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Sunshine and Success in Key West

Last week 99 boats invaded the city of Key West, USA to kick off a new year of sailing.

Competitors reported tough competition in each division at Quantum Key West Race Week, and ideal conditions for matching up against top-of-the-line sailors in each fleet. The constant drive for boat speed provided individual successes for many within each class.

Tim Healy and his J70 team New England Ropes. 1st Place!

True to form, the J/70 class composed the largest of the event with 42 boats. Led by North Sails-powered New England Ropes with 60 points after 12 races, North clients sailed well to claim four of the top five places; Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network in 3rd, Brian Keane’s Savasana in 4th and Joel Ronning’s Catapult in 5th overall.

Another stand-out fleet in Key West this year was the Flying Tiger 7.5, where seven teams enrolled in the North U Regatta Experience program.  The experience includes a pre-regatta clinic and entry to the regatta, which featured a dedicated one-design start for a unique, and competitive, group of sailors. Arriving with a crew ready to improve, coupled with onboard coaching and on/off-water sessions results in a great offshore one-design experience.

Nigel Brownett’s team with Jahn Tihansky and coach Andrew Kerr dominated the Flying Tigers, followed by Brian Tyrell in 2nd, who’s team of Melges 24 refugees had a fresh experience of their own in the FT class. In a three-way tie for 3rd, Rachel Bryer’s team came out on top of Guy Williams’ crew in 4th. North U director Bill Gladstone was joined by North Sails expert Mike Marshall, who coached Rachel Bryer and crew for the event.

“Our partners in the Regatta Experience program – 1D Sailing Academy – have provided a great fleet of boats and support; we’re excited to continue the North U Regatta Experience program at St. Pete NOOD and Bacardi Miami Race Week,” said Bill.

“We all met for the first time at this event to grasp the “know how” of the Flying Tiger, and got to race together to develop the teamwork and welcome new friendships. Our coach, Rod Favela, did a fantastic job helping us to function better every day, not just on the maneuvers but on the analysis of the race course and improving our feeling of the boat (balance, search for speed, pointing, etc.).

The video sessions led by Bill Gladstone after sailing carried lots of integrated analysis, and he opens the floor for sharing experience and expertise between boats.”

-Elizabeth Pattey, helm of Flying Tiger, bow 03

The TP52 class made their Key West debut to mark the start of their 2017 Super Series. Among the crews were a handful of North Sails experts. Sailing on Bronenosec was Paul Westlake, who remarked on the level of competition on the course. “Every point counts. As always, the fleet was tight and we went into the final day with roughly seven points between the top six boats,” he recalled. “We are thinking big picture at the start of the series. So far no one has made a clear breakthrough – it’s all on for Miami”. Last week’s ten races came down to a three-way tie for 2nd place.

Also enjoying the racing were North clients Pete Wagner of Skeleton Key and Martin Roesch of Velocity, who finished 1st and 3rd respectively in the J/111 class.

Thank you to the Storm Trysail Club, race committee staff and regatta organizers for a fantastic week!