It was another fantastic Fall weekend of racing in Annapolis for the 39th J-24 ECC & J/22 Mid Atlantics. Twenty-four J/24 teams raced Friday through Sunday, joined by twenty-five J/22 teams on Saturday & Sunday. Full results HERE
Things started on the right foot, with teams arriving to the luxury of Gold Sponsor, The Rigging Company ( https://theriggingco.com/ ), helping with mast stepping and setup. J/24 Fleet 8 members provided free housing to many out of town teams and can accommodate many more in the future.
We’ll get to the action on the water in a moment – the highlight on land was the Saturday evening dinner & dance party under the tent! When sailors came off the water, the beer truck was their first stop, then on to the racing recap organized by North Sails Mike Marshall. Mike brought together a cohort of world class sailors, including Allan Terhune, Willem van Waay, Cory Sertl & Matt Schubert. The breeze was in the mid-teens all day so the focus was on rig settings, steering in waves, and determining how to pick the favored side. Starting at 1800, over 180 J sailors broke bread, with a wonderful meal catered by Annapolis Smokehouse. Shortly afterward, The Shatners, an uber-popular Annapolis band got going, as did the flip-cup challenge between the 24’s & 22’s. The crowd, packed onto the dance floor, demanded two encores of the band before they finally allowed them to leave the stage!
On Friday night, Travis Odenbach from Quantum Sails led a recap of the Friday racing, featuring pearls of wisdom from professional sailor Willem van Waay, Mike Coe from Quantum, and Even Petley-Jones from Halifax, NS. In addition to discussing rig settings & depowering techniques, Willem van Waay gave the crowd an advanced course on using the ProStart! Meanwhile, Lyon distilling was mixing their special rum into Dark & Stormys, and the crowd was enjoying oyster shooters & two hot soup offerings.
Now on to the action on the water. Friday and Saturday brought classic Fall Chesapeake Bay top-end of the Genoa conditions with nasty waves and chop. In those technique intensive conditions, Mark Hillman, Travis Odenbach and Tony Parker collected twenty-one of the twenty-four available top three finishes over eight races. The consensus from these teams was that lots of twist, minimizing helm movements and infrequent tacking seemed to be the 3 top components to upwind success. Mark Hillman, a tad rusty after three years away from racing J/24’s, had a slight speed disadvantage to the other two leaders in Race 1 and finished third. That was the worst race over the first two days for the winning SISU team, which featured SISU’s owner, Jim Bonham, hiking hard in the middle, multi-class world champion Willem van Waay trimming both uphill and downhill, accomplished J/24 veteran Monica Morgan on mast, and Volvo Ocean Race veteran George Peet on bow. Full results HERE