Saturday, October 21, 2017

J/Fest Southwest Preview

J/105 sailing Galveston BayCelebrating the 40th Anniversary of J/Boats!
(Seabrook, TX)- This coming weekend, the waters of Clear Lake and Galveston Bay will come alive again with dozens of J/sailors competing for honors in the 8th annual J/Fest Southwest Regatta, hosted by the always gracious Lakewood YC members.  The event features one-design racing for J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/105s (who are also using it as a tune-up/ training regatta for the upcoming J/105 North Americans), J/109s, and two classes of J/PHRF boats ranging from J/27s up to a J/122!

As part of celebrating J/Boats’ 40th Anniversary, the kick-off event for the regatta will be the “spectator-friendly” LEGENDS RACE sailed on Friday afternoon on Clear Lake, literally right in front of Lakewood YC!  The event can be viewed from Barge 295 (formerly, The Turtle Club).  The participating “Legends” are:  Scott Young, Farley Fontenot, Jay Lutz, and Jeff Johnstone (President of J/Boats).  The sailors will be racing borrowed J/24s from the Houston J/24 Fleet.  And, spectators can follow the “live” video broadcast on Barge 295’s Facebook page for a live feed of the event.

Seventy boats have signed up which will make the event truly EPIC! No one will believe a hurricane had just ravaged the Houston/ Galveston Bay coastline; such is the amazing turnout of volunteers and support from friends across the nation.  The 330+ sailors will be looking forward to the amazing LYC shoreside entertainment, it starts with pool-side talent when the racers return from the course on Saturday, followed by a great dinner and then more live music in the evening! Pretend like you’re 35 again, stick around, and have fun!

The biggest class at the regatta is the J/105s, most of whom are also participating in the J/105 North Americans the following week, also hosted by Lakewood YC.  Many strong local crews have upped the ante and have great crews; such as Mark Masur’s TWO FEATHERS from Fort Worth Boat Club, Bill Zartler’s DEJA VOODOO from LYC, Uzi Ozeri’s INFINITY from LYC, JB Bednar’s STINGER from LYC, Bill Lackenmacher’s RADIANCE from LYC.    Visiting crews include some of the top crews in the J/105 class, such as J/105 NA Champion Bruce Stone’s GOOD TRADE from St. Francis YC and Rick Goebel’s SANITY crew from San Diego YC- a winner of the San Diego NOOD Regatta.

The J/70s are bringing their best local heroes to the event, and at fifteen boats the next largest fleet in the regatta. Perhaps top seed goes to past J/80 World Champion Glenn Darden and crew on HOSS from Fort Worth Boat Club, on-board as tactician is Olympic Gold Medallist Jonathan McKee as tactician.  Giving them a serious run-for-the-roses will be other top traveling teams like Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE, also from Ft Worth BC, Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT, and Jay Lutz’s ZOUNDS HEARING.

At a round dozen boats and fielding the third largest fleet of sailors in the event are the J/24 teams!  Featured are top local crews like Natalie Harden’s GIGGLES from Austin YC, one of the top women skippers in the class; Chris Holmes’ BADMOON from Dallas Corinthian YC; Stu Juengst’s VANG GO from Austin YC; and Tonja Holmes-Moon’s SIREN 2.0 from Dallas Corinthian YC.

Fielding a fleet of fifteen boats and fourth largest fleet (in terms of number of sailors) are the J/22s.  Hard to handicap this group, nevertheless several teams have done well in regional events in the past, like Chris Moran’s TILT, Danny Pletsch’s SKETCHY, Stu Lindow’s SOUTHERN BELLE, Dov Kivlovitz’s USA 951, and Anne Lee’s HELMS A LEE.

Sailing as a four-boat class will be the largest big-boat one-design- the J/109s.  The frightful thing about this class is they are all about dead even.  In short, it’s whom they bring to the table in their crews that may make the difference between “lights-out” over the horizon, or shrimping the spinnaker at the leeward mark.  While no one ever expects the latter, most are banking on the horizon job scenario; teams like Albrecht Goethe’s HAMBUG (a past winner), David Christensen’s AIRBORNE (another winner); Andy Wescoat’s HARM’S WAY (another winner) and Tom Sutton’s LEADING EDGE (yet, another winner).  So, will be interesting to see how the cards are played in this quartet!

Finally, in the J/PHRF world, the big boat class in PHRF A (Asym chutes), led by JD & Susan Hill’s gorgeous J/122 SECOND STAR.  They will be chased hard on handicap by Scott Spurlin’s J/88 FIORNA-J, Dan Sullivan’s J/92S LITTLE JOE, and Dan Kelsey’s J/80 HARMATTAN (who hails from Dillon YC in Colorado and Puerto Vallarta YC in Mexico).   PHRF B class (Sym chutes), will be led by Beverly Caldwell’s J/40 SHAKEN NOT STIRRED, with two J/29s in hot pursuit (John McCuthen’s SUPERGIRL and Glenn Stromme’s PRESS TO MECO), and Gary Trinklein’s J/27 TOCCATA hoping to be in the same zip code when the bigger boats finish (as a result, he’s win!).  For more J/Fest Southwest Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.