Thanks to Kelly FitzGerald for this report: Was the East Coast Championship on October 20-22 the windiest regatta of the year? Over 100 J/24 sailors would probably tell you HELL YES! 22 boats battled it out in conditions ranging from the mid-teens to mid-20s, with gusts on Saturday into the high 30s. Severn Sailing Association’s PRO Joe Friebele ran the full schedule of nine races in extremely challenging wind and sea state conditions. It didn’t snow like it did here in the 1990s, but the gale warnings made us feel like we were reliving the Texas Worlds from last year, just much colder!

The East Coast is a tradition like no other and it’s the favorite weekend of the year for many J/24 sailors. It’s the time when you see your old buddies from Vermont, your new friends from Florida and the Class stalwarts that are here every year. This particular ECC had everything that makes a regatta great: racing venue – check, regatta town – check, outrageous competition – 100%.

Other than the breeze, what really made this year memorable was the teams. We had two youth teams (shout out to Connor Raham and James Thurlow), 13 Corinthian teams and lots of teams with the J/24 family tradition. Mike Ingham’s boat had six Inghams on board (worthy of a J/24 Class award!), Al Constants raced with his three brothers on Blitz, Steve Callison’s son Sam trimmed for him on Whiskey River, David Kaye sailed with his wife Kelly, brothers-in-law Patrick Powers and Wes Marshall sailed together on Upgrade, and the list goes on! Check out the crew lists too – teams were mixing up their crew for this regatta, which goes to show just how fun and connected our Class is. If you want to go to an awesome J/24 regatta, the East Coasts remains one of the top choices, and it seems like you will always find someone great to sail with!

Ok, now on to the RACING!

Friday saw the most moderate breeze of the weekend with most of the pack sticking with genoas until the third race, when many shifted to the jib. By the end of Day 1, Paul Abdullah on Team Tarheel led with finishes of 3-2-1 over Al Constants on Blitz with 1-5-4 and Stu Challoner on Spoilsport with 5-1-6.

A gale warning was issued on Saturday, and the fleet headed out to the course with the breeze blowing in the mid-teens. By the first warning signal, the breeze had built to the high teens, low 20s, with huge gusts in the 30s rolling down course. Downwind legs saw some spectacular drama and unbelievable wipeouts, but the fleet rolled down to the gates with crew weight aft, lifejackets on and battle faces ready. Mike Ingham won the day with scores of 3-2-1, followed by Stu Challoner with a 6-1-3, but Paul Abdullah held onto the lead with scores of 1-4-5.

Heading back to the dock was insanely windy, even with some upwind knockdowns on display. The battle to the beer truck was hard fought, but luckily the Saturday night regatta party was enough motivation to get everyone back and ready to rock. In classic ECC form, the oysters were salty, the beer was cold and the food was great! The annual J/24 vs. J/22 flip cup tournament and epic wipeout stories of the day really kicked the party into high gear!

Sunday’s breeze was slightly lighter than forecasted, so teams were practicing their headsail changing skills right up to the first gun. Most teams selected genoas, and Team Tarheel worked their way to the front to win races 7 and 8. Mike Stasko, who had been working his way up the leaderboard, finished first in race 9 to secure him second place overall and top Corinthian. After a total of nine races with one throwout, Paul Abdullah and Team Tarheel remained in first place, with Mike Stasko in finishing second and Stu Challoner in third.

Congratulations to Paul Abdullah, Ian Hunter, Telmo Basterra, Dan Rabin and Aaron Tsuchitori, our 2023 J/24 East Coast Champions! Congratulations to Mike Stasko and Redline, our first place Corinthian team, and to all of our top Corinthian finishers! Thank you to all of the competitors who come back to the ECC year after year. Come one and all to join the fun with us in Annapolis next October!

The top five overall finishers were:

  1. Paul Abdullah / Ian Hunter / Telmo Basterra / Dan Rabin / Aaron Tsuchitori – Team Tarheel – 18 points
  2. Mike Stasko / Casey Firth / Chris Fischer / Eric Nash / Gavin Smith – Redline – 25 points
  3. Stu Challoner / Brian Taboada / Bill Bogardus / Pat Larkin / McKenzie McGuckin – Spoilsport – 30 points
  4. Al Constants / Dave Constants / Mike Constants / Steve Constants / Eliza Price – Blitz – 31 points
  5. Mike Ingham / Delia Ingham / Sam Ingham / Tanya Ingham / Roy Ingham / Mary Ellen Ingham – 5443 – 43 points

The top three finishers in the Corinthian division were:

  1. Mike Stasko / Casey Firth / Chris Fischer / Eric Nash / Gavin Smith – Redline – 25 points
  2. Al Constants / Dave Constants / Mike Constants / Steve Constants / Eliza Price – Blitz – 31 points
  3. Ted Wiedeke / Glenn Brown / Chris Lombaro / Dan Rossi / Keith Hankins – Caramella – 53 points

Relive all of the excitement of the ECC and check out the photos available on Spinsheet at – yes, it really was that windy! Stay tuned for more info on the ECCs every year at

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