Saturday, November 5, 2016

Hot Rum Race I Preview

San Diego Pt Loma and Hot Rum course (San Diego, CA)- Twenty-seven J/Teams (24% of the 115 boat fleet) will be racing one of the West Coast’s most famous “pursuit-style” events this coming weekend on Saturday November 5th- the three weekend-long Hot Rum series, hosted by San Diego YC.  “Pursuit” racing is a “fun-for-all” format, where the slowest boats start first, fastest last, and the winners for each class determined by who crossed the finish line first.  In most cases, if the classic WNW breeze is “on” at the noon-time starts, the fleet is sent off on a fast reach to the last channel marker offshore of Point Loma (red buoy #6 4.0nm from the start), turn left down to the next buoy (or a drop buoy), then charge back home 5.5 to 7.0nm upwind to the finish line inside the North Island breakwater.

J/120 sailing SDYC Hot Rum seriesLooking forward to the fun and festivities associated with the races are a huge cross-section of J/teams- ranging from the classics (like J/22s, J/24s, J/27s, J/29s, J/30s, J/35s, etc) to the latest in the offshore sportboat/ sprit range (J/70s, J/80s, J/105s, J/120s, J/125s and so on).

Racing is all based on PHRF Random-leg handicapping.  The eight J/105s and five J/120s will have one-design awards, in addition to competing in their appropriate PHRF classes.  The balance of J/crews will be distributed amongst the PHRF fleets top to bottom.

Not surprisingly, several of the top crews from over the past few years in the J/105 will be looking forward to this annual bash- it’s virtually impossible to handicap this group since all have won something over the years.  Those teams include Dennis Case’ WINGS, Rick Goebel’s SANITY, Steve & Lucy Howell’s BLINK, Dag Fish’s VIGGEN, Stew Cannon’s J-OK, and newcomer Tim Fuller’s STEADFAST.

For the J/120s, the usual cast of characters will be lined up to take aim for the top of the podium.  Who will it be this year?? Depends on the crew and execution.  Amazingly, it changes a lot each year based on who’s got the “mojo” to make it happen.  Of course, Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER springs to mind as a talented team, but so does Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY, John Laun’s CAPER, Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN, and Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE.

J/70 sailing Hot Rum SeriesIn the small boat handicap class, the two J/70s (Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR & Steve Wyman’s NUNUHUNU) will be fast out of the gate, but Scott Biddick’s J/22, David Cattle’s J/27 BLACKADDER, and Robert Noe’s J/30 MAD HATTER all start ahead of the 70s and may be in a better position to hold them off at the finish!  However, given “planing-mode” conditions going offshore for the first two legs, watch out!  You may see J/70s winning the entire race overall!

In the big boat classes, watch for Scott Grealish’s insanely-fast J/88 BLUE FLASH take on the twin J/125s (Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE & Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER), the twin J/124s (Seth Hall’s MARISOL & Tim Harmon’s CIRRUS), Steve Carter’s J/109 GERONIMO, Doug Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA, and Fred Hawes’ J/46 ANONA.  If there was ever a division where “anything can happen”, then this is the one to watch!

Post-race festivities at San Diego YC are quite remarkable.  It all starts with SDYC Chefs on the dock serving hors d’ouerves, hot rum toddies, Ballast Point beer and good Lord knows what else.  Now, that is stylin’!! Is it any wonder that sailors show up with casts of thousands to enjoy the post-race “social activities”??  Sailing photo credits- San Diego YC.   For more SDYC Hot Rum Series sailing information