Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Doyle Wins Close J/22 North Americans

J/22 North American Championship (Buffalo, NY)- The 2017 J/22 North American Championship was hosted from July 20th to 23rd at Buffalo YC in Buffalo, New York.  Thirty-two teams sailed the event in a wide variety of sailing conditions.  In the end, the racing was so close, it was determined by a tie-breaker at 27 pts each between Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER!  On count back, it was Doyle’s jubilant crew of Will Harris and Adam Burns that won the coveted title of 2017 J/22 North American Champions!  Here is how it all went down over the three-day regatta.

J/22 sailingDay One
Four races were completed on the opening day. Local Chris Doyle on THE JUG 41 posted a 2-1-4-5 for 12 points and the early advantage. On his heels was Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER, just one point back. Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY was in third place with 18 points.

It was a Doyle family reunion in the top 10 so far, with all four of them standing eighth or higher overall!! Brothers Chris, Kevin and Peter plus Kevin’s son Jacob are dominant, all as amateur helmsmen.

The Lake Erie winds were between 8-10 knots. Todd earned the opening victory, ahead of C. Doyle and Odenbach. The top three flopped places in race two, with C. Doyle taking first, Odenbach second and Todd third. Another of the Doyle’s entered in the regatta, Jacob Doyle, won the third contest in breeze at 10-12 knots and lumpy seas. Zeke Horowitz’s UNCLE FLUFFY placed second and Peter Doyle third. Horowitz claimed the day’s final battle with Odenbach in the silver spot and Terry Flynn’s TEJAS in the bronze.

J/22s sailingDay Two
After seven races Odenbach had scraped his way to the top of the leaderboard. Following a bullet in Saturday’s first contest, HoneyBadger placed eighth in race six, becoming their discard. The Rochester-based helmsman rebounded for a third in race seven, leaving the team with 17 net points, heading into the last day of the event on Sunday. Doyle dropped to second place, tied on points at 19 with Todd’s HOT TODDY.

Out on the lake, the teams waited out an on-water postponement for a couple hours before starting in about 6 knots. Odenbach collected the win, with Dave McBrier’s VAMANOS/ HARDWARE CHIMP and Todd completing the top trio. The breeze increased slightly in the next contest, won by C. Doyle.  Horowitz and Jake Doyle followed. Tim Finkle’s TOOTS closed the day with a victory, as winds slightly increased to 10 knots. Todd and Odenbach were second and third, respectively.

J/22s sailing Lake OntarioDAY 3 FINALE
In sports, coaches always say that every point matters. That was certainly the case for this year’s regatta! Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 went into the ninth and final contest in third place, four points behind Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER. Doyle did his part by scoring a bullet, and paired with Odenbach’s fifth-place finish, the local boys (Doyle, Harris & Burns) took the Championship.  Behind Doyle and Odenbach, it was Todd’s HOT TODDY that took 3rd place.

After Todd won race eight in winds around 6 knots, teams waited for breeze for about an hour.

“The nice Northwesterly came in, but sailing here for a few years, we thought it would go southwest,” summarized Burns. Their local knowledge paid dividends, especially in race nine. “The RC started the race at 275 degrees, and we just knew it would go back to the true 260 degrees it normally does. So, we started right near the pin. Travis was to windward of us, but we got lucky that he went after Jeff Todd, and we just sailed our race. This was not Chris Doyle weather,” joked Burns, referring to his skipper’s knack for excelling in heavier breeze!

The event included four teams in the Doyle family: Chris, brothers Kevin and Peter, plus Kevin’s son Jacob. All four placed in the top eight overall. Also competing was the current recipient of the US J/22 Class Association scholarship boat program from Jacksonville University, led by David Hein. They finished as high as second place in race eight, and ended 14th overall.  Rounding out the top five were Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS in 4th place and Horowitz’s UNCLE FLUFFY in 5th place.  For more J/22 North American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.