With 58 entries from 10 nations the Melges 24 fleet will once again be the largest competing at Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004.
Alongside the overseas entries boats are travelling from all over North America for this hugely popular winter regatta.
Among the hot favourites for the 2004 Key West Melges 24 title are reigning World Champion Shark KAHN, 2002 World Champion Harry MELGES who is helming for Jeff ECKLUND, 2001 World Champion Flavio FAVINI with Switzerland's Franco ROSSINI, Silvio SANTONI with Franco Maria RAO'S crew from Italy, France's Sebastian COL with the P&P Racing Team and Norway's Kristian NERGAARD.
Other's to watch this week include Dawn Riley, making her first appearance in a major Melges 24 event, Maurice "Prof" O'CONNELL from Ireland whose previous Melges 24 credits include a win at the UK Nationals, Peter STONEBERG who is taking a break from his Farr 40 sailing to enjoy the delights of the Melges 24 once again, Brit's Stuart RIX, Paul BROTHERTON and Martin WEDGE, and from the US Sheldon ECKLUND, Bruce AYRES, Philippe KAHN and Mike DOW.
We'll also be watching Britain's Black Seal Team with interest. Following three hugely successful years with North Sail's Jamie LEA at the helm and a full professional crew, owner Richard Thompson has decided to take up the challenge of helming the boat himself this year. Although a little out of practice, Richard was a very successful big boat helm once upon a time so he just might surprise a few people once he gets his hand back in!
Racing starts on Monday 19 January and daily reports, interviews and all the latest fleet news will be posted on the event website at the address below.