Machbuster and Paladin win J/22 series event
Conanicut Yacht Club's J/22 Fleet 12's 2007 season began in spectacular fashion with picture perfect conditions on June 30.
Jeff Westcott's Machbuster, and F. J. Ritt's Paladin each came away with a bullet, but the racing once again featured the competitive balance that Fleet 12 is known for. Eight boats started the first race, a windward, leeward to the Clingstone Bell and back. Machbuster took the slightly favored pin, banged the left corner in the last of the ebb tide, and rounded the bell first, mere inches ahead of Bob Miniutti's Good News. As the tightly bunched fleet approached the finish at Special Mark 3, the Marshall brothers' Bad News had moved into a close second, benefiting from a spinnaker trimmed by no less than Cory Sertl, two time Rolex Yachtswoman of-the-Year. But Machbuster not only had a Sertl's 11-year-old son Nick trimming its spinnaker, but also her dad, Mark, calling tactics as well. That combination was enough to keep Bad News at bay this time around. The blue boat stubbornly held on to take the gun from the race committee, Commodore Bert Brodin and his wife Linda. Bad News, Good News, Paladin, Lowell Thomas' Chaos, Louis Mariorenzi's Blues eRacer, Bill Porter's Rhapsody, and newcomer Jeff Cook's Red Sky followed in that order.
Race two was a windward, leeward twice around. This time Paladin took the early lead and sailed a nearly flawless race to a wire-to-wire win. Behind Paladin there was plenty of action. First, Rhapsody yielded her close second at the windward mark to Machbuster on the first run, who promptly squandered it with an ill-advised beat through the mooring field. Once again, Bad News climbed back from mid-fleet to take second and challenge the leader near the finish line, while Machbuster, Rhapsody, Blues eRacer, Good News, Chaos and Red Sky settled for third through eighth. A steady 10- to 12- knot southerly wind contributed to the even racing, as this year's series got off to a great start.