Saturday, June 9, 2018

J/120 ILLYRIA Flies in Epic Gulfstreamer Race

GulfStreamer Race start (Daytona Beach, FL to Charleston, SC)- Hosted and organized by the Halifax River YC in Daytona Beach, FL, the 11th Biennial Gulfstreamer Offshore Challenge took place on Memorial Day weekend. The race, from Daytona Beach to Charleston, SC, covers 226 miles, and has been recognized as the most prestigious offshore sailing event in Central Florida and the Southeastern Atlantic Coast. What is unusual about it’s format is that it is characterized by the “Race within a Race” concept and its long range tactical difficulties.  The race from Ponce Inlet to the Main Street pier is 10nm long, the sprint “race within a race” portion, gives every crew two chances at winning.

The weekend started off on Thursday, May 24 with the traditional Rum Party- it is a wildly popular event for the crews, according to many sailors that survived to tell the tale. It might as well been described as the Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto Party!

NOAA Gulfstreamer weather forecastThe race itself started on Friday, May 25 and ended up being a fast race due to the forecasted near-gale-force winds from the southeast. NOAA’s predictions were for widespread showers and squalls on Friday, winds from the ESE to SE 19-27 kts, gusting to 40 kts.  By nightfall and going into Saturday, the winds would diminish somewhat and veer from SE to SW as a result of Alberto’s movements NNE, blowing 20-26 kts, gusting to 35 kts, with scattered showers and squalls.

The weather was tailor-made for John Keenan’s J/120 ILLYRIA from Charleston, SC.  While taking a 3rd on the short 10nm sprint to the inlet, they simply knocked it out of the park on the offshore 216nm leg, the J/120 reveling in the rough, windy, gigantic waves, posting a corrected time of 24:02:06 to win that leg and the race overall! 

The ILLYRIA crew led a fun and raucous awards ceremony and celebration at the Charleston Yacht Club on Sunday afternoon. Congratulations to Keenan and crew for a job well done in challenging weather conditions.  For more Gulfstreamer Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.