KEY WEST UPDATE: TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
As published by Event Media - Key West, FL (January 19, 2016)– Yesterday organizers with the Storm Trysail Club knew wind conditions would be on the edge for today, which is why race committee chairman Dick Neville asked principal race officers on all three divisions to complete three races yesterday at Quantum Key West 2016.
Sure enough, when today dawned over the Conch Republic it was howling, and it was cold. Locals and tourists alike donned their hats and coats, while Neville met with principal race officers Ken Legler (Division 1), Dave Brennan (Division 2) and Wayne Bretsch (Division 3) to develop a plan.
"The forecast was not promising, so we postponed a decision for one hour, sent some boats out to the race area to determine the exact conditions, and the wind speed was higher than the forecast and building," Neville said. Northeasterly winds were blowing a steady above 25 knots and routinely gusting to more than 30 knots – producing what Neville politely described as a "nasty sea state."
"We have a lot of smaller boats in this regatta so we decided not to send them out. We debated about Division 1, but believed it would be tough for them as well," Neville said. "At the end of the day, we were concerned about gear breakage across the board. It would have been tough on the race committee as well. We also polled some sailor's opinion, and the consensus was that it would be best not to send the boats out today."
Neville and other race officials considered waiting it out to see if the wind dissipated and possibly conducting one race in the afternoon, but ultimately decided not to hold the entire fleet hostage.
"We've heard from sailors over the years from running regattas that the rolling 30-minute postponement is pretty frustrating. Because if you end up abandoning, you haven't been able to do anything constructive," Neville said. "So we thought we would make the call early today and allow the sailors to enjoy a day off."
Neville noted the decision to cancel racing for the day was based, in part, on what happened Monday when the 130 boats in 12 classes raced in winds that topped out at 20 knots.
"There were several incidents yesterday on the small boat circles that were borderline dangerous. There were several collisions, multiple gear breakages and man overboard situations – and that was in 20 knots. Sailing in 30 knots is a huge difference," Neville said.
Forecasts are favorable for the remainder of the week and Neville believes the PROs on all three divisions will succeed in completing a 10-race series. "Based on the forecast for the next three days, we think we can get most of the scheduled racing completed," he said.
View The Full Results (After Two Days)