Monday, October 2, 2017

Milev Crowned J/24 World Champion!

Rossi Milev Clear Air crew- J/24 World Champions SEA BAGS Women’s Sailing Team Top Women’s!
(Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)- For those who place in the bottom third in the first race of a World Championship, look to Rossi Milev’s CLEAR AIR for inspiration. The local team overcame double-digit finishes in the first three of eight races to become the 2017 victors at the J/24 World Championship in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and hosted by the incredibly friendly and gracious members of Port Credit YC.

Going into Saturday’s final day of competition, Milev trailed Tony Parker’s BANGOR PACKET by 5 points. Nailing a second-place in the only light-air contest earned CLEAR AIR the title with 47 net points. Parker ended just one point back, settling for the silver position after a very consistent week of sailing. Ariko Murohashi’s LULL of Japan claimed the bronze spot with 62 points.

Milev was an integral player in his club— Port Credit YC— earning hosting duties for this Championship. “It hasn’t sunk it,” beamed Milev. “The first race went against us, but I said ‘don’t give up, it’s a long regatta.’ We just plugged away.”

J/24 German women's teamCrew Gayle Gray (mast), Mark Goodyear (trim), Jon Messenger (tactics) and Jeremy Edwards (bow) were up to the challenge in the persistently light air affair. Milev continued, “We had great speed all around, and could hold the lane. We sailed the rig a little bit lighter than what the tuning guide says. You never know when your time will come. You try to figure out what’s going on, but it wasn’t easy!”

The Jaeger Women’s Trophy- emblematic of the top women’s team at the J/24 Worlds- was awarded to Erica Beck Spencer’s Sea Bags Women's Sailing Team.  And, the Turner Trophy- emblematic of the top Under-25 team was awarded to Finn Hadlock, skippering BOREAS.

Sixty-three teams from Argentina, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru and the USA competed in the 2017 J/24 Worlds in Canada and it was tough sailing in the predominantly light-air conditions on Lake Ontario, taking place right off Toronto’s picturesque and magnificent city waterfront.  Here is how it all unfurled over the four days of competition.

DAY 1- Light & shifty
Fickle breeze was the theme of the opening day and the sailors endured winds around 6 knots to complete two races. Tony Parker’s BANGOR PACKET and James Freedman’s MISS CONDUCT were tied at 9 pts each, with Parker holding that tie-breaker by way of a 7-2 on Tuesday (Freedman earned a 4-5) for the early advantage. David Klatt’s JADED and Mark Laura’s BABA LOUIE sat tied at 21 pts each for third and fourth place, respectively.

A big wind shift in the opening contest doomed teams to the left, but benefited Klatt’s JADED and two Japanese teams (Nobuyuki Imai’s SIESTA and Einosuke Morita’s WAILEA) who comprised the top three. Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS took line honors in the second race, ahead of Parker’s BANGOR PACKET and Blair Dinsdale’s JOURNEY.

J/24 Newport sailing teamDAY 2- Moderate breeze & sunshine!
To the delight of sailors, Mother Nature provided more consistent breeze and sunshine on the second day of racing. As the conditions improved, so did the lead for Tony Parker’s BANGOR PACKET, who notched a 5-8 on Wednesday to bring him to 22 overall points after four races. Scott Milne’s TREMENDOUS SLOUCH moved into second place with 48 points, and James Freedman’s MISS CONDUCT slipped to third with 51 pts. Look for a shake-up in the standings when five or more races have been completed, as the discard kicks in.

The competitors appreciated Wednesday’s 8-10 knots as another two contests went in the books. Evan Petley-Jones’ LIFTED won race three, trailed by Freedman’s MISS CONDUCT and Ariko Murohashi’s LULL. Local Rossi Milev’s CLEAR AIR took the next victory, with Petley-Jones and David Klatt’s JADED completing the top three.

Tony Parker and Martha Parker and crew on J/24 Bangor PacketDAY 3- More light airs!
If good things come to those who wait, then Evan Petley-Jones’ LIFTED is the perfect example on day three. The teams waited a multiple hour, on-water postponement, hoping for enough breeze to get a start off.  Finally, around 3:30 p.m., light winds allowed two more races to be completed, which brought into effect the discard.

Petley-Jones’ LIFTED tallied a 7-1 on Thursday to leap into first place overall, able to drop a 39 from race 1. Parker’s BANGOR PACKET fell to second place with 32 points. John Mollicone’s HELLY HANSEN launched up to the third spot with 33 net points after tossing a 52 from Tuesday. Six races are now finalized.

The competitors started race 5 in about 5 knots, when Nobuyuki Imai’s SIESTA collected the win. Mollicone and Ted Bartlewski’s DRIVERS WANTED followed. Looking at Petley-Jones cross the finish line first in the next meeting were David Klatt’s JADED and Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER when winds increased slightly.

Top women J/24 sailorsDAY 4- Even more light airs!
Light winds continued out on Lake Ontario, as just one race was accomplished on day four. Parker’s BANGOR PACKET returned to the top of the leaderboard, placing eighth today, leaving him with 40 net points heading into the final day of competition on Saturday. A fourth by Milev’s CLEAR AIR moved him into second overall, five points off Parker’s pace. Evan Petley-Jones’ LIFTED scored a 28th in Friday’s lone battle, dropping him to third place with 49 points.

Parker, from Washington D.C., has remained in the top two each day of the Championship. He is the most seasoned racer on the course, sailing 1978 J/24 hull #58, a testimony to the J/24’s quality and ruggedness, and the skill and consistency of the crew at this event. Parker is a five-time winner of the J/24 US East Coast Championship (which he has sailed 38 times).

Friday’s race winner was Ted Bartlewski’s DRIVERS WANTED, shadowed by Laura’s BABA LOUIE and Carter White’s YOU REGATTA.

J/24 Clear Air- Rossi Milev wins J/24 WorldsDAY 5- Light Finale!
For the finale on Saturday, all Parker’s BANGOR PACKET crew had to do was finish within six places of Milev’s CLEAR AIR to assure them his first J/24 World Championship title.  Alternatively, Parker’s crew could match-race Milev’s team into the bottom of the fleet, knowing Milev had a 46th for a toss race and BANGOR PACKET only had a 15th for a toss race.  In either case, the formula appeared to be straight-forward in terms of execution.  Nevertheless, in the end, CLEAR AIR lived up to its namesake, escaping and getting clear air to sail off around the track and score a 2nd to BANGOR PACKET’s 9th, thus winning by just 1 pt.

Rounding out the top five were Evan Petley-Jones LIFTED taking the tie-breaker over Carter White’s YOU REGATTA at 68 pts each.  For more J/24 World Championship sailing information