Saturday, January 19, 2008

KWRW 2008

So we've made it down, gotten settled and have had a few hours practice. Tomorrow the big breeze should start, with the forecast showing 25 knots for the next 2 days, down to 18 knots on Tuesday. We'll see...

Some of you have asked me what exactly Key West Race Week is. I've attached a link to the site, but basically it's the largest/best regatta in the US. It attracts sailors from around the world, both pro and amataeur to test themselves against one another.

Here's a press release talking about this year's event:

Star Studded International Fleet Heading for Key West
--- Acura Key West 2008
Racing Begins January 21

Racing sailors from 18 different nations
are on their way to the southernmost point in the continental U.S. Acura Key
West 2008, presented by Nautica will welcome a record 60 foreign boats and US
entries from 35 different states.

The weeklong competition will
feature world class competitors and top regional programs competing in 16
different classes on four separate courses.

“The global reputation
of Acura Key West continues to grow as evidenced by the record number of foreign
entries,” longtime event director Peter Craig said. “One would be hard pressed
to find a year where there was more talent, with this 21st edition featuring an
impressive list of champions from the America’s Cup, Olympic and Volvo Ocean
Race arenas.”
A quick glance at the
scratch sheet
tells that story – among the tacticians are Cayard, Barker,
Butterworth, Bekking, Isler ,Hutchinson and Warden-Owen to name but a few.

The debut of new designs is always a much anticipated component of
the Key West extravaganza. The list of new boats this year includes Dan Meyer’s
Judel/Vrolijk 66-footer Numbers, John Brim’s R/P 55 Rima 2, a pair of new
J/122s, the Mark Mills designed Sllim 37 and 2-time Boat of the Week winner
Irvine Laidlaw’s latest Highland Fling, a swing keel Wally 80.

Teams will unite to compete in the 11th annual International Team
Competition for the Nautica Watches trophy. This “side competition” with a focus
on national pride will feature eleven 3-boat teams from the Farr 40, Melges 32
and Melges 24 classes. Team Switzerland is back to defend their 2007 title
with Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi and Franco Rossini’s Blu Moon joined by
Claudio Recchi’s Let’s Roll.

And with true national representation
it is only fitting that the PHRF National Championship be decided at Acura Key
West. 55 boats in six classes will compete for the title with beautiful Chelsea
Clocks awarded to the top three finishers. Bob Oberg’s (Annapolis, MD) Beneteau
First 10 captured the inaugural championship by the slimmest of margins last
year. The unique championship formula can be viewed on the event
web site

Nearly 70% of the entries are racing in the one
design arena. Once again the 46-boat Melges 24 class is the biggest class, and
the J/105s have an impressive 34-boat turnout. The 25-boat Farr 40s are starting
their earnest preparation for the 2008 Worlds in Miami next April while the Swan
42s will make their Key West one design debut with an impressive 12 boat
turnout. Melges 32 growth in this country and abroad is clearly exhibited with
their strong 27-boat showing.

The IRC, Farr 40 and Melges 32
classes take their first step toward the highly regarded Acura Grand Prix
trophies, awarded to the combined winners at the conclusion of the Acura Miami Grand Prix in March.

Emerald-colored waters, sunny skies, dependable breezes and warm
temperatures make the southernmost point in the continental U.S. a popular
sailing destination in the midst of the northern hemisphere’s winter.

Follow the results and the racing at Blogging from
all four courses, Kattack race tracking, and daily video
reports will bring the action home. Be sure to check each evening for a 4-5 minute Gary
Jobson production that will feature racing highlights of different classes each

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