Wednesday, April 28, 2010

American YC Spring Series

J/44 one-design sailboat- 
sailing American YC spring series

Great Sailing for J One-Design Classes

(Rye, NY)- Eighty one teams are participating in the AYC Spring Series.  And, as usual, being the wonderful hosts that they are for the opening of the Long Island Sound offshore sailing season, the team at AYC did a remarkable job to run five to six races (depending on course and class) this past weekend in the western reaches of the Sound.  Sailing within site of downtown NY and it's eponymous Empire State Building, the AYC Race Committee ushered the sailors out on the water Saturday morning with some degree of protestations as it looked like a proverbial mill pond out in the middle between the Long Island and Connecticut shorelines.  Nevertheless the AYC PRO's on both the East Course and the West Course persevered, the wind settled into the SSW building from zero up to 13 knots by late afternoon, enabling the East course to run four races and the West course three on what turned out to be a gorgeous, albeit challenging, day for sailing.  By Sunday, the same ginormous Low Pressure system that was terrorizing the American Midwest and South with tales of the world's largest and longest lasting F4 power tornado cutting a 200 mile buzz-saw path several miles wide through the southern heartland turned out to be true, unfortunately.  With thousands of lightning bolts spraying the landscape per hour, there was simply nowhere to hide in that region.  However, the explosive cocktail of warm Gulf of Mexico winds and cold Arctic/ Canadian air masses colliding with brutal fury dissipated by the time the continental-spanning monster front hit the NY region.  Luckily for the sailors, the forecasted 0 knots of wind gusting to 0 knots and incessant drizzle magically transformed into a great day of sailing in Easterly breezes.  With only two races scheduled for Sunday, both course started the first series of races in the 6-10 knot wind range and increased to 12-16 knots by the end of the second race.

The winning formula for success on Saturday in the southwest breezes was fairly typical for the conditions-- it meant playing shifts towards the right-middle of the course, staying in wind streaks and less adverse ebb-tide before sailing across the Sound to the windward mark placed near the Long Island shore.  Sunday, the strategies changed quite dramatically with easterlies and strong ebb.  As large cloud cells rolled through, the wind direction varied from 70 to 90 degrees, with enormous, gusty wind streaks filling in from both sides of the course.  While certainly keeping the RC mark boats on their toes, the tacticians had their hands full keeping their boats in the hunt for good positions to close out the first weekend of sailing.

J/122 one-design sailboat- 
cruising- racingThe J/122 One-Design class saw Tom Boyle and Mike Callahan aboard WINGS figure out the tricky conditions and sail into contention in this tightly fought class, with three firsts and three seconds to be winning by a scant one point margin over Andrew Weiss' family racing CHRISTOPHER DRAGON that managed to garner a 3-1-1-3-2-1 tally.  Lying third is Barry Gold and Jamie Anderson sailing SUNDARI to 2-3-4-2-3-5 finishes.

Jim Bishop and his fun-loving crew aboard their J/44 GOLD DIGGER managed to stay amongst the leaders, hanging onto third place after the weekend in the J/44 One-Design class, sailing to a 5-4-2-3-3-4 score.  Showing some great form were Jeff Willis on CHALLENGE IV and Bill Ketcham on MAXINE.  Both Jeff and Bill stepped up their games this year and sailed consistently to top the leader board.  Bill's MAXINE is currently first with a 1-1-4-4-1-2 record and Jeff's CHALLENGE IV is lying second with 4-3-5-5-2-1 finishes.  The J/44 One-Design Class continue to enjoy fantastic racing with their "class matched/supplied" one-design sails.  Draw each sail out of a hat and off you go!  It's been a terrific formula for success.  Look out for another large J/44 class for this year's Storm Trysail Club Bermuda Race.

J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing
 around windward markThe J/105 One-Design class has a strong turnout of seventeen boats, largest in the AYC Spring Series.  The J/105s saw class leaders like Damian Emery on ECLIPSE and Joerg Esdorn/ Duncan Hennes on KINCSEM rise to the top of the fleet, running first and second, respectively, after five races with just two points separating them.  Hanging onto third place overall is Harald Edegran and Jeremy Henderson on CONUNDRUM.  The current North American Champion Bruce Stone / Scott DeWeese racing POWERPLAY are fourth and George and Alex Wilbanks are fifth sailing REVELATION.

In the IRC 40 Class, Thomas Carroll's J/133 SIREN SONG sailed to a 4-1-1-6-1-1 tally to be leading their class by four points.  Lying third is Ron Richman's J/133 ANTIDOTE and fourth is George Petrides' J/120 AVRA.  Seems like the SIREN SONG gang were sand-bagging the first race to lull their competitors into complacency then simply blew them out of the water-- four bullets in six races in this hotly contested class is strong, keep on rolling next week!

J/109 one-design sailboatJ/109s are racing IRC35 Class against a fleet of well-sailed, similar sized, competitive boats.  This group, too, had to avoid enormous pitfalls on the race course in order to stay in contention.  The J/109s are packing the top of the leader board.  Mike Brown's MISCHIEF is tied for first with a 4-3-3-2-4 record.  Lying third is Adrian Begley's MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN with a 5-5-5-1-3 score.  Rick Lyall's STORM was leader after the first day with a 6-1-1 record but did not sail on Sunday's race.  Watch out if next weekend sees them sail another five races and they get to drop another DNC score, they could leap into top three contention overnight!

Always a leader in PHRF was the J/29 HUSTLER sailed by Tony Esposito.  In fact, in Saturday's light air and flat water conditions, their J/29 was devastating, often hanging with or sailing by the J/105 One-Designs with their large masthead rig and beautiful looking genoas...still a killer boat after all these years!  Their 3-3-1-1-1 record speaks for itself, leading their ten boat PHRF class by three points.  Photo credits- Alan Clark/ Photoboat

For more race and sailing information on the American YC Spring Series.