(Tampa, FL)- No one could have predicted the outcome of the inaugural J/70 Quantum Winter Series that was hosted by Davis Island YC. Not even the wildest bets at Ladbroke’s parlours in London would’ve put any money on the horse called “Touch2Play”. Why? Because, from the American’s point of view, it was some wild & woolly Canadians headed south because it was either too cold (which it was) or their fabled Toronto Maple Leafs were firing blanks. Nevertheless, no matter how you slice it, on the road to redemption for their friends “north of the border” was Rob Butler’s crew on TOUCH2PLAY (and friend Martie Kullman) taking the inaugural Quantum J/70 Winter Series hosted on Tampa Bay. Quite a feat, that is, considering the formidable talent arrayed against them over the three months series.
As they had experienced over the past few weekends, both the Davis Island YC PRO and the fleet were challenged by yet another curveball tossed at them from a growing “El Nino” weather phenomenon. With thunderstorms and frontal passage forecast for Friday afternoon and most of Saturday it was a question of whether or not the third weekend in a row would be “jinxed” with weather. The final result was one race Saturday and three races Sunday.
According to one sailor, “it was light weather on Saturday morning. We started postponed on shore. The first race was around noon. During the race it went from 6-8 kts to 15-20 kts and more by end of race (many teams were way wrong on tuning their rigs!). The racing was then postponed after the 1st race, due to an impending weather front, and everyone went back to shore at DIYC. When the storm hit with thunderstorms, wind and rain, everything was called off after 1400 hrs. Sunday was a beautiful day with NW breeze, puffy, shifty, 10-15 kts and velocity slowly diminished and we managed to get in three races. Beginning with the first race on Sunday, it was going from planing to displacement mode, but soon thereafter it was all displacement downwind.”
Making the most of what transpired was the “big newbie” in the series, Allan Terhune’s DAZZLER from Annapolis YC with good friend Chris Larson on board— quite the formidable duo! They sailed a dazzling series, by far the most consistent boat in the fleet. By Sunday afternoon the DAZZLER team amassed a fleet-leading 2-3-1-6 for 12 pts total to win by a dozen points!
The balance of the top five was solved by who beat who in the last race and a tie-breaker, all within five points of each other when the dust all settled! Taking second on the podium by virtue of a tie-breaker was class newcomer Peter Tuite sailing CURRAGH to an 8-12-3-1 record for 24 pts. Peter was also top Corinthian sailor for this event. He beat out the top Canadian team, REX sailed by Scott Weakley from Port Credit YC. REX’s scoreline of 3-4-9-8 also scored 24 pts and was good for third overall. In fourth was Rob Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY with friend Martie Kullman on board. Their performance was sufficient to move them onto the top of the overall Quantum Winter Series lead. Taking fifth was Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT with guest tactician, Tim Healy, aboard.
In the Corinthians world, as we mentioned above, Peter Tuite won on CURRAGH. He was followed by Rob Britts on HOT MESS in second and Blake Kimbrough on NOSTALGIA in third. It was an unfortunate regatta performance for Britts, making a real “mess” of their strong leadership position in the overall series with their 9-1-12-20 record for 42 pts. One of the notable performances was to see top woman skipper, “Cat” Evans sailing MOJITO to fifth overall in Corinthians— if you recall she overcame enormous obstacles at the Key West Midwinters when just about everything was stolen out of her boat while trailering MOJITO down the Keys. Thankfully, Don Finkle and many others in the J/70 class supported her and got her back on the road to success. “Congratulations” to “Cat” for a well-deserved performance- one, in fact, that enabled her to finish 3rd in Corinthians in the overall series.
As for the overall Open Division results for the Winter Series, the combined three event results saw Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY win. They were followed by Britts’s HOT MESS and in third was Mark Ploch on SUGAR DADDY from American YC in Rye, New York; he was sailing with “Moose” McClintock on board. Fourth in the series went to Thomas Bowen on REACH AROUND, a fellow American YC member. And, fifth went to the Werner/ Barnash duo on SUPERFECTA from Rochester YC.
In the Corinthians overall series standings, Britts won anyhow followed by Ted Johnson’s VITAMIN J in second, Cat Evans’s MOJITO in third, Noel Clinard’s LOONATICTU from Fishing Bay YC in fourth and Blake & Lud Kimbrough’s NOSTALGIA also from Fishing Bay YC in fifth. Next up for many of these J/70s teams? Lipton Cup in New Smyrna Beach, FL and Charleston Race Week in mid-April! For more Quantum J/70 Winter Series sailing information