Friday, April 26, 2013

College of Charleston Crew Takes on J/70 World

J/70 MOXIE team- led by Cole Allsopp from Annapolis, MD(Charleston, SC)- Charleston Race Week attracts a broad range of competitors, and they arrive from all over the U.S. and at least six foreign countries. Among the participants in this three-day competition you’ll find full-time professional racers, sailing industry experts and talented amateur sailors, along with those who are just getting a taste of serious sailing competition for the first time.

One of the most hotly contested groups among the 18 different classes that make up the event is apt to be the J/70 Class. With 56 boats registered, this will also be the largest class at the regatta. These 23-foot long speedsters were only introduced last year, but already they’ve gained tremendous market traction.

Within the J/70 Class will be an equally broad spectrum of competitors, with plenty of nationally renowned sailors scattered across the fleet. Among those in the class who aren’t so widely known is a crew with close ties to Charleston, and they’ll be sailing on a boat they’ve christened MOXIE.

Skippered by Cole Allsopp who now lives in Annapolis, Md, Moxie’s crew includes Zeke Horowitz, Brendan Healy, and Sam Stokes – all recent graduates of the College of Charleston and former stalwarts on the school’s top-notch varsity sailing team.

The College of Charleston’s Director of Sailing, Greg Fisher, sat down with this quartet recently to hear them out on their plans for Charleston Race Week.

"Greg Fisher: You guys had a great regatta at Key West, a big one for you and the J/70 Class. How do you look forward to, and prepare for, Charleston Race Week?

J/70 one-design- sailing off Key West at Race WeekZeke Horowitz:  I think it is important to look at CRW as a completely different event than Key West. People have been in the boats for a while now, and I would imagine that the speed differences will be less in Charleston. Most importantly, though, the conditions that we will see in Charleston will be absolutely nothing like what we saw in Key West. Conditions will be changing dramatically from race to race and leg to leg, whereas in Key West, the conditions (and therefor the race track) were pretty much the same for the entire event. This will make tactics and strategy the driving force to success as opposed to KWRW where speed was most important. We will be prepared to use our local knowledge to put our boat in the right spots on the race course where we will be able to use the speed that we know we’ll have.

GF: How much time had you guys spent in the J/70 before Key West?

Cole Allsopp: Unfortunately, we had spent very little time in the boat. Fortunately that was also the case for most of our competitors. We attempted one practice day in Annapolis all together, but the breeze did not cooperate. James (Cole’s brother who sailed with them at KWRW) and Brendan sailed the boat for the Fall Brawl and we did some frostbiting. Beyond that, we spent very little time preparing.

ZH:  As far as I know, Cole, Brendan, and James spent a decent amount of time in the boat together before the event, but KWRW was really my first time in the boat, and first time crewing for Cole or sailing with either of the other two. That gave me a pretty good chance to learn the boat and get a lot of the tuning ideas in mind.

Brendan Healy:  We didn’t spend a great deal of time in the boat before the event to be honest.  James and I sailed the Fall Brawl in Annapolis with fellow College of Charleston alum, Russ O’Reilly.  I’m pretty sure Russ and I were a pretty enormous and expensive headache for James.  We figured out in no time how exactly to shrimp and shred a kite. We did, however, come away from that event with a few nuggets of knowledge. We also sailed in a practice season against one other local boat in town, but as a group we only sailed one short afternoon in Annapolis with very little breeze. So, how much time did we have in the boat before KWRW?, not much."   Please read on at Scuttlebutt's complete interview here.