J/Crews Sweep PHRF Classes!
(San Diego, CA)- The breeze was on for the 2017 Yachting Cup! It was a busy and challenging weekend of racing, with almost 100 boats competing on three courses in the ocean. The host San Diego YC and its extraordinary army of volunteers yet again tossed out the red carpet (despite the rain) and made all sailors warm and welcome at their magnificent facility inside of Shelter Island Harbor. They played host to three one-design fleets of J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s. In addition, a number of J/teams sailed in PHRF A, B and D classes, collecting most of the silverware.
Saturday’s racing saw the breeze hovering around 15-20 knots, it was certainly a windy day on the San Diego ocean. Coupled with 3-5 foot swells that were frequent and close together, it was a lumpy and bumpy ride outside. And if that was not enough, there was a sprinkling of rain showers every so often just to keep the sailors on their toes. Several competitors claimed the conditions reminded them of a typical day of sailing in San Francisco Bay.
“It was a challenging day,” noted 2010 Yachting Cup winner Chuck Nichols on his J/120 CC Rider. “Not only did we have the breeze that kept building but the sea state was tough. There were a lot of square waves and we were knocked around a lot. Our crew was really exhausted and we were using our biggest head sails. Tacks were difficult for people because we had a long grind.”
Nichols had a good day despite the challenges. “We were ahead in every race and had reasonable boat speed, plus S/C Kyle Clark was making good tactical calls. We only race for fun and it’s not fun to lose!”
The regatta finale on Sunday dawned cloudy and breezy again! The Race Committee decided early in the morning to change all classes from the ocean to the shelter of San Diego Bay.
All of the boats that sailed in Saturday’s Near Roads course sailed in the South Bay and all the boats that sailed in the Middle and Far Roads courses sailed in the North Bay.
After an hour delay, the first races started at 12:30pm in a steady drizzle with wind speeds reaching 14+ knots in certain parts of the course. The Race Committee on the South Bay course was able to complete two races, but the North Bay course was not as lucky. Shortly after 2:00pm, when Race Committee on the North Bay started the second race, a line of massive squalls came in with heavy rain and wind, forcing Race Committee to abandon the second race in the North Bay.
“The day was wet! The conditions were very shifty and the rain made it very challenging, but it worked out well for us. It was saner today than yesterday. We did well this weekend because we had clean starts and focused on maintaining a balance between speed and point.”
Fuller, no stranger to this event, was the Yachting Cup overall winner in 2013. “This race is the premiere race in Southern California for PHRF Handicap sailing. I’d say it’s equal to the Big Boat Series in San Francisco.”
Behind Fuller’s crew, it was Mark Surber’s J/125 DERIVATIVE taking the silver position with straight seconds, completing the sweep of PHRF A class by the two J/125s!
John Laun, another former Yachting Cup overall winner, placed second in the J/120 class this year on Caper. “We saw a little bit of everything this weekend, with the worst of it on Saturday. We broke a halyard which led to some drama, but we survived it and won that race which was a testament to the crew being ready to do nonstandard stuff quickly. They really came through in a clutch.”
With tight competition at the top of the J/120 fleet, CC Rider pulled off the win, but Laun still had a positive outlook on the day. “It was a fun race and the breeze held. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as the second race which wasn’t finished because a squall came through. It was just heinous for a while and then there was no wind.”
Behind the Nichols and Laun crews, it was Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE that took third in class, followed by Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN i 4th and Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY in 5th place.
Though all the sailors out there can confirm that conditions were insane for San Diego, that didn’t stop Rick Goebel and his crew on SANITY from winning the J/105 class and the Overall regatta. In addition to winning every race this weekend, Goebel was also named the Yachting Cup Overall winner in 2014.
“We really had a great regatta, especially in the heavy air. We go up to the Big Boat Series every three or four years so we are really set up for heavy air and we have a great heavy air crew. Only two of the crew members have changed since we last won Yachting Cup, so we are basically the same group. This year was really tough, but to win it this year was fantastic.”
A distant second in J/105s was Chuck Driscoll’s JUICED, finishing with 15 pts net. Just one point back in third place was Ed Sanford’s long-distance traveling CREATIVE. Three points further back was Steve Howell’s BLINK in 4th and in 5th was Scott McDaniel’s OFF THE PORCH.
PHRC C class was just about overrun by J/crews. Leading the way was David Boatner’s J/35 RIVAL with a convincing all bullet scoreline to win by a landslide. Third was Chuck Sinks newly restored J/35 Z-FORCE, losing a tie-breaker on 9 pts for 2nd place. Taking 5th place was Gene Pitkin’s J/109 GERONIMO.
The extremely tight competition in the J/70 class went right down to the wire; the last race determined the final outcome for the entire podium! Winning by just one point was Jay Janov’s MINOR THREAT, with Bruce Cooper’s USA 32 in second and Chris Raab’s SUGOI in third; all boats separated by just two points. Rounding out the top five were Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR in 4th and David Hochart’s USA 540 in fifth place.
Completing the sweep of PHRF classes in which J/crews sailed were the trio of J/80s in PHRF D Class. Winning by the convincing record of straight 1sts (and discarding a 1st!) was Curt Johnson’s AVET. Third was Paul Martson’s J-WORLD 2 and fourth was Patrick Farrell’s J-WORLD I!
Big kudos go to the Race Committee for spending three days bouncing around on rough seas and keeping the racing going during uncomfortable conditions, especially PROs Susi Graff, Ken Bertino and Becky Ashburn!! And thank you to the 2017 Yachting Cup Co-Chairs, Joanne O’Dea and Karen Busch, for all of their hard work!!
The Yachting Cup would also like to thank its sponsors: Helly Hansen, Pantaenius, Lars Remodeling, Bay City Brewing Company, North Sails, Rigworks, Mount Gay Rum, Lemon & Line, Bare Republic, and Pirates Lair. For more San Diego Yachting Cup sailing information
This article was syndicated from J/News Articles