Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Strong J Teams Racing Annapolis-Newport

J/133 Siren Song - sailing to Newport- racer-cruiser
(Annapolis, MD)- With one of the biggest turnouts in 28 years, the J Team contingent are certain to factor in amongst the leaders of the PHRF and IRC classes racing this year.  The event is also serving as a "feeder/ qualifier" race for the big boats doing the Trans-Atlantic Race later this summer.  The race course runs south on the Chesapeake Bay for 120 miles to the Bay Bridge Tunnel, then 20 miles out into the Atlantic to the Chesapeake Light Tower and finally up the coast to Newport for a total of 473 miles.  A cool feature of this year's race is that each boat will carry a Yellowbrick GPS transponder that transmits boat speed and position information every 30 minutes via the Iridium satellite system. Every hour and half-hour all of the boats will automatically send a position report simultaneously.

In the PHRF Division will be an excellent group of seven J's vying for overall honors.  Included in the mix are five J/120's that could be doing a one-design offshore race, a J/42 and a J/160.  The J/120s include Alan Eland's BRUTUS from Wickford, RI; Greg Leonard's HERON from Annapolis, MD; Greg Alden's IRIE from Annapolis, MD; Jim Praley's SHINNECOCK from Annapolis, MD; and Richard Born's WINDBORN from Annapolis, MD.  Most likely leading the J/Pack home will be Bill Fields' J/160 CONDOR from Galesville, MD and a perennial offshore classic competitor will be Bob Fox's J/42 SCHEMATIC from Annapolis, MD.

The IRC Division is loaded with all the big offshore maxi's, but certain to give them a "run for the roses" will be seven J's that have serious offshore racing experience under their belts, including winning many of the most prestigious offshore racing trophies in the Northeast-- like STC Block Island Races, Stamford Vineyard Races, Rolex Bermuda Races, just to name a few.  Amongst this contingent are the queens of the J/fleet, Tom Carroll's J/133 SIREN SONG from Larchmont, NY and Andrew Weiss's J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON from Larchmont, NY.  Giving them a serious challenge will always be the J/44s, including Jack Neades skippering the US Coast Guard Academy J/44 GLORY and Len Sitar's J/44 VAMP from Atlantic Highlands, NJ.  Jason LeBlanc is skippering the US Coast Guard Academy's J/120 SARAH.  And, not to be outdone by their larger siblings, the two J/109s sailing are also capable of winning overall, including Mike Sleightholme's J/109 APSARA from New Rochelle, NY and Paul Milo's J/109 VENTO SOLARE from Leesburg, VA.

In the Doublehanded IRC Division will be Jason Richter's famous J/35 PALADIN from Port Jefferson, NY.  You can never count this highly successful double-handed team out of the running, having won Bermuda Race Double-handed and innumerable other two-handed events.  Often times PALADIN can be found in the top ten overall against fully crewed boats!  Watch these teams and cheer them on.  You can see their progress here.  For more Annapolis-Newport sailing and tracking information