Storm Trysail Club Assumes Ownership of Key West Race Week

Quantum Sail Design Group Remains Onboard as Title Sponsor 

LARCHMONT, NY – Quantum Key West Race Week will continue thanks to the organizational expertise of a new ownership group and the ongoing support of its title sponsor – Quantum Sail Design Group.

 The Storm Trysail Club is pleased to announce that it has come to an agreement with Premiere Racing to take over ownership and management of the prestigious regatta. 

The Storm Trysail Club, established in 1938, is well known for running Block Island Race Week, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer. Storm Trysail Club also organizes the Lauderdale-to-Key West Race that has long served as feeder for Key West Race Week. 

“Key West Race Week is a terrific bookend to the club’s long-standing Block Island Race Week,” Storm Trysail Club commodore Lee Reichart said. “We believe we will be able to utilize our experience at Block Island to ensure that Key West remains the most prominent winter big-boat event in North America.”

Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 will be held Jan. 18-22, 2016 with many of the same elements that made the regatta so popular remaining in place. Foremost is the sponsorship of Quantum, the second-largest sail-making company in the world.


Quantum Sail Design Group came aboard as title sponsor of Key West Race Week in 2012 at a time when its future was uncertain. Quantum and its backers provided the financial support that enabled Premiere Racing to continue organizing the regatta. 

“We recognize Key West Race Week is the flagship regatta in this country and has been for well over two decades,” Quantum president Ed Reynolds said. “This midwinter, big boat regatta is very important to North American and international sailboat racing.”

Reynolds says the worldwide company is happy to see the event continue with such an accomplished regatta management group. “We recognize the complexity of managing Key West Race Week. There are probably very few organizations that could do it. Storm Trysail is uniquely qualified and we’re confident and excited about the future of the event under its direction.”

Reynolds thanked Peter Craig and his team at Premiere Racing for 21 years of dedication to ensuring Key West Race Week remained a highlight of the racing calendar, both within the United States and abroad. Reynolds also acknowledged an appreciation for Premiere Racing’s commitment to ensuring a smooth transition. 

“Through Peter’s leadership, Key West Race Week has become an internationally-renowned regatta. It would be a huge loss to the competitors and the industry if the regatta were to go away,” Reynolds said. “We’re pleased to continue as title sponsor and look forward to working with the Storm Trysail Club and our industry peers to build on the success of this great event.”

Yachting Magazine founded Key West Race Week in 1987 and seven years later brought Craig aboard as race chairman. At the time, it was a single division regatta with 112 boats. Craig took over as event director in the late 1990s and under his leadership Key West Race Week evolved into an iconic international keelboat event. 

Craig, longtime assistant Jeanne Kleene and an army of volunteers has always worked hard to ensure that Key West Race Week is always top-notch both on and off the water. Those two principals of Premiere Racing are very happy to hand off the event to capable new stewards. 

 “The Storm Trysail Club is uniquely qualified to manage an event of this magnitude, given their extensive experience with Block Island Race Week, Lauderdale-to-Key West Race and the considerable number of their members who have been actively involved with Key West Race Week over the past 21 years,” Craig said. 

Craig applauded Quantum Sail Design Group for staying on as title sponsor. “Quantum and its backers hold true stature in the industry. It is hardly surprising to see that they will continue to play a crucial role in the continuation of this event,” he said. “Quantum, like Storm Trysail Club, has expressed a strong belief that Key West Race Week is important to performance sailing in North America. I would expect other industry leaders to step up and play an active, contributing role as Storm Trysail takes this great regatta forward.”

Storm Trysail Club members are in the process of contacting all past sponsors and will be working to bring new partners into the mix. Jeff Johnstone has pledged the support of J/Boats, a worldwide leader in high-performance sailboats.

All sorts of J/Boats designs have competed at Key West Race Week over the years, either in one-design, PHRF or IRC classes. Johnstone challenged other industry leaders to do their part in making Key West Race Week a success. 

“Key West Race Week has been a favorite for J/Boat sailors since its inception 20-plus years ago,” Johnstone said. “We’re very excited to see the Storm Trysail Club take the helm and we encourage all of our sailing industry peers to join us in supporting this great event that means so much to the sailing community. We’re looking forward to being back in sunny, breezy Key West next January.” 

Storm Trysail Club announced that longtime member John Fisher will serve as event chairman for Key West Race Week. Fisher has been involved with Block Island Race Week since 1999, serving as chairman for three editions of the biennial regatta. Reichart said Fisher, a past commodore of Storm Trysail Club, was selected for the role because of his proven strength with logistics. 

“Key West Race Week has long been the best winter venue the U.S. has to offer, given the consistency of conditions and obviously the incredible weather,” Fisher said. “Veteran competitors at Key West have come to expect top-notch race management and that will not change! Storm Trysail Club is a proven commodity when it comes to on-water organization.”

