Championship of the Masters
Published on October 25th, 2013
San Diego, CA (October 25, 2013) – For years, the worldʼs greatest master sailors such as Elvstrom, Buchan, Burnham, Tillman, Trask, Irish, Harken, North, Holland, Hinman and Dickson competed in the prestigious event on San Francisco Bay called the International Masters Regatta. First created by St Francis YC member Don Trask in 1975, the sailors initially competed on J/24 one-designs. As time went by, it was felt that J/105s would be a more appropriate platform for the gentlemen sailors (after all, skippers had to be at least 60 yrs old and all crew over 45!).
The event took a hiatus in the 2009-2011 period due to the extraordinary financial distress experienced by economies the world over. Recently, the San Diego YC resurrected the regatta with the help of SDYC member Jeff Brown and Mr Trask and, together, hosted a wildly popular Masters “classic” in 2012 in the pristine flat waters of San Diego Harbor. This year’s “class of 2013” promises to be an even more competitive event as word got out how much fun everyone had last year. After all, how can you beat sailing in matched J/105 one-designs with matched sails, matched tuning and the extraordinary venue of sailing in San Diego Harbor with the city as the backdrop and ginormous U.S. Navy nuclear aircraft carriers as the “continuing obstruction” on the south side of the course! As one might imagine, in more ways than one, San Diego delivers on its postcard-perfect weather conditions of WNW 8-12 kts breezes with plenty of sunshine and lots of tourist distractions.
Leading this year’s class of Master sailors has to be last year’s winners, Dennis & Sharon Case from the host SDYC. Nevertheless, as the “local heroes”, they will accompanied by fellow “rock star” SDYC members Chuck Nichols. Three members from St Francis YC will be attending, including Jon Andron, Bruce Munro and Don Trask. Last year, two of these NoCal teams nearly walked off with all of the silverware!
Rounding out the West Coast contingent will be Sally Honey, past 505 World Champion, dragging along her husband Stan Honey (the same guy who’s invented all those cool graphics for football, baseball, NASCAR, tennis and most notably, the America’s Cup 34 TV/ Internet broadcasts). While Stan may have won the TransPac once or twice on his Cal 40, the one-design talent clearly lies with Sally– perhaps the first women ever to win a World Championship on a trapeze skiff as skipper!?
From the eastern side of America (e.g. east of California), the renown J/Boats designer Rod Johnstone from Stonington, CT’s Wadawanuck YC will be sailing with his son Jeff J. Past Masters winner John Jennings from St Petersburg YC (St Petersburg, FL) is sailing with the legendary Mark Ploch (first J/24 Midwinters winner in 1978!). Jennings is re-emerging from a premature retirement to determine whether or not he still has the “hot hand” that enabled him to win back in the San Francisco days of the event. Renown Great Lakes sailor, David Irish from Harbor Springs, MI will be sailing with some of his local talent. And, “young” Jeff Neuberth (of BOOMERANG the IOR Maxi 80 footer fame) will be participating for his first time– not an envious position to be in, getting tossed into this den of wolves!
Finally, adding a bit of international flavor to the event is perhaps Her Majesty The Queen’s most notable, and infamous, yachting journalist of the past half century, none other than Bob “The Fish” Fisher, from Lymington, England’s Royal Lymington YC. Whilst “Fish” is most renown for his quick wit, sarcasm and insightful commentary on all things yachting (especially, the America’s Cup), the mighty pen pales in comparison to his abilities to divine the intricacies of wind, wave and tide– all learned on the western end of the Solent and, one might add, after a few tongue-lashings by that famous Irishman Harold Cudmore!
The weekend forecast looks quite promising, with sunny days, WNW winds of 8-12 kts, flat water and plenty of events on the social schedule to keep every one distracted– did we mention earlier this was also the “chamber of commerce” weather forecast, too? With so much talent on the water it’s just about impossible to lay odds on which teams will be standing on the podium after the smoke clears! Watch this space, it will surely be entertaining! SDYC J/105 Masters sailing photos- Bob Betancourt/ SDYC For more information J/105 Masters sailing information