New Trophy to Recognize Youth Sailors at Key West Race Week

Sailing World announces a new trophy to recognize young talent in the sport to be presented at Key West Race Week.

The Fareast 28R will be one of several young teams competing in Key West this January.Sailing World/Walter Cooper

As a gold-level sponsor of Quantum Key West Race Week 2016, hosted by the Storm Trysail Club, Sailing World Magazine's editorial team announced today the creation of a new trophy to recognize the most outstanding performance of the regatta's youngest team.

“For the sport to be sustainable we need younger sailors engaged at all levels, not just in junior sailing but also at top-tier events such as Key West Race Week,” Sailing World editor Dave Reed said. “The intent with this trophy is simple: to recognize owners and teams that provide opportunities for young amateur sailors to keep racing during a period of their lives where they potentially drop out of the sport.”

The Sailing World Trophy will be awarded to the best-performing team in any class whose average age of all crewmembers is less than 30 years old. Selection will be made by the Organizing Authority in consultation with Sailing World based on the average scores for the week, average age of the crew and the relative difficulty of the competition in the class.

Matt Wake, of Sturgis Boat Works in Massachusetts, was very interested in putting together a team to vie for the Sailing World Trophy upon hearing about the proposal. Wake, a huge proponent of junior sailing, is hoping to field a crew for Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 that would meet the qualifications.

"I think it's a great idea by Sailing World and aligns perfectly with our goals for encouraging and promoting youth sailing," said Sturgis, whose company serves as North American importer for Fareast Yachts.

In fact, Sturgis recently took delivery of a Fareast 28R that he is loaning to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Youth Offshore Program. If things come together, four or five junior sailors from that southern Florida yacht club will race the 28-foot sportboat at Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 along with one or two adult coaches.

John Fisher, chairman of Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 on behalf of the Storm Trysail Club, applauded the decisions by Sailing World to encourage participation of up-and-coming sailors at the grand prix level.

"We are thrilled to introduce this new competition and thank Sailing World Magazine for sponsoring a special trophy that recognizes the best young team at Quantum Key West 2016," Fisher said. "The Storm Trysail Club has always believed it is important to give young sailors an opportunity to race at the highest level. The ultimate goal is to grow sailboat racing and the best way to do that is by fostering a lifelong interest in the sport in young people."