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13 March 2005, 09:20 pm
Coumantaros Leads TP52 Clash
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Acura Miami Race Week 2005

A late afternoon sea breeze settled the playing field on day three of Acura Miami Race Week where teams are protecting close leads as they go into their final day of racing.
With a multi-cultural gathering of Olympians, America's Cup, professional and amateur sailors from around the world racing this week, teams are in the homestretch for top honors including the 2005 Florida Grand Prix trophy and fleet awards.

The Transpac 52 Bambakou (formerly Esmeralda) newly owned by John Coumantaros of with tactician Ken READ aboard is in the lead by four points after debuting his boat this week.

'The troops are very happy with our performance and the Bambakou debut is going very well,' said tactician and America's Cup sailor Ken READ. 'Miami hasn't given us the full blow that we expected and the breeze has been inconsistent.'

An intense battle for the inaugural 2005 Florida Grand Prix prize [a combination of performances at Key West Race Week and Acura Miami Race Week] has Transpac 52 sailor Michael BRENNAN of Sjambok tied with Roger STURGEON of Rosebud with 15 points going into tomorrow.

'We are four points behind Bambakou and the wind was so light and fluffy today that it was a difficult day,' said Chris LARSON, tactician aboard Sjambok. 'But, we are focused on winning two races tomorrow.'

European teams in the Farr 40 fleet are locked in a duel as Peter de Ridder of Holland fell to third place today against Wolfgang STOLZ of Germany aboard Opus One who is now tied for first place with Stratis ANDREADIS of Greece on Atalanti. With Greek Olympic Gold Medalist Sofia BEKATOROU calling tactics the young Greek team is in a stronger position after today's racing and are in contention for the 2005 Florida Grand Prix award.

'We are trying to find our place in this fleet as a young, Greek team going up against the best sailors,' said the 25-year old Andreadis, son of ISAF Vice-President George ANDREADIS. 'It is nice to be here and sailing in a place like Miami where we see dolphins on the race course and sail against greats like Peter DE RIDDER and Jesper BANK.'

In the PHRF-1 class, a well-sailed Tripp 47 Cabaret owned by Bob LIMOGGIO of Newport, R.I. are a mere four points behind the Farr 60 Numbers owned by Dan MEYERS of Boston who has America's Cup Hall of Fame sailor Brad BUTTERWORTH calling tactics.

'We are very pleased that we are doing so well going up against the calibre of sailors on Numbers', said mainsail trimmer Scott MCFARLAND of Cabaret. 'It is all communication and teamwork and we are very happy with our performance.'

The 2005 Florida Grand Prix award is going to be very close in the Mumm 30 division with four American teams vying for top positions with Rick Swann on Cygnet four points ahead of Jonathan MCDONAGH aboard Champosa with Illusion owned by John PODMAJERSKY of in a close third.

Local Miami talent in the 30-strong international Etchell fleet has resident Scott PIPER vying for a top spot on his Pipe Dream XII but coming under pressure by Hank LAMMENS of Canada who is currently leading by five points. Jeff ECKLUND of Ft. Lauderdale aboard Star is stretching his lead over M-Fatic owned by Neil SULLIVAN in the 27-boat Melges 24 fleet.

The Melges-24 has had a number of lead reversals but Xcellent owned by John POLLARD of England has the best shot of winning the 2005 Florida Grand Prix award.

The Florida Grand Prix Award for the J/105 fleet has 16 of its 18 members eligible, with Thomas Coates aboard Masquerade holding onto a comfortable lead by 12 points.

'This is my first year in the J/105 fleet and we now recognize the top boats,' commented Jim FLANAGAN of Marblehead who is racing on Achiever V. 'But, this is a great regatta and the race committee did an amazing job with the conditions today. We thought the wind would never fill in but they were patient and once it came in it was a beautiful second race.'

With PHRF fleets sailing at a close, competitive level over all five classes, the PHRF-2 fleet broke out of a three-way tie today with Melges 32 Dawn Raid owned by Oscar STRUGSTAD of ahead by a slight margin over Rick ORCHARD on the Farr 36 Grins and Stig Osterburg of Port Townsend, on the ID 35 Midsummer.

'We are from Michigan and we know we could be back there shoveling snow,' said Lance SMOTHERMAN who is in fourth place in PHRF-2 aboard the ID35 Evolution. 'We came here specifically because we like the way Key West is run and we knew this would be a great event, too.'

In PHRF-3, Gordon SCHIFF and his Mumm 36 The Wall broke away from Othmar MEULLER VON BLUMENCRON on Dame Blanche to take over a lead position by six points.

In PHRF-4, Jahn TIHANSKY and his J-World racing team aboard Pamlico from Annapolis, MD have a two-point edge over the Swan 40 Sazerac owned by Gordon ETTIE.

In PHRF-5, Coconut Grove resident David KURTZ aboard the J27 Goombay, has stretched his lead by three points going into the final day of racing.

In the J/24 fleet, Iker BELAUSTEGUIGO of Mexico on Lacalaca is holding on to his lead over Gotta Go owned by Peter BENZIGER of Miami by three points.

'Overall I think all the fleets have had a great time,' commented Will KEYWORTH aboard the Farr 53 Yellowjacket. 'This venue is incredibly well-run and laid back. The race committee has done a great job and is immensely helpful to all competitors. We go out and learn and carry it back with us into spring time sailing up north.'

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