Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lauderdale- Key West Race Preview

J/125 sailing Lauderdale Key West Race (Ft Lauderdale, FL)- This year’s race promises to be a run down the reef, playing gybe angles until you can hang on starboard late Wednesday evening to circle the Keys down to Key West.  A light Northerly breeze awaits competitors in the 40th Annual Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race. A weak low-pressure system is lingering over the race course, forecast to give way to a front on Thursday night.

The traditional “feeder race” for the old SORC days is now a “feeder race” for the Florida & Caribbean circuits coming up this winter.  Some boats will sail the race to participate in Key West Race Week, while others will do the Pineapple Cup- the classic race from Lauderdale down around the Bahamas, past Cuba, to Montego Bay, Jamaica. For the latter, this leads them to the RORC Caribbean 600 Race that starts the winter season of racing in the islands.

The forty-two boat fleet is set, and ready to race the 40th Annual Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club.  The early forecast shows a mixed bag, with light northeasterlies at Wednesday afternoon’s start giving way to stout northwesterlies on Thursday, then northeasterlies during Wednesday to bring the fleet home.  As it did last year, the timing of that shift will play a major role in determining which team has the biggest night at Friday night’s Awards Party at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill and Brewery (beginning at 17:00).

Sailing in PHRF A is Frank Atkinson’s J/125 RAISIN’ CANE from West Palm Beach, FL and Chris Saxton’s J/145 VORTICES from Plymouth, MI in the Great Lakes.  This group is sailing against a bit of an eclectic bunch of boats like a Swan 80 and two Melges 32s.  Weird, but it should provide for some good stories at the end of the day.

The toughest fleet appears to be those boats sailing PHRF B. In that fleet are a quartet of competitive J/120s that include some notable offshore veterans like Frank Kern’s CARINTHIA from Bayview YC in Detroit, MI; William Terry’s TAMPA GIRL from Davis Island YC in Tampa, FL; Marcus Cholerton-Brown’s SUNSET CHILD from Performance Yacht Racing in New York, NY; and Kristen Berry’s EUROTRASH GIRL from Annapolis, MD.  Giving them a serious run-for-the-roses will be Gary Weisberg’s J/111 HEAT WAVE from Gloucester, MA.  Considering the J/Teams are around half this fleet, one hopes the podium will be swept by this list of contenders!  For social media Facebook Key West Race sailing info.   For more Ft Lauderdale to Key West sailing information