Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Light Airs J/Fest St Pete Regatta

J/111s sailing J/Fest St PeteJ/88 WINGS Crowned Midwinter Champion
(St Petersburg, FL)- The inaugural J/Fest St Pete Regatta took place this past weekend on Tampa Bay.  Host St Petersburg YC and its RC Committee, PRO and volunteers made a valiant effort to get in as many races as they could considering the cards they had been dealt- essentially no, or very little, wind for all three days.

The weather prognosticators were, unfortunately, more accurate than normal for Tampa Bay.  An enormous High pressure system had parked itself north of Florida over Georgia and nothing moved it for well over four days- an unusual phenomenon, especially this winter where storms have been ravaging the North American continent about once per week and wrecking havoc everywhere.  The flip side of that coin was that it warmed up fast all three days of sailing and the sunny days and warm 70 deg days were a welcome reprieve for many sailing teams that had migrated down to Florida from the north.

J/111 winners- ShamrockThe largest class in the regatta were the J/111s.  Winning was a relative class newcomer, Jeff Davis and his team on SHAMROCK from the Midwest rode a 1-2-2 record to handily win the class.  Another Midwest crew accustomed to light airs racing took second place, Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH.  They had by far the most consistent record of any boat in the regatta- a 3-3-3 for 9 pts total.  The bronze was secured by Peter Wagner’s World Championship crew on SKELETON KEY.  While they had a 1-2 in their scoreline, they suffered the ignominy of missing the time limit in the second race and had to score a TLE/ DNF, a score that would torpedo their chances of an overall win.

J/88 winners- WINGSThe J/88s had a real battle going by the end of the second day.  The top two boats were tied on points with a 1-2 for each team.  Mike Bruno’s WINGS from New York and Long Island Sound were even with Andy Graff’s EXILE from Chicago and Lake Michigan. Both were experienced in light airs sailing on those two bodies of water.  With just one race to go, the last race was won by Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION to secure third place on the podium.  However, Graff’s EXILE crew misjudged the adverse current and got hung up on the anchorline of the RC boat at the start; as a result they scored a 4th and barely held on to second place for the regatta.  Winning the regatta and crowned as J/88 Midwinter Champion with a 1-2-2 scoreline for 5 pts was Bruno’s crew on WINGS.

In the J/70s, there was also a similar battle taking place.  After two days and two races, two teams had 1-2 scores- Gary Weisberg’s AFRICA and Connor Mraz’s VAMOS!!  On the last day, Weisberg’s AFRICA took the class crown by winning the race, with VAMOS in 2nd.  Third for the regatta was Dan Gross & Danette Szakaly’s D2 RACING.  For more J/Fest St Pete Regatta sailing information
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