The crew of the Italian boat Bombarda hike on the starboard side during last year’s Melges 32 division race during Key West Race Week. The 27th annual Quantum Key West sailing regatta takes place Sunday through Friday, Jan. 19-24. The action is slated to begin daily at 11:30 a.m. with 10 races scheduled during the challenge. See story, page 10.

Veteran sailboat racing teams from around the world are to compete in the waters off America’s southernmost city during the 27th annual Quantum Key West 2014, scheduled Sunday through Friday, Jan. 19-24.

Key West Race Week is one of the most prestigious sailing regattas on the international calendar. Racing teams from approximately a dozen countries are to test their mettle against teams from around the United States during five days of competition.

The action is slated to begin daily at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 20-24, with 10 races scheduled during the challenge. Competitors are to race on courses set over an 8-mile stretch of the Atlantic Ocean just off Key West’s shore and inside the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef.

The 2014 regatta lineup features a large field of international racing professionals, particularly in the high-powered Melges 24 and 32 classes. In the 52 class, Alberto Roemmers and team Azzurra are to defend their 2013 title against challengers, racing with Olympians and sail legends that include Terry Hutchinson, Adrian Stead and Marty Kullman.

Following its 2013 Key West debut, the J/70 class is to feature many return contenders including Heather Gregg-Earl and her Muse team, recent winners of the J/70 North American Championship.

Fierce competition also is expected in the Mini-Maxi class between Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente and George Sakellaris’ Shockwave.

Race organizers say teams are drawn to Key West by the opportunity for January sailing in warm subtropical waters, reliable breezes and the high level of competition. In addition, the challenge enables amateur sailors to try their skills against professionals.

The 2014 regatta’s headquarters, where sailors and sailing aficionados can mingle, is to be on Caroline Street between Duval and Whitehead streets.

To view the races, fans can book seats on spectator boats ranging from excursion catamarans to historic tall ships. Prime land-based viewing spots include Key West’s Atlantic-front restaurants, resorts and beaches.

 

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