Reaching and running to the Keys
Published on January 23rd, 2020
Miami, FL (January 23, 2020) – While the 2020 Olympic class hopefuls competed around the buoys in Biscayne Bay, further offshore was a fast downwind start to the 45th edition of the Ft Lauderdale-Key West Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club. Within the fleet of 28 entries in this 160-mile offshore race was a new mixed-gender Doublehanded class similar to the Mixed Two-Person Offshore Keelboat discipline that is coming to the 2024 Olympic Games.
“South Florida is a natural venue for the class, given the history of the Olympic Classes/World Cup Regatta on Biscayne Bay and the terrific sailing conditions in the winter,” said Race Chairman Chip Sabadash of Lauderdale Yacht Club.
In the ORC Doublehanded class Ken Read and Suzy Leech are racing Alchemist, a new Jeanneau 3300, and Mike Hennessy and Katie Pettibone are sailing Hennessy’s Class 40, Dragon. Both feature water ballast and sail control systems suited to Doublehanded racing, and with the new ORC Doublehanded certificate ratings they can have fair racing under handicap between themselves and the remainder of the ORC fleet as well, despite differences in boat size and type.
“We worked hard with US Sailing and ORC to get these boats rated in time for this race,” said Chris Woolsey of the Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC), where this is the third in a four-event offshore series. “We used a special scoring model that reflects the mostly downwind conditions the fleet will see today and tonight, and therefore fairly calculate an overall winner based on ORC ratings.”
With the 15-20 knot breeze trending from NE at the start and veering through E and SE into the evening and tomorrow, the fleet is expecting a fast reaching and running passage in its westward arc closely hugging the Florida keys, a track necessary to steer clear of the Gulf Stream flowing fast in the opposite direction.
Leading the ORC pack and speeding down the track are two full-crewed carbon speedsters, Jim Grundy’s Dunning 42, Baby B and Sledd Shelhorse’s brand new Carkeek 40 MkII Meridian XI, while not far astern is Hennessy and Pettibone on Dragon and another full-crewed Class 40, FK Day’s Longbow.
Source: Hempel World Cup Miami Press Officer, Jake Fish