Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sail Newport Regatta Preview

J/70 sailing upwind (Newport, RI)- The largest regatta of Newport’s summer sailing for one-design sailboats has always been the Sail Newport Regatta that takes place in the beginning of July. In a fleet of seventy keelboats, it is not surprising that thirty-nine are J/crews (55% of keelboats) competing in two of the world’s leading keelboat classes- the J/70 and J/24.

With twenty-eight crews, the J/70s are unquestionably the marquee fleet of the event, with more than half of the total sailors participating. For a modest-sized fleet, the depth of talent is considerable; from various classes there are Olympic and Pan Am Medallists, plus World, European, North American and National Champions all represented in just half of the teams entered!  It is no joke, virtually every team has multiple podium finishes, so the “training” mission for many are a simple measure for the upcoming J/70 Corinthians Nationals in Buzzards Bay in August and the J/70 North Americans at American YC in October.

“Who’s on first in the J/70 fleet”?? You would do better to handicap the Kentucky Derby horse race than this assorted crew of both amateur and professional tactical assassins! What many do not know is that many teams have mainsheet trimmers and tacticians that make the Glenn Ashby’s of the world (Australian skipper for ETNZ) incredibly anxious in real-world one-design situations! For starters, there is Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING (with brother’s Jay & Jody Lutz from Houston, TX aboard that are Pan Am Games Gold Medallists), then there are Corinthian’s Winners like Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from American YC; then Glenn Darden’s HOSS (Gold Medallist Jonathan McKee on tactics/mainsheet trim); and Corinthians Champions Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY; and both J/70 World Corinthians and J/70 North American Champions Heather Gregg & Joe Bardenheier’s MUSE; Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE; Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY (2nd at the recent J/70 Europeans); Doug Clark’s POLAR with a US Coast Guard Academy Sailing Team; John Brim’s RIMETTE (with Taylor Canfield- World Match Racing Champion); Will Welles’ SCAMP (J/24 World & North American Champion); Hannah Swett’s SPARKLE (Women’s World Champion); Dave Franzel’s SPRING (Corinthians Champion); John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES (two-times QUANTUM Winter Series Champions); and Mark Masur’s TWO FEATHERS (a J/105 champion).  Who’s left?  Plenty of other amazing talent that have proven they can upset this apple cart, that is for sure!!  The J/70 class is famous for upcoming teams to rapidly re-arrange the pecking order!

In the world of J/24s, there are even more World and North American Champions in the fleet of a dozen boats.  On a percentage basis, the J/24s might even have the J/70s beat in terms of World Titles!! That would make a good debate around the proverbial beer tap!! In the mix are Steve Kirkpatrick’s BUCKSHOT, the John Mollicone/Ogden duo on HELLY HANSEN, Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER, and Mike Ingham’s NAUTALYTICS.  For more Sail Newport Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.