If there were any lingering thoughts that the Key West venue had somehow lost its windy ôedge,ö the 2006 running of Premiere Racing’s Key West Race Week squashed them in resounding fashion. With the winds peaking at 33 knots and only dipping below 15 knots during 3 of the 9 races, the 280 boats across 19 divisions had their hands full throughout the week. Safety came first, then keeping the boat together, and finally the racing. Most crews went home with a locker full of harrowing tales, effectively cementing Key West Race Week’s reputation for years to come as one of the pinnacle sailing events of the year.
The J/109 class returned in force this year (doubling in numbers), prompting the organizers to start the fleet at the head of Division 4, a move that enhanced the one-design experience for the owners. With two points separating three boats with one race to go, Steve Rhyne and his Mojo team from Kemah, Texas took a Race 9 bullet to win the J/109 Midwinter Championship over Charlie Milligan (Newport, RI) on Phoebe’s Phling and Rick Lyle (Wilton, CT) on Storm. It was a reunion of sorts since the three had mixed tacks at the Block Island 2005 (won by Phoebe’s Phling), and a glimpse of what is to expect when the J/109 Class hosts its first North American Championship this July in Newport, RI.
Special mention to Rick LyallÆs Storm which received Boat of the Day honors on Thursday. Also to Dr. Ken Grant of Glascow, Scotland who brought his boat Tight Solius II across the Atlantic for the event, and so much enjoyed the balmy, breezy conditions that he vowed to return next year. For complete results: