Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004

Grand Prix Sailor is a racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine (http://www.sailingworld.com), first published in 1991. TERRA NOVA TRADING KEY WEST 2004, PRESENTED BY NAUTICA Face it; if you're a big boat sailor and you're not racing in Key West this week, you're wishing you were. Three hundred and two boats, ranging in size from Tom Hill's 75-foot turbosled Titan XII to J/24s in PHRF 11, will race nine races over the next five days. The 112 PHRF entries and 190 one-designs will race on four race circles, each governed by a full complement of race committee members and mark boats, and shadowed by many of the world's yachting photographers. Most of the top sailors in the U.S., and more than a few international stars can be found at Race Week. Brad Butterworth is sailing with Dan Meyers and the boys on Numbers 97, an IMS 50, and Dawn Riley is steering a Melges 24 with a crew of top-flight women sailors. Ed Baird, Robbie Haines, Tom Whidden, Vince Brun, Dee Smith, Kevin Burnham, Terry Hutchison, Chris Larson, and Steve Benjamin are just a sampling of the other big names that you may see walking down the crowded docks every day. A lot of these pros sail in the Farr 40 fleet, but the new Swan 45 class has its share as well, as does the Melges 24 fleet and some of the PHRF classes. One of the neat things about sailboat racing in general and KWRW in particular is that for every highly paid sailing pro, there are 10 sailors who shared expenses or helped tow their boat down for the event. The days begin early for the crews because the harbor start cannon is fired at 0830 and the first start is at 1000. Boats stream out of both Key West and Stock Island as crews apply sunscreen, rig running gear, or rummage below for Tylenol. It's a long week of sailing, especially if you came down a few days early and practiced before the event. You need to stay hydrated, cover up your winter-whitened skin, and try not to treat every evening as if it were your last. The individual race committees all run their race circles professionally, and practice the open microphone style of race management, letting competitors know exactly what's going on and even counting down the seconds before a gun is fired so nobody misses their start. Much effort has been made behind the scenes and before the event by Peter Craig and his team at Premiere Racing to make sure boats sail with like-rated competition, and that the PHRF ratings issues are ironed out well in advance. The result is five days of good competition. Thanks to a party tent that opens promptly at 1800 and closes by 2000, you can get to bed early, but the fleshpots of Duval Street sing a powerful siren song and lure many sailors to their doom each night. The trick is to stay focused on why you're there in the first place. If you've decided to win the party, you've come to a place that's been designed to facilitate that quest. Fortunately, the same is true if you've come to race. Follow the action on the event website, http://www.premiere-racing.com, and look for special reports by John Burnham, SW's man on the scene in Key West. http://www.sailingworld.com YELLOW MEANS GO, ALMOST Steve Fossett and the crew of the 125-foot catamaran Cheyenne (nee PlayStation) have gone from red to yellow alert, which means that they may have some favorable weather for their Jules Verne attempt soon. "With the passage of a cold front, high pressure will build this weekend, " says Fossett. "That will give us the Northwest winds we want to launch our Round the World record attempt. If the start proves to be Saturday instead of Sunday, we would leave the dock in Plymouth late on Friday afternoon to allow time for a leisurely overnight sail to the start line off of Ouessant Island, France." As with any good crew getting ready for a journey like this, there's no real down time for the crew of Cheyenne. They've spent the past several weeks training and getting the boat in top shape. Watch captain Dave Scully talked about their latest sail. "Wind strengths from flat to 40 knots made it a great weekend for practicing catamaran maneuvers," he says. "Every sail in the inventory got an airing, and although temps were low, spirits were high. It was a pleasure to see this expert crew mesh, and confront the challenges that sailing this monster machine poses. No breakages, and no accidents, and a relatively short list of tweaks, which is good, as we hope to be leaving on the record next weekend." To follow Cheyenne's attempt, http://fossettchallenge.com VAN LIEW TO THE SIDELINES After seven years of campaigning and racing the Around Alone, Brad Van Liew, outright winner of Class 2 in the last AA, has announced plans to retire from singlehanded racing. Alongside his wife and Tommy Hilfiger/Freedom America public relations maestro, Van Liew will apply his skills to Van Liew Ventures, a new marketing company focusing on marketing, sponsorship, public relations, race management, training, and non-profit fundraising. www.oceanracing.org Grand Prix Sailor is compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you'd like to subscribe, see http://www.sailingworld.com Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger (tony.bessinger@sailingworld.com), Dave Reed (dave.reed@sailingworld.com), Stuart Streuli (stuart.streuli@sailingworld.com), John Burnham (john.burnham@sailingworld.com