Legends & Local Champions Heading To Key West

November 24, 2010 - For Immediate Release

Legends & Local Champions Heading To Key West

RC 44 class to make their southernmost debut

RC 44 class to make their southernmost debut Key West, Florida - One of the unique aspects of Key West Race Week over the past two plus decades is that this celebrated event attracts a mix of some of the best known names in international sailing along with names known only to their local fleets. It's one of those things that make the sport and race week great - rubbing elbows at the evening party and on the dock - and perhaps even trading tacks on the race course with sailing's very best.

America's Cup legend Russell Coutts will be there next January as the RC 44 class makes its southernmost debut with five programs already committed. But then so will Jim Sminchak - an accomplished local PHRF sailor along with his dedicated crew out of Cleveland, Ohio.

Just this week Jim found out that he and his Team it crew prevailed over a strong field in SAIL magazine's 'Best Around the Buoys' contest and as such will receive a free entry to Key West 2011, housing, dockage and use of a new, fully equipped J/111.

SAIL created the Best Around the Buoys contest to provide local, regional PHRF sailors the chance to jump aboard a cutting-edge race boat and show the world they can be competitive at an event like Key West Race Week. The contest drew over 70 entries from skippers and crews from across the United States, including New England, the Gulf region, a number of small inland lakes, the West Coast and even Hawaii (Read more at SAILMagazine.com).

Sminchak said he's been sailing on Lake Erie all his life, after being introduced to the sport by his parents. He added that he and his crew are doing the same with their kids to keep the tradition alive. "Most of the crew has been sailing with us for more years than I can think of," said Sminchak. "We think of our group as family and we are competitive, love to sail and most importantly like having fun."

No less than five of the high octane RC44s, including BMW Oracle, Mascalzone Latino and Team Synergy, are expected to headline the racing on Division 1. The newest RC44 owner, David Murphy (Westport, CT), was 3rd in IRC 2 last year with his J/122, but the stakes go up this time around. "We're really excited about the boat and the class," said Murphy. "To have a one design start at one of our very favorite regattas with this incredible boat will really be something."

With racing just two months away, the competition is shaping up to be world-class with entries now topping 12 foreign countries and 24 states. The current scratch sheet is already loaded with talent and exciting designs.

The racing on Division 1 will garner plenty of attention with high powered Mini Maxis joined by IRC modified TP52s, the RC 44s and a competitive IRC 2 class.

Piet Vroon's Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3, recently awarded RORC Yacht of the Year, will make his first Key West trip from the Netherlands. Fellow countryman Willem Wester has entered his Grand Soleil 43 Antilope.

The Melges 32s, fresh off their San Francisco World Championship, will race on the strictly one design Division 2 with the Melges 24s and J/105s. Lorenzo Bressani's UKA UKA Racing has two years of championships to defend in what will be a very competitive Melges 24 class. The first event on the official "Road to Corpus", Key West will launch the series that will culminate in the May 2011 Melges 24 World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Midwinter championships are in play for the Melges 24, Melges 32, J/80, J/105, Farr 30 classes, as well as overall IRC and PHRF Midwinter trophies. The J/95s, racing as a subclass in PHRF, have also designated Key West their Midwinters.

Five days of racing begins January 17, 2011. The first entry deadline is December 17.

Warm sunshine, warmer water, reliable breeze and great racing are what draw racing sailors to Key West. Shoreside fun that just can't be found anywhere else in North America is the bonus and a favorite with Key West regulars.

The 24th edition of this mid winter classic will feature an exciting new shoreside venue change. Kelly's Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery will anchor the new site and headquarters, with an expansive section of Caroline Street closed to traffic and open to partying. Adjacent to Duval Street and convenient to many favorite watering holes, the carnival atmosphere will be better than ever.

Premiere Racing is pleased to present this year's race week sponsors. The roster includes: Presenting Sponsor Nautica, with Nautica Watches the Official Timekeeper; and Day Sponsors Lewmar/Navtec, Official Marine Hardware, Mount GayŽ Rum, Official Rum, and Sperry Top-Sider, Official Footwear. The Supporting Sponsors are B&G, Official Marine Electronics, Marlow Ropes, Official Rope; and SLAM, Official Technical Gear.

Key West Race Week is also supported by The Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council. The Historic Seaport at the Key West Bight is the Official Marina. The Ocean Key Resort and Spa is the Official Hotel.

Thirty-three Industry Partners bring their support through a program that is now in its 10th year.

"We are very grateful to our loyal race week sponsors and industry partners. They all present high quality products and exemplify the best in business practices and customer satisfaction," said Craig. "We encourage all racing sailors to show their appreciation and patronize these outstanding companies that participate in our sport and provide vital support to events.

For more information on Premiere Racing, Key West 2011, presented by Nautica and its Sponsors and Partners:

Web Site: Premiere-Racing.com