My Sharona has The Knack to take lead at J/111 Worlds
Published on June 17th, 2015
Newport, RI, (June 17, 2015) – After a challenging first day of sailing offshore, the twenty-five teams sailing the 2015 J/111 World Championship were treated to a “Newport Chamber of Commerce” day for their second day on the race track.
Starting off with the captain’s meeting at 9am Wednesday morning, the Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Garard announced to the fleet that it was going to be an “Inside the Bay Day” and to be prepared to sail two races: a first race windward-leeward followed by the “Bay Tour” long distance race.
The morning dawned with a gorgeous sunrise, winds howling out of the north at 20-30 kts. The forecast was for winds to ultimately diminish into the 10-18 kts range by the start at 11am from 30-40 degrees and veer to the east, in an oscillating-persistent shift to 90 degrees or so by late afternoon. As it turned out, the forecast was not far off and it made for a spectacular day of sailing on Narragansett Bay.
The starting area for the first race was immediately west of the northern end of Gould Island and the famous “US Navy torpedo range” buildings. Fast off the start was Chris Jones’ WILD CHILD, nailing the starboard end start and covering the fleet going off on starboard tack.
One of the first boats to flip onto port tack was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, which ultimately was the right move, leading the fleet out of the right hand corner and into the lead around the first mark to win the race. Second was George Gamble’s MY SHARONA and third was Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT.
The second race was the Navigator’s Long Distance Race. The fleet was given a long 3.5nm windward leg to the green gong in the straits formed by the southern end of Prudence Island and Dyer Island on the northeastern part of the Bay. This was followed by a reach to the red bell of the NE corner of Jamestown (Conanicut Island), then a spinnaker reach, then a fetch east across the Bay, then a long run down to the green Clingstone Rock bell and to the finish off Fort Adams.
The first beat would prove critical as the fleet guessed which side of the Bay to hit a corner; go left up along Conanicut Island and play shifts into the green buoy, or go right to the Portsmouth shoreline for current relief and perhaps large right hand shifts off the shore. Off the start, the British team on WILD CHILD skippered by Chris Jones again nailed the RC committee boat start and took off to the right leading the fleet.
Another pack of boats started towards the left end of the line (including Gamble’s MY SHARONA, Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT and David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP) and played a completely different wind/current strategy to the far left hand side of the race course. At the first windward mark, that pack remarkably led the fleet around the first mark. First in from the right hand side grouping was Jones’ WILD CHILD.
With Gamble’s MY SHARONA winning the last race, and as the only boat with all single digit finishes, they now lead the J/111 Worlds with a 9-8-2-1. Eight windward leeward races and one distance race are scheduled for the June 16-19 event.
Current Standings (Top 10 of 25; 4 races)
1. My Sharona, George Gamble , USA – 9 -8 -2 -1 ; 20
2. Spaceman Spiff, Rob Ruhlman , USA – 18 -1 -1 -5 ; 25
3. Lake Effect, Bob Hesse , USA – 10 -12 -3 -2 ; 27
4. Partnership, David and Maryellen Tortorello , USA – 3 -10 -10 -4 ; 27
5. Jelvis, Martin Dent , UK – 1 -6 -14 -7 ; 28
6. Wind Czar, Richard Lehmann , USA – 8 -3 -15 -3 ; 29
7. Wooton, William Smith , USA – 17 -2 -4 -11 ; 34
8. Perseverance, Bennett Greenwald , USA – 4 -14 -7 -12 ; 37
9. Wild Child , Chris Jones / Kenn Fischburg , UK – 16 -13 -9 -6 ; 44
10. Shmokin Joe, Duncan McDonald / Phil Thomas , UK – 14 -5 -17 -9 ; 45