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The Southernmost Regatta introduces 'Navigators' Distance Racing

by Hannah Lee Noll 16 Jan 14:52 PST 15-19 January 2024
The Southernmost Regatta © Hannah Lee Noll

New to the Southernmost Regatta this year is the "Navigators" division. Each day, this double-handed ORC fleet races a short distance race, including one overnight race.

The Navigators race format is growing in popularity around the world especially for double-handed regattas, and the Southernmost Regatta is proud to offer it here in Key West. Navigator races feature longer legs and fewer turns, ideal for shorthanded teams. Race courses are point-to-point or use turning marks like government buoys, landmarks, or GPS marks.

Each day at the Southernmost Regatta Powered by Sailing Inc., the Navigators division targets a late afternoon cocktail hour finish time — right off the Sunset Tiki Bar regatta headquarters. The competitors collectively choose the course each day based on the weather conditions.

Wednesday's intention is an overnight race to the Dry Tortugas and back: a 78 nm, 128 nm, or 135 nm racecourse.

"We are thrilled to team up with the Southernmost Regatta to bring the Navigators division to the legendary Key West waters," said Leo Vasiliev, President of North East Keelboat Alliance (NEKA Sailing). "Our organization is working to create a bigger funnel into the highest levels sailing. The pros are getting farther and farther away from the regular folks here in the States, so NEKA Sailing aims to close the gap by providing opportunities, including here in Key West."

Competitors in the Southernmost Regatta ORC Navigator Class are all supported by NEKA Sailing:

  • Jack Porter and Alec Coleman racing Figaro 3 CELERITAS
  • Will McKeige and Vadim Shablinsky racing Figaro 2+ GROUPE 5
  • Joseph and Nicholas Kurta racing a modified J/105 SLEEPER

Today, the Navigators raced a 17 nm race toward Stock Island and back. They started alongside the ORC fleet, raced 1.4 nm upwind, reached to the Stock Island approach buoy, turned right for a tight reach to the Key West sea buoy, then ran downwind to a cocktail hour finish line in front of the Tiki Bar.

This will surely be an interesting story to follow.

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