Saturday, February 25, 2017

J/70 Midwinters Preview

J/70s sailing off Florida (St Petersburg, FL)- The 2017 J/70 Midwinters will be hosted by the award-winning regatta management crew at St Petersburg Yacht Club in St Petersburg, FL.  With fifty-four hungry teams on the line, regatta PRO Todd Fedyszyn will have his hands full keeping the hard-charging crews at bay for three days of racing that commences on Friday, February 24th and concludes on Sunday, February 26th.  It also marks another “first” milestone in the evolution of the J/70 class; it’s the first time the USA J/70 class association has experimented in a major “open” class championship with limiting professional sailors to just one per boat, including the owner or skipper.  Post regatta scuttlebutt will be interesting; the jury will be out on whether this is a welcome development, or not.

The weather forecast will certainly challenge the crews that range in age and experience; from 14 year old Madelyn Ploch on USA 88 to Masters Champions like John Brim on his famous RIMETTE.  Currently, NOAA forecasts moderate northeasterlies on Friday followed by blustery, puffy northwesterlies on Saturday, followed up again, after a frontal passage, by a persistently shifting northeasterly on Sunday veering east over the course of the day.

There are many top teams that are participating that include Olympic Gold Medallists, to World Champions, to local PHRF beer-can Wonder-Women!  Amongst those that should make appearances at the top of the leaderboard are Allen Terhune’s CITY WOK from Annapolis YC (J/22 World Champion); Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth Boat Club (a J/105 and J/80 North American Champion with Olympic Gold Medallist Jonathan McKee on tactics); David Mendelblatt on USA 839 from St Petersburg YC (a multiple College All-American like his brother Mark at Tufts University); Tim Healy’s NEW ENGLAND ROPES from Newport, RI (J/70 & J/24 World and Midwinter Champion); Henry Brauer’s RASCAL from Eastern YC (J/105 North American Champion and J/111 NYYC Annual Regatta and Chicago Verve Cup Champion); Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly YC (J/105 Key West Champion and J/80 World Champion); Will Welles’ SCAMP from Mount Desert Island Sailing Club (J/24 World Champion); and John & Molly Baxter’s VINEYARD VINES from Riverside YC (2016 Quantum J/70 Winter Series Champions).

Notably, SEVEN top women sailors will be participating, including Darby Smith’s AFRICA from Eastern YC; Sarah Renz’s BERTEAU GROUP from Chicago, IL; Danette Szakaly’s D2 RACING from St Petersburg YC; Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD from Coral Reef YC, Blaire McCarthy’s SPYC JUNIOR SAILING TEAM from St Petersburg YC; Madelyn Ploch’s USA 88 from American YC; and Kristen Robinson’s ZOMBIE from Annapolis YC.

The foreign contingent includes two Canadian crews, Stu McCrea’s CAN 550 from Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Scott Weakley’s REX from Port Credit YC in Port Credit (Toronto).  In addition, is the Mexican crew from Puerto Vallarta YC, Ignacio Perez’s ZAQUERO from Guadalajara.

The Corinthian crews should expect strong competition all weekend long from past leaders, like Rob Britts’ HOT MESS from Davis Island YC;  Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from American YC; Al Poindexter’s USA 241 from Lakewood YC in Houston, TX; and Frank McNamara’s CHINOOK from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA.  For more J/70 Midwinters sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.