J/Stop at St. Francis YC on May 14-15, 2016

21 J/105s competed in the inaugural J/Stop at the St. Francis Yacht Club on May 14-15, with an innovative format featuring more racing with shorter courses so there could be more action for skippers and crews, and a lower entry fee due to just enjoying a keg on the dock instead of a catered event inside the Club. "We tried this out a few years ago at the Wickford YC in Rhode Island, with nine races, and it was a major success with J/105 owners reporting it was the best weekend of racing they had ever had," reported regatta organizer Bruce Stone, Past President of the J/105 Class and owner of Arbitrage #116. "While we usually have five races on the weekend, St. Francis PRO John Callahan agreed to try out eight races. John set us up with the same long beat as the four J/111s and five J/120s so we could get some separation going into the windward mark, and a separate set of leeward gates so the downwind leg and the second upwind beat were shorter. We were rarely mixing it up with the other fleets...though of course being J/105s, there was a lot of action among ourselves at the windward and leeward marks. With the stronger ebb in the middle of SF Bay, the RC favored the shoreside pin end of the line by a little over 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, 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 actually get a chance 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." Results at: https://www.regattatoolbox.com/results.html?eventID=lNNcOLWe4y

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