Tuesday, August 6, 2013

J/Teams Enjoy Youngstown Level Regatta XL

J/70s sailing Youngstown Level Regatta (Youngstown, NY)- 181 boats raced on five circles in the 40th and Final Youngstown Level Regatta on the weekend of July 27-28.  For most of its history the Level has been the largest weekend keelboat regatta on Lake Ontario, at one time hitting a monstrous 466 boats!   Those were the days of 50 boat J/24 fleets and one design starts for most of the J designs popular at the time.  Since then things had settled down to a more manageable size but the Level still held a prominent place on the calendar for most racers within hundreds of miles.  Youngstown Yacht Club finally decided 40 years was enough and the organizers and volunteers deserved a break, so this was the last Level, to be replaced next year with a new event with details to be announced this fall.

J/111 Lake Effect sailing upwind at Youngstown Level regattaSailors did not want to miss out on the fun of the final event so attendance was up by almost 40 boats over 2012.  Conditions were generally favorable, light to moderate with the exception of a brief squall that came in Saturday afternoon that curtailed racing for the day.  Various J models were entered in 9 of the 26 divisions, and the largest division in the event was the J70 class with 17 boats.  In IRC 0 Bob Hesse and crew aboard the J111 Lake Effect lost the tie-breaker for first place, settling for second as they had done in Key West in January.  They have been dominating local PHRF racing this summer.  Stephen Trevitt in Crime Scene won the J35 class by two points over Mark DePaul in Remarkable.  In PHRF 1 the four J109s took the top four places, with Robert Eckersley's Blue Streak finishing ahead of Ed Werner in Moccasin and Murray Gainer in Lively.  Mark Bowman's J29 FROB Untamed was second in PHRF 3 and second and third places in PHRF 4 were taken by Mike Seitz in his J27 Northern Seitz over Dan Mather's very successful J30 Crusader.  The PHRF 7 division was made up of J22s and J24s, with Jack Doyle in his J22 winning over the J24s of Kevin McAuley and Tom Raes.  In non spinnaker racing Doug Clarke's J35C Rogue Wave was second in M&J 1.

J/70 one-design sailboats- sailing downwind under spinnakerThe headline J70 fleet enjoyed their first major one design event on Lake Ontario with boats coming from Newport, the Chesapeake, Lake Erie, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ontario, Indiana, Florida and various NY ports.  In addition several borrowed boats were helmed by out of town sailors, including past J105 NA Champ Rolf Kaiser of San Francisco and long time J24 skipper Mark Pincus of Florida.  Competition was stiff with 5 different boats taking bullets over the 8 race series.  In the end Kerry Klinger edged out Marty Kullman by taking the final race, with Kris Werner finishing third.  This was Kris's first taste of real action in his new J70 and he had J24 hotshot Rossi Milev aboard to help him get up to speed.

The regatta was judged to be a terrific success with many fond memories being shared and praise was lavished on the volunteers for their years of hard work.  Everyone wants to know what YYC has our our sleeve for 2014 but we aren't quite ready to announce the sequel just yet. Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes @ TimWilkes.com.    For more Youngstown Level Regatta sailing information