(San Diego, CA)- The action promised to be fast, furious, fun and challenging. And it was. That’s San Diego sailing for you in the fall as California transitions from “dry/earthquake/fire” summer season to “wet/earthquake/mudslide” fall/winter season. As expected, the fleet of 25 boats provided incredibly competitive racing. The conditions were certainly challenging and nowhere near what many of the locals were expecting; especially since Hurricane Paul to the south passed over Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas and simply wrecked havoc on the weather forecasts. In the end, Chris Perkins led his MASQUERADE team to victory at the J/105 North American Championship with the remarkably consistent scoreline of 1-2-2-1-3-2-4-4-4 for 23 total points. Not even local legends like Dennis Conner and Chuck Driscoll could match their wizardry and speed across the race course.
The weather conditions across the four days played a major role in upsetting the proverbial “apple cart” for many of the local San Diego teams. They’re generally accustomed to reasonably steady sea-breezes that fill in by midday from the WNW, pulled in and around Point Loma and across the crescent-shaped beaches along the San Diego waterfront by the mountain range to the ESE across south-eastern San Diego and northern Tijuana, Mexico– the local sailors would only see one day of anywhere near those conditions on the second day of the regatta. As it was, Hurricane Paul had a massive influence on Day one- Thursday- with the remnants of Paul kicking up a nasty 4-7 ft SSW swell with chop on top with winds from the SSE to SSW. It was windy, rainy, misty in the morning with 20-25 kts winds at 8 am subsiding to 10-15 kts for the first start at 1130 am. By the 2nd start the wind dropped to 4-8 kts and, ultimately, the wind died at end of second race and went variable. By Friday, the forecast breeze filled in as a wind-line from N-NW and blew 6-13 kts with a light SW swell and light chop on top– a beautiful day for sailing with tactical shift and wind-lanes forming all day long. Saturday saw SSW breezes at 6-12 kts with light SW swell and light chop, just a grey day with few rays of sunshine anywhere. For “Championship Sunday”, dawn was grey again and the forecasted low trough offshore swung in affecting both races with rain, mist and sunshine all rolled into one! Breezes were SSW going to WNW 5-13 kts with confused seas- SW and NW swell with chop on top.
The first day of sailing proved to be a prophetic one. Chris Perkins sailed MASQUERADE to the top of the leader-board with a first in the first race and a second in the second race for just 3 points on the day. Gary Mozer’s CURRENT OBSESSION 2 stood in second place with 8 points, and new J/105 owner Dennis Conner on DC’s PHOLLY was one point back at 9 points. Trailing MASQUERADE in Race 1 was Conner’s DC’s PHOLLY and Mozer’s CO2. In Race 2, Steve Howell’s BLINK! took top honors, followed by Perkin’s MASQUERADE and Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE.
On the second day, three races were held and it was in these conditions that Perkins’ team on MASQUERADE began to establish a strong lead over the fleet with an impressive tally of 1-2-2-1-3 for just 9 pts overall. Mozer’s CO2 maintained his second-place spot with 23 points. Tom Fisher and Joe Dagostino on VIGGEN put together a consistent regatta with all top-six tallies for 26 points. In the day’s first contest, Rick Goebel’s SANITY took top honors, with Perkins on MASQUERADE in second and Dennis Case’s WINGS in third. MASQUERADE ran away with the next race, trailed by Case’s WINGS and Chuck Driscoll and Tom Hurlburt on BLOW BOAT. In the day’s final battle, Mozer’s CO2 claimed first, with BLOW BOAT and MASQUERADE behind them.
The third day saw MASQUERADE hold onto their lead with a 15-point advantage over second-place Gary Mozer’s CO2. However, a tight battle was brewing over the next three places with Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE in third with 41 points, trailed closely by Dennis Conner’s DC’s PHOLLY at 42 points and Chuck Driscoll and Tom Hurlburt’s BLOW BOAT at 45 points. In Saturday’s first race, DC’s PHOLLY won, with MASQUERADE in second and ARBITRAGE in third. In the day’s other contest, the BLOW BOAT snared the victory, followed by CO2 and DC’s PHOLLY.
