Texas Circuit Stop at J/Fest Southwest

Written by Ryan Miller with contributions by Tonja Sanchez-Holmes: Thirteen J/24s descended from across Texas to compete in the 10th annual J/Fest Southwest on October 26-27. The regatta, hosted by Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, was another strong event on the Texas Circuit despite two top boats missing the regatta to attend the World Championship in Miami. Four races were held Saturday and one on Sunday. The first race Saturday was run in 14-15 knots of breeze with gusts over 25 knots, resulting in moderate chaos across the course. While most skippers would deny it, the author personally witnessed (and participated in!) a few automatic tacks. Barry Bailey’s Houston-based 99 made a strong showing and captured the first bullet of the weekend. As the day progressed, the breeze moderated somewhat, and the remaining races were held in 10-12 knots of breeze with significantly more sedate gusts. Race 2 was won by another Houston boat, Cliff Rademaker/Pedro Gianotti's Yikes!. Visiting skipper Kirk Reynolds took the third race aboard Tyrus, and Yikes! won the final contest of the day. Sunday’s racing was postponed due to lack of wind, but the AP flag went down at around 10:45 AM and teams scrambled to make it to the racecourse. The RC got a single race off for the J/24s in about 7 knots of breeze, and the author is pleased to state that his boat Trick Bag was first to the first and second marks. Boat owner Anita Gale, crewing aboard Trick Bag, had the pleasure of seeing all three of her boats (Trick Bag, 99 and Yikes!) round the first two marks in podium spots. Alas, a tangled mainsheet at the bottom mark allowed Yikes! to get around Trick Bag on the inside, and Yikes! held on for the final win of the weekend. In the end, Yikes!' impressive collection of bullets wasn’t enough to overcome steady sailing by Tyrus, who finished the weekend on top. Yikes! placed second, and 99 placed third. For complete event details, visit https://www.jfestsouthwest.com/.

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