Saturday, June 11, 2011

J/111 One-design Sailing- Colors Regatta 2011

J/111 one-design sailboat- racer cruiser sailing off Chicago
J/105s & J/109 Close Racing
(Chicago, IL)- The first ever J/111 One-Design regatta was held on the beautiful, azure blue waters of Lake Michigan just off the spectacular city-skyline of Chicago.  The fleet was blessed with variable conditions both Saturday and Sunday morning but by midday the wind had settled into a N/NE direction with 5-12 knot breezes, gusting to 15-17 knots at times.

Sailing the J/111s for the first time as a fleet meant that many teams were searching for the "magic dust", that secret combination of factors that get the boat going faster and faster both upwind and downwind.  The fleet wisely took the approach to make it a "training weekend", with coaching coming from seasoned one-design sailors on each boat.  Enormous leaps of performance were being made as each boat learned how to "dial-in" better speeds around the race track.  What was abundantly clear was the fact that J/111 can tack upwards of 80 degrees or less upwind, depending on wind and wave conditions.  And downwind, the Farr 40 fleet was pretty impressed at how quickly a J/111 can slide downhill VMG'ing towards the mark in just 5-8 knots TWS.

J/111 one-design sailboat- high performance racer cruiser sailing downwindLeading the charge amongst the J/111s was the team aboard KASHMIR- Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson, Mike Mayer.  They sailed nicely to get a 1-2-3-1-1 for 8 pts.  Their margin of victory was far, far closer than the scores suggest as two wins were overlapped scenarios where the victory could've gone either way depending on the last puff or wave.  Second was NIGHT HAWK sailed by Tom Edman & Steve Dabrowski, getting a  2-3-1-3-3 for 12 pts.  Third was a newcomer to sailing, the gang on MENTAL sailed by Paul Stahlberg to a 4-1-2-4-2 for 13 pts, narrowly missing second place due to their last race third.  Finally, in fourth was MISTY sailed by Tom & Carol McIntosh- 3-4-4-2-4 for 17 pts- they had the benefit of "local" Randy Draftz on-board (Chairman of the Charleston Race Week regatta and also creator of the Colors Regatta with Columbia YC).

Amongst the J/109s, it was the team of KIII sailed by Irving Kerbel to a 1-3-2-1-4 for 11 pts to barely hang in there for the win.  Nipping at their heels all regatta long was MOMENTUS skippered by Kevin Saedi, starting slowly with a sixth place, but rattling off a steady 2-1-2-1 for 12 pts to nearly grab the win on the last race.  Third was Jack Toliver's VANDA III with a 5-1-4-4-2  for 16 pts.

Local J/105 hotshot, Tom Petkus sailing VYTIS, won the first three races in a row and added a 5-3 on the last day to hang on for the win with  11 pts.  Hopefully, the inmates were not running the asylum on Tony Bowker's THE ASYLUM.  Nevertheless, whether or not they were, they managed to pull off a 2-4-4-3-2 for 15 pts to narrowly secure second by one point over the SEALARK sailed by Clark Pellett (they had 6-3-2-1-4 for 16 pts).

Associated with the Colors Regatta was an Offshore Distance race.  It is about a 25 nm race around various government marks and "cribs" (water intake stations for the City of Chicago). It was nearly a clean sweep by J-owners.  In first was the J/133 RENEGADE sailed by Larry Kwait.  Second was the J/130 SALSA sailed by Pete Stott, 4th the J/120 JAHAZI sailed by Frank and Lori Giampoli and 5th was the J/105 TRINITY sailed by Tom O'Grady.   For more Colors Regatta sailing results