Thursday, May 12, 2016

AYC Spring Blast Report

J/88 sailing upwind (Rye, New York)- Teams that participate in the American Yacht Club Spring Series are known to be diehard sailors. In the New York tri-state area, Spring Series is the first event of the year. Teams often struggle to get boats in the water, crews organized and practice hours clocked in the first days of April. The boats that show for the four-day, two-weekend event are not wallflowers – they come prepared and expect to win.

The weather ran across a wind range of 5 to 25 knots and sunny to cold, wet and rainy conditions. PHRF 2 Division was deep in J/Boats including three J/88’s, two J/29’s, one J/80. The fleet was exceptionally strong including teams fresh of wins at Key West and Charleston Race week. For many of the races, the top five finishes were separated by less than sixty seconds.

In the end, Iris Vogel’s J/88 DEVIATION prevailed through amazingly consistent finishes.  Kevin Mark’s J/88 VELOCITY, with four first place scores came in second.  The one and only collection of “madmen” in the fleet, all aboard John & Tony Esposito’s J/29 HUSTLER, came in hot with third place and close on their heels was Mike Bruno’s J/88 WINGS and yet another fast J/29- Tom and Julie Sinatra’s J/29 SMOKIN J.  Fun games were had by all, according to all who witnessed the proceedings.  It may also mark the first time, in a thousand years, the Esposito’s did not win their class.  A harbinger of things to come? That is the way it was in PHRF handicap world on Long Island Sound.

Hopping over to one-design world, it was tough sledding everywhere you cared to look.  Many good performances, some dominating, some complete nail-biters ridden with anxiety to the very last 100 yards of the last race.

The “big boys” sailing J/44s had a full-on duel taking place over the two weekends of racing between Jeff Willis’ CHALLENGE IV and Bill Ketcham’s MAXINE. After the dust cleared in the ring, it was Willis over Ketcham by 5 pts.  Taking third in class was Len Sitar’s VAMP.

Sporting an impressive ten boats on the line, the J/109s were anticipating another season of tight racing.  However, no one seemed to inform David Rosow’s team on LOKI that you’re not supposed to smoke the fleet with five 1sts and three 2nds on their way to a numbingly low number of just 9 pts in eight races!  Uhhh.  So, as the Queen once asked, “who was second”??  That would be an exciting story, actually.  While LOKI simply sailed herself off into another cosmos, MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN (Adrian Begley), EMOTICON (Jon Rechtshaffer) & ZUMA (Steve Chronert) and MORNING GLORY (Carl Olsson) all had a real “chutes & ladders” experience battling one another for the balance of the top five.  Just 10 pts separated all of them at the end of the series. Ultimately, Begley’s MAD DOGS grabbed 2nd with 22 pts, followed by EMOTICON in 3rd, ZUMA 4th and Olsson’s crew in 5th.

With eleven boats sailing, the J/105 class continues to enjoy good one-design racing on western Long Island Sound.  Paul Beaudin’s LOULOU won the class by sheer consistency, tossing just a 6th place to win with 20 pts.  Sailing one of their best series in memory was the Harald Edegran/ Jeremy Henderson team on CONUNRUM, taking 2nd just 4 pts back.  Third only two pts further in arrears was another “best of” performance by Randy Bourne’s STRANGE BREW.  Fourth was George & Ale Wilbanks’ REVELATION and 5th was the extraordinary AYC YOUNG AMERICAN JUNIOR BIG BOAT TEAM on their J/105 YOUNG AMERICAN!

By far the biggest fleet in the regatta was the J/70 class with seventeen boats entered in the two-weekend event.  The racing was close and there was no question some new faces in the crowd proved that no one was going to be a push-over in this class!  After nine races, there was nearly a different winner for every single race! Ultimately, winning was a relative newcomer to the class, Allan Stern & Bill Walker’s VICTURA with 27 pts total in 8 races counted- a 3.4 average.  Taking second by a whisker was Daan Goedkoop’s LOCOMOTION with 32 pts, followed by Trevor Roach’s SEMI-CHARMED in third with 34 pts.  Rounding out the top five was Carrie & Ed Austin’s CHINOOK in 4th and Mike Zupon’s LOKI in 5th place.  Notably, coming out of “retirement” for the last weekend was Molly Baxter (pregnant at 5+ months)!  Her performance on the Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES was good enough to win the weekend in the 70’s, closing with a 1st!!  Good on ya Molly 1.5!   Sailing photo credit- Paul Todd/ Outside  For more American YC Spring Series sailing information