Tuesday, July 31, 2012

J/Teams Sweep Chicago-Mackinac Race

J/111 One-Designs Smoke the Fleet!
(Mackinac Island, Michigan)- For the enormous fleet of boats sailing in this year's Chicago-Mackinac Race, the forecasts weren't the most promising in the world for a fast passage north on the 289nm course to Mackinac Island.  As the morning dawned with a light southwesterly gradient breeze, it was becoming clear to the "locals" that a sea-breeze would likely develop and by early afternoon power the fleet down the course in an 8-13 knot southeasterly breeze.  The Double-handed fleet took off in near drifting conditions which include a J/29 and J/105.  About an hour later, the big divisions of J/105s, J/109s, J/111s and J/120s all took off in a building sea-breeze reinforced by the gradient.

Because of the stronger than forecast sea breeze, the race became an enormous chess match on the water, with all teams focused on when the breeze would shift from the southeast to southwest and then play gybing angles all the way down the Michigan shoreline, passing the famous Point Betsie turning point to head further NE towards the Greys Reef 3nm passage before turning to 97 degree for the final sprint to 30nm to the finish line off the famously picturesque Round Island Lighthouse off Mackinac Island.  The tale of the tape for various classes came down to two major decision points, when was the first gybe made in the middle of the lake late Saturday evening when the winds went from about 170-185 degrees to 200-220 degrees and when teams made the decision to gybe and go inshore along the Pt Betsie/Michigan shoreline to stay in breeze with more velocity.

All the J/Teams had some great racing, as demonstrated by their extraordinary performances overall in the Mackinac CUp Trophy fleet standings.  The first NINE of the Top 10 Teams were J/Boats owners.  12 of Top 15 were J/Teams and 16 of the Top 25! J/111s were 8 of Top 15 and 11 of Top 20!! An unprecedented sweep of the top 25 positions-- the best ever by any brand in the history of the Mackinac Race (or for that matter any major offshore race around the world).  Here is how the top 25 teams faired

1st- J/109 REALT NA MARA- Tom & Joe Londrigan
2nd- J/109 NORTHSTAR- David Gustman
3rd- J/111 KASHMIR- Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer
4th- J/111 VELOCITY- Marty Roesch
5th- J/111 NO SURPRISE- Dave Irish
6th- J/111 NIGHTHAWK- Tom Edman & Steve Dabrowski
7th- J/122 SUFFICIENT REASON- Mitch Padnos
8th- J/111 IMPULSE- George Miz, Peter Dreher, Mark Hatfield
9th- J/111 WIND CZAR- Richard Lehman
13th- J/111 MENTAL- Paul Stahlberg
14th- J/120 NIGHT MOVES- Henry Mistele
15th- J/111 ROWDY- Rich Witzel
20th- J/111 MISTY- Tom McIntosh
21st- J/111 LUCKY DUBIE- Len Siegal
22nd- J/120 PERSEVERANCE- Matt Songer
23rd- J/109 KIII- Irv Kerbel

In addition to doing well overall, the four J/One-Design divisions had extremely close racing amongst their colleagues.  According to Mike Mayer, a partner in the J-111 KASHMIR, the 10-boat J/111 one-design fleet battled all the way up the lake. "What a fun race," said Mayer. "We had multiple lead changes throughout. Going through the Manitous we had eight boats within a mile of each other. What great racing."  Winning the 111 one-designs was the team on KASHMIR- Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer and it was their 2nd Mac race win after 2011!! Putting on an amazing performance for being "newbies" to the Mac were the strong Annapolis team led by Marty Roesch on VELOCITY, finishing second after a duel with their classmates going into the final five miles of the race.  Third was Dave Irish's NO SURPRISE, fourth was NIGHTHAWK sailed by the dynamic duo of Tom Edman & Steve Dabrowski and fifth was IMPULSE led by the trio of Dr George Miz, Peter Dreher and Mark Hatfield.  Incredibly the entire J/111 one-design class all finished less than 50 minutes apart after the long race, perhaps one of the smallest "spreads" ever in a one-design class-- great racing for all!

The J/109s again proved they're one of the toughest fleets to beat on Lake Michigan, liking the light to moderate off-the-wind breezes.  Top boat in the Mac and J/109 Class winner was the J/109 REALT NA MARA sailed by Tom and Joe Londrigan.  Second was NORTHSTAR (David Gustman), third was KIII (Irv Kerbel), fourth the trio on MOMENTUS (Kevin Saedi/ George and Robin Simkins) and fifth was CERTAINLY (Don Meyer).

Amongst the J/105s, it was also a tough race amongst these evenly matched teams.  Leading the pack home was Mark Gurney's BUZZ, followed by Mark Symond's PTERODACTYL in second, Clark Pellet's SEALARK in third, GOOD LOOKIN (Dean & Lana Walsh) in fourth and fifth was Nancy Glover's TEMPEST.

Top gun in the J/120s was Henry Mistele's NIGHT MOVES, finishing 14th overall and winning the 120 class.  22nd overall and 2nd in class was Matt Songer's PERSEVERANCE, third was Bob Kirkman's HOT TICKET, fourth Frank Kern's CARINTHIA and fifth Bob Klairmont's SCIROCCO 2.

In the handicap world, Section 2 saw the two J/145s finish next to one another. Grabbing 4th and 5th, respectively, were Chris Saxton's VORTICES and Bill Schanen's MAIN STREET.

Section 3 saw another repeat winner!  The original J/122 SKYE was bought by Mitch Padnos and Tracy Brand and is now the current SUFFICIENT REASON!  Mitch and crew were incredibly happy with their performance, repeating the J/122s win in this division for the second time in four years!  Eighth in class was the J/133 RENEGADE sailed by Tom and Beth-Ann Papoutsis, ninth was the J/130 EDGE (Bob McManus) and tenth was the  J/130 WILLIE J (Doug Petter).

Section 5 also saw another repeat winner, perhaps a three-peat winner?  First was the J/109 VANDA III sailed by Jack & Jim Tolliver and Jim Mitchell with a great crew consisting of Simon Minoprio and Rodney Keenan from Auckland, New Zealand and Dallas Kilponen from Sydney, Australia along with Jimmie's dad "James".  Congratulations to them as they were 4th overall in the Mackinac Trophy division.

The Section 6 sailors must've felt a bit overwhelmed by the presence of 35 foot J/Teams sailing amongst them-- which, ultimately, took 7 of the top 10 in section!  The winner was a classic cruiser/racer, the J/110 LADY K sailed by Mike Stewart.  Third was the J/35 AFTERSHOCK (Bill Newman), 5th the J/92 SPLIT DECISION (Bruce Santerre), 6th the J/35 BOZO'S CIRCUS (Bruce Metcalf), 7th the J/35 TOUCH OF GREY (Larry Schell), 8th the J/33 RETRIEVER (Matt Beer) and 10th the J/35 SHEARWATER (Tom Anthony).

Finally, the Double-Handed Trophy was again won for the third year in a row, the proverbial "three-peat" for J/Teams by the J/29 TFWB RELENTLESS sailed George and Scott Petritz.  They were following up the previous year's double-winner, the former J/122 SKYE sailed by Bill Zeiler and Richie Stearns.  Fifth overall in DH was the J/105 OCH! sailed by Brendan Docherty and Jim Hilliard.  For more Chicago Mackinac sailing information