Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wet'n'Wild Finale @ AYC Fall Series

J/105s sailing on Long Island Sound (Rye, New York)- The jury was out whether or not the weather forecasts were going to hold as predicted, or simply wash-out like they did the previous weekend.  With Saturday looking a bit wet with gusty SSE 10-20 kt winds (due to an approaching cold front) and Sunday looking cooler with a puffy westerly of 10-15 kts and sunny skies, everyone was hoping the forecasts would hold enough to get in 4-5 races over the weekend.

As it turned out, the American Yacht Cub PROs were blessed with perhaps a bit too much breeze on Saturday afternoon.  With a massive swell of 3-4 feet rolling in from the east down the entire fetch of Long Island Sound and a cross-chop on top of 1-2 ft due to the southerly breezes blowing off the windward shore, it was just about all the fleets could take on the East and Southwest courses. With passing rainsqualls, the gusts were hitting steady 27-30 kts at times, but lulls were easily dropping down into the mid-teens!  After completing two races by 2:15pm, the AYC PRO called it quits and sent the fleet home, as many of the various handicap and one-design fleets were decimated by dozens of boats withdrawing from the second race and heading home.  The sailing conditions were hardly extreme, just 15-25 kts. However, it’s not often that you see the only three boats racing in IRC 1 all broaching simultaneously, perfectly choreographed gybes onto port, with oversized asymmetric kites all flogging themselves to pieces (Steve & Heidi Benjamin’s Tripp 41 HIGH NOON, Andrew Weiss’s CHRIS DRAGON & John Barry’s MC 38 CARBONADO).  By Sunday, most everyone had regained their composure and enjoyed a beautiful day on Long Island Sound in sunny, shifty 10-18 kt westerly winds.

The J/122 WINGS was leading IRC 2 but dropped into second, the first time they’ve been beaten in the AYC Fall Series in recent memory!  On the comeback trail was John Pearson’s J/122 RED SKY, vaulting into third on the podium with a steady 3-3-4-4 for the weekend.  Fourth was Ron Richman’s J/133 ANTIDOTE. In PHRF 1, the J/111 ANDIAMO sailed by Paul Strauch took fourth. In PHRF 2, Ken Hall’s J/100 NEVERMORE finished third.  Then, in PHRF 3, Tom & Julie Sinatra’s J/29 SMOKIN J ran away from the fleet to win with a 1-2-1-2-1 score for just 7 pts!  Third was Aleksandr Tichter’s J/29 AKULA and fifth was Jason Viseltear’s J/80 UPSETTER.  They were followed by another J/80, Glenn Sheets AISLING in 6th.

J/44 racer cruiser sailboats- sailing one-design on Long Island SoundIn one-design circles, the twelve-boat J/44 fleet was given quite the “schooling” by Len Sitar’s VAMP, posting four 1sts and one 4th to win with just 4 pts net!  Bill Ketcham’s MAXINE took second by virtue of winning the last race with 10 pts net.  Third was Jim Bishop’s aquamarine green GOLD DIGGER, sitting on fourth was Jeff Willis’ CHALLENGE IV and in fifth was Joerg Esdorn & Duncan Hennes’ KINCSEM.

The twelve J/109s saw Jonathan Rechtschaffer’s EMOTICON leading from the first weekend onward, never losing their grasp on first and finishing with a blindingly quick 1-1-2 to close with just 12 pts net.  Jim Vos’ SKOOT played catch-up the whole time, but could only manage to grab a trio of 3rds to close with 14 pts net.  Third was Jack Forehand’s STRATEGERY with 18 pts.  Fourth and fifth was determined by the outcome of the last race, with the advantage going to Bill Rogers’ BIG BOAT over Adrian Begley’s MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN.

The fifteen J/105s were also led start to finish by Paul Beaudin’s LOULOU, posting two 1sts and four 2nds and not having to sail the last race!  Seven points back was George & Alex Wilbanks’ REVELATION in second and Jeremy Henderson & Harald Edegran’s CONUNDRUM took third.  Damian Emery’s ECLIPSE was not up to their usual form, settling for fourth and in fifth was David Greenhouse’s SKIPPERDEE.

As the biggest fleet in the regatta, the seventeen strong J/70 was going to have tough competition.  Never relinquishing their first weekend lead were the Ploch Sisters (Megan & Madelyn), sailing SUGAR DADDY to an extremely steady 1-1-3-2-1-2 for 7 pts net!  Hanging with them most of the time was Scott Bursor’s SLINKY, taking second overall with 17 pts net.  Third was Andrew Shea’s SHAKE’N’BAKE with 24 pts, followed by Sandy Weil & Markus Lahrkamp on ICE NINE in fourth and Trevor Roach’s SEMI-CHARMED in fifth.   Sailing photo credits- Todd Young/   For more American YC Fall Regatta sailing information