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Kenwood Cup Report

Boomerang Wins Owner's Trophy, Finishes Second in Class Overall; Sayonara Tops Maxi Fleet

By Paul Cayard
On Board Boomerang

HONOLULU, Hawa| (August 16, 1996) — Thursday morning at 4:40, the 80-foot Boomerang finished the Kaula Rock race, which started at noon on Tuesday. This was an incredibly fast jaunt around the 390-mile track, the final race in the 1996 Kenwood Cup.

It was not without incident, however. Boomerang lost her jib tack fitting in the final stage of the race, giving Sayonara an insurmoutable lead, and we had to settle for second in the race and second overall in both the Maxi Class and Class A.

The Kaula Rock race cousre: Start at Diamond Head/buoy (Waikiki), leave Oahu to port, Kaula rock to starboard, then leave N|hau, Kauai and Oahu all to starboard before finishing at Diamond Head.

The maxis averaged 12.5 knots for the first 190 miles of the race to round Kaula rock at 0600 on Wednesday. This was mostly a run in 20 to 25 knots of wind. It is quite impressive how this machine chews up mileage.

After rounding Kaula, we fetched N|hau on starboard. The wind had bent to 130 degrees therefore coming off the island of N|hau. This part of the race is usually characterized by a large hole, being the lee of Kauai, but the maxis were lucky and slipped through without stopping due to the unusual 130-degree wind.

I have rounded N|hau at least six times and have always been in a hole. But this was the first time to round it in the night and get away from it before 0800. I think this was the reason. The 130-degree wind is "night breeze," drainage off N|hau, so it is very local. In fact, it was stronger closer to the island.

We did incur some slow going just after leaving N|hau — 4 to 5 knots of boat speed for half an hour — while sailing through the transition between the 130-degree wind and the 60-degree wind. This was painless, I am sure, as compared to what the rest of the fleet would encounter later that morning.

At that point in the race, the maxis were 50 miles in front of the next class, including the 50 footers Infinity and Ragamuffin. Our positions were the all-too-familiar: Sayonara first, followed by Boomerang, Sagamore and Falcon 2000.

Falcon had fallen quite far behind on the run by taking a bit of a flyer when leaving Oahu and getting seven miles of separation from the other three of us . The flyer did not pan out and they were seven miles behind Boomerang at Kaula.

The second 200 miles of the race were mostly on the wind as we came up from N|hau, along the western and northern shore of Kauai (very beautiful) and then a long port-tack fetch across to the north shore of Oahu. Boomerang had been 1 to 2 miles behind Sayonara up to this point, with Sagamore and Falcon back six and seven miles respectively.

As fast as Sayonara seems by winning almost every race, Boomerang held her position with Sayonara for the entire 12 hours of windward work. But at about 2100 on Wednesday, the tack fitting on Boomerang blew off the bow. This made an extremely large "bang" as the 5/8-inch stainless rod broke in 20 knots of wind. The luff tape of the genoa then ripped off the genoa and the sail was flying behind the boat like a flag. We bore off and ran downwind for a few minutes while the crew wrestled the sail on board.

We sailed upwind with no genoa for about 15 minutes while the crew jury-rigged another tack fitting, and then hoisted the No. 3 jib to finish the upwind work. Needless to say, we lost a bit of ground to Sayonara at that point and their lead grew from 1.5 miles to three. We were relegated to finishing the race safely in second.

It seems that Boomerang is a good boat and may be even faster than Sayonara when eventually sorted out, but the crew of Sayonara knows their boat better and is able to "shift gears" in changing conditions more smoothly. They sailed an excellent regatta.

So, the overall standings in the Maxi Class were:

1. Sayonara
2. Boomerang
3. Falcon 2000
4. Sagamore
5. Fancourt's Morning Glory (retired with broken mast)

Boomerang won the classification for the ICAYA, which is for owner-drivers. That classification is the same as above except without Sayonara, where Larry Ellison does not steer his own boat.

It was nice to beat Ed Baird, John Marshall and the guys from PACT2000, who are sailing Falcon. I am sure there will plenty of battles with these guys over the next few years.

In the team competition, Australia edged out the USA Red Team and New Zealand was third. But individual honors went to Infinity, a Bruce Nelson-designed 49-footer owned by John Thomson of Port Washington, N.Y., which won the tie-breaker from Australia's Ragamuffin, owned by perennial America's Cup campaigner Syd Fischer.

This is the final report. I hope they were of interest to you all. My next regatta is Sardinia Cup, September 10-15, where I'm sailing on Brava Q8, the 1996 ILC 40 World Champion, again. I will update you from Sardinia and then from San Francisco, September 18-22, for the Big Boat Series on Boomerang.

Until then, all the best!

Paul Cayard is the skipper for the AmericaOne Challenge for America's Cup XXX.

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