Winner Announced for Ghost Camera Giveaway

Congratulations to Joe Szymanski of Solomons, MD, winner of the HD Ghost action camera from Drift. The drawing for the camera (donated by Drift) was conducted at Quantum Key West 2013, where Szymanski was crewing on Rhumb Punch, Division 3. 


Epic Week of Racing at Quantum Key West 2013


Five Days of Strong Winds Thrill Sailors


Quantum Key West 2013 featured some of the most spectacular conditions in the 26-year history of the annual midwinter regatta. For teams on the 42 boats powered by Quantum sails, it was an exhilarating week of competitive racing mixed with shore-side fun.


In IRC 2 It was a "bare knuckle fight" in the 52 Class, which had four different boats win races over the course of the week. The Quantum-powered Interlodge had a strong week and terrific final day, posting a first and second to jump from fourth to second in the overall standings, earning the “Boat of the Day” honors in the process. Quantum’s Marty Kullman and Interlodge tactician said the strong finish was a major step forward for the program fielded by Austin and Gwen Fragomen (Newport, RI).


Rob MacMillan of Quantum Newport, also sailing with Interlodge, noted the difference a year makes: “Last year’s Key West was essentially the first regatta for the new boat and as expected we had some teething issues to work out in terms of boat handling, crew mechanics, sail trim, etc. The 2013 edition has shown that we have really started to gel as a group and is proven in the fact that we not only are able to compete with the top TP 52’s in the world, we are able to win races in convincing fashion!”  


TP52 Interlodge. Photo by Ken Stanek



Quantum Racing had three bullets over the course of the week, but a disappointing final day. Team member Tom Burnham said, “We had a tough ending to an otherwise great week. Key West provided some fantastic conditions and great racing. Moving forward to improve for the Worlds in March is the goal.”  



TP52 Quantum Racing. Photos by Keith Brash.



Barking Mad took over the lead in Farr 40 class on Tuesday and held it the rest of the way despite stiff competition from Flash Gordon and Struntje Light. It marked the third Key West victory for this Quantum-equipped boat owned by Jim Richardson (Newport, RI), who had America’s Cup veteran Terry Hutchinson aboard as tactician.


“Jim sailed his best day of the entire week. He was really on his game today. As a team, we sailed to win, sailed with conviction,” said Hutchinson, who was sailing a monohull for the first time in a year because he was skippering Artemis Racing, the Swedish challenger for the America’s Cup. “I'm not surprised at all. We have a good team with really good sailors. Our expectations are to always win.”


Richardson said there were some races when Barking Mad was in fifth or sixth and managed to pick up a couple placements, which was crucial. “Fighting back when you’re in a bad situation is huge because every point counts in this class,” he said.


J/70 was the largest class at Quantum Key West 2013 with 39 boats. The brand new design was showcased with some spectacular racing. Quantum San Diego’s George Szabo arrive in Key West three days before racing started to provide on-the-water coaching, boat-set up information and tuning advice to Quantum’s J/70 customers. He conducted daily debriefs following practice sessions and after racing on Monday and Tuesday. Daily, personalized emails with photos and tips helped teams optimize their sail trim for greater speed. Szabo noted that Tuesday – a heavy wind day – was great for those sailing with four people, weighing in over 700 pounds. “Those same teams struggled in the light air,” noted Szabo, “but they sure had a ball in the big winds.”


J/70 Fleet during practice. Photo by Keith Brash.


Head of Quantum’s J/Boat Division Kerry Klingler, competed at the regatta in his own J/70, Menace. Klingler said, “We went into the regatta thinking we could be competitive racing with three people (our combined weight is 600 lbs.).  But without a weight limit for class racing it is clear that we can’t hang in there with the four person teams. In short weight is king.” His advice for other new teams: “If you are going to race a J/70, crew it up with four people and make sure your weight is over 700 lbs.  It will not hurt you much in lighter winds and will help you a lot in windier conditions.”  


J/70 Junior. Photo by Tim Wilkes



J/70 Team ACAK. Photo by Tim Wilkes


It was another heartbreaking finish for skipper Bill Sweetser and his team on the Quantum-equipped Rush, a J/109 that has competed in Key West 10 times without winning its class. Sweetser has led the regatta on many occasions only to finish as runner-up, and that was scenario again this year. Rush led at the end of racing from Monday through Thursday, but surrendered the lead to Tangent on Friday. Skipper Gerry Taylor and his crew on the Cape Fear 38 closed the regatta with three straight bullets to nip Rush by two points.


