Dutchman flies to Farr 40 Victory at Key West, Shark Wins Again, But France’s Col Collects Melges 24 Title

KEY WEST, Fla.—Mean Machine? Where’d they come from?

Upstaging the Farr 40 establishment, the way Peter De Ridder cleaned house
Friday at Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004, presented by Nautica, he’ll be
paying excess baggage charges on his way home to Monaco and The Netherlands.

The Dutch investor is a longtime presence in world sailing with a series of
Mean Machine racers but a relative novice in the slambang Farr 40 class. “We
started low key,” he said, “sneaked into second place [Thursday] with a
fourth and a second, and all of a sudden . . .”

Winners of the class. Terra Nova Trading Trophy Boat of the Week for winning
the most competitive class. A share of the Nautica Trophy International Team
Competition victory, courtesy of the presenting sponsor.

Mean Machine was paired with Kristian Nergaard’s Melges 24, Baghdad, from
Norway as the Europe B team, which outsailed nine other Farr 40-Melges 24
global alliances.

“All of that makes it a very big day for us,” De Ridder said, as he popped a
bottle for the ceremonial champagne shower of his crew.

The only race they won was the last one. Mean Machine was locked in the
midst of five boats in the 23-boat fleet separated by only two points as
they sailed out into a cotton patch of whitecaps for the last of nine
races—a Key West record—over five days. The emerald seas were churned up
by 15-knot winds gusting to 23—the strongest of a solid week of moderate
to heavy breeze.

Kelly, Andrew Cheney’s Beneteau 1st 10 from St. Petersburg, Fla., received
the Lewmar Trophy as PHRF Boat of the Week for winning PHRF 9, where six of
the 10 racers won races but he won three.

Rumor, John Storck Jr.’s J/30 from Huntington, N.Y. was Terra Nova Trading
Day Boat of the Day for winning Friday’s finale, which earned fourth place
overall.

France made a strong runner-up bid for the Nautica Trophy with Sebastian
Col’s victory over 14-year-old Samuel (Shark) Kahn in the Melges
24s—although Kahn won his third race in a row Friday—but Erik Maris’
Twins 2 was too far back in the Farr 40s in 13th.

Kahn, the current world champion, won four of nine races and led most of the
week as Col, sailing Philippe Ligot’s P&P Sailing Team entry, dragged a
59-point anchor around the course for jumping the starting line Monday. But
when Col was able to discard that score after the seventh race, the contest
turned around.

Kahn, now trailing by five points, did everything he could except put the
necessary boats between himself and the Frenchman. He match-raced Col off
the pin end of the line and chased him relentlessly around the seven-leg,
14-mile course until passing him on the last upwind beat to the finish to
win by three boat lengths, with his father Philippe a close third to claim
fifth place overall.

“We got ’em on a shift,” Shark Kahn said. “They were down and we were up.
Everybody hiked their butts off.”

Col said, “We wanted to stay close to Shark the whole time. We wanted to
finish in the top five. We started in the same position as Shark, and by the
middle of the first beat we were in front and were able to sail our own
course and focus on going fast.”

Were the Kahns disappointed? Not much.

“That’s pretty good—two boats in the top five,” Philippe Kahn said. “The
French sailed fast. Without the throwouts, he [Shark] wins the regatta. But
the French deserved to win. They’re a great team.”

The conditions all week were such that most of the 3,000 sailors who worked
301 boats from 18 countries and 32 states were going home happy, no matter
where they finished.

“The first run was a lot of fun,” Kahn said, reveling in the surfing
conditions. “We got four firsts. We were more consistent than we were in the
Worlds. But the French won fair and square.”

His father said, “It’s a great event—a perfect regatta. The race committee
did a great job. Starting 58 boats isn’t easy. They talk on the radio and
explain everything to you. It’s awesome. It’s the greatest regatta in North
America.”

Shark and Col have a certain bond, as well. Both speak French. Kahn’s
father, a software entrepreneur, grew up in France, as did his mother.

“I picked it up listening to my parents talk,” Shark said.

Certainly, De Ridder had no complaints, in any language. His first Farr 40
experience was 15th place at Key West last year.

“I’d never helmed a boat at this high a level,” he said. “At the start I was
a little bit nervous but controlled. The tighter it gets the more I like it
and the better I start. I like it when the pressure is on. We were right at
the pin end and lifted [on the wind].”

