Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yachting Cup- A Tequila J/Storm!

J/120 sailing upwind at Yachting Cup San DiegoJ's Sweep PHRF, TRIPLE PLAY Overall Yacht of the Cup!
(San Diego, CA)-  This year marks the 41st year of San Diego Yacht Club's (SDYC) signature regatta, the Yachting Cup. This premiere regatta brings together competitive fleet and one-design racing at multiple venues in San Diego. Responding en-masse with nearly 56% of the overall fleet of 84 boats, the Yachting Cup saw an armada of J sailing teams participating in the event, including 47 J's spread across PHRF & one-design fleets of J/70s, J/80s, J/105s, J/109s and J/120s.

The typically sleepy sailing conditions of San Diego got hit by a "tequila storm", with 20+ knots on Saturday with a Low spinning off Mexico kicking up huge waves and southerly breezes preceding the Cinco de Mayo party that night. Amid stories of torn sails and broken boats, there were 83 boats competing in 10 PHRF and One Design classes. Winning the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club overall crown (emblematic of the "Yacht of the Yachting Cup") was Dave Vieregg’s TRIPLE PLAY team, which took the title in the 13-boat J/105 class.

J/105 one-designs- sailing Yachting Cup san diegoThe J/105 class in San Diego always has excellent, close competition, especially for their signature events like the Yachting Cup. Vieregg's TRIPLE PLAY team had anything but free reign of the fleet; instead they fought "tooth and nail" to just barely eke out a win over three other boats vying for contention.  Starting off slower than the other three teams, TRIPLE play had a 4-4-4, then closed with a 2-2-3, staying out of trouble, sailing very steadily and winning with 19 pts.  Behind them, each of the three teams all had strong enough records to win, too, but all seemingly collected some bad races along the way to torpedo their chances for the top of the podium.  Included in the group were Dennis & Sharon Case's WINGS, Rick Goebel's SANITY and the Driscoll/ Hurlburt team on BLOW BOAT. Finishing second, WINGS bombed their last with, getting 7th to collect 22 pts for their silver.  SANITY started off fast with a 1-1-2-3 but faded nearly as fast to close out the series with a 6-10 for 23 pts, good enough for third overall.  The balance of the top five included BLOW BOAT, bracketing a deep 12th with two bullets in the last three races for a total of 25 pts and the fourth position.  Fifth was Jon Dekker's AIR BOSS with 31 pts.

J/120 sailing fast upwind at Yachting Cup San DiegoNext up were the ten boat J/120 class.  With the performance of a life-time, John Laun's team on CAPER simply "ran the table", never finishing below second!  Their three 1sts and three 2nds scorecard for a total of 9 pts basically meant they smoked their colleagues after two days of racing.  The story behind them was something else altogether.  Like their J/105 comrades, a trio of boats were dueling for the next three spots and could not have finished much closer, just 3 pts separating them after six races.  John Snook's JIM took the silver despite nearly losing it all in the last race with a 6th, booking 20 pts to grab 2nd overall.  Peter Zarcades MELTEMI suffered a somewhat similar fate, counting a 7th SCP in the last race for 21 pts and getting 3rd overall.  Keeping their nose clean after an insufferable first four races, Chuck Nichols and gang on CC RIDER finally got their "mojo" working  and closed with a 2-1 to nearly pull off a 2nd overall, settling instead for 4th.  Fifth was Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS.

J/109s had a great turnout for this year's event with a half-dozen boats hitting the starting line.  Despite everyone's best efforts, it was hard to hold back that electrifying team aboard Tom Brott's ELECTRA, winning 5 races enroute to another "schooling" of their classmates for a grand total of just 7 pts in 6 races!  Chris Mewes SHADOWFAX got the "Mr Consistency Award", finishing 2nd or 3rd in every race for a total of 15 pts to take second overall!  Showing flashes of brilliance were Daylen Teren's GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, finishing with a 3-1 to vault into 3rd overall with 21 pts.  Cal YC's Alice Leahey sailed GRACE O'MALLEY to 4th and Len Bose led LINSTAR to 5th overall.

J/80s sailing off San Diego in Yachting CupThe nine-strong J/80 fleet also produced a runaway winner in the form of the local J/80 champion, Curt Johnson's AVET from Cal YC.  Their five 1sts in six races was enough to eclipse the fleet to be declared J/80 winner.  Dan Gribble from Balboa YC sailed his MONKEY SHOULDER very consistently to snag second overall with 13 pts. Three pts back in third place were Steve Wyman's crew on NUHUNU from Dana Point YC.

For their debut in the Yachting Cup, the half-dozen J/70s certainly served up some excellent racing in the windy Saturday conditions with huge waves and massive, almost epic planes/ surfs down the big Pacific rollers.  It was close racing with the top four boats all finishing within 7 pts of each other.  The Kownacki/ Jenkins team on DFZ sailed the most consistently, with four 2nds counting towards their total of 12 pts to take the J/70 crown.  Karl Pomeroy's ZERO TO SIXTY (does that mean "zero to hero" in sixty seconds?) sailed some great races (including three 1sts) but couldn't maintain that "fast & furious" pace, settling for second place overall with 14 pts.  Third was Scott Grealish's SPLASH with 18 pts.  Craig Tallmans' new JAYA was 4th, only one pt back!  And, taking the fifth spot was Kenyon Martin's CHEETAH CUB.  Amazingly, four boats won races in the pack of half-dozen boats, a great start for the San Diego J/70 fleet!

While the one-design racers were having a ball blasting around their courses, the J/PHRF handicap sailors also had terrific performances.  Topping them all in "big boat" PHRF A was Tim Fuller's J/125 RESOLUTE, handily taking the gold for their division with a dominating performance of four 1sts, two 2nds in 6 races for 8 pts.

Sailing an equally strong regatta in PHRF B was the J/35 RIVAL sailed by the Boatner/ Velthoen team, taking class honors with five 1sts and one 2nd for just 7 pts!!  Cool.  Shocking for the "shock guys" behind them.  Still demonstrating speed, smarts against her bigger sisters was Larry Leveile's well-traveled and famous offshore rocketship, the J/29 RUSH STREET from Santa Barbara YC, taking 4th in class.
Sailing Photo Credits- Bob Betancourt & Bronny Daniels   For more Yachting Cup sailing information