Chris Chadwick owner of the J80 Church Key sent us a guest post about last weekend’s J80 East Coast Championship in Annapolis, Maryland. Ed and I had so much fun sailing on Church Key and it’s always sweeter to win when you sail with friends. It was also a nice change to not be photographing the regatta and sailing instead! Check out Sara Proctor’s SailFastPhoto images for some great shots from the weekend.
Without further adieu, here’s Chris’s report:
If anyone has seen Church Key, you’ll know what I mean when I say she doesn’t look all that special. She’s hull number 59. She’s a little beat up, with outdated blocks and parts, many of which we have scavenged from discards of other boats (we actually took smaller parts off of bigger broken things, like masts, to stay sailing at the worlds!). As a military family with 3 children (all of which sail, too), resources are tight. As a result, the old girl doesn’t get much love, but we do the best we can. Kerry Klingler, a longtime friend and the Quantum Sails J Boat guru helps us out as best he can, often selling “lightly” used sails to keep us on the water (our race mainis the sail Terry Flynn used in last year’s World’s). This year we were fortunate to hook up with Sail22 for rigging sponsorship, providing much needed new halyards and sheets! (Becky and Ed are the best!!)
Well, back to Church Key…As I said, she’s not the prettiest girl at the dance, but she gets the jobdone (sort of like a German Sausage maker…) and she is very loved by her family.
So after a whirlwind summer experiencing moderate success traveling around the Northeast, the old girl made it home in time for the 2011 J80 East Coast Championships at Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis on October 28-30th. We finalized the crew for the event only 2 weeks prior at the Annapolis
Boat Show. Tom Murray, my constant on the boat was set to trim jib. Ed and Becky Furry, owners of Sail22, were going to be in town, and they hardly are able to sail together, so the offer of teaming up on the boat was too good to pass up. Ed trimmed Spinnaker and called the upwind shots, and Becky
called wind, boats and generally attempted to keep me at least moderately in check during an incredibly shifty regatta.
The forecast for the weekend was sketchy. Friday would be chilly, with a nice breeze from the Northeast that would slowly diminish. Saturday we were to be besieged by an early winter Nor’easter…and then Sunday was just cold, with even shiftier conditions from the Northwest. The first day of sailing was intense. Church Key scrambled to make the first race after a last minute outhaul fix on the way out. Firebolt, owned by Bill Hunt, sailed a great first day. Through four races they ended the day in first with 11 points. Will Crump, sailing on Jeff’s Boat and our crew on Church Key were right on Firebolt’s heels in a tie for second (Will was winning the tie breaker with two bullets) at 13 points. John White was 5 points back sitting in 4th. At the end of the day, we took a good look at the impending storm and made the smart decision to postpone sailing forSaturday. Seeing the weather that hit, this was an incredibly smart call!!
The last day of sailing started with freezing temperatures and shifty winds. We got out to the race course and commenced race one of the day. Our team talked prior to the start and decided we were going to sail our own race and stay clear of everyone at the start. We went for the boat end at the start and were given the opportunity to push Will Crump over the line. This wasn’t the plan, but it didn’t hurt us either. Though not our greatest race, we scored a 5, better than the 2 boats in front of us going into the day. Suddenly we were sitting with two points in first and John White had moved into the second position. The second race we were launched. Ed and Becky kept us in the wind and Tom did a great job on the jib to keep us driving through increasingly shifty conditions. By the end of the second leg, we had a nice lead and played cover for the remainder of the race. The 3rd race continued with our goal of consistency. The wheels stayed on and we were able to work the shifts nicely. We finished with a 2nd. At this point the wind had shifted drastically and the current was strong. The Race Committee attempted to shift the course and get one last race off. They finally were able to start a fourth race, but the shifts were so drastic that the committee decided to abandon the race and call it a day. We had won the regatta with a solid 10 point lead!!!
As we all know, the driver is just the idiot in the back of the boat trying not to screw it up! All credit for the win goes to Tom Murray, who is always there for me on Church Key, and to Ed and Becky Furry, whose support for our family program on and off the water has been truly a blessing. And without the joy of sailing against such a tight group of friends that is the J80 class, what would be the point?And, as always, my love and thanks to Liz, Riley, Madeline and Hadley, the 4 other women in my life…
See you on the water soon!!!