For 26 years, Key West Race Week has provided the best in Grand Prix sailboat racing with tough competition, challenging conditions, and a diversity of sailors and fleet that is rarely achieved in one regatta. Quantum president Ed Reynolds says, “Such an enduring regatta is only possible through the commitment and continuing support of the participants, along with that of the organizers, local community and the many volunteers who work hard all year long to create a great event. We want to extend our congratulations to the winners and appreciation to all the participants as well as the organizational team at Premiere Racing. Quantum Key West 2013 will go down as one of the best years ever.”


J/111 Wicked 2.0. Photo by Chris Odom


Quantum Key West 2013 

Quantum Results – Top Five in Class 


IRC 1 (Mini Maxi Class) 

*2. Bella Mente (Judel-Vrolijk),  Hap Fauth 


IRC 2 (52 Class and 52 Super Series) 

2. Interlodge, Austin and Gwen Fragomen

4. Quantum Racing, Doug DeVos 


Farr 400 One Design 

2. Meridian X (OD), W.S. Shelhorse 


Farr 40 One Design

1. Barking Mad, James Richardson 

4. Charisma, Nico Poons


Swan 42 One Design

5. Vitesse, Swan 42, Jon Halbert


J /70 One Design

5. USA 69, Joseph Colling



4. Wicked 2.0, J/111, Douglas Curtiss



2. Rush, J/109, Bill Sweetser 

3. Rebecca, J/120, Glenn Gault 

4. Alliance, Summit 35, John Borowski/John Cooper


* Partial Inventory



Boat of the Day Honors


Barking Mad, Jim Richards, Boston, MA (Farr 40)



Interlodge, Austin and Gwen Fragomen, Newport, RI (TP52)



Swan 42, Vitesse. Photo by Tim Wilkes


More Coverage


Complete Results:


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Live Coverage Archives:


Spectacular Conditions Shine at Quantum Key West 2013 — World Class Competition Continues on Day Four


By Bill Wagner, Press Officer 


Key West, FL– With four days of racing complete, it is not difficult to identify the

stars of Quantum Key West 2013: The sun and the wind!


Even the most veteran sailors have been amazed by the fact every day of the regatta has brought spectacular conditions with warm temperatures and solid breezes. Wednesday brought 18-22 knot winds and Thursday’s breeze held steady between 14-18 knots.


“We’ve had an incredible string of great sailing days. I think that is really the story,” said Jonathan McKee, tactician aboard the Farr 40 Struntje Light. “We keep waiting for a crappy day and it just hasn’t happened. We’ve just been really lucky that each day has been spectacular.”


That good fortune is expected to continue on Friday as George Caras of Commanders’ Weather is forecasting winds in the 12-18 knot range and more sunny skies. George Collins was once a regular competitor at Key West, but hasn’t attended for many years. The 72-year-old skipper of Chessie Racing was equally amazed by the caliber of sailing throughout the week.


“What another beautiful day of racing,” Collins said upon returning to the dock in front of the Half Shell Raw Bar. “I can’t remember a week that had such consistently good breeze. There are usually one or two light days, but not this week. The Key West Chamber of Commerce gets five stars.”


Event chairman Peter Craig and his Premiere Racing team take pride in giving sailors a full week of action. Over the past 20 years, the annual regatta off the Florida Keys has lost just six days of racing. Barring some unforeseen situation, this will be another year that Premiere Racing has completed the target number of 10 races. More remarkable is that Division 2, under the direction of principal race officer Dave Brennan, is likely to get in 12 races.


It’s been a knockdown, drag out fight in IRC 2 (52 Class) all week and the winner probably won’t be decided until the last leg of the last race on the last day. Azzurra and Ran are tied atop the standings with 21 points apiece while Quantum Racing is just one point behind.




Helmsman Guillermo Parada and tactician Vasco Vascotto led the Italian entry Azzurra to victory in Race 7 on Thursday while skipper Doug DeVos and tactician Ed Baird led the American boat Quantum Racing to victory in Race 8. Ran, the Swedish program skippered by Niklas Zennstrom, also had a strong day with a second and third.


“We’re looking forward to a great final day of racing here in Key West. We have three boats, possibly four, in contention so it is going to be all on,” Ran tactician Adrian Stead said. “We’ve had fantastic racing all week in the class. Every race has been hard fought from start to finish.”


It has been a tremendous week of match racing between the 72-footers Bella Mente and Shockwave with the two trading wins. Skipper George Sakellaris and his crew aboard Shockwave won both races on Thursday and have clinched the overall victory. With two races remaining, Shockwave’s lead of four points is insurmountable.


