Santa Barbara wins U.S. J/70 Youth Championship

Published on August 13th, 2017

The inaugural U.S. J/70 Youth Championship had its fair share of drama. Tight racing. Teams pushing the envelope tactically. Close-quarters racing producing dramatic turn-arounds at each corner of the course. As each race unfolded, yet another wind shift and puff pushed another group of boats past leaders in front of them. To say the least, it was about as atypical weather conditions anyone could imagine from a “locals” point of view in Newport, RI.

Ultimately, winning and demonstrating good tactical decision-making capability, extraordinary boat-handling, and a steady boat-speed advantage through-out the regatta was the Santa Barbara YC Youth Team- skippered by Lucas Pierce with an excellent crew of Ryan Eastwood, Chris Kayda, Payne Donaldson, and Kris Ozolins. It was a remarkable performance, especially considering the wildly fluctuating and variable wind conditions every team had to contend with over the three-day regatta on August 11 to 13.

Remember, on Friday, it was a cruise ship floating around the bay off Newport that kept winds fluctuating from the SSE to SSW direction. Then, on Saturday, after a long weather delay/ postponement, an ornery passage of a weather front ultimately produced mist and a good breeze from the south to finish a second round of nine races by early evening. Sunday’s finale was no different, fog, then sun, then good breeze, then a thermal breeze shutdown by a front with high-level northwesterly breezes!

All things considered, the regatta format permitted good teams to rise to the top given enough opportunities to get there! After the top three teams – Santa Barbara YC, Sail Newport and Severn Sailing – secured their position in the Finals on Saturday, the “repechage” round held Sunday morning consisted of four races to advance the remaining three teams: Annapolis YC, Little Traverse YC and Coral Reef YC.

The finale started just after noon time. Winning the first race was Sail Newport’s team led by Brendan Read. Then, in the second race, Annapolis YC won by a large margin. Then, in the third race, Sail Newport Youth Team won again. There was no question the Santa Barbara YC crew were feeling the heat, especially from the local youth team from Sail Newport.

In the fourth race, the wind went crazy, going light and mixing cat’s-paws with small streaks and shifting at least 50 degrees. The race was ultimately canceled due to the time limit, much to everyone’s delight! As a result, with no visible wind in sight and less than forty minutes to the regatta time limit, three guns were fired to mark the end of racing.

As a result, winning the regatta by ten points was the Santa Barbara YC Youth Team. Second was the SAIL Newport Youth Team comprised of Brendan Read, Andrew Sherrin, Kate Nota, and Ted Bjerregaard. Third was Annapolis YC Youth Team comprised of Porter Kavle, Will Comerford, Benjamin Podlich, and Jake Viskers.

At the awards ceremony, the Santa Barbara YC Youth Team (pictured here) was presented not just with their keeper trophies, but also the free J/70 that their club gets to use for twelve months. The SBYC Vice Commodore Scott Deardorff, himself a J/70 sailor, is looking forward to utilizing the boat (complete with a brand new suit of North Sails and Triad Trailer) for club events, youth keelboat development and perhaps even women’s keelboat development!

“It was amazing to see the high-level of competitiveness by all nine teams,” noted Regatta Chairman Stuart Johnstone. “Having sailed against some of them in past J/70 events, it was evident most could compete in the top ten in any major J/70 regatta, that is how much they had improved over the course of the year.”

The regatta was supported by several boat owners who donated their boats for the event: SAIL 22 (Ed & Becky Furry), Tim Healy, Henry Brauer, and Juan Reid from Chile. Sponsors of the event included North Sails, Harken, MJM Yachts’ Bob Johnstone (who also donated the free J/70), Sail Newport (Brad Read and Vinnie Pattavina), and Sail 22 (especially the help of Sam House as the regatta bosun).

Overcoming the weather conditions with 25 races was PRO Kevin Dooley from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, ably supported by a cast that included Bill Canfield, Oakley Jones, Paul Hazlett, Bob Spagnolo, Richard Barker, Jack Fisher, and Macken Offspring.

Event informationRace detailsResultsFacebook

Final Results
1. Santa Barbara YC Youth Team, , Lucas Pierce/ Ryan Eastwood/ Chris Kayda/ Payne Donaldson/ Kris Ozolins – 1 -2 -3 -1 -1 -5 -1 -1 -2 -4 -3 -3 -4 -5 -2 ; 38
2. Sail Newport Youth Team, , Andrew Sheerin / Brendan Read / Kate Nota / Ted Bjerregaard – -4 -2 -3 -6 -1 -6 -2 -5 -3 -1 -2 -5 -1 -6 -1 ; 48
3. Annapolis YC Youth Team, , Porter Kavle/ Will Comerford/ Ben Podlich/ Jake Vickers – 4 -1 -2 -2 -5 -5 -3 -3 -4 -2 -7 -4 -0 -0 -0 -0 -2 -2 -4 ; 50
4. Coral Reef YC Youth Team, , Ivan Shestopalov/ Sam Baker/ Shawn Harvey/ Jack Johansson/ Claudia Loicono – 3 -3 -0 -1 -4 -2 -4 -6 -2 -1 -3 -6 -6 -0 -0 -0 -0 -5 -3 -3 ; 52
5. Severn Sailing Association Youth Team, , James Golden/ Casey Cabot/ Luke Koerschner/ Harrison Koller/ Nicholas Papadopoulis – 2 -5 -1 -5 -5 -2 -5 -2 -4 -6 -1 -1 -6 -4 -6 ; 55
6. Little Traverse YC Youth Team, , Ian Beckley/ Preston Carey/ Robert Duff/ Franny Schulte – -4 -5 -3 -4 -6 -2 -4 -4 -2 -5 -5 -3 -0 -0 -0 -0 -3 -1 -5 ; 56
7. MudRatz Racing Youth Team, , Zach Champney/ Peter Cronin/ Lily Flack/ Alex Hughes/ Lucy Rath – 5 -7 -4 -0 -5 -3 -3 -5 -1 -5 -2 -3 -2 -4.25 -4.25 -4.25 -0 ; 57.75
8. Eastern YC Junior Team, , Clark Uhl/ Katharine Bowman/ Rachel Foster/ Garret McKinnon/ Kate O’Donnell – 6 -3 -4 -1 -4 -1 -7 -6 -5 -1 -4 -4 -5.75 -5.75 -5.75 -0 ; 63.25
9. St. Petersburg YC Youth Sailing Team, , Blaire McCarthy/ Cameron Delgado/ Callista Hopkins/ Heather Kerns/ Emma Shakespeare – -6 -6 -6 -2 -3 -6 -6 -5 -1 -4 -6 -3 -4 -4 -4 -0 ; 66

Background: The teams qualified by sailing in major regattas across the country, including many of Sailing World NOOD Regattas in San Diego, Annapolis, Chicago, and Marblehead. The competing teams qualified for their sailing clubs in the hopes of winning one of the most unique prizes in the world of sailing – a FREE use of a J/70 for their sailing club for an entire twelve (12) months. The boat will be free to use for the youth keelboat program, for members to race in J/70 events, to introduce women sailors to the easy-to-sail J/70, etc.

Source: Event media

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