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Quantum Key West Race Week
The backbone of Quantum Key West Race Week lies in the competitive racing offered in the one-design classes that comprise over 70% of the 130 teams from 10 countries entered in this event. However, the other 30% entered in the IRC and ORC classes race just as hard in their fight for a place on the podium.

When the Storm Trysail Club (STC) took over management of Quantum Key West Race Week earlier this year it had some difficult decisions to make on which rating systems to use to accommodate this important segment of the fleet. In particular, STC wanted to try to halt the declining participation levels among the PHRF sailors in this fleet, who many years ago were the mainstay of the event.

So in an attempt to inject new life into Key West and attract a new crop of entries, race organizers at STC decided to replace PHRF with the ORC rating system, a measurement-based scientific system in use in over 40 countries around the world and that has issued more than 10,000 certifcates for its use in 2015.

Race committee chairman Dick Neville was pleased with the initial response to that significant change, and Quantum Key West 2016 will have two healthy ORC classes competing on the Division 3 course this Monday through Friday.

ORC 1 features a slightly wider rating band with a pair of J/122 sloops as the scratch entries.

At nine entries, the ORC 2 class is the largest handicap class at the event, yet has less diversity in boat types since all are Sportboats.

Quantum Key West has always been a proving ground for new designs and the GP 26 will look to make an impression this week. The GP 26 weighs 2,200 pounds empty and has a massive sail plan tamed by a 1000 pound bulb keel.

New to Quantum Key West this year is a Performance Cruising class with four entries sailing distance races around government marks.

Multihulls have returned to Key West Race Week following a lengthy hiatus with a Gunboat 60 (Arethusa, Phil Lotz, Fort Lauderdale) and a Corsair 28 (Flight Simulator, Tom Reese, Youngstown, NY) joining the Performance Cruising fleet on the navigational courses.

Racing starts tomorrow of all classes, with the first race signals starting at 11:30 AM. Two races are planned, followed by afternoon seminars and nightly awards planned at the main event venue at Kelly's Caribbean.

Steve Benjamin And Annie Haeger Named Us Sailing's 2015 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year
Steve Benjamin and Annie Haeger today were named US Sailing's 2015 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. These two sailors, at different stages of their sailing careers, amassed a year to remember and will be recognized as the best of 2015.

A total of 12 men and six women had been shortlisted for the 2015 honors based on nominations submitted by members of US Sailing, with these two sailors then selected for the noteworthy distinction by a diverse panel of sailing journalists.

Benjamin has been named the 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of a year that featured 10 wins, including the Etchells North American Championship in Rye, NY.

Benjamin's dominance in the Etchells went beyond the North American Championship. He placed second out of 43 boats at the World Championship in Hong Kong. His teams won at the Piana Cup, Long Island Sound Championship and Coral Reef Cup, among others.

Steve and Heidi Benjamin's Carkeek 40, SPOOKIE, had a clean sweep of overall wins in every offshore race they entered in 2015, including Fort Lauderdale to Key West, Marblehead to Halifax, Ida Lewis Distance Race, and the Vineyard Race.

Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) has been named the 2015 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year in recognition of her impressive list of top results in 470 Class competition throughout 2015.

Haeger and crew Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) made their mark on the international stage by winning gold at the Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They won the event by seven points through 10 races in a highly competitive fleet featuring the gold and silver medal-winning boats from the London 2012 Games.

"Winning gold at the Olympic Test Event was a major confidence booster, and it reinforced that if we can earn US Olympic Team selection we have a chance to medal at the Games." Haeger and Provancha experienced success in other high-caliber women's 470 events, including the European Championship (3rd place) and the South American Championship (4th place).

Diam 24OD Set To Debut At 32nd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
WHAT A Mediterranean classic for one-designs and IRC classes, the Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco hosts Europe's elite over two weekends in February, with nine classes lined up for the 32nd edition:

- 1st weekend (5-7 Feb): Smeralda 888, Surprise, Star, SB20 and IRC 1 to 4
- 2nd weekend (12-14 Feb): J/70, Melges 20, Longtze Premier, Platu 25 and Diam 24od

Over the last 32 years the Primo has proved an ideal testing and demonstration ground for newcomers, prime examples being the Esse 850, Melges 20 (first regatta on the sea), Longtze Premier, Beneteau First Class and J/70.

