2019 Dates:
Skipper's Meeting - January 23
Race Starts - January 24
Awards Party - January 26


Recent Race News:

Helicopter photo by Boatpix. Click here to see more.

January 15, 2018
Ron O’Hanley’s frequent flyer Privateer took home the hardware at the awards presentation for the 42nd Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race on Friday, January 12 at First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery in Key West. After a year in which the Cookson 50 won the IRC Z class and finished second overall in the Fastnet Race, the team, including Storm Trysail Club Rear Commodore Ed Cesare navigating, started 2018 on a high note by winning the IRC Class, the Committee Trophy for Most Outstanding Performance in the Fleet, and the Navigator’s Trophy.  After a tricky night of light-air sailing, the top four boats in the division finished within a half-hour of Privateer, with Todd Stuart’s Swan 56 White Rhino finishing second and maintaining its grip on the SORC Islands in the Stream Series lead with only the Miami to Havana Race remaining.

Jason Carroll’s spectacularly prepared (and crewed) Gunboat 62 Elvis did double duty, winning line honors for the entire fleet, with an Elapsed Time almost 20 minutes faster than the Volvo 70 Warrior, and held on for the Corrected Time win in the Multihull Class over Joe Rome’s Simpson 48 Peregrine, last year’s Multihull Class winner.  Elvis took home the First to Finish Multihull, First in Class, and Navigator’s Trophy for Navigator Anderson Reggio, who always finds an early path to Key West. 

Anson Mulder’s Oyster 575 24 Heures cleaned up the PHRF Division again, winning both the PHRF A Class and the PHRF Fleet by more than an hour over Jim Bill, Eamonn deLisser and Horst Baier’s Farr 395 Senara, and the Navigator’s Trophy by Navigator Joe Goulet. First to Finish in the PHRF Division was James Carolla’s Class 40 Longbow, which corrected out to a Third Place finish in PHRF A, edging out the PHRF B winner, Harold Brandan’s Salona 44 Petisa by a few minutes.

Colin Whittaker’s Hunter Passage 42 Sempre Amantes broke from the pack in the Racer Cruiser Class, for a nearly five-hour win over the next boat, Amado Leon’s Jenneau Sun Odyssey 349 Lokura.

Senara and William Terry’s J-120 Tampa Girl were the class winners from Saturday morning’s return of the Conch Grinder Race. 

Thank you all for a memorable year in Key West.  We look forward to seeing you all for the finale to the SORC Islands in the Stream Series, the Miami to Havana Race, February 14, and back in Key West again next year.


January 12, 2018
Hurry Up and... Wait, What Was That?
Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer held off Todd Stuart's charging White Rhino to score the IRC Class win in the 2018 Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. The IRC Class was fraught with competitors well-versed in the delivery of bad news to opponents, from multiple Key West Race winners Steve and Heidi Benjamin on their TP52 Spookie, to Steve Sr., and Steven Murray Jr., of Decision fame, on the Volvo 70 Warrior, and the leader of the SORC Islands in the Stream Series coming into the Race, The Swan 56 White Rhino. With top flight sailors throughout the class, O'Hanley, with Storm Trysail Club Rear Commodore Ed Cesare navigating, punched their way to the top of the leaderboard in a tricky, light air race.

Anson Mulder's team on the Oyster 575 24 Heures blistered the PHRF A Class to score another PHRF division win beating Jim Bill, Horst Baier and Eamonn deLisser's Farr 395 Senara, second in the SORC Islands in the Stream Series, by over an hour. Harold Brandon's Salona 44 Petisa led the way in the PHRF B Class.

In the first year for the Racer Cruiser Class, Colin Whittaker's Hunter Passage 42 Sempre Amantes shook free from the class and led the way for a five hour class win.

Jason Carroll's Gunboat 62 Elvis challenged Warrior for first to finish by about a minute, and held on for the Multihull Class win over Joe Rome's Peregrine, which won the class in last year's race.

Sixteen year-old skipper Jason "JJ" Miller, and his crew on the most appropriately named Hobie 33 in the world (to anyone who has ever sailed a Hobie 33), Myasasaur, scored a fourth place finish in the PHRF B Class in his first Key West Race. Stu Hebb's Aerodyne 38 Thin Ice had posted a hero's time in the IRC Class, but retired after finishing, zeroing out his score after a race course incident that had his crew scratching their heads in a "wait, what was that?" moment.

Competitors will gather for the Awards Party tonight at First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery, where the overall winner of the race will be announced, and will take to the crystal clear waters off of Key West on Saturday morning for the Conch Grinder Race.

Follow the SORC Facebook Page for updates and pictures from the party.

January 11, 2018
Island Time
Key West is ready to welcome competitors in the 42nd Ft Lauderdale to Key West Race with clear blue skies and a palpable attitude of relief and resilience. The light breeze allowed just a handful of boats to get across the line as of Thursday morning.

