By Robyn Earley, J/Fest New England Publicity and
The third annual New England J/Fest Regatta was hosted by Sail Newport the weekend of August 9-11, 2019 in the beautiful waters of Narragansett Bay. This regatta was open to all J/Boat owners and crews in both racing and cruising classes. The one-design classes included both J/109s and J/80s, with an equally competitive PHRF class.
Narragansett Bay is considered a special “home waters” venue for the New England J/Fest as many of the sailboats were locally built at the former Tillotson-Pearson Incorporated, the former Pearson Composites LLC, US Watercraft, and CCF Composites. J/Boats are popular sailboats known for their quality design, construction and impressive performance over other boats of similar size. They have a strong following and very active class associations that include world champion sailors.
The host venue, Sail Newport, has an active racing program that includes a fleet of club owned J/22s and counts numerous J/Boat owners as many of their most active members. The racing and social events put on by Sail Newport were spectacular. Friday night’s weather and local tactical briefing were delivered by Quantum Sails’ Randy Shore. Racing the first day was up Narragansett Bay, where the winds supported four races for the J/109 class and three for all other competitors.
The second day of racing was in Rhode Island Sound where the AP flag was flown until the reliable sea breeze kicked in to allow two races. On Sunday, Matt Duggan, Regatta Manager at Sail Newport, strategically positioned the racers outside the harbor to be ready for a sea breeze when it filled. Matt reported, “Although it came in a little later than we hoped, we were able to get two races in with some of the best breeze we’ve had all summer.”
This year’s J/Fest Regatta included the J/109 East Coast Championship. Congratulations to Diana & Tom Sutton of Houston, TX and the Leading Edge crew for their win. The six-race series occurred over two days with Leading Edge having a commanding lead at 10 points, 8 points ahead of the second-place boat. Second place and the top Corinthian award went to Ted Herlihy and the Gut Feeling (South Dartmouth, MA) crew. The podium was rounded out with Brooke Mastrorio and the URSA crew (Mattapoisett, MA) only one point behind Gut Feeling.
The J/80 class was led by R80, owned by Marie & Will Crump/Thomas Klok (Annapolis, MD). There were six-point differences between the second and third finishers, Conor Hayes’ More Gostosa (Center Harbor, NH) and Jason Viseltear’s Upsetter (New York, NY). The diversity in the PHRF race made for an interesting and exciting mix of competitors. Incognito, a J/121 owned by Joe Brito (Newport), came out on top, followed by Jeff Johnstone’s J/99 Agent 99 (Newport) and Memory, a J/110 owned by Kevin Dakan (Warwick, RI).
This year’s event was made possible by the generous support of the sponsors including Quantum Sails, J/Boats, Pantaenius Insurance, Allen’s Wine and Spirits, East Coast Yacht Sales, EBCS Marine, Guardian Jet, Harken, The Hinckley Company, IYAC, Latitude Jamestown, Maine Beer Company, McMichael Yacht Brokers, MSI, Newport International Boat Show, Newport Dinner Cruises, Newport Living and Lifestyles, Oldport Marina, PhotoBoat, Rumson’s Rum, Sea and Land Services, The Ship’s Store, and Style Newport.
The J/Fest organizing team is already getting excited for next year’s J/Fest. More information about this year and future J/Fest New England Regattas can be found at jfestnewengland.com. Contact Regatta Organizer Tim Kohl at firstname.lastname@example.org. ■