New to the Primo this year is the powerful 24ft trimaran, Diam 24od, which rejuvenated the Tour de France à la Voile (sailing's version of the cycle race) in 2015 and is set to do so again in 2016 (8-31 July 2016: nine Acts starting in Dunkirk and finishing in Nice).

As the season-opener in the Med the Primo offers this fleet an ideal opportunity to train in these waters ahead of the Tour alongside other sporty designs like the J/70 and Melges 20.

While many sailors come from as far afield as eastern and northern Europe to escape the cold and revel in a warmer winter, the Monegasque race area is tactically demanding in all weather conditions. Note: the ski slopes are just 90 minutes away from Monaco!

Crew members in the top three of all classes win garments from YCM partner SLAM's Advanced Technology line.

Registration closes 25th January 2016.

First Renderings Of Super 12
Click on image to enlarge.

Super 12 Farr Yacht Design of Annapolis, Md., has released the first 3D renderings of the new Super 12 yacht that will be used in the annual San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge (SFYRC) for the Super 12 Cup beginning in July 2017 on San Francisco Bay.

"We are thrilled to have been selected to develop this new yacht,'' Farr Yacht Design Vice President and Senior Naval Architect Britton Ward said. "This project will require all of our experience from grand-prix designs, our understanding of modern production techniques and our history with developing the most competitive one-design fleets in the world."

"The strong and enthusiastic reception for the new boats and regatta has been gratifying," said SFYRC CEO Tom Ehman. "The Super 12s are a modernized version of the classic 12-Meter yachts, which were used in the America's Cup from 1958 to 1987. With a classic look above the waterline and a modernized underbody, the Super 12s will return dignity, style and stability to yacht racing."

The boats will be built by Westerly Marine in Santa Ana, California to the strictest one-design controls. They will be built from a combination of E- glass and carbon pre-preg with foam cores.

We have worked closely with Westerly to develop a robust, cost-effective laminate and construction scheme that will allow us to produce a boat a month at full production pace, within very strict one-design tolerances. By virtue of the modern materials and manufacturing combined with the carbon rig and rigging we can achieve a similar stability level to the 1980's vintage 12 Meters but at a displacement some six-plus tons lighter. Unrestricted by the vagaries of the 12 Meter rule we are able to stretch the waterline and develop a significantly less distorted hull form, reducing drag and further improving performance. Under the water we are maintaining a modest draft of 10'6" (3.2m) to maximize the range of venues suitable for Super 12 racing. The rig incorporates a 20% topmast and 140% overlapping genoas to provide a silhouette that has a clear historical lineage."

80th Mount Gay Round Barbados Series Off To A Cracking Start
Photo of Blue Peter by Peter Marshall. Click on image to enlarge.

Blue Peter Bridgetown, Barbados: The opening day of the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, Organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, got off to a spectacular start today with an unusual mixed bag of conditions. Sun, rain, unpredictable shifts and 25+kt squalls kept competitors on their toes all day but most enjoyed the crazy challenge.

After a half hour postponement to wait for the wind to settle, the ultra competitive local J/24 fleet set off on the first of three races.

In CSA Division Peter Lewis and team on Whistler (J/105) enjoyed a good race with Conviction (TP52) and Ralph Johnson's Farr 53 Rapajam. Their course took them on an 18nm sprint to Tapas mark along the south coast and, in the lively squalls there was plenty of excitement.

Ian Hickling on his New Zealand registered Catalina 40 Ten Seven managed to hold off David Spieler's Beneteau Oceanis 473 - Leonora - to lead CSA Cruising Class overnight, while Bryn Palmer and team on the RC30 catamaran Silver Bullet narrowly lead the Multihull Racing class.

Palmer - commodore of Barbados Cruising Club - enjoyed an extremely close battle today with Team Concise 12 on the Diam 24 trimaran (ex Sodebo in the Tour de France a la Voile). The racing between these two was neck and neck throughout and, although Silver Bullet pipped Concise 12 to the post, the dynamics between the two over the next couple of days are likely to become interesting.

