Kenwood team title
to Aussies

Infinity wins the racer division;
Georgia captures cruiser/racer crown

By Jack Wyatt
Special to the Star-Bulletin

After nine races held over 10 days, Australia was declared the winner of the Kenwood Cup team sailing championship, which concluded yesterday with the finish of the Kaula Race.

The Aussie team was led by yachts Ausmaid, Quest and Ragamuffin. Official team scores were not available at press time.

The New York-based Infinity, owned by John Thomson, Jr., captured the Kenwood series' racer division. New Zealand's Georgia, owned by Jim Farmer, won the fleet's cruiser/racer crown.

Kenwood Cup sailing began Aug. 5 with 46 yachts from eight countries. The 385-mile Kaula Race - the final event and Kenwood's longest race - began Tuesday noon and finished late yesterday.

Racing for the Kenwood Cup team trophy was intense from the beginning. There were never more than a few points separating Australia from teams from the United States, New Zealand and Japan.

Entering the Kaula Race, Australia and the U.S. Red team (Falcon 2000, Flash Gordon and Infinity) were virtually tied for first.

"And this comes after eight of the most competitive races in Kenwood Cup sailing history," race official Malcolm McKeag said.

The sailors from Down Under were set on winning the Cup. "My No. 1 priority from the very beginning (of the series)," Quest's owner Bob Steel said.

When Quest crossed the Diamond Head finish yesterday at 4:20 p.m. cheers broke out from the Aussie crews and fans. Let the party begin.

"We would have arrived earlier," Steel said, "but light, shifting winds around Niihau slowed us to a crawl. Quest loves a strong breeze, a wind condition sorely lacking through most of the race."

"Ragamuffin performed as well as the wind and seas would allow," said its Aussie owner, Syd Fischer, after finishing seventh overall in 47 hours and 19 minutes.

"Our fastest sail came as we approached Diamond Head. We must have been sailing at speeds over 15 miles an hour," he said.

Fischer was elated when told that his team had won Kenwood's biggest prize.

As expected, Kenwood's Class A maxi-sized racers swept the Kaula Race's six top places.

"Considering our poor start and the light winds encountered at Niihau, I'm happy with our first place," said Sayonara tactician Brad Butterworth.

Larry Ellison's Sayonara, from San Francisco, sailed into the lead after rounding Oahu's Makapuu Point. Though pressed, the big yacht was never again headed.

The 79-foot Sayonara, first finisher in eight of nine Kenwood events, turned the four-Island course in 39 hours and 10 minutes.

Boomerang, owned by George Coumantaros of New York, arrived second in 39:42. Donald Smith's Falcon 2000 placed third in 40 hours and 22 minutes.

Infinity held a slight series handicap lead entering the Kaula Race.

"I felt no pressure," owner Thomson said, "We sailed as hard as possible. The light winds around Niihau made winning the Kenwood title a roll of the dice."

Infinity finished eighth overall yesterday, taking 48 hours and four minutes for the trip.

Close finishes at Diamond Head were turned in by Australia's Quest, New Zealand's Georgia, Japan's Love A Luck, Australia's Terra Firma and California's Jack Rabbit. After 52 hours of heated racing, the five yachts finished within 19 minutes of the other.

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