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Ken Read and Jeanneau America partner to promote Double-handed Racing in North America

by Margriet Mitchell 21 Dec 2019 05:25 PST
Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 © Jay Fleming

Jeanneau America have announced that world-renowned American yachtsman and North Sails President Ken Read will campaign the new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 in the double-handed division of the 2020 Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race along with navigator Suzy Leech.

The plan is to continue with a schedule that includes other events on the double-handed offshore sailing calendar in 2020, a discipline that is growing in popularity especially after the announcement of a mixed gender double-handed offshore class in the 2024 Olympics.

From the drawing board of Daniel Andrieu and Guillaume Verdier, the Sun Fast 3300 is the all-new offshore race boat from Jeanneau. Designed for short-handed teams who are looking for a high performance platform, the boat is capable of long distance racing competitively under modern rating rules. "It's an exciting move for us," said Nick Harvey, president of Jeanneau America. "Short-handed sailing has been growing in interest globally, and Jeanneau is proud to develop a production boat that is capable of taking those sailors where they want to go."

North Sails has been an early partner in the development of the Sun Fast 3300 globally, and now in North America. "Jeanneau America approached us, and worked with our 3300 class leader Allan Terhune early in the process of bringing the boat to the North American market," explained Read. "Double-handed racing is catching on worldwide, inspired by the passion and growth of short-handed sailing in countries like France and England. Developing a sail plan and shorthanded inventory with Jeanneau began with our North Sails team in France, and we are now taking it a step further with a larger sail plan on the boats imported to North America. The Sun Fast 3300 sail package is built to work in any handicap rule. It has been a fun project so far, but now comes the hard work on the water!"

"The product we have put on the water is second to none," continued Harvey. "Anyone in North America looking to grow in offshore racing should give the Sun Fast 3300 a serious look."

The first double-handed event for Read is the 2020 Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. This event is a staple of the SORC circuit, and race organizers are embracing double-handed racing by adding this new class. The 120-mile race is historically a great challenge, heading south between the Florida Keys and the tricky Gulf Stream before finishing in sunny Key West, Florida.

"Now that the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race has decided to do a dedicated double-handed class, this is a shout out for boats and teams to come on down and have some fun. We can all learn together. As double-handed sailing begins to develop here in North America, we first and foremost have to make it fun. And this race is always a blast!," said Read, "It's brand new for Suzy and me and we can't wait to get started."

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