Sunday, August 18, 2013

WINDCZAR- The Wind Wizards Win J/111 North Americans

(Chicago, IL)- The last day of the International J/111 class inaugural North American Championships dawned with the prospect that just about any team in the top six boats could win the regatta.  With a promising breeze flowing in from the east at dawn onto the spectacular Chicago shoreline and slowly building for the day (at least that was the forecast) the final day of racing could be a real battleground.  Could the Lucky Dubsters pull it off to win and maintain their lead?  Or, could the wind wizards on WINDCZAR pull it out of their hats?  And, if they could sail magnificently in their last day, could the MENTAL crew pull the rabbit out of the hat and take it all?

With racing scheduled to start at 1030 hrs, the Chicago YC PRO and crew did a magnificent job to get the ball rolling and after two general recalls the fleet took off into an ESE breeze at 105 degrees blowing 5-7 kts. With yet another "classic southeast sea-breeze" building the big question would be which way the "locals" would go and how would the "foreigners" figure it all out?  With the breeze fluctuating from 90 to 125 degrees, it was anyone's guess what would happen.  As it turns out, just about any strategy worked so long as you stayed on the lifted tack. For the top five boats, it was going to pose a difficult challenge.

Sailing "lights out" was Richard Lehmann's crew on WINDCZAR taking the lead in the regatta with a first place in race nine while Len Siegal's LUCKY DUBIE had to score their worst race in the series, a tenth.  Paul Stahlberg's crew on MENTAL sailed a great race, working their way through the fleet to register a fourth and put themselves in a position to have a shot at the overall title. 

With the stage set for the last race, it was anyone's guess what the outcome would be for the overall title.  In the end, Lehmann's team on WINDCZAR stayed out of trouble, sailed a smart and conservative race to finish third and were crowned the first overall J/111 North American Champions!  While their disastrous ninth race hurt their chances at the overall title, Len Siegal's crew on LUCKY DUBIE concluded their regatta with an emphatic first place in race ten to take the second spot overall. Sailing their hearts out all week were Paul Stahlberg's MENTAL crew.  Just a few points off the lead going into Sunday, their 4th in the first race kept them in contention for the lead.  However, their last race performance became their toss race, dropping them into third overall.  Fourth in the regatta was Marty Roesch's VELOCITY crew from Annapolis, Maryland and fifth was Bill Smith's WOOTON crew from Bay Harbor, Michigan.

The J/111 crews all had a wonderful time.  Thanks to the sponsors SLAM Gear, Stearns Boating, Skyway Yachtworks and friends of Chicago Yacht Club.  Furthermore, the Chicago YC Race Committee and PRO did an admirable job of producing great racing in what many would consider to be very challenging wind conditions. 

Sailing photo credits- Meredith Block @
Social Media credits- Alan Block @

For more J/111 North Americans sailing information