Marshall brothers' Bad News gets two more wins, leads J/22 series
Great sailing conditions were on tap once again last week with bright sun and a building southerly breeze awaiting the fleet as they gathered for the start. The first sequence ended in postponement when the wind shifted right twenty degrees as it began to pipe up to fifteen knots. The Race Committee, Commodore Bert Brodin and wife Linda, changed the course to Zp, 15p (special mark north of Potter's Cove) and the second sequence produced a clean start. The good breeze and a tide only beginning to ebb helped keep the fleet close on the first beat. Louis Mariorenzi's Blues eRacer deftly played the shifts and the current to lead at the windward mark with the rest of the fleet nearly overlapped on the starboard layline. The western third span of the bridge acted as a jibe mark and, as the fleet converged on that spot, Bad News and Paladin squeezed inside Blues eRacer. Soon last year's champs found themselves surrounded by overtaking boats, and the ensuing luffing battles allowed Bad News to escape to a safe lead. Lots of positions changed back and forth between the bridge and special mark 15, as Fleet 12 saw some of the closest and best spinnaker action in its history. Bad News kept the fleet covered on the beat-tothe finish to win the race, while Besame recovered from sixth at the first mark to finish second. Paladin, Blues eRacer, Rhapsody, Machbuster, and Chaos followed.
The course for race two was set as Zp twice around. Another clean start and closely fought beat to Z set up another thrilling run, this time to the committee boat as the leeward mark. Twentyknot puffs had boats surfing on wakes and white caps alike, and the spinnakers were three or four abreast as they careened towards the committee boat. Bad News managed to achieve the inside overlap position on a cartwheel of J/22's amid much excitement that must have had the vulnerable Race Committee regretting their decision to make themselves a leeward mark. The beat back to Z saw Bad News narrowly leading Paladin, their principal series rival, while Machbuster and Rhapsody vied for third. On the final run, Bad News finally began to pull away with their trademark downwind speed advantage, Paladin was a safe second, and Rhapsody passed Machbuster when the latter failed to jibe quickly enough after rounding Z. Blues eRacer also challenged Machbuster but couldn't get past. The breeze was continuing to build so everyone was flying, and eventually Besame spun out trying to luff Chaos, for sixth.
The strong showing by the Marshall brothers increases their series lead to three points over FJ Ritt's Paladin. Everyone else is now mathematically eliminated.