For the fourth and final day, all the MASQUERADE team had to do was stay out of trouble and finish both races in the top eight, presuming even their closest competitor won both races. In fact, compared to the previous three days racing, perhaps Sunday’s racing was one of the most difficult to avoid any major pitfalls. In the end, the MASQUERADE team proved yet again they were not to be denied, scoring a 4-4 to close out the regatta with 23 pts. The team consisted of Perkins, Steve Marsh, Tom Purdy, Mark Chandler, Larry Swift and Rose Eberhard. This triumph marks MASQUERADE’s third North American Championship, after winning in 2006 and 2007 with Tom Coates. Perkins, Marsh and Chandler were part of those crews. Perkins praised MASQUERADE (hull #17) and the teams’ familiarity with it. “We know this boat intimately. It’s well prepared in its set-up with a nice new set of North Sails,” he stated. He also applauded his crew for their flawless efforts, saying “There were no crew mistakes, despite the fact that we’re all very busy and we had little practice. That’s where luck comes in sometimes.” It was easy to notice that MASQUERADE quickly launched to the front of the 25-boat fleet at the starts. “We had consistent starts where we got the nose out and didn’t have to play ping pong,” Perkins explained. “Some regattas go your way, and this one did for us. We were in the right place for the shifts.”
Gary Mozer’s CURRENT OBSESSION 2 finished as runner-up with 37 points, and new J/105 owner Dennis Connor placed third on DC’s PHOLLY (pictured here) with 45 points. Sunday’s first race was won by DC’s PHOLLY, with CO2 and BLOW BOAT behind. Dennis Case’s WINGS closed out the regatta’s final contest successfully, trailed by DC’s PHOLLY and Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE. The final top 10 were: 1st- Chris Perkins- Masquerade (23 points), 2nd- Gary Mozer- Current Obsession 2 (37), 3rd- Dennis Conner- DC’s Pholly (45), 4th- Chuck Driscoll/Tom Hurlburt- Blow Boat (57), 5th- Bruce Stone- Arbitrage (58), 6th- Dennis Case- Wings (73), 7th- Tom Fisher/Joe Dagostino- Viggen (74), 8th- Bennet Greenwald- Perseverance (84), 9th- Rick Goebel- Sanity (93) and 10th- Dave Vieregg- Triple Play (99).
The J/105 Fall Series Chairman, Jeff Brown, commented: “we’re very proud of our San Diego YC and the host team. We had a great regatta on the water and off! We had over 70 volunteers from in and outside the Yacht Club who helped run events! As they say it “takes an army” and a great one we did have. With Joanne O’Dea as our Coordinator, she was largely responsible for making sure everyone was doing what they had signed up to do! We had several very successful social events that literally took over the entire Yacht Club and involved the club membership and over 400 sailors and families participating in the regatta. Julie Servais was the Chair of the very popular “Taste of Point Loma” that saw over 17 local Restaurants and wineries and brewer’s participate with samples of their delicious food and drink. The club was transformed with lounging areas and jazz bands and everyone had a great time. The other big social event was run by Marnie Buddo, she had a wonderful “Beach Luau” with a great band and a wonderful California Beach lifestyle party with “The Blonde Brothers Band”. One of the highlights of entire regatta was her “Yolo Paddle Board Competition” that allowed all sailors to compete right in front of SDYC’s Front Dock in a course that challenged the best and worst paddle borders in attendance! The winner won a custom surfboard that matched the North Americas Champions take home trophy! Finally, we had great help from the following volunteers: Chris and Julie Howell- J/105 Class Officials, Marilyn Foster- SDYC Jury/Protest, Jim Person/Bruce Green- PROs, Joe Colling- Class Racing Official, Lynnlee Slater- Green Regatta, Carolann Dekker- Merchandise, Jon Dekker- Measurement, Karen Brown- Budget, Jeff Johnson/Jared Wohlgemuth- Racing Office, Amy Snyder- Catering, Chuck Driscoll- Charter, Jackie Kohls- SDYC Staff, Joni Geis- Sponsorship and all of our Great Sponsors.” Sailing Photo credits- by Bronny Daniels/ JoySailing.com Sailing photo credits- by Outside Images/ Bob Grieser San Diego YC sailing photo credits- Cynthia Sinclair & Bob Bentancourt For more J/105 North American Championship sailing information