Challenging conditions of choppy seas, 15-18 knot shifty wind and some of the most talented sailors in the world contributed to what many here are calling the best racing they have ever done.
For the Mumm 30, Farr 40 and Farr 395 owners and crew competing in the Rolex Farr One Design Invitational, today was the day to perform under pressure.
'It's shifty, it's tough and everyone is having a great time,' said John Kilroy of Los Angeles, Calif. Kilroy and his Samba Pa Ti gained valuable finishes of 5-1-2 to surge into the lead of the 17-boat Farr 40 fleet. Only two races remain to be sailed and it will come down to 'the very last beat and last run of the last race,' predicted the 1999 Farr 40 world champion.
'To put it in perspective the boat that was winning yesterday (Virago) is now in third,' said Kilroy. 'That's the way it should be. That's what is great about Farr 40 racing.'
Despite a win in the second race, Kilroy wasn't always assured the win. 'It was a tough start,' he said. 'We found a hole and got going, but then we got behind on a shift. And then ahead on the next shift, then behind and ahead, and finally, we won the race. (Tactician) Paul Cayard did a great job.'
Nerone, owned by Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori of Rome, Italy, used strong finishes of 3-3-5 to move into second position, only 4 points behind Samba Pa Ti.
Jack Lefort's Off the Gauge team continued with its consistent sailing form to remain at the top of the Mumm 30 class. Two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Ken Read, who insisted that this is more of a vacation with friends, called the tactics that led to 3-1-2 finishes, giving them a 14-point lead over second place Tramp, owned by Tom Ritter of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Despite strong finishes of 2-2-1 by Ritter, Lefort has the class's North American championship well within reach.
'We're shooting for a win,' said Read. 'The last time Jackie sailed a regatta was two years ago here in Miami and he won the North Americans.'
Peter Davidson and the Farr 395 Shades of Gray continues to lead the Open Class.
Two races are scheduled for tomorrow, the final day, with the Rolex Award Ceremony to follow racing.
Title sponsor is Rolex Watch U.S.A. Organizers include the Storm Trysail Club, Mumm 30 and Farr 40 Class Associations. Avalon Majestic Hotel is the official hotel. North Sails and Lewmar are supporting sponsors.