Thursday, September 11, 2014

J/88 Smokes Chicago Bi-State Race

J/88 team wins Chicago Tri-State or Bi-State race (Chicago, IL)- An estimated 700 sailors and crew members sailed the into St. Joseph on Saturday on the first leg of this year's Tri-State Regatta.  The race, which sails from Chicago to St. Joseph overnight from Friday into Saturday, from St. Joseph to Michigan City, Ind., on Sunday and from there back to Chicago on Monday, has been conducted since the 1940s.

Terry Deegan, fleet vice commodore for the St. Joseph River Yacht Club, said earlier this week that 115 boats were registered for the first leg of the race.  Pam Bower, one of the event organizers, said the events all day Saturday at the St. Joseph River Yacht Club will be held "rain or shine."  The yacht club pool was open to the public all day. Plus, the big bonus on Saturday night was the band “P.S. Dump Your Boyfriend” that performed for everyone- for free!  No wonder, Saturday in St Joe is billed as “The Best Regatta Party on the Great Lakes”!

J/88 blast reaching with Code Zero and jib/staysailFor the 50.5 mile race of Leg 1, the forecasted thunderstorms that loomed to the south never materialized over the lake for most of the night without a single drop spilled on anyone. The light show stayed onshore far to the south, but provided the sailors with a steady 14-16 kts with gusts upwards thereof. The steady southerly meant a swift race for many.  The interesting, wet ride was probably on the new RAMBLER – the J/88 owned by Ben Wilson. Wilson took the lead ahead of a lot of local St. Joe talent right out of the box from Chicago.  According to Rich Stearns, a crew on board, “Friday night race was 15 to 22 knots fetch which turned into a tight reach. We struggled a bit when it was really tight; we had to catch another boat’s wake for an hour. But when the wind just went back 10 degrees off we went!” They ended up winning PHRF Class 4 as a result.

On the way back for the Bi-State Race (now the biggest leg since many boats from Chicago elect not to go to Michigan City, Indiana), the fleet saw the same weather conditions but lighter from the south-southeast. The wind shifted aft more on port gybe as the fleet headed across the lake on Sunday from St Joe to Chicago.  According to Stearns on the J/88 RAMBLER, “once we could put up the code 0- sayonara, baby, never saw our fleet again”.  Sailing quite well in PHRF 2 was the J/133 RENEGADE, taking 2nd in class as well as the J/111 WOOTON taking third place.   For more Chicago Bi-State Race sailing information