Harken Derm

Key West Theme: Race. Rinse. Repeat.

Published on January 17th, 2017

Key West, FL (January 17, 2017) – To the delight of the more than 600 sailors competing in the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week, Day 2’s racing nearly mirrored Day 1’s memorable conditions.

Today, Lewmar Day, offered more stellar racing in 15- to 20-knot winds amid sunny skies and warm air temperatures. To borrow from a familiar phrase, ‘Race. Rinse. Repeat’.

“It was another challenging, windy day, but these are the conditions you expect down here,” said Kris Werner, tactician for Laura Weyler’s (Williamsville, NY) J/88 Hijinks. “We made the comment sailing in both days to take a look around: it’s just beautiful here. We’ve had two perfect days of sailing and couldn’t ask for more. It’s been great.”

Hijinks is Weyler’s first boat. She’s never competed at race week before and today is a day that will live in her memory forever. Hijinks was named Boat of the Day after posting victories in both races. The crew now has the low score of 5 points and leads Ryan Ruhlman’s (Bratenahl, OH) Spaceman Spiff by 6 points.

“This is very exciting,” said Weyler. “I have an outstanding crew.”

“It was her idea to come here and do this and get the whole Key West Race Week experience,” said Werner. “It’s a little beyond her skill set to handle the boat on the start line so she’s crossing the rail and soaking it all in.”

Ruhlman’s father, Rob Ruhlman (Cleveland, OH), sailing the J/111 Spaceman Spiff, said that conditions like today are what keeps him coming back year after year. “I’ve done race week 15 or 20 times and like the format. I like that it’s not a two- or three-day regatta. It’s always a great experience. Very few places are like Key West,” said Rob Ruhlman.

With two 2nds today, Spaceman Spiff leads the J/111 Class with the low score of 7 points. Peter Wagner’s (Atherton, CA) Skeleton Key, the defending class champion, moved up to second by winning both of today’s races and trails by 6 points.

“Our buddies on Skeleton Key sailed really well today,” said Rob Ruhlman. “I’m happy that we were able to dig out of a few holes. We dug out from 4th or 5th at the windward mark in the first race and had a bad start in the second race. The racecourse seemed very open. There was no particular emphasis on one side or the other.”

As for staying ahead of Skeleton Key, Rob Ruhlman said, “We beat them both times yesterday, so they can be beat. They’re a good team, but this class is very good. The boats are incredibly evenly matched; it’s close, tight racing. The winner is usually the team that doesn’t make mistakes. It’s very difficult from a boatspeed standpoint to make up lost ground.”

In the Flying Tiger 7.5m, Nigel Brownett’s (Long Beach, CA) Hogfish Racing won both of today’s races and has a 1-2-1-1 scoreline, good for a 4-point lead over Brian Tyrell’s (Benton City, WA) 04. Brownett is sailing with longtime friends Andrew Kerr (Seattle, WA), Jahn Tihansky (Annapolis, MD) and Paul Molenda (Chicago, IL).

“We’re still getting up to speed on the boat but seem to be getting a handle on it,” said Brownett, who admitted to being a bit banged up by the conditions. “There was huge wind yesterday and today. It’s typical Key West sailing, the stuff you come to expect and why we come here.”

In the 52 Super Series, Ergin Imre’s Provezza IX from Turkey, with Peter Holmberg of the U.S. Virgin Islands driving and Tony Rey calling tactics, had the low score of the day with 4 points from two 2nd-place finishes and climbed up to fifth in the standings with 21 points. Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon leads with 14 points.

“We had a discussion on the way out about how badly we had done the day before and set our goal for ourselves to back each other and be a team and to rebuild our confidence and get back on the horse,” said Holmberg, a past match racing world champion. “The team did an awesome job. We sailed the boat really well and got some good results.”

Todd Stuart’s (Key West, FL) White Rhino (Swan 56) won the lone race in the Performance Cruising Class. White Rhino finished 30 minutes ahead of Ken Johnson’s (Stoughton, WI) Grateful Red and corrected out to a 13-minute victory.

“We’re switching up the crew positions every race,” said Matthew Mullan, the boat captain. “We’re worried that if the wind gets lighter our friends on Grateful Red will bring out their new sails and give us a run. They don’t want to use the new sails in winds over 20 knots and the mainsail they’re using has done at least two trans-Atlantic crossings.”

The ORC Class saw Alex Sastre’s (Coconut Grove, FL) High Noise (Italia Yachts 9.98m) take the daily win with a 3-1. High Noise moved up to third in the standings, but Chris and Karen Lewis’ (Houston, TX) Kenai (J/44) and J.D. Hill’s (Houston, TX) Second Star (J/122) still hold 1-2 in the overall standings, separated by 2 points.

In the J/70 Class, Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network from Italy posted another solid 1-2-5 and leads with the low score of 14 points. Tim Healy’s (Jamestown, RI) New England Ropes holds second with 26 points while Glenn Darden’s (Fort Worth, TX) Hoss is third with 36 points.

Dan Cheresh (Saugatuck, MI) Extreme2 also put up some more steady finishes, going 1-3-1 on the day to lead the class with the low score of 8 points, good for an 8-point lead over Kip Meadows’ (Raleigh, NC) RoXanne.

Racing resumes tomorrow with the first warning signal for all three divisions scheduled at 11:00 am.

Racing is scheduled for January 16 to 20.

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Source: Storm Trysail Club

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