Key West organisers to manage declining Miami regatta for 2005 onwards
The Southern Ocean Racing Conference – a Florida corporation known to racing sailors around the world as “SORC” – has announced that it has reached an agreement with Peter Craig and his Premiere Racing organization, which will step in and produce the Miami event beginning in March 2005. The Marblehead, MA based company has built Terra Nova Trading Key West into the top annual keel boat event in North America and one of the elite race weeks on the international racing calendar.
“SORC has had an remarkable run,” said spokesman Bob Meagher. “However, the business of regatta management has changed over the years and it’s become too much for the clubs to handle themselves. Premiere Racing is a proven event management company – the best in the business. They are capable of taking this Miami regatta to another level, which is good for racing sailors, the performance sailing industry and our sport. We’re very pleased that the legacy of ACURA SORC will live on.”
The consortium of five Yacht Clubs was formally established in 1941, founding a series of five point-to-point races that included stops in Nassau, Key West and Havana, Cuba during the first “Southern Circuit”. Over the years the SORC has been a condensed history of American ocean racing with the circuit ultimately growing to 6 races spread over 4 weeks. It’s popularity would peak in 1973, before changes in offshore racing designs and increasing demands on the leisure time led to waning interest in distance racing. The current popular format of an intense week of windward / leeward day racing off Miami Beach made its debut in 1990. Acura has been the title sponsor at SORC since 1999.
The Miami Beach Marina will remain the Official Site for this mixed-class event (One Design / PHRF / IMS). Premiere Racing is in the process of polling boat owners, class organizations and the industry to determine the ideal racing dates going forward. The Thursday to Sunday racing format will continue with the 2005 regatta dates to be announced later this month.
“I first raced in SORC back in 1982 and was back again to compete this year,” said Premiere Racing’s Peter Craig. “This legendary event has played a meaningful role in our sport over the years. Going forward, we’re committed to growing this Miami based regatta and delivering high quality to our clients, both on the water and shoreside.”
The early response from boat owners and one design classes has been very positive. “I’m excited about this news for what it provides one design classes,” said Mumm 30 owner and Class President Nelson Stephenson. “Announcing two Premiere Racing events should create an excellent Winter schedule for visiting overseas owners as well as the many North American owners who travel south for the winter season. A Premiere Racing event means the highest quality racing and shoreside activities along with their commitment to resolve important logistical issues for trailered boats.”
“Key West Race Week presented some serious logistical challenges for the Melges 24 class which Premiere Racing resolved, enabling us to have a 60-boat fleet every year – I’m confident they can do the same in Miami,” said Harry Melges. “Miami Beach is a popular venue and will be great for our class.”
“There are some obvious synergies with our Key West event,” said Craig. “Premiere Racing will capitalize on these as we turn our immediate attention to 3 critical issues – professional race management, attracting more top level one design and PHRF competitors and resolving all boat and class logistics issues. Two of the very best Principal Race Officers in the business, Dave Brennan and Ken Legler, will ensure the race committee work is up to our Key West Race Week standards.”