It was another fantastic fall weekend of racing in Annapolis for the J/24 East Coast Championship. Teams traveled from across the northeast & mid-Atlantic to join in on the fun and for the top competition. 26 J/24 teams raced Friday-Sunday, October 26-28.
On Land Festivities: We’ll get to the action on the water in a moment–the highlight on land was the Saturday evening regatta & costume party! Over 170 J sailors enjoyed dinner under the tent, and shortly afterward, the DJ started pumping the tunes and the costumes came out. The crowd even demanded the annual flip-up challenge between the J/24s and J/22s before dessert. We were too busy dancing under the tent to even hold the costume contest, but we’ve decided that the "Party Patrol" placed third, George Washington placed second, and the entire cast from Gilligan’s Island, aka the Blo’viate team, was the first place winner. Prior to the party, North Sails Zeke Horowitz and Will Welles led the Saturday dock talk, which focused on big air techniques both upwind and down. The breeze was in the high teens, so the focus was on depowering upwind and weight placement down wind. Then, champion oyster shucker George Hastings shucked 400 local Delaware Bay oysters during Oyster Happy Hour before the Low Country Boil, prepared by Bread & Butter Kitchen. Friday evening, Quantum Sails’ Travis Odenbach led a great dock talk and was joined by Mike Marshall, Ian Coleman and Quinn Schwenker. Afterward, the crowd enjoyed local Maryland and cream of crab soups, sandwiches and snacks, before heading out to the Boatyard Bar & Grill’s Full Moon Party.
On The Water Recap by Quantum Sails’ Travis Odenbach: Friday’s weather was what you might expect for fall sailing—misty, chilly and a little bit of everything in terms of breeze (very light with winds out of the east at 4 to 6 knots and lots of current). In the easterly breeze with an ebb tide, the place to be on the race course was the left side! You get up current first and into less current than the right side of the race course. Unfortunately for Friday, there was only one race, but with the rest of the weekend looking like breeze-on, the Race Committee stayed patient and sent us in to warm-up for Saturday.
Saturday brought rain and big winds early in the morning, but at 12:00 the rain lessened and the wind moderated. With the wind direction mostly out of the NW and the breeze at 12 to 18 knots, sailors were eager to get started. The racing was very tricky with a starting line pin-favored and the current pushing out; it was hard to make the line. Starting at the pin-third was a must and getting on to port quickly was a good call. This is sometimes the hardest move in sailing—to be on the line at the start with a tide against you, and to be able to tack and clear the fleet is tough. Although it was not critical to tack right away, teams were certainly looking to tack early. Something I have learned when this scenario presents itself is to try to be reaching on or just below the line with about 20 seconds to go, and then when the gun goes off you can turn up quickly and look to tack. Sounds easy, right? The breeze held on all day, and we were able to get three in on this amazing day of racing.
On the way out to the race course Sunday for a 1000 warning, we had about 10 knots. Then the skies cleared, the sun came out and the breeze picked up once again 12 to 18 knots out of the WNW. These were tricky conditions as the breeze was coming from the land and the Severn River. There were plenty of shifts to catch, and with the tide starting to come in, the fleets became mixed up as everyone tried to regain their bearings. The tide was different than the prior two days, and the wind was shifting 20 degrees. The J/24 fleet had a bit of alphabet soup on the menu for the day. I believe one race had 14 or so Z flags handed out, and that meant the scores were shuffling!
All in all, it was a beautiful, sunny, fall day in Annapolis, and I would not have rather been sailing anywhere else. By regattas end, we had sailed seven races and only one in breeze under 10 knots. Annapolis delivers in the fall once again! Thank you again to all who helped put on this event and to all who travelled and participated. Everyone had a part in making this event the perfect regatta, and I hope to see everyone next year!
J/24 Results: Now, on to the best part...the awards. Veteran J/24 class sailor Mark Hillman and his team captured fifth place with 53 points. Regatta Co-Chair Jim Bonham and his team on SISU captured the top Corinthian Award with a strong fourth place finish and 52 points. North Sails’ Mike Marshall & the Bogus team finished third. Tony Parker and his team on Bangor Packet finished second with 41 points. Finally, congratulations to our 2018 J/24 East Coast Champions Travis Odenbach, Ian Colman, Geoff Ewenson, Collin Kirby and Monica Morgan on Honeybadger!
For full results, video and more, visit http://j24j22eastcoastchampionship.com.