In the Non CSA (Local Rating) class, it was The Blue Peter's day. This Alfred Milne-designed classic not only wowed the crowds with her stunning lines as she lifted her skirts in the breeze but also demonstrated her impressive performance in the tricky, shifty, squally conditions. The conditions tomorrow are forecast to settle down with winds generally from the east. Racing for the Coastal Series will continue with one race for all classes except the J/24 class where four short races are scheduled. -- Sue Pelling

Dubarry Crosshaven - 'Race Face' Protection
Dubarry Crosshaven It's pitch-black. We're on the wind halfway across the Irish Sea, heading for 'The Rock' in a Force 6 - and it's building. On the rail we might look like a troop of Japanese snow monkeys on valium but we've huddled into something like comfort when skip calls the headsail change we've been dreading for the last five minutes. Three minutes later I'm clipped on with my feet on the leeward toerail with an armful of changed foresail when a wave engulfs the foredeck. The water clears and I'm still onboard thanks to the combined efforts of my tether and the stanchion lodged in my crotch. Lucky me.

Sail change over I'm back on the rail but my feet are cold and wet and my enthusiasm for this caper ebbs quickly away, unlike the sea water - the boots were still wet a week after the finish in Plymouth. It's 1989 and, though the stylishly weathered Shamrock boot is much in evidence, the Crosshaven is but a dream. Had I been wearing Crosshavens, the gaiter and drawstring would have kept my feet dry and my race face on. Funny how something so simple can be so incredibly effective.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

18ft Skiffs: Australian Championship, Race 2
Photo by Frank Quealey. Click on image for photo gallery.

18 Skiff AUS Championship Sydney Harbour: The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey gave an outstanding performance in extremely tough conditions to dominate Race 2 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

After trailing in third place for the first two legs of the course, the Smeg tem gave no other team a chance as they powered away in the light, shifty ESE breeze which fully tested all crews as they searched for the best conditions.

Smeg crossed the finish line 6m3s ahead of Mojo Wine (James Ward, Phil Marshall, Rick Plain) with Ilve (Oliver Hartas, Mark Muirhead, Iain Wood) a further 23s back in third place.

The victory also gives Smeg the lead in the championship with three more races still to be sailed.

Smeg has a total of 3 points, ahead of Race 1 winner (David Witt) on 5, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) on 9, Triple M (John Sweeny) 12, Mojo Wine 13, with Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) and De'Longhi (Simon Nearn) tied in sixth place on 14 points.

It was a long slow day for a number of the more fancied teams as they battled to pick the fluctuating breeze.

Race 3 of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday. -- Frank Quealey

Fort Lauderdale To Key West
The 2016 Fort Lauderdale to Key West race is now in the book.A very tricky race with conditions not the expected 15-20kts N veering NE, confirming the old adage "the weather forecasts is just a guide to what might happen out there"

The fleet rode the edge of a frontal system that gave winds ranging between 8 and 22 kts and shifts of up to 90 degrees.

First to finish was the 74ft Wizard in 13:44:44 elapsed in the IRC class, but Steve Benjamin's new 52ft Spookie took overall honors in IRC on corrected time.

The PHRF fleet was led home by the Melges 32 Bad Fish in 19:32:10 elapsed. She slipped down to 3rd overall in this handicap class behind winner 24 Heures, Anson Mulder's Oyster 575, which had a corrected time of 17:37:05.

Grand Cru finished with an elapsed time of 26:09:55

Our elapsed time was maybe 1:30 more than it should have been due to 2 mistakes we made on the course; sailing inside a mark around 2:30am causing us to beat back and round it to starboard, and a very nasty wrap of the spinnaker around 7:00am that took the best part of an hour to remediate.

They say that these overnight passage races are won and lost overnight, and unfortunately for us that was the case this year.

On corrected we were 19:56:35, 3rd in division D and 19th overall in PHRF class.

Without our boo boos we could have easily won class D and been in contention to give Grand Cru a better result than her 2014 3rd overall in in class.

Many thanks for a great race to owner Danny Escobar and the crew of Bob Cooper, Shir Goldberg, Dale Kern, Steve Leeds and Bob Proulx. -- Geoff Jarvis

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2000 'Tritium' ORMA 60 - Modified. 575,000 USD. Located in California.

TRITIUM is a modified ORMA Trimaran - stretched to 73 feet. Originally built by offshore veteran, Jean Le Cam, the boat was updated by Artemis Racing for testing of AC wing and dagger foils. The boat was heavily modified - with floats lengthened to 73 feet - the addition of hydraulically manipulated lifting "C" foils, hydraulic canting rig, and cross beams reinforced, for the new loads.

TRITIUM competed in the 2013 Transpac, where it was First-to-Finish and had the fastest elapsed time. Currently located in California - its design enhancements produce one of the fastest offshore vessels in the Pacific.


Mark Womble
Morrelli & Melvin

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The Last Word
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