“Great racing and great competition,” Sakellaris said. “Bella Mente is a terrific team and a real pleasure to compete against. Every race was back and forth. They would lead and then we would lead. It all depends on who picks the shifts first.”


Legendary sailmaker Robbie Doyle called tactics while former Olympian Mark Mendelblatt served as strategist for Sakellaris, a resident of Framingham, Massachusetts. Andreas Visintini was aboard as navigator. Racing was incredibly close between the Judel Vrolijk and Reichel-Pugh designs with one race being decided by six seconds and another by less than 20 seconds.


There’s a tight two-boat duel in the High Performance class between the Carkeek 40 sister ships Spookie (Steve Benjamin, Norwalk, CT) and Decision (Stephen Murray, New Orleans). Spookie was walking away with the regatta until blowing out its spinnaker in both races on Wednesday. That opened the door for Decision, which won both races on Wednesday to take the lead.


Spookie rebounded to win both races on Thursday, but Decision notched two seconds and maintains a narrow one- point lead. Spookie beat Decision by just one second in Race 7, crossing the line nine seconds behind and getting 10 seconds of time on handicap.


“The boats are very, very even so it’s been neck-and-neck, back-and-forth all week,” said Heidi Benjamin, who calls tactics for her husband. “We’re really looking forward to tomorrow. It should be very exciting racing. Johnny Lovell is a very good tactician while Stephen Murray is a very good driver so Decision will be tough to beat.”


Decision and Spookie have left the rest of the High Performance Class in the dust, leading George Collins (Miami Beach) and Chessie Racing to focus on winning the Farr 400 One Design competition. Chessie has won six of eight races within that sub class and holds an eight-point lead over Meridian X (Sled Shelhorse, Virginia Beach).


“Our crew work has been phenomenal. We’ve had very few mistakes,” Collins said. “I’m having a ball doing the starts and driving. The boats have a nice groove to them and are very quick. A little wet, but very fun to sail.”


There was some tremendous competition in Swan 42 class on Thursday between Apparition and Stark Raving Mad VI. Skipper Ken Colburn and the Apparition crew notched results of third and first to beat James Madden and the Stark Raving Mad team by one point. That effort earned Apparition The Marlow Trophy Boat of the Day honor.


When Deneen Demourkas arrived back at The Galleon Docks her husband John was waiting to hand her a mudslide. That’s because Deneen scored her first victory as a Melges 32 skipper, getting the gun in Race 7. Demourkas made her class debut at the Melges 32 World Championships last September and this is her second regatta.


“Worlds was our first event and none of us really knew the boat. We had a lot to learn so we took a lot of advice and tips from friends,” Demourkas said. “Today, we finally got off the line in good shape. Our boat speed has been fantastic so it felt good to finally get a nice start.”


Bombarda, skippered by Andrea Pozzi, posted a second and third on Thursday and remained the overall leader for the third straight day. Past class world champion Lorenzo Bressani is calling tactics for Pozzi, who holds a somewhat comfortable nine-point lead over the Japanese entry Swing (Keisuke Suzuki).


Full Throttle and hedgehog are engaged in a heated battle in Melges 24 class, second-largest of the regatta with 23 boats. Skipper Brian Porter and Full Throttle opened the series with a seventh, but have been able to throw that out and have finished no lower than third ever since. Skipper Alec Cutler and the hedgehog crew had put up a steady string of firsts and seconds before sailing their throw out on Thursday, an eighth in Race 7.


Cutler was annoyed because hedgehog had come back from dead last at the start to second place by the leeward mark, but subsequently missed a shift and lost six boats in Race 7. Full Throttle won two races on Thursday and now leads by four points.


“We can still win this thing. We just need to stay positive,” Cutler said. “Our boat speed is there and our crew work is there. We need to win the first race tomorrow then see where things stand.”


Follow the racing and shoreside action through the online portal: USE #QKeyWest in your tags and keeping connected!


Quantum Key West 2013 is a US SAILING sanctioned event.


Event Sponsors include Title Sponsor Quantum Sails (Official Sailmaker) and Day Sponsors Lewmar/Navtec (Official Marine Hardware), Mount Gay® Rum (Official Rum), and Nautica Watches (Official Timekeeper). The Supporting Sponsors are B&G (Official Marine Electronics), Marlow Ropes (Official Rope), and Gill (Official Technical Gear).


Regatta dates are January 20 – 25, 2013.


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. Sapporo USA is the Official Beer.


24 Industry Partners bring their support through a program that is now in its 12th year. Quantum Key West 2013 is a US SAILING sanctioned event.


The racing will be conducted under permit in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hard bottom, seagrass meadow, mangrove communities and sand flats.