Fair winds follow prominent county sailors to Key West

SAILING

January 24, 1993|By NANCY NOYES

When Yachting Race Week at Key West ended Friday after five days of racing in warm weather and sunny skies in virtually perfect breeze, more than one Anne Arundel County-based team of sailors had reason to celebrate.

The regatta drew more than 100 boats from J/24s to Virginia Jack King's Annapolis-based Frers 62 Merrythought and from 22 states and six foreign countries. It is the oldest and one of the prestigious on the national circuit of events sponsored by the magazine.

In the IMS Class A, in which America's Cup winners Bill Koch an Buddy Melges faced each other and then against defending Key West Race Week champion Geoff Stagg and other top sailors, victory had a distinctly Annapolis flavor.

Top honors went to Bob Crompton and his crew aboard Full Cry, his new Farr 50, co-skippered by Annapolis' 1992 Olympic silver medalist Jim Brady, and Merrythought was second.

Full Cry was delivered from her builder in Argentina a couple o weeks before the regatta, giving Crompton, Brady, and their crew little time to work out the bugs before facing competition. After a fourth-place finish in the first race, Full Cry earned a second then a trio of bullets to win the class by a comfortable margin of 6.5 points over Merrythought, skippered by Annapolitan Gary Jobson in King's absence.

Surprisingly, Annapolitan Peter Gordon's Farr 44 Gaucho, whic Stagg has sailed to overall honors at Key West last year, finished fourth in this class this year, helmed by Stagg and with America's Cup veteran Tom Whidden as tactician.

Meantime, Koch, sailing Collaboration, a custom Nelson-Mare 46 chartered from Dr. Oliver Grin, and Melges, at the helm of Victor Chigas' Tripp 47 Deep Powder, fought near the back of the class and finished ninth and 10th, respectively.

In one of the two tightest classes, Seward Lawlor and his cre on his Serendipity 43 Chesapeake, well-known in Annapolis-area racing as tough competitors, topped the 16-boat Performance Handicap Racing Fleet Class D by a quarter-point over second-place Chicagoan Fred Pipin and the team on his Taylor 40 V-Max after maintaining a narrow lead most of the week.

And although it looked as if Shearwater Sailing Club membe Jervis Dorton also would have a shut-out in topping the 16-boat PHRF Class I with a string of aces, a loss on Friday by a margin of one second to Peter DeBeukelaer's B25 Fourtune Cookie ruined an otherwise perfect record.

For Dorton, whose plans to compete last year with his Pearson Flyer Flying Circus came to a halt when the boat came off the trailer on I-95 in Virginia on the way to Key West, the win at this year's regatta with his restored and revamped boat must have been especially sweet.

The fleet for Key West was divided into two IMS and seven PHR classes, with eight to 16 starters each. Ratings in the PHRF classes, especially, were so narrow that racing often took on the character of one-design competition on windward-leeward courses of 10 to 20 miles in winds averaging 18 to 22 knots Monday through Thursday, down to 12 on Friday.

Overall winner was Scotsman Irvine Laidlaw on his Swan 5 Highland Fling, one of two sailors to post a perfect five-ace score for the week.

Laidlaw hammered his nearest competition in the 11-boat PHR B class by a more substantial corrected-time margin than his rival for the overall Yachting Chelsea Clock Award, New Yorker Tom Stark on his Farr 39 Rush, who topped the eight-boat IMS Class C with a similarly perfect score.

Following are results showing the top three finishers in eac class as well as the finishes of county-based boats.

Yachting Race Week at Key West

Class A IMS (10 starters): 1. Full Cry (Farr 50), Robert Crompton, Coatesville, Pa., 8.25 (4-2-1-1-1); 2. Merrythought (Frers 62), Jack King/Gary Jobson, Fairfax, Va./Annapolis, 14.75 (3-1-2-7-2); 3. High Five (Farr 40), Tilmar Hansen, Kiel, Germany, 18.75 (1-4-3-5-6); 4. Gaucho (Farr 44), Peter Gordon/Geoff Stagg, Annapolis, 24 (8-6-4-3-3).

Class B PHRF (11 starters): 1. Highland Fling (Swan 53), Irvine Laidlaw, Scotland, 3.75 (1-1-1-1-1); 2. Gem (Custom 49), William Ziegler III, Darien, Conn., 15 (4-3-2-4-2); 3. Diane (NM50), Robert Schwartz, Islip, NY, 21 (2-10-3-2-4); 5. Dancer (Concordia 47), Bill Steitz, Pittsburgh, Pa./Annapolis, 30 (8-7-4-6-5).

Class C IMS (8 starters): 1. Rush (Farr 39), Thomas Stark, Port Washington, NY, 3.75 (1-1-1-1-1); 2. Flash Gordon (Farr 39), Helmut Jahn, Chicago, Ill., 10 (2-2-2-2-2); 3. Numbers (Taylor 42), David Archibald, Nova Scotia, 21 (3-6-4-3-5).

Class D PHRF (16 starters): 1. Chesapeake (Serendipity 43), Seward Lawlor, Hampton, Va., 9.75 (1-2-2-2-3); 2. V-Max (Taylor 40), Fred Pipin, Chicago, Ill., 10.5 (2-1-4-3-1); 3. Coalition (Taylor 40), Brian & Kathy Tedeschi, Scituate, Mass., 15.75 (7-3-3- 1-2); 9. Infringer (Capri 37), Donald Zinn, Annapolis, 44 (9-6-5-7-DNS).

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