Friday, August 8, 2014

J’s Lead New England Solo/ Twin Offshore Race

J/35 sailing Newport Solo/ Twin (Newport, RI)- The New England Solo/ Twin Race, a near shore short-handed race, was held July 25th and 26th in the waters of Rhode Island Sound.  The race is designed to introduce new skippers to overnight racing in the hopes of enticing new skippers into the Bermuda One-Two run every two years.

There were classes for singlehanded and doublehanded boats, cruising canvas and spinnaker, monohulls and multihulls.  Of the boats that raced, seven were crewed by families, 20 boats were repeat skippers and 11 had new skippers.  The courses ranged from 67nm to 100nm.

J/Teams lead several divisions across the board.  In the Class 5 Spinnaker Singlehanded class, Mike Piper’s J/111 EAGLES DARE simply dominated the competition, winning by 22 minutes on corrected time.  In the Class 3 Cruising Canvas Twin class, the J/109 URSA sailed by the duo of Brooke Mastrorio and Mark Franklin won their class quite handily.  They were followed in second by the J/37 ALLEGRO VIVACE sailed by Dick and Sam Waterman.  Finally, in the Class 1 Spinnaker Twin class, Paul Grimes and Dave Moffet sailed the J/35 BREAKAWAY to second place, just 22 minutes on corrected time behind their friends on the 30 foot SAMBA.

Mike Piper commented on his performance in the J/111 EAGLES DARE:  “I twisted the chute as I botched a gybe due to me forgetting what mode the autopilot was in.  On the downwind leg, I experimented a lot with VMG angles, as I finally have all the instrumentation worked out.  I wasted too much time going hot & fast, as it's more fun, but not always smart. Wind speeds were 13-14 knots, so not enough to break free.  I collected tons of data that will help me in the next race though.  The boat did well on upwind leg from Gay Head to Pt Judith, punching through the chop and only a couple degrees off where I'd be if fully-crewed.”

Paul Grimes commented on what it was like to sail the classic J/35 BREAKAWAY: “I'd say Bob Manchester and Barrett Holy had the comeback of the race after getting caught on the wrong side of a sudden 150 degree windshift on the first leg. As for us, it was great to sail with Dave Moffet. He really ramps up the program.  In our class, there was a big spread in ratings, and we just kept pushing - and barely corrected out over boats that owed us a lot of time. Who knows how valid that really is, but that's the way the scoring worked this time.

In general, the J/35 continues to be a great boat for shorthanded racing. It is so forgiving and versatile, and has no real weaknesses. Other designs may shine in certain conditions or on certain headings, but the 35 keeps us in the mix no matter what. It's not hard to keep it going fast, and the Autohelm loves it - which is a big help at 3 AM!!

For this race, we also wanted to do it "right" - actually cook some dinner in the oven and switch-off taking naps down below when possible. Not all boats out there could do that, and it makes a big difference when racing through the early morning hours.

Our only regret is that we missed a pod of whales that came through the fleet during the only few minutes of the race when both of us were down below repacking a sail. Oh well . . .”   For more New England Solo/Twin sailing information.