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Bump's World - Winter 2017
January 24, 2017

KEY WEST 2017

Key West 2017 will be remembered as the year of the great weather. I have done Key West 5 times now and the weather is always a huge improvement from January Marblehead weather, but this year was perfect. Every day had a low temperature of 74 with a high of 78. No rain at all. Mostly sunny to totally sunny skies every day. Winds were about 18 to 20 Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Winds were slowly lessoning the rest of the week. Seas were pretty lumpy on the windy days usually about 3 feet. The water is warm about 72 degrees.

I would like to thank Gary Weisberg the owner of "Heat Wave” for putting together this big effort. I would also like to thank the crew that all got along well, and worked hard at their jobs.

Heat Wave is a J 111 and we had a one design class of 10 boats. They were pretty much the same boats we raced against last year. All of the boats were very well sailed. I did not see one boat wrap a spinnaker at the windward mark or jibbing. No one over stood the marks and everyone was on the starting line with speed. It is rare to have a complete fleet of well sailed boats. I do not think there was a single protest hearing. If there was a foul we could do a circle. Several boats did circles and therefore eliminated the hearing.

In every protest there is a burdened boat. That boat per the rule is guilty until proven innocent and the other boat is innocent until proven guilty. People with experience know it is close to impossible to win a protest if you are the burdened boat. Therefore just take your circle and keep racing.

Joining us on line 1, there were 3 racing areas, was the TP 52 Super Series. There were 10 TP 52s from all over the world. When they race, each boat has a support boat, like a Predator 35, following it. They also had about 5 judge boats that follow them so that all protests are held on the water at the time and if the judge acknowledges a fowl them the boat has to do a circle. The TP 52s had a longer leg than us, so we were constantly around then. A couple of times we were going up wind in 18 knots of breeze and they were coming downwind right at us going about 20. We could only see their spinnaker no heads at all and we were headed at our mid ships. We yelled and waved but saw nothing. Both times they bore off slightly flying by our stern.

We did not do well, but we did have a great time. We will work to do better. Even though the other boats took us to school, I like the challenge for us to get better. With Heat Wave last summer we won the Mass Bay Class A seasonal championship. Having won that, we dislocated our shoulders patting ourselves on the back, we just had a very humbling experience.

What is the future for Key West? Currently Storm Trysail club is running this regatta. This year there were 99 entries, with half being J 70s. If the J 70s leave this regatta, that would be the end.

20 years ago they limited the entries to 250. That was a plan to get entries in early. I do not think they actually were turned down any entry. I believe the highest entry level was 265. Back then they had offshore one design classes, PHRF, IMS and a Maxi class.

This year luckily they had the TP 52 Super Series, our J 111 class, C&C 30s, Flying Tiger 28s, J 88s, and a very few PHRF and IRC.

I do not know what the answer there is. I know it is very expensive and very time consuming. I know the logistics of renting houses, airline tickets, slip space, getting your boat there and back, and feeding everyone is huge.

The racing is great, the race committee work fantastic, and this year the weather perfect.

As we were packing up the Heat Wave trailer on Saturday morning, I was watching the cranes load the TP 52 containers onto the racks to be taken to their next event. One crane raised the container and it swung a little out of control hitting a porta potti. The porta potti tipped up and for a moment looked like it might go over. I wondered if someone was in that porta potti??

Please mail comments to me at Bump@newwaveyachts.com
Bump Wilcox