Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hot J’s Blitz Buzzards Bay

J/24 sailing Buzzards Bay regattaMargaret Beat the Boys Sailing J/24s
(Marion, MA)- As they have for decades, the Beverly YC again rolled out their welcome mat to legions of sailors from across the New England coastline to sail in all manner of boats, big and small, dinghies to offshore keelboats and everything in between— for many it’s just the “Buzzards Bay Regatta”.  What’s the attraction for all those years when Tempests, Flying Dutchmans, 505s, zillions of J24s and Lord Knows what else congregated there to sail?  Plain and simple.  Wind and waves.  And, plenty of it.  Buzzards Bay is the East Coast’s version of San Francisco Bay.  While Newport and Narragansett Bay (or the Sakonnet River, for that matter) are no second cousins to Buzzards in terms of generating great sea-breezes, there’s no question if it’s blowing 10-15 kts further West, it’s at least 15-20 kts in Buzzards. In some respects, it’s in a class of its own when you get down to the narrow “cone” that is concentrated just a few miles before the opening of the Cape Cod Canal— it can simply “go nuclear” there at times for breeze.

Enjoying somewhat classic Buzzards conditions were a range of one-design J/24s and J/80s and a fleet of PHRF offshore boats that ranged from the J/29 and J/30 up to the J/111s and J/122s.

J/80 sailboats- sailing Buzzards Bay regattaStarting with the world of one-designs, it was quite apparent the seven boat J/80 fleet in Buzzards Bay saw their world re-defined by what could be a new J/80 World Champion.  Chip Johns of Laser/ Performance Sailcraft fame has been campaigning his J/80 for some time and their dominating performance certainly drew considerable attention to their newfound speed, performance, and sheer brilliance on the race course.  After all, after seven 1sts, two 2nds and tossing a 3rd place for just 11 pts net in a ten race series, it just may draw just a little attention to their world-dominating performance!  Suffering at their hands of defeat were Nicholas Kotsatos in second (taking mostly 2nds) in second place and third was Bernardo Pacini.  Of note was the fact that Jack Gierhart’s AEGIR and Dan Cooney’s SWEDISH FISH were in a close battle for third until the final race.

If the J/80s saw a dominating performance, the J/24 fleet was in for a huge surprise.  The top SIX boats were all in contention to win their class until the final race— yes, a true one-design race until the last horse crosses the line.  Guess what?  “Maggie” beat the boys! Huh?  Yes, Margaret Borden and her HEFFA’s team from SAIL NEWPORT (Rhode Island, that is) took the gold by employing a bit of “smash-mouth” sailing.  Starting out with a 2-1-1-5-2-3 they simply rocked the house for the first part of the regatta. Then, having to re-gather themselves after an uncharacteristic 8th in race 7 they took home a 3-3 to win with 20 pts- not elegant, but just enough to do the deal.  Dogging them the entire way was Joe Mozzzzzooonnneeee on BOREAS from the home club. Joey and the boys managed a 4-2-2-3-1-5-3-4-2 for 21 pts net (rumor was they bought the girls a case of beer and suffered the consequences!).  Third was Craig Correia’s QUEEQUEG (remember that guy in MOBY DICK??) with just 24 pts net.  Fourth and fifth, respectively, were Jamie Ciffolillo’s WILD THANG and Craig Fidler/ Sanford Tyler’s STRAIGHT JACKET.

In the nine boat PHRF Cruise fleet, it was the J/100 SUNDANCE sailed by Albert Signorella that took a steady 2-5-5-2-3 for 12 pts net to secure the bronze on the podium!

J/80 sailing Buzzards Bay regattaOver in PHRF 1 Racing class of fifteen incredibly diverse boats, it was the J/111 WICKED 2.0 skippered by Doug Curtiss that just missed out on taking the top position and settled for third overall.  Winning the first race, they bombed races 3 and 6 to miss the giant pickle dish for top honors.  Nevertheless, WICKED 2.0’s 1-5-6-2-4-6 was by far the most consistent record in the fleet and would’ve won in a  “no throw-out” series.  Others hit corners to beat them.  C’est la vie, c’est la guerre!  Classmate J/111 BRAVO, skippered by Sedgwick Ward, sailed a nice series to take 6th in class. Just behind them in 7th was the J/122 URSUS MARITIMUS skippered by Jim Masiero.

In the ten boat PHRF 2 Racing fleet it was clear that ONLY a J/Boat was going to sweep the entire fleet; after all, in a somewhat unprecedented fashion, it’s the first time that Buzzards Bay has ever seen an “all J/Boats” handicap class.  What was also abundantly clear was that “local knowledge” in such an equally matched fleet would make an enormous difference.  Past J/109 North American Champion Ted Herlihy and crew aboard GUT FEELING took class honors with a very steady 3-2-2-1–2 for 7 net points.  Second was top J/105 sailor Mark Lindquist on STERLING with a 2-3-1-6-4 for 10 net points.  Third was the J/109 WILD THING sailed by the duo of Dan Boyd/ Mitch West, posting a 2-1 in the last two races to put down their marker for next season!  Fourth was the J/120 ISURUS skippered by Mark Verville and fifth was the new J/88 YONDER sailed by Doug Newhouse.

While the PHRF 2 Racing fleet was literally a battle amongst J/Teams everywhere, the PHRF 3 Racing fleet of eleven boats had six J teams vying for class honors.  Top banana in the J’s was Ira Perry’s J/29 SEEFEST, taking a 5-3-3-1-9 for 12 pts net down for the count and wishing like hell they didn’t have to toss the 9th!  Nevertheless, that record got them a third position and some hard-earned silver pickle-dish hardware! Just, just off their pace was Tom Sutton’s J/35 LEADING EDGE, posting a 6-2-7-2-3 for 13 pts net.  Of note was a good performance by the J/30 BAYAMO sailed by Eric Braitmayer, nearly pulling off a top five finish!   For more Buzzards Bay Regatta sailing information