Dramatic Finish in Key West

Onne van der Wal photo

The debut of the C&C 30 One Design class at Quantum Key West Race Week could not have been more exciting. Frequent lead changes, five different race winners over the 10-race series, a squall in the final race, and the drama of a come-from-behind victory are the compelling story lines from the week.

The winners! Walt Thirion, Nick Ewenson, Geoff Ewenson, Lara Dallman-Weiss, Dave Flynn, Collin Kirby, and Hobie Ponting. Max Ranchi photo

On the first day of racing, Walt Thirion and his team on Themis and Dan Cheresh and Extreme2 traded wins in Races 1 and 2, foreshadowing a week-long battle. While other teams made strong charges on different days — Bob Moran and BobSled, and Nigel Biggs and Checkmate, each won two races, and Angus Davis and Nyabinghi won one — in the end consistency paid off for Themis and Extreme2 in the no-throw-out series, and their two-boat battle continued until the final race.

Extreme2 held the lead through Race 6, but struggled with finishes of 1-8-7 in Races 7, 8 and 9, while Themis scored a scorching 2-1-2.  “We won the first race today and thought we had good wheels,” said Cheresh at the end of that day, “But we got caught on the wrong side of some shifts in the other two races. This is a tough class, and if you get behind it’s hard to fight back.”

With only one race to go and four points to make up on the final day of racing, Extreme2 ran out of runway. Their second-place finish to Themis‘ fourth in the final race, Race 10, gave the win to Themis by two points.

“The one-design racing in our class was excellent. It was a lot tighter than previous events and we had a lot of different winners. All the boats are getting better, which is good to see,” said Thirion, who lives in Colorado and bases his boat out of Annapolis. “We did a good job of getting off the line in most races and made smart decisions on which side of the course to take. Racing at this level is all about minimizing mistakes and our team executed well all week.”


Ed Feo and team on Loco. Onne van der Wal photo

The battle for third place was also a cliffhanger. On the final day of racing, when a squall came through the course and teams experienced the wildest conditions of the week, Ed Feo and team Loco finished two places ahead of Bobsled to break a tie for third. “We used the medium jib on the last day, while a lot of teams used the small jib,” says Feo. “We felt like we had unbelievable speed upwind. When we were going it the right direction, we had great speed with more power in the chop.”

“The racing in this class has been fantastic,” said Cheresh, who is also president of the C&C 30 One Design Class. “We traded the lead in races with lots of teams all week, and everyone was getting better and better as the week wore on. The spirit in this class is also great, where everyone is focused on not only winning, but having fun together, too.”

Feo agrees, “We bought the boat for point to point racing in Southern California, but we had such a good time sailing in the class that we’ll stay on the East Coast to race as we work toward growing our one-design fleet in California.”

Next up for the class is the Miami Ocean Challenge, hosted by the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, in February. From there it’s on to Sperry Charleston Race Week, followed by the Sailing World/Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD regatta.

Mid-Week Highlights

Photographer Onne van der Wal shares a look at the fleet and the top three in the standings at the halfway point of racing in Key West. Dan Cheresh and the Extreme2 team are in the lead with 16 points, followed by Bob Moran and the Bobsled team and Walt Thirion and team Themis, tied with 23.

Key West Race Week 2016

Key West Race Week 2016

Key West Race Week 2016

Key West Race Week 2016

Key West Race Week 2016

Key West Race Week 2016

Key West Race Week 2016

Key West Race Week 2016

Links to Key West Race Week Updates

Follow the action at Quantum Key West Race Week from your computer or phone! Download the Key West Race Week app, or check out these links.


Sailing World editor Dave Reed’s blog recounting his adventures crewing on Nyabinghi 



The official Race Week blog. We are in Division 2. A link to the results can be found in the left-hand sidebar



The C&C Yachts Facebook page, with more links and photos from the teams competing

Key West Race Week – Game On!

SRM_2The excitement is high and building around the C&C 30 One Design class’ participation in Quantum Key West Race Week. Eleven international teams are competing in the week-long event, representing the largest gathering yet for this new one-design class.

“It’s going to be a rush,” says newly elected C&C 30 OD Class President, Dan Cheresh, of the anticipated 20-knot breezes expected on the course. “We haven’t seen these conditions yet in a regatta.” Cheresh and his Extreme2 team, along with Jim Madden and the Stark Raving Mad VIII team, spent a weekend in Ft. Lauderdale practicing, to “get out in the breeze and waves,” says Cheresh. “We sailed in 23-28 knots, with 4-5 foot waves and chop. It was definitely challenging and gave us a chance to learn how to set up for that kind of breeze, and to see how the crew will handle these conditions.”

The Extreme2 team won the final regatta of 2015, but don’t feel they’re “favorites” going in to Key West. “Our team has done a really good job of preparing,” says Cheresh. “But looking at all the teams competing, it’s a much different class than it was last year. The competition will be tight; there are five or six teams who could win. There are teams here from the West Coast, who we haven’t seen before. It’s great that they made the trip to Key West and we’re really looking forward to sailing against them.”

