Fleet for annual midwinter classic already taking shape Key West, Florida Keys
Classes and sailors from across the country and around the world already have Quantum Key West 2015 on the winter calendars. Boats ranging is size from 23 to 72 feet will compete in the waters off America's southernmost city during the 28th edition of Key West Race Week, scheduled for January 18-23.
"Quantum Sail Design Group and its backers recognize how important this international event is to sailing in North America," commented Ed Reynolds, Quantum President. "For nearly 3 decades Key West has kicked off racing here in the U.S. with a superb event that sets the standard for the entire year."
America loves a comeback story and the comeback class for 2015 is expected to be the Melges 24s. The iconic sportboat is on the move and South Florida will play a major role over the next two years as evidenced by the recent announcement about their 2016 World Championship at Quantum Key West.
"The Melges 24 class and Key West have a rich history together including an epic 2001 World Championship," said U.S. Class President Rob Britts. "We are projecting a healthy fleet next year in the lead up to our 2016 Worlds."
Boats big and small are already making plans for North America's premiere winter event. On one end of the spectrum are the high octane Mini Maxis with Hap Fauth's Bella Mente returning to defend their 2013 class win and a 4-boat class looking very likely. On the other end of the size range is the ever-popular J/70 class. This year's 60-boat turnout could grow to 70-80 according to class sources.
Kathy Parks, owner of Sundog, shares the enthusiasm of many other J/70 owners…"The Division 2 race committee gave us another great Quantum Key West Regatta. I love the 5 days of racing, which we rarely see anywhere else and we love the energy at the panels, party and awards."
The HPR class had their own start this year and all indicators point to more boats in 2015. "Key West Race Week never disappoints – the conditions, competition and race management set the standard. And shoreside, Key West in January is pretty tough to beat," said McConaghy 38 owner Marc Ewing. "The racing in our HPR class was terrific and next year's fleet will be bigger for sure – we'll be back."
A notable component of the Key West event since year 1 back in 1988 has been the PHRF racing. While there may not be the number of classes that were commonplace a decade ago, the significance of a class win is unchanged. "It feels fantastic to finally win here in Key West," said Bill Sweetser after his PHRF 2 win on the J/109 Rush. "You could say we got the monkey off our back, or maybe it was a gorilla… Everybody is so ecstatic. We can't wait to get the whole crew up on stage at the awards party."
Expect another heavy dose of J/Boats next January with as many as five J/111's in PHRF 1 and the J/88s expecting to make some noise in PHRF 2. The Event Organizer will be featuring PHRF courses that include reaching legs to augment the traditional windward / leeward courses.
Other classes expected back with their highly competitive racing include the TP52s, J/80's and an IRC 3 class that featured new designs among the 10 boats racing last January. There is talk of a J/105 Key West revival following a brief hiatus. This popular one design class featured some of the most competitive racing in Key West for a number of years and would be a welcome addition to the 2015 fleet.
"Where else would you want to be on the third week of January?" asked multiple world champion Cam Appleton. "I've done my share of race weeks over the years in any number of classes and the boat you race on really doesn't matter – the conditions are always terrific, the race committee work and event management are unsurpassed, and the competition is always full on. When I think of sailing in the U.S. I think about Key West Race Week."
This will be the fourth straight year that Quantum will serve as title sponsor and Reynolds said the Michigan-based sail-making company has enjoyed its partnership with Premiere Racing. "It's been a great relationship because we both have the same interests in mind, which is to keep an iconic regatta moving forward. Quantum's goal is to perpetuate our sport by supporting one of the finest events in the country."
Regatta dates are January 18 – 23, 2015. Event Title Sponsor is Quantum Sails. Key West Race Week is also supported by The Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council. Industry Partners bring their support through a program that is now in its 14th year. Quantum Key West 2015 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.
Past Results, news, video interviews, photos and more: www.Premiere-Racing.com
About Quantum Sail Design Group: Founded by a group of independent, experienced sailmakers who shared a common vision, Quantum Sail Design Group is dedicated to overcoming the trend toward mass-marketing and mediocrity in the sailmaking industry. The company is known for its high-performance Fusion M sails and winning sail designs in dozens of classes from dinghies to super yachts. Quantum has more than 60 sales and service outlets throughout the world, with world headquarters in Traverse City, MI and European headquarters in Barcelona, Spain. www.QuantumSails.com
For more information on Quantum Key West Race Week:
Premiere Racing, Inc., 67B Front Street, Marblehead, MA, 01945 Tel: (781) 639-9545 Fax: (781) 639-9171 Email: Kelly@Premiere-Racing.com