Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dynamic Duo Crush J/24 Nationals

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing at US Nationals on Lake Minnetonka, MN (Wayzata, MN)- It was not readily evident that a bolt of lightning would hit the twenty J/24s assembled for their US Nationals sailing on Lake Minnetonka and hosted by Wayzata YC, but it did.  In the form of the Rochester J/24 fleet and, especially, in the form of two J/24 champions sailing together, Mike Ingham and Tim Healy.  Tossing a 3rd place and counting four 1sts and three 2nds is not exactly "chump change" considering the competition.  After all, there were other NA and Regional champions in the mix but that didn't seem to dissuade the Ingham/ Healy team from winning by a commanding twelve points overall.

On Sunday, the breeze on Lake Minnetonka was 13-15 knots, and three races were accomplished. “It was a little bit shifty, but you could actually connect the dots,” said Ingham. “We started conservatively in the middle of the line every race.  If we’re patient, get a good start so we’re going fast, and stay patient to the first shift, then once we got in phase it was a lot easier.”

J/24 US Nationals winnersThe regatta began Friday in very light air when only one race took place. Saturday dawned more promising, and four races were completed. “The first two days were more than just shifty, it was die and fill, so the wind would go away,” summarized Ingham. “Whatever it took to get to the next pressure, we were concentrating on going fast toward that pressure.  And not just small puffs, but looking for trends like a wind line coming from one side to the other.”

Without ever winning a race but sailing equally as consistently a few steps back was the Might HONEY BADGER team led by the indefatigable Travis Odenbach, also from Rochester YC; counting two 2nds and three 3rds in his seven race scoreline to snare second overall.

Proving that experience, local knowledge and perseverance matter, local legends Rolf Turnquist and John Gjerde on the mighty yacht OZ started out after the first three races with a winning combo of 2-1-1.  However, due to memory lapses or competitors learning all their tricks too quickly, they suffered from consistency to eke out a well-deserved third overall, the top local finisher from Wayzata YC!

Changing their name from "three" to FOUR BIG DOGS, Pat Toole and the boys from Santa Barbara YC were struggling in the early going, but managed to win a race on shifty Lake Minnetonka and post mostly top five finishes to grab fourth overall-- a good showing for "ocean sailors" in sunny Santa Barbara.  Fifth was the Olness/ Johnson team on ZOOM, the next local boat from Wayzata YC.   Sailing photo credits- Mark Puariea or Facebook.com/Mark.Puariea    For more J/24 US Nationals sailing information