Even with the competitive nature of one-design sailing, the spirit among the boats is one of camaraderie. “We’re sharing information about set-up and tuning,” says Cheresh. “Everyone has a great attitude, and we’re trying to help each other in what is still a new class.”

Randy Borges, president of USWatercraft (builders of the C&C 30 One Design), has been on site in Key West for the past week, measuring boats and checking in with the teams. “Measurement went smoothly,” he says. “We’re thrilled that the class has grown ten-fold over last year, when we had one boat competing. We’re looking forward to an exciting week.”

You can follow the action on the C&C Yachts Facebook page, or search #KeyWestRW on Facebook and Twitter, or follow Sailing World on Facebook or Instagram. Sailing World editor Dave Reed is crewing on Nyabinghi


The Best Come to Key West

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

key west2



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 www.keywestraceweek.com

— end– 

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.”


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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.

Report from the West Coast

Dave Millet sails on the C&C 30 One Design LOCO, with owner Ed Feoin Southern California. Here’s his report on their most recent races.

First – another WIN for LOCO.  Racing with our medium-distance rating RLC of 36, we won class B and the fleet overall in the 39-mile Long Beach to Dana Point Race.  There were 46 finishers in 5 classes.  This is our second class and fleet win this year using our offshore ratings.

The race started in 6 to 8 knots and was straight upwind for about 5 miles with our AP1.  The second leg was a Code 0 reach for about 14 miles and the third and final leg was a 2A run for close to 20 miles.  Wind got as high as 14 on the reach and then back to the 8 to 12 stuff for the run.  We had seven people on board.

We were the scratch boat in B fleet and owed the other boats in the class from 2 to 16 minutes. We beat them all handily. The closest was 10 minutes back, corrected.  No boats beat us to the upwind mark except the three Class A boats that beat us boat-for-boat. No boats passed us on the reach, either, and we held or put time on all of our class on this leg.

Only three of the Class A boats beat us boat-for-boat: a TP52 (rated 81) a SC70 (78), and a Choate 66 (28). We beat the Melges 32 (12) and the Class 40 (9) boat-for-boat. We corrected on all of these. The closest was the TP52 a little over a minute behind us corrected.

LB to Dana Point

In Long Point Race Week, LOCO finished third in class and 11th overall out of 8 and 41 boats entered, respectively.  All of the boats in our class were much bigger for the most part and all owed us time.

The Friday race was 25 miles upwind all the way with some jib reaching at the end. Needless to say it is hard to beat boats with a lot more waterline in that kind of race. Wind conditions were 8 at the start and 18 at the finish except for the last 300 yards which was about 6. We finished 7th out of 8 in our class and way down on the fleet list.

Saturday Race was about 5 miles upwind followed by a 10-mile downwind leg.  We were second in class and 5th in fleet.  Both of these were raced with our Random Leg PH rating of 36.  Wind peaked at 18 but died to 2 near the end.  If the 18 had held we would have been first in class and fleet. 

Sunday race was 25 miles mostly downwind. We raced with our offwind rating of 33. Started with a jib reach, went to our code 0, and then to our 2A. Wind peaked at 14 then backed off to about 10 near the finish and very lumpy near shore.  We were 3rd in class and 7th overall.  

All three races were reverse start and we literally flew by people on Saturday and Sunday. The boat goes through other boats’ lees quite uncannily.  Only one of the three Santa Cruz 70s even caught up to us and a lot of 50-footers never had a chance. Scary fast downwind. 

LP race week

The View from a Test Sail

Rick Lenard visited the team at RCR Yachts for a test sail aboard the C&C 30 OD. Here’s what he had to say:  This past Monday I was fortunate to go for a sail on the US Watercraft demo red boat “Freaky Fast” with the rep Will Harris. Will had trailered the demo to Buffalo where it was launched and rigged for demo sails. The boat looks sexy and fast just sitting on the trailer and even more so once rigged!  Will called in the big guns for a quick sail; current reigning J22 world champion and YYC sailor, Chris Doyle, his brother Kevin, YYC PC Jason Suitor, Will Harris and I. We could have taken more but, we had some no shows.
The wind was blowing between 15 with gusts in the mid 20’s out of the WNW, typical Lake Erie late summer wind. The crew rigged the smaller chute and jib and we cast off ready for the ride out. The boat motors fast and it took no time to get out of the harbor and raise the big fat head mainsail. Kevin was driving and we took off on a starboard tack and then raised the jib. I was in the back trimming the runners on the self-tailing winches. Going upwind the boat was dry, more so than you would think. The fixed carbon sprit pierced the waves and we pointed really well doing between 5 and 6 knots. It was a comfortable ride but the Lake Erie short chop with close wave trains made for more care on the helm not to pound. 

