Bad News, Paladin get wins in Connanicut Yacht Club J/22 Series
A gorgeous day with a northeasterly breeze was the rare setting for the July 22 CYC races. Commodore Bert Brodin accommodated the conditions by moving the starting line to Special Mark Z and set a course of 11p (Coaster's Harbor Can), 3p. The committee boat was strongly favored and the predictable jam-up at that end took place on cue. The Marshall brothers' Bad News, and Bill and Alice Porter's Rhapsody got the best of it, with FJ Ritt's Paladin to leeward but moving very well. The fleet had to contend with a fickle, 10- knot breeze on the first beat as big shifts and lulls, typical of the fair weather northerly, rewarded boats that tacked and changed gears decisively and efficiently. Not surprisingly, Paladin excelled in these circumstances and led at the windward mark, with Rhapsody and Bad News close behind. Paladin, unfortunately, had sailed east of the center three spans, thereby unwittingly going off course, no doubt drawn by the fact that it was the right place to be from a current and windage perspective. Blues eRacer and Good News remained close to the leaders while Machbuster and Red Sky had lost contact with the lead group. After the jibe mark, Paladin and Rhapsody took each other above the rhumb line to the finish that allowed Bad News to sail a lower, shorter course to victory, while Rhapsody unnecessarily fought the disqualified Paladin to a strong second. Blues eRacer finished fourth, followed by Good News, Machbuster and Red Sky.
The wind had veered to the east a bit and increased to 15 knots by the start of the second race, a course of Tp (Rose Island Nun) twice around. A clean start kept the racing close on the first beat with Paladin again taking the lead. With no bridge passage to navigate, Paladin safely sailed to a wire-towire win. Bad News worked their way back from a mediocre start to take second from Rhapsody, who looked strong this week, but has so far failed to validate her Tuesday evening success on Sunday afternoon. Blues eRacer flew past Machbuster on the final run, after their first race-long duel of the year, for fourth. Good News and Red Sky followed.
A questionable forecast gave way to another beautiful, if steamy, day for racing on July 15. A southerly of less than 10 knots and a flooding moon tide combined to yield an even lighter apparent wind, sure to test the fleet's patience and skill alike. Commodore Bert Brodin, ably assisted by his wife Linda, set a course of Rp (Clingstone Bell), twice around for the eight starters. With the flood tide helping to keep everyone in check, a smooth start saw the fleet split almost immediately. Current and a persistent right shift soon favored those on the right side of the course, FJ Ritt's Paladin, Louis Mariorenzi's Blues eRacer, and Bill Porter's Rhapsody. Guest helmsman Greg Ferguson even had the fleet rookie, Red Sky, in the thick of things on the first beat. At Clingstone, it was Paladin, Blues eRacer, Bad News, and Rhapsody, and the order didn't change after that despite a great effort by Blues eRacer to keep the pressure on Paladin all the way to the finish. Machbuster never recovered from an awkward start at the pin, but managed to lead the second grouping, followed by Good News, Chaos, and Red Sky.
The course for the second race was changed to the classic Zp,13p, as the breeze had veered to the south southwest, with the flood tide building. Another even start kept the racing close on the first beat, and once again Paladin moved to the front, consistently picking the best course and trim for the subtly challenging conditions. This time it was Rhapsody who kept the pressure on the leader throughout, but she was unable to break through. Upfront, FJ Ritt was careful to honor the center three spans of the Newport Bridge and avoid last week's costly DNF. Blues eRacer stayed out in the channel on the run and seemed to gain, but not enough to catch the two leaders. Machbuster got by Bad News on the run, but the Marshall brothers cast off the weight of their recent academic honors and promptly out-sailed the blue boat on the final beat to take back fourth place. Chaos, Red Sky, and Good News finished in that order.
Bad News still leads the series by ten points over Machbuster and Paladin, but Paladin's four wins now put her in a very strong position once throw outs come into play.