Mean Machine and Marc Ewing’s Riot, from Northeast Harbor, Maine, both fired
off the pin, kept going left and partway up the beat were able to cross the
fleet on port tack. Mean Machine passed Riot downwind to take the lead for
keeps, then fought off Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad, Newport, R.I., by about
four boat lengths at the finish.

Barking Mad was second overall, ahead of Crocodile Rock, the Alexandra
Geremia/Scott Harris defending champion from California that reached the
last day with a one-point lead but finished seventh in the finale.

“We had an OK start, but it’s tough sailing,” said Harris, the helmsman.
” The fleet has improved . . . more boats, better prepared. Look at the guys
on the winning boat.”

The winning lineup: De Ridder, helm; Ray Davies, tactician; Sander Van Der
Borch, bow; Dennis Goethals, pit; Eduard Van Lierde, floater-grinder;
Marieke Poulie, floater; Dirk De Ridder (no relation to Peter), downwind
trimmer; Matt Reynolds, main; Jon Gunderson, upwind trimmer; Rutger Van
Eeuwijk, mast. Davies and Gunderson are New Zealanders, Reynolds is from San
Diego and all the others are Dutch.

Seven different boats finished first in the nine Farr 40 races.

Rich Bergmann’s Zuni Bear from San Diego, last year’s Boat of the Week,
repeated its J/105 victory—by a hair—in an all-California showdown with
Tom Coates’ onrushing Masquerade from San Francisco. Zuni Bear won four of
six races, then slipped to 9-6-7 as Masquerade closed out the week 1-4-1.
That left both with 28 points but Zuni Bear with more wins for the
tiebreaker.

Swan 45 and C&C 99 one-design fleets were new on the scene. Six of the eight
Swans won races, but consistency was key for Thomas Stark’s RUSH (Reloaded),
Newport, R.I., with Ed Baird as tactician.

Wally Hogan’s Trumpeter, one of six C&C 99 entries from central Canada, won
four of the nine races.

The Swan Performance Trophy went to So Far, Lawrence Hillman’s Swan 48 from
Chicago, for its consistent dominance in PHRF 8, where it was first or
second in seven races.

Trimarans were introduced to the event two years ago and reached new heights
this time. Bob and Doug Harkrider, hardcore Corsair 28R campaigners from
Augusta, Ga., won four races to prevail over the Freudenberg/Hudgins Condor,
Sewall’s Point, Fla., and Ken Winters’ Rocketeer II, Miami Beach, which had
Randy Smyth on the tiller.

The new Corsair 24 class was won by Robert Remmers, sailing Breaking Wind
from Buda, Tex.

Title Sponsor, Terra Nova Trading, L.L.C. (member NASD, SIPC & PCX), is
recognized as an innovative leader in Electronic Direct Access Trading. The
Chicago-based firm enables customers to electronically route orders to major
markets and ECNs. Terra Nova Trading’s technology partner, Townsend
Analytics, Ltd., is the developer of the premier real-time trading platform,
RealTick(r), which is also a Key West sponsor.

Mount Gay Rum, Lewmar, Samson Rope Technologies, Pearson Yachts, Raymarine
and the Florida Keys and Key West Tourist Development Council round out the
official line-up. The Historic Seaport is the Official Site for the event.
The Performance Sailing Industry Partner Program, now in its third year,
features 26 companies that have made a multi-year commitment to the event.

CLASS WINNERS (9 races)

Swan 45 (8 boats)—RUSH (Reloaded), Thomas Stark, Newport, R.I.
(4-2-2-4-1-2-4-5-1), 25 points.

Farr 40 (23)—1. Mean Machine, Peter de Ridder, The Netherlands
(6-7-18-5-6-12-4-2-1), 61; 2. Barking Mad, James Richardson, Newport, R.I.
(2-8-6-8-16-4-15-1-2), 62; 3. Riot, Marc Ewing, Northeast Harbor, Me.
(18-12-3-6-11-3-3-5-4), 65; 4. Crocodile Rock, Alexandra Geremia/Scott
Harris, Santa Barbara, Calif. (9-2-8-9-3-8-6-7-13-7), 66; 5. Warpath, Steve
and Fred Howe, San Diego (10-6-7-1-1-19-9-8-12), 68.6.

Mumm 30 (13)—Turbo Duck, Bodo Von Der Wense, Annapolis
(1-2-2-1-2-4-3-5-3), 23.

