Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Huge J Fleet @ SW NOOD Annapolis

J/105 one design sailboat sailing upwind

(Annapolis, MD)- Looks like it will be a stellar turn-out for this weekend's SW NOOD Regatta sailing on Chesapeake Bay. 210+ boats to enjoy a sunny, bright weekend in the 80s and warm southerlies-- at least that's the forecast from Meteo Norteamericano-- one hopes NOAA Marine meteorologists have got it right for once.  The J Fleet is enormous with 117+ boats attending (nearly 60% of the entire NOOD fleet) and representatives from across the spectrum of one-design classes and coming from all points of the compass across the Eastern seaboard- from Toronto, Ontario, Canada (our ice hockey mad friends from way up North) down to Houston, TX (our Tex-Mex bronco-busting cow hands from the real South) and from Boston, MA (that sport crazy town renowned for the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics- what else is there?) out to Chicago, IL (another sport crazy town).  Here's a class-by-class report and some of the leaders to watch for this weekend.
J/109 one-design sailboat sailing around markThe eight boat J/109 One-Design class will have class champions Rick Lyall and Bill Sweetser vying for honors in this closely fought fleet.  Rick's J/109 STORM is dashing south from winning the first day sailing at American YC Spring Series to participate in the first event of the J/109 East Coast Championship.  And, rumor has it Bill Sweetser's RUSH is ready to rock-n-roll.  Should be an interesting match up that sets the standard for the rest of the J/109 season series!

The J/105 One-Design class has twenty-five boats showing up along with some past class champions.  Amongst them will be teams like Jack Biddle's RUM PUPPY, Andrew Kennedy's BAT IV racing with Drake Johnstone as tactician, Jim Rathbun sailing HEY JUDE who finished third in the 2009 North American Championship, Bob Reeves on A-TRAIN, Carl and Scott Gitchell on TENACIOUS and Travis Weisleder on LUCKY DOG.  All these boats are well-sailed and any one of these boats are capable of winning or getting podium finishes.

J/80 one-design sailboats sailing downwindWith thirty-five boats, the J/80 One-Design class is by far the biggest at the regatta.  The J/80s are racing the fourth event in the 2010 USA Tour that leads up to the Worlds in Newport.  A strong Texas contingent is showing up, including past World Champion Terry Flynn on B-TEAM, class leaders Jay Lutz and Gary Kamins on FIRED UP, and Bruno Pasquinelli.  The Massachusetts teams from around Boston/Buzzards Bay are fielding some remarkably strong crews, including past J/105 North American and Key West Champion Brian Keane racing SAVASANA, past J/105 New England Champion and Sonar Champion Henry Brauer who has Stuart Johnstone aboard as tactician sailing RASCAL and Henry de Groot on WIRED.  The locals from Annapolis who expect to give everyone a serious run for the money include Ken Mangano's MANGO, Brian Robinson's ANGRY CHAMELEON, Aaron Galvin's WILLY T and Chris Johnson's DRAGONFLY.

In the J/22s, twenty-two boats will include a strong local contingent comprised of the current J/22 Midwinter and World Champion Greg Fisher racing WHAT KINDA GONE and Jeff Todd on HOT TODDY going up against some of the Rochester gang such as Chris Doyle on SOLID LAYER and Travis Odenbach on INSTIGATOR.

J/24 one-design- world championships- annapolisFor the fifteen J/24s sailing, local legend Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET (remember him leading the J/24 Worlds for a day or so?) will be leading the charge and still teaching some of the kids new tricks on how to get around the race track like the crafty old fox that he is.

The J/30s and J/35s are each eleven boats strong! That's a terrific turn-out for these two classes and familiar names like BIG KAHUNA, CHAOS, REBEL YELL, MEDICINE MAN, BAD COMPANY, AUNT JEAN, MAGGIE, BAD GIRL will be mixing it up with everyone for bragging rights in these perennial one-design classes.   More news soon.  You can follow the action at Sailing World's site.