Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mollicone Dominates J/24 Midwinters

j24 sailboat in regattaNewport Fleet #50 Steamrolls Competition
(Tampa, FL)- John Mollicone's HELLY HANSEN team has seized the lead after five races on the opening day and never looked back.  Taking four 1sts and three 2nds in ten races, John Mollicone from Newport, RI and his HELLY HANSEN team were crowned 2013 J/24 Midwinter Champions. With Tim Healy, Geoff Becker, Dan Rabin and Gordon Borges, the group was able to spectate the last of the 10-race series to allow the other 19 teams to duke out the remaining places.

Will Welles, also from Newport Fleet #50, skippered COUGAR to an impressive series and 26 points for second place, starting off fast to lead the series after four races but dropping back in the end, collecting a 2-1-5-4-6-1-2-3-8-2.  Peter Bream’s TEAM TARHEEL accumulated 43 points for third overall but had to work very hard to three other teams that could have easily grabbed the last spot on the podium.  Dueling for the bronze and just 1 pt back with 44 pts was Mike Ingham's team on USA 5448 from Rochester, NY in 4th place; Tony Parker's "AI" team in 5th place just two points back with 47 pts; and in 6th was Travis Odenbach on HONEY BADGER tied with Tony Parker on points but losing the tie-breaker!  Close racing, indeed!

Conditions in sunny Tampa Bay remained gorgeous on Wednesday, with breeze between 14-16 knots and puffs to 18. Mollicone praised the “champagne sailing conditions” as the best he’s ever seen there. On the heels of winning last November’s J/24 North American Championship, Mollicone thanked his consistent team, saying “We’ve got a good team, but the biggest thing is we’ve got the same people all the time, and it makes a big difference in our crew mechanics and communication.” The group put in some practice time and training before the event which “helped a lot with getting comfortable again on the J/24 after taking some time off,” Mollicone explained. His dependable group will be heading to Howth, Ireland in August for the J/24 World Championship, but he’ll turn over the helm to Tim Healy. “We’ll just switch roles, and then next year I’ll drive in Newport (for the 2014 J/24 Worlds),” shared Mollicone. In Wednesday’s final two races, Mollicone and Tony Parker took the bullets.

The top ten J/24 teams overall were: 1st- John Mollicone (21 points), 2nd- Will Welles (26), 3rd- Peter Bream (43), 4th- Mike Ingham (44), 5th- Tony Parker (47), 6th- Travis Odenbach (47), 7th- Chris Jankowski (76), 8th- Robby Brown (77), 9th- Darby Smith (80) and 10th- John Poulson (84).   For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information and results