Friday, May 15, 2009

J/24 Worlds, Day #5: A Regatta Wrap-up from our Racing Rigger

I know, some of you are probably thinking that the J/24 World's finished up last Friday... you're just now doing a recap?

Yeah, we are... it's a little busy around here, what with getting orders out and about 19.4 million rigging orders stacked up. We figured that sitting Jarrett down to do a recap of the J/24 World's instead of doing a Hi-Tech Eyesplice on a jib halyard for a Farr 30 was misallocation of his time.

But being the nice guy that he is, he stayed late last night (Thursday Night Racing was called off due to an Annapolis hurricane of 25 knots) and banged out a few hundred words.

Thanks to all of the teams that came into the shop during the J/24 World's -- it was very cool seeing all of the international teams, hearing the different languages, etc. that came to our little part of the mid-Atlantic just to sail a regatta.

Without further gilding the lily, here's Jarrett's wrap-up of Day #5 and the entire event.


Well the last day of the J/24 Worlds started off early with the intentions of getting in a few more races. We (Millennium Falcon - USA 5350) would have been happy to get off just one more race and to throw out that 80[ZFP] from earlier in the week, but the Race Committee got some wind to work with and squeezed in three great races to finish off an incredible World's experience.

The breeze was pretty steady throughout Day #5, with a few light spots and small shifts. We nailed the first start and rounded the windward mark somewhere in the 30's. Things went okay downwind and we rounded the leeward gates without gaining or losing any boats. We really worked the upwind leg, catching a few boats, and had a great mark rounding to get our way into the high 20's. We kept pushing it downwind to the finish, feeling good about our mid-20's finish.

Race #2 and Race #3 did not go as well for us. We didn't get the starts we wanted and finding clear air was tough. We lived in dirty air the rest of the day and it showed with a 50's and a 70's finish. A small highlight was even though we were deep, we had good company at certain points -- the Italians on Fiamme Gialle, Chris Larson on National Sailing Hall of Fame was deep in one race, and some other top-10 boats got in their bad races too.

The real kick in the balls was when we got back to the pier to realize that our first race we were scored Black Flag. F%&K! The race committee that was calling our numbers had broadcasted the BFP on the wrong channel and there were many boats that sailed the entire race even though we were all BFP. Well, doesn't that just suck! I was hoping to a better finish to the regatta, but in the end I have very high remarks for the entire event.

Five VERY tough days of sailing made this regatta quite a challenge (and lead to a bunch of free time to try and wakeboard off a 2HP engine, as seen below). Every facet of each sailor was tested. Light air sailing was a huge factor, playing the shifts and currents, making it imperative to be up to speed on Bay conditions. Tough competition made it even harder to get an advantage on the race course.

I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge during the event; I learned all about crew dynamics during a 5-day regatta, that these really were the BEST J/24 sailors in the world, that starts and clear air play a gigantic role in your results and that even in tough times with crazy tough competition, it was still an amazing regatta.


AYC did a great job hosting this event. It would have been nicer to have the SLAM truck parked a little less in the way, maybe less hay and more gravel in the drinking tent (kinda felt like a barn party), but all-in-all they did a fantastic job dealing with 400+ crazed J/24 sailors. The AYC sponsored Race Committee, Sandy Grosvenor and all the volunteers did an incredible job too.

The 2009 J/24 World Championships were everything that I thought they were going to be... except for the breeze. It would have been real nice to have 10-12 each day, maybe one light day and a day where it was nuking in the 30's.

Ok, I've lost my motivation to keep writing... it was awesome, I would do it again and next time I hope we do better!

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