Saturday, August 3, 2019

Buzzards Bay Race Week Preview

J/80s sailing Buzzards Bay Race Week (New Bedford, MA)- The 47th annual Buzzards Bay Regatta will be held both at the New Bedford Yacht Club and at Beverly Yacht Club and will be the largest BBR ever. It will feature fourteen handicap and one-design classes racing on seven circles. The sailing on Buzzards Bay features the most reliable summertime breeze anywhere on the East Coast, and this combined with warm water, warm air and warm shoreside hospitality make BBR a not to be missed event.

Loving those sailing conditions for years are entire generations of J/Boat sailors from across the range of sailing experience. Buzzards Bay can be very deceptive. Wake up to morning fog, calm, but a gently building breeze on a sunny day by 11am. By the time the races start late morning, the breeze from the WSW can easily be in the 8-12 kts range.  And, if there is an ebb tide in the building 15-25 kts WSW breezes, it can make for some of the most difficult “washing machine” chop/waves to sail in the world- a bit like the infamous Solent off Cowes, England- but it is an entire Bay that looks like that. Scary movies. Upwind sailing sucks for skippers since it seems you are only steering into constant vertical 4 ft walls of water.  However, downwind is a scream since the disorderly massive chop permits skilled drivers to simply dive from trough-to-trough-to-trough on an all-out plane for miles!

Loving those conditions is the local J/80 class. Top local crews include Peter D’Anjou’s LE TRIGRE, Greg Packard’s PLAN B, Dan Cooney’s AMERICAN PRAYER, Jason Viseltear’s UPSETTER, Bill Snyder’s THE PARTY TREE, and Jack Gierhart’s AEGIR.

In the PHRF 1 Racing class are two J/122s (Jamey Shachoy’s AUGUST WEST & Jim Maseiro’s URSUS MARITIMUS), two J/120s (Mark Nannini’s SALACIA & Mark Verville’s ISURUS), and Corey Eaves’ J/109 FREEDOM.

Three J/105s are sailing in PHRF 2 Racing class, including Mary Schmitt’s HARDTACK, Mass Maritime’s BOUNTY, and Ed Lobo’s WATERWOLF. Joining them is Ira Perry’s J/29 SEEFEST- a previous winner of the division. For more Buzzards Bay Regatta sailing information