Melges 24 (58)—1. P&P Sailing Team, Philippe Ligot/Seb Col, France
(1-(59)-1-2-1-6-7-3-2), 23; 2. Pegasus 492, Samuel (Shark) Kahn, Waikiki,
H.I. (4-5-4-1-(14)-10-1-1-1), 27.

J/105 (29)—1. Zuni Bear, Richard Bergmann, San Diego
(1-(19)-1-2-1-1-9-6-7), 28; 2. Masquerade, Tom Coates, San Francisco
(3-(11)-4-6-3-6-1-4-1), 28 (Zuni Bear wins tiebreaker).

J/80 (20)—Warrior, Craig and Martha White, Ft. Worth, Tex. ((13)-
2-2-1-7-6-1-1-4), 24.

J/120 (7)—Oui B5, John Sylvia, San Francisco (1-(6)-5-1-2-5-4-3-1), 22.

Corsair 28R (10)—Bad Boys, Bob and Doug Harkrider, Augusta, Ga.
(1-1-3-2-1-(5)-1-2-2), 13.

Corsair 24 (9)—Breaking Wind, Robert Remmers, Buda, Tex.
((10)-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-2), 10.

C&C 99 (11)—Trumpeter, Wally Hogan, Toronto (1-(4)-3-1-2-2-2-3-1), 14.

T-10 (8)—Liquor Box, Chuck Simon/Bill Buckles, Key West
(1-2-3-1-1-3-1-1-(9)), 13.

PHRF 1 (9)—Chippewa (Swan 68), Clay Deutsch, Road Harbour, BVI
(7-1-1-1-(8)-1-1-1-1), 14.

PHRF 2 (8)—Storm (R/P 43), Les Crouch, San Diego (1-2-1-1-4-5-1-1-(9)),
16.

IMS (6)—Talisman, Marco Birch, Newport, R.I. (DSQ-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1), 9.

PHRF 3 (8)—Raincloud (J/133), Mike Rose, Kemah, Tex.
(1-1-(2)-1-1-1-2-1-1), 9.

PHRF 4 (10)—Tiburon (Melges 30), Michael Gray, New Orleans
(1-(5)-1-1-2-1-1-2-3), 12.

PHRF 5 (12)—K2 (J/120), Luis Gonzalez, Mallets Bay, Vt.
((10)-2-1-2-4-1-2-3-3), 2.

PHRF 6 (14)—Bounder (Sydney 36), David Hudgel, Detroit
(1-(5)-1-2-2-1-3-1-2), 13.

PHRF 7 (12)—Phaedra (Evelyn 32-2), Robert Patroni, Pensacola, Fla.
((7)-1-3-2-2-1-2-5-3), 19.

PHRF 8 (9)—So Far (Swan 48), Lawrence Hillman, Chicago
((9)-2-1-5-2-1-2-1-1), 15.

PHRF 9 (11)—Kelly (Beneteau 1st 10), Andrew Cheney, St. Petersburg, Fla.
((7)-3-1-5-6-2-1-1-2), 21.

PHRF 10 (7)—Phantom (B-25), Frank Silver, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
(1-(6)-1-2-4-2-3-1-1), 15.

PHRF 11 (12)—Circus (J/30), Team Circus, Chicago ((3)-2-3-2-3-3-1-3-1),
18.

Complete results, Photos and Press Releases

CONTACTS

PREMIERE RACING, Inc. 67B Front Street, Marblehead, MA, 01945
Tel: (781) 639-9545, Fax: (781) 639-9171
Event Email: KWInfo@Premiere-Racing.com
Event Web Site: www.Premiere-Racing.com
Terra Nova Online: www.TerraNovaOnline.com/sail

MEDIA CENTER
(305) 295-9988

PRESS OFFICER
Rich Roberts
cell phone (310) 766-6547
richsail@earthlink.net

Pegasus Racing has strong showing at Key West Race Week

23 January 2004 – In a thrilling final race today the fifty-eight strong Melges 24 Class at Terra Nova Trading Key West was decided in favour of Frenchman Sebastian Col sailing Partners & Partners with William Thomas, Christian Ponthieu, Thomas Allen and owner Philippe Ligot. With only five points separating Col and second placed Shark Kahn it was still wide open going into this final race and the spectator boats were out in force to watch them fight it out.

For the first time in nine starts the fleet got away clean with the wind offshore again at 020 degrees and 16 knots ensuring plenty of shifts to keep the sailors on their toes. Shark Kahn and Col set to before the start match racing for position on the line, as a result neither of them got a spectacular start although Col got the slight advantage coming off the line just to the left of centre.

