Friday, October 7, 2011

J/22 Worlds Preview

J/22 sailing- international one-design sailboat (New Orleans, LA)- As one of their first major regattas to be hosted in the new club facilities post-Hurricane Katrina, Southern Yacht Club is planning a memorable event for J/22 World's sailors, both on and off-the-water.  For starters, Allstate Sugar Bowl has traditionally been a strong supporter of sailing in the New Orleans area, sponsoring the annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Regatta for college sailors. Their support of the J/22 Worlds is very significant and symbolic, the "re-birth" of world-class events hosted by one of the most gracious clubs to host events in the American "South".  Off the water, the regatta promises an experience that only New Orleans can deliver.  The entertainment starts Tuesday, October 11 with a competitors’ meeting and reception at Southern Yacht Club with hors d’oeuvres featuring local seafood and other tastes of New Orleans.  Wednesday, October 12 will feature a French Quarter party for participants, scheduled at the famous Tropical Isle Bar’s balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. There is nothing like a "Tropical Isle Hand Grenade".  Before racing starts on Thursday morning, the famous Café Du Monde will serve "café au alit" and "beignets" to all competitors to get the regatta going in a traditional New Orleans style. That evening, Southern Yacht Club will host a seafood party on the lawn of the club featuring south Louisiana’s finest offerings of shrimp, jambalaya and other tasty examples of local cuisine.  The French creole influence is unmistakable, and delicious!

On the water, October on Lake Pontchartrain generally offers excellent sailing conditions, with warm temperatures and breezes that can range from 5-25 knots. Because Lake Pontchartrain is very shallow, averaging 14 feet deep, north winds with a 25-mile fetch can kick up a short, steep chop that challenges the best sailors.  With sixty-six boats from the Cayman Island, Canada, Germany and the USA, the fleet looks to be as competitive as it's been in years.  In fact, several notable World Champion and Olympian sailors are well-represented in the stellar field of sailors.  For starters, Soling and Star World Champion John Dane is sailing with a family crew!  And, another local sailor, Dwight and Beau LeBlanc- former Star and 12 Meter America's Cup veterans- are sailing as a team.  Renowned Annapolis J/22 sailor Albie Terhune has a strong team attending.  Local "Norleans" star Benz Faget is fielding a strong crew.  Class stalwart and past President, Galen Freeman, from Brentwood, TN, promises he won't hit anybody (although he may assert "senior moment rights" at appropriate opportunities!  Travis Odenbach, fresh from winning the J/24 COC in Lake George, is hoping to not embarrass himself and finish in the top 3.  Both Doyles, Kevin and Chris from upstate Kenmore, NY hope to be a factor amongst the leaders.  Another J-class champ, Travis Weisleder- from Richmond, VA- may or may not have the horsepower to keep all these champions in check to grab the brass ring.  The Hiller family gang from Annapolis (Todd and crew) are always a factor.  Then, of course, you can't forget the fact that Terry Flynn from Houston, TX- past J/22 World Champion may have designs to ensure they're at the top of the leader-board, too!    For more J/22 Worlds sailing information