Friday, October 21, 2016

J/105 Masters Regatta- The Real Preview

J/105 Masters sailing San Diego, CA (San Diego, CA)- It may be “horses for courses” in this year’s International Master’s Regatta, hosted by San Diego YC from October 21st to 23rd.  Many of the sailors are past World, Continental and National Champions in various classes, some like heavy air, many prefer lighter air.  San Diego Harbor can be a challenge and even on foggy mornings with a gentle breeze, the mighty thermal that develops from the massive heating over the mountains inland can produce 18-22 kt winds late in the day.  In any event, everyone will likely have their shot at glory depending on the weather conditions.

Masters co-chair, Tim Fuller (owner of the J/125 RESOLUTE), describes the tone and energy of the regatta. "This prestigious event brings together many of the “who’s who” of sailing in years past. The minimum age of the skipper is 60, and the crew is 45. In 2015, SDYC’s heralded Malin Burnham and his top shelf crew took home the Masters trophy after a challenging series of races and weather. It’s safe to say that the Masters competitors have learned to balance their competitive instincts and a good time back on land after the races. No question those folks can tell sailing stories in the comfort of the bar until the cows come home!”

J/105 Masters sailorsFuller also explained why the event is raced in these boats: "For those that may not know, both the International Masters Regatta and Lipton Cup regattas are sailed in J/105’s- 35 foot one-design racing sloops. A few years ago SDYC made the bold decision to take over as host for these events and supply all 12 owner-provided J/105’s with identical club-owned sails and other on-board gear. This combination of identical hulls and sails makes for fair competition.  And, all the rigs are identically tuned by an expert “tuning crew”.  That fact does not go unnoticed by the talented skippers and crews assembled to wrestle over the coveted Lipton Cup and Masters trophy. Because of SDYC’s continued commitment, and the support of local J105 boat owners, these regattas are assured success well into the future."

The event is loaded with a cast of characters, all of whom are champions past and present and can drive any boat fast.  Here’s a quick backgrounder on them.

Jon Andron, with Shawn Bennett as tactician, hails from St Francis YC. An accomplished sailor for many years, Jon has completed 15 Transpac races, is a former 505 North American Champion and sailed on Intrepid in the 1970 America's Cup. Jon will be vying for his first win of the Masters trophy that was last won by St. Francis in 2008 by skipper John Kilroy

Rich du Moulin, with Barrett Holby as tactician, from Larchmont YC.  Richard is from Larchmont Yacht Club has been racing an Express 37. With family and friends, he has won Block Island Race Week, the Vineyard and Block Island Races, and many other events. He also has four first places and four third places in eight Newport Bermuda Races. His lifetime goal is a record thirty Bermuda Races and he says, “My next will be 25….if I can race as long as Malin Burnham I might get to 34!” Richard has also raced the Transatlantic Race, Fastnet and Rolex Sydney Hobart. Richard founded the Storm Trysail Club's Junior Safety at Sea Program which has held over 100 seminars for more than 5,000 junior sailors over the past 20 years.

Tom Ehman, from New York YC, is the winner of the 1976 Championship of Champions and the founder of the San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge that will be sailed in Super 12s. Tom started working with America's Cup in 1980, and has served many roles including rules advisor, team executive, event manager, and chairman of the Challenger Commission.  Plus, he was Executive Director of US Sailing for over 10 years.

Bob Fisher, with Nigel Brooks as tactician, is from Royal Lymington YC. Bob, a.k.a. “the Fish”, has a background sailing on #EastCoast waters and has won multiple Hornet and Fireball National and World Championships. He is also a previous winner of the Little America’s Cup and has been a navigator on several challenges across the #Atlantic.  Bob is perhaps most famous for his acerbic editorials on all things America’s Cup, is a Yachts & Yachting columnist, and has published several extraordinary books on sailing and the AC.  While many will debate this point, the Fish can be credited with having “hatched” several of the world’s top sailing journalists in their youth- Stew Alexander and Tim Jefferies (both now top dogs at The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, respectively).

