(Padanaram, Massachusetts)- The BBR (as the Buzzards Bay Regatta is commonly referred to) has long been one of the highlights of the summer sailing season on Buzzards Bay, and certainly renown as one of the best sailing areas in New England. Generally sailed in the first weekend of August, the BBR is blessed with favorable sea-breezes that develop late morning and can often build from the WSW well into the 15-20 kts range or higher along with enormous current-induced chop. While not San Francisco Bay or Cascade Locks in Oregon, it's certainly one of the better "big breeze" venues any sailor can find along the Eastern seaboard.
The BBR is one of the largest multi-class regattas in America, but like many others, has been suffering from attendance over time, particularly in recent years. The dinghy classes (Lasers & 420s) continue to do OK, but the offshore keelboat classes have diminished quite significantly. Nevertheless, the army of volunteers and the enthusiasm of the host clubs ensure the sailors are having a good time ashore (lobster bakes, etc) as well as have good race management on the water.
This year's event was hosted by the New Bedford Yacht Club from August 2nd to 4th! Thirty-seven keelboats (one-design & offshore) participated over the three day weekend. Remarkably, nineteen of those boats were J/Teams from around New England-- J's were by far the dominant brand at the regatta with 51% of the participants.
In the J/24s, ten races were sailed over the three days, making it fun sailing for the fleet of eight boats. Jim Ciffolillo on WILD THING from Beverly YC was in a battle with Sanford Tyler on STRAIGHT JACKET from Hyannis YC for first place. In the end, WILD THING prevailed with 19 net pts to take the J/24 crown. Second was STRAIGHT JACKET with 21 pts. In the fight for third place, Craig Correia's team on QUEEQUEG finished with a flourish of 1-1-3 to take the last spot on the podium. Settling for fourth was Nick Kotsatos and Chris Memoli on DARK & STORMY and in fifth was Bonnie Kirchner on FAST FOOD.
PHRF 1 division had the largest fleet of keelboats at the regatta with fourteen boats, a welcome change from previous years. Taking second and third in class were the two talented sailing teams on the J/111's- WICKED 2.0 (skippered by Doug Curtiss) and ODYSSEY (sailed by Fred Van Liew and Dave Brodsky), respectively. Fourth was the J/122 AUGUST WEST sailed by Jamey Shachoy. The third J/111, BRAVO skippered by Sedgwick Ward, took seventh in class. The "other" WICKED, the J/124 sailed by Scott Bancroft took 8th and Jim Masiero's J/122 URSUS MARITIMUS got the short-end of the stick on a three-way tie for 9th to settle for 11th. It was a good showing for the J/Teams, taking 50% of the top ten overall.
PHRF 2 had five J/Teams in a fleet of seven boats. Not surprisingly, the fleet was pretty much over-run by the J/Teams as they raced around the track. Taking class honors was local superstar Ted Herlihy sailing his champion J/109 GUT FEELING. Fourth was Rob Salk's J/109 PICANTE and fifth was Dan Boyd's J/109 WILD THING.
Like their PHRF 2 counterparts, the PHRF 3 division had seven J crews sailing in a fleet of ten boats, making life tough for their non-J competitors. In the end, the well-sailed J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN skippered by Steve Thurston from Bristol, RI finished second overall. They were followed by the J/105s HARDTACK (Matt Schmitt) in fourth and DARK N STORMY (Andy Reservitz) in fifth. Henry DeGroot's J/80 WIRED took 7th, the J/29 MAS SAILING Team led by Sean McLaughlin took 8th and the J/105 WATERWOLF helmed by Ed Lobo took 9th.
The best J/PHRF performance goes to the sole J sailing in the PHRF Cruise division. Those honors go to the J/100 SUNDANCE skippered by Albert Signorella from the host New Bedford YC. For more Buzzards Bay Regatta sailing information