Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Welles Crowned J/24 National Champ!

J/24 sailors (Blue Point, NY) – Thirty-nine teams were competing in the 2016 J/24 US National Championship, hosted by Sayville Yacht Club in Blue Point, NY; including entrants from various areas of the United States as well as Argentina, Canada, Chile and Mexico.  There were three solid days of racing, starting out with light winds and wet weather and concluding with near gale force conditions and massive Great South Bay chop on the last day.  After starting out in first place after the first day of racing, Will Welles and his team (Chris Morgan, Monica Morgan, Jeff Linton and Todd McGuire) were crowned this year’s J/24 USA National Champs!  Here is how it all went down for Welles’ crew and the rest of the fleet.

Coincidentally, for the ever-superstitious Welles, Friday the 13th brought massive amounts of good fortune to his team. Enduring light breeze (4-8 knots) and overcast/wet conditions, Welles recorded two bullets and a second for just 4 points in the three races. Carter White shadowed him with 10 points (including the day’s other race win). Then, Canadian Michael Howarth’s second-place in the final contest pushed him into third overall with 22 points.

J/24 women's sailing teamBehind Welles in the first race were Christopher Stone (who took a 20% penalty) and Nicolas Cubria of Argentina. The leaders jumbled in race two as White defeated Welles and Cubria. Welles returned to the top in the last contest, tailed by Howarth and John Mollicone.

Saturday’s racing weather improved a bit. The Great South Bay provided some welcome sunshine and breeze that began at 8-10 knots and built to 10-12 kts by the end of racing.  You know you’re having a successful regatta when after seven races, you are able to discard a third place! Such was the case for Welles team.  At the end of race day two, Carter White was still in second place and Nicolas Cubria of Argentina was sitting in third with 27 pts.

Cubria was the victor in Saturday’s first race, as Welles and Alfred Constants completed the top trio. Then Chile’s Matias Seguel bested the fleet, tracked by White and Welles. Travis Odenbach and White watched Welles cross the line first in race six, while Cubria bookended his bullets for the day by winning the last contest (Seguel and Welles followed).

The last day proved to be a formidable challenge for the J/24 crews.  With sustained winds in the mid-20s, gusts in the low 30 kts range and large waves by the day’s third and final race, some of the crews were getting pretty tired and gybing the spinnaker was becoming a bit of a gymnastics exercise for some crews.

Fortunately for Welles, they were already back on shore, able to discard their 10th race score after wrapping up the title by then with 22 points. However, the balance of the top five battled tightly until the end with Carter White earning the silver position (43 points), Chile’s Matias Seguel the bronze (47 points), with John Mollicone in fourth (48 points) and Argentina’s Nicolas Cubria in fifth (52 points). The race winners today were Cubria, Mollicone and Travis Odenbach.  For more J/24 USA Nationals sailing information