Thursday, October 7, 2010

J/80 Worlds- Wild Sailing Up The Bay- Day 3

J/80 RASCAL sailing downwind under spinnakerPERALEJA GOLF Hanging to Lead by a Thread
(Newport, RI- October 7th)- The J/80 Worlds fleet was in for something special on their third day of sailing when PRO Tom Duggan hoisted "B" course area flag and sent the fleet up Narragansett Bay north of Gould Island. And, a special day it was, nearly post-card perfect winds and weather. The day dawned partly cloudy and cool blowing from the West, very shifty and extremely gusty. By the end, it was crystal clear skies with torn-cotton clouds blowing across the sky with winds fluctuating from 10 knots to upwards of 30 knots at times and shifting over 30 degrees from the WNW.
The course area presented a challenge regards how to stretch the course to the maximum possible length of 1.5nm. This meant the starting line had to be east of Halfway Rock in the shipping channel with the windward mark buried up under the Jamestown Island shore. It was a day that perhaps some of the "locals" might appreciate and have some fun with. That's exactly what happened.

J/80 Quantum Racing with Scott Young and Terry FlynnThe first race winners were the RASCAL team of Henry Brauer and Will Welles, neither are strangers to "up the Bay" sailing, nor is their tactician Stuart Johnstone. Right from the start, it was clear the left was paying with huge left-handers in the top left of the course. After a closely fought race, the RASCAL team held off a late charge from the very well sailed QUANTUM RACING team skippered by Scott Young and Terry Flynn from Austin, TX, the two bright red spinnakers pulling hard as the two boats flew across the line together on a full-on screaming plane and spray flying everywhere in a 25 kt gust. Third in the race was Jose Maria Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS. Rounding out the top five were Carlos Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF in 4th and Jeff Johnstone on LITTLE FEAT in 5th.

J/80 LITTLE FEAT sailed by Jeff Johnstone- planing off the wind at J/80 Worlds NewportBetween the first and second race the wind kept clocking a bit further right, going from 255-265 to 260-275 and with enormous differences in pressure across the race track. It took a while for the committee to reset and after a general recall, Z-flag recall, a black flag start/postponement, the fleet finally took off on one of the crazier races of the day. The second race saw a tough battle ensue for domination of the left side of the course. In the end, Al "Albie" Terhune with Moose McClintock as his tactician were not going to let anyone get left of them after giving it up to RASCAL in the previous race! Lesson learned, they took the gun. Not far behind them was Jeff Johnstone sailing LITTLE FEAT to an excellent race for second. Nipping at their heels were the hard-charging team on-board HOTEL PRINCESA CANARIAS sailed by Rayco Tabares in third. Making a nice comeback in this race was Glenn Darden's team on LE TIGRE managing to salvage a 4th and fifth was Javier Aguado Blanco on CROCS.

J/80 Le Tigre sailed by Glenn DardenThe third race of the day was simply a stunner. Race two was spectacular enough with 15-25 kt breezes from the West. But, the last race could not have been a more beautiful one to sail. With the race track moved around yet again to compensate for a 290-305 direction, it was going to be interesting to see if the "lefties" in races 1 and 2 for the day would still pay. Not. It was pretty clear that middle-right was going to pay big. Sailing a very strong race was Glenn Darden on LE TIGRE, earning a well-deserved first (the actual race winner HOTEL PRINCESA CANARIAS was DSQ'd). Second was Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS. Sailing a very consistent day was QUANTUM RACING skippered by Scott Young/ Terry Flynn in 3rd. Fourth was Ben Schwartz skippering LUCKY FROG and fifth was Jeff Johnstone on LITTLE FEAT.

After the dust cleared, it was clear the shifty, gusty conditions would jumble the standings significantly. Sure enough, Carlos Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF (who got black-flagged in race 8) managed to avoid big mistakes and leads by one point. Lying second just one point back is the QUANTUM RACING team skippered by Scott and Terry. On the second place tie-breaker is Jose's ECC VIVIENDAS team lying in third. With throw-outs, the top three boats are only separated by one point. The last day promises to be a mind-bender for these top three teams. And, if they really slip-up, it's possible that Glenn's LE TIGRE and Jeff's LITTLE FEAT could be contenders for the top three-- with a roll of the dice, anything is possible!
Sailing Photo Credits- Allen Clark-