We are the first publication in the world to confirm with a representative of the organization that the Storm Trysail Club has finally killed the long-on-life-support Key West Race Week. Somehow the power of Scuttlebutt, US Sailing, the STC, NYYC, Doug Devos, and history couldn’t manage to save what was, just a decade ago, the undisputed leader in American multi-class regattas.
We’re sorry to see it go, but we’re also pretty certain we first forecasted the exact course of events the regatta took almost ten years ago when we first saw the regatta’s management group start to go bad. We even offered to help STC advertising and marketing the event after the ouster of the previously faltering management company several years ago, but apparently, marketing on the nation’s biggest sailing website was a bit too ‘over the top’ for them.
Utter failure, however, seems ok…and with an 11th hour deal between North Sails and the organization to co-headline the 2018 event with Quantum falling through yesterday and no other major sponsors on the horizon, the ‘regatta at the end of the world’ is now history.
Key West will remain one of the world’s best regatta venues for class and regional regattas, while the few traveling, handicap course racing boats will go to Charleston or buy a one-design. Here’s a partial copy of a press release we weren’t supposed to receive quite so early; we’ll note that there is zero mention for why the participation declined so heavily and so quickly, and failed to regain any steam once the economy – and racing elsewhere – began to recover.
“After extensive discussion and deliberation the Storm Trysail Club has decided not to organize and hold Key West Race Week in January 2018. Many factors led to this difficult decision. The bottom line is that with declining participation, the event has become heavily dependent on sponsorship making the event unsustainable in its current format. Our primary sponsors remain very supportive and the STC is committed to exploring alternative formats for the future that address changing conditions in our sport. The club anticipates that this could lead to another edition as soon as 2019.”