(Annapolis, MD)- Like their boat’s name-sake, HEY JUDE just let them into their hearts and simply made their world better & better all the time! Jim Rathbun of Toronto, Ontario led after day one of the J/105 North American Championship and never relinquished his advantage, winning the three day event quite handily. With crew Mark Robertson, Dave Jarvis, Andrew Van Nostrand, Ian Richardson and Scott Collinson, HEY JUDE tallied 6-3-1-1-1-4-5-2 for just 23 points in the eight-race series winning by 16 pts! Damian Emery’s ECLIPSE of New York placed second with 39 points after closing with a flourish on the last day with 2-1-1 finishes. And taking bronze on the podium was local Cedric Lewis on MIRAGE with 45 points.
The event was hosted by Annapolis Yacht Club in Maryland and Regatta Chairman Chris Groobey ensured their local fleet and club members rolled out the red carpet treatment for the twenty-seven teams from Bermuda, Canada and the USA that competed in the event. One of the most popular events was the Friday evening dinner party for all the teams hosted at AYC’s amazing facilities overlooking Annapolis Harbor.
The first day of racing saw a number of teams posting some great scores; in fact, the standings could not have been much closer. The winds on the Chesapeake Bay were between 12-14 knots, shifty out of the SSE, with some gusts and a 2-foot chop.
Just four points separated the top five after three races were completed on Thursday. Rathbun’s HEY JUDE helds the top position with scores of 6-3-1 for 11 points. Bruce Stone’s LOULOU trailed by one point in second place after tallying a 4-4-3. Stephen Phillips’s LE RENARD was in third with 12 points, earned from an 8-2-2 performance. Ken Colburn’s GHOST netted 13 points for fourth place, and Cedric Lewis’s MIRAGE had 14 points for fifth.
Colburn’s GHOST won the opening race of the championship in somewhat dramatic fashion as Lewis’s MIRAGE and Damian Emery’s ECLIPSE completed the top three. GHOST simply started first, went left, and increased their lead around every single mark! Emery’s ECLIPSE topped the fleet in race two, with Phillips and Rathbun behind him. Rathbun won the day’s final bout, with Phillips again in second and Stone in third.
Friday’s sailing couldn’t have been more different. Teams were postponed onshore until noon, waiting for a massive line of storms to pass through the area. Once they did, the fleet was sent out for two races. The first race was started in about 5 knots of breeze that died quickly as the boats went up the first beat. When the wind filled in, it shifted left and settled in at 6-8 knots for the rest of the day. Divining the breezes the best, by far, was Rathbuns’ HEY JUDE team. They won both races to open up a 10-point lead on day two of the event; as a result, they now had three consecutive bullets, succeeding a sixth and third in the initial races on Thursday, for a total of 12 points. With a pair of fourth-place finishes, Lewis’ MIRAGE moved into second overall with 22 points. The next two boats were tied at 24 pts; Colburn’s GHOST and Phillips’ LE RENARD. Following HEY JUDE Jude in Friday’s opening race were Chuck Lawrence’s FROYA and Emery’s ECLIPSE. In the second race, behind Rathbun came Hugh Bethell’s JESTER and LE RENARD.
After racing was cancelled on Saturday due to lack of breeze, conditions allowed for three races on Sunday in winds between 12-16 knots that swung from NW to NE during the day— to say that it was spectacular fall sailing conditions on the Chesapeake would certainly be taken as an understatement by all the sailors on the course— quite frankly, it was breath-taking to see the gorgeous fall colors of varying hues of green, orange, yellow and red beautifully lit by the bright sunshine. Jim Konigsberg’s INIGO won the opening contest, trailed by ECLIPSE and LE RENARD. Emery moved up to first in the next race, with Bruce Stone’s LOULOU in second and Chris Groobey’s JAVA in third. Emery again took the bullet in the final bout, followed by Rathbun and Stone.
In a talented fleet, it was remarkable that Rathbun’s HEY JUDE team sailed so consistently in very shifty, challenging conditions. Their win was a popular one, especially since they hosted a Canadian Molson’s Ale beer night at Annapolis YC (they’re hosting the J/105 North American’s in Toronto, Ontario in 2014 at Royal Canadian YC)! Behind the top three finishers (HEY JUDE, ECLIPSE & MIRAGE) were Bruce Stone’s LOULOU from San Francisco, CA in fourth place, narrowly beating out local sailor Jack Biddle on the infamous RUM PUPPY in fifth. For more fabulous sailing photos, please visit Dan Phelps/ Spinsheet.com website. For more J/105 North Americans sailing information