Thursday, November 14, 2013

Windy J-FEST SW Regatta

(Galveston, TX)- Lakewood Yacht Club's annual J-Fest Southwest Regatta enjoyed some of the most amazing sailing conditions they’ve enjoyed in years.  Sailed over the November 2nd and 3rd, the sailors were treated to Northerly winds in the 20-25 kts range on Saturday, producing the usual “monster chop” renowned for Galveston Bay.  Then, on Sunday's “easy-going” breezes in the 16-20 kts range made for somewhat better conditions for the fleet of fifty J’s assembled for this year’s hugely popular J/Fest Southwest!

Starting out with the J/22s, their seven boat fleet produced a runaway winner in the “big breeze”.  No question, it was Casey Lambert and crew on BLACKBURN RACING that had the conditions wired, taking all firsts in six races to win by a “Texas-mile”.  Second on the distant horizon was Dov Kivlovitz with 13 pts and rounding out the podium was Chris Morlan’s TILT with 17 pts.

As the largest fleet in the regatta, thirteen J/24’s enjoyed a nice resurgence, showing up to lay it all on the line for Texas domination of the one-design world.  They enjoyed some close competition, but it was clear that Bryan Dyer’s RUMLINE had everyone’s number in the breezy conditions, finishing 1st with just 13 pts.  Second was TROPICAL AGGRESSION sailed by Stu Lindow with 17 pts.  Happily finishing in 3rd overall was HAPPY DANCE skippered by Bill Worsham with 19 pts; taking the tie breaker over GIGGLES sailed by Natalie Penner.

As the “new kid on the block” and one boat shy of the largest fleet, the J/70’s twelve boat fleet also proved to be one of the most competitive fleets at the regatta and, given the windy conditions, clearly the ones that had the most fun going into “planing mode” all over the Galveston Bay race course hootin’ and hollerin’ like cowboys at a stampede!  Appropriately enough, the winner by a comfortable margin was STAMPEDE, Bruno Pasquinelli’s team from Fort Worth Boat Club with a total of 10 pts.  While STAMPEDE has enormous experience sailing in a variety of highly competitive J/70 regional & national regattas, the balance of the top five was extremely tight!  Runners-up was GB sailed by Chris Lewis from Lakewood YC with 18 pts.  Following them in third was JBoats SW sailed by Scott Spurlin from Austin YC with 21 pts.  They just nipped fourth place finisher Sean Nunes from Austin YC with 22 pts.  A wind shift or two made the difference for 5th place finisher AKULA sailed by Rick Bell from Corpus Christi YC with 27 pts.

J/80s had a very competitive fleet of seven boats participating with several world and regional championship teams participating.  Topping the fleet, un-surprisingly, was GC/ QUANTUM RACING sailed by the team of Terry Flynn & David Whelan, representing Fort Worth Boat Club. Against such formidable talent, it was a duel for the balance of the podium with PARSONS PROJECT skippered by Luke McAllum from Houston YC taking second with 18 pts.  They narrowly beat out third place finisher  HENDRIX sailed by Kurt Vanderwall from Dillon YC with 19 pts.

The eight boat J/105 class enjoyed close racing all weekend long.  In fact, the last two races of the regatta completely turned the standings upside down.  Closing with a strong 1-2, it was INFINITY’s Uzi Ozeri from Lakewood YC that took class honors with 18 pts total.  Starting slowly with an 8th in the opening race, BLUE FLASH’s Matt Amo from Fort Worth Boat Club dialed in two bullets in the middle races, but was insufficient to overcome the strong closing of Ozeri’s crew, taking second overall with 20 pts.  Sailing perhaps the most consistent regattas was JB Bednar’s STINGER from Lakewood YC with a total of 22 pts.

Over in PHRF handicap world, the J/PHRF Sym fleet saw Chris Aik’s FOOTLOOSE from Galveston Bay Cruising Association take first overall with 5 pts.  Second was Glenn Stromme’s PRESS TO MECO from the Seabrook Marina Association with 12 pts.  Taking third was TOCCATA’s Gary Trinklein from Galveston Bay Cruising Association.

The J/PHRF Asym fleet had a diverse fleet of seven boats.  Taking first was the J/92 sailed by Kevin Hayes & Mike McGaugh from GBCA with 11 pts.  Albrecht Goethe’s Lakewood YC team onboard the J/109 HAMBURG took second with 16.5 pts.  Making its debut was the J/88 IT’s A THRILL sailed by J/Boats designer Rod Johnstone with 19 pts.  For more J/Boats Southwest sailing information