Twenty-one J/105s competed in the inaugural J/Stop at the St. Francis Yacht Club on May 14-15, 2016. While it certainly was another great weekend of tight racing, regatta organizer Bruce Stone explains that this was a regatta with a twist. Stone, our past national fleet president and owner of Arbitrage #116, provides us with this report:
We decided to implement a couple of different elements into the J/Stop Regatta. We had more racing with shorter courses so there could be more action for skippers and crews. We also had a lower entry fee because we kept the socials simple with just a keg on the dock instead of a catered event inside the Club. We tried out a similar format a few years ago at the Wickford Yacht Club in Rhode Island, with nine races, and it was a major success. Several J/105 owners told us it was the best weekend of racing they had ever had.
While we usually have five races on the weekend, StFYC Race Committee and PRO John Callahan agreed to try and run eight races. John set all three fleets up with the same long beat so the J/105s could get some separation going into the windward mark. He also set two leeward gates so the downwind leg and the second upwind beat were shorter for the 105s than the 111s and 120s. The 105s were rarely mixing it up with the other fleets which was just fine, as there was always plenty of action among ourselves at the windward and leeward marks.
The ebb was stronger in the middle of SF Bay, so the Race Committee favored the shore-side pin end of the line by a little more than 10 degrees to attract some customers, and in a few races the winning move was to start at the pin, flop immediately to port and cross the fleet. That move was well executed by Phil Laby’s team on Godot, #44, who won three races and finished second. Arbitrage won two races by starting at the other end, at the committee boat, and tacking to port to foot out to the strong mid-bay ebb. Ryan Simmons’ Blackhawk, #40, took fewer risks, was almost always on the starting line with speed, and won the regatta without actually winning a single race. Tom Kennelly’s Wonder, #266, turned in a strong last day with a bullet on the final race to move up to third, edging out Arbitrage.
Back at the docks, teams intermingled, blenders appeared on several boats, and competitors reported how wonderful it was to get to match up faces with boats. With a low entry fee of just $80, or $10 per race, our expectation is that this less formal format will be tried again.
StFYC regatta results HERE