Tuesday, October 11, 2016

WINGS Flies @ J/88 North Americans

J/88s sailing North Americans on Long Island Sound (Rye, NY)- American YC hosted the inaugural J/88 North American Championship on Western Long Island Sound from September 30th to October 2nd.  The forecast was daunting for the weekend, with breezes offering 20-30 kts from the northeast on Friday/ Saturday and lighter easterlies on Sunday in the 8-15 kts range.  The choppy, breezy start to the regatta kept the sailor’s hands full with trimming sails fast upwind and making sure to keep the boat under the spinnaker downwind while in full-on planing mode. Taking advantage of the challenging weather and winning the eight-race event was Mike Bruno’s WINGS.

J88 Wings- winners of J88 NA'sDuring the first day of the regatta, it was clear the battle from the start was going to be between Bruno’s WINGS and Doug Newhouse’s YONDER.  After Friday, YONDER was leading with a 1-3-1 record to WINGS’ 2-1-3.  The second day saw enormous fluctuations in everyone’s scorelines, including the initial leaders.  By the end of Saturday, John Pearson’s RED SKY was making a bid to leap up the standings with a 2-1-8, but not enough to crack the top three.  Meanwhile, Bruno’s WINGS crew managed a 1-5-2 to eke out a small lead over Newhouse’s YONDER that had a steady 3-3-4.  On the final day, the fleet continued its roller-coaster, “snakes & ladders” scoreline.  For example, Kevin Marks’ VELOCITY posted a 1-9-1, which ultimately enabled them to crack the top three.  But, it was Bruno’s WINGS team that nailed it, knocking out an unassailable scoreline of 2-1-3 to assure their grip on the first J/88 North American Championship.

J/88 sailing North Americans on Long Island SoundIronically, the standings nearly inverted from the previous weekend’s scores, essentially the “Pre-NA’s” during the American YC Fall Series.  RED SKY, Ken & Drew Hall’s NEVERMORE, and Doug McKeige’s JAZZ were 1-2-3.  The NA’s finished with WINGS first, YONDER second, VELOCITY third, JAZZ fourth and RED SKY fifth!  Remarkably, it is amazing to see that all top five boats had at least two top three finishes in their 8-race scoreline!  That is a healthy sign for any one-design fleet!  Distribution of top three scores is indicative of highly competitive, talented teams that are sailing at an equitable level of performance. Sailing photo credits- Andrea Watson/ Sailing Press NY.  For more J/88 North American Championship sailing information