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2014 Wags Walks the Docks

Eye on the TP52 Super Series

By Bill Wagner

For those who cannot be on the water at Quantum Key West 2014 — either as a competitor or spectator — one of the coolest ways to follow the action is through the Virtual Eye coverage being provide by the 52 Super Series.

It is quite an elaborate production that involves a number of moving parts. Headquarters for the production is a townhouse in Truman Annex where lead announcer Dobbs Davis and virtual technician Alasdair Green are ensconced in a makeshift studio filled with five massive laptop computers and other production equipment.

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Sailing - A DeVos Family Tradition

By Bill Wagner

Dalton DeVos is one of the youngest skippers competing at Quantum Key West 2014. The 22-year-old college student is skippering a Melges 32 entry and was second in the overall standings going into Wednesday's racing.

Dalton got into the class four years ago after hearing good things about the Melges 32 from his 23-year-old cousin Ryan. Dalton and Ryan are the sons of Doug and Dick DeVos, brothers who followed their famous father into the sport of sailing.

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J/World Annapolis' Annual "Vacation"

2014 wag3Photograph © 2014 by Chris OdomBy Bill Wagner

J/World Annapolis rents sailboats and provides sailing instruction. There isn't a whole lot of business in mid-January so owner Jahn Tihansky decided many years ago to close the office and move the entire Performance Sailing School to Florida for a week.

"We were sitting up there in Annapolis looking at all of our assets covered with snow and it was like a coconut dropped on our head. We asked ourselves, 'Why don't we go down to Key West?' It made too much sense to not do it," Tihansky said.

Since 1996, J/World has been hauling boats and its entire staff to the southernmost point of the United States to compete in the annual midwinter regatta commonly known as Key West Race Week.

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They Couldn’t Steal Her Spirit

2014 wag4Photograph of Catherine Evans © 2014 by Ken StanekBy Bill Wagner

Months of planning and preparation were close to culminating with a great week of sailing as Catharine Evans began driving to Key West last week.

The Annapolis resident spent considerable time and effort getting ready to race her J/70 at Quantum Key West 2014 and had successfully trailered the boat from Maryland to Florida. Evans took a side trip to Tampa to compete in a warm-up regatta hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club.

En route from Tampa to Key West, Evans stopped in Naples to visit a friend and stayed overnight. She was in for quite a shock the next morning.

Returning to the parking lot where she had left the boat and trailer, Evans discovered the J/70 had been thoroughly burglarized. Thieves had cut the lock that protected the 23-foot sport-boat and had pretty much stripped it bare.

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Winning Strategies for Key West

2014 wag5aPhotograph © 2014 Ken StanekBy Bill Wagner

Sailors at Quantum Key West 2014 could learn a lot about strategy and tactics by attending the annual panel discussion featuring some of the finest professionals participating in the regatta. A large audience packed into the tent at Kelly's Caribbean Grill to watch America's Cup veteran Ed Baird moderate "Winning Strategies for Key West," which featured a lively discussion of numerous topics.

Andrew Kerr, Dave Ullman, Mark Reynolds, Terry Hutchinson, Jonathan McKee and Jud Smith have a wealth of combined experience racing off the Conch Republic and shared some of the secrets they have learned over the years.

Smith, a legendary sailmaker from Marblehead, Mass., is competing in J/70 class for the second consecutive year at Key West and said there was one constant in 2013. "It seemed like you always had to be in those lefty puffs. It was almost uncanny how often the left-hand side paid off," said Smith, a former Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

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