This year's Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race certainly lived up to the pre-race caveat of "Be Prepared." The light VMG running of the past couple of years was a distant memory, as a stout northwesterly that built overnight brought the fleet down and around the curve in rapid fashion, but made them work hard for the quick trip. When they reached the island, a slew of familiar names graced the top of the leader board.
Steve and Heidi Benjamin's Carkeek HPR 40 SPOOKIE brought a boatload of top talent along, and turned a careful, mid-line start into a corrected time win in the IRC Class over past class winner TONNERRE de BRESKINS 3, Peter Vroon's Ker 46. SPOOKIE completed the course in 17H 53M 56S, 7 minutes ahead of the larger 46-footer.
Third place corrected time finisher PRIVATEER, Ron O'Hanley's canting-keeled Cookson 50, took line honors on a time of 17H 9M 47S, and will be featured in the artwork for the 2015 Key West Race shirt. A mix of veterans and newcomers brought out SPOOKIE's winning form, with current Moth World Champ and boat speed aficionado Bora Gulari commenting that the race delivered everything advertised and then some, and race veteran Tom Lihan making markedly more reserved comments about conditions that can make a 40-foot boat seem small in a hurry.
(thanks to SORC Media for this report, and Images by Marco for this iconic image)