Friday, April 13, 2018

J/Fest San Francisco Preview

J/105 sailing San Francisco Bay (San Francisco, CA)- This coming weekend, the St Francis YC will be hosting their annual J/Fest San Francisco Regatta for a fleet of forty-five boats and over 275 fire-breathing, wide-eyed, passionate J/sailors ready to do battle to be crowned “King of J/Fest” in their respective classes.  Participating this year are one-design fleets of J/111s, J/105s, J/88s, J/70s, and J/24s.

The largest class at the event will be the twenty-four J/105s.  The fleet continues to maintain its momentum and several new (used) boats and faces have joined what is arguably the most competitive 35 foot one-design offshore keelboat local class in the world.  For over two decades, J/105 Fleet #1 on San Francisco Bay has regularly seen at least two-dozen boats compete in most major events on the Bay.  Leading contenders for class honors will be a mix of veterans and “newbies” to the fleet, such as Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION, Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault’s ARBITRAGE, Ian Charles’ MAVERICK, Jeff Litfin’s MOJO, Phil Laby’s GODOT, Ryan Simmons’ BLACKHAWK, Shannon Ryan & Rolf Kaiser’s DONKEY JACK, and Tim Russell’s NE*NE.

J/70s sailing San Francisco BayWith eight boats, the J/70 fleet continues to grow its presence on the Bay.  Led by their capable Fleet Captain- Tracy Usher- the 70s depth of talent is ever increasing.  It’s hard to handicap this group since there are several new teams in the fleet. Local contenders certainly include the Usher’s CHRISTINE ROBIN, Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER and Scott Seller’s 1FA.  Joining them from Santa Cruz for a blast around the Bay is Pete Woodhouse’s ZED.

Another fleet that is developing nicely is the J/88s, with five teams sailing one-design for the first time in J/Fest.  Fleet Captain Gary Panariello has his friend Don Payan sailing his boat COURAGEOUS.  Other Bay area teams include Aya Yamanouchi’s BENNY, Marc McMorris’ M-SQUARED, Paul Recktenwald’s LAZY DAWG, and Steven Gordon’s INCONCEIVABLE.

J/24s sailing San FranciscoAmazingly, five J/24s are taking to the cool waters and even cooler breezes the Bay is famous for! These Bay stalwarts include teams that “never say die!”  For decades, it has been a friendly rivalry amongst these teams; familiar ones to many, such as Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS, Val Lulevich’s notorious SHUT UP & DRIVE, Darren Cunningham’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR, Paul Van Ravenswaay’s FERAL ROOSTER, and Randy Rasicot’s FLIGHT.

Finally, there will be a trio of J/111s headed to the start off the face of Alcatraz Island.  The fleet will be missing its 2017 J/111 World Champion since SKELETON KEY was shipped east for the winter/summer circuit.  Nevertheless, the three teams (Dick Swanson’s BAD DOG, Dorian McKelvy’s MADMEN, Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS) are looking forward to a three-way dogfight for the podium.  In such a fleet, it will certainly drive the tacticians mad (if not to drink, quickly) since it’s quite easy to go from 1st to 3rd and 3rd to 1st on successive legs!  For more J/Fest San Francisco sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.