“Our competitors and sponsors were extremely happy with how we managed the regatta this past January, even in our first year,” said John Fisher, event chairman from Storm Trysail. “We had many challenges – such as the very windy weather for a few days during the event – but all our feedback has been positive, so we are going forward with plans to organize this event for 2017. We want everyone to know our decision and plan for the dates now to get their housing, dockage and other logistics in place to join us again in January.”
The Notice of Race is being drafted now and will be available soon, as will the event website to start accepting entries. Once open for entries, the first discount entry deadline will be earlier this year, on July 1st, to help deliver the best value to those teams who can commit early to attending the 2017 event.
“We are always open to constructive input from our classes and the racers they represent,” said Dick Neville, Race Committee Chairman at the Storm Trysail Club. “With their input and our own observations we felt there were many new innovations we introduced this year that helped increase the entries from previous years, so we intend to keep these in place, but also improve on what we learned.”
Storm Trysail Commodore Lee Reichart said “Key West Race Week was a tremendous challenge to organize for the first time, but it was also very satisfying for the great value we feel we delivered to our participants and our supporters. We are extremely grateful to all our sponsors, especially Quantum Sails and the Keys Tourism Development Council, and among our participants everyone we have spoken with wants to come back.”
“The value this event has brought to competitive sailing is proven, and Quantum is pleased to continue to support the Storm Trysail Club in organizing this event,” said Ed Reynolds of Quantum Sails. “We plan to also continue our support of the sailors on site with our resources to make their sailing more competitive and enjoyable.”
Classes that have already committed to attend Quantum Key West 2017 include the TP52 Class competing in the 52SuperSeries, who start their new season later this week at Palma Vela. Class manager Rob Weiland has said “Key West is a perfect match for our class and its members: the racing is fantastic, the venue has the right ambience, and our class members really enjoy coming.”
Another class committed to 2017 is the Melges 24 Class, who are racing their World Championship from November 25th – December 3rd this year in Miami. Class representative Brian Hutchinson has said “Our class will definitely be in Key West, its an important part of an exciting winter tour of events we have planned for this class, and I expect a very good turnout.”
Steve Benjamin, 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year winner and with wife Heidi owns the TP52 Spookie, had an extremely tough battle with Doug DeVos's Quantum Racing in this year's IRC 1 class. The final day's high winds and waves forced race managers to cancel racing, depriving the Spookie team their chance to overcome a 0.5 point gap for the class win. Nonetheless, the Benjamins feel this event is a must-attend.
“This regatta attracts some of the best teams and produces some of the highest caliber racing in the world,” said Steve. “We come every year and know we will have a fantastic week of competition on the water and great camaraderie off the water. Key West is the complete package.”
Robin Team, owner of ORC Class 2 winner Teamwork, his J/122 based in North Carolina, is also a veteran of multiple race weeks, and has said “Key West is an annual favorite for us and our crew. Using the ORC system this year was a good step forward, and we look forward to come back to defend our trophy.”
Likewise, Phil Lotz, who raced his Gunboat 60 Arethusa in the Multihull division, was also complimentary of Storm Trysail offering this new class at Key West. “This was a great way to stay in Key West after doing the feeder race [from Ft Lauderdale]. We look forward to coming back.”
For more information about Quantum Key West 2017, and results, photos, and videos from 2016 and other previous events, visit the event website at www.keywestraceweek.com.
For more information about the Storm Trysail Club, visit www.stormtrysail.org.