After three decades of incredible racing out on the aquamarine waters off the “Conch Republic”—not to mention some equally incredible parties—organizers of fabled Quantum Key West Race Week have finally accepted the inevitable and thrown in the towel.
Once the premier event of the winter racing season in North America, the regatta sustained a major body blow during the “Great Recession” and never recovered, thanks to a number of issues, including a changing overall sailing and economic environment; competition from other regattas like, Charleston Race Week and an increasingly vibrant Caribbean sailing scene; and the simple fact that it can be a darn long road trip to Key West.
“Many factors led to this difficult decision,” said Storm Trysail Club Commodore Leonard Sitar and Quantum Key West Race Week event chairman John Fisher in a joint statement. “The bottom line is that with declining participation, the event has become heavily dependent upon sponsorship making it unsustainable in its current format.”
At the same time, Sitar and Fisher left the door open for some kind of a similar regatta to possibly take the place of the now dead Key West classic in the future, saying: “Our primary sponsors remain very supportive and the Storm Trysail Club is committed to exploring alternative formats for the future that address changing conditions in our sport. The club anticipates that this could lead to another edition as soon as 2019.”
Here’s hoping to more for high-quality racing off the southern tip of the Lower 48 in years to come. Quantum Key West Race Week is dead. Long live Quantum Key West Race Week!