(Annapolis, MD)- With the extraordinary 2013 Key West J/70 Midwinters and the mind-blowing Charleston Race Week behind them, the J/70 class has since been expanding their influence quite rapidly around the world. More to the point, recent J/70 European events taking place like the fabulous J/70 EuroCup on Lake Garda, the J/70 UK Nationals in Cowes, the J/70 Primo Cup in Monaco and the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga on Hamburg's Alster Lake (with many of Germany's top Olympic & World Champion sailors participating), means that J/70s are destined to become THE one-design sportboat of the current millennium. Attractive to both young and old, men and women, and easy-to-sail fast by all kinds of sailors it's not hard to imagine 100+ boat J/70 sailing events across the world on all five continents in the coming years.
As host of the first HC/MAX J/70 North American Championships, the Annapolis YC J/70 N.A. Co-Chairs, Kathy Parks and Will Keyworth, knew they would have their hands full to meet the extraordinary demand for participation. Their hopes and expectations were confirmed when the 90-boat limit for registration was met in LESS than 48 hours! There has never been a one-design keelboat event in the world that has ever seen such a remarkably fast "sell-out", with a waiting list of over a dozen teams!
The J/70 N.A.'s has quickly taken on the feeling of the "Woodstock of Sailing". Many formidable teams have registered from a cross-section of America, as well as international teams too. There is participation from Bermuda, Mexico and every major region in the USA. Starting with New England there are over a half-dozen teams that have proven their capabilities in various regattas, including Kerry Klingler from Norwalk, CT; Dave Franzel from Boston, MA (Corinthians winner at Key West); Mike Sudofsky from Marion, MA; Brian Keane also from Buzzards Bay (sailing with Stu McNay); Tim Healy sailing HELLY HANSEN from Newport, RI (Key West Champion & current J/24 World Champion); Brandon Flack from Stonington, CT sailing with Geoff Ewenson; Heather Gregg-Earl sailing MUSE from Boston, MA (Corinthians winner at Charleston Race Week); and designers Rod & Al Johnstone from Stonington, CT.
Sailing from Rochester, NY will be the Corbishley family (Corbo, Killian & Donna) and attending from Rye, NY along Long Island Sound is Peter Duncan sailing with Juddie Smith (past Etchells 22 World Champion).
The local Annapolis contingent will be making good use of their local knowledge of the fickle winds and currents of Chesapeake Bay. Top locals include Henry Filter sailing with Moose McClintock; Cole Allsopp; Peter McChesney; Mark Hillman and Eric Reinke sailing from Bethesda (Mark's company HILLMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT is primary sponsor of this year's event); and John Aras. Just south, an awesome team has jointed together from Charlotte, NC that includes John Killeen and John Lovell (Olympic Silver medallist in Tornados).
The Florida crews have the recent Great Lakes Championship winner participating, Martie Kullman from St Petersburg, FL. Joining them will be Peter Vessella from Miami, FL sailing with Phil Trinter and John McCausland (past Star World Champion).
The Great Lakes crowd also has an impressive field sailing, including Joe Colling from Bath, OH (and J/70 Class President); Rich Nesbett from Rocky River, OH sailing with Nick Turney; John Heaton from Wilmette, IL; Joel Ronning from Minneapolis, MN sailing with Willem van Waay and local Annapolis star Chris Larson; Jim Sminchak, Doug Moose and crew from Cleveland, OH (they won the SAIL Magazine trip to Key West, winning on the J/111 KONTIKI V in 2010); and Bob Hughes from Ada, MI sailing with Morgan Reeser and Brian Janney (former Farr 40 Champion).
The Texans always think big and do things big in that big state. Tops amongst their teams attending will be Bruno Pasquinelli from Dallas, TX and the trio of Doug Strebel, Jay Lutz and son Jody Lutz also from Dallas, TX.
West Coast participants making the 3,000 mile trans-continental trip include several past World and North American Champions in other one-design classes. Having won several J/70 events so far on both coasts is Bennet Greenwald from San Diego, CA. Joining him are Dave Ullman from Newport Beach, CA (multiple 470 and Melges 24 World Champion); Jim Cunningham from Tiburon, CA; and John Brigden from Menlo Park, CA sailing with Chris Snow (past J/24 North American and Mexico champion).
International teams attending include Chuck Millican and Steve Cucchiaro from Hamilton, Bermuda and Hector Guzman from Valle de Bravo, Mexico (a past J/24 Mexican champion and J/145 offshore winner).
Finally, there will be awards for the top Women's teams. All of them are capable of top ten performances overall, including Heather Gregg-Earl from Boston, MA; Kathy Parks from Annapolis, MD; Jen Wulff from Annapolis, MD; Suzy Leech from Jamestown, RI and Catherine Evans from Annapolis, MD.
With a good forecast for warm weather, sunny days and generally good winds mostly from the southerly quadrants, the 90 boat fleet should enjoy some awesome racing! For more J/70 North Americans sailing information