Displacement boats usually take their lumps in the typically reachy/runny Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, with Hobie 33s Mirage (“mayday mayday, Mirage is thinking”), Holy Toledo and Hot Stuff winning overall honors a half dozen (or more) times between them, and the modified/turbo Fast 40 Different Drummer blasting to the overall win twice in the last few years. The conditions make the race a favorite for those who come back year after year for the race to paradise. Every so often, the exception trumps the rule, and the breeze comes through forward of the beam, leaving the sailors on heavy displacement boats looking far smarter than usual.
2014 was one of those years, with the forecasted big cool breeze announcing its arrival with authority in the wee hours of Thursday morning. This did not do too much to the standings in the IRC Class, with the Cookson 50 Privateer already staking its claim to the race with a lead over Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s Carkeek 40 Spookie, a line honors win sealed with a near 6 AM finish, with Spookie correcting out for the win despite coming in about an hour behind the big canter. The breeze turned PHRF Fleet standings on their head, with Dr. Ulrich Rohde’s 60,000 pound Swan 53 Dragon Fly Plus running up through its class and fleet between 2 and 6 AM like Forrest Gump returning a punt. Despite being one of the higher rated boats in the PHRF A Class [and despite winning its start handily as shown by SORC media man ‘Sol’ in this video -ed], DFP rumbled from well behind to take PHRF line honors by about 30 minutes over the Class 40 First Light, correcting out about an hour and a quarter over Different Drummer for the Swan’s third class win, and first overall title. David Bond’s J-105 Loki eked out an early lead over the Tripp 33 Main Squeeze, holding on for the class win but missing the overall PHRF win by about 15 minutes. Don Balthasar’s 57′ Catana catamaran Double Trouble, a race regular, loved the big breeze, and took the multihull class win over Flight Simulator and (“This Side Up!”) Cheeky (ex-Cheekee Monkee).
Go to the race website for links to the results page and Race information page. The awards party will be hosted by Kelly’s Caribbean Bar and Grill on Friday night, beginning at 5 PM. (Someone tell Forrest to stop running when he gets there).