Monday, July 11, 2016

Whidbey Island Preview

J/105s sailing offshore (Whidbey Island, WA)- In the northwestern parts of America, adult sailors from Seattle northward look forward to what amounts to a real vacation sailing in some of the nicest parts of the islands north of the famous Puget Sound.  For many, it’s called Whidbey Island Race Week, but is also known as an “R&R” week for those escaping the pressures of working for the likes of Microsoft and Boeing- a form of an “adult sailing camp”.  A time to blow-off steam, a time to reflect, a time to socialize and enjoy friends and family in spectacular setting- fragrant pines, gentle breezes, snow-capped mountains in the distance, brats and burgers on the barbie with refreshingly cold locally made craft beers.  For those reasons and more, that is why “the Whidbey” attracts scores of sailors annually, for decades.

Running from July 11th to 15th, there is a veritable J/Navy participating in this fun-loving event.  There is a one-design class of J/105s and a fleet of PHRF handicap racers.  In the thirteen boat J/105 class, by far the largest in the regatta, many of the top dogs in the PNW are sailing, including Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM, Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO, Bob Blaylock’s USAWI, and John Weil & Kent Sisk’s TROUBLEMAKER.

In the world of PHRF handicap sailing, there are “symmetrical” and “asymmetrical” divisions.  Interesting.  In short, the older J/classics sailing in the 28-boat PHRF Sym are Jim McAlpine’s J/24 LUCKY JIM, two J/29s (Pat Denny’s HERE & NOW and Nelson & Johnson’s SLICK), two J/30s (Rex DuPuis’ GADZOOKS and Adrien Felon’s CONRAD J), and Tim DuMontier’s J/100 BRILLIANT.

Many of the usual local suspects are sailing in PHRF Asym class, a cast of characters to be sure.  Such crews include Chris Johnson’s J/120 WITH GRACE, Tom Kelly’s J/122 ANAM CARA, Ed Pinkham’s J/109 JEOPARDY, and one of the rare J/90s- David & Vernice Cohen’s EYE & EYE.  Here is a nice Whidbey Island Race Week promo sailing video, featuring the J/105 class and others.  For more Whidbey Island Race Week sailing information