Sunday, January 22, 2017

Key West Race Week Update

J/70 sailing Key West(Key West, FL)- The 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week has been epic, with postcard sailing conditions for the past three days- sunny, good breezes from the east, and gorgeous moon-lit evenings ashore.  On the third day, the breeze softened into the 6 to 10 kts range, producing several shakeups on the scoreboard for several classes.

The Mount Gay Rum Boat of the Day was awarded to J.D. Hill’s (Houston, TX) J/122 SECOND STAR. Competing in his first Quantum Key West Race Week, Hill’s crew won the first two races and finished tied for 2nd in the third. SECOND STAR leads the ORC Class with 13.5 points.

J/122 sailing Key West“Winning an award like this makes you teary,” said Hill. “I was telling my wife Susan that 30 years from now, if we’re lucky to still be around, sitting on a porch with our teeth on a table beside us and sipping on a mint julep, these are the days you want to think back to. These are the memories that will last a lifetime. To be here with your friends—we have tons of friends on other boats who’ve been mentors to us—to be able to look back on a day like today with terrific competitors and good friends, those are the memories that will last a lifetime.”

“This event is something that every sailor should do at least once. If you don’t you miss out on something that can’t be replicated anywhere else,” said Hill.

In the J/70 Class it looked as if Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK from Italy was charting a course to a third consecutive class victory and then the crew finished 13th in Race 9 while Tim Healy’s (Jamestown, RI) NEW ENGLAND ROPES finished 2nd. That allowed Healy to close a 12-point deficit down to 1 point with three races remaining.  Not too far behind in third place is Marty Kullman’s NEW WAVE.

J/70s sailing Key West“Thankfully we had a consistent day,” said Healy, the J/70 Class and Boat of the Week winner in 2014. “Calvi was having a good day but had a higher score in the last race and that allowed us to gain some points.”

Healy said that one side wasn’t favored over the other and added that it was important to stay in the puffs. “Both sides of the course were working,” Healy said. “It was important to stay in the puff and in phase, and John (Mollicone, tactician, Providence, RI) did nice job for us. When you were in pressure then you could tack. You couldn’t tack if you weren’t in a puff because you wouldn’t accelerate out of the tack. Every windward leg we probably cycled through 10 puffs and lulls.

“I don’t know what happened to Calvi, but I think they missed out on some pressure on the first beat of the last race,” Healy said. “They didn’t have a bad start but fell behind on the first leg and then it was hard to get back into the lead group.”

In the J/111 Class, Rob Ruhlman’s (Cleveland, OH) SPACEMAN SPIFF went 1-3 in the first two races and looked to be well in control of the class. But then SPACEMAN SPIFF finished 9th in the third race and now finds itself 1 point ahead of Peter Wagner’s (Atherton, CA) SKELETON KEY, the reigning class champion. Observers on the J/111 course noted that SPACEMAN SPIFF got stuck in both the left and right corners in the last race.  Also in the hunt in a virtual three-way tie for first place on 20 pts is Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK.

In the J/88 Class, Laura Weyler’s (Williamsville, NY) HIJINKS won the first two races to extended its winning streak to four races, but then finished 6th in Race 7. Still, HIJINKS leads the class with 13 points and is 10 points ahead of Ryan Ruhlman’s (Bratenahl, OH) SPACEMAN SPIFF. Sitting in third place is Mike Bruno’s WINGS from American YC in Rye, New York.

In the handicap world, JD Hill’s J/122 SECOND STAR continues to lead their class, while Chris and Karen Lewis’ J/44 KENAI is sitting in 4th place, just 3 points out of third.  Sailing photo credits- Max Ranchi, Sharon Green, Sarah Proctor   For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information