The first beat was nip and tuck with Col working his way clear of the gaggle by the middle of the leg and stretching out a 50 yard lead by the weather mark ahead of Silvio Santoni from Italy, helming for Franco Maria Rao. Shark Kahn slotted into third from Maurice “Prof” O’Connell, helming for Enda O’Coineen and Des Faherty of Ireland with Philippe Kahn fifth and Bruce Ayres sixth. In the battle of the Ecklund & Melges brothers it was Sheldon & Hans who rounded first in seventh place with Jeff and Harry in ninth. Flavio Favini, helming for Switzerland’s Franco Rossini, split the Ecklunds in eighth.

Down the first run Col opened up a nice one minute lead whilst Shark closed up on Santoni with whom he rounded the leeward mark overlapped. O’Connell had dropped back to ninth leaving Philippe Kahn in fourth just ahead of Favini while Kristian Nergaard moved up from tenth to sixth. The Ecklunds rounded together in seventh and eighth with Jeff just getting the inside track as Sheldon had a minor fumble on the rounding loosing a few valuable feet.

On the second beat Col again pulled away from the pursuing pack while Shark battled his way past Santoni. Philippe Kahn and Favini held their fourth and fifth places and Jeff Ecklund and O’Connell overtook Nergaard for sixth and seventh.

By the end of the second run Col had almost two minutes lead and the spectators definitely thought it was all over. Philippe Kahn had overtaken Santoni and rounded just behind Shark who had a minor horlicks with the kite, just rescued last minute by some very smart crew work. Santoni now sat in fourth from O’Connell, Favini and Jeff Ecklund with Sheldon Ecklund pulling back to eighth just behind his brother.

As they set up off the last beat both the Kahns got the better of a left-hander and suddenly Shark was right back on Col’s tail, closely pursued by his father Philippe. A tacking duel ensued and two thirds of the way up the beat Shark finally got through. Philippe meanwhile was also catching up and Col found himself the meat in a Kahn sandwich as the three boats ground out tack after tack on the approach to the line. Despite constant pressure from Col, Shark crossed just ahead with Philippe third from Santoni. In the battle of the Ecklunds is was Jeff who got race honours in fifth from Favini, Sheldon Ecklund, Nergaard, O’Connell and Paul Brotherton, who pulled up to tenth on the final run.

Speaking after racing Col confirmed that it had been a tough but rewarding day – “For us it was the start that was most difficult. We had a good battle with Shark and were quite happy with how we came out. On the final beat we missed a shift and he got passed us, but with the five point lead we were reasonably relaxed. As always Key West has been great and we are delighted to win. Our next goal is the Melges 24 World Championship in Marstrand in August where we hope to challenge Shark for the World title.”

In the overall standings Sebastian Col and Philippe Ligot’s P&P Team win by four points from Shark Kahn with Kristian Nergaard third and Flavio Favini fourth. His tenth in the final race was enough to secure Paul Brotherton, helming the Terra Nova Trading Team for Scotland’s Ian Cleaver, fifth overall while Philippe Kahn had to be happy with sixth. The war between the Ecklund and Melges brothers was eventually won by Jeff and Harry in seventh overall with Sheldon and Hans just trailing them in eighth. Silvo Santoni was ninth and Bruce Ayres tenth.

As usual Peter Craig’s Premiere Racing Team have provided the Melges 24 class with an outstanding opening event for their year. Particular thanks must go to PRO David Brennan and his team who provided perfect racing every day and to all the event sponsors, including Terra Nova Trading and Nautica.

Pegasus Racing and Shark Still Leading On Day Three In Key West

21 January 2004 – It was a day of ups and downs in the Melges 24 fleet at Terra Nova Trading Key West today. The breeze was much shiftier and lighter than on the first two days and the change in conditions really put the sailors to the test.

Overnight leader Shark Kahn was among those called back and in the fifty eight boat fleet many thought that would be the they’d see of him. How wrong they were! By the first windward mark he was up into the forties and he just kept grinding away picking them off leg by leg ultimately finishing fourteenth – his worst result of the regatta to date.

As if that wasn’t enough he then went and did the same thing in race six. Again he rounded the first mark in the forties and again he and his crew of Team Captain Mark “Crusty” Christensen, Tactician Richard Clarke, Spinnaker/Jib trimmer Brian Hutchinson and Bow Brian Lee demonstrated that they are not only one of the fastest Melges 24 crews out there, but they’re pretty damn smart as well. By the second weather mark they were up to twelfth and they went on to take tenth place.