After about 30 minutes Chris took the helm, we tightened the backstay more and fell off a few degrees, bow down. The speed increased to 6-7.2 knots as the boat heeled more and the hard chine started to work better. We decided after an hour to bear off and raise the kite. Will pulled at the mast and Kevin tailed in the cockpit. In a flash the boat accelerated and we were off flying in double digits on a starboard broad reach. Will’s unique laugh filled the air! Chris was doing his best work keeping the boat under us until a gust put us over and it took a few seconds of back-winding the jib to get the bow down again. We were whooping it up then jibed over to port and Kevin took the helm while Will trimmed the chute again. The wave action was a bit better on the port jibe and we stayed in the double digits hitting a high of 18.3 on one wild surf!  The water was coming over the bow, cabin top and right through the open transom out the back of the boat. Before we knew it after an hour of sailing out, 17 minutes later we were back in the harbor again! What a ride, everyone on board had a great time and the adrenaline was pumping! The chute was doused and we dropped the sails and motored back to the slip while the sun was setting a nice red hue, like the red demo!
While definitely not a cruiser or even daysailer, the new C&C 30 is not your father’s C&C of old; it is the latest state-of-the-art one-design future of sailboat racing. Fixed prod, fat head main, wide open cockpit, fast and fun! It will take a couple of times out so the crew knows the boat and how to trim it for best performance, the ride is worth it! If a mini-TP52 that you can trailer to other venues is something on your radar, the new C&C 30 is a must see! The red boat is in Buffalo for a few more days then going to Youngstown where the RCR Yachts white boat demo is located. To arrange for a sea trial to get your adrenaline going contact your local RCR Yachts broker, the fun factor is worth the effort!
Thanks Will, I’ll remember that wild ride for a long time!

Here’s a link to the YouTube video of  Rick’s wild ride!

Racing Around the US – July is Hot!

nyabinghi_edgarWaters around the U.S. were buzzing with the excitement of C&C 30 OD racing in July.  In California, Ed Feo and his team on Loco won first overall in the ULDB class in the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race. The 81-mile course takes the fleet from Santa Barbara, around Anacapa Island, and finishes in King Harbor (Los Angeles). Fifty-eight boats competed.

“The highlight of the race was the late afternoon run from Anacapa back to the coast,” says Ed (below, left, holding silver trophy). “The breeze built to 18 knots. It was a fun ride on the C&C 30, passing 50-footers that had started ahead of us. All smiles on the boat and at the awards!”

EdFeo_Santa_BarbaraBill Petersen of Southern California C&C dealer Denison Yacht Sales (second from left in photo) was part of the Loco crew. “We averaged 7.5k knots over the course,” he says. “Our top speed was in the 16-knot range. The start was light, and we sailed on the wind for the first two hours, then turning onto a close reach with the wind building to 18. We finished just behind the Sleds. Great ride!”

In the waters of Long Island Sound, Paul Strauch and his team on Andiamo won The Charles Vanderlan Trophy for Best Overall Cruising Class Performance at Larchmont Race Week (first place in PHRF). Sailed over two weekends, 16 boats competed in the PHRF class, completing three light-air races. Andiamo was the winner of two races, which secured the top spot.

In Newport, RI, the C&C 30 OD fleet sailed nine races over four days at the IRC East Coast Championship. Sailing in IRC 3, the C&Cs were scored as their own sub-class, with Walt Thirion and the Themis team coming out on top. From there, the fleet moved to Martha’s Vineyard for Edgartown Race Weekend.  The three-day event featured two days of buoy racing, followed by a race around Martha’s Vineyard Island. Angus Davis and Nyabinghi won the Around the Island Race in the C&C 30 OD division (see photo, top), as well as taking home the C&C Yachts Best Overall Corrected Time Trophy. In the racing around the buoys, Jim Madden and the Stark Raving Mad VIII team were the first C&C 30 OD, and third overall  in PHRF A.

Dan Cheresh and the team of Extreme 2 traveled to Harbor Springs, MI, to compete in the Ugotta Regatta, also in July. “It was an awesome showing for the boat,” says Dan, who hails from Holland, MI. Sailing in the 13-boat fleet that made up PHRF 2, Extreme 2 finished fifth.

One-Design Racing Ahead

Five C&C 30 ODs have already registered for Storm Trysail Club’s Annapolis Fall Regatta. Dan Cheresh and his Extreme 2 team, winners of the first one-design gathering in June, will defend against Walt Thirion’s Themis team (now a two-time winner from Block Island and the IRC East Coasts) on Themis’ home waters. Also in the mix is Annapolis sailor Bob Moran and the new BobSled,  along with Jim Madden and the Stark Raving Mad VIII team coming off a strong Edgartown event.

Looking ahead to Quantum Key West Race Week, seven teams, including Nigel Biggs and the Checkmate team from the UK, are currently registered, along with teams from around the U.S. The fleet is expected to easily top double digits by January. 

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