The Best Come to Key West

The following press release was written and distributed by the Storm Trysail Club, and is reprinted with permission.  

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The reputation that Quantum Key West Race Week has for being the best sailing event in North America is built on several important elements: the best sailors come from all over the world to compete in mid-January every year, the venue is spectacular, and the race management by the Storm Trysail Club is second to none.

And another important element is the boats themselves, and for decades the hottest one designs have been coming to Key West to produce the closest and most exciting racing at the event. There are nine one-design classes entered at Quantum Key West Race Week, including the Melges 24, J/70, J/80, J/88, J/111, J/122, C&C 30, Farr 280 and Viper 640 classes.

Among these, the new C&C 30 Class is making their competitive debut in Key West with ten teams entered from the US, the UK and Norway.

One of these teams is led by James Madden from Newport Beach, CA, a four-time veteran of the event who has captured class honors with his J/125 in 2007, 2008 and 2011, and owner of numerous boats over the years named Stark Raving Mad. He got a taste of one-design competition in the Swan 42 class and liked it, so when searching for a new boat, he was seeking something a bit more on the cutting edge, and found exactly what he was looking for in the C&C 30. This high-performance boat designed by Mark Mills combines a stiff, slippery-fast hull with a powerful sail plan with an efficient deck layout inspired by the TP52 class.

SRM“I was looking for a fun sport boat and the C&C 30 checked all the boxes,” said Madden, who has owned nine different types of boats since 2000 and still campaigns a Swan 601. He took delivery in June, 2015 and promptly placed third in the C&C 30 class at the New York YC Annual Regatta, where there were nine new boats on the line.

“This boat is everything I had hoped for and more,” said Madden, who steered Stark Raving Mad VIII to victory at Edgartown Race Week. “It’s fast and really fun to sail. There’s been a huge learning curve, but we’re steadily progressing step-by-step. We are really looking forward to doing Key West with this boat. It’s an incredible venue and I’m expecting really exciting racing,” Madden said. “Looking at the preliminary scratch sheet, the fleet looks very strong and competition should be quite intense.”

Veteran pro tactician Tony Rey will call the shots for Madden, whose team is comprised of several sailors who have been with him for a decade or more. That includes headsail trimmer Chris Busch, pit man Al Pleskus and boat captain Dylan Vogel. A new addition to the team is Drew Freides, who recently placed sixth at the Melges 20 Worlds.

Like Madden, Michigan-based Dan Cheresh has experience with one-design racing, having captured consecutive North American Championships in the 1D35 class. He took a lengthy sabbatical from sailing, spending seven years away from the sport, but is now back in the fray. After taking numerous test rides aboard a variety of smaller one-designs, he settled on the C&C 30, and after taking delivery of his boat Extreme2 in June, he immediately went out to win the New York YC Annual Regatta.

“I love the boat,” said Cheresh. “It’s the perfect size in so many respects. It’s relatively simple logistically, has a manageable crew number and is a very fast and stable platform. I’m also really excited about the growth of the class. We have a great group of owners who all got into this boat because of the prospect of close, competitive one-design racing and that is coming to fruition,” Cheresh said. “There is good camaraderie among the teams – everyone is communicating and sharing information. It’s been a very level playing field so far.”

Madden, Cheresh and other top contenders in the C&C 30 class recently came together for a preview of Quantum Key West Race Week at the Annapolis Fall Regatta, organized by the Storm Trysail Club-Chesapeake Station. Here they had 9 teams competing over three days in a mix of windward-leeward and short offshore racing. With help from tactician Morgan Reeser, Cheresh dominated the results with a near-perfect record of victories in 7 races. 

The Annapolis regatta was seen as a stepping stone to Key West, where the class will next meet to start its 2016 season of events.

“Key West will be the start of what I consider our first full season. And what a way to start – with one of the most spectacular and iconic regattas in the world,” Cheresh said. “I know most of the owners are really pointing toward Key West as an opportunity to really test their boats and teams. All the boats are going to be loaded with talent and I’m expecting some really exciting racing.”

For one designs and other boats 25 feet and under in length, the Storm Trysail Club is assisting with their logistical needs with a new dockage package option at Truman Annex.

