Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Awesome, Stormy J/Fest Southwest Regatta

J/105s sailing Galveston Bay, Houston TX (Seabrook, TX)- This past weekend, the 8th annual J/Fest Southwest Regatta took place on Clear Lake and Galveston Bay, hosted by the always gracious Lakewood YC members. The event featured the “Legends Regatta” on Friday afternoon, much to the delight of the spectators onshore and those at Barge 295.  Thereafter, it was full-on for trying to get in as many races as possible despite the somewhat crazy weather pattern that had setup over the Gulf of Mexico and the southern plains just to the west of Galveston Bay.

The event featured one-design racing for J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, J/109s, and two classes of J/PHRF boats ranging from J/27s up to a J/122!  In the end, the seventy boat fleet managed to get in four races and also enjoy the amazing LYC shoreside entertainment.

The fifteen-boat J/22 fleet saw a tight battle for the top four crews.  Kevin Hayes’ HAYES RIGGING won with a 5-1-4-2 for 12 pts.  The results did come down to the last race, and Vincent Ruder’s USA 365 won that last race, but Hayes crew hung tough to preserve their lead.  Consequently, Ruder’s crew took 2nd with 13 pts.  Similarly, Stu Lindow’s SOUTHERN BELLE was in a battle with Kalyn Lundemo’s YER MUM for the final position on the podium.  By taking 4th to Kalyn’s 6th, Stu’s crew on the BELLE took the bronze, 16 pts to Kalyn’s 17 pts.

J/105s sailing off Houston/ Seabrook, TXA round dozen boats took part in the J/24 class and no one expected a roundhouse punch from the MISS CONDUCT team skippered by Jim Freedman from Dallas Corinthian YC- an “outsider” for sure those Houstonians!  Nevertheless, Freedman’s crew smoked the fleet with four straight bullets to take the class title.  Behind them, it was tight racing for the next four spots.  Top woman J/24 helm, Natalie Harden, and her crew on GIGGLES from Austin YC took the silver with a steady 3-3-2-4 for 12 pts.  Third was Barry Bailey’s TRICK BAG with an 8-2-4-2 for 16 pts.

The fifteen boats sailing the J/70 class saw duals taking place for both Open and Corinthians division leadership.  In the Open class, two old J/24 class veterans used to dueling with one another over time dominated the top two spots.  Winning was Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth Boat Club over local rock star Jay Lutz driving ZOUNDS HEARING from Lakewood YC.  Third was Forbes Durdin’s MOJITO from Lakewood YC and also the Corinthians division winner.  Fourth overall was Al Poindexter’s USA 241, and also second by 2 pts to MOJITO in the Corinthians.

Utilizing the regatta as their “training session” prior to the upcoming J/105 NA’s, the eighteen-boat J/105 class had spirited competition amongst the top three boats.  Winning was Rick Goebel’s SANITY team from San Diego YC with a 1-4-2-1 tally for 8 pts.  Behind them, it was a battle until the final leg of the 4th race, where two boats ended in a tie for 2nd place with 11 pts each.  Winning that tussle was Osmond Young’s NE*NE with a 2-5-1-3 over Ryan Glaze’s MOJO from Rush Creek YC with a 4-1-4-2.

The four-boat J/109 class had the “shoot-out at the OK Corral” that was forecast ahead of time.  All boats were fast; it was going to come down to which had the crew to make it happen for the regatta.  Trading places all four races were HAMBURG, AIRBORNE and LEADING EDGE.  All three boats won a race, and all had a 2nd and 3rd in their final tallies!  The winners by a whisker were Albrecht Goethe’s HAMBURG with a 1-2-1-3 for 7 pts.  One point back was David Christensen’s AIRBORNE with a 3-1-2-2 for 8 pts.  Taking the bronze was Tom Sutton’s LEADING EDGE with a 2-3-3-1 for 9 pts!  Close, but not close enough.

PHRF World saw several interesting outcomes.  Because of the weather and the courses, there was some degree of fleet stratification.  In the J/PHRF Asym class, the long beats played well to JD Hill’s beautiful J/122 SECOND STAR, winning with straight bullets.  Second in class was Scott Spurlin’s FIORNA-J with just about all seconds. And, third was Dan Sullivan’s J/92S LITTLE JOE.

In the PHRF “Classic” Class of Symmetric spinnakers (yes, those things you put out on mast-mounted spinnaker pole!), it was Glen Stromme’s insanely fast J/29 PRESS TO MECO that won with a 1-1-2-1 tally for 5 pts.  Pressing them hard was Gary Trinklein’s almost as fast J/27 TOCCATA with a 2-2-1-2 for 7 pts.  Rounding out the podium was Beverly Caldwell’s pretty J/40 SHAKEN NOT STIRRED.  Follow J/Fest Southwest Facebook page here.  For more J/Fest Southwest Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.