Chicago COLORS Regatta
The annual regatta that marks the start of the offshore sailing season in Chicago on Lake Michigan is Columbia Yacht Club’s Skyway Yacht Works Colors Regatta. Depending on weather and fleets, most boats sailed three to four races over the weekend in the challenging weather conditions. As usual, the nine-boat J/111 fleet was as tight as ever for the top of the podium. In the end, it was the Len Siegal’s LUCKY DUBIE crew for the win. After starting off with double bullets, they added a 2-6. Chasing them hard was team KASHMIR (Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson & Mike Mayer). They came up just shy of taking class honors; their 2-2-4-4 for 12 points good for the silver. Third place was John Kalanik’s PURA VIDA crew with a slow start in the first two races (8-5), but a nice comeback in the last two races (two bullets). Rounding out the top five were Rick Witzel’s ROWDY in fourth place (just one point back with 16), and Kevin Saedi’s & Raman Yousefi’s MOMENTUS in fifth place with 19 points. For more COLORS Regatta information, visit http://www.columbiayachtclub.org/.
North Sea Week
The J/111 fleet enjoyed great one-design racing for North Sea Week in Scheveningen, The Netherlands. Winning class was the Swiss team of LALLEKONIG, skippered by Joerg Sigg with crew of Wick Hillege, Nico van der Kolk, Sigrid Sigg, Joost Aaphes, Gilbert Figaroa, Wouter Kollman and Michiel van der Meulen. Their four firsts in nine races enabled them to finish with a 12 point net tally. Taking second was based on a tie-breaker—it was the crew on SWEENEY led by Paul van Driel that took the tie-break on 15 points over Sjaak Haakman’s RED HERRING. For more information, visit http://nsr.nl/.
The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta in Chicago came to a close June 11 after three days of stellar sailing weather on Lake Michigan for more than 145 teams. Seven races were completed in the 14-boat J/111 division, with Martin Roesch’s Velocity taking the win with 16 points. Bradley Faber’s Utah placed second with 24 points, and the Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson, Mike Mayer team third with 32. For complete event details, visit https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=3008.
The Spinnaker Cup had 38 boats and crews lined up on a cold, grey early morning start for the 88 nm race from San Francisco to Monterey. With a heavy flood entering the Bay, the fleet had worked over to Yellow Bluff on the Marin side before sneaking past Lime Point and working across the river to seek relief on the south side. It was much calmer than forecasted in the early part of the race. However, once past Pillar Point, the breeze increased to high teens and lower 20s after Ano Nuevo. All the top boats shot tight to the coast where the pressure was greatest and then had a beeline straight across Monterey Bay to the finish. Howard Turner’s J/111 SYMMETRY crushed PHRF Division E and won PHRF Overall. For more Spinnaker Cup information, visit http://www.offshoreraceweek.com/.
Block Island Race
The 72nd edition of the Block Island Race on May 26 off of Stamford, CT was 186nm with 66 entrants. The breeze at the first start was a shifty 4 knots, but by the third start, it settled into a stiff northwesterly of 15 knots with significantly higher gusts. Most of the fleet popped their kites right at the start, with the majority paralleling the CT coast for the first 15-20 miles. A number of forecasts predicted a big wind hole in the middle of L.I. Sound in the Bridgeport-to-New Haven area, and soon the leading boats in the fleet began to see the first signs of its unwelcome appearance. The quandary was which side of the Sound would be better for getting around the hole–the CT shore, or the Long Island shore. Some gybed toward the LI shore, and others decided to stay the course along the CT side. Cutting across the Sound carried an additional risk of not making it to the other shore before the wind shut down. The key– in hindsight– was being close to either shore: it mattered less which shore you were on, as long as you weren’t out toward the middle. The hole, however, didn’t last nearly as long as some of the forecasts had predicted, and the fleet made good progress toward buoy 1BI off the north end of Block Island, with most flying spinnakers all the way to, and then around, the island. As they passed the south side of the island, the fleet was faced with a NW breeze and back toward Long Island Sound. The forecasts indicated a good chance the wind would shift toward the SE, with a light and fluky transition period. After the fleet leaders re-entered the Sound (most through Plum Gut), the wind from the NW faded to a period of calm before the southerly wind began to fill in, but somewhat erratically. Eventually, the southerly took precedence, and by Saturday afternoon (May 27), the lead competitors began to reappear on the Stamford horizon. In the PHRF fleet, LIBERTAS—a J/111 skippered by John Donovan—took first place overall on corrected time. For more STC Block Island Race information, visit https://www.stormtrysail.org/regattas/block-island-race.