Strong line up for Quantum Key West 2014
Strong programs from across the US and around the world have already submitted their entries to Quantum Key West 2014, to be held over 19-24 January, 2014. The first entry deadline is a month away and the scratch sheet grows daily as people make their January plans for Key West and the Florida Keys.
Justin Smith shared his enthusiasm after submitting the entry for Marc Ewing's McConaghy 38 Riot: "The team is very excited to be returning to Key West. It is without question the owner's favorite sailing event. The choice of boat was secondary - it all revolved around getting to Key West Race Week. Having sailed a Farr 40 and Melges 24 in the regatta, we know we'll get excellent conditions, phenomenal event management and great racing. Whether its one design or handicap racing, Key West never disappoints."
First off the line on Division 1 will be three Mini Maxis: Hap Fauth's Bella Mente and George Sakellaris' Shockwave will pick up where they left off last year, with Alex Schärer's Mills 68 Caol Ila R joining the IRC 1 fray.
The 52 Class (IRC 2) once again kicks off their US Super Series in Key West before their March World Championship in Miami. Alberto Roemmers' Azzurra will be back to defend her 2013 title against returning programs and some new faces. This class always produces close racing with top tier crews and afterguards that will include long term Key West players Terry Hutchinson, Adrian Stead, and Marty Kullman.
The TP52 Class Manager, Rob Weiland, remarked: "Certainly the 2014 return to Key West is the direct result of the very positive experience of 2013 - from the excellent sailing conditions, the relaxed atmosphere onshore and the smooth operation that Quantum Key West Race Week is."
A noteworthy IRC 3 class is shaping up with 11 experienced teams from seven different US states and the Netherlands already entered. A variety of different designs, four Swan 42s and Peter Vroon's Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 will make for a very competitive week.
"You never know year to year which handicap classes will produce the best racing," says Event Director and Race Chairman Peter Craig. "Our scratch sheet already points to IRC3 as a class that bears watching. This class has great numbers and quality working in its favor."
J/70s made a spectacular Key West debut last January and they uwill be making noise again in 2014. Many of last year's top finishers are returning to battle it out for Midwinter Championship honors in both the Open and Corinthian classes. Recent North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl and her crew on Muse will face tough competition from entrants such as Brian Keane, Dave Franzel, and Bruno Pasquinelli.
"With 40+ J/70s planing into the leeward gate in under 2 minutes, that's a boat rounding either gate every 3 seconds on average... I know what we have to work on!" commented sailmaker and 2006 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Jud Smith.
The J/80 class has come back strong and other one-design action will include the Melges 24 and Melges 32 classes making their usual high-powered impact. With teams from Bermuda, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and the USA, these fleets will exhibit the international competition that is a true hallmark of Key West Race Week.
Add in the High Performance Class and some very talented PHRF programs to the mix and there will be no shortage of stories and worthy champions emerging in January.
Well known program manager and professional sailor Tony Rey knows what he'll be doing on the third week of January: "I've been to nearly every Key West Race Week since the early 90s. That place rocks! It is one of the greatest race tracks in the U.S., the sailing is just phenomenal. We manage multiple international teams here every year, and the Premiere Racing team has it so well organized that it makes our logistics much easier. Whether you're staying in a killer rental house with a pool and eating at Louie's Backyard, or sleeping on a couch and having a liquid dinner at the tent, you'll be making memories on and off the water. Don't miss it."
Event Sponsors include Title Sponsor Quantum Sails and Day Sponsors Lewmar/Navtec (Official Marine Hardware), and Mount Gay® Rum (Official Rum). The Supporting Sponsors are B&G (Official Marine Electronics), Marlow Ropes (Official Rope), and Gill (Official Technical Gear).
Key West Race Week is also supported by The Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council. The Ocean Key Resort and Spa is the Official Hotel. Sapporo USA is the Official Beer and Regatta Ginger Beer is the Official Ginger Beer. Chelsea Clock is providing their classic Ship's Bell Clocks for the Boat of the Day trophies.
23 Industry Partners bring their support through a program that is now in its 13th year.