Dave Irish is from Little Traverse YC in Harbor Springs, MI. David has extensive sailing leadership background as a three time past president of US SAILING, former Vice President of ISAF (now World Sailing) and founder of the Irish Boat Shop, Inc. in #HarborSprings and #Charlevoix, MI. In 2013, David was awarded the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing, and in 2015, he was inducted to the Little Traverse Yacht Club Hall of Fame.  As a sailor, Dave has won the Chicago-Mackinac Race in his division so many times over the past 50 years, he’s lost count!

J/105 Masters sailingBill Menninger, with Jon Pinckney as tactician, is from Newport Harbor YC in Newport Beach, CA. Bill, and a former Governor's Cup - Balboa Yacht Club Winner from the mid-70s, now concentrates on local sailing races including the Harbor 20 Sailing Club Championship. He has also gravitated towards team racing in recent years, winning the US Championship and many other prominent events. Bill frequently sails with his son, Michael, and so far, the two are the only father-son winners of the Governor’s Cup. Bill and Michael will crew NHYC’s Lipton Cup team together at SDYC the weekend following the Masters Regatta.  Bill’s biggest moment of fame sailing the J/24 World Championship in San Francisco was winning the infamous “long-distance” race ahead of Stu Johnstone, John Kolius and John Kostecki!

Dick Tillman, with Tracy Usher as tactician, is from Melbourne YC in Melbourne, FL. Dick last raced the Masters Regatta nine years ago. Among other accomplishments, Tillman was member of the 1976 #Olympic Team and was a 1965 #Rolex Yachtsman of the Year recipient. He wrote a book about sailing and racing Lasers in 2005 and was the 2002 World Lasers Masters Champion. Considered one of the greatest masters sailors of all time, Tillman will be vying for his first win of the Masters Regatta Trophy

Tom Webster, with John Rumsey and Danny Thompson as tactician/ strategists, is from Barnet Bay, NJ. Tom was a South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association Penguin and Y-Flyer Champion and a National Junior Champion in the early 1960s. Tom has sailed with numerous sailors in many events over the years, but has focused the last 20 years of sailing on helping other people in the sport. In 1996, Tom was awarded the ISAF silver medal in Brighton, United Kingdom for contributions in the sport. He has served as a chairman in past NA Finn and NA Europe Class Regattas as well as the 1998 MUMM 30 World Championship. In the early 2000s, Tom was a protocol officer in the #Sydney and #Athens Olympic Games. Most recently in 2013, Tom served as an America’s Cup protocol officer for Golden Gate Yacht Club, the defender of the cup.

Don Trask, with Paul Cayard and Chris Snow as “snack-ticians”, is from St Francis YC in San Francisco, CA.  Don hardly needs any introduction, nor does Paul Cayard.  Nevertheless, it was Don who founded the idea for this amazing regatta.  He is also a Laser Masters winner, won numerous J/24 Westerns, built the J/24 and Lasers for years (into the largest one-designs in their respective categories on the Left Coast).  The original Masters were held at St Francis YC for years on J/24s.  But, that was getting a bit tough on the old guys.  So, in a “master’s stroke”, Don decided “let’s do it in J/105s instead!”  Indeed, it was a brilliant improvement.  Now guys like Don and “the Fish” can still steer at 80+ years old!

Chuck Nichols, with Andy La Dow as tactician, is from San Diego YC in San Diego, CA.  Amongst other numerous accomplishments in sailing, Chuck has been Commodore of  SDYC and has campaigned his J/120 CC RIDER actively for nearly two decades, winning just about every major Southern California regatta in the process.

Doug Rastello (a.k.a. “Rat”), with famous yacht design Bruce Nelson as tactician, is from Newport Harbor YC in Newport Beach, CA.  Doug notably raced 470s for years at a World Championship level against the likes of David Ullman and others.  In addition, Doug also raced successfully in the world of match racing, participating in many of the top events, like the Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA.

Don Martin is from Royal Vancouver YC in Vancouver, BC and is a successful offshore and one-design sailor in the spectacular waters and bays in the shadows of the magnificent Olympic peninsula to the southwest and the Canadian Rockies in their backyard.  For more International J/105 Masters Regatta information