KEY WEST, Fla. – A stellar list of domestic and international sailors are competing aboard 112 boats at the Key West 2012 sailing regatta that continues through Friday off the Florida Keys.

America's Cup veteran Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, Md., is calling wind shifts and course decisions for Quantum Racing, which leads the TP52-foot class and captured the Audi Med Cup Series championship two of the last three years. Doug DeVos of Grand Rapids, Mich., is steering the boat.

Bella Mente, a team led by skipper Hap Fauth of Minneapolis, is racing another 52 boat from the Audi Med Cup. Fauth has chartered Team Origin 1851, owned by a British syndicate that cancelled plans to mount an America's Cup campaign due to a rules alteration as well as funding challenges.

Two new 52-foot designs have debuted. Highland Fling XII, owned by Irvine Laidlaw of Monaco, features new developments such as twin rudders and electronic winches to trim sails. Peter Holmberg, another America's Cup veteran from the United States Virgin Islands, is Highland Fling's tactician.

Other America’s Cup veterans include Brad Butterworth of New Zealand,
Italian Tomasso Chieffi and German Adrean Stead.

The largest class of is the Melges 32 with 19 entries. Samba Pa Ti, skippered by John Kilroy of Los Angeles, and Warpath, owned by Steve Howe of San Diego are favored, according to class experts.

Race teams hail from the U.S. and 17 other countries. Officials are hoping to get in 10 separate races prior to the end of the regatta Friday.

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Quentin Langeoire

beautiful sailing

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