Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tactical J/Stop Regatta Debut

J/105 sailing San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)- The St Francis YC hosted the inaugural J/Stop Regatta this past weekend for one-design fleets of J/105s, J/111s and J/120s.  The format was short courses between either the club start line or off the western face of Alcatraz Island with weather marks up near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Twenty-one J/105's competed in the inaugural J/Stop.  The sailors really enjoyed the innovative format featuring more racing with shorter courses so there could be more action for skippers and crews.  An added bonus was a lower entry fee due to just enjoying a keg on the dock instead of a catered event inside the Club.

"We tried this out a few years ago at the Wickford YC in Rhode Island, with 9 races, and it was a major success.  Most of the J/105 owners reported it was the best weekend of racing they had ever had,” reported regatta organizer Bruce Stone, Past President of the J/105 Class and owner of Arbitrage #116.

Stone continued to describe the weekend’s action for the 105s, ”While we usually have 5 races on the weekend, the St. Francis and PRO John Callahan agreed to try out 8 races.  John set us up with the same long beat as the four J/111s and five J/120s so we could get some separation going into the windward mark, and a separate set of leeward gates so the downwind leg and the second upwind beat were shorter.

J/105 sailing San FranciscoWe were rarely mixing it up with the other fleets...though, of course, being J/105s there was a lot of action among ourselves at the windward and leeward marks.  With the stronger ebb in the middle of SF Bay, the RC favored the shoreside pin end of the line by a little over 10 degrees to attract some customers, and in a few races the winning move was to start at the pin, flop immediately to port and cross the fleet, well-executed by Phil Laby's team on Godot, #44, who won three races and finished second.

Arbitrage won two races by starting at the other end, at the committee boat, and tacking to port to foot out to the strong mid-bay ebb.  Ryan Simmons' Blackhawk, #40, took fewer risks, was almost always on the starting line with speed, and won the regatta without actually winning a single race.

Tom Kennelly's Wonder, #266, turned in a strong last day with a bullet on the final race to move up to third, edging out Arbitrage.

Back at the docks, teams intermingled, blenders appeared on several boats, and competitors reported how wonderful it was to actually get a chance to match up faces with boats.  With a low entry fee of just $80, or $10 per race, our expectation is that this less formal format will be tried again."

J/120s sailing San FranciscoIn the J/120 class, it was clear that Barry Lewis’ crew on CHANCE were not going to take a chance and blow their early three bullet lead on the first day of racing.  The second day saw them sail a bit more conservative and post a 2-3-2 to win class with 10 pts total.  Behind them it was a battle royale between two long-time protagonists in the 120 world- David Halliwill’s PEREGRINE and Stevie Madeira’s MR MAGOO.  After the first day of racing, the MAGOO monsters posted a 3-2-2 to have a solid hold on second place.  Meanwhile, the PEREGRINE flyers started well, but slid down the roller coaster with a 2-3-4 tally for 9 pts.  However, either the entire crew went to church Sunday morning and prayed for a more IQ points, or they found a huge can of “whupass” and drank all of it!  Indeed, their turn-around in the first two races Sunday was epic- two bullets, and easy ones at that!  They closed with a third in the last race to win their tie-breaker on 14 pts each with the MAGOO crew.  Fourth was Tom Grennan’s KOOKABURRA and fifth was Timo Bruck’s TWIST.

Peter Wagner’s crew has been on a bit of a tear lately in the J/111 class.  Having won Key West Race Week and Charleston Race Week, they now add to their collection of silverware the J/Stop J/111 class win.  Like their winning J/120 counterparts, Wagner’s TOPSY TURVY crew triple bulleted their first three races on Saturday.  They followed up with a conservative 3-1-4 on Sunday to win with 11 pts.  Richard Swanson’s BAD DOG won two races and took two 2nds on their way to securing second overall for the weekend.  Third was Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUBLE DIGIT with 17 pts overall.   Results for all three fleets can be found here   For more J/Stop Regatta sailing information