Thursday, July 19, 2018

Duncan Tops J/70s @ SAIL NEWPORT Regatta

J/70s sailing the Newport Regatta off Newport, RI(Newport, RI)-  “THE Newport Regatta”, hosted by SAIL NEWPORT, in conjunction with its supporters- New York YC, Ida Lewis YC, and Newport YC- was held over a gorgeous July 7th and 8th weekend.  While the days were sunny and relatively cool at mid-70s F, the winds were anything but cooperative for the huge J/70 class sailing offshore on Rhode Island Sound.

While Regatta Manager Matt Duggan and Event Manager Emily Greagori were hoping for real Chamber of Commerce weather conditions for all, only those that were racing inside Narragansett Bay had any meaningful winds for proper round-the-cans racing.  Outside, the winds were wildly erratic on Saturday; forcing postponements, course re-alignments, and cancellations of starts. With winds swinging through 35-45 degree arcs and fluctuating from 2 kts up to a blistering 5 kts (the J/70 class minimum), it was apparent that PRO Peter “Luigi” Reggio (yes, the man, the myth, the legend of the America’s Cup R.C. PRO world) was going to have his hands full getting any racing in whatsoever.  Nevertheless, patience brought enough winds to complete three races on Saturday by 1700 hrs, with most boats getting in around 1800 hrs- an exhausting, long day on the water.

J/70 Newport women's team- Sparkle- Hannah Swett and Martha ParkerSunday had a similar forecast, but with winds building late in the day according to most weather “grib” files.  The morning dawned with a nice cool breeze from the WNW that ultimately swung into the southeast by 1000 hrs at 3-4 kts.  Another postponement ensued as the normally steady seabreeze, yet again, continued to swing erratically all over the map.  However, this time the breeze built up to a somewhat steadier 4-8 kts by the time the last race was completed, with over 35 degree windshifts/ wind streaks rolling across the race track.  After three mercifully short races (just 0.75nm windward legs), the fleet headed back home late again to lick their wounds.

It was a deeply talented J/70 fleet; with over a dozen teams capable of top ten finishes in any J/70 Worlds.  And, the results reflected that fact, as virtually all boats in the top ten had one or more double-digit finishes in their scorelines.  For many, the saving grace was that after six races completed, they could discard their worst race. And many of the top USA J/70 teams had surprisingly deep scores to toss out!

J/70s sailing Newport RegattaWithout throw-outs, Martie Kullman’s HYDRA would have won by two points over Jud Smith’s AFRICA, with Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY in third position.

With throw-outs, Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY won with 17 pts, with Kullman’s HYDRA and Smith’s AFRICA tied at 19 pts each, with the tie-breaker going to HYDRA.  The balance of the top five included Glenn Darden’s HOSS in 4th and Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS in 5th.  The two other World Champions were 6th and 7th, respectively- Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT and Tim Healey’s USA 2.

The top three women’s skippers were Hannah Swett’s SPARKLE (an all-women’s team), Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD, and Heather Gregg’s MUSE.  For more THE Newport Regatta at SAIL Newport sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.