(Chicago, IL)- Hosted by Chicago Yacht Club and held concurrently with the Verve Cup Offshore Regatta was this year's J/109 North American Championship. As was forecast, the J/109 sailors were treated to great on-shore entertainment and activities and, most importantly, were in good hands with the Chicago YC Race Management team for the four-day regatta.
Despite the sketchy forecast for winds over the four day period from 8th to 11th of August, the RC team managed to squeeze in nine good races for a closely fought championship series-- especially for the top two boats.
As was anticipated, the ten boat fleet had their hands full taking on long-distance traveler Rick Lyall on STORM-- a team from Wilton, CT (Long Island Sound) that are past North American Champions, Block Island Race Week champions, New York YC regatta champions and one of the most highly decorated J/109s in recent history. The other top visiting team the fleet had to contend with was Albrecht Goethe's HAMBURG from Seabrook, TX (Galveston Bay), also a champion team from the Gulf of Mexico/ Houston area. After the dust cleared, it was quite apparent these two teams were the dueling for the lead until the bitter end- in nine races they accounted for eight first place finishes!
Lyall's STORM finished the series with three 1sts and six 2nds for 15 pts to be crowned J/109 North American Champion again! Sailing like madmen, Goethe's HAMBURG team from Texas took five 1sts, two 3rds and two 4ths for 19 pts-- a scoreline that would win most any major regatta but was just four pts shy of making it all come true. In short, both boats demonstrated that tremendous focus and amazing consistency was what it took to be leaders in this year's event.
While the top two teams enjoyed a donnybrook of a battle, the outcome for the balance of the top five was anything but clear until the last day's two races. David Gustman's NORTHSTAR team from Chicago was the only other race winner, in fact starting out strongly to be in contention for the lead just two points back after four races. However, the "wheels fell of the shopping trolley" and they barely managed to post top five scores in the last five races to hang onto a podium finish, accumulating a scoreline of 2-1-3-3-7-2-5-6-6 for 35 pts to take third overall. Recent Sailing World Chicago NOOD regatta winner, Kevin Saedi on MOMENTUS took fourth with 41 pts, narrowly beating out fifth place finished Irv Kerbel on KIII with 42 pts. Sailing photo credits- Barry Lively For more J/109 North Americans sailing information