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22 January 2002, 11:58 am
Opening Day
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Key West Race Week
Florida

While two of the four race courses never got enough wind to race, Chris and Kara Busch's 1D35 from San Diego ran away from the class on a hot and humid day when Chris went for an unscheduled swim.
"We caught a lobster pot at the last leeward mark and I had to jump in the water [to free it]," he said.

Helmsman Ben Mitchell said, "It was just like catching an anchor."

Fortunately, Wild Thing wasn't moving very fast-nobody was Monday-and it had a lead of 150 yards, which was reduced by half. Other crew members were Gary Weisman, tactician; Bob Little, Dave Curt, Jim MacLeod and Jim Anderson.

There are 324 boats from 33 states and 14 countries competing on four courses. The 1D35s shared the Division IV course with the Farr 40s and Mumm 30s, alongside the Division I course, which also managed only one race for the big IMS boats, PHRF 1-through-5 and the F-28R trimarans, who never began to stretch their legs. The starts were scheduled for 10 a.m. but those were delayed 1 1/2 hours waiting for wind, and Divisions III and IV threw in the towel at 1:15 p.m.

Masimo Mezzaroma's Nerone from Savona, Italy, caught a couple of favourable shifts to win the Farr 40 race, followed by, of all people, the title sponsors. Stuart Townsend, formerly a Mumm 30 competitor, and tactician Chris Doubek got Virago around the three-lap, six-miles-plus course in second place ahead of George Andreadis' double defending champion, Atalanti XI. Doubek is president of Terra Nova Trading; Townsend is president of Townsend Analytics, the provider of RealTick ™ which is the software trading system Terra Nova uses.

Nerone's tactician, Vasco Vascotto, said, "We were lucky, I guess. The big thing here is to finish in the top 6 or 7 each day. It's a fantastic place to sail-good sailing, good beer, laughter. That's why the Italians like Key West."

Nick Morrell's Warp Factor VI from Great Britain won the Mumm 30 race.

On the adjacent course, George David's Nelson/Marek 49, Idler, with Ken Read driving, took two points for second place in the IMS race but emerged on top when Isam Kabbani's C/M 60, Rima, from Newport, R.I., flew an "I" flag for a two-point penalty after being protested by Larry Bulman's Javelin. The arbitration rules call for a penalty of either 20 per cent or two points, whichever is greater, so Rima has three points.

Marty Fisher's J/145, Strabo, Newport, R.I.-PHRF Boat of the Week last year-beat the PHRF 2 fleet on elapsed and corrected time.

The Division III washout means that the 78 Melges 24s now need to work in their 10 scheduled races in the last four days. The other 17 classes need only eight races each total. But the Melges sailors weren't complaining. They cheered the abandonment.

Dave Brennan, principal race officer for Division III, said, "We didn't want those sailors to cook out there any longer. They'd been out there more than three hours. They certainly applauded our decision."

Brennan consulted periodically with Wayne Bretsch, PRO of Division II for PHRF 6-9, J/29 and J/80, who said, "It was apparent they were happy to wait to get a clean race versus a crapshoot."

The good news is that, according to the National Weather Service office in Key West, wind up to 15 knots was supposed to arrive Tuesday, although the air will remain humid. Chris Busch said just because his team is from San Diego doesn't mean it has an edge in light air.

"It was even lighter than that," he said. "It was painful for us, too."

Kara Busch said the worst part was that she didn't see much of the race because she stayed in the cabin for optimum boat trim. "It was awful," she said. "I spent most of the day down below with two of the guys."

Division Winners on Monday:

FARR 40-Nerone, Masimo Mezzaroma, Savona, Italy.
1D35-Wild Thing, Chris and Kara Busch, San Diego, Calif.
MUMM 30-Warp Factor VI, Nick Morrell, Hamble, GB.
IMS-Idler (N/M 49), George David, New York, N.Y.
PHRF 1-Decision (Andrews 70), Stephen Murray, New Orleans, La.
PHRF 2-Strabo (J/145), Martin Fisher, Newport, R.I.
PHRF 3-Wairere (Thompson 30), Trice and Chris Bouzaid, Jamestown, R.I.
PHRF 4-Tsunami (Farr 395), Preben Ostberg/John Aras/Bud Dailey, Annapolis,
Md.
PHRF 5-Dame Blanche, (Beneteau 1st 40.7), Annapolis, Md.
F-28R TRIMARAN-LIL Loe, Tim McKegney, El Paso, Tex.

Complete results, event information and photos from the event website.
Key West Race Week Press/News Editor
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