Monday, March 25, 2019

Not Fake News! BAD NEWS Wins J/22 Midwinters!

J/22s sailing Midwinters off Florida
(Fort Walton Beach, FL)- Perhaps it was more like a story of “The Incredibles”! Three J/22 World Champions joined forces at the J/22 Midwinter Championship this year, and they didn’t need much luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day to take home the title. On BAD NEWS, New York Yacht Club’s Mike Marshall, with crew Zeke Horowitz and Todd Hiller, never finished lower than fifth in the 30-boat fleet, and were able to hit the docks early to let their fellow competitors battle it out for the remaining places. Marshall won the J/22 World Championship in 2016 in Kingston, ON Canada with Hiller as crew, and Horowitz won as skipper last fall in Annapolis, MD. Their win was well-deserved against the remarkably hot competition in sunny southern Florida.
J/22 sailboat racing off Florida
Day 1- Dead Heat Flippin’ Friday!
Thirty-one J/22s convened on the starting line for the J/22 Midwinter Championship at Fort Walton Yacht Club in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Three races took place on the inaugural day in winds between 6-12 knots.

Two teams dueled hard and both ended up at 8 points each, both logging identical finishes of a 1-2-5. Those protagonists were Kevin Doyle’s MO’ MONEY and Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS. Needless to say, those two boats are quite familiar with each other and are often thrashing it out at the top of the leaderboard.  Just behind was Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, resting in third with 14 pts.  And, just five ticks back in fourth was Chris Princing’s Team Award & Sports/ Evil Dr. Pork Chop from the greater Midwest J/22 fleet.

Marshall got off to a successful start in race one, as did Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and David Muller’s CALL THE BALL. Casey Lambert’s BLACKBURN MARINE RACING took line honors in the middle race, ahead of Kevin Doyle and Jeff Todd. Then, it was Kevin Doyle’s turn for the win, with Marshall and Todd on his tail.
J/22 sailboats- starting line at Midwinters
Day 2- Shifty, Horizon-job Saturday
A shifty weather pattern that followed a cold front challenged the fleet. In winds between 10-15 knots Saturday, Karen Glass’ PAYASO opened triumphantly, with Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP and Doug Weakly’s HNL next. Marshall then earned his second of three bullets thus far, in advance of Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and David Muller’s CALL THE BALL. Closing out the day’s final top three were Marshall, Vincent Ruder and Jeff Todd.

Marshall’s BAD NEWS flourished in the conditions, posting a 4-1-1 on the day for 9 net points in six races, a horizon job in the last two races. Discarding a 5th from race two, the 2016 J/22 World Champion not only broke the day one tie for first place, but secured a HUUUGE (not fake news) 14-point advantage for BAD NEWS over their closest competitors— Todd’s HOT TODDY.

The balance of the top five were all within five points of each other, heading into the final day of competition on Sunday. Following Todd was Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP, whose solid day shot him into third place. Then, just one notch behind him was Lambert’s BLACKBURN MARINE RACING and Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1.
J/22 Midwinters winners- Mike Marshall
Day 3- Bad News Eclipses Fleet, Or Not?
The final day produced more good winds. That was good news! Taking advantage of their tactics, speed, and confidence, the three J/22 World Champions on BAD NEWS started the day with a 4-1, then sailed home knowing they had clinched the title.  Todd’s HOT TODDY from Annapolis YC posted a 5-13-3 to secure the silver.  Meanwhile, Lambert’s BLACKBURN MARINE RACING sailed a solid 9-2-4 to finish just three points back and take the bronze.  While they were hot on the trail for a podium finish, Doyle’s Youngstown YC crew faltered on the last day, posting a 1-8-10 to finish fourth. Then, past J/22 World Champion (another one??) Mark Foster and his crew on PRESSURE DROP (with Rod “Caracas” Favela and Travis Odenbach as crew) from Corpus Christi YC rounded out the top five.
J/22 sailboats- sailing downwind at Midwinters
Marshall credited his team for doing “99 percent of the work.” He explained, “Zeke called stellar tactics upwind in a super shifty venue. Todd called breeze downwind and talked about how we were doing relative to other boats. So, I could change what I needed to if we were going slow or keep trying to do what I was doing if we were going fast.” Marshall said all the competitors would be happy to come back to Fort Walton Beach again, summarizing it was “great sailing, flat water, really shifty and a super inviting yacht club.”  For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.