The story of the day was all about finding the breeze, so that's what we did.
Day 1 in the books. Due to some severe weather that is moving through right about now—it's 5 p.m.—we had a dying southerly trending west all day. On our course, Course 3, the PHRF and multihull division each sailed two races.
The story of the day was all about finding the breeze. In any dying breeze in a frontal situation, the puffs tend to be very scattered. The direction of the breeze didn’t vary much, other than a slow trend to the right. It's important to have your head out of the boat, searching for the next puff and playing connect the dots, as I like to say.
Sailing aboard Lorenzo Santin's Melges 24 Uka Uka has been a rewarding experience, both professionally and culturally.
This is a test (but then what isn't?). What a world we live in. I'm writing this on my phone from the legendary Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West, Fla. It's 75 degrees, the emerald green water is 72, the wind is 15 knots, and I get to go racing every day on a very cool boat, the Melges 24. I'm a lucky guy.
It's already been a pretty long winter in Seattle.
Sailing is, first and foremost, a participatory sport, and Key West Race Week is a prime example of why.
Kenny Dalglish, a well known footballer who has just rejoined Liverpool Football Club as manager after resigning the post 20 years ago, said that, whilst playing, he envied the supporters—their cameraderie, jokes, stories, and the atmosphere at Liverpool FC matches. Our sport of sailing is going through huge changes at the moment to make it more appealing to spectators. I believe that these changes, or at least the motivation behind them, are for the benefit of the sport. However, I cannot envisage a time when I would rather be watching a yacht race than out on the water participating.
When you’re traveling to the United States’ southernmost point during its snowiest month, there’s no shortage of potential pitfalls.
When the 10 second gun sounds, it’s already too late. You’re too far from the line; and the boats around you are too far advanced and too close. Whose idea was it to start amongst this crowd? You pull the trigger, a high build, coaxing the maximum VMG out of your boat as you strive to attain target speed before the gun. It’s all in vain. A half-minute after the start, the boat below you is advanced by a full length. Occasionally one of the crew glances your way. Is that pity on his face? Meanwhile, the boat to windward is pressing down on your lane, squeezing the vice.
When your old college pal is Terry Hutchinson, sometimes you get tapped for dream jobs, like calling tactics for the Farr 30 Barking Mad at Key West Race Week.
There really is something to making friends in your college years, when the top criteria for hanging out is if the other person is 1) your age, 2) likes to do the same stuff, and 3) gets you into trouble. Add water and boats into the mix, and you have the perfect storm—friends for life. I’m fortunate that some of my college pals have gone on to sailing greatness.
As for me, after college, I decided to go out and get a job (What was I thinking?). But I still sail—as much as my career will allow. I’m sure most of you can relate.
After missing Key West Race Week in 2010, this Sailing World editor is keen to return to the North American Mecca for mid-winter sailing.
Last Sunday was, as someone else put it, a day of “true frostbiting” for Newport’s Laser Fleet 413. The temperature hovered around the freezing point, the westerly wind gusted up to 20 knots, and the newly fallen snow blanketed the harborside.
Key West is not your average event. When preparing for it, it helps to take some different approaches.
It’s that time of the year again—Key West Race Week. I have the pleasure of sailing with some good friends of mine this year on the Cleveland-based J/111 Kontiki V. Jim Smincheck will be helming the boat.