Tips and Tricks to Help You Save Time and Money!  Send us your tips

Less than $100/pp/Night!

Share and Save

Find Crew

Save on Airfare

Save on Vehicles

Save on Auto Rental

Try Camping

Have a  Plan

Tips from Veterans

   El Ocaso

   Rhumb Punch


Lunatic Fringe on Expenses

Campaigning one's boat - no matter how small - for a full week in the southernmost point in the United States is not an inexpensive proposition. However, the perception that one has to have a maxi-boat budget to enjoy one of the ultimate experiences in sailboat racing, is dispelled by the boat owners who have been sharing their ideas with us over the years. 

We welcome your feedback and ideas. Please email us.

The majority makeup of the Key West fleet is not 70 foot sleds, Farr 40s and IRC 50 footers who may stay in 5-star hotels and fly first class. The many "smaller to mid-size" one design and PHRF classes feature some of the most competitive racing in Key West, and at the risk of stating the obvious, a smaller boat translates into fewer crew and proportionally less expenses across the board.

How does the boat owner on a budget make this alluring event part of his or her racing calendar? Start by thinking out of the box..... One this page well share some things we've learned and hope that you'll send us your helpful hint, too.
Please contact us!





Race Week for less than $100 per person per night!

Tips from:

The Accommodation Center



Save on transportation costs and meals with these host hotels:

Cypress House - great location - in room fridge, elaborate continental breakfast - teams can take a few rooms that share baths with each other - walk to the Harbor - no need for a car.

Budget Key West – in room fridge, microwave – walk to Historic Seaport and the Tent 

1800 Atlantic Condominiums - located 1 1/2 miles from the Tent - a 2 bedroom 2 bath spacious condo will sleep 6 with full kitchen and washer/dryer. ( $428 per person based on 6 in the 2 bedroom unit.)

Truman Annex Shipyard Condo's - 2 bedroom 1 bath will sleep 4 - full kitchen, less eating out - ($510.12 per person).

Learn more on the   Accommodations Page

Key West regular Kerry Klingler and his J/80 crew keep expenses down by seeking lower priced hotels near Stock Island where his boat is moored. "All we need is a place to sleep - it doesn't have to be fancy." After all, the island is only 3 miles long - Race Headquarters and the Duval Street nightlife are always within striking distance.



Share and Save

Pool resources and make the regatta more affordable. Racing with crew and or fellow owners willing to share expenses is a common and effective angle for Key West owners. More and more, there are crews willing to share in the costs of a Key West campaign. Lunches and a special team dinner during the week and then "on your own" works for many owners. Groceries and eateries with reasonable prices are easy to find. 

"You can count on Rhumb Punch for Key West this year and years to come. It is the last one off our schedule!  We are a split expenses effort rather than owner pay all (so money is not a problem). NOOD regattas are okay but they are not Key West quality. They should not be compared as similar buys". 

 Linda and John Edwards





Find Crew

The Scuttlebutt crew board fills up with people looking to crew and willing to share expenses. Some even offer to share their local homes or accommodations. Be sure to check it out.


Save on Airfare


We all miss the airfare bargains of the past, but there are still ways to save here. Travel bureaus and online services are eager to help you find a good deal.  A round trip flight from anywhere in the U.S. to Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Ft Myers, Marathon, or West Palm Beach is cheaper than one that includes the connector to Key West.

Your crew can get an inexpensive car rental to and from Key West and save significant airfare - the layover and flight time nearly add up to the drive time (3-1/2 hour drive from Miami)

The ferry is another connector option - the terminal is about two blocks from the Key West Express


Save on Vehicles

Bicycles and scooters are primary means of transport for many sailors in Key West. Good for the environment and great for your budget.

Save even more at the Moped Hospital.

Special 10 percent race week discount on scooter rentals!

Moped Hospital  -    601 Truman Avenue -   Key West Fl 33040

1-888-296-1625  -


Save on Auto Rental

Budget Rent A Car

The official car rental supplier for Acura Key West 2007

Reservations: call toll free 1-800-772-3773

Make reservations online at 



How About a


Boyd's Key West Campground

6401 Maloney Avenue

Stock Island
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 294-1465
Fax: (305) 293-9301

Oceanfront RV and tent resort camping minutes from Duval Street. Relax lounging by the pool, or enjoy area snorkeling, fishing, diving and beaches.

Family owned and operated for over 40 years, our lush tropical park provides the perfect setting for family vacations, intimate getaways or an escape from cold winters.


More Tips


Bruce Bingman, a Mumm 30 owner from Annapolis, Maryland has carefully worked out Key West trailering specifics and his recommendations include borrowing a trailer, ensuring permits are in order to avoid surprise fines, and even tucking a few cases of low cost beverages and supplies in the boat ahead of time.  
  KEY WEST    


Around Town Guide


Key West Marinas

Mopeds & Bicycles

Tourist Information



Looking for the perfect place to stay?   


