Hey Jude Wins J/Fest Great Lakes

Thanks to Hey Jude for this report: This year’s edition of J/Fest was hosted by the National Yacht Club on July 21-22. One-design starts were provided for the J/27, J/80 and J/105 fleets, and there was also PHRF starts for assorted boats. Our J/105 fleet was the largest with 16 entries. In spite of the warm and moderate- breeze summer we have been having, this event was promising fresh breeze with an easterly component that could stir up some waves. Saturday did not disappoint with building breeze out of the eastern quadrant, but still relatively flat water. The Race Committee set a course with a weather mark in the Gibraltar area. Down at the start line, there was a fair amount of east-to-west current running, which meant that one needed a start which would let them get to the left side of the course...and the "lefter the better!" It did not take the teams too long to figure this one out, and there were some pretty aggressive moves for the pin. With the current and wind, there was little room for error—if you got it correct, you were launched; if you got it wrong, you were taking transoms and/or doing a one-turn penalty for touching the pin. This trend built with the increasing breeze throughout the day. The top left of the windward leg was incredibly puffy, but the flat water and current relief was worth the gear shifting you needed to do to be effective. Four races were sailed on Saturday, with each race being a bit breezier than the last; the wind was also backing a bit to the left over the day. Avoiding posting a big number was tough, and a few boats were successful in this regard. Starcross proved that consistency pays with a 2-2-3-1 on the day, and their lead in the fourth race was impressive. Jamaica Me Crazy and Usual Suspects also avoided big numbers to card 16 and 20 points on the day, respectively. Hey Jude got off to a good start with three bullets in the first three races, but had to scramble from the back of the pack to grab a fifth in a photo-finish on the last race of the day. NYC put on a great show on a beautiful, windy, Saturday night. Special shout out to Flip Cup Challenge J/105 podium finishers" Wrecking Crew, second, and Full Tilt Boogie, first! Way to represent the fleet. Sunday promised a good showdown between Starcross and Hey Jude, both sitting with 8 points on four races. However, it was not to be as the building breeze and rain squalls, combined with waves from the east that had been fetching all night, made the course unsailable. The RC called the day in the early afternoon, and Hey Jude would win the regatta on the tie-breaker. A few observations and reflections to share... When looking at the forecast, one should consider shortening the forestay at the dock if that is an adjustment you are comfortable making. When you have good breeze and flat water, you can and should wind down the rig pretty hard; there is little or no downside to it. And finally in the puffy conditions, when you get a relative lull, ensure that your jib is not sheeted in too hard as it will really strap in from the reduced pressure. Actually, Saturday was the kind of day where it might have been good to cross-sheet the jib like some of the San Francisco teams do.

  1. Hey Jude, 8 points
  2. Starcross, 8 points
  3. Jamaica Me Crazy, 16 points
  4. Usual Suspects, 20 points
  5. Live Edge, 22 points

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