Henry DeGroot was kind enough to write up a bit on his adventures this year!! Thanks for taking the pressure off me on this one, Henry!!
Quantum Key West race week 2015 had everything that you expect, beautiful Florida weather, plenty of wind, bright sunshine, amazing azure waters, and of course unlimited partying on Duval Street.
We launched the J/80 Saturday at the Truman Annex right downtown, where we got to check out the burgeoning J 70 fleet as well as the eye-popping GC32 high powered foiling catamarans being fitted with their 10 foot long carbon foils. The superb launch and recovery site set up by the race management team made it easy to get the boat rigged and dropped in the water.
Weatherwise, we had excellent conditions with a mix of sun and clouds each day. Steady northerlies in the 8-12 knot range monday and tuesday dropped off to 4 knots on Wednesday, forcing the race committee to cancel the second race. The breeze and chop built from the Southeast thursday, followed by a big breeze on Friday with 20 knot southeasterly's and big rolling waves coming in from the Straits of Florida.
To our dismay we found ourselves on the only J/80 in Key West 2015, forcing us into PHRF. We were put in PHRF 2, racing against a Cape Fear 37, a J105, a C&C 121, and a VAR 37. The J/80 proved faster upwind and equal off wind to the entire fleet in light and smooth conditions, but as the chop built it was harder to maintain upwind speeds. Once the wind speed went above 15 knots the chop was a major factor and the bigger stiffer boats made huge upwind gains. However, the amazing downwind speeds the J80 can develop in a breeze allowed us to surf our way back into contention every race. Our best speed was 18 knots, our best finish was a first, our best finish for the day was a second, and our overall finish was third in this small mixed class.
Although we were sad not to see the friendly faces and excellent competition from our fellow J80 class members, we had a blast at Key West 2015 and plan to return in 2016!
Henry DeGroot J80 808 "Wired"
***Tim Wilkes Photography***
| 05 February 2015 |