Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“The Commodores” Crowned Masters of the Universe!

J/105s sailing in San Diego YC Masters regatta (San Diego, CA)- This year’s J/105 International Masters Championship was sailed on San Diego Harbor and hosted by the San Diego YC.  The eleven teams that participated were again treated to near perfect “Chamber of Commerce” weather conditions, with each morning starting out with the proverbial “marine layer” (e.g. fog) and clearing by the noon starting time for yet another WNW 8-12 kts sea breeze with plenty of sunshine.  As many of the teams had learned from previous years sailing in the harbor race course off the spectacular San Diego city waterfront, going left seemed to pay off about 85% of the time!

J/105s sailing off San Diego, CATaking advantage of that “local knowledge” were none other than “The Commodores” (not the famous singing group!)  sailing on Chuck Nichols’s team from San Diego YC.  With a trio of SDYC Staff Commodores aboard, it was hard to imagine how they ever made decisions going around the race track; nevertheless Nichols’s team surely knew the local formula for the harbor as they amassed a nearly un-assailable lead after the first day of racing, winning three races, taking three J/105s sailing on San Diego Bayseconds and finishing with a total of 40 pts in eleven races to take the overall 2013 crown as the "master of masters"!  Second was past Masters Champion John Jennings from St Petersburg, FL.  Jennings had StPYC fellow member Mark Ploch sailing with him and after a slow start on the first day, gave chase to “the commodores” and finished just eight points back with 48 total for the event.  After an even slower start than Jennings, J/105 designer Rod Johnstone (sailing with son Jeff J) from Stonington, CT’s Wadawanuck YC sailed the best last day of any team, tallying a 1-3-1-9 to finish with 53 pts to leap into third place overall.

Rounding out the top five for the regatta were St Francis YC Staff Commodore Bruce Munro’s team taking fourth overall and yet another StFYC member, Jon Andron and crew, taking fifth by virtue of winning a tie-breaker over last year’s Masters Champion— Dennis Case of San Diego YC.

J/105 Masters- Sally and Stan Honey sailing in San DiegoOf note was the commendable first year’s performance by Sally Honey, the past two-time 505 World Champion, sailing with her husband Stan Honey and fellow Yale Sailing Team alumni Peter Isler.  Had it not been for one unfortunate altercation at the windward mark in race two, the Honey’s were contenders for the top three after five races.  As many master sailors have learned sailing in such a talented fleet, the Honey’s realized it’s quite difficult to maintain a high-average finish in the tricky, shifty weather patterns of San Diego harbor.

J/105 Team Fisher rounding mark- Masters in San DiegoWhile the sailing saw plenty of action and blistering hot competition, the on-shore social festivities are perhaps the highlight of the regatta and why many Masters enjoy coming back every year to catch up with one another and, hopefully, meet some news ones that have joined the “almost over-the-hill gang”.  Again, local San Diego YC host and Chairman for the event, Jeff Brown and his lovely wife, did a fabulous job organizing and managing the logistics and volunteers for all participants.  Jan Dekker (owner of the J/105 AIRBOSS) did a fantastic job looking after all twelve J/105’s, thankfully donated by their proud owners for the event.  As past regatta founder and chairman for years, St Francis YC’s Don Trask, noted that he was quite proud to have the event in the capable hands of San Diego YC’s team of sailors and volunteers and was hoping that he might again be “invited” back next year!   SDYC J/105 Masters sailing photo credits- Bronny Daniels (www.joysailing.com) and Bob Betancourt   For more J/105 Masters International Regatta sailing information