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Our frostbiters had a good day of racing on Sunday, Jan 9. With temperatures hovering around the 30° mark, it was a very cold day, but racers were happy to have good wind out of the NE at 10-12 knots, gusting to over 17. Five races were completed, and while six teams began the day, the final race saw only four boats on the starting line. Top teams for the day: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Yasu Kawahara, 2. #514, Ted Toombs/Matt Cornachio, and 3. #538, Greg Corkett/Jonathan Siener.

Mark Reynolds, a four-time Olympian and three-time medalist from San Diego, CA, has chosen local sailor Phil Trinter as his new partner for the upcoming Rolex Miami OCR. The OCR is organized by US SAILING to prepare sailors in the classes chosen for the Olympic and Paralympic Regattas. Reynolds won last year's Rolex Miami OCR and competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials with 1984 Star Gold Medalist Steve Erickson as crew. But they did not make the cut as Paul Cayard with Trinter as crew beat them in the Trials, and went on to represent the USA in the Star Class in Athens, when they placed fifth. The Miami OCR kicks off racing with opening ceremonies on January 23 and continues for five days through January 28th. The Rolex Miami OCR is an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade 1 event, a designation that indicates its importance in world rankings. It also helps determine the members of the 2005 US Sailing and Disabled Sailing Teams. For 2005, the event will feature the Finn, 470, 49er, Laser, Laser Radial, Star, Tornado and Yngling, all of which have been selected for inclusion in the 2008 Olympic Games, along with the 2.4 Metre and Sonar, the equipment selected for the 2008 Paralympic Games. Regatta Headquarters for the 2005 Rolex Miami OCR are at the US Sailing Center, with classes hosted there as well as at the events co-hosting organizations Coral Reef, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; the Coconut Grove Sailing Club; and Shake-A-Leg-Miami. For more information, www.ussailing.org/Olympics/ROlexMiamiOCR.

There was some pretty exciting racing going on during the 30th Anniversary Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. Carrera, the Reichel/Pugh 81 owned by Joe Dockery from Stamford, CT and Zaphyr, the Antrim 40 multihull owned by Duane Zelinsky of Ontario, Canada, completed the 160 nautical mile race in less than 11 hours. But it is the story from Carrera that is especially captivating. According to reports from the area, Carrera finished the race virtually rudderless. Skipper Ken Read and his crew were flying along, when they heard a loud bang at the back of the boat. "We hear the bang and the boat flips over. Wipes out," he said. "We were going from 20-plus knots to zero in about two seconds. The boat flips over, and boom, the spinnaker explodes. We're lying there on our side, and we thought the steering cables had broke, [but] it was the rudder. Three quarters of it snapped, sheared right off. Eight feet of it popped up like a breaching whale. "We had two feet of rudder left on an 81-foot boat and it was blowing 31 knots at the time." Knowing they had locked up the race and the record, (owner Joe) Dockery, Read and the crew decided to limp across the fishing line, steering with sail trim. "The guys did an amazing job," Read said. "We knew we were three hours ahead of the record. For the next hour, we had two reefs in the mainsail, a No. 4 jib up, and we got around the bottom mark -- which was hairy -- and limped in. The guys did a phenomenal job with their seamanship."

Speaking of Key West, annual race that attracts the best racers and is known for excellent race management, has begun in bright sun and big breezes. This year entries represent 14 countries and 36 states and include 17 Olympic medalists with 26 medals among them, led by Athens winners Kevin Burnham of Miami, FL., and Sofia Bekatorou of Greece. Because of winds in the mid-20's gusting to the mid-30's, the race committee kept all 295 boats in port until noon and thus logged only one of two races scheduled. The sea state to the west was so rough that the three smallest boat classes in Divisions 1 and 2 were grounded for the day. There was some excitement in the Melges 24 class, as San Diego's Bill Hardesty, crossed the finish line first, despite sustaining minor damage when T-boned by Simon Strauss of Larchmont near the first leeward gate. And the very competitive Farr 40 class did not disappoint. John Coumantaros drove his Bambakou across the finish line a quarter-length ahead of world champion Jim Richardson on Barking Mad, for a photo finish in this friendly feud between the Newport, RI, rivals. With the week of racing just beginning, there should be some great stories coming out of Key West in the next few days. Results next week, including how our local sailors faired.

Sailing World magazine is joining racing sailors and regatta organizers in the United States by endorsing the IRC Rule, a simple handicap-rating system now popular worldwide. In addition, Sailing World and US-IRC, the organization representing clubs and event organizers behind the introduction of the rule in the United States, have teamed up to produce the 2005 US-IRC Handbook. In the effort to inform the North American racing community about the IRC Rule, which has been gaining momentum around the world, the 48-page publication will be released January 20 at the Philadelphia Strictly Sail Boat Show and at Key West Race Week. In February, it will be delivered to all Sailing World subscribers. The 2005 US-IRC Handbook covers in detail the essentials of the IRC system, explains how race boat owners can obtain a rating, describes what is required in the boat-measuring process, and lists all current U.S. events featuring IRC handicap racing this year. "The IRC Rule is a simple, yet fair, single-number rating rule," says Barry Carroll, US-IRC's executive director. "It's designed primarily for racer/cruiser designs and is used in more than 30 countries. This year we expect more than 7,000 boats worldwide to compete under IRC." In addition to being the first and only publication of its kind in the United States, the 2005 US-IRC Handbook is an unparalleled collaboration between the marine industry and leading yacht clubs and sailing associations to promote this new and exciting rating system. "IRC is much more user-friendly than any another handicap rating rules - past or present - which is why it's so successful in other countries," says John Burnham, editor of Sailing World. "Its introduction in the United States has galvanized racers and organizers, and we're excited to support US-IRC's efforts with this handbook." For more information, see, www.us-irc.org, and www.sailingworld.com


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