Yesterday’s big story was the battle between the fourteen year old Shark and his father Philippe, who was lying overall second overnight. Unfortunately for Philippe he had something of a disasterous day scoring 30, 20 which drops him down to ninth overall and out of the running for the 2004 Melges 24 title in Key West.

Away from the saga of the Kahn family the rest of the fleet was also enjoying two fantastic races. Race five started in 6-7 knots from 030 degrees with a large number of boats being called over in individual recall. Up the first beat those who picked the right found themselves on the loosing wicket and at the first mark it was Norway’s Kristian Nergaard who headed the fleet from Karen Gottwald, Sheldon Ecklund, Mike Dow, Sebastian Col, helming P&P Racing for Philppe Ligot from France and Paul Brotherton, helming for Ian Cleaver from Scotland. Down the run the wind started to back a little and although Nergaard hung onto his lead Col pulled up into second ahead of Ecklund whilst Gottwald dropped to fourth and Dow to fifth. Silvio Santoni, helming for Italian Melges 24 Class president Franco Maria Rao, came from ninth to six.

Up the second beat Col got through Nergaard rounding three boat lengths ahead. From there on in he extended his lead whilst Nergaard also pulled out from the pursuing pack. Behind them John Jennings, helming for Bob Dockery got the shifting breeze just right and came from nowhere to round the second windward mark third. Having got a top three position in his sights he wasn’t letting go and despite various pushes from the pack he defended successfully all the way to the finish. Behind him Brotherton eventually took fourth from Santoni. Ireland’s Maurice “Prof” O’Connell, helming his first Melges 24 regatta for owner Enda O’Coineen, was another who took full advantage of the shifting wind moving from the mid teens on the first beat up into sixth place just ahead of Sheldon Ecklund, Germany’s Dietrich Scheder and Gottwald.

By the start of race six the wind had gone all the way round to 350 degrees and had increased to 10-12 knots. Peter Stoneberg made the best job of judging the shifts up the first beat and was followed round the windward mark by Col, Ross Griffiths, Santoni, O’Connell, Sheldon Ecklund, Brotherton and Flavio Favini, helming for Switzerland’s Franco Rossini. Overnight sixth placed Bruce Ayres rounded in tenth just behind Scott Gregory, helming for Michael Schultz.

Down the first run Col got past Stoneberg, Santoni pulled up to third and Sheldon Ecklund moved into fourth just ahead of Griffith and O’Connell who were having a great toussle as they rounded. Favini had managed to overtake Brotherton for seventh and opened up some space by the leeward mark. Although Col took the right hand gate he tacked left relatively early in what proved to be a less than successful move dropping him back to seventh by the second weather mark. Stoneberg now led from Favini, Sheldon Ecklund, Brotherton, O’Connell and Ayres.

On the final lap it was Ayres who spotted another big backing shift first and proving that not only can he spot a shift but that he also knows what to do with it he promptly sailed himself into first place. On the dock after racing Ayres was typically understated commenting “It went right a little bit and worked down to the right and that was it!”. As they battled with the shifts, the rest of the fleet was changing places with every tack and gybe. In the end it was Brotherton who took second from Sheldon Ecklund with Britain’s Stuart Simpson coming from eleventh to fourth ahead of Sean Scarborough, Col and Favini. Unfortunately Stoneberg found himself on the wrong side of the shift and dropped into eighth in front of Santoni and Shark Kahn.

In tonight’s overall standings Shark Kahn still leads on 38 points from Flavio Favini on 52, Kristian Nergaard 60 and Bruce Ayres 61. Brothers Sheldon and Jeff Ecklund are now in fifth and sixth places with 63 and 66 points respectively. Sebastian Col is in seventh on 70 points but his scoreline includes an OCS of 59 points so the introduction of a discard after race seven tomorrow will definitely put the cat among the pigeons!

Shark Leads Philippe In The Kahn Family/Pegasus Racing Key West Battle

20 January 2004 – Day two at Terra Nova Trading Key West provided the Melges 24 fleet with two more beautiful races. The battle between father and son Philippe and Shark Kahn cranked up a notch today and with four races completed the fourteen year old Shark now leads his father by 8 points.

