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The Quantum Key West Sailing Regatta Is Underway

J/70s sailboats show off their spinnakers (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

J/70s sailboats show off their spinnakers (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

By FloridaKeysNewsBureau For EyesOnNews.com, Jan 20, 2015 – Monday was the first day of racing at the Quantum Key West sailing regatta off Key West, Fla. With 54 entries, the J/70 class is the largest of the 10-class fleet with a total of 115 sailing vessels competing.

The foiling catamarans are new class this year in Key West, inspired by America’s Cup multi-hulled boats. Great Cup 32 class Swiss entry Armin Strom, left, skippered by Flavio Marazzi, maintains a lead over French-flagged ZouLou with Erk Maris steering.

Leenbarca, right, skippered by Alexander Jackson, speeds past Numbers, with Gunther Buerman. Numbers is racing in the IRC1 class and Netherlands boat Leenbarca is competing in the Great Cup 32 class.

Argo, skippered by Jason Carroll, Argo leads the Great Cup 32 foiling catamaran class.

The five-day regatta is to continue through Friday, Jan. 23

Background on this years Quantum Key West from SailingWorld.ComJanuary 18, 2015 Key West has been a flurry of activity for the last four days as sailors swarmed into town for the annual race week that is being held here for the 28th year. Quantum Key West 2015, which begins Monday on the aqua waters off the southernmost point of the United States, has attracted 115 boats in 10 classes and competitors have been busily preparing and practicing.

Curious tourists looked on with interest as crew members loaded huge sail bags onto the mini maxis that are berthed at the docks in front of the Hyatt.Bella Mente and Shockwave are powerful 72-foot racing machines that require a crew of 18 professionals to race. They will square off in IRC 1 along with Numbers, a 66-footer that returns to the regatta for the first time in several years.

Minneapolis skipper Hap Fauth and his team on Bella Mente will be seeking to repeat as class champs. Veteran pro Terry Hutchinson, who was just named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for the second time in his illustrious career, joins the team as tactician and is one of many new crew members onBella Mente.

Hutchinson has helped owners to victory in the Farr 40 and TP52 class at this regatta, but this will be his first time racing a maxi off Key West. He will rely heavily on the recommendations of navigator Ian Moore as Bella Mentedraws 17 ½ feet.

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J/70 sailboats cross the start line during the first day of racing at the Quantum Key West sailing regatta off Key West, Fla. With 54 entries, the J/70 class is the largest of the 10-class fleet with a total of 115 sailing vessels competing off the Florida Keys. The five-day regatta is to continue through Friday, Jan. 23. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)Great Cup 32 class Swiss entry Armin Strom, left, skippered by Flavio Marazzi, maintains a lead over French-flagged ZouLou with Erk Maris steering during the first day of racing Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, at the five-day Quantum Key West sailing regatta in Key West, Fla. The foiling catamarans are new class this year in Key West, inspired by America's Cup multi-hulled boats. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)J/70s sailboats show off their spinnakers  during the first day of racing at the Quantum Key West regatta off Key West, Fla. With 54 entries, the J/70 class is the largest of the 10-class fleet that has attracted 115 sailing vessels to the Florida Keys. The five-day regatta is to continue through Friday, Jan. 23. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)Leenbarca, right, skippered by Alexander Jackson, speeds past Numbers, with Gunther Buerman at the helm, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, during the first day of racing at the five-day Quantum Key West sailing regatta in Key West, Fla. Numbers is racing in the IRC1 class and Netherlands boat Leenbarca is competing in the Great Cup 32 class, a new division this year in Key West with foiling catamarans inspired by America's Cup multi-hulled boats. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)Argo, skippered by Jason Carroll, skims the ocean's surface during the first day of racing Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, at the Quantum Key West Sailing Regatta in Key West, Fla. Argo leads the Great Cup 32 foiling catamaran class which is new to Key West this year and inspired by America's Cup multi-hulled boats. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)