Dick Neville, another Storm Trysail Club veteran, has been appointed race committee chairman. Neville has been working Key West Race Week for nearly two decades as right-hand man to Division 2 principal race officer Dave Brennan. Neville is expecting to conduct starts in most of the classes that have traditionally competed at Key West. 

Fisher said Nick Langone will serve as shore-side committee chairman while John Storck Jr. will oversee mobile marina logistics. The Storm Trysail Club hopes to retain the services of numerous dedicated volunteers that worked for Premiere Racing for many years.

“It is important to point out that many Storm Trysail Club race committee members have been involved with Key West Race Week over the years. So we are not novices when it comes to this particular regatta and its unique elements,” Fisher said. “Because of the accumulated knowledge available to us, I expect the transition from Premiere Racing to Storm Trysail Club to be very smooth.”

About Storm Trysail Club
Storm Trysail Club is one of the world’s most respected sailing organizations. Established in 1938, its membership includes skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors who have flown a storm trysail or severely reduced canvas during an ocean voyage. The club is headquartered in Larchmont, N.Y., and has regional stations throughout the U.S. It hosts Block Island Race Week in odd-numbered years, the annual Block Island Race, Lauderdale-to-Key West Race and the biennial Miami-to-Montego Bay Race among many other events. The Club’s affiliated 501(c)(3) organization, The Storm Trysail Foundation, holds annual junior safety-at-sea seminars and the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta for college sailors using big boats. For more information, visit

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Quantum Sails Win Four Classes, Three Corinthian Championships at Charleston Race Week

Quantum-powered teams raced hard and finished well in multiple classes at the 20th Annual Sperry Charleston Race Week. Quantum sails led their teams to victory in the overall and Corinthian divisions in several classes.

In the Corinthian races, Quantum teams finished first in the Melges 20, Melges 24, and J/70. Paul Currie on Wild Deuces and Jens Altern Wathne on Party Girl took the Melges 20 and Melges 24 Corinthian titles by 7- and 10-point margins. In the J/70 fleet, Rob Britts on Hot Mess lengthened his winning history, finishing in first by 35-points.

Overall, Quantum teams celebrated many top-ten finishes, including:

Farr 280
2 – Joe Woods, Red

Melges 24
4 – Jens Altern Wathne, Party Girl
6 – Richard Reid, Zingara

They also won four divisions, including 1-2-3 sweeps in J/80 and Melges 20. Other Quantum top-finishes include:

1 – Iris Vogel, Deviation
2 – Rob Butler, Touch2Play Racing

1 – George Gamble, My Sharona
3 – Rob Ruhlman, Spaceman Spiff
4 – Gary Weisberg, Heat Wave
5 – Douglas Curtiss, Wicked 2.0

1 – Clarke McKinney, USA 788
2 – Gary Panariello, Courageous
3 – Ken Mangano, Mango

Melges 20 – US Nationals
1 – Jason Michas, Midnight Blue
2 – Richard Davies, Section 16
3 – Tom Kassberg, Flygfisk
4 – Cesar Gomes Neto, Portobello
5 – Bruce Golison, Midlife Crisis
6 – Drew Wierda, Peshmerga
7 – Wes Whitmyer, Jr., Slingshot

J/70 – Corinthian
1 – Rob Britts, Hot Mess

Melges 20 – Corinthian
1 – Paul Currie, Wild Deuces

Melges 24 – Corinthian
1 – Jens Altern Wathne, Party Girl

Congratulations to everyone on a great weekend!

For full results from the 2015 Sperry Charleston Race Week, click here

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Summer Racing is Full-On in San Francisco

One-design sailors were treated to summer breezes in the 20s at J/Fest and Resin Regatta hosted out of the St. Francis and San Francisco Yacht Clubs this past weekend.

Summer is back on the San Francisco Bay. J/Fest hosted at the St. Francis Yacht Club included almost 50 boats across five classes, from J/70s, to J/24s, J/105s, J/111s, and J/120s, while the San Francisco Yacht Club hosted another 30 boats in the Resin Regatta, the Melges 24s, Express 27s, and Knarrs. J/Fest racers sailed primarily up and down the city front, while the Resin Regatta played out in the Berkeley Circle. Meanwhile, the high school championship took place just off Fort Mason.

Saturday brought winds from the west and southwest into the high 20s, and high teens on Sunday. Races each day began with a flood tide shifting to ebb by day’s end.

“J/Fest was once again the first big breeze regatta of the season. Everybody said it wasn’t the beautiful light-air sailing that we’ve experienced all winter long,” said J/Fest organizer Norman Davant of Sail California. “It’s back to summertime on the Bay—bring you’re A-game!”

Both regattas served up five races, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. The smaller J/boats sailed almost the same four-leg course four out of five races, shifting to a five-leg upwind course for the last race, while the bigger boats got a Bay tour for the third race on Saturday.

