Tuesday, January 16, 2018

J/90 HOT TODDY Wins F.O.R.C.

J/90 Hot Toddy wins Pensacola, FL offshore (Pensacola, FL)- The 43rd West Florida Ocean Racing Circuit, held at Pensacola Yacht Club (PYC), provided a good variety of wind conditions for the three-day series. This factor was appreciated by both local and out-of-town competitors who were all too weary of this year's active hurricane season—including Hurricane Nate, whose Oct. 8 landfall near Biloxi, MS, also caused damage to PYC's marina.

Fortunately, PYC's dockmaster, Greg Spitzer, had matters well in hand before WFORC began. A widely distributed email reassured everyone that necessary repairs were made, and along with the club's bulkhead space, three-ton hoist, and newly widened boat ramp, the regatta would start as scheduled.

PYC also offered visiting competitors' boats and trailers storage for up to one week prior to and after the regatta without any storage charge.

Last year, 30 boats competed, including five that participated concurrently in the first WFORC Ocean Race.

For 2017, the fleet totaled 14, including three who did just the Ocean Race. It is opined that the recent storms had impacted many along the Gulf Coast who normally participate in this highly competitive event.

PYC's fleet captain, John D. (Dave) Oerting, had established the Ocean Race in his desire to be all-inclusive and offer something for everyone. "It provides an option for those who aren't equipped for three days of racing; for those who don't perform well in W-L buoy races, and for those who harken back to the earlier WFORC days when the series actually included offshore racing," Oerting explained.

Clinton Edwards (Gulfport), the Gulf Yachting Association's Race Management Committee chair, was Principal Race Officer (PRO) for Friday's three races. PRO for Saturday's distance Ocean Race and the final two races on Sunday was PYC's Richard Brent.

With six races completed, competitors were allowed to drop one race score.

Class awards for first place were presented after Day 1 and Day 2. On Sunday, class awards were awarded for first, second, and third overall. However, a familiar name was called to accept the coveted Dr. Lindsay Riddle Trophy for the most competitive PHRF class. John Guy of Saint Andrews Bay YC, skippering his J/90 HOT TODDY, accepted the perpetual trophy for a record seven times!! And, for the first time, he also won the Commodore Ronald F. Richards Memorial Trophy for overall winner, Spinnaker Class A, corrected time.

Guy was understandably a little overwhelmed. He told the crowd that he considers Pensacola his second home and vacations here every year in anticipation of WFORC. He graciously thanked long-time Pensacola sailors Hunter Riddle (son of the late Dr. Riddle) and Rick Zern for having "taught me how to sail."

But, the real kudos went to his crew. "This sport, he said, "runs on people and money. The better people you have, the better you can do."

2017 WFORC overall winning crew. From left: Dan Peckham, Jupiter, FL; Rives Allen, Mandeville, LA; PYC's Vice Commodore Linda Brent; skipper John Guy, Thomasville, GA/Panama City, FL; Billy Ross, Mandeville, LA; James "Pee Wee" Chason, Pensacola, FL; John Tribaldos, Panama City, FL; and Alex Johnson, Panama City, FL.  Photo by Julie B. Connerley Add to Flipboard Magazine.