September 1, 2016

GILL North America New Platinum Sponsor for Quantum Key West Race Week 2017

Already 44 entries one month prior to first entry deadline - TP 52's, one-designs and Performance Cruisers to return

KEY WEST, Fla. – Quantum Key West Race Week has reached agreement with Gill North America to be the technical apparel supplier, a Platinum-level sponsorship for the upcoming 30th anniversary race week, scheduled Jan. 15-20, 2017. Gill will provide all clothing for race week officials and official retail merchandise for competitors and fans.

Gill joins an elite group of companies aligned with race week, including title sponsor Quantum Sails and presenting sponsor The Florida Keys. Gill and the Storm Trysail Club, host of Quantum Key West Race Week, have previously partnered during the club’s biennial Block Island Race Week, held during odd-numbered years on Rhode Island Sound.

“Gill is delighted to be named the official technical apparel provider to Quantum Key West Race Week for 2017,” said David Pritchard, President of Gill NA. “We have created a unique collection of decorated apparel that will be available for pre-sale on-line beginning Oct. 15 in the U.S. Racers also will be able purchase race week apparel on site during the event. During race week we’ll launch our new Race Series collection, a collection designed to help our racing customers win.”

One month from the first entry discount deadline (after Oct. 1 the entry fees increase between $3 and $5 per foot), the list of teams competing at the 30th Quantum Key West Race Week includes 44 boats. Top classes signed up to compete include the C&C 30 One-Design, J/111, Melges 24 and J/70. Also slated to compete is the TP52 Class, which will kick off its 2017 Super Series in Key West.

“The TP52 Class is excited to return to Key West,” said class manager Rob Weiland. “It was a popular decision for the class to make. We have owners from many countries like Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Turkey, the UK and Sweden who’ve raced there before in IRC or other classes such as the Melges 24 or Farr 40, and they, as well as our American owners, wanted to return for the 30th anniversary. I expect we’ll have 10 to 12 boats on the start line.”

The TP52 Class bristles with talent from the America’s Cup, Olympic Games, Volvo Ocean Race and innumerable World Championships and represents the highest caliber racing in the game where every second counts. Quantum Key West Race Week also offers something for the more casual racer—the Performance Cruising Class. Featuring one race each day that starts and ends in the harbor, monohull and multihull entries will enjoy courses that tour the area south of the island and provide an opportunity for long legs to better enjoy sailing on the turquoise palette of the Florida Keys.

Grateful Red 9 1 2016 PR
Ken Johnson and the Grateful Red crew - photo Max Ranchi

“We are very excited to return to Race Week in January,” said Ken Johnson (Stoughton, Wisc.), owner/skipper of the C&C 121 Grateful Red. “The new format of one race a day and now pursuit starts suits our crew perfectly. We are looking forward to a great season, and this is the perfect start.”

Johnson berths Grateful Red in Key West and has campaigned and cruised all over the world, including the 2011 ORC World Championship in Croatia. His winter plans are similarly ambitious, with plans to do the Pineapple Cup race to Jamaica, followed by a race to Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, and Cuba, before returning to Key West.

The Performance Cruising Class in 2017 will feature pursuit starts, to which Johnson gave his approval. “Every boat starts at a different time, so there are no starting line issues, and if we all sail our rating we finish at the same time,” said Johnson. “In a number of races last year using ORC ratings the corrected times were really close but the distances at the finish were large. Competition makes the race more exciting and the crew more motivated. We would much rather all finish together than all start together.”