Many of the marquee classes were decided on the last day of the regatta, which delivered the toughest conditions of the week at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015. Howling winds, including gusts of up to 30 knots, and rough seas challenged the competitors, but the top contenders met the challenge to claim overall victory.
That was certainly the case aboard the the Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer Bella Mente, the Quantum-equipped minimaxi skippered by Hap Fauth of Minneapolis. Fauth took first place in both races on Friday, holding off Gunther Buerman and his team on Numbers.
“Our plan was to be in position to win going into the last day and that is what happened. The wind gods cooperated today and gave us great racing. We rose to the occasion and were able to win both races,” Fauth said. “I thought the whole crew did an impeccable job. We sailed hard in both races.”
Bella Mente won six of 10 races and posted a low score of 19 points, two better than Numbers. Fauth captured his fourth victory in Key West despite a grounding incident on Wednesday and a damaged keel bulb.
Veteran professional and Quantum VP Terry Hutchinson, who was recently named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for the second time in his career, praised the performance of Fauth and the rest of the crew. “Hap has a lot of experience racing this boat and does an outstanding job on the helm,” Hutchinson said. “The one constant we had all week was superb starting and tremendous boat-handling. Every member of the crew really did a great job.”
In the Swan 42 Subclass, Paul Zabetakis and Impetuous managed a half-point victory over runner-up Vitesse. Zabetakis won five of 10 races, including one tie that gave him the half point he needed to take the overall win.
The J/88 class was decided on Friday with Rob and Sandy Butler on Touch2Play Racing winning both races. That clutch performance tied the Canadian with Deviation, skippered by Iris Vogel of New Rochelle, N.Y. Touch2Play won the tiebreaker by virtue of more first place finishes.
“We kind of put the pressure on [Deviation] by winning the last race on Thursday. We still trailed by two points, so we knew we had to come out and win both races today,” Rob said. “Our crew was really dialed in and we had very good boat speed. I’m proud of the team for doing what we had to do in order to win the regatta.”
The J/111 also had a wire-to-wire victory, with George Gamble on My Sharona finishing on top. Quantum customers claimed the other podium spots as well. Quantum pro Scott Nixon called tactics on My Sharona, which displayed superb boat speed in all conditions, winning five races and placing second or third in four others.
J/70 was the largest class of the regatta with 54 boats and featured a slew of top professionals. The week-long dog fight resulted in constant changes at the top of the standings, but it was skipper Carlo Alberini and his Italian team on Calvi Network who emerged as overall winner.
Calvi Network tactician Branko Brcin and trimmers Sergio Blosi and Karlo Hmeljak helped the team sail consistently, finishing in the top 10 in nine of 11 races. Calvi Network totaled 49 points, eight better than the runner up, and earned the ultimate prize at Quantum Key West Race Week – Boat of the Week.
“The talent level in this class is very high. We came to Key West because we are very excited about the J/70 fleet and want to race against the best boats,” said Alberini, who won the European Championship last year. “To win here is the best feeling. This might be the most important win of my career because we beat the world champion on the water.”
Overall, Quantum boats earned top-five finishes in nine divisions, including victories in IRC 1, Swan 42, J/70, J/88, and J/111.
1st – Bella Mente, Minimax, Hap Fauth
2nd – Otra Vez, Ker 43 Custom, William Coates
3rd – Delta, Dalton Devos
Swan 42 Subclass
1st – Impetuous, Paul Zabetakis
2nd – Vitesse, Jon Halbert
3rd – Zingara, Richard Reid
4th – Mojo, Steve Rhyne
5th – Party Girl, Jens Altern Wathne
1st – Calvi Network*, Carlo Alberini
3rd – B Squared, Brian Elliott
1st – Touch2Play, Rob & Sandy Butler
2nd – Deviation, Iris Vogel
4th – Easy Eights, Joe & Jeff Pawlowski
1st – My Sharona, George Gamble
2nd – Spaceman Spiff, Rob Ruhlman
3rd – Utah, Bradley Faber
4th – Lake Effect, Robert Hesse
3rd- Wired, J/80, Henry DeGroot
4th- VAr, VAr37, Martin van Breems
* Upwind Sails
Boat of the Week/Day Winners
Quantum Sails Boat of the Week: Calvi Network, J/70, Carlo Alberini
Industry Partners Boat of the Day: Utah, J/111, Bradley Faber
Mount Gay Rum Boat of the Day: Otra Vez, Ker 43, Bill Coates
Lewmar Boat of the Day: Party Girl, Melges 24, Jens Altern Wathne
Quantum Key West Race Week was January 19-23, 2015. For more information on Premier Racing, click here.
For full results, click here.
To see photos by Ken Wilkes, click here.
To see photos by Photoboat, click here.
To see photos by Ken Stanek, click here.