Conanicut Yacht Club J-22 racing results
Bright sun and a fresh southwesterly breeze made for a very sporting sail during the second week of Conanicut Yacht Club's J/22 Sunday Series.
Puffs consistently over 20 knots placed a premium on boat handling skills and rail meat alike.
The course for race number one was Zp, 13p in a flood tide current. The Marshall brothers', Bad News, and FJ Ritt's, Paladin, both got great starts while Machbuster was over early at the pin, had to re-round, and took everyone's transom on port tack. Bad News led the way up the first beat to round Z first, less than a boat length in front of the resurgent Machbuster, who gained from an opportune left shift as she approached the port layline. Bad News had added rake to her mast this week in search of better pointing to windward, but it didn't seem to hurt her trademark downwind speed advantage as the Marshalls rebuilt a 100-yard lead on the run. Back in the pack, Blues eRacer had blown her spinnaker shackle at the top of the mast and Eric Senior and Bob Miniutti experienced the joys of double-handing a J/22 in heavy air. Despite a generous lead, Bad News was still keeping her eye on the fully loaded Machbuster, whose crew of five included former fleet champion Paul Grimes III, his son, Alden, multi-world champion Dave Moffet, and his son, Colin. Whether it was the ballast, the know-how, or both, Machbuster once again dug into the big Bad News lead on the final beat. But Bad News, approaching the finish line on starboard, forced Machbuster to tack just shy of the line, and took her first bullet of the year by mere inches, as Commodore Bert Brodin called the photo finish from the committee boat. Paladin was third after a race-long duel with Rhapsody, followed by Chaos, Blues eRacer, and the undermanned Good News.
Louis Mariorenzi was off sailing the Marblehead-Halifax Race this week, so it was left to his replacement helmsman, J-World instructor Matt Mullan, to shinny up Blues eRacer's mast and retrieve the errant halyard while regular crew Dick Boenning observed from the safety of the cockpit below. With the breeze still piping up, Good News took advantage of the break between races to add a badly needed third crew. The race number two course was Zp, Tp (Rose Island Nun), Zp, 13p. An even start led to a drag race, won by Machbuster, with more past and future sailing titles hiking on the rail than her skipper ever dreamed of. As Machbuster steadily drew away, the rest of the fleet stayed together through the second windward mark. Then some especially big puffs on the last run spun out Blues eRacer in spectacular fashion and forced Paladin to retire when a crewmember was injured during the spinnaker set. Bad News eventually pulled away to a safe second place, while the now better-ballasted Good News won a tough third from Rhapsody after a battle into the leeward mark. Blues eRacer and Chaos followed. Machbuster's victory keeps them tied with Bad News for the early season lead after four races that have featured three different winners.