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22 January 2003, 10:07 am
Atalanti XII On A Farr 40 Roll Again
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©Tim Wilkes

Key West Race Week

George Andreadis, ISAF Vice President and, Athens banker has won the Farr 40 class three consecutive years and event Boat of the Week the last two years, and yesterday he sailed Atalanti XII into first place after two days.
Another defending champion, Richard Perini from Sydney, Australia, rose to the top with a 4-1 day. Perini's Mumm 30, Foreign Affair, sits one point ahead of Pierpaolo Cristofori's Printel Wind, the runner-up in the class worlds.

Also in Division 1, David Kirk of Chicago drove his 1D35, Détente, to a pair of wins to take over first place from Doug and Dick DeVos' Windquest.

Atalanti XII, with first- and second-place finishes following Monday's 11th and third, has as commanding a lead as that rough-and-tumble class allows with 17 points to 26 for Crocodile Rock, the Scott Harris/Alexandra Geremia entry from Santa Barbara, Calif. that led after day one. "We try very hard," Andreadis said with a shrug and a smile.

Close does not begin to describe it. The starts were cavalry charges and the mark roundings gridlocks. Dr. Wolfgang Schaefer's Struntje light from Germany won the second race Monday but got squeezed out at a mark Tuesday, fouled a rival and while doing a 720-degree penalty turn (two complete circles) almost ran over a photographer who was in the water.

And what happened to Samba Pa Ti? John Kilroy's entry from L.A., the third-place boat in the recent class Worlds and with a fairly experienced tactician named Paul Cayard on board, finished dead last in the 24-boat fleet in the second race.

"We were over early at the start," Kilroy said, "and on the first run we were outside [the fleet] when a 35-degree shift came." He thought they were sailing conservatively. "We aren't into flyers," he said. There also was a problem getting clumps of weed off the rudder and propeller "that was ugly," Kilroy said.

Worse, the Farr 40s' Division 1 course, where the 1D35s and Mumm 30s also are sailing, is the only one of four courses with no throwouts---the others will discard their worst finish after seven races---so one bad race can be fatal.

Atalanti XII, with Robbie Haines on tactics, edged Jim Richardson's Barking Mad (Gavin Brady) for its win Tuesday as the boats finished at opposite ends of the line. Then Andreadis chased home Vincenzo Onorato's Italian entry, Breeze (Adrian Stead).

"We had the lead and lost it," Andreadis said. "It was very close with the other boats."

Crew member Rick Brent said, "Robbie was very good on the tactics, and George settled in after eight months of no sailing. We were fortunate because some of the boats had trouble at the start."

Steve Phillips, who won the Worlds with Le Renard, had a pair of fifths, despite the fact "we hit a lobster pot and couldn't get it off the keel."

Perini is sailing Foreign Affair with a different crew than last year, except for mastman Darren Jones. The others had trouble getting time off, so the boat has four Australians, two Americans and a Canadian. One of the Americans is the veteran Jud Smith of Marblehead, Mass., serving as tactician.

"It's still going pretty good," Perini said. "In the first race, we got a good start and then had to give away two boat lengths to avoid a crab pot that was trailing its line. It forced us to tack off and lose some boats."
Those, along with subtle currents and fickle wind shifts, are the challenges facing the 290 boats on the inshore courses. By the end of the week the winners will have earned their awards.

The event's largest fleet of 57 Melges 24s saw flashes of form when Norway's Kristian Neergaard, sailing with world champion Harry Melges as crew, and California's versatile Morgan Larson scored wins, although overall they lie eighth and fifth, respectively.

Meanwhile, Bruce Ayres of Newport Beach, Calif. has put together two thirds and two eighths to reach first place, three points ahead of defending champion Flavio Favini, sailing Franco Rossini's Blu Moon from Switzerland. Favini, incidentally, sailed on Onorato's America's Cup challenger, Mascalzone Latino.

Neergaard won Tuesday's first race by 70 yards over Argyle Campbell's Rock N'Roll from Newport Beach with a good start and "protecting the right" side of the course. But he was blocked out of that side in the next race and slipped to 15th.

In the International Team Competition for the Key West Trophy, the Italian team of Onorato's Farr 40, Breeze; Cristofori's Mumm 30, Printel Wind, and Maspero Giovanni's Melges 24, Joe Fly, has a two-point lead over the German team composed of Struntje light, Blu Moon and Bent Dietrich's Mumm 30, Rainbow. Italy won the trophy three years running until last year.

The event is scheduled for nine races, but wind prospects for Wednesday were grim, although another cold front was expected to bring back more breeze Thursday and Friday.

For Full list of results and class leaders, please visit the event website below.
Rich Roberts/ISAF News Editor
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