don't have any other boats around us I don't say a thing."

Other one-design winners included Kerry Klingler, repeating last year's J/80 triumph; John Esposito's Hustler in J/29s, Bob Johnstone's Tern 7 in J/105s, Randy Smyth in F-28R trimarans and, as reported earlier, Chris and Kara Busch's early clinch with Wild Thing in 1D35s.

It also was the maiden regatta for J/Boats' newest creation, the 35-foot 3-inch, sprit and asymmetrical spinnaker-equipped J/109, designed by Alan Johnstone, which his father Rod sailed to second place two points behind von Blumencron in PHRF-5.

"We just took it out of the box from the factory in France and went racing," Johnstone said. "I'm so happy with it. The boat performed great in every condition, and it seemed to be best in No. 2 [jib] weather. We've sold 15 in the U.S. and 20 in France, and only five have been built."

A close fourth in that class was Euro Trash Girl, a J/120 driven by Nicole Christie of Annapolis with four other women and three men, including tactician Kevin Ryman.

"A lot of people expected us to have problems because we sailed with a small crew of eight and five of us weigh only about 140 pounds instead of 180," Christie said. "But we never struggled with the strong winds, and we're very happy with our result."

Yachting magazine trophy Boat of the Week
Atalanti XI (Farr 40), George Andreadis, Athens, Greece

Kest West Trophy PHRF Boat of the Week

Dame Blanche (Beneteau 40.7), PHRF-5, Othmar von Blumencron, Annapolis, Md.

Boats of the day

Monday/ Lewmar Marine Day: Nerone (Farr 40), Masimo Mezzaroma, Savona, Italy
Tuesday/City of Key West Day: Foreign Affair (Mumm 30), Richard Perini, Sydney, Australia
Wednesday/Mt. Gay Rum Day: Blu Moon (Melges 24), Flavio Favini, Switzerland.
Thursday/Yachting Magazine Day: Wild Thing (1D35), Chris and Kara Busch, San Diego, Calif.
Friday/Terra Nova Trading Day: No racing.

Rich Roberts/ISAF Secretariat
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