Paul Abdullah Takes Kings Day

Thanks to Dave Noble for this report: The first of the East Coast "Winter" J/24 regattas was sailed at The Florida Yacht Club on November 18-19. The Kings Day Regatta has always been recognized for its great sailing and competition along with two grand meals that accentuate the socializing attribute of the J/24 Class. Friday, a majority of the boats arrived to rig and take advantage of the warm Florida sunshine and St. Johns River breezes to tune and practice. Friday night, FYC hosted the oyster roast and dinner along with offering free Bold City beer. The club is in the process of repairing from being severely flooded during Hurricane Irma, but no one noticed any inconvenience to the fine dining on the porch. Saturday greeted the sailors with calm waters and light breeze. PRO Pat Lambert presented the competitors’ meeting, explaining the need to get in as many races as possible Saturday since a cold front was due to run through Sunday. Light wind and St. John currents tested each of the 16 teams on each of the four races. Local Fleet 55 sailors Greg Griffin and Paul Abdullah along with Tampa Bay sailor John Poulson ended the day at the top of the board, with a half dozen amateur boats challenging to place in the top five. Racing talk while hanging out at the keg of Bold City beer concluded: those who sailed for the breeze made out better than those who played the current, but those who sailed to the favored current caught some lucky puffs. If you caught a crab pot you were not fast, but still it was some FUN sailing. If you like to eat, Saturday night at FYC was the place to be. Lots of food, too much food and the socializing continued on and on. As we woke Sunday morning, one and all expected to see wet roads with trees swaying, but not so. The front finally made it to Jacksonville just when the sailors were rigging their boats. The rain came and the rain went, and what was to follow was perfect sailing conditions. The RC got the races started on time into a westerly breeze. The course was adjusted to the persistent shift, demonstrating quality race management. Not only was the RC able to get a sixth race allowing for a throw-out, but with brilliant blue skies and a stiff north breeze a seventh race was sailed to everyone’s enjoyment. Paul Abdullah was first overall, followed by Greg Griffin (second), John Poulson (third), James Howard (fourth) and Mike Pentaleri (fifth). Jodi Weinbecker and her team at The Florida Yacht Club did an exceptional job organizing The Kings Day Regatta. This is the first regatta of the Peter Bream Winter Series. This award recognizes the best amateur helmsman at Kings Day, the Midwinter Championship (Shake A Leg, Miami ) and the Easter Regatta (Columbia Sailing Club). Full results are available at:

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