The sad state of affairs at Key West Race Week continues with just 130-odd boats signed up for the former classic and organizers blaming the economy for their woes. But all is not lost in big boat Florida racing, and the volunteers at SORC are announcing some great news for the "other Key West race," the 35th annual Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race. Here’s an update from Dixie:
Gosh this race from Ft. Lauderdale to KW is shaping up nicely!
At the moment there are 53 boats signed up, this is a near-record level for this distance race in recent history. Some of the organizers are saying it’s a sign of resurgence of the Ocean Races. I heard talk from one of the former champions of the SORC circuit – a crew from the famous "Imp" – who spoke of the crazy days they once had in Florida during the 80s. At the time, hundreds of boats participated in the SORC races, and perhaps we’re working our way back to those halcyon days.
Looking at another year of dismal turnout for Key West Race Week and a near-record for the SORC Key West Race, it makes you wonder: Does ocean racing give these owners more bang for the buck, or is sprinting from point-to-point just a lot more fun than feeding and putting a crew of 8 or 10 up at an overpriced hotel in Key West?
In the case of this particular race, there are more than 30 of the good old fashioned four-knot shitboxes getting out there, a strong multihull contingent, and 12 or so of the grand prix IRC boats: The Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce is in, Hap Fauth’s big Bella Mente will be shooting for a new record (though not if George David’s Rambler has anything to say about it), and SA favorite Stu Hebb on the Aerodyne "Thin Ice" will try to get in without splintering his rudder like he did during the recent Pineapple Cup.
Of course when you’re going 4 kts in the middle of the cool night, it’s not so fun to think that the guys on the TP52 are already at the Parrot with their first rum in hand, but at just over 160 NM for the entire race, the drinks are never too far to visualize in your own hand.
SORC is setting up for some pretty cool coverage this year, thanks to several Anarchists’ help. LZ’s Yachtscoring will have the results up pronto and already has the running scratch sheet posted, Sol Rosenberg has locked in the live tracking with the technowizards at IonEarth, and I’m working with several anarchists to make sure there’s some live blogging going on (and I just learned that Clean may be updating us from the course aboard (boat name withheld to protect the innocent). Good times (and a great fleet) from South Florida!