After yesterday’s showers the sun was back in all it’s glory today and with the breeze blowing offshore from 20 degrees at between 10 and 14 knots the Melges fleet had two more great races. Conditions were nicely loaded upwind and marginal planing downwind and with 58 boats on the line it was no place for the faint hearted. “It was fantastic sailing, but in this fleet finding and keeping a lane is so hard and if you get it wrong you really know it!” commented US Melges 24 Class President Jeff Jones after racing.

Race three started on time and at the first attempt although with a large number of individual recalls. Philippe Kahn and Sebastian Col, helming P&P Racing for Philippe Ligot of France, both got excellent starts along with Bruce Ayres and at the top mark they filled the top three slots in that order followed by John Hyatt and Hubert Guy. Sean Scarborough rounded sixth but had in fact been called OCS and failed to return, at the time of writing Scarborough is lodging a protest against his disqualification. Jeff Ecklund was seventh just ahead of Norway’s Kristian Nergaard, Deitrich Scheder from Germany and Britain’s Stuart Simpson.

At the leeward mark Col held his lead whilst Jeff Ecklund had caught right up on Philippe Kahn with the two boats rounding overlapped. Hyatt droped to fourth in front of Nergaard and Guy with Ayres down to seventh as Shark Kahn pulled up from the teens to eighth.

On the final lap Col and Philippe Kahn held their positions but the battle for fourth was a good one. At the second weather mark Hyatt had pulled up into third from Nergaard and Jeff Ecklund with Scheder now in fourth from Ayres and Shark Kahn. The fun continued on the run into the finish with Nergaard and Shark Kann both sailing smart and fast to bring them up to third and fourth with Hyatt fifth, Jeff Ecklund sixth Ayres seventh and Scheder eighth. After a mediocre first beat Sheldon Ecklund got his head down and steadily worked his way back up to ninth with John Pollard tenth.

Race four also got away first time out with a small number of individual recalls. This time it was Shark Kahn who led into the first mark from Jeff Ecklund, Nergaard, Paul Brotherton, helming for Scotland’s Ian Cleaver, Britain’s Joe Woods, Mike Dow and Col. Shark tacked a fraction too early on his final approach to the mark and only just managed to squeeze round allowing Jeff Ecklund and the fleet to grab back a few valuable seconds.

Down the first run the breeze began to build a little with Shark and his team having to work hard to hold off Jeff Ecklund with the two boats rounding virtually together. Nergaard slotted into third with Col pulling up to fourth only a second or two ahead of Brotherton. Woods had dropped to sixth rounding neck and neck with Flavio Favini, helming for Franco Rossini of Switzerland. Shark, Brotherton and Joe took off from the left whilst the others went right.

On the second beat Shark opened up some distance and was able to hold his lead right into the finish. The race committee elected to include a final third beat and with an outstanding dog fight going on for second place the spectator boats, of which there are many, were delighted. At the second leeward mark Jeff Ecklund had managed to hang onto second whilst Col just slipped through in front of Nergaard. Brotherton rounded fifth from Ayres, Favini and Woods.

Jeff Ecklund and Col virtually match raced their way round the final two legs. Coming into the last leeward mark Col crossed Jeff Ecklund’s transom by millimeters and they had the spectators on the edge of their seats all the way up the final beat. On the final approach Col finally got the better of the deal and took second by a boat length. Nergaard hung onto his fourth whilst Ayres and Favini slugged it out for fifth with Favini getting it on the final beat. Brotherton kept his seventh slot holding off a last minute charge from Scarborough who pulled up from the teens with Woods in ninth.

In the overall standings Shark Kahn is on fourteen points, eight ahead of his father Philippe. Flavio Favini with Franco Rossini’s Swiss Blu Moon team are equal third on 33 points with Norway’s Kristian Nergaard, whilst Jeff Ecklund and Bruce Ayres are equal fifth with 38 points. Overnight second placed John Pollard from England scored 10, 23 taking him down to seventh on 52 points, ten clear of Silvio Santoni, helming for Italy’s Franco Maria Rao. Despite today’s 1, 2 scoreline the French P&P team of Philippe Ligot with Sebastian Col helming are currently counting an OCS so are lying in joint tenth place on 63 points with Britain’s Martin Wedge. TNTKW will include a discard for the first time this year, which kicks in at 7 races, so this regatta is still wide open.

Pegasus Racing and Philippe Kahn Leads On Day One In Key West

19 January 2004 – The fifty-eight strong Melges 24 fleet opened their regatta at Terra Nova Trading Key West with two excellent races today. The only disappointment of the day was the weather, which failed to delivery the traditional Key West sunshine until mid afternoon and instead brought overcast skies and light showers.

