September I emailed a friend Henry Filter, who I sailed with a lot in the past. We sailed Melges 24‘s and J22‘s together for years, winning often and playing the top of the game at worlds level. It had been about ten years (too long) since we sailed together.
I had interest to see what the J70 was all about. So Henry suggested I sail the EYC J/70 Fall Brawl with him, “Count me in”. This was a great opportunity to sail together again and check out the boat.
The boats are Melges 24‘s on training wheels, which was a smart marketing move to get the masses involved. I loved the Melges 24, but for most it was just too much boat. And the hiking, well I am happy J/boats figured that one out. But not the cost, which is shocking for a 1750 lb boat, even at used prices. But, this was not about buying a boat, it was about checking it out at a regatta with friends, new and old.
So I was off to Annapolis again, home away from home, spring and fall. Friday we had a practice day in 12-20 kts of wind. Great learning curve for a team that had never sailed together, and good for my first time in J70. Some downwind rides, and I was reminded how wet it can be in the front. And the J70 is very wet in 20 kts of wind with short chop. Oh well it is a water sport.
So after a fun few hours of planing around and figuring out a few things upwind, and working with Will on sets and douses, we headed in.
The team was Henry Filter (owner/driver), Alex Stout (Main), Will Wagner (Trimming), and me doing rig, breeze, tactics with Henry, and bad jokes. I have known Alex for a long time through the Snipe class, and it was a pleasure to finally sail with him. I just met Will on the practice day, and we clicked right away, great sailor, fun, and very strong.
Saturday was as forecast with 9-12 kts of wind and tight racing. Henry is great at starting which he did well in all five races. As a team we were still figuring out some gears for the day, so we were better each race. We did find enough speed to played the game. As a team we were all laughing, having fun, and keeping it all in perspective, my only type of team.
Saturday night a front went through and it started blowing. At EYC in the morning there was 25-38 kts on the course area. So needless to say they canceled for the day. Smart move by RC and a bonus day for me with friends in Annapolis. We ended up second for the regatta and had a blast.
It was great to be back sailing One Design after only shorthanded racing over the last five years. Look forward to more this winter.
See you soon, Paul