Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Marshall Crowned J/22 Midwinter Champion

J/22 Midwinters- sailing downwind (Fort Walton Beach, FL)- The twenty-six boats sailing the J/22 Midwinters off Fort Walton Beach had three good days of racing, starting out slowly and closing with awesome sailing conditions.  The Fort Walton YC provided great race management and plenty of onshore festivities.  After an eight race series over three days, it was a Rhode Island team that was crowned champion, Mike Marshall’s team (Mike Nicoletti and Matt Schubert) from Jamestown sailed BAD NEWS into the lead on the final day.

Day One
Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY from Annapolis, MD won Friday’s only race to claim a quick advantage in the 26-boat fleet. With Chip Carr and Chris Ryan on board, Todd beat out Sean Clare’s WHITE TRASH and Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 in flukey winds averaging between 5-7 knots at the event. Light breeze prevented the Race Committee from starting any other contests.

J/22 Midwinters- sailing off startDay Two
It could not have been much tighter at the top of the heap after four races were completed on Saturday. Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and Terry Flynn’s TEJAS were tied on points at 11 heading into the closing day of racing on Sunday. Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY was just one point behind. Doyle is dropping an 8, leaving scores of 3,5,1,2, and Flynn has tossed a 6 for a net tally of 5,1,2,3. Todd is counting a 1,3,2,6 (throwing out a 6). Even the fourth and fifth place boats were tied— Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS and Chris Wientjes— with 15 points each.

Saturday began with light breeze around 4-6 knots, as Wientjes snared victory from Chris Wilson’s LIL PUFFY, and Todd took third. It was another photo finish in the next battle as winds picked up to 8-12 kts. Flynn edged Todd by a nose, ahead of third-place Kurt Taken-Holtze’s TURN DOWN FOR WHAT. Chris Doyle handily collected the next win as winds lightened a bit to 6-8 kts, when Flynn and Marshall settled for the silver and bronze spots. In the final contest, Taken-Holtze was DSQ after protest, leaving Marshall, Chris Doyle and Flynn in the money.

J/22 Midwinters- sailing upwindDay Three
The winds piped up to 16-24 kts for the finale on Sunday.  Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS rose to the top of the fleet to capture the title with a 2-1-2 in Sunday’s blustery three races to total 20 net points.

Of the three boats within one point of first place heading into Sunday’s racing, Marshall was not one of them, but the team reveled in the conditions despite being about 70 pounds under the Class crew weight limit. Flynn’s TEJAS earned second place with 22 points, and Todd’s HOT TODDY took third with 24 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 in fourth place and Chris Wientjes from New Orleans YC in fifth position.

J/22 Midwinters- Marshall- first placeBAD NEWS ran into a little bad luck on the opening day when a big shift at the end of the only race left them with a 10th place. Day two brought intermediate conditions where, Marshall said, “I think the lightness of our boat hurt us, and we had to fight for every point.” When several boats struggled in Sunday’s heavier air, Marshall said the team “took about half of the first upwind leg to figure that we needed to do was ease the jib a little more than we thought.”

Marshall also credited tactician Matt Schubert for making a few key calls on where to go. Recalling that most of Sunday’s starts saw them off the line in the top five boats, the team still had to battle to pick off boats and make up the four-point deficit they started the day with. “By being a little forward off the start, we could choose our own destiny. Boats we didn’t pass upwind, we were able to catch up with downwind. The last race we played a covering game,” summarized Marshall.  For more J/22 Midwinters sailing information