Race one got underway on time and at the first attempt in 10 knots from 220 degrees. The left hand end of the line appealed to the big names and they were on the money. At the weather mark it was reigning World Champion Shark Kahn who popped out just ahead of the pack in front of Sebastian Col, helming Frenchman Philippe Ligot’s P&P Racing. Philippe Kahn rounded in third with Sean Scarborough fourth, Ireland’s Maurice “Prof” O’Connell, helming for Enda O’Coineen fifth and Nick Maxwell in sixth. Rounding in seventh and eighth respectively were brothers Jeff and Sheldon Ecklund. The brotherly rivalry between these two crews extends to the tacticians as well with Harry Melges calling the shots for Jeff and Hans Melges for Sheldon.

The first run saw lots of place changing with Col pulling into the lead by the leeward mark. Behind him Britain’s John Pollard, who had rounded the first mark in twelfth, sailed a blinder and pulled right up into second with Shark Kahn third, Philippe Kahn fourth and Martin Wedge fifth. In the Ecklund/Melges brotherly battle it was Sheldon who won out on this leg pulling up to sixth whilst Jeff had a lousy run ending up down in sixteenth. O’Connell dropped to seventh with Scarborough just behind him.

On the second lap Col took advantage of the clear air and opened up a great lead. The wind had dropped slightly and up the second beat it went right to 240. Behind Col, Pollard and the Kahns put on a great display battling for second place and at the line it was Philippe Kahn second, Pollard third and Shark Kahn fourth. Wedge managed to hang onto fifth from O’Connell, Sheldon Ecklund and Scarborough.

A heavy shower went through during the lunch break and race two then started in 14 knots from 240 degrees. Although the fleet got away on the first attempt there were a large number of boats OCS, seven of whom failed to recross the line including Col and O’Connell. The centre right seemed to be the sweet spot and at the windward mark Philippe Kahn headed the fleet from Flavio Favini, helming for Switzerland’s Franco Rossini, Mike Dow, Norway’s Jorgen Hege, Pollard and Kristian Nergaard, also from Norway. Yet again seventh and eighth round the mark were the Ecklund brothers with Jeff just ahead of Sheldon.

Favini managed to slip past Philippe Kahn on the first run while Pollard pulled up into third, Nergaard moved into fourth and dow dropped into fifth. Heje had a disappointing run rounding ninth whilst the Ecklunds pulled up a place with Jeff sixth and Sheldon seventh.

Up the second beat Favini pulled out around 20 seconds from Philippe Kahn while Nergaard moved up to third with Pollard fourth, Dow fifth and Sheldon Ecklund sixth. Shark Kahn sailed a very impressive beat and moved up to seventh from the mid teens just ahead of Britain’s Richard Thompson.

On the final run Favini and Philippe Kahn held first and second. Pollard managed to get the better of Nergaard and Shark Kahn kept the pressure on to take fifth with Bruce Ayres moving up from tenth to sixth. Sheldon and Hans won this leg of the Ecklund/Melges brother battle finishing seventh whilst Jeff and Harry had to settle for a twelfth.

In the overall standings Philippe Kahn leads the regatta by two points from John Pollard with Shark Kahn third. Sheldon Ecklund’s consistency was enough to put him in fourth just ahead of Flavio Favini and Franco Rossini’s Blu Moon team, whose win in the second race compensated for their sixteenth in the first. Sixth and seventh slots are filled by Brit’s Martin Wedge and Paul Brotherton, helming for Ian Cleaver, with Kristian Nergaard ninth and Italy’s Silvio Santoni, helming for Franco Maria Rao, in tenth.

Sebastian Col Leads Shark Kahn By Five Points Going Into The Final Day In Key West

22 January 2004 – With just one more day to go, the fight for supremacy in the Melges 24 fleet at Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004 is going to go all the way. Day four saw the race committee run two more excellent races despite a second day of shifty offshore winds of 12-16 knots. The completion of race seven today meant that the discard came into play and suddenly its all change on the leader board. Overnight leader Shark Kahn scored two impressive bullets today but this wasn’t enough to hold onto the lead. France’s Sebastian Col, helming for Philippe Ligot’s P&P Team scored 7, 3 but by dropping their 59 point OCS score they now lead by five points from Shark.

