Monday, February 20, 2017

Ingham Crowned J/24 Midwinter Champion

J24 Midwinter Champions (Indian Harbour Beach, FL)- Just a few days after being named US Sailing’s 2016 National Coach of the Year, Mike Ingham earned his first J/24 Midwinter Championship, helming TARHEEL. The Rochester, NY-based skipper accumulated just 23 points over eight races at Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, FL to dominate the 31-boat fleet. Here is how it all went down just south of “moon shot” town- NASA’s Cape Canaveral.

On the first day of racing, the sailors enjoyed clear blue skies with breeze and between 10-15 knots of breeze over four races. Keeping all his scores in the top six (6,5,2,4) put Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team at the top of fleet. Mike Ingham’s Tarheel won two races, but added a 16 to give him 21 overall points for second place. Will Welles’ Bogus was two notches farther back in third.

Ingham opened the day with his first victory, ahead of Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger and Daniel Borrer’s Jesus Lizard. Odenbach snared the next win, with Welles and Ingham completing the top trio. White and Todd Fedyszyn’s Spoony Tactics watched Welles cross the finish line first in race three, before Ingham succeeded in the day’s final battle (followed by John Poulson’s Long Shot and Andrew Carey’s Mr. Hankey).

J/24 sailing MidwintersOn the second day, another four races were completed Saturday. With eight races now in the books, Mike Ingham’s Tarheel and Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger were tied on points at 23 going into the final day of racing on Sunday. Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team sat in third place with 29 points.

In winds between 6-8 knots following a brief onshore postponement, John Poulson’s Long Shot began the day with his first of two bullets, trailed by Ingham and White. John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen earned line honors in race 6, as Ingham took another second and Even Petley-Jones’ Lifted placed third. With a victory in the next battle, Odenbach made a move up the leaderboard (Aidan Glackin’s Mental Floss and Mollicone rounded out the top group) before Poulson ended the day the way he started it (Will Welles’ Bogus and White followed).

J/24 crew sailing MidwintersThe third day dawned with a virtual mill pond, a condition sailors often describe as a “glass-out”- flat water and the sky being reflected on the surface.  With no promise of wind in sight, despite everyone’s best efforts, all races were cancelled on Sunday due to the lack of breeze.  As a result, Ingham was declared the 2017 J/24 Midwinter Champion. Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger was initially tied on points with Ingham after Saturday’s races, but a scoring penalty was later posted, leaving Odenbach with 29 points and second place, which is where he ended up after no races were completed Sunday due to lack of breeze. Both John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen and Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team also tallied 29 points, with Mollicone clearing the tie-breaker for third place. Will Welles’ Bogus captured the fifth position with 41 points. “It was really hard to be consistent,” shared Ingham. “It was too shifty. If you got out of phase, it was really hard to get back.”

Sailing with Tucker Gilliam (bow), Scott Smith (mast), Scott Griffin (tactics) and Paul Abdullah (trimmer), Ingham now proudly holds The Lambert Lai Trophy, named in honor of the previous USJCA President who passed away in 2014 and also raced in the Rochester, NY fleet. Team Tarheel was previously led by Peter Bream, who died last October. Ingham has sailed the boat for the last two regattas. “The fun thing about this is it’s the Tarheel team, which was really Peter getting these guys sailing when they were younger,” explained Ingham. “I had this feeling that I needed to do him proud. And I don’t mean winning. I mean just being a sportsman because that’s the way he was.”  For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.