Harken Derm

Sailing Together, Together

Published on October 20th, 2016

The husband and wife team of Tracy and Christy Usher bought their J/70 sailboat Christine Robin one year ago setting their sights on sailing in the 2016 Alcatel World Championship in San Francisco, just six months from their first major regatta. Here, Christy tells their story and explains why buying the J/70 was the best decision they ever made…

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Christy Usher

My first year sailing in the J/70 Class has been one of the most exhilarating and by far one of the best years of my life—culminating just recently with the Alcatel J/70 World Championship hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC). Almost exactly one year ago to the start of the Worlds, my husband Tracy and I bought our J/70 sailboat. Buying the J70 has proven to be the best decision we’ve made together.

My husband and I had been looking for the right sailboat for us as a family for over a decade. Tracy had been content competing on the Laser Master circuit, so for many years we sailed Lasers “together separately.” He sailed the Laser Standard Masters while I sailed in the Laser Radial Masters. As much as I enjoyed sailing in the Laser Class, I aspired for a sailboat we could race and sail together.

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Sailing together, but separately, at the Mexican Laser Masters. © Jen Edney.

Our first introduction to the J/70 was in Newport, RI, in Fall 2012. StFYC sent a team that included my husband and Peter Vessella to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) for a regatta, which was to be sailed in J/Boats’ latest speedster, the J/70. Peter Vessella was rightfully and quickly smitten with the boat and purchased one soon after.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later after seeing several J/70s on display at the Monaco Yacht Club that I started to take notice of this sporty, sleek, and fast-looking yacht. The next time Tracy mentioned Peter Vessella’s J/70 program, Running Wild, I suggested we consider getting a J/70 of our own, and the rest is history.

We took delivery of our boat in September 2015, which my husband named Christine Robin (my first and middle names), splashed and christened her for the first time in Sausalito, and then spent the winter months getting her race ready. By spring we were off to the races—literally.

The National Offshore One Design (NOOD) regatta in San Diego was our first major regatta, followed by the J/70 North Americans in Texas, and Long Beach Race Week in Southern California. Some epic summer sailing on the San Francisco Bay followed, including the Pacific Coast Champs, Summer Keel, and Rolex Big Boat Series, all of which would culminate with the World Championships the end of September.

We had set our sights on sailing well at the Worlds, which would be hosted by StFYC, and we knew we had a lot to learn in a short amount of time to make our little boat go fast. – Sail Couture, Full report

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