Sailing World's team of bloggers--including Stuart Streuli, Dave Reed, Steve Hunt, Don Finkle, and Jonathan McKee--reports from the trenches at Quantum Key West 2013. Click here to find all of our Quantum Key West 2013 coverage. Read full bio
A self portrait of senior editor Stuart Streuli just before racing on the final day of Key West Race Week.
Returning home from a week of sailing with a litany of aches and pains isn't necessarily a bad thing
My wife’s gotten into juicing lately. You know, of the fresh-squeezed variety, not the needles-pills-and-powders version favored by so many top athletes. The byproduct, as anyone who’s done this knows, is a lot of soggy pulp. As I looked at macerated remains of carrots, grapefruit, oranges, apples and other fruits and vegetables left over from Sunday morning’s fresh squeeze, I felt a certain kinship. “I know how you feel,” I thought to myself.
Every racetrack has its unique facets. For Key West Race Week, one of the keys to success runs counter to one of the more basic lessons in competitive sailing.
Like with any racecourse, there are a lot of ways to skin the cat when it comes to succeeding in Quantum Key West Race Week. But if you could browse the memory files of the top tacticians racing here, I’m betting you’d find at least one common theme: Stay out of the middle.
From an early age, sailors are taught that the corners are the lands of desperation, a place where sailors go when they are out of other options. We are taught that good sailors play the shifts, leave their options open, and generally take a “centrist” approach to upwind tactics.
A bad final leg can leave a bitter taste that doesn't quickly fade away. The proper perspective, however, is always there for the taking
My friend Ian loves to sail. For him, the expression, “A bad day of sailing is better than a good day of work,” isn’t just a bumper sticker. It’s how he lives his life. My relationship with the sport tends to be more fragile. I like to sail. I love to compete. And when you compete, sometimes you lose. And that can hurt.
School of hard-hikes. Abby Freeman riding the rail of Bora Gulari's Melges 24.
College sailor Abby Freeman earned a spot at the front of past Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Bora Gulari's talent-laden Melges 24 West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, and as first-timer to Key West she's getting some proper schooling.
Saturday, January 26
Sitting on my plane heading back to school, I find myself making extensive to do lists and mentally preparing myself for the inevitable all-nighter I will need to catch up on the course work I missed. At this point, any sane person would start questioning whether taking a week off school was all worth it. Before I started to get too negative about this particular life decision, I decided to think back on all the experiences, big and small, that made Key West Race Week 2013 worth it:
Tim and Don Finkle (right). A dynamic father-son duo.
Getting to Key West from upstate New York is half the battle of race week. The other half is keeping it fun. For Don Finkle and his young charges, that shouldn't be a problem.
Saturday, January 26
Now that the boat is packed up and the crew has flown out, Heather and I are enjoying a few moments of quiet on the balcony of our rented condo here in Key West, with some time to also reflect on a few final thoughts and suggestions as we look back on the experience, in no particular order.
Johnathan McKee says it's good to be back in town. Oh how he missed a little Key West, and how lucky he is to be here.
It is so great to be back in Key West. I missed it last year and somehow my whole year was not the same. The combination of sunny warm weather, beautiful emerald water, great racing, and a unique colorful town is unmatched by any other regatta.
Sailing World editor Dave Reed is embedded with Tim Healy's J/70 Helly Hansen for an insider's look into the class's first major event.
Friday, January 25
The Final Four
A week ago, as you may recall (if not, see below), I joined The Starting Three in Key West, full of uncertainties. A new boat, a new team, zero practice days, and a lot to figure out: who does what, who sits where, what’s the right headstay length, and on and on.
Steve Hunt, tactician with Joel Ronning's Catapult, checks in from the Melges 32 circle where victory or hard defeat is always only one tack away.
Friday, January 25
Our final day of Quantum Key West was a bit of an average day. We could only move up one place if we sailed well and had the option of moving down, if we sailed poorly. We did our best to have a good day but ended up with middle of the road scores finishing sixth and seventh. We held our eight place overall.