Click here to learn more....   


The Accommodation Center can provide you with rates, availability and amenities on hundreds of vacation accommodations in the Florida Keys, Key West and the South Gulf Beaches. South Beach and Ft. Lauderdale.

The Accommodation Center




   BACK TO TOP    

Hit The Road, by Rick Wesslund                          From Sailing World June 2006

Many owners consider traveling to events a daunting undertaking, but that shouldn’t be the case. The first time I did Key West I worried about everything, but now it’s a real snap-fit program. Here’s what I’ve learned after four years of hauling my program cross country to Key West.

1. Get your crew pumped up and make Key West (or any other event for that matter) your goal, your destination. You want to get to wherever it is as a team. It’s a reward to work toward, and it keeps motivation high during the season knowing you’re going to the most competitive event in the country.

2. Plan early. For Key West, the first week of July is the time to start getting things in line – your trucking company, the boatyard you’ll use, your slip, and your meals and accommodations.

3. Find a reliable rigger. My rigger travels with the boat. It’s trucked to Florida in December and the rigger goes down early to put it together. You can share the cost of the rigger with other teams, especially teams with similar boats because the rigger knows what needs to be done.

4. Get reliable local contacts who know the area, the services, and the people. The first time you go, take the time to meet these folks.

5. Get a slip early.

6. Spread the cost by having crewmembers pay for their airfare, and have them contribute to the housing and meal budgets.


Off to the Races

- Sailing a trailerable boat opens up a whole world of premier regattas, but getting there requires careful planning
By John & Linda Edwards   from Sailing May 2006

“... the excitement and fun of sailing at Key West Race Week is worth all the preparation, which is why we’ve been driving our J/29 Rhumb Punch to Key West from our Solomons Island, Maryland home since 1999.”

“Big ticket regattas like Key West, the St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta and Charleston Race Week require planning that starts months before leaving home. The team needs hotel rooms or a house for a week, a crane to launch and recover the boat, a slip for the boat, permits for traveling and escorts across certain bridges, confirmation of entries and ratings, and most importantly, a menu.”

"In addition to the extra steps we have to take to plan for the land-based portion of the journey, we have to do all the other things common to all racing programs, regardless of the size of the boat.”

“Dealing with the crane situation is another thing we’ve perfected over the years. The trick is to be ready when it’s your turn, but there is a lot to do to get ready before the crane even comes into play. We use a company called Stout Marine and we keep in close touch via cell phone with Tom Stout to make sure everything happens in a timely fashion. There is a list you want to get on, but it all comes down to making sure you’re ready at the right time. Crane operators don’t sit around and wait for crews to get their boats ready. They plunk them in the water one after another like clockwork.

"When we finally get to Key West, the routine is one we’ve developed over the years that we quite like. We unhook the trailer and head over to Sloppy Joe’s bar where we reconnect with sailing friends we sometimes haven’t seen for months. Although there is a lot of work to be done, that’s something we’ll worry about another time, because that time in Sloppy Joe’s is when it all becomes real. The weather has changed from frigid to downright warm and the rather stressful job of getting the boat to Florida is over. It’s that combination of trading in your parka for a pair of shorts and an ice cold beer shared with good friends that lets you know it’s time for the sailing vacation to begin.”



Last, but not least, a timeless all time favorite from the Sailing World web site -  Posted by Rob Lehnert on February 02, 1999 at 15:54:10: In Reply to: Thanks. I'm curious, Steve, what you're missing? posted by John Burnham on February 02, 1999 at 14:03:06:

"What a bargain! Compared to going to a regatta like Block Island Race Week, Key West was a bargain. Our boat, a Tripp 26 - LUNATIC FRINGE, is owned by my brother Bill & I. Whenever we go away with the boat, the team shares all of the living expenses. Excluding the boat (sails, hardware, etc.) from the expenses, We found the Key West Race Week was cheaper than Block Island Week.

"Broken down among 6 people, it came to $400 a head. That included, a condo at the Truman Annex, all food in the condo & on the boat, party tent bracelets. Not bad for a week in the sun.

"On top of that, Bill & I picked up the race entry fee, & fuel for the car, crew gear (t-shirts, etc.) All total, it was about a $1000. Still not bad for a week in Jan.

"This was our first time at Key West Race Week, but on adding up the # comparing it to the last 4 years at Block Island Race Week, this was cheaper. Hell, by the time we're finished with lunch, beer, and a round of drinks at the bar after the race, it still costs about $100 to race on a Sun. afternoon locally.

"I think everyone should stop crying about the cost of these regattas. Anyone with so much as a J-24 can race. You don't need a big hi-tech boat. The competition in PHRF is still better than anything at home on Eastern Long Island. If you need any info for your article, please drop me a line. Thanks, Rob"


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