Thursday, February 11, 2016

PATAGONIA VIRGIN Trumps J/105 Chiloe Regatta

J/105 Patagonia Virgin- winner of Chiloe Regatta (Puerto Montt, Chile)- Two J/105 teams from the St. Francis YC, one led by Bruce Stone and the other by Ralph Silverman, journeyed south last week to Patagonia, Chile to compete in the prestigious Regata de Chiloe 2016, held every other year in the lovely Chiloe archipelago, framed by volcanoes to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west.

Stone reported that the regatta is run by the Chilean Navy under the auspices of Club Nautico Oceanico de Chile, and with 8 days of racing might be one of the longest in duration: “Ending up in a different small port each night, it places a premium on navigation and also juggling shoreside logistics – aside from the race committee’s ocean-going patrol boats and helicopters, over 50 private support boats (for meals and lodging) followed the fleet, and had their own subtle competition, trying to get to the next port for a great anchorage prior to the arrival of the 70 racing boats. Each was at anchor with hot showers and a late lunch ready for whenever their team arrived, the earliest being 4:30 pm and the latest 8:30 pm.  Per Chilean custom, shoreside events or dinner on-board generally began around 10:00 pm, therefore racing did not start until between noon and 2 pm. With just 2 days of windward-leeward buoy racing, and 5 days of 25-30 mile point-to-point racing, the courses wound around islands and required skill in avoiding shoals and the salmon fishing farms along the shoreline.”

Stone’s team, on the chartered J/105 “Patagonia Virgin”, included Club members Bill Higgins (bow) and Bruce’s wife Nicole Breault (main/tactics), together with owner Santiago Said (trim), Ignacio Alvarado Segovia (mast) and Victor Cook (pit).

J/105s sailing off Patagonia, ChileSilverman chartered Harald Schilling’s J/105 “Sandy” and was supported by Club member Melissa Purdy Feagin (main/tactics) and daughter Whitney and husband Randle made an appearance on-board for the final long-distance race.

Stone further commented, “The Chilean J/105 is strong and growing, with just over 30 boats racing, and more expected to buy boats in the next 1-2 years. Members expressed satisfaction with the size and cost of the boat, and the fact that they could race with family members on board, as did every J/105 in this regatta except for the Navy cadets.”

“This week offered an extremely difficult combination of light air and strong current, placing a premium on local knowledge, and we were in fourth place going into the last day. We then found our wheels in perfect San Francisco Bay conditions of 14-18 kt winds, scoring a third and then a bullet to take the top spot on the podium,” commented an ebullient Stone. “The Baeza family team on “Utopia”, and Jorge Gonzalez on “Plan B” tied for second with Utopia winning the tie-breaker.  Then Jose Manuel Ugarte on “Scimitar” was just another point back to take 4th (the same Scimitar that won the J/105 NA’s in Marblehead with Henry Brauer/ Stew Neff!).”

“Martin Baeza told us that competing in the 2015 J/105 NA’s at St. Francis Rolex Big Boat Series took their game up to a much higher plane and they intend to come to the NA’s in Larchmont this October”, said Stone.  He went on to say that, “Ralph and his team on “Sandy” turned in a solid performance, hanging really close but finishing 6th.”

Along with Baeza, several other Chilean teams, including the naval cadets, now intend to come to the U.S. for the J/105 North Americans in Long Island Sound, while both Bruce and Ralph are considering returning to Patagonia for the next Regata de Chiloe in 2018, or possibly sooner for the Chilean J/105 fleet’s National Championship in December, held in the north near Valparaiso.  For more Regatta Chiloe sailing information