Worth the Wait at J/111 World Championship
Following storms that rolled through Chicago on Tuesday, 23 J/111s had to wait a bit longer still on Wednesday to launch the 2019 J/111 World Championship, hosted by Chicago Yacht Club. Race one was abandoned due to lack of breeze and a severe shift, however winds eventually amped up to 12-14 knots, allowing three races for the hungry teams. Despite a pair of bullets by Rob Ruhlman’s Spaceman Spiff, it’s Andrew and Sedgwick Ward’s Bravo who ended the day at the front of the pack. The Bravo crew from Shelter Island, NY only placed in the top three once, but their scoreline of 7,3,5 for 15 points puts them one ahead of Spaceman Spiff who added a 14 for 16 total. Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key snuck into third place with tallies of 6,8,4 and 18 points. Ruhlman’s Spaceman Spiff earned the first victory of the Championship in the day’s opening, and lightest, affair. Jeffrey Davis’ Shamrock and Richard Witzel’s Rowdy followed. Swiss sailor Jorg Sigg’s Varuna outdid the fleet in the middle race, with Douglas Curtiss’ Wicked 2.0 and Ward’s Bravo close behind. The Ruhlman family closed Wednesday the same way it started, trailed by Martin Roesch’s Velocity and Rod Warren’s Joust. Racing continues through Friday. Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete results are available at https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=6143.
Ruhlman Family on SPACEMAN SPIFF Takes Pre-Worlds
As one of the largest offshore regattas in the Great Lakes, the Chicago Yacht Club’s Verve Cup Offshore has developed into a world-class regatta attracting many national and international competitors. From August 9-11, CYC hosted the 28th annual Verve Cup Offshore Regatta in an array of weather conditions over the three-day event. On Friday, a post-frontal, shifty breeze from the northwest started at 15 knots, then quickly diminished and swung to the north-northeast by late afternoon in the 5-8 knots range. Saturday saw a light east-southeast wind slowly build after a one-hour onshore postponement into the 4-8 knots range, with 40-degree swings. Sunday dawned with the possibility of another frontal system with thunderstorms. Fortunately, the front moved south. Out on the lake, the wind started in the SSE quadrant in the 4-7 knots range, then swung SSW to 240 degrees and increased in pressure to 8-12 knots, before oscillating from 230 back to 190 for the last two races of the regatta. For the competitive 17-boat J/111 Pre-Worlds, the oscillating breezes produced a roller-coaster scoreline for the entire fleet, with not even the top three boats scoring all top five finishes. Starting fast on Friday was Rob Ruhlman’s family team on SPACEMAN SPIFF, leading after the first day with a 4-1-1-2 tally and a 10-point lead over Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK that had a 3-5-9-1 scorecard for 18 points. Sitting in third was Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY with a 1-8-5-6 for 20 points. The second day for the J/111s saw a few shifts in the scores, but little change for the top three. SHAMROCK posted a 3-3 (tied for the best record of the day with KASHMIR’s 1-5) to close the gap significantly with SPACEMAN SPIFF that posted an 8-4. The spread was now only 4 points. In the seventh and penultimate race on Sunday, SKELETON KEY nailed down a second, SPACEMAN SPIFF a fourth, and SHAMROCK sixth. Ruhlman got their lead back up to a six-point advantage. The final race was set for a 230 deg wind, but just before the start, it swung left to 190 deg. Nailing the start was SHAMROCK, rounding the weather mark first with SKELETON KEY in fourth and SPACEMAN SPIFF back in ninth. At that moment, SHAMROCK was winning both the race and the regatta. However, on that first run, the wind swung back slowly to 220 deg, and the tail-enders that had either sailed low or gybed made big gains, namely SPACEMAN SPIFF and SKELETON KEY. The ensuing windward leg saw even more lead changes. While the lead group of SHAMROCK, SKELETON KEY and KASHMIR stayed left, a breakaway pack behind them of four boats took off from the leeward gate on port, hitting the right corner hard. That move paid off huge, as the wind swung further right to the 230+ range with more breeze, and that group took 1-2-3 (UTAH, VELOCITY & ROWDY). Meanwhile, SHAMROCK dropped back to sixth, SPACEMAN SPIFF jumped up to seventh and SKELETON KEY secured a fourth. As a result, Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF team won the J/111 Pre-Worlds and also the overall trophy for the regatta: The Verve Offshore Cup Trophy. Second was SKELETON KEY and third SHAMROCK. For more Verve Cup Offshore information, visit https://www.vervecup.com/offshore.
Wicked 2.0 Passes Light Air Test in Edgartown
Light air became a challenge for racers and organizers at this year’s Edgartown Race Weekend hosted by Edgartown Yacht Club. The event’s most renowned of three events– the 56-mile Round-the-Island (RTI) race–started Saturday, July 27 in light breeze. Without making much progress in the first few hours, the EYC Race Committee elected to shorten course on the south side of the island for two-thirds of the fleet. Those boats completed a 25-mile course, while another nine boats sailed for 45 miles to finish near West Chop. For this year’s RTI race, there were 42 boats in eight classes, two of which were non-spinnaker. For the Round the Island race, leading a sweep of the podium and winning PHRF 2 Division was Doug Curtiss’ J/111 WICKED 2.0 with a corrected time of 8:15:26. For more Edgartown Race Week information, visit https://www.edgartownyc.org/club/scripts/section/section.asp?NS=RTI.
J/111s Control PHRF Division at Ugotta Regatta
Little Traverse Yacht Club in Harbor Springs, MI hosted its annual Ugotta Regatta from July 26-28. Two J/111s topped the PHRF A division, led by Bradley Faber's Utah who won both races. Carl Hanssen's Variance followed in second place after notching a 2,3 for 5 points. Complete results are available at https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=6163.
Tight Racing for J/111s at Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge
Since 1993, the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge has been a Chesapeake Bay three-day regatta held every July. Hosting the event was the Southern Maryland Sailing Association. The regatta started on July 22, but it was too hot and too sunny for the wind to develop much anywhere on the Bay. As a result, the PRO postponed the start and waited for the wind to develop before sending everyone off for a few races. Marty Roesch’s J/111 VELOCITY won PHRF A Division by just a single point over Ian Hill’s J/111 SITELLA that took the silver. Another J/111, Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND, took fourth. For more Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge information, visit http://screwpile.net/.
J/111s Battle @ Fiesta Cup
The Santa Barbara Yacht Club hosted its annual Fiesta Cup Regatta for one-design fleets including the J/111s. In the two-day regatta, the SBYC PRO managed to run four races in the challenging, kelp-laden conditions often seen on the scenic Pacific Ocean waterfront in front of the club. In the J/111 fleet, Kenny Kieding and John Vincent’s ARGO 3 won with all bullets, followed by Mike Drammer’s TITANIUM in second with all deuces. For more Fiesta Cup information, visit https://sbyc.org/.