While some people who are racing here in Key West started out in small boats and moved on to larger, others have done the opposite. Take, for example, Philippe Kahn. Last year at Race Week he earned the right to represent the U.S. in the Admirals Cup in the Farr 40 class. Later that year, and after the Admirals Cup had been cancelled, he did Transpac and won the coveted Barn Door trophy, first to finish with Pegasus, his ULDB sled.
This year, Kahn left the Farr 40s in the boatyard, and even though there were three other sleds racing at Key West, he also left Pegasus at home. He and his son, Shark, who was part of the crew for the Transpac victory, came down to the Keys with a pair of Melges 24s, one for Shark and one for Dad.
Were going well but this is a tough fleet, said Kahn on Thursday afternoon. I dont have much experience in big fleets but were putting the pieces together. Its important for us to get a lot of experience with the boat because were planning on doing the next Melges 24 Worlds in San Francisco. Thats what were focused on.
While Kahn the younger is crewing for Finn sailor Mo Hart, Kahn the elder is steering, with a crew including Mark Reynolds, who won Olympic gold in the Star class in Sydney. The racings pretty good here, its exciting, said Reynolds. We havent sailed the Melges in every condition yet, its only our fourth regatta in the class. Today (Thursday), the wind died and it got lumpy out there, it was hard to maintain boatspeed.
How is Team Pegasus doing? As of Thursday evening, the boats were the top third of the 77-boat class, one at 26th and the other at 31st.
Shark s doing great, said the proud father. I think hes even ahead of us. Hes 12 years old, and hes taking it very seriously. Every night hes talking about the days races. Hes very passionate about racing, both in the Melges and his 29er.
Thursdays Boat of the Day was the 1D35 Wild Thing, owned by Chris and Kara Busch, of San Diego. We have a really good team, said Chris. Thursday was kind of tough in the lump and we were lucky. We were just able to do a little better job in the conditions. Although the Wild Thing crew, assured of their win,–theyve got six points, their closest competitor has 20–has already packed up the boat, Chris explained that the class victory wasnt as easy as it looked on paper. A lot of our wins were by a second or two, we were pushed pretty hard. On Friday morning the Buschs have to make a difficult choice, go golfing or go out and watch the races.