A consistent southerly breeze between 10 and 13 knots allowed for four races to be completed on an exciting first day at the 2003 Acura SORC, raced just off Miami Beach.
With South Beach's Art Deco District in the background, the Farr 40s lined up to take a shot at two-time defending champion John Kilroy Jr.'s Samba Pa Ti, on the Acura Course and it was a dogfight with four different boats registering wins and the defending champ finishing Day One in the middle of the pack.
Robert Hughes', Heartbreaker showed consistent improvement over the day rebounding from an 11th place finish to end the day with a first place in the final race to assume control of the class. Just one point separates places two and three with Steve Howe's Warpath sitting on 24 points and Peter De Ridder's Mean Machine breaking up three eighth places finishes with a first place finish in race three.
The Sailing World Course was also alive with activity as the IMS and three PHRF classes kept the action rolling. In the IMS class George David ran the table with three first place finishes aboard Idler. David's only blemish on an otherwise perfect day was a second place finish in the final race to Marco Birch's Talisman who currently sits in second place.
In the PHRF competition three first place finishes were the key to a Day One lead. Gary Evans' Rosebud led the way in the PHRF 1 competition while local skipper S.A. Spencer's Triptease notched three wins, following a second place finish in the first race in PHRF 3 to set the early pace.
In PHRF 2 Terrance Smith's Raincloud registered two wins to get out in front.
"It was a perfect day of racing," said Principal Race Officer Peter "Luigi" Reggio. "The winds were just shifty enough to make it interesting and keep the racing really competitive."
On Friday the Melges 24, Mumm 30, J/105 and Multihull classes join the action at the 2003 Acura SORC. The Melges 24 Class has designated the event as the Miami Melges 24 Championship.
All eyes will be on Brian Porter's Full Throttle, which has had an active, and successful, winter, winning the King's Day Regatta in mid-November in Jacksonville, FL, the first event in the Melges 24 winter racing 'Big 3 Series'.
At the Midwinter Championship last month in Key West, Full Throttle finished second to Flavio Favini at the helm of Franco Rossini's Blu Moon. The first and second place finishes put Full Throttle in control for the 'Big 3 Series' title, and a favorite for the Miami Melges 24 Championships, heading into the Acura SORC.
In the Mumm 30 class Brent Dietrich's Rainbow runner-up at the 2002 Acura SORC, returns to Miami Beach to claim the 2003 crown. He will be challenged by seven boats including fellow international entries Mammy! skippered by Dianrmnid Foley, Topas skippered by Dr. Harald Bruening and Canadian boat Kevin Browne's Notorious.
Jim Sorenson's Wet Leopard is looking to improve on his runner-up finish at Key West Race Week and will have to stave off the challenges of nine other J/105s. Additionally, the multihulls return to the Acura SORC after a one-year absence.
Day two of the 2003 Acura SORC commences on Friday morning with racing set to start at 10:00am.
The Acura SORC, in its 62nd year, is one of the premiere participatory race-weeks in sailing, featuring more than 75 yachts and more than 500 participants including America's Cup sailors, business leaders and ocean navigators from around the world in a week-long lifestyle festival in Miami Beach, Florida.
Provisional results, Acura SORC, Day 1, February 27, (owner name, boat name, city, state, places, points):
Robert Hughes, Heartbreaker, Ada, MI, 11-6-3-1, 21
Steve Howe, Warparth, San Diego, CA, 7-9-2-6, 24
Peter De Ridder, Mean Machine, Monaco, 8-8-1-8, 25
George David, Idler, Hartford, CT, 1-1-1-2, 5
Marco Birch, Talisman, New York, NY, 3-4-2-1, 10
Larry Bulman, Javelin, Bethesda, MD, 2-3-3-3, 11
Gary Evans, Rosebud, Santa Cruz, CA, 1-1-1-2, 5
Charles Burnett, III, Bandolier, Seattle, WA, 2-2-2-1, 7
Terrance Smith, Raincloud, Isle of Palms, SC, 5-1-1-2, 9
Othmar Mueller, Dame Blanche, Loudon, VA, 6-2-3-3, 14
James Bishop, Goldigger, New York, NY, 8-5-2-1, 16
S.A. Spencer, Triptease, Miami, FL, 2-1-1-1, 5
Gordon Ettie, Sazerac, Miami, FL, 3-3-2-2, 10
Scott Taylor, Defiance, Long Beach, CA, 1-4-6-3, 14