Steven Murray's Volvo 70 Warrior took line honors just ahead of Jason Carrol's Gunboat 62 Elvis, both finishing after 6 am, to lead the IRC and Multihull classes into the barn. Steve and Heidi Benjamin's multiple Key West Race-winning TP52 Spookie was next across the line, and briefly held the IRC corrected time lead, until Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer crossed shortly thereafter and took the lead which it still holds as of this morning, with two class boats left on the course.

Steve Benjamin and the Spookie crew definitely hit the favored side of the patio at Pepe's, banging the corner to score the biggest table in the place for Thursday breakfast. Spookie reports great racing with Privateer and Denali in challenging conditions including but not limited to 50-degree shifts.

Stay tuned for more updates as the rest of the fleet trickles in throughout the day. Follow the fleet on the Kattack Tracker and watch the SORC Facebook Page for pictures and updates..

January 10, 2018
Key West Bound
The fleet eased into the 42nd Annual Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race in light upwind conditions with just a hint of chop. Five classes had clear starts and we are working their way down the beach.  They should be freed a bit as the afternoon and evening wears on and they make their way around the curve of the Florida keys. The Race record would seem to be safe for this year but as we saw last year with a late burst from Wizard to nip the old record, things are not always set in stone.

Watch the competitors on the Kattack Tracker. Watch for updates, photos and video on the SORC Facebook Page. Stay tuned for more SORC action from Key West.

January 4, 2018
Get Warmed Up
The 42nd Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race is almost upon us.  Competitors will gather for the Skippers Meeting and pre-race festivities next Tuesday night at Lauderdale Yacht Club, which along with the Storm Trysail Club have hosted the race since its inception.  Competitors will take to the course Wednesday afternoon for the 160-mile sprint to Key West, where temps are in the 60s today, while the rest of the East coast digs out of the snow.  This is the third leg of the four race SORC Islands in the Stream Series, which concludes in Havana in February.

The SORC Duty Station on the upper deck of Turtle Kraals will open up on Thursday morning and again on Friday, before the venue changes to Kelly’s Caribbean Bar and Grill (now known as First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery) for the Awards Party on Friday night.  The fun continues on Saturday morning, with the return of the Conch Grinder Race, a chance for boats to get out on the bright waters of Key West before heading home to the cold.  The Notice of Race for the Conch Grinder is available here

Watch this page for race information and the SORC Sailing Facebook page for news and updates from the event as it happens.

October 11, 2017
There and Back Again
Done properly, life tends to present an interesting journey through various phases and stages.  Great ocean races tend to enjoy these same tendencies, and take on a life of their own.  So it is with the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. 

Back in the 1970s, when the race was conceived, the Southern Ocean Racing Conference (“the Southern Circuit”) was a multi-race regatta which spanned several weeks each winter, on waters spanning Florida’s west and east coasts, before winding up in the Bahamas.  Boats sent south for the winter could participate in the Miami to Palm Beach Race in December, before heading around to St. Petersburg for the start of “the Circuit”. Quite naturally, someone thought of having a race to Key West, to get boats half of the way around to the start of the SORC, and as the nation kicked off its bicentennial year full of celebrations, the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race was born. 

Back in 1976, Key West did not have quite the assortment of marine facilities which it currently enjoys.  Finishers heading around the corner to Key West Bight were not greeted by the lovely facilities at the A&B Marina, Galleon, Conch Harbor and the like, they found shrimp boat docks, along with the sights and smells of such an operation, which put the “historic” in what is now the “Historic Key West Seaport.”  Those venturing to those docks were likely greeted by a young entrepreneur who rolled out of his Volkswagen van in a cloud of smoke that would make Jeff Spicoli proud, who could assess and collect the fees for dockage...in cash.  This not being a reliable foundation upon which to build an event, the organizers from the Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club, now in their 42nd year of working together, based the event out of the former submarine basin at Truman Annex (formerly Ft. Zachary Taylor Annex).  Given it’s proximity just on the other side of the mole from the finish line, this location resulted in epic raft-ups, parties in dockside tents set up for the event, and impromptu parties on the foredecks of the bigger boats (cough Thunderhead, cough), of various varieties of wet t-shirts, t-shirts that were wet, and water on t-shirts, removed t-shirts, not to mention various other recreational activities that today fall prey to boundaries of liability and ordinary moral decency.

The fleet stretches out along the curve of the reef.

A regular staple of the festival in the sub basin was the greased pole climb, in which an adventurous participant would climb from a float onto the end of a downward angled section of 12" PVC pipe, generously lathered with Crisco.  Those who stepped off of the pipe and onto the dock were rewarded with a bottle of Mt. Gay and the others got wet (continuing the theme from the previous paragraph). The pictures say many thousands of words....  The culmination of the “Feeder Race” weekend was the annual Conch Grinder Race, an adventure that often seemed backwards, due the downwind start or the timing of the party before the race. This wound up with finishers receiving a bombardment from the signal boat, in the form of funnelator (millenials, ask an old guy about them) and water balloons. 

