Friday, June 17, 2016

J/111 North Americans Preview

J/111 Utah sailing Chicago North Americans (Chicago, IL)- For the third time, the J/111 North American Championship will be sailed on Lake Michigan and the host for 2016 will be Chicago Yacht Club, with the fleet of fifteen boats from five states across the country sailing out of Belmont Harbor.  With four days of racing planned, the fleet could easily see over ten races sailed from Thursday to Sunday.  The event is being held in conjunction with the HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD Regatta that is also taking place out of CYC’s facilities in Monroe Street and Belmont.

Notably absent from defending their honor for a historical “three-peat” is Dick Lehmann’s WIND CZAR, apparently having hung up his hat in favor of tackling the world of J/70s instead!  Between the first two J/111 NA’s in Chicago, IL and Harbor Springs, MI there has not been one team, other than WIND CZAR, that has cracked the top five overall in both events; such is the degree of competitiveness within the J/111 class!

J/111 Spaceman Spiff sailing Chicago North AmericansThis year’s event features several new participating owners as well as many of the 111 class veterans from many Great Lakes campaigns.  Last year’s Chicago-Mac winner, Richard Hobbs’ HOBGOBLIN from Naples, FL, is hoping the magic that prevailed in that race may help around the buoys in Chicago.  Then again, the KASHMIR trio (Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson & Mike Mayer) are hoping their runaway win in the Goose Island Colors Regatta earlier this summer translates into some serious “mojo” for their performance this coming weekend!  Having been second in the first NA’s, no question Len Siegal’s LUCKY DUBIE is betting on the fact that his crew can brew up yet another weed-whacker blender-ful of “whupass” and show everyone how it’s done!  However, having a 1st and 2nd in Key West Race Week sailing J/111s, Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF crew from Cleveland, OH are no shrinking violets and are no strangers at winning regattas.  Having placed 2nd in the Harbor Springs NA’s and also won the Chicago-Mac Race in 111s, Great Lakes legend David Irish from Harbor Springs, MI is hoping his crackerjack team on NO SURPRISE still have it in them to not only surprise themselves, but everyone else, too!  Don’t forget that lurking within the top five in many major regattas are both Bill Smith’s WOOTON from Bay Harbor, MI and Brad Faber’s UTAH from Owosso, MI; J/111s sailing North Americanseither boat could be the dark horse of the event (note to self- on WOOTON is Alan Terhune- recent J/22 World Champion from Annapolis, MD).

So much for the class veterans.  Some of the “newer kids on the block” that have a season or two of racing J/111s are beginning to show they are moving up the learning curve quite rapidly.  Perhaps the most eye-opening performances have been by long-distance traveler Bennet Greenwald from San Diego YC in California; his PERSEVERANCE crew are quick and smart.  Past Great Lakes J/109 Champion, Kevin Saedi, is sailing a new MOMENTUS with a crew from Chicago. Rich Witzel’s crew on ROWDY will include past Etchells 22 World Champion Jud Smith to help on speed and strategy.  Then, you have Mark & Colin Caliban’s NO QUARTER, John Kalanik’s PURA VIDA, Tracy Brand’s SOLUTION and Carl Hanssen’s VARIANCE, all sailing their first J/111 NA’s ever.  Should be fun.  And, it will be a challenge for all.  Sailing photo credits- Cate Brown. For more J/111 North American Championship sailing information