Great breaking news! Quantum Key West Race Week will continue thanks to the organizational expertise of a new ownership group and the ongoing support of its title sponsor – Quantum Sail Design Group.
The Storm Trysail Club is pleased to announce that it has come to an agreement with Premiere Racing to take over ownership and management of the prestigious regatta. STC, established in 1938, is well known for running Block Island Race Week (which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer) and the Lauderdale-to-Key West Race that has long served as feeder for Key West Race Week.
“Key West Race Week is a terrific bookend to the club’s long-standing Block Island Race Week,” STC commodore Lee Reichart said. “We believe we will be able to utilize our experience at Block Island to ensure that Key West remains the most prominent winter big-boat event in North America.”
Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 will be held Jan. 18-22, 2016 with many of the same elements that made the regatta so popular remaining in place. Foremost is the sponsorship of Quantum, the second-largest sail-making company in the world.
Quantum came aboard as title sponsor of KWRW in 2012 at a time when its future was uncertain. “We recognize Key West Race Week is the flagship regatta in this country and has been for well over two decades,” Quantum president Ed Reynolds said. “This midwinter, big boat regatta is very important to North American and international sailboat racing.” Reynolds says the worldwide company is happy to see the event continue with such an accomplished regatta management group.
“We recognize the complexity of managing Key West Race Week. There are probably very few organizations that could do it. Storm Trysail is uniquely qualified and we’re confident and excited about the future of the event under its direction.” He thanked Peter Craig and his team at Premiere Racing for 21 years of dedication to ensuring Key West Race Week remained a highlight of the racing calendar, both within the United States and abroad. Reynolds also acknowledged an appreciation for Premiere Racing’s commitment to ensuring a smooth transition.
Yachting Magazine founded Key West Race Week in 1987 and seven years later brought Craig aboard as race chairman. At the time, it was a single division regatta with 112 boats. Craig took over as event director in the late 1990s and under his leadership Key West Race Week evolved into an iconic international keelboat event. Craig, longtime assistant Jeanne Kleene and an army of volunteers has always worked hard to ensure that Key West Race Week is always top-notch both on and off the water. Those two principals of Premiere Racing are very happy to hand off the event to capable new stewards.
Storm Trysail Club members are in the process of contacting all past sponsors and will be working to bring new partners into the mix. Jeff Johnstone has pledged the support of J/Boats, a worldwide leader in high-performance sailboats. All sorts of J/Boats designs have competed at Key West Race Week over the years, either in one-design, PHRF or IRC classes. Johnstone challenged other industry leaders to do their part in making Key West Race Week a success.
“Key West Race Week has been a favorite for J/Boat sailors since its inception 20-plus years ago,” Johnstone said. “We’re very excited to see the Storm Trysail Club take the helm and we encourage all of our sailing industry peers to join us in supporting this great event that means so much to the sailing community. We’re looking forward to being back in sunny, breezy Key West next January.”
Storm Trysail Club announced that longtime member John Fisher will serve as event chairman for Key West Race Week. Fisher has been involved with Block Island Race Week since 1999, serving as chairman for three editions of the biennial regatta. Reichart said Fisher, a past commodore of Storm Trysail Club, was selected for the role because of his proven strength with logistics.
Dick Neville, another Storm Trysail Club veteran, has been appointed race committee chairman. Neville has been working Key West Race Week for nearly two decades as right-hand man to Division 2 principal race officer Dave Brennan. Neville is expecting to conduct starts in most of the classes that have traditionally competed at Key West. Nick Langone will serve as shoreside committee chairman, while John Storck Jr. will oversee mobile marina logistics.
STC hopes to retain the services of numerous dedicated volunteers that worked for Premiere Racing for many years. “It is important to point out that many STC race committee members have been involved with Key West Race Week over the years. So we are not novices when it comes to this particular regatta and its unique elements,” Fisher said. “Because of the accumulated knowledge available to us, I expect the transition from Premiere Racing to Storm Trysail Club to be very smooth.”