Even before the last holiday decoration is put away, sailors from around the world are tuning their boats, gathering their support team and making their travel plans for the first major regatta of 2014. Top competitors from over 10 countries and more than 20 states will compete at Quantum Key West 2014, January 19-24, 2014.
Once again one design racing will dominate the event. Last year the J/70 fleet took the regatta by storm with 38 boats on the line in their inaugural appearance at Key West. Competition was fierce with only 4 points separating the top two boats after 12 races.
J/70 sailor Kathy Parks from Shady Side, Maryland is excited about returning to this regatta. “This year Key West will be the Mid-Winters Championship for the J70 Fleet and it will serve as a qualifier for our Gold Cup Regatta (similar to a Worlds) to be held September 8-13 in Newport.” She continued, “There will be other qualifying events throughout the year as well, but Key West will be the second opportunity.”
Top professional and amateur sailors from around the world are drawn to Key West due to the high level of local competitors. Returning professional sailor Terry Hutchinson will serve as tactician on Quantum Racing TP 52. Terry was a member of Artemis Racing, the Swedish Challenger for the America’s Cup until December 2012. Last year Terry served as the tactician for the Farr 40 class winner Barking Mad. Quantum Racing is hoping his knowledge will help propel them in the highly contested 52 Super Series Class.
The fun doesn’t end on the water. Kelly’s Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery will once again host the after racing festivities. Sponsor tents fill the street and live music is playing each evening for the sailors to shake out all the aches and pain from the day. Parks explains that she especially enjoys the educational events each evening. “The regatta provides panels of experts talking about everything from weather, racing conditions, rules, etc. It’s really fun to hear world-renowned sailors sharing best practices and to be able to meet them and talk with them.”
Of course this couldn’t happen without race sponsors such as Quantum Sails, Lewmar/Navtec, Gill and Marlow Ropes. Mount Gay, the Official Rum of the event has been a sponsor for all 27 years. The red Mount Gay baseball cap is a coveted piece of apparel for any sailor racing at Key West.
Quantum Key West 2014 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.
Premiere Racing, Inc. manages Quantum Key West 2014 as well as other major regattas around the world. Registration deadline is December 20, 2013. All race and travel details can be found at www.premiere-racing.com.