Published on April 19th, 2016
It has been several decades since the days when the Southern Ocean Racing Conference the SORC – attracted the best racers from around the world to Florida for several months of top-flight winter racing. A deteriorating international rating rule, time constraints, and the expense of managing racing programs closed that chapter.
But while that series faded to a memory, winter racing in South Florida remained a constant, with the Miami to Nassau Race and Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race drawing consistent fleets to the area from November to January each winter, organized by the Southern Ocean Racing Conference race management team.
Now the relaxation of restrictions on travel to Cuba has opened the door to the possibility of renewing a winter series reminiscent of the old “Southern Circuit”, using races already in place, and capped-off with a historic return to Havana.
The regularly scheduled Nassau Race in November and Key West Race in January would be supplemented by using the scores from the Wirth M. Munroe Palm Beach Race in December, and the new Miami to Havana Race in February. Competitors could use their top two scores from the first three races, along with their result from the Havana Race, to determine the series outcome.
Given the proximity of the Gulf Stream to each of these races, and the finish of the event at the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, the inaugural series in 2015-16 was named the ‘Islands in the Stream Series’. After its successful debut, planning is proceeding on the second edition of the series.
Beginning at the Coral Reef Yacht Club on November 9, 2016 is the Skippers Meeting and Pre-Race Party for the Nassau Cup Race, hosted by CRYC the Storm Trysail Club and Nassau Yacht Club, which starts on November 10, 2016. The Nassau Cup will provide the usual challenge and reward of crossing the Gulf Stream and celebrating at the Nassau Yacht Club with match racing and the usual post race island festivities.
The Storm Trysail Club is taking over management of the Wirth M. Munroe Memorial Palm Beach Race, which will start on Friday, December 2, 2016. The course from Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach, also known as the “Race to the Buffet” due to the offerings after the finish at the Sailfish Club of Florida, doubles as the second race of the Series.
Racers will gather at the Lauderdale Yacht Club on January 10, 2017 for the Skippers Meeting and Pre-Race Party for the 42nd Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by LYC and the Storm Trysail Club. The race starts on Wednesday afternoon, January 11, for the sprint down and around the Florida Keys, where the crystal clear water, tropical weather and festive atmosphere of Key West will once again greet competitors.
The Islands in the Stream Series will once again wrap up at Marina Hemingway, with the second running of the Miami to Havana Race, hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club and the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba. Coral Reef will host the Skippers Meeting and Pre-Race Party on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, with the race starting the following morning, February 22, outside the Miami harbor entrance.
Sign up for email updates on www.sorcsailing.org, and watch for updates on the SORC Sailing Facebook page. Watch for information on the Nassau Cup Race on www.nassaucuprace.org, the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race on www.keywestrace.org, and the Miami to Havana Race on www.havanarace.org.