Kashmir Wins J/111 North American Championship
Patience. Plenty of it was required over the four-day Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago as wind conditions varied from fresh to frustrating, and wind shifts swung unpredictably from the lakeshore to offshore. But those who kept their composure during long morning postponements were rewarded with challenging races in the end. Irrespective of the outcome for each of the 163 teams sailing in the regatta, it was a beautiful weekend to be on the cooler Lake Michigan waters, looking westward to the heat factory of downtown Chicago. For the family teams who populated the fleets, it was also an ideal way to spend their Father’s Day doing what they love. J/111 co-owners Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson& Mike Mayer,on Kashmir put a hard fought performance to win the Class’ North American Championship. They won both races on Sunday — the first one easily, and the second one after recovering from a bad start— to secure the title by 7 points over Bennett Greenwald’s Perseverance. After a slow start in the four-day series, in which they posted a 4-6, they kept their finishes to top three, and as is usually the key to such regattas, consistency was what mattered most. For complete results, click here.
J/111 North American Championship in Chicago: Fabulous Friday
Sailboat racing is indeed a game of inches. Ask Wooton’s skipper Bill Smith, who continues to lead the J/111 North American Championship at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago, but now by only 2 points over Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson & Mike Mayer’s Kashmir. It was inches that made the difference in two of Wooton’s races today, and as Smith analyzed what went wrong after racing, he placed the blame squarely upon himself, not that of his hard-working crew. "It was my inexperience in critical moments," he says, describing one downwind finish in which they were overlapped with Kashmir. "There was a moment when we were on starboard and I could have heated it up, pushed them out a bit, taken control and then jibed to cross the favored end of the line. Everyone on the boat knew we needed to do it, but I didn’t. They literally beat us by 3 inches." Conditions were tamer than Thursday’s races for the J/111 fleet, which is now two days into its 15-boat Championship. The flatter water and more consistent breeze, says Smith, made it easier for them but also for other teams who posted good results, including Rob Ruhlman’s Spaceman Spiff, which finished third in the day’s first race and then went on to win the next two. "We did a better job of getting off the line than we had been doing," says Ruhlman, whose family team from Cleveland, Ohio climbed into third overall, only 5 points out of first. "In the second and third races, we just got away with good starts and sailed our own race." Downwind, he adds, their technique is to sail deeper than others. "We tend to do it a bit more efficiently," he says. "It’s our forte." It was anything but an easy day, however, as Split Decision battled all day with FOG, which engaged them in several tacking and jibing duels. "We started to get into it with them a few times, but we didn’t want to wear out our trimmer, so we broke away as soon as we could," says Norris. "Even downwind at times we’d be a half-length apart with them, and they’d start a jibing duel. But we just jibed away and tried to do our own thing. We do well in tight situations, but when we can be on our own, we’re much, much faster." Ruhlman’s daughter Meaghan, 31, is trimming mainsail, which is critical to the J/111’s upwind performance, and today, says Ruhlman, the two of them were in much better sync. "We worked on things after yesterday, and what we’re doing differently was driving the boat with fewer big adjustments to the main trim. Yesterday, in the really puffy conditions, we’d get out of sync. Today I was concentrating more on trying to maintain target speeds." With Ruhlman’s son Ryan trimming the spinnaker, they worked hard on sailing lower than anyone else on the run, "just one half-step down" he says, and unlike the first day in which they picked up a weather mark penalty, they sought opportunities to avoid high-risk situations. The results were dramatic, and they go into Saturday’s light-air forecast with momentum on their side. Complete results are available by clicking here.
Day One Advantage Goes to William Smith’s Wooton at J/111 North American Championship
The J/111 North American Championship, hosted by Chicago Yacht Club in Illinois in conjunction with the NOOD, got underway Thursday in winds of 10-15 knots, allowing two races to be completed. Recording a 3,1 for the day, William Smith’s Wooton gained a two-point lead over Bennet Greenwald’s Perseverance, with Richard Witzel’s Rowdy another notch back in third. The 15 J/111 teams got a jump on their fellow Helly Hansen Chicago NOOD entrants, as the North American Championship began a day earlier than the remainder of the fleets. After a postponement, Bradley Faber’s Utah took line honors in the opening contest, with Greenwald and Smith hot on his heels. Smith’s bullet in the next battle gave him the day’s overall edge, as Witzel and Kevin Saedi’s Momentus cracked the top three. Racing continues through Sunday. Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete results are available by clicking here.
KASHMIR Takes J/111 Class at Goose Island Colors Regatta
The annual regatta that marks the start of the offshore sailing season in Chicago on Lake Michigan is Columbia YC’s Goose Island Colors Regatta.
In the J/111 fleet, the trio of Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson and Mike Mayer drove KASHMIR to a convincing victory with four firsts in just five races. Second was Bennet Greenwald and crew from San Diego YC on PERSEVERANCE with all top three finishes for just 11 points total. Tied at 21 points each were Rich Witzel’s ROWDY and Bill Smith’s WOOTON, with the nod going to Witzel’s crew for third overall. Taking fifth was the Kevin Saedi’s MOMENTUS. For more Goose Island Colors Regatta sailing information, visit http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1617.
J/111 North American Championship Kicks Off Thursday, June 16 from Chicago
Fifteen J/111 teams are gathering for racing at the J/111 North American Championship in Chicago, Illinois. The competition begins Thursday, June 16 and continues through Sunday, June 19. Keep up with all the action from Chicago Yacht Club at the regatta website by clicking here, and look for photos on the J/111 Class Facebook page.
The second leg of the California Offshore Series took place last weekend. 27 boats sailed for the Coastal Cup 200nm race from Monterey to Santa Barbara. Blowing out their competition was the J/111 SYMMETRY, taking first in PHRF D Class and first overall. Congratulations to Howard Turner and his crew of Jay Crum, Joe Crum, Paul Stone, Michael Johnaon and Keith Stahnke from Santa Cruz YC. For more Coastal Cup sailing information, visit http://offshoreraceweek.com/results.