Chris Woolsey checks in with this pre-race report for Wednesday’s Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race.
The turn of the year always brings great hope and promise…along with preparations for the annual pilgrimage to Key. This year is no different, as I get set to take the trip on Dr. Ulrich Rohde’s Swan 53 “Dragon Fly Plus”. We’ve done the race with Dragon Fly a few times, with pretty good success along the way. This year’s crew is a good mix, with plenty of race veterans (I can think of three of us who have probably done more than 20 of these) and youngsters, including SA’s own Left Hook in his first sprint to the Island of the Weird.
The fleet this year is an interesting mix of big and small, new and old. Topping the scratch sheet is George David’s R/P 90 Rambler [not the one that capsized –ed], chasing Carrera’s 2005 monohull record of 10 hours 24 minutes, though the forecast warns of uphill climbs in light pressure. At the other end of the spectrum in the IRC fleet is local boat “Rim Shot”, a Beneteau 36.7 that has shown steady improvement in the last few SORC events. The PHRF portion of the 47 boat fleet is stacked as usual. The Ker 55 “Denali” is the low rater in Class A, and will face regulars like Frank Kern’s perennial podium-placing J120 “Carinthia” and the brand new Farr 400 “Meridian X”, not to mention the Cape Bay Fast 40 “Different Drummer” which has yet to be taken down in its SORC races. Local wisdom in this race, like lots of typically-reachy races, is to watch out for the Hobie 33. Christian Schaumloffel’s “Mirage” is lurking in PHRF Class B, but will the weather gods allow him to “have a Hobie Day”? Time will tell. A 9-boat Class C rounds out the PHRF fleet, including Del Wiese’s “Chasing Rainbows”, which (if memory serves) has not missed a SORC race since the old SORC was in existence. There should be an award for Always Showing Up. The Multihull class is eight-strong, with local regulars like the Condor 40 “Trident” joined by visitors like Ron White’s “Cheekee Monkey”, from Chicago, taking another go at the race having had some slightly soggy results here in the past.
As we have seen in the Nassau Cup Race and the Pineapple Cup, SORC has been working with Kattack to refine its SPOT-based tracking system, which will be in place again this year. Please track us and the rest of the fleet here. The tracker is already active, so be sure to check the tracker to see who goes to the strip club before the race and forgets to turn off their tracker. Posts from boats and SORC media will be made on the SORC Facebook page here. As always, the SA thread is already alive and well here.
We will be trying out a bit of new technology on Dragon Fly Plus, in the form of a SPOT Connect. It allows tracking and SOS functions just like a regular SPOT, but also allows outbound communication from the boat via Bluetooth connection to a smart phone. That allows us to very easily post updates to our own SPOT Adventures, which we’ll be trying out for the first time here.
See you all at the Green Parrot – some time. This one could take a while.