Monday, January 28, 2013

Spectacular Sailing- Quantum Key West- Day 4

J70 fleet sailing fast downwind off Key West, Florida
Healy Leads 70s, TEAMWORK & RUSH Lead PHRF Fleets
(Key West, Florida)-- 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.

J70s one-design sailboats- sailing at windward mark- Key West“We’ve had an incredible string of great sailing days. I think that is really the story,” said Jonathan McKee, a tactician from Seattle, Washington. “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 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.”

J70s sailing at Quantum Key West Race Week- Key West, FloridaEvent 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. For any regatta organizer, that's an astonishing statistic! 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 for the J/70 fleet.

J70 one-design speedsters- sailing Key West Race WeekNorth Sails pro Tim Healy and his team on HELLY HANSEN seized the lead in J/70 class, largest of the regatta with 39 boats. Geoff Becker is calling tactics for Healy (Newport, RI), who posted a first and second in three races on Thursday and leads SAVASANA (Brian Keane, Weston, MA) by two points.  Just behind them is the Loring/ Pasquinelli team sailing STAMPEDE.  In the J/70 Corinthian Division, it's a serious three-horse race.  Brothers Blake & Lud Kimbrough from Newport, RI are ahead by one point over Brian Elliot and David Hyer on B-SQUARED.  Lying in third is Dave Franzel on SPRING just one point further back sailing SPRING.

J/122 Teamwork sailing off Key West, Florida- Quantum Key West Race WeekIn PHRF A, J/Teams are leading a complete sweep of the class by some incredibly competitive teams.  Robin Team's J/122 TEAMWORK from Lexington, NC continues to lead a very competitive division.  In second is Jim Bishop's J/44 WHITE GOLD from Jamestown, RI and in third is Bob Hesse's J/111 LAKE EFFECT from Youngstown, New York.

Racing in PHRF B may see its first J/109 winner in years.  Bill Sweetser's team from Annapolis, Maryland sailing the J/109 RUSH have a slim lead and are currently winning their division.  In third is Glenn Gault's beautiful flag-blue J/120 REBECCA from League City, Texas.

J80 one-design sailboat- sailing at Quantum Key West Race WeekRon Buzil and his crew on VAYU 2 have put forth an impressive performance in J/80 class, winning seven of eight starts with the lone slipup being a second place in Race 4. Andrew Kerr, who holds the distinction of having competed in every Key West regatta since its inception in 1988, is calling tactics for Buzil (Evanston, ILL). Jahn Tihansky, offshore sailing coach at the Naval Academy and owner of J/World Annapolis, is also part of the crew.  “It’s been a combination of a lot of things,” Buzil said when asked the reason for his team’s success. “We have good boat speed, strong boat-handling and Andrew really knows the weather conditions down here.”  In second is John Krediet from Stamford, CT sailing PARTICIPANT III and third is Gary Panariello sailing COURAGEOUS from Manhasset, New York.

Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal.

More aweome J sailing photos, please see these galleries:
Tuesday photos- Onne Vanderwal
Wednesday photos- Onne Vanderwal
Thursday photos- Onne Vanderwal

For more results and sailing information on Key West Race Week- please see all information here.