Key West Race Week, North America's premiere annual big-boat regatta, has much to celebrate.
A new Title Sponsor, early one design class and sponsor commitments, and exciting grand prix news are just some of the reasons that the 25th anniversary will be a memorable gathering.
Key West Race Week welcomes Quantum Sail Design Group as the Title Sponsor for 2012. Its support will enable Premiere Racing to produce another quality event in January, while working toward the goal of long-term viability for this renowned, international regatta.
'We recognize that Key West Race Week is the flagship regatta in this country and has been for well over two decades,' said Quantum President Ed Reynolds. 'This has been reinforced by many people we've spoken with both here and abroad. Even with the smaller fleet sizes of recent years, this midwinter, big-boat regatta is very important to North American and international sailboat racing. We would like to see it continue and are committed to supporting the regatta during this transition period.'
'We are very thankful to Quantum for stepping up to fill the important role of title sponsor. It's gratifying to know its fundamental reason for doing so is the continuation of Key West Race Week,' said Premiere Racing's Event Director Peter Craig. 'As we work to develop a sustainable business model for the event, Quantum has solved a critical short-term need by serving as a bridge to the future.'
Another key component to the long-term viability of the event is the continued commitment from other established sponsors such as Lewmar/Navtec, Mount Gay Rum® and B and G. These are some of the companies that have played a significant role in enabling Key West to establish itself over the years.
Race Week's unique Industry Partner Program, with over 30 companies participating in 2011, enters its 11th year. Marine Industry companies lend their support in what will continue to be an important component to the viability of the regatta.
Local support from the Florida Keys and Key West Tourism Council and local businesses will also be instrumental factors in the regatta's sustainability.
The attributes of Key West racing remain unchanged: quality competition, top-tier race management, reliable breeze and warm January temperatures. It is the sole, annual national and international big boat event in the U.S., and with no other comparable regattas that time of year globally.
'As we've reached out to boat owners, one design classes, sailors and the sailing industry, it's been rewarding to hear the positive feedback and the impact this regatta has and has had on sailing here in the U.S.', said Craig. 'Our goal is to work with those classes and groups that can attain critical mass to provide great competitive racing, and have a desire to work with us to produce a quality event.'
Classes committed include the Melges 32 and 24, Farr 40 and 30. As always, J/Boats will be well represented with their J/105 and J/80s. Other one design classes are in discussion with Premiere Racing.
A 2012 innovation will be J/Boats specific handicap classes. IRC Racing will be presented in the form of a TP52 (modified) class and a group of smaller boats in the 36'-43' range.
Design debuts are a Key West hallmark. 2012 will undoubtedly feature more eye openers - big and small. Irvine Laidlaw has his new R/P 52 building at McConaghy in Zhuhai, China. First stop for Highland Fling XII will be Key West, Florida. 'What better place to debut than Key West?' remarked Laidlaw a long time Key West competitor. 'There is a resurgence of activity with both new construction and converted TP52s in the U.S. and there are likely to be 8-10 on the starting line next January.'
Key West Race Week website