Saturday, March 12, 2016

Islands Race Preview

J/teams sailing Islands Race (Newport Beach, CA)- The 130nm Islands Race takes off on March 11, and is San Diego YC’s first offshore race of the year; followed by the SoCal 300 in May and the Rum Runner race in October. This is the seventh year that SDYC will partner with Newport Harbor Yacht Club for the Islands Race. The race will showcase impeccable scenery alongside the California coast as competitors start in Long Beach Harbor, navigate around the Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands, before completing the race in Point Loma in San Diego.

The Islands Race is a staple in the offshore racing circuit for boats of all sizes.  This year twenty-eight of the best boats in the California offshore racing community are taking part on the start this Saturday.  Amongst them is a diverse group of J/Teams, covering the spectrum from the speedy J/88 up to the magnificent J/65.

At the top of the heap and most likely to be the first member of the J/Tribe to cross the finish line first is Tom Barker’s beautiful navy-blue J/65 MAITRI from the Cortez Racing Association.  She will be chased hard by one of the veterans of the offshore SoCal wars, Tim Fuller’s J/125 RESOLUTE from Newport Harbor YC. Watch out for Paul Stemler’s J/44 PATRIOT from Newport Harbor YC, particularly if the breezes are strong from the southwest as they haven been with the advent of the El Nino induced “Pineapple Express” (e.g. a long slog to windward in big seas!). Similarly, such conditions would also be welcomed by Seth Hall’s gorgeous flag-blue J/124 MARISOL from Cortez Racing Association.  Hoping for blast-reaching and planing-mode conditions is perhaps the “Swiss Army knife” in the quiver of J’s racing down to San Diego- the J/88 speedster appropriately named BLUE FLASH and sailed by Scott Grealish and friends from Willamette SC in Portland, Oregon- the last offshore race they sailed they won by a country mile!  Watch this space, history may repeat itself!  Finally, there is no telling how the Sanford’s J/105 CREATIVE from San Diego YC will fair in the race; as a proven commodity they can easily make the podium if they race in one-design configuration and get a blow from the WNW.  For more Islands Race sailing information- you can watch the fleet racing on the YellowBrick Tracker!