FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2017
Preparations underway now on site at the Waterfront Brewery to receive hundreds of Race Week enthusiasts - photo Dobbs Davis
30th anniversary regatta looks to live up to reputation of fantastic sailing conditions
KEY WEST, Fla. – A scant three days remain to the start of the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week and the long range weather forecast looks juicy. Key West Race Week’s reputation is built on close racing amid great sailing conditions, and this year looks to live up to that billing.
Takashi Okura's TP 52 SLED getting ready for a day of practice - photo Dobbs Davis
According to Commanders’ Weather, the weather forecast supplier for race week, the first three days of the regatta look to offer moderate to strong winds of 10 to 20 knots from the east/east-southeast. A cold front predicted for the second half of the week could lighten the conditions, but Commanders’ Weather forecaster Chris Wasserback called the forecast for the first half of the week classic for Key West.
“There’s high pressure to the north and it looks like good breeze for Sunday (practice day) and Monday (first race day),” said Commanders’ Weather forecaster Chris Wasserback. “The direction stays more easterly thru Tuesday and Wednesday with a fair amount of wind, around 20 knots. The high pressure off the East Coast is the dominant feature and should keep conditions there mostly settled.”
Julian Mann's C&C 30 Don't Panic getting measured and launched today at Truman Annex - photo Dobbs Davis
Returning competitors from last year’s regatta might remember chilly air temperatures. Even that feature looks to be turned around this year with forecast highs in the mid-to-upper 70s.
“Nothing else competes with Key West Race Week and it looks windy this year,” said Andy Horton, the tactician for Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, RI) new TP52 Interlodge. “It’s the perfect time of year to go there. The holidays are all done and everyone’s ready to get back on the circuit. Everyone still talks about going to Key West Race Week.”
Interlodge, from the design board of Botin Partners, will make its racing debut next week in the highly competitive 52 Super Series, the professional circuit that begins its 2017 season in Key West. Launched last fall, Horton said the crew has sailed it a limited amount. “It’s a brand new machine. We’ve sailed only two days, but all things show it should be a nice piece of equipment,” said Horton.
While Interlodge continues Key West Race Week’s tradition of debuting the newest designs six other entrants are on hand to defend class titles won last year. Leading the charge is Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network of Italy, which posted a 12-point win in the J/70 Class. Alberini and crew also won the J/70 Class and Boat of the Week honors in 2015, and they’ll be a marked entry in this very competitive class.
Doug DeVos (Ada, MI), one of the top owner/drivers in the world, returns with his TP52 Quantum Racing, which won IRC 1 last year. This year Quantum Racing leads the 11-boat 52 Super Series Class, looking to get a start on defending its 2016 season championship.
“Key West Race Week is truly one of the greatest regattas in the world and to me it’s the perfect winter break,” said Quantum Racing tactician Terry Hutchinson, who has won Boat of the Week honors twice as a tactician, including last year with Bella Mente. “It has steadily evolved over the years into an extremely high-level event in all respects.”
Other returning class winners include Peter Wagner’s (Atherton, CA) Skeleton Key in the J/111 Class, Mike Bruno’s (Armonk, NY) Wings in the J/88 Class and Tom Reese’s (Youngstown, NY) Corsair 28R Flight Simulator in the Multihull Class.
Upstairs deck at Waterfront Brewery being prepared - provides a huge bar and a stunning harbor view for Race Week sailors - photo Dobbs Davis
All shoreside activities will be held at the Waterfront Brewery in the historic Key West Bight. The daily schedule calls for up to three races per day. Registration is set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14-15, and the warning signal for Race 1 is scheduled for 1100 hours on Monday, Jan. 16. Evening debriefs, panel discussions and prize-giving ceremonies are also planned.
Platinum Sponsors: Quantum Sails (Title Sponsor and Official Sailmaker), Florida Keys & Key West (Presenting Sponsor), B&G (Official Marine Electronics), Gill NA (Official Apparel), Lewmar (Official Marine Hardware), Marlow (Official Rope) and Mount Gay Rum (Official Rum).
Gold Sponsors: Classic Harbor Line (Official Spectator Vessel), Foiling RIBs, Gowrie Group, J/Boats, Key West Historic Inns, Red Stripe Beer (Official Beer), Sailing World (Official US Magazine), Seahorse International Sailing (Official European Magazine) and Waterfront Brewery (Official Venue).
ABOUT QUANTUM KEY WEST RACE WEEK
The racing at Quantum Key West Race Week will be conducted under permit in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hard bottom, seagrass meadow, mangrove communities and sand flats. For more information, please visit floridakeys.noaa.gov.
ABOUT THE STORM TRYSAIL CLUB
The Storm Trysail Club is one of the world's most respected sailing organizations. Founded in 1938 and consisting of ten stations, the Storm Trysail Club boasts an international, merit-based membership consisting of sailors who have demonstrated expert leadership offshore or in the management of the sport. The Storm Trysail Club encourages safe offshore racing and cruising by its members' example in sailing under its burgee, organizing regattas, developing and sharing safety standards, and promoting good fellowship among sailors. As a result, its members influence the highest levels of yachting as competitors, organizers, race committee, and supporters. The Storm Trysail Club hosts popular race weeks at Block Island and Key West, and organizes iconic offshore races such as the annual Block Island Race, the biennial Pineapple Cup race to Montego Bay, the Transatlantic Race with partner clubs, and a fresh list of events near and offshore. The Storm Trysail Club also has a strong commitment to sharing its wealth of experience with others, youth sailors in particular, through its affiliated charitable organization, The Storm Trysail Foundation, which hosts safety seminars and the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta for college sailors in big boats. For more information, visit www.stormtrysail.org.