Friday, August 8, 2014

J/111 WICKED 2.0 Round Island Champion 2x!

J/111s sailing to windwardEdgartown Race Weekend Fun For All!
(Edgartown, MA)— Buoy racing followed by a circumnavigation of Martha’s Vineyard made Edgartown Yacht Club’s three-day Edgartown Race Weekend (July 24-26) the just-right combination for dozens of teams competing. The Thursday/Friday Big Boat Buoy Races, a separately scored fleet racing series that made its full debut last year after organizers trial-tested a one-day buoy racing event the year prior, hosted 32 boats, while the 77-year old ‘Round-the-Island Race -- decidedly more storied, if not downright legendary -- saw 67 boats taking on the hearty 56 nautical mile rounding of one of America’s most beloved island vacation destinations.

The 10-boat PHRF Spinnaker class completed three races on day two for a five-race series, and it was the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron’s J/122 DOLPHIN, wound up tied on point score for second but having to settle for third place because of tie breaker rules.

Richard Egan’s (Hyannis, Mass.) J/44 WINGS won the six-boat Double-Handed class, counting four races total for their series.  Sailing with his 18-year-old son Joe, Richard Egan said he was a bit overpowered on Thursday:  “With a big boat like ours and just the two of us, it’s hard to change sails.” Joe still liked the bigger wind, however, calling Friday’s races “painfully slow” and was looking forward to the projected heavy air in the ‘Round-the-Island Race where his brother and two cousins were due to join him for a fully crewed attempt at victory there.

“What’s happening is we’re seeing an evolution, which is really healthy, of a shift to the next generation,” said the elder Egan, who has been sailing this event since he was his son’s age.  “They know how to make the boat go, and I have total confidence in them to run the boat.”

Sailors had to tuck in early on Friday night to be ready for 6:30 a.m. boat calls Saturday morning--before the 8 a.m. start of the ‘Round-the-Island Race. And that hadn’t been easy with the now-traditional Mt. Gay Jump-up Party dutifully following Friday evening’s awards for the Big Boat Buoy Racing. A building 10-12 knot breeze for the start made it all worth the effort, however, and the memory of a dreaded alarm clock going off was replaced with adrenalin-infused concentration on the next task at hand: to hit the starting line right on the money and, if you had them, immediately hoist a spinnaker for harnessing as much downwind power as possible.

Defending champion Doug Curtiss (New Bedford, Mass.), who won PHRF A class with his J/111 Wicked 2.0, said the 8-10 knot breeze, a south/southwesterly, kept filling in after the start, and by the time his team got to East Chop it was gusting to 18. “It was a beautiful, beautiful day out there,” he said, adding that victory was not easy.  “First and second place (won by Vanish) was decided by three minutes over 7+ hours of racing, so if you boil that down to percentages, that’s a 3% difference in speed. The Naval Academy, too, was toe-to-toe with us, and they held two out of the top five finish positions, so I’d say that they have a very competitive program for sailing, and it is making a difference.”

The J/122 DOLPHIN won the Hobart Cook Maritime Award for Best Performance by a Naval, Coast Guard or Maritime Academy boat, while Buzzards Yacht Club (Pocasset, Mass.) won the Yacht Club Team Trophy with great performances from their team that included Matthew Schmitt’s J/105 HARD TACK.

Behind Curtiss’s J/111 WICKED 2.0 in PHRF A class was Bill Jacobson’s J/46 VANISH, taking 2nd.  Stephen McManus’s J/120 SAYKADOO was class winner of PHRF B and they were followed by another J/120, APRES, sailed by Stephen Besse.  In PHRF C class, it was the J/105 HARD TACK skippered by Matt Schmitt that took third.  Finally, in PHRF Non-Spinnaker A class, the J/44 BALLYHOO sailed by Wes McMichael placed third.   For more Edgartown Race Week sailing information