Key West chill

Dobbs Davis gives his view of today's shifty racing at Key West
When TV broadcasts are filled with stories of record low temperatures being felt throughout the US, it's hard to complain about the water being too cold to go snorkeling. But this and early pub-crawling were but a few of the choices faced by the members of Key West fleet today as the dying northerly finally petered out completely. All but the Division 2 courses still managed to get a shortened and massively shifted race on the scoreboard before heading back to the docks for late lunch. Some returned happy to be positioned on the right side of the current-induced 40-degree right shift, and others headed straight for the bar. The crew on the new Farr 36 Tazo were especially disappointed to have had the Division 2 races abandoned, as they'd built an impressive lead of close to five minutes on their PHRF Class 2 rivals as the conditions died out. Having earned a dubious DSQ in Race 1 on a starting line incident against the Farr 395 Tsunami, they needed the good result, but will have to work hard for the remaining three or four races of the series. Key West used to be a showcase for new boats, but the popularity of one-designs in recent years has shifted the focus towards the racing quality rather than quantity of new products. And while the Johnstones have a new J/109 making its debut here, it's the Farr 36 that seems to attracting the most attention on and off the water. With its low freeboard, straight shear, flush deck and ultra clean lines, Peter Morton, Geoff Stagg, and the rest of the gang at Farr International have been inviting prospective customers and other interested parties on board after racing to lure them into temptation. Barry Carroll will be receiving his tooling from DK Composites