Climb the Greased Pole, Win a Bottle of Mt. Gay

Raftup and party at the sub basin.

Thunderhead and Insanity, the Appropriately Named Party Location

The event grew over the course of the next decade, but with costs of running an offshore racing campaign escalated and interest diminished, the numbers of participants in the SORC waned, and participation in buoys racing picked up.  Yachting Magazine kicked off its Key West Race Week to answer this demand in 1987, held the week after the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race.  As Race Week grew in popularity and participation, fleets started arriving earlier and earlier to prepare for the week of racing ahead.  As increasing demand stressed the capacity of the growing number of dock spaces available in the growing Key West Historic Seaport, marina operators became less willing to provide weekend dockage for competitors lingering from the “Feeder Race”, and the Conch Grinder Race became a footnote, and the start of the race from Lauderdale moved from Thursday to Wednesday. 

The 42nd Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race will begin this new chapter of its story south of Port Everglades on January 10, 2018, hosted as always by Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club. As usual, the SORC Duty Station will be open on Thursday and Friday, on the upstairs deck of Turtle Kraals, overlooking Key West Bight. The Awards Party will once again be on Friday night at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar and Grill. The Conch Grinder Race returns on Saturday, January 13, 2018, with after race festivities to be announced.

Do not miss out on the action of the third race of the SORC Islands in the Stream Series.  Poke your bow offshore and join the fleet for the 160-mile sprint down around the bend to Key West. If you want to race with less pressure, there is a racer cruiser class for you, populated in part by boats that could have taken part in the race back in the early days.  Expect to be greeted in Key West by falling prices and locals happy to see you there. The final entry deadline is Friday, January 5.  See the links above for the Entry page and the Notice of Race.  Follow the SORC Sailing Facebook page for the latest information, pictures, video and stories, and www.sorcsailing.org for information on all Series races. 

Want to get out of the cold?  The SORC will race you. 
Photo credits: Joe Fema.

October 2, 2017
Island Time
As of Sunday, October 1, Key West is open for business, tourists are welcome and the Southern Ocean Racing Conference is planning to take you there.  While Key West did not completely escape Irma’s impact, the island dodged much of the devastation felt a bit farther up the island chain. Marinas, restaurants, hotels and other businesses are operational. There are two great ways for all of us to celebrate Key West’s survival: a sailboat race and a Mount Gay Rum party (or two), and the SORC is going to give you both.

The 42nd Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race will start on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, south of Port Everglades.  Hosted as always by Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club, the race will take sailors south, along the westerly curve of the Florida Keys to the island that defies time and trouble.  IRC, ORC, PHRF, Racer-Cruiser/ARC and Multihull classes are invited. The race serves as the third leg of the SORC Islands in the Stream series for 2017-18.  Lauderdale Yacht Club will host the Skippers Meeting and pre-race party on Tuesday, January 9.  The SORC duty station will be based at the top deck bar at Turtle Kraals on Thursday and Friday, as always. 

For the first time in many years, Friday night’s Award’s Party will not be the end of the festivities.  The Conch Grinder Revival Race of 2018 will take place on Saturday morning, with details to be announced.  Watch for information on this official race website and check the SORC Sailing Facebook page for information on all SORC events.  Find information about the SORC Islands in the Stream Series on the main SORC page.

September 23, 2017
Hurricane Irma Update
Florida is a little nicked up right now from Hurricane Irma, but our schedule has not changed, and we are moving forward with this event. Make your plans for January 2018.

June 22, 2017
The Race is ON!
As they have every January since 1976, competitors will gather on the waters south of Port Everglades on January 10, 2018, for the 42nd Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club, and managed by the Southern Ocean Racing Conference.  The race will be the third race of the 2017-2018 SORC Islands in the Stream Series. The Skippers Meeting and party at LYC will take place on Tuesday night, January 9, and the after-race SORC headquarters will once again be at Turtle Kraals in Key West.  The awards party will be held at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar and Grill on Friday night.

The organizers of the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race were excited when Yachting Magazine started Key West Race Week back in 1987. We regret its interruption, and look forward to working with anyone who revives this storied event.   In the meantime, plans are underway to revive the Conch Grinder Race, which fell victim to crowded docks and schedules between the Key West Race and Key West Race Week many years ago.  The Conch Grinder Race Revival will take competitors on an amusing journey on Saturday January 13. 

Watch for updates on the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race on this page. Updates on the SORC Islands in the Stream Series can be found on the main SORC page. Keep an eye on the SORC Sailing Facebook page for information on all SORC events.



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