“This new dockage option at Truman Annex for small boats is an example of the efforts our organizing committee is making to ensure a great experience for everyone who attends the event,” said event chairman  John Fisher.”Yet we could not offer this service without the assistance we have received from all our sponsors. The superior features and quality of Quantum Key West Race Week is a direct result of their solid and enduring support.”

For more information on this, the classes racing and how to enter Quantum Key West Race Week, visit

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See “Speed, Speed, Speed,” below, for a short interview with Dan Cheresh by C&C Yachts.

Speed, Speed, Speed

Dan Cheresh and his Extreme 2 team scored a convincing victory in last weekend’s Storm Trysail Club Annapolis Fall Regatta, finishing first in six of the seven races. Cheresh also won the inaugural one-design event sailed in Newport in June.

How did he achieve so much success right of the box?

“We work on speed, speed, speed,” says Cheresh. “We found that our ability to make the boat go fast through the water in a variety of transitional conditions was more effective at getting us out of tough situations than any gains made through good crew work at this stage in the class’s development. We’re good enough sailors to get around the course, and you can always fix crew work, but you can’t fix slow.”


So, how do you practice being fast? “Practicing for speed is a challenge,” he says. “We take photos of the sails, and compare what they actually look like versus what they should look like.” In addition, he utilizes a tuning partner. “Our team is always talking and thinking about the details. We don’t leave the dock without a plan.”

Surprisingly, Cheresh has not installed the optional jack. “We’re trying to get a baseline down first, rather than complicate our tuning process. Our crew timed how long it takes to make a rig adjustment  – 4.5 minutes. We will have a jack eventually, once we understand our sail shapes. Then we’ll worry about how quickly we can adjust between races.”

What’s the biggest thing they’ve learned so far? “The key adjustment is the runners. It’s huge – it’s the gas pedal,” he says. “But this boat is still in the development stage. Nobody knows yet what makes it go fast in all conditions.” 

So far, the Cheresh philosophy is paying dividends, as he won the Annapolis event with a different crew than he had in Newport. “Sailing with a new crew forced us to be sure we were all doing our jobs, and to see how important the linkage was between what each person was doing. We spent two days practicing before the event,” says Cheresh of his team of Morgan Reeser, Keiran Searle, Dave Shriner, Petey Crawford, Bryn Bachman, and Eric Vigrass. “Going in to Key West, I have the same crew from Annapolis, and it will be the first time we’ve all sailed together more than once.”


Cheresh is certainly the favorite going into January’s Quantum Key West Race Week, with the teams on Walt Thirion’s Themis and Jim Madden’s Stark Raving Mad hot on his heels. But he remains calmly confident in his approach. “I’m looking at this program like a business. We set goals and execute, and do what we have to do to succeed. It’s not about individuals – it’s about the team and the end result. We have a great time, and everybody wins.”


Alfoat online magazine

Sailing Anarchy


C&C Yachts YouTube Channel



Recent Rules Updates

Following a successful summer of one-design and handicap racing, the CC& 30 OD class has made two important changes to the class rules. Both will increase the performance, and enjoyment, of sailing in this exciting new class.

Hydraulic Mast Jack – The hydraulic mast jack is now offered as an option. “As the sailmakers refined the sail shapes for the class, it became obvious that attention to rig tune is a vital part of shifting gears,” says Randy Borges, President of USWatercraft (builders of the C&C 30 OD).  “This is not a ‘set-it and forget-it’ rig – teams need to stay on top of tuning to maintain speed in changing conditions. We wanted to keep the playing field as level as possible without taking away the fun of the tuning challenge. Adding a mast jack makes adjustment quicker and easier for everyone to achieve in the short time between races.”

Weight Limit – The class has eliminated the crew weight limit in favor of a minimum crew number. Teams must simply start and finish each race (and series) with the same crew members. “Weight limits unnecessarily complicate an owner’s crew selection, as well as the measurement process,” says Borges. “This allows each team the flexibility to sail with their friends and family, regardless of how much they weigh.”

The C&C 30 class rules can be found here.

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