Strong Mini Maxi line-up
Top national and international programs are adding their luster to the growing list of entries for Key West 2011, presented by Nautica. With racing still over three months away, the competition is shaping up to be world-class with the entry tally running well ahead of the tally from the past two years at the equivalent time
The IRC fleet is sure to be one of the marquee attractions. It will feature a strong TP52 class and mini-maxis such as Bella Mente (R/P 69), Numbers (J/V 66), Titan (R/P 72 chartered by former America's Cup skipper Bill Koch) and the former Shockwave (R/P 69), which is believed to have been acquired by American George Sakellaris, who previously campaigned the CM60, Captivity.
Britain's Richard Matthews will be competing in his brand new Humphreys 54 Oystercatcher XXVIII, built and delivering directly from Hakes Marine in Wellington, New Zealand. She will debut in Key West's warm waters and dependable breezes.
There's more positive news with a Farr 30 class resurgence in the making. With eight veteran programs already entered, there's sure to be a tough fight for daily podium finishes. Class President Deneen Demourkas will helm one of two Groovedercis, with husband John driving the second. Add in Farr 40 and Farr 30 Champion Jim Richardson's Barking Mad and John and Linda Edward's Key West champion Rhumb Punch, and there's a potent mix in this 2011 comeback class.
"Sometimes you don't know what to make of the early numbers", said Event Director Peter Craig. "But having nearly double the entries by October 1st is good news any way you look at it. It's great to see the Farr 30 class back with a one design start in 2011."
Melges mania will again be in play highlighted by the ultra-competitive and newsworthy Melges 32 class fresh off their 2010 World Championship in San Francisco. The Melges 24s are already showing their international flair with entries from Key West regulars that include previous Boat of the Week winner Ricardo Simoneschi's Audi (Milano, ITA), Franco Rossini's Blu Moon (Chiasso, SUI) and Henri Samuel's Zig Zag 18 (Paris, FRA).
"We are planning to be there to fight it out with Full Throttle, Uka Uka, Blu Moon, WTF, Audi, Full Metal Jacket and probably other top Norwegian, German, Estonian and Italian boats," said former world champion Brian Hutchinson. "Key West has always been great racing, and this year it will again be very important to be there to sail against the best in the World. With the Melges 24 Worlds in Corpus (Christi, Texas) in May, the timing is none too early."
To many sailors, race week means 'January J World' with a variety of different J/Boats having a strong presence in both one design and handicap classes. The J/105 and J/80 classes will be competing for their Midwinter Championships with the J/80s expected to exceed their 18 boat tally from last year's event.
The PHRF division bears watching as the J/95 makes a splash with as many as five of these award winners. Sailing World's 2010 Boat of the Year and a SAIL Magazine Best Performance Boat winnerwill vie for one-design subclass honors within the PHRF fleet.
Perennial Key West one design classes along with IRC, PHRF and Multihull competitors are gearing up for top tier completion and unique shoreside fun that will be the 24th edition of Key West Race Week.
Racing begins Monday January 17, 2011
Premiere Racing is pleased to present this year's race week sponsors. The roster includes: Presenting Sponsor Nautica, with Nautica Watches the Official Timekeeper; and Day Sponsors Lewmar, Official Marine Hardware, Mount Gay® Rum, Official Rum, and Sperry Top-Sider, Official Footwear. The Supporting Sponsors are B&G, Official Marine Electronics, Marlow Ropes, Official Rope; and SLAM, Official Technical Gear. Key West Race Week is also supported by The Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council. The Historic Seaport at the Key West Bight is the Official Marina. The Ocean Key Resort and Spa is the Official Hotel.