Quantum Key West Race Week

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2016 Quantum Key West Race Week


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Hap Fauth's Belle Mente (on a nicer day) showing her winning form to be named Quantum Boat of the Week
Photo Max Ranchi, Quantum Key West 

Key West, FL, USA -- Lightning, thunder and torrential rain opened the final day today at Quantum Key West 2016, with organizers debating if the conditions were safe to proceed with two races to finish the J/70’s, Melges 24’s and C&C 30’s in Division 2 and one for all other classes.

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Big wind and seas engulf the Division 2 competitors
Photo Max Ranchi, Quantum Key West

With several titles at stake, but bad weather threatening, this was not an easy call. Forecaster George Carras from Commander’s Weather described the moist tropical conditions in the atmosphere as “juicy and unstable,” with a chance for more cells, but with nothing on the radar the fleet headed out of one more day of battle.

When they got out the harbor and headed into the southerly, the forecasted 8-15 knots turned out to be 20+ and building, with monstrous seas enhanced by the south-flowing ebb tide, especially in the Division 4 and Division 1 pre-start course areas. These seas hampered the Race Committees in their efforts to set marks and establish their race courses, so the PRO’s pulled the plug for these classes for the day.

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Joe Mele's Swan 44 Triple Lindy takes off in the Performance Cruising class, a new feature in this year's event
Photo Max Ranchi, Quantum Key West

Key West, FL, USA -- It’s coming down to the wire at Quantum Key West 2016 with several classes to be determined on the final day of racing, Industry Partner Day. Organizers with the Storm Trysail Club held three more races on all three courses today in solid 10-14 knot winds that started out of the northeast and slowly clocked around to the east, all per prediction.

The 10 classes on Divisions 1, 2 and 3 have now completed nine races. Division 1 principal race officer Ken Legler and Division 3 PRO Wayne Bretsch intend to hold one start on Friday to finish a 10-race series. Division 2 PRO Dave Brennan has the option of running two races for the J/70, Melges 24 and C&C 30 classes. We will know tomorrow their decision based on the weather forecast of good conditions in the morning, but then dying later into the day.

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The 54 entered J/70's had four races today in perfect conditions
Photo Max Ranchi, Quantum Key West

Key West, FL, USA -- Unlike yesterday in the howling wind, today started well in Day Three of Quantum Key West Week. During his morning weather briefing, Ed Baird alerted the assembled sailors about the importance of Wednesday’s racing.

“More than likely, there’s going to be three races today. That means the regatta is going to be more than halfway complete by the time you come off the water,” Baird said. “Like I tell my kids with their junior regattas, this is moving day. This is when all the action happens. Some boats are going to fall off the cliff while others are going to climb up the standings.”

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J/70' starts keep race managers on their toes
Photo Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

Baird’s words proved prophetic and many teams did indeed make a major move on Mount Gay Rum Day as multiple races were contested in perfect 15-18 knot northeasterly winds that held steady enough to provide the closest race action of the week.

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Diane Quart was honored as Volunteer of the Day by The Storm Trysail Club.

Diane Quart received the Volunteer of the Day award on Tuesday from John Fisher, former Commodore of Storm Trysail Club and Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 Event Chairman.

Diane began volunteering for shoreside duty in 2000, and for the past 14 years has managed all of the Race Gear for all of the Race Committee boats . All marks, anchors, offsets horns, course boards, flags and poles are inventoried, checked and updated as necessary, and Diane must be prepared for the incidental loss of any gear.

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The Norway-based Party Girl team reacts to the strong conditions...but in Oslo it is 10°F and snowing - photo Sara Proctor, Quantum Key West

Key West, FL, USA -- Yesterday organizers with the Storm Trysail Club knew wind conditions would be on the edge off for today, which is why race committee chairman Dick Neville asked principal race officers on all three divisions to complete three races yesterday at Quantum Key West 2016.

Sure enough, when today dawned over the Conch Republic it was howling, and it was cold. Locals and tourists alike donned their hats and coats, while Neville met with principal race officers Ken Legler (Division 1), Dave Brennan (Division 2) and Wayne Bretsch (Division 3) to develop a plan.

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Alex Schaerer's Coal Ila R leads the Maxi72's - photo Max Ranchi/Quantum Key West

Key West, FL, USA -- Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 got off to a rousing start on the City of Key West Day with strong winds welcoming the 133 boats in 12 classes and organizers getting in three races on all three divisions.

