Monday, January 20, 2014

AFRICA Dusts J/70 Quantum Winter Series

J/70 one-design sailboats- sailing off Tampa, FL(Tampa, FL)- The J/70 Winter Series got off to a strong start with thirty-nine boats competing at Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL. The three-weekend series kicked off on January 11-12, with Jud Smith of Eastern Yacht Club snagging the victory. Jud and his wife Cindy sailed with their daughter Darby and Rick Myers. It was a unique milestone in the J/70 class as not one, but two couples, placed 1st and 2nd overall!

Davis Island YC race committee- starting J/70 sailboat raceThe hosts, Davis Island YC, did a terrific job of running the six races over the two-day weekend event.  The fleet was blessed with awesome sailing weather.  On Saturday, winds started at 12 knots and built to 20 kts by the end of the day. With the breeze out of the south, waves increased to 1-3 feet. Sunday dawned with lighter northerly winds that flattened the wave action; breezes began at 8-10 kts but dropped to 4-6 kts at the end.

The Smith’s AFRICA team sailed a very consistent series, finishing with a 1-5-1-10-2-6 record for 25 pts, winning by a comfortable nine point margin.  Canadian sailors Rob & Cindy Butler, yet another couple team, took second overall on TOUCH 2 PLAY, sailing to a 5-4-3-13-1-8 for 34 pts total.

J/70 sailing with woman skipperThird place was anything but a “walk in the park” for the next six teams, with just five points separating them and 3rd to 5th places determined by a three-way tie-breaker (Britts, Brauer & Dressel- sounds like a law firm, eh?)!  All six teams displayed “Phoenix-like” track records, rising to the sun with thrilling performances then (suffering a nose-bleed perhaps, plus losing their wings) crashing to Earth and cratering their scores with some “soon to be forgotten races”.  Winning this war of attrition and taking the bronze was local Rob Britts and company on HOT MESS from DIYC, compiling an impressive 9-1-8-17-16-2 for 53 pts.  Fourth was Marblehead’s Henry Brauer sailing SCAMP with an equally unusual “stop & go” record of 17-2-12-14-3-5 for 53 pts.  Getting the short end of the trio’s tie-break to take fifth overall was Ft Lauderdale’s Mike Dressel with a 14-8-7-4-7-13 tally for 53 pts.

J/70 Scamp- sailing with Henry BrauerJust behind the top five were the other teams that could easily have cracked third position, but for one reason or another just missed the podium.  In the group was Doug Strebel on BLACK RIVER RACING with 54 pts in 6th place, Mark Ploch on SUGAR DADDY with 57 pts in 7th and Kris Werner sailing SUPERFECTA to 8th with 58 pts.

Nineteen boats competed in the Corinthian Division with Rob Britts’s HOT MESS winning followed by  Peter Tuite on CURRAGH in second and Joe Colling’s USA69 in third.

An interesting observation of the J/70 fleet competitiveness is that Smith’s AFRICA team counted just two bullets to win with a 4.2 average finish position. In fact, five of six races were won by different teams, including Britts, Butler, Bennet Greenwald and Kris Werner.  To finish 2nd overall, Butler averaged 5.7 and to get a top five, those teams averaged 8.8!  And, to get into the top ten you had to average better than 12th!  More thrilling racing on Tampa Bay continues at DIYC on February 7-9 and March 28-30.
 For more J/70 Quantum Winter Series sailing information