In completely contrary conditions to the prior weekend, 55 boats set off for Key West from Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 72 degrees and a light northerly breeze. As forecast, the wind is creating a ‘jibefest’ for the boats heading in a south westerly direction, basically dead down wind. The navigators will work now to keep their boat along a pretty narrow line, between the Gulf Stream to the left and the coral reefs to the right. “Slow or Stop,” are the options to the sides of the course, neither of which is desirable. Everyone loves to watch the big sexy boats, and the eye candy was certainly there at the start today. Rambler, Privateer, Bella Mente and several others in the IRC A fleet were gunning for the pin end and causing a lot of bad air to swirl around for the slightly smaller IRC B boats as they started together. Several of the boats in the fleet are posting to the race blog linked here: www.keywestrace.org. The lower keys are showing a bit more breeze, but it looks like the boats will finish a little later in the morning than we first thought.
The Fort Lauderdale to Key West race 35th edition is all set to start Wednesday with a full line up old favorites and newcomers. With 55 boats signed up, the race committee is seeing it’s biggest numbers in the past 15 years.
All competitiors are hopeful for a shot at this year’s overall and division trophies of this 160nm sprint, including Privateer, Bella Mente Vela Veloce, Rambler, and S. Florida local favorites like Pineapple Cup winner Thin Ice and PHRF Key West winner Primal Scream.
Hap Fauth’s R/P 69 “Belle Mente” and Richard Oland’s R/P 52 “Vela Veloce” are both hopefuls for a shot at the course record (10 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds) set in 2005 by another Reichel Pugh boat, the 81 foot “Carrera.”
The race is starts off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale in the early afternoon of January 13th. Competitors follow the coast of Florida southwest into the night, and with a good breeze, finish in the Key West channel at dawn.
The 35th Annual Fort Lauderdale–Key West Race is hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club & the Storm Trysail Club, and organized & managed by the SORC Professional Race Management Team.