Quantum Key West Race Week

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Herb Reese Vol Award 1
Volunteer of the Day Award Goes To Herb Reese


We’re trying to let people know what type of people are needed in order to put these regattas on. The Club itself operates on a very strong base of volunteerism. Down here in Key West, we don’t have the facilities like a yacht club does where you have a waterfront director and launch people and so forth.

Conducting an event the scope of Quantum Key West 2016 requires a small army of volunteers. There are so many moving parts both on the water and shore-side that almost a hundred folks are required to pull the regatta off.  

No organization knows this better than The Storm Trysail Club, which last year celebrated the 50th anniversary of Block Island Race Week.  

Storm Trysail Club now owns Quantum Key West and is finding that running a major regatta at the southernmost point of the United States is quite an undertaking. John Fisher, chairman of Quantum Key West 2016, said STC is fortunate to have inherited dozens of volunteers who have been working the annual race week in Key West for many years on behalf of previous owner Premiere Racing.  

Fisher got together with lead organizers and decided that one longtime volunteer should be honored each night during the award ceremony. The inaugural Quantum Key West 2016 Volunteer of the Day was presented to Herb Reese while the second went to Diane Quart.  

“The Storm Trysail Club, at both Block Island Race Week and now here in Key West, set up a temporary venue and rely heavily on volunteers to make things happen. It’s a considerable undertaking and people take time out of their lives and vacation from their jobs in order to give something back to the sport,” Fisher said. “So we think it’s important to recognize people that have dedicated many years to helping deliver a product in the form of a great regatta.”  

Reese has been volunteering at Key West Race Week for 20 years, spending the last 15 overseeing the marina operation at Truman Annex. That task has become much more massive with the advent of trailer-able sport boats that need to be launched and pulled – either by ramp or crane.  

“Key West is very unique in terms of some of the services we have to provide, one of which is that we set up our own marina operation. It requires a tremendous amount of logistics,” Fisher said. “It requires somebody with a depth of knowledge of how things work with regard to launching boats and all the resources we need to have on site in order to get the job done. Between Herb and the folks with Coffin Marine, it’s very important that we have great coordination.”  

Three years ago, the J/70 class joined the fray at Quantum Key West and most owners prefer to dry sail, meaning a fleet of 50-plus boats must be launched every morning then hauled out every afternoon. Three races were held on the opening day of this year’s regatta and the J/70s returned to Truman Annex later than usual.  

“On Monday night, Herb said they were pulling boats out at one every three or four minutes. That’s what it takes when all the boats come in late and you have to get them out before dark. It’s not an easy undertaking,” Fisher said. “Herb has been doing this for many years. He has a wonderful temperament and great understanding of what the sailors’ requirements are. Herb is as dedicated a volunteer as we have down here.”  

Reese resides in Solomons Island, Maryland and worked in the construction business most of his career. He hooked on with the regatta at a time when he owned a house here in Key West.

John Fisher Vol Award 1

On Tuesday, Fisher presented the Volunteer of the Day Award to Diane Quarter, who began working shore-side 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 Quart must be prepared for the incidental loss of any gear.  

Quart hails from Buffalo, New York and her main passion is rowing. She is currently Adult Head Recreational Coach with the West Side Rowing Club in her home city. Diane is an athlete at heart and her commitment to the success of Quantum Key West is evidenced by the fact she is here supporting the team just three weeks after undergoing back surgery.

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