Saturday, February 4, 2017

Classic J/44 Loving Gulf Stream Series!

J/44 Kenai sailing Key West race (Miami, FL)- Chris & Karen Lewis, proud owners of the J/44 KENAI from Houston, Texas, are having fun sailing their gorgeous navy-blue yacht on the Gulf of Mexico, in the Northeast and the Gulf Stream Series.  Chris commented on their recent experiences this past year:

“In 2016, the J/44 KENAI won 1st in IRC class and the Rolex Cup in the Around Conanicut Island Race, 1st in the NYYC Annual Regatta IRC 3 Class, 3rd in NBR ORR class, 2nd in the Onion Patch series to High Noon, first in IRC Overall in the Stamford Vineyard Race winning the Vineyard Lightship Trophy,  then 1st in the SORC Nassau Cup and now 1st in the Key West Feeder Race in ORC. Pretty good for a 25 yr old J/44!! Only slightly modified with a 1.5m sprit, all A-kites and a deeper, skinnier rudder.”

Competing in their second SORC event, the 2017 Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, the Lewis' J/44 KENAI took first place in ORC and won the best performance award of any boat entered that was 25+ years old.   Crewed by a mix of Texas and East Coast sailors, KENAI completed the 161 nm course in 16 hours 56 minutes and corrected 27 minutes ahead of the second placed boat.  Here is more of Chris’ perspective on the Key West Race:

“The opposite watch captain to me on board was Lenny Sitar, owner of J/44 VAMP, and Commodore of Storm Try-Sail Club who are organizing Quantum Key West Race Week.  With another J-44 owner, H.L. DeVore navigating, there was a huge breadth of J/44 experience onboard.

The winds were 20 to 30 knots out of the east making for a course record run of 10 hours 18 minutes for Wizard, a 74 ft mini-maxi.

KENAI saw speeds of 17 knots, and at one point, before our Code Zero sail split in two during a gust, we were catching 56 and 57-foot boats ahead of us.

Running down the reef that was a lee shore, it looked like everything was fine until we were hit by a 30-knot squall in front of the beam with the A4 spinnaker up. Suddenly, we were charging at the reef at night with a big kite to dowse!!  Thankfully, we survived that drama to tell the story!"

KENAI is now leading the SORC Islands In The Stream series that concludes in March with a race from Miami to Havana.