Sauer Tops J/24 Seattle District 19 Championship

This year’s District 19 Championship sailed on Puget Sound and hosted by Corinthian YC Seattle saw a 20-boat J/24 fleet racing as part of the CYC Seattle’s Puget Sound Sailing Championship. Here is the report from Jakob Lichtenberg who was sailing on HAIR OF THE DOG: The regatta, the venue and the time of year offers a fantastic framework for an epic "end of year" one-design competition with good reason to expect breeze of varying strength, oscillations and a bit of tide. All of this with the expectation of a dash of October Pacific Northwest rain and a cold beer from the club house after racing. Twenty J/24s signed up for the event, and at stake was the Championship as well as a World qualifier spot for next year’s 2019 World Championship in Miami, FL. Friday night offered extra focus on preparation, inspections of boats and rigorous review of eligibility of boat (Class certificates and a ton of other stuff that we tend to forget in between these big regattas). Good news! We now all have tight lifelines and paperwork on file with the club.
Saturday: The day started out with breeze, and we all had to feather a bit to hold the boat flat. We got three good races in, and, as expected, had to balance our strategy: On the inside we found a bit more tide relief, but the pressure on the outside was just a bit better overall. Over the day, the breeze died down, and at the fourth race, we ran out of wind and had to abandon after a 45-minute upwind. Dinner and drinks at the clubhouse were great. Pete Sauer won the day in borrowed boat Self Abuse with a solid first, second, first. Michael Johnson in Pearl was second and finally Mark Laura’s Baba Louie in third.
Sunday: Again, good breeze. Everyone wearing their best genoas and fully hiked. Lots of races and lots of drama with tons of boats called back for OCS (the "around the ends" rule became routine for the day) and the usual compression at both windward and leeward marks leading to even more drama. And finally, the tugboat that decided to run a 600-ft floating dock over the top mark. The competition remained tight, and before the last race, Pete in Self Abuse found himself ahead by just one point to Scott Milne’s Tremendous Slouch, and the boats in third, fourth and fifth were all within striking distance of the trophy – which led to a dramatic last race! In the end, Team SELF ABUSE won, skippered by Sauer with crew of Key Jeffcock, Alex Simanis, Joe Greiser and Joe Wilderman. Second was Scott Milne’s TREMENDOUS SLOUCH just two points behind, and in the process secured themselves a berth for Worlds in Miami (as Pete already had a berth from earlier in the year winning Western Regionals). Then, third was Mark Laura’s BABA LOUIE. From our perspective on HAIR OF THE DOG, it was just a fantastic weekend. It was a privilege to race against a number of the top J/24 boats. Boats that have not just participated, but done well at Worlds. Here is what we learned. First, it sucks to rig a boat in the rain. The hoist is still out to get our Windex. Port gives way for starboard, unless port is absolutely dead in the water and on the mark. Also, it is cheaper to hit an inflatable mark than a fellow J/24. It sucks to have to return under spinnaker to restart under an OCS recall a good minute up the first leg. That a full day of sailing, followed by a haul of the boat, and de-rigging makes for an exhausting day. Thank you everyone for a great weekend, to the traveling boats that made it to Seattle, to the strong Class measurers and registration team Michael, Noel, Christa, Kelly, Alice and Melanie, to the entire CYC organizing authority lead by Matthew Wood, and of course to the on-the-water RC team lead by Geoff Pease that got a ton of races thru in tricky conditions (with lots of sailors him offering "advice"). A personal thank you to the protest committee who twice listened to our ranting and correctly (and mostly gently) explained why our cause did not ‘stand up in court.’

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