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J's sweep SORC's Storm Trysail Lauderdale to Key West Race ORC Divisions

by J/Boats 15 Jan 10:45 PST
2022 Lauderdale to Key West Race © SORC Sailing

The third race in the SORC Islands in the Stream Series- the Storm Trysail Club's Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race- started January 5th, 2022. The 160.0nm race was as challenging as it ever has been in recent memory, certainly not the fabled "sleigh ride" everyone dreams about down around the sunny Florida Keys.

For the five J/Teams sailing the race, the widely varying wind and weather conditions from start to finish proved to be far more challenging than anyone expected. Steady winds, calms, wind holes, squalls in the stream, moonlit nights, dolphin pods frolicking in the bow waves, and so forth. Seemingly, the fleet had everything imaginable thrown at them by the weather Godz, including the proverbial "kitchen sink".

Nevertheless, many of the J/Crews were up to the task at hand. Winning ORC 1 Division was Chris Saxton's J/125 VORTICES 2, their first major offshore win in recent memory! Needless to say, they were a very happy and excited team.

Winning ORC 2 Division was Chris & Karen Lewis' J/44 KENAI from Houston, Texas. They not only won division, but took third ORC Overall. Second was John Harvey & Rick Titsworth's J/120 SLEEPING TIGER- SOUTH, also taking fourth overall. The balance of the top five included Albrecht Goethe's J/46 HAMBURG II in fourth and Harvey Ford & Tom Mistele's J/112E SILVER SURFER in fifth position. A fantastic showing for these four J's.

Out of the top five ORC Overall, J/teams went 3rd- J/44 KENAI, 4th- J/120 SLEEPING TIGER- SOUTH, and 5th- J/125 VORTICES 2. Not bad in a twenty-boat fleet.

Enjoy this recap on how Key West was won by the J/44 KENAI. Chris & Karen Lewis commented:

"The race started off Fort Lauderdale as a power fetch and became a beat as we headed south down the Miami shoreline.

The fleet then ran into a couple of rain storms typical of the Gulf Stream conditions that killed the breeze. This is where a few yards became a mile as those with a bit of luck and who avoided windless 360's caught the new breeze first.

Our crew work was pushed to the limit as we made 10 sail changes between Fort Lauderdale and the Miami Sea Buoy, ranging between Heavy #1, Light #1, A3, A1.5, staysails, and the drifter.

After Fowey Rocks, the SE wind began a veer all the way round to the NE and filled in to 12 knots during the race down the Keys. That progression veering east made a beat to a fetch, to a power reach, and ultimately, a run to the Key West Sea Buoy. As the wind rotated; the course rotated!

So, every time you were ready to fly the Code Zero, the course went right, and we kept the genoa up. However, we caught and stayed with faster boats in ORC Class 1 with an early change to the A1.5. Then, finally, with a 6.0nm reach into Key West under Code Zero and Jib Staysail, we finished close to a modified Farr 40, and fully crewed Open 40 with no sign of boats in our ORC 2 Class behind.

The modified J/44 with a sprit and A-kites (which will be the 2022 J/44 Class One Design configuration) had managed to hang with newer lighter designs. Perhaps, it was the tasty hot meals Karen produced from our galley, and the extremely comfy bunks for the off-watch below that kept the crew fresh. Or, simply because the rum drinks broke out after the finish and not before!"

Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race scoring and results here. Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race sailing information here.

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