Monday, May 12, 2014

J/Teams Prevail @ Yachting Cup Regatta

J/70 sailing San Diego (San Diego, CA)- Record temperatures and the sizzle of Cinco de Mayo celebrations set the stage for the 42nd running of the Yachting Cup Regatta on May 2-4. Hosted by San Diego Yacht Club, 11 fleets competed in one design and PHRF handicap divisions.

The regatta kicked off with a single random leg “Beer-Can style” race inside San Diego Bay, with 80 degree temperatures and winds gusting to 13 knots providing near Caribbean conditions. “By having today’s start at 3:00pm, it gave crews and skippers a chance to get organized, work a half day, or just gradually ease into the regatta,” noted event Chair Julie Servais. “The idea was to provide some diversity to the race schedule, and since random leg racing typically requires fewer crew, boats that couldn’t gather their full crew wouldn’t be a disadvantage.”

J/125 sailing San DiegoFor the balance of the weekend, windward-leeward buoy courses were scheduled on two ocean courses.  Keith Magnussen, crewing on the J/125 TIMESHAVER which finished second in the Fast 40 class, liked the challenge. “The conditions are moving all the time, and not every leg is square to the wind, but that gave us the ability to try out some of the things we had learned on the offshore and coastal races. Given the changing conditions inside the bay, it forced everyone onboard to pay attention the entire time. Gaining or missing a puff or a shift shuffled the fleet.”

For the second day of racing, the fleets on the “Near Roads Course”, closer to Point Loma, got enough wind for three races. “It got up to 11 knots,” noted Rick Goebel, who was second in the J/105 with his SANITY, “but it was far from steady. Huge shifts during the day, with the wind dropping to about 4 knots in the last (third) race.”

Conditions at the “Far Roads Course”, closer to the Mexican border (like actually “turn-yer-cell-phones-off-close” to Telefonos de Mexico), were clearly on siesta. When the wind got down to 2 to 3 knots during the second race, that was it for the day. However, mastering the spotty winds was Chuck Nichols, whose CC RIDER posted two bullets in the J/120 fleet.

J/120 sailing San Diego“The first race reversed itself about three times, where we went from first to sixth to first to sixth a few times,” noted Nichols. “Lucky for us we got to the finish line with us again in the lead. We were more consistent the second race despite the spottiness. Keeping the boat quiet and keeping the crew weight smartly positioned all helped to maintain speed through the wind patches.”

Leading their fleets after Saturday were Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER (Fast 40), David Boatner’s J/35 RIVAL (PHRF C), John Shulze’s LINSTAR (J/109), Hurlburt/Driscoll’s BLOWBOAT (J/105), Kownacki/Jenkins’s DFZ (J/70), and Curt Johnson’s AVET (J/80).

For the last day, the heat wave that had hovered over California began to give way.  As coastal clouds and the cool Pacific put locals on notice that “May Grey” weather may soon return, it proved to be only slightly cooler and only slightly windier than Saturday. But progress nonetheless.

The Near Roads Course, closer to Point Loma, fit in three races for its six fleets. Making the most of the day was Rick Goebel’s SANITY team, posting all bullets to move up and win the J/105 fleet. Behind their blitzkrieg was the BLOWBOAT duo of Hurlburt/ Driscoll with 17 pts and the crew on VIGGEN led by DagFish!  Rounding out the top five were Sean O’Keefe’s DeColores 2 and Steve & Lucy Howell’s BLINK!, in 4th and 5th, respectively.

Chris Mewes’ SHADOWFAX team, whose 3-1-2 on the last day, sealed their bid to win the J/109 title. John Shulze’s gang on LINSTAR couldn’t hang on to their first day lead to settle for a 5-5-3 for 17 pts to just hang on to 2nd overall.  Third by the “blink of an eyelash” was Tom Brott on the famously fast ELECTRA with 18 pts.  It was close for the top five, the last day being the deciding factor. Just two points off the top three was a tie-break for the 4th & 5th position, with Daylen Teren’s GREAT BALLS OF FIRE taking the break over Alice Leahey’s GRACE O’MALLEY’s cast of characters at 22 pts each!

J/70s sailing San Diego startAfter their dominating first day, the Kownacki/Jenkins team on their J/70 DFZ took top honors with a closing scoreline of 4-1-3 to win with 14 pts total.  World renowned world champion in all things dinghies and keelboats, David Ullman, managed a strong challenge to DFZ to take 2nd overall with 17 pts. Third was John Fuller sailing BLISS in his first major J/70 regatta, taking the tie-break over Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR team at 21 pts each.  Fifth in the 70s was the Gribble/ Weise duo on GO-RILLA at 27 pts.