“We’ve got the high school championship in town that we’ve been supporting, and we’re running both events—J/Fest and the Resin Regatta—right there too, which made the courses kind of short for the bigger boats. We thought the short-course racing was really good along with the long course late on Saturday afternoon, more of a Bay-tour style triangle course. We mixed it up and the competitors liked it—they were happy so we were happy,” said Davant.

The race committee was certainly stretched for the weekend, with three yacht clubs looking for RC staff. “You have a team of people that goes from club to club doing all of the race committee. We’re all trying to figure out how we can support each other to make all these races happen,” said J/Fest PRO Julie Wiard, adding that while the RC was stretched, the racing didn’t suffer.

“The J/105 fleet is always a challenging fleet; we had three general recalls on Saturday with the I flag, so we just went with the I flag for the rest of the regatta,” said Wiard. “The J/70s are getting up there, it’s getting competitive, we had a couple of general recalls on them, and the J/24s have their big regatta coming up at the end of May, so they’re ramping it up. We had a lot of really competitive racing out there.”

Both Wiard and Davant sent praises to the sailors for the lack of protests—not a single one either day. “The sophistication of the sailors is becoming better and better,” Davant said.

“I spent some time with Jeff Littfin on Mojo. I showed him how to use our VSpars/Quantum Sails sail scan program, which allows owners to take digital pictures of their mainsail shape and allows us compare them to the design file to make sure the rig is set up correctly. He really improved his boat speed in this regatta, dominating the J/105 fleet alongside Godot to finally finish in second in a tiebreaker,” said Quantum’s Jeff Thorpe.

“In the J/111 fleet, Reuben Rocci and Nesrin Basoz’s Swiftness made huge steps. I went out with them on Easter weekend and we worked through the tuning guide and what to look for in mainsail shape and headstay sag, and gave them pointers on what to look for. It’s really exciting to see these two boats sailing a lot faster.”

On the Resin Regatta side, the Melges 24s were using this weekend as their windy tuneup for the U.S. Nationals August 7–9 on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. “It was a very good windy tuneup—classic Berkeley Circle smash and crash with six-foot chop, green water down the deck, everybody hanging hard, sails flogging,” said Quantum’s Will Paxton. “You’d watch the Melges 24s coming downwind, four boats gybe at once an only one pops out of it. There were a lot of Express 27s rounding up. We even rounded up when somebody blew the twing by accident, but it was a lot of fun.”

Paxton said many of the top Express 27 boats were sailing with a Quantum mainsail designed with a flattener, which was important especially on Sunday when winds started our lighter, at the top end of the genoa, and built throughout the first race.

“The flattener was really key. It’s an integral design of the mainsail. You can pull on a mini-reef without easing the halyard down and it pulls the whole bottom of the sail flat. When you’re in top-end conditions, or the top of the genoa, it’s a huge gear shift,” he said.

A flattener, also called a water reef, is designed into the seams of the camber of the sail, and controlled by the reef line. When it’s out, the sail has a lot of extra power and extra area at the bottom of the sail; when it’s in, it pulls the whole sail flat, raising the boom a little to offer extra visibility when the boat is heeled over. “I’ve been designing the flattener into all the ultralights I work with on the Bay, because as we all know, conditions are usually at top of the genoa at the start of the first race, and halfway through its blowing 20, so you’re asking a sail to work across a very wide range. Having a flattener in there to shift it into a higher gear is very helpful,” Paxton said.

Paxton has designed flatteners for Quantum sails on Moore 24s, Express 27s, and Ultimate 20s. “A lot of people think a flattener is a bad, ancient thing. But if you flip it around the other way, if you design this component into your nice, stable sail, it gives you another dimension to work with,” he said.

Eight of the nine Express 27s competing this weekend sailed with Quantum sails. Paxton won the regatta on Motorcycle Irene, while John Rivlin’s Peaches took second and Peggy Lidster’s Athena took third. “Peggy had a really good team together on Athena, and Sergey Lubarsky on Libra (fifth place in the regatta) was much-improved with a new Quantum mainsail designed with a flattener,” said Paxton.

“Our upwind speed was just tremendous,” said Lubarsky. “We had a brand new sail out of the box. We didn’t have a chance to tune, we didn’t have a chance to learn it, we had two new crew, I haven’t raced in six months, and bang—I out-perform my expectations by about three or four boats. Just out of the box, that sail was a weapon.”

Doug Wilhelm’s Wilco led the Melges 24 fleet, while Chris Perkins’s Three boys and a girl was the top Knarr in the Resin.

On the J/Fest side, TMC Racing owned by Michael Whitfield was the top J/24, Scott Sellers with 1FA (Quantum) won the J/70 class, Philip Laby led the J/105s with Godot (Quantum), Dorian McKelvy’s Madmen (Quantum) once again led the J/111s, and Barry Lewis’s Chance topped the J/120 fleet.

For full results from J/Fest, click here. For Resin Regatta results, click here.

By Jenn Virškus for Quantum Sail Design Group

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