There will be fun sailing and friendly competition amongst the fleet of forty boats in the J/105, J/111, J/120, J/70 and J/24 classes. After a full day of racing on Saturday there will be the popular Mt. Gay Rum Party, buffet, a great dance band, and the crowd favorite, the annual J/Fest Raffle led by the always entertaining Master of Ceremonies-> Norman Davant. Sunday will provide more racing, followed by a regatta social and the prize-giving awards for those who survived Saturday evening!
The largest class will again be the highly popular J/105 SF Bay Fleet, with twenty-one teams headed to their crowded starting line. Many of the Bay’s leading teams will be on hand to see which skipper has the steadiest hand, the tactician that makes the least mistakes in the tricky Bay, and the crew that can handle getting in and out of the corners smooth and fast. Somewhere near the top of the leaderboard should be crews like Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION, Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE, Jeff Littfin’s MOJO, Phi Laby’s GODOT, Ryan Simmons’ BLACKHAWK, and Shannon Ryan & Rolf Kaiser’s DONKEY JACK. That’s not to say that some newcomers to the fleet, which are numerous this year, won’t find that magic combo of speed and smarts and blast onto the podium, much to the surprise of everyone!
The next biggest fleet happens to be the J/70 class, with seven boats from around the Bay. Hard to say what the form guide should be for this group as, again, there are Bay veterans and several newcomers to the fleet. Nevertheless, based on their top-of-the-line performance at the J/70 Worlds 2016 on the Bay, it may be Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER that will be angling for the top of the pack. They will be chased hard by Peter Cameron’s PRIME NUMBER, Geoff McDonald’s 1FA, Tom Thayer’s RAMPAGE, the Foox Family crew on FLOTEK, Tom Kassberg’s PICKLED HERRING, and Aya Yamanouchi’s BENNY (her first major regatta of the year).
The next three fleets have all fielded a quartet of entries. In the J/111s, the racing will be extremely tight, especially with Roland Vandermeer & Peter Wagner teamed together on BIG BLAST, chased by Dick Swanson’s BAD DOG, Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUBLE DIGIT, and Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS.
Similarly, the J/120s will either see a runaway or a complete game of chutes & ladders all weekend long- always hard to tell what form each team will bring to the table! So, easy to say that anyone can win in this class of veterans, such as Barry Lewis’ CHANCE, Steve Madeira’s MR MAGOO, Timo Bruck’s TWIST and Tom Grennan’s KOOKABURRA.
Finally, the J/24s are out and about having fun on SF Bay. Being the first J/Boat class in San Francisco 40 years ago, it’s amazing to see the class’ staying power, a tribute to the strength of the boat in the often brutal conditions they see in 20-30 kt winds, and the passionate owners who maintain them. Like their brothers in the 111s and 120s, just about all the teams have won something on the Bay. So, who’s got the “mojo” this weekend?? We’ll soon know! Those teams include Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS, Randy Rasicot’s FLIGHT, Val Lulevich’s SHUT UP & DRIVE, and Darren’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR. Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray/ Pressure-drop.us. For more J/Fest San Francisco sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.