At the start of race seven the wind was from 010 degrees at around 16 knots. Yet again, although the fleet got away first time there were a lot of individual recalls although none of the major protagonists were caught out this time. Off the right hand end of the line Jeff Ecklund got an excellent start and he and his crew of Harry Melges, Bill Freytag and US Skiing Gold Medallist John Moseley seemed to have hit the hyper space button as they pulled out six boat lengths on their nearest rivals in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately being fast on the right suddenly looked less promising when the breeze backed to 350 degrees half way up the beat. Shark Kahn on the other hand had come out of the shift just nicely thank you and just rounded first from Norway’s Kristian Nergaard. Paul Brotherton, helming for Scotland’s Ian Cleaver, and Silvio Santoni, helming for Italy’s Franco Maria Rao, rounded together with Brotherton just getting the inside advantage. Hard on their tails was Sebastian Col, Mike Budd, Mike Dow and Philippe Kahn whilst Jeff Ecklund had to be happy with eleventh.

As they set off down the run the wind had come back a bit to due north but was still flicking around all over the show. Shark had opened up nicely by the leeward mark whilst Brotherton had pulled up to second. After a very mediocre day yesterday Philippe Kahn was clearly determined that although he’s now out of the running for the overall title he has no intention of going quietly and a couple of judicious gybes moved him into third ahead of Col, Nergaard, Budd and Santoni.

The second beat was no less tricky and whilst Shark Kahn pulled out almost a minute’s lead Philippe managed to get past Brotherton. Nergaard came back to fourth whilst Jeff Ecklund came from tenth to fifth ahead of Santoni and Dow who rounded neck and neck just in front of Col who’d dropped to eighth. Behind this group there was now something of a gap back to the pack, which was lead by Budd.

On the final run to the finish Philippe was determined not to let his fourteen year old son have it all his own way and he did an impressive job of closing down that huge lead. Fortunately for Shark the run just wasn’t quite long enough for his Dad to get past him and he won by around five boat lengths. Nergaard eventually got the better of Brotherton while Jeff Ecklund hung onto his fifith. Flavio Favini, helming for Switzerland’s Franco Maria Rao, put in a late charge to come from tenth to six with Col seventh and Santoni eighth.

At the start of race eight we had 12-14 knots from 350 degrees and yet again the fleet got away at the first attempt but with a large number of individual recalls. Col took off for the right hand corner whilst the others opted for the more conservative approach. Yet again the wind took a hit left and yet again it was Shark Kahn who made the most of it, this time with Favini rounding overlapped inside him at the mark. Sheldon Ecklund and Nergaard had a similar tiff for third with Bruce Ayres in fifth from Sean Scarborough and Brotherton. Col came round ninth whilst Philippe Kahn was fifteenth. On the first run to a relaid leeward mark Shark opened up a little on Favini and Nergaard and all three boats pulled out some significant distance on the pack. At the mark it was Ayres who headed the pack from Col, Britain’s John Pollard and Scarborough. Philippe Kahn meanwhile picked some nice moves to come from fifteenth to eighth ahead of Brotherton and Sheldon Ecklund.

On the final two legs of the race Shark Kahn and Favini just stretched away from the competition. Shark had Favini happily under control and his better boat speed allowed him to just keep eking out the yards, eventually finishing almost three minutes clear. Behind them Nergaard must have thought he was a pretty sure thing for third but Col had other ideas, shutting down the distance between them on the run and then finally taking him on the beat. After the leaders there was a big gap back to the pack, which was chopping and changing places constantly. Brotherton eventually took fifth from Philippe Kahn, Ayres and Santoni. The Kahns aren’t the only ones with a little family rivalry going on out here and the Ecklund/Melges brotherly war went Sheldon and Hans’s way this race but only just with Jeff and Harry right behind them in eighth and nine respectively.

In the overall standings Sebastian Col is on 21 points, five ahead of Shark Kahn. Kristian Nergaard is third with 42 from Flavio Favini 46, Paul Brotherton 47, Sheldon Ecklund 53, Philippe Kahn 56, Bruce Ayres 58,Jeff Ecklund 64 and Silvio Santoni 70. Tomorrow’s final race is sure to bring another great spectacle as the overall standings and title are decided, the Ecklund and Melges brothers slug it out for family supremacy and Philippe Kahn has one last go at besting his son Shark. Joking about ending up on the loosing end of this family rivalry after racing today Philippe commented – “I’ve offered him unlimited pocket money to buy drugs, drink and women, but heck it’s just not working!”.