Friday, January 25, 2013
Lead Changes In J/70s on Heavy Air Day
(Key West, Florida)- Wednesday has always been critical at this annual race week off the Florida Keys. By the time Wednesday is complete, the racing is usually more than half over. Event veterans have even given it the moniker of "moving day." This year, Wednesday brought what is predicted to be the strongest winds of the five-day regatta, challenging crews to really ramp up their performance. There were some sail and gear failures in the heavy air, which held steady between 18 and 22 knots.
It appeared there was a new leader in J/70 class after racing concluded on Wednesday. Newport-based pro Tim Healy and his HELLY HANSEN team won Race 6, finished third in Race 7 and threw out a 23rd suffered in Race 1. That briefly allowed HELLY HANSEN to overtake MOXIE for the overall lead in the regatta's largest class with 39 boats. However, Healy lost a protest and was hit with a penalty that changed the seventh race result to 19th and dropped HELLY HANSEN to fourth in the overall standings. MOXIE, sailed by brothers Cole and James Allsopp (Annapolis, MD), remained the leader for the second straight day with 34.5 points, 1.5 better than RELATIVE OBSCURITY (Peter Duncan and Juddie Smith). Healy was disappointed with the protest decision, but remained confident his crew could wind up on top at the end. "We're going to give it our best shot. We just have to keep plugging away," he said.
Bill Sweetser has been racing his J/109 RUSH in Key West since 2004 and has been class runner-up more times than he cares to remember. The Annapolis resident moved one step closer to finally being crowned champion by holding his lead for a third straight day. Conditions were not ideal for RUSH, which excels in moderate winds, but Sweetser posted a third and second to remain seven points ahead of another Annapolis boat. "We knew with the high winds that we couldn't show the full capability of our boat. Our goal was to survive and live to fight another day, which we were able to do," said Sweetser, noting that Rush did not lose any points to the fleet. Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal and Ultimate Sailing.
More J sailing photos here in these galleries:
Tuesday photos- Onne Vanderwal
Wednesday photos- Onne Vanderwal
For more results and sailing information on Key West Race Week- please see all information here.