The J/80s had a somewhat predictable outcome, with long-time West Coast champion Curt Johnson sailing AVET to another most excellent scoreline of five 1sts and one 2nd in just seven races.  Second was Steve Wyman’s NUHUNU taking the balance of the 1-2 scoreline Johnson missed.  The balance of the top five finishes were taken by J/World San Diego’s Wayne Zittel, ending up in third overall.

The Far Roads Course, closer to the Mexican border, also completed three races for its five fleets. Conditions were an improvement over Saturday, offering a relatively steady 4-9 knots, and the leaders remained at form to lock in their victories.

In the Fast 40s Class, Viggo Torbensen’s J/125 TIMESHAVER took class honors with just 6 pts!  Tim Fuller’s J/125 RESOLUTE was 3rd and Mark Surber’s J/125 RESOLUTE was 4th.

On the same course, the J/120s saw “the Commodore’s” take the silver, with Chuck Nichols’s and crew on CC RIDER win with just 12 pts.  Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY took second by virtue of winning the last race convincingly.  Third was John Laun’s CAPER.

Finally, PHRF C Class saw the only “chicken scratch” winner of all classes in the entire weekend!  Yeah, baby!  David Boatner’s classic, lovely lookin old J/35 RIVAL just simply crushed all comers with nothing less than straight bullets (e.g. all 1st’s) for six straight races.  Most importantly, they blew away many “wannabe’s” in the division who’ve been known to win far too many SoCal events in the past like Larry Leveille (ex J-29 star now on a Shocking 35) and Lindy Thomas (ex-chicago rockstar on a Thomas 35). Sadly, history repeats itself here (J/35 is simply a better boat).

J105 SANITY crew- Rick GoebelAfter reviewing the competition within all 11 fleets, the SDYC YACHTING CUP Committee selected Rick Goebel’s J/105 SANITY team as the Overall Winner of the Yachting Cup.  No surprise for such a fun, like-able, competitive crew.

For those of you who appreciate the “insider’s story” on such events, enjoy Ullman Sails’s Keith Magnussen’s report on the SDYC Yachting Cup:

“After a stunning yet disappointing Ensenada race (second overall) we moved to the next weekend which is always Yachting Cup in San Diego.  We went into this regatta knowing we had good boat speed in the offshore and coastal racing configuration but had never lined up against other J-125's in buoy racing (well since I have been on the boat).  Our expectations were to be competitive against two well sailed 125's and a Farr 400.  One of the 125's, Resolute, had an all-star crew with Chris Busch and Ben Mitchell aboard.  I brought along Erik Shampain from Ullman Sails to trim main and we just wanted to be competitive.

Well, to our surprise, we were more than fast. Day one was a random leg race that toured Dan Diego Bay, the same course they use in the wed night beer can races.  We had a mediocre start and had to tack over towards the shore (which was sort of our game plan as we saw more pressure on that side).  We got where we wanted and tack onto starboard with the fleet below us.  We rode a nice lift and puff to the first mark and crossed the other 125's who were in a little less breeze.  The run towards Coronado Bridge was a battle with Derivative crossing us at one point.  We got the starboard advantage at the bridge and rounded before the 125's and just behind the Farr 400.  A battle to the finish ensued and crossed the line just behind Bernie Girod’s Farr 400 and good enough for second place, we owed the 1D35 10 minutes and could not correct.

The next two days were W/L and the first start saw us get off the line a little slow.  That seems to be ok when your boat speed is blazing fast!  At one point Derivative tried to lee-bow us and we rolled her easily.  We went 1-1 for Saturday.

Going into Sunday we knew it was still anyone's regatta as the one throw-out was about to come into effect.  Once again our speed was superior as we sailed out from under Resolute and in front of her.  The first race the Farr 400 got away on a nice downwind leg and we pulled a second.  The next race was the turning point.  We had a close race with the fleet and the final downwind leg saw us tactically take advantage of the race and finish a comprehensive first... this was the regatta.  With one more race to go we settled down a bit and really just wanted to enjoy the sailing.  We kept the Farr 400 below us and behind and marched away from the fleet crossing the line first with a little wing-on-wing action to celebrate.

Viggo Torbensen has given me the keys to the boat in regards to the Ullman Sails inventory and we have been working so hard to get up to speed with the other guys.  This was a great reward for all the hard work and I would like to thank Viggo and the rest of the crew for believing in the program.”  Thanks for contribution from Scuttlebutt Sailing NewsSailing photo credits- Bronny Daniels       For more San Diego Yachting Cup sailing information