Monday, March 7, 2016

Texan HOSS Crowned J/70 Midwinter Champion

J/70 HOSS sailing Midwinters in St Petersburg, FL (St Petersburg, FL)- After three days of nearly perfect weather and breezes, the forty-six teams could not have been more delighted than to have to sail home early afternoon on Sunday with eight very good races completed.  Said the 2016 QUANTUM J/70 Midwinter Champions, Glenn Darden and Reese Hillard on HOSS, “St Petersburg YC PRO Todd Fedyszyn and the StPYC Race Committee did a wonderful job. It was tricky, very puffy and shifty, even in the bigger breeze. We got a variety of conditions, which is more than anyone can ask for!”  For Tampa Bay, indeed it was nearly “chamber of commerce” conditions, with four races sailed Friday in gorgeous conditions, and two races sailed per day on Saturday and Sunday.

J/70s sailing off St Petersburg, FLAfter the racing Saturday, fast out-of-the-box and leading was Allan Terhune’s DAZZLER of Arnold, MD with an impressive tally of 1-3-7-1 for 12 points.  They were just one point ahead of the Forth Worth, Texas duo of Darden/Hillard on HOSS with an equally good scoreline of 3-6-2-2 for 13 pts.  The winning team at the St Pete NOOD Regatta, Will Welles’ SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM from Portsmouth, RI, locked in a solid day, too, with a record of 13-2-1-3 for 19 pts to round out the top three.

The winds for the first day were 10-12 knots with gusts to 15 from the WNW. Terhune dazzled in the opening race, trailed by Geoff Becker and the Darden/Hillard team. Becker transferred up to the top spot in the second contest, as Welles took second and Terhune third. It was Welles’ turn for the victory in race three, ahead of Darden/Hillard and John Brim’s RIMETTE. Terhune secured the day’s lead with a bullet in the final battle. Darden/Hillard again grabbed the silver spot with Welles in the bronze.

women sailing J/70s in FloridaThe northerly gradient winds held for the second day, for awhile at least.  It was enough to get in two good races before it dropped to virtually nothing on a beautiful clear, sunny day and StPYC PRO Fedyszyn’s crew had to cancel for the day.  Team Darden/Hillard took HOSS to the front of the pack in Saturday’s initial race when winds were about 10-12 knots, tailed by Welles and Kerry Klingler’s MENACE. The Corinthian team on B-SQUARED with Bryan Cameron and Brian Elliott earned the next victory, as Darden/Hillard took second and Klingler again third.  As a result of the day’s racing, HOSS jumped into the lead with their 1-2 finishes on the day, taking an 8-point lead into the finale on Sunday.  In the meantime, Welles’ SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM took over 2nd position and Terhune’s DAZZLER fizzled into a less than dazzling 23-7 daily scoreline to drop into third overall.

With enough local knowledge to make the absolute right call, the St Petersburg YC RC team led by PRO Fedyszyn told the J/70 teams “to get up early and be ready to race at 0930 hours on the dot, or be late to the parade!”  Indeed, the RC boats all took off by 0815 hours on a cool Sunday morning, set the course, and started precisely on-time at 0930.  Fortunately, most boats heeded the call and were blessed to sail two good, but very shifty races in the third day of a dying northerly, finishing the eighth and final race by noon time in about 5 kts of wind from the north.

J/70 Midwinter champions- Darden / Hillard's HOSSClosing out their scores with a 2-13 enabled the HOSS team of Darden/ Hillard to become the 2016 Quantum J/70 Midwinter Champions.  It has been quite a ride for this team, having just sailed the J/70 for less than nine months. Darden, a J/80 World Champion, was at the helm with co-owner Hillard, Jonathan McKee and Karl Anderson. “I have a fabulous team,” praised Darden, who has been sailing with Hillard for over 20 years. “We added Jonathan, who is an Olympics Gold medalist, and I’d never sailed with him before the last couple regattas. He’s helped us get up to speed.”

Holding on to second place was Welles’ SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM.  Similarly, Terhune’s crew on DAZZLER sailed consistently enough to take the bronze overall.  Rounding out the top five in the Open Division was Geoff Becker’s USA 25 with 55 pts in fourth place and just 3 pts behind them was John Brim’s RIMETTE with US Sailing Yachtswomen of the Year Steph Roble on-board as tactician.

J/70 Corinthians winner- Midwinters- SNAPROLLWinning the Corinthians Division was SNAPROLL, with perhaps the oldest one-two combination in the entire fleet- Bill Ballard and John Jennings- average age 80 yrs old (just kiddin, though not far off)!  Their talented all St Petersburg YC crew (including Collegiate All-American Hillary Noble) sailed to an enormous 11 pt lead.  Taking the silver was Charles Bayer’s team on LIL’GRIZZLY with 120 pts and in third place as the B-SQUARED duo of Bryan Cameron & Brian Elliot sitting on 133 pts.  In fact, B-SQUARED won a tie-breaker over 4th place finisher Tim Molony on JOUST and in fifth position was Alex Meleny’s TRUCKIN’ DY with 150 pts.  For more J/70 Midwinters sailing information

Next stop on the J/70 winter circuit is the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, March 10th to 13th, hosted by the three clubs on Biscayne Bay- Coral Reef YC, Biscayne Bay YC and Coconut Grove SC.  For more Bacardi Miami Sailing week information