It’s not much of a secret any more, but we might as well let you in on the news that Key West Race Week will be back on the schedule for 2016, thanks to a group of Storm Trysail Club vets and run by St. Thomas YC’s Bill Canfield.
Add this news to the various efforts sprouting throughout Florida to race to Cuba and/or rekindle the SORC, and we come to one conclusion: South Florida’s big boat racing scene might well be on the road to the kind of recovery that one-designs have already seen in Miami, Pensacola, and Davis Island.
We’re quite sure Key West is capable of being re-ignited, and we know Bill is smart enough to make it happen. We also know the STC runs a damned good regatta up in Block Island. That said, this ain’t an easy one; it’s going to take an awful lot of hard work to bring life and credibility back to a regatta that spent the last decade throwing it all away.
Canfield runs one of the most respected regattas in the Caribbean, though he hasn’t been immune from the down numbers and sponsor flight seen throughout the caribbean over the past few years. The STC continues to flirt with success, but many of their southern efforts have fallen flat.
There are two things Canfield and his crew have going for them. The first is the astonishing pent-up demand of sailors looking to go to Cuba, and the end of KW Race Week is the perfect excuse to race to Havana. If the STC can lock up a Cuba Race (there are now three different groups exploring such a race in 2015/16), it will be a huge boon to Key West racing. The second tool they have to grow the event is the fact that several high-profile classes really want to race it – classes like the TP52, GC32, and similar – though we think this doesn’t really help a more general regatta at all, and could in fact hurt it.
We expect an announcement from the new organizers soon, and the way they do it will give us all a clue on whether it will succeed. Is it the same old crap, from the same old players? Or is it something new from a group that understands the world we live in today?
We sure do hope it is the latter. America needs a great January regatta, and there aren’t that many places as good as Key West.