TONNERRE top mark

Key West, FL -- Today's racing in Day Two of Quantum Key West was a day of contrasts: light air and an abandoned first race was replaced by light rain, a building southerly breeze to 12 knots, and eventually sunshine as the breeze dropped down to 8 knots on the final leg of the last of the day's two races.

An ebb current in the southerly and a new level of aggression on the starts saw the class crowding the start lines, with no less than 4 boats called OCS in the first start race. Since this race was abandoned, there was no effect on the scores. But for the next two races positioning off the starts had an important influence on each race because race managers kept the legs short: only 1.1 miles.

This also meant fewer lanes among competitors, less real estate available to work the shifts, and less opportunity for time allowances to help correct any mistakes made off the start lines. In these short races, big fast boats who could get off the start would have the edge.

In Race 3, the first scored race of the day, Leo van den Thillart's Kernan/Courouble 47 TRUE got caught in the OCS trap, and did not have the time nor space on the short course to catch the pack, which was led by Peter Vroon's Ker 51 TONNERRE, who scored their second bullet in the series but only by 18 seconds over runner-up SPOOKIE, a Carkeek HPR 40 owned by Steve & Heidi Benjamin.

Start action

But the TRUE team pulled it all together for the last start of the day in Race 4 to come off the line with speed in a strong pin-end position, ahead of TONNERRE who had to tack away in the crowded pack to find a rare clear lane in yet another short 1.1-mile leg course.

In this race Bill Coates's Ker 43 OTRA VEZ had a nail-biting start where they had to get back below the line with only seconds to go to the starting gun. Once off and going, their slight edge upwind forced SPOOKIE, last year's Key West HPR champion, to also tack away in search of clear lanes upwind.

TRUE's strong start kept them out of the fray for the entire race, even staying ahead of the longer TONNERRE to defeat them by 4 seconds in elapsed time and a full 2 minutes in corrected time, the largest margin of victory seen yet this week. This allows the team from Breskans, Holland to take a 2 point lead over SPOOKIE and OTRA VEZ in the standings with three days left of racing.

"Light southerlies are always the most challenging direction here in Key West, with lots of shifts and changing conditions," said SPOOKIE's Rolex Award-winning tactician Bora Gulari. "And with the short courses and the tight racing it can be only a matter of minutes before you can be in a great position to having that position cave in. We are still getting used to our new rig, and today we got swatted around a few times like a bug, so we look forward to getting out there again tomorrow."

 

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