Key West Race Week Ends Wet and Wild - Richard Thompson Claims Victory
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January 22, 2016 - Key West, FL, USA - Report by Event Media – It was a wild ride for the Melges 24s reveling in the planing downwind conditions on the final day of Key West racing competition. British skipper Richard Thompson steered Black Seal to overall victory in the 12-boat Melges 24 class, overtaking John Brown’s Blind Squirrel by winning Race 10. Jamie Lea called tactics for Thompson, a class veteran who achieved a bucket list item by winning their class at Quantum Key West 2016.
"I've always loved this regatta and now I can die a happy man because I finally won here. We are just over the moon about this accomplishment. About the only regatta I would prefer to win more than Key West would be a World Championship," said Thompson, who lives in London. "I'm delighted for the crew. Every man did their job impeccably well. They actually had to make up for me so I’m quite proud of them. I can’t remember one crew error in any race."
Richard Thompson's Black Seal GBR850 - photo IM24CA/ZGN/MauroMelandri
Lightning, thunder and torrential rain opened the final day today at Quantum Key West Race Week 2016, with organizers debating if the conditions were safe to proceed with two races to finish in Division 2 and one for all other classes. With several titles at stake, but bad weather threatening, this was not an easy call. Forecaster George Carras from Commander’s Weather described the moist tropical conditions in the atmosphere as "juicy and unstable," with a chance for more cells, but with nothing on the radar the fleet headed out of one more day of battle.
When they got out the harbor and headed into the southerly, the forecasted 8-15 knots turned out to be 20+ and building, with monstrous seas enhanced by the south-flowing ebb tide, especially in the Division 4 and Division 1 pre-start course areas. These seas hampered the Race Committees in their efforts to set marks and establish their race courses, so the PRO’s pulled the plug for these classes for the day.
John Brown and the Blind Squirrel USA290 - photo IM24CA/ZGN/Mauro Melandri
All ten races scheduled were completed with Thompson on top, Brown/Blind Squirrel in second and Canada’s Richard Reid on Zingara in third. Reid celebrated an amazing Key West with a string of finishes where not one fell below fourth place! Rounding out the top five was Germany’s Bent Dietrich on Kleine Rainbow and International Class President Jens Wathne on Party Girl finishing respectively. Wathne was also the top Corinthian.
Jens Wathne's Party Girl NOR800 - photo IM24CA/ZGN/MauroMelandri
FULL RESULTS (FINAL After 10 Races, 1 Discard)
1.) Richard Thompson, Black Seal; 1-3-3-1-1-1-4-1--1 = 16
2.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel; 2-1-1-2-2-3-1-2--1 = 17
3.) Richard Reid, Zingara; 3-2-2-3-3-[4}-2-3-1-2 = 21
4.) Bent Dietrich, Kleine Rainbow; -6-4-6-5-2-3-4-3-6 = 39
5.) Jens Wathne, Party Girl; 5-4-8-4-7--5-5-5-4 = 47 View Full Results