KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Italian-flagged Azzurra, skippered by Argentine Guillermo Parada, won the 52 Class Friday at the Quantum Key West sailing regatta off the Florida Keys.
Azzura finished first and second during the final two of 10 races during the five-day competition.
"We made some mistakes early in the week," Parada said. "But once we settled down, we started sailing very well."
Entering Friday's heats, less than a point separated Parada from Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom on Ran and Amway president Doug DeVos, steering Quantum Racing. But disaster struck for both Zennstrom and DeVos during the first race.
Ran's crew, racing under the Swedish flag, lost control of their spinnaker, and it fell overboard as the boat rounded the leeward mark. They finished last.
Shortly after the start, Quantum's jib suffered a tear at the head of the sail. As crew members feverishly worked to break out a new jib, Greg Gendell climbed up the 78-foot-high mast to retrieve the halyard, and a small remaining portion of the jib.
Barking Mad, with Bostonian skipper James Richardson and tactician Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, Md., claimed victory in the Farr 40 class, five points ahead of Flash Gordon, steered by Chicagoan Helmut Jahn.
Before December, Hutchinson had no plans to be in Key West. But his schedule changed radically after being terminated as skipper and helmsman of Artemis Racing, the Swedish syndicate challenging for the 34th America's Cup. Hutchinson suddenly was available so he accepted Richardson's invitation.
Hutchinson said the win in Key West doesn't correlate with losing the opportunity to sail in the America's Cup.
"At this point, they're really two very separate things," Hutchinson said. "To be honest, I really didn't think about it.
"But I'm really proud of the work we did this week. We pushed ourselves to make sure we were consistent."
In the 23-boat Melges 24 Class, Full Throttle, skippered by Brian Porter of Lake Geneva, Wis., placed first, three points ahead of Hedgehog with Bermuda's Alec Cutler.
The regatta attracted a fleet of 121 boats that were divided into 11 different classes, according to race director Peter Craig.
Online: Quantum Key West 2013, http://www.premiere-racing.com