Monday, July 28, 2014

Healy Wins J/70 North Americans

J/70s sailing North Americans in Rochester, NY (Rochester, NY)- As two-time winner of the J/70 Midwinters at Key West Race Week, no one was surprised that Tim Healy’s crew (John Mollicone, Gordon Borges and Geoff Becker) sailing HELLY HANSEN would end up be crowned as the 2014 J/70 North American Champion.  It was a tough battle all the way through the regatta for Healy to overcome numerous obstacles along the way.  What is clear is that after two years of competition, the J/70 class has achieved “parity” in terms of boatspeed and boat-handling amongst the top 25 teams, with the ultimate outcome primarily determined by good starts, sailing in clean air and minimizing massive mistakes around the race track.  That Healy did not win until his last race when his primary competitor bombed a race underscores that development.  Even more remarkable, no one in the top ten won more than one race and, in fact, every team in the top ten all counted at least one double-digit score! The average of 11th was all that was needed to finish in the top five.

The second annual J/70 North Americans was sailed in Rochester, New York and hosted by the Rochester YC.  An enormous fleet of 71 boats sailed just six races with no discards.  Unfortunately, there was no sailing on the last day due to no wind.

On the first day, it was a very tight battle for first between Healy and Brian Keane’s SAVASANA after three races were completed.   Only one point separated Healy and Keane for the top position, with Healy holding the advantage 12 points to 13. Mauricio Santa Cruz’s BRUSCHETTA from Brazil sailed well and took third place on the day with 21 points. Healy tallied a 3-3-6, while Keane managed a 5-6-2.

Thursday dawned with winds between 6-8 knots, as Jenn and Ray Wulff began the regatta with a victory. Marco Teixidor and Healy completed the top three. With sunny skies and temperatures around 70 degrees, the breeze increased to 10-12 knots in the next contest when Brian Elliott grabbed the win, and Joel Ronning and Healy followed. Santa Cruz ended the day successfully in the final bout, which saw winds build to 12-14. Keane trailed in second, and Ian Atkins in third.

On the second day of racing, two more race were completed and Keane continued to post consistent scores, with nothing lower than a 6th and moved solidly into first place with a 5-6-2-4-5 score for only 22 pts. Healy dropped to second with 33 points, and Ian Atkins sailing BOATS.COM from England moved into third with 49 pts.  Brian Elliott led the Corinthian division after the first five races.

Teams were briefly postponed on shore as the wind filled in. When it did, the breeze ranged between 6-8 knots under clear skies. Bennet Greenwald scored the victory in race four, just ahead of Martin Johnsson and Jud Smith. Joel Ronning grabbed a bullet in the next battle, as Martin Kullman and Allan Terhune finalized the top three spots.

And that is how it all ended on Saturday!  Rounding out the top five behind Healy, Atkins and Keane were Brazil’s Mauricio Santa Cruz in 4th and in 5th was Allan Terhune from Annapolis, MD.  Martin Johnsson won the Corinthian Division, with Adam Burns in second and Brian Elliott in third.

Healy praised the Race Committee, led by PRO Hank Stuart, saying, “Hank and his crew did a really great job getting races off in the tough conditions that we had. The race management was excellent.” He also complimented the welcoming hospitality at the Rochester Yacht Club. “For the J/70 Class, this is a great place to have a Championship regatta,” Healy continued. “Everything was done first-class. We enjoyed every part of it, and stayed for all the dinners. It was fun for us; we had
a great time in Rochester.”   For more J/70 North Americans sailing information