Pics or it didn’t happen

Published on January 23rd, 2022

Launched in 1988, Key West Race Week became that annual winter relief for sailors and a who’s who retreat for the marine industry. Located closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West delivered an irreverent southernmost subtropical paradise where…

• Sunsets are celebrated.
• A really great parking space can move you to tears.
• The Crime Report was a source of daily entertainment.
• A man walks down the street in crotchless chaps and nobody notices.
• The gypsy chickens have the right of way in town.

Great weather conditions offered great racing, but it came to an end after the January 2017 event. After 30 years, the town had grown. Event logistics and economics had changed. And the sport had changed. KWRW 2.0 would need a shift.

A sniff of a shift came in 2021 when the Key West Winter Series powered by Sailing Inc was held for the J/111 Class on January 16-18. It was just five boats, but it was enough to spark the fire.

Renamed the Southernmost Regatta for 2022 (though Ka Lae on Hawaii’s Big Island has the lowest U.S. latitude), five J/111s became eight boats, and they were joined by J70s, Melges 24s, ORC boats, and GL52s. Forty-five teams in all raced January 17-21, and while that’s not the 89 boats in 2017, it’s a start.

Thankfully, photographer Sharon Green provides proof that it happened. To see her photo gallery on the Scuttlebutt website, click here.

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