Wednesday, September 21, 2016

COUGAR Fights For J/24 North American Crown

Women's J/24 Sea Bags Sailing Team (Port Credit, Ontario, Canada)- You could not have scripted a more dramatic, anxiety-ridden finale to the 2016 J/24 North American Championship at Port Credit Yacht Club in Mississauga, Ontario Canada.  After nine races, Will Welles’ COUGAR and Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER/ SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM were tied at 28 points, with Welles winning the tie-breaker and the Championship.  The hot local Canadian team, Rossi Milev’s CLEAR AIR, lived up to their billing, pushing the two leaders hard throughout the regatta but ultimately taking the final position on the podium to take the bronze with 49 points.

J/24s sailing off Toronto, OntarioDay One- Gorgeous Opener
Welles’ COUGAR bookended two bullets on the opening day. Despite an 8th in Friday’s middle contest, Welles’ first-place tallies in races one and three gave him 10 points and the early advantage in the 46-boat fleet. Even Petley-Jones’ LIFTED stood three points back in second (8,2,3), and Odenbach was in third with 16 points (9,5,2).

Teams tolerated a brief on-water postponement in the morning, until the breeze filled at 6-8 knots. Following Welles in the first battle were local Milev’s CLEAR AIR and James Freedman’s MISS CONDUCT. Todd Fedyszn’s SPOONY TACTICS earned line honors in the next race, trailed by Petley-Jones and Milev. Welles secured the day’s overall lead by winning the last meeting, as Odenbach recorded his best finish thus far with Petley-Jones rounding out the top three.

J/24s sailing North AmericansDay Two- Thriller @ Sea
Saturday saw building winds and waves over the four races that provided exciting surfing finishes and changes to the leaderboard.

Winning a bullet in Race 6, Odenbach (20 points total) moved into first place with 1 point better than Welles’ (21 points).  Going into Sunday, there was a tie for third place between Petley-Jones LIFTED and Milev’s CLEAR AIR with 34 points.  At that point, the weather looked promising to finish the last three races in the series.

Will Welles' COUGAR- winners of J/24 NA'sDay Three- The final battle
Race 8 started in shifty northwesterly winds building through 15 knots, with Welles taking the bullet to move into first overall. Race Committee PRO Pat Limburger, with one more race available, posted course number 5 with the fleet finishing in front of Port Credit Yacht Club. Race 9 saw Fedyszyn first, Odenbach in third and Welles in sixth— just enough to secure the overall victory. The Masters Trophy went to Chris Stone’s VELOCIDAD. Top female skipper was Natalie Harden’s GIGGLES and Top Female Crew was Erica Beck-Spencer’s SEA BAGS WOMENS SAILING TEAM from Portland, Maine. Top Junior was Michael Howarth’s MR. H.  Behind the top three teams, it was Petley-Jones’ LIFTED in fourth place and Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS in fifth place.  For more J/24 North American Championship sailing information