(Newport Beach, CA)- The 2017 Islands Race was hosted by Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club on February 24 & 25. Sailors from all over the Pacific Coast eagerly anticipated the event. The 130nm dash began February 24, with competitors starting off Long Beach Harbor, head west around Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands and into the finish off San Diego’s Point Loma. The race has become one of the West Coast’s signature offshore races, but this year’s event featured considerable visibility and scenery for those on board, yet disappointingly light winds for the last third of the race.
Skies were clear enough at the start on Friday that competitors and Race Committee could see all the way to Catalina with startling clarity due to the stormy fronts that have been blowing through Southern California over the past few weeks. Most boats started in about 8 knots of wind out of the northwest and winds increased as boats moved around the course to San Clemente Island. The breeze peaked at about 14 knots at San Clemente and got progressively lighter and came from odd directions (east) as boats approached the finish. Only 14 of the 24 boats entered in this year’s race finished since many boats turned their engines on and confirmed their “did not finish” status.
Despite the light winds, there was still a fair amount of competition out on the water. Said one sailor, “It was a spectacularly brilliant evening to be on the water. Every star was out! The fact that there was no moon was actually a blessing because the skies were so clear. We thought the deck was going to get wet, but when the wind started to come off the shore, we realized that was why it was so dry. So not only did we have dry decks, but we had clear skies and we don’t normally get that. It was a very pleasant evening to be out on the water.”
The J/125 TIMESHAVER used the Islands Race as a practice event for the Newport to Cabo Race in March. Crew member Keith Magnussen explained that one of the highlights during this year’s race was the rivalry between the three J/125s.
“A lot of the boats converged around San Clemente Island so there was quite a bit of competition which was really fun. After we got around San Clemente Island, we saw about 10-12 knots of breeze which pushed us into the morning when the wind died down. We were in no air for about 4 hours, then the breeze came back and we had all of our class with us. We battled with our sister ship Derivative and also had the other J/125 Resolute behind us.”
In the end, the J/125s crushed their PH2 Division, taking three of the top four spots. Winning class was Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE from Coronado YC, with a corrected time of 1:1:29:41. Just 4 minutes corrected time behind them was stablemate Viggo Torbensen from Dana Point YC, guiding TIMESHAVER across the line first, but taking the silver based on handicap. The third J/125 was Tim Fuller & Trevor Baylis sailing RESOLUTE to 4th on corrected, 37 min 28 sec behind.
Crushing it overall as well as in PH3 Division was Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA from Los Angeles YC. In class, they won by 21 minutes corrected over a Summit 40 and Class 40. Overall, PICOSA took 4th place, being beaten by three 70 ft sleds! Sailing photo credits- San Diego YC/ Bronny Daniels- JOYSAILING.com For more Islands Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.