Lightning, thunder and torrential rain opened the final day, Friday, at Quantum Key West 2016, with organizers debating if the conditions were safe to proceed with two races to finish the J/70's, Melges 24's and C&C 30's in Division 2 and one for all other classes.
With several titles at stake, but bad weather threatening, this was not an easy call. Forecaster George Carras from Commander's Weather described the moist tropical conditions in the atmosphere as "juicy and unstable," with a chance for more cells, but with nothing on the radar the fleet headed out of one more day of battle.
When they got out the harbor and headed into the southerly, the forecasted 8-15 knots turned out to be 20+ and building, with monstrous seas enhanced by the south-flowing ebb tide, especially in the Division 4 and Division 1 pre-start course areas. These seas hampered the Race Committees in their efforts to set marks and establish their race courses, so the PRO's pulled the plug for these classes for the day.
But racing proceeded on the Division 2 and 3 areas where the ebb tide was not as strong and produced nothing more serious than some OCS calls for some teams.
"It was wild out there. For the last couple legs the wind was north of 30 knots and the waves were real big. We hit 16 knots surfing downwind with the kite," said Robin Team, skipper of the ORC 1 class champion Teamwork. A win in this final race gave the North Carolina boat a total of seven bullets for the week.