When Peter Craig took over management of Key West Race Week in 1994, the event featured one racing circle, 12 boats, and seven starts. Since then, Craig and Premiere Racing (his management company) have grown the competition to 261 boats—177 of which are racing one-design, with the rest racing either IRC or PHRF.
This means that in 2008, roughly 30-percent of the fleet is racing handicap; the remaining 70 percent are racing one-design. As far as actual numbers go, here’s a look at the 2008 fleet: Farr 40’s (25), Club Swan 42’s (12), J/105’s (34), Melges 32’s (27), Mumm 30’s (15), Melges 24’s (46), J/80’s (18).
This is great news; one-design sailing has never been stronger. Great fleet competition, reasonable prices (class depending), and big fun categorize one-design events. Skill, not purely war chests, is defining who stands atop the podium at the end of the day. While some of these fleets allow professional sailors aboard for premiere-level events such as Key West Race Week, plenty of other local fleets are for amateurs only, making one-design sailing a great way to test the waters of sailboat racing. Moreover, with this many elite-level one-design boats afloat, cruisers and casual racers can look forward to a used market flush with great boats at a good value. David Schmidt
Posted: February 8, 2008