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23 January 2002, 11:33 am
Title Sponsors Share First Place in Farr 40s
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Key West Race Week

Chris Doubek took a solemn oath after the second day of racing inthe Terra Nova Trading/Key West Race Week yesterday.
Doubek, the president of title sponsor Terra Nova Trading, is sailing aboard Stuart Townsend's Farr 40, Virago, which shares first place in that Grand Prix international class. Townsend is president of Townsend Analytics, the provider of RealTick which is the software trading system Terra Nova uses.

"Believe me," Doubek said, "it is not fixed!"

With a third and a sixth following Monday's second in the 25-boat fleet, Virago, from Chicago, and the Wally Tsuha/Bob Hughes Heartbreaker, Holland, Mich., have 11 points, only two ahead of Atalanti XI, the double defending champion of Greek banker George Andreadis.

John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti finished first in the second of two races Tuesday and would be level with Atalanti XI if it hadn't been disqualified on a protest by Alexis Michas' Phish Food, Stonington, Conn., over an incident at the leeward mark. Samba Pa Ti rounded inside of Phish Food, which claimed it had to bear away to avoid a collision.

There was a slight bump in the 1D35 class when helmsman Giovanni Arrivabeno, driving the Italian boat Smiling Bulldog, tacked into the stern quarter of Chris and Kara Busch's class leader Wild Thing, San Diego, 30 seconds after a start. Wild Thing bent a stanchion but didn't miss a beat, posting second- and first-place finishes after Monday's opening win.

Stronger southerly breezes building from 6 to 15 knots, then fading to 8, allowed a full schedule of racing for the 324 boats: two races each for 17 classes and three races for the Melges 24s, who have 10 on their schedule to determine the 2001 world champion.

The 78 Melgeses were among the eight classes left drifting by lack of wind Monday. Their first three winners were France's Laurent Pages, Annapolis' Morgan Reeser and Switzerland's Flavio Favini, but the early leader is Great Britain's Jamie Lea, who drove Richard Thompson's Black Seal to a string of 2-2-4 finishes. Two-time world champion Vince Brun of San Diego was 3-7-20 and defending champion Harry Melges of Lake Geneva, Wis., was tied for second with Reeser at 15.

The big boats are having a dogfight. Isam Kabbani's C/M 60, Rima, which owes time to everybody, is tied with George David's Nelson/Marek 49, Idler, at 6 points after swapping 2-1 and 1-3 finishes. Larry Leonard drives and Kevin Burnham calls tactics for Rima. Ken Read is tactician for Idler, which had its way in the first race Tuesday but lost contact with Rima in the second.

"We couldn't figure out a way to stop Rima," Read said. "The last two legs we lost two minutes in corrected time on them. I don't know if we had something on the keel or the rudder or what."

In PHRF-1 it's a three-way deadlock among Bill Alcott's Santa Cruz 70, Equation; George Collins' Farr 52, Chessie Racing, and Tom Hill's Andrews 68, Titan XI, each with 7 points-and Steve Murray's Andrews 70 Decision is hardly out of it with 9. Collins had to go to Miami on personal business Tuesday, but Jim Allsopp, normally the navigator, took the wheel to finish 3-1, almost as good as Equation's 1-2.

Other winners Tuesday included multihull guru Randy Smyth, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., with a second and first in the new F-28R trimaran class, and Lewis Gunn of Hilton Head Island, S.C., driving his J/105, Dead On Arrival. Gunn is 83 years old.

It may be difficult for the F-28Rs to stop a runaway by Smyth, sailing Dealer's Choice, although Tim McKegney of El Paso, Tex. is hanging tough only one point behind, followed by Doug Harkrider, Flowery Beach, Fla., four points back. Those three have alternated victories to make it a three-boat battle.

Townsend and Doubek, who sailed a Mumm 30 at Key West the previous five years, have upgraded their team by adding Steve Benjamin as tactician and working the new boat up to speed in various events last year.

"To say we were prepared is a true statement," Doubek said.

Heartbreaker tactician Terry Hutchinson said nobody on his boat knew they were racing the title sponsors.

"We had no idea," Hutchinson said, laughing. "Should I take that into consideration next time? We aren't gonna cut anybody any slack. They're sailing really well."
Key West Race Week Press/News Editor
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