While the tourists enjoyed Martin Luther King Holiday by strolling Duval Street, sailors from 16 countries took the azure waters off the southernmost point of the United States and found ideal conditions - northeast winds that exceeded 20 knots for Race 1 and diminished slightly for the subsequent starts when the sun broke through and brought out the azure seas so famous in Key West.

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J/88 Start- photo Sara Proctor

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Handicap racing can be just as competitive as one designs at Quanutm Key West Race Week - photo Dobbs Davis

As said yesterday, the backbone of Quantum Key West Race Week lies in the competitive racing offered in the one-design classes that comprise over 70% of the 130 teams from 10 countries entered in this event. However, the other 30% entered in the IRC and ORC classes race just as hard in their fight for a place on the podium.

When the Storm Trysail Club (STC) took over management of Quantum Key West Race Week earlier this year it had some difficult decisions to make on which rating systems to use to accommodate this important segment of the fleet. In particular, STC wanted to try to halt the declining participation levels among the PHRF sailors in this fleet, who many years ago were the mainstay of the event.

So in an attempt to inject new life into Key West and attract a new crop of entries, race organizers at STC decided to replace PHRF with the ORC rating system, a measurement-based scientific system in use in over 40 countries around the world and that has issued more than 10,000 certificates for its use in 2015.

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One design sailing forms the backbone of the racing fleet at Quantum Key West Race Week 2016: out of the 133 entries from 16 countries lined up now to start racing on Monday, over 70% are competing in five classes at this event. Among racing purists many prefer one design sailing because the boats are all the same and it’s therefore superior sail trim, teamwork and tactics that win each race.

Many one design sailors at Quantum Key West Race Week are repeat customers, having had numerous years of prior experience coming to this unique mid-winter venue, and all look forward to another great week of racing being held over Monday-Friday, January 17-22nd.

Rob Ruhlman is one, a Clevelander who has been competing here on and off for 15 years. His first trip to the Conch Republic in 1996 was with a Tripp 26, and he has returned again and again aboard such diverse one-designs as a Mumm 30, Mumm 36, 1D35, Farr 40 and Farr 400. This year Ruhlman will be returning to steer the latest of his boats called Spaceman Spiff in the J/111 class, the largest one-design at the event and which has nine entries from California, New York, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.

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Race Week entry Steve Benjamin wins 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year

Storm Trysail Club member Steve Benjamin has been named the 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of a year that featured 10 wins, including the Etchells North American Championship in Rye, NY and numerous wins in his offshore boats called SPOOKIE that is co-owned with his wife Heidi.

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Benjamin’s dominance in the Etchells went beyond the North American Championship. He placed second out of 43 boats at the World Championship in Hong Kong. His Etchells teams won at the Piana Cup, Long Island Sound Championship and Coral Reef Cup, among others.

In reflecting back on his successes, Benjamin commented on how everything came together for him and his teams in 2015. “It came down to all the quality time we were able to spend on the water together. We raced and practiced so much this year, it really helped us continue to improve from one event to the next, and be better teams.”

“This award goes to all the great sailors and crew I’ve had the opportunity to race with this year,” added Benjamin. “I had some incredible team members to help me every step of the way, and perhaps the biggest supporter of them all is my wife, Heidi.”

Steve and Heidi Benjamin's Carkeek 40, SPOOKIE, had a clean sweep of overall wins in every offshore race they entered in 2015, including Fort Lauderdale to Key West, Marblehead to Halifax, Ida Lewis Distance Race, and the Vineyard Race. For this achievement they won the Storm Trysail Club’s prestigious Monte Santo Trophy for 2015, an honor they earned in 2014 as well.

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The Storm Trysail Club announces that Spectators can view the Races from a 105' Schooner

The Schooner America 2.0 is proudly the "Official Viewing Vessel" to spectate the 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week.  Join them for this amazing maritime event and view the races in style on this 105 foot schooner that has over 3600 square feet of sailand a cutting edge free standing carbon fiber rig! Lunch and drinks included with your ticket!

Owned and operated by Classic Harbor Line you can view the races in style as you sit on the most elegant Schooner in Key West: Schooner America 2.0. America 2.0 is a 105 foot schooner that has over 3600 square feet of sail, and a cutting edge free standing carbon fiber rig!  Your experience on this 4 hour sailing spectator adventure includes:

  • Top racing sailing vessels competing for 1st place
  • Mallory Square, Sunset Key, and the Historic Key West Bight
  • A boxed lunch from a local Key West Cafe
  • Complimentary soda & water and complimentary for beer, wine & champagne. Cash bar for mixed drinks.

Bring your family and/or friends and join our courteous and professional crew for this adventurous spectating sail that will highlight your Key West experience!

Click HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.

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