Chris and Karen Lewis’ J-44 took first place in ORC in the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, their second Southern Ocean Racing Conference event. They also won the best performance award for any boat over 25 years old. Made up of a crew of local and east coast sailors, Kenai finished the 161 nm course in 16 hours 56 minutes and corrected 27 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.
Accompanying the Lewis’ was J-44 Vamp and Commodore of Storm Tri-Sail Club, Lenny Sitar. With another J-44 owner sailing, there was ample experience onboard.
The winds were 20 to 30 knots out of the east making for a course record run of 10 hours 18 minutes for Wizard, a 74 foot mini-maxi.
Kenai reached speeds of 17 knots; at one point they were catching 56 and 57 foot boats ahead of them before their Code Zero sail split in two in a gust.
Running down the reef that was a lee shore, Chris said, "Everything was fine until we were hit by a 30 knot squall in front of the beam with the A4 spinnaker up. Suddenly we were charging at the reef at night with a big kite to dowse."
After two successful races, Kenai is now leading the SORC Islands in the Stream Series, which wraps up with a race from Miami to Havana March 14-18.