Alec Cutler is New J/22 World Champion
Minnesota Local Terry Foster Places 10th
Alec Cutler of Annapolis, MD, was crowned the 2004 World Champion
after holding off reigning champ John den Engelsman of the
Netherlands by two points at the World Championship in Annapolis.
Cutler was joined by crew Paul Murphy and sailmaker Max Skelley.
The regatta boasted 130 boats, the largest fleet ever to
participate in a J/22 championship. The first two days of racing
served as a qualifying series, splitting the fleet into gold and
silver divisions. The three races in steady breeze on the opening
day proved to be the qualifying races after the wind fizzled out
on the second day.
Despite light and shifty conditions for the second half of the
regatta, the Race Committee was able to complete three races on
day three but had to abandon the second race on the final day due
to a 40-degree wind shift. Organizers eventually got off two
races to bring the series to eight, with a worst-race throw out.
Going into the final day, several teams were in the running for
the championship, including 2002 World Champion Terry Flynn.
After den Engelsman took a bullet in Friday’s first race, it
appeared that the champion would keep his title. But when Cutler
took a hefty lead on den Engelsman in the final race, the
champion retired from the race knowing that Cutler had secured
enough points to win.
"He thumped us good in the first race," Murphy said. "But we were
well ahead in the race that was abandoned, so we were feeling
confident in the conditions. We sail enough races, and we do it
for fun; we just like the game and the test of it. Alec was first
to pick up on a lot of the wind shifts out there."
Taking third overall was Dave Van Cleef and his crew, Will Welles,
Heather Ambrose and Emma Jones. “Going into the final day, we
knew we were quite a bit behind the first three boats, so our
plan was to go out and try to win a race,” said Van Cleef. “We
were leading through the first run, but we caught the wrong side
of a wind shift. Then in the last race, the conditions were so
U.S. Pan American Sailing Team veteran Henry Filter of
Stevensville climbed from seventh at the end of Thursday's racing
up to fourth, taking third in the final race. He had teamed up
with Rhode Island standout Moose McClintock and an old friend and
sailing partner, Greg Anthony. Filter and Anthony, winners of the
Sonar North Americans a few years back, also have sailed together
in the Melges 24 and Star classes, but Anthony had never sailed
on a J/22 until this month, and had never done bow on the boat
In the big fleets, crowded conditions often resulted in enormous
pinwheels of boats, often 10 or 12 deep, rounding the marks at
once. "What you try to do is see it setting up and try not to be
on the outside," said Annapolis sailmaker Matt Beck, whose team
finished seventh overall. "It was a tough couple of days for the
Race Committee, but Principal Race Officer Wayne Bretsch and the
committee did a great job moving the marks. It was a great
regatta, lots of fun."
Top Ten: 1. Alec Cutler (40 points)
2. John den Engelsman (42)
3. Dave Van Cleef (61)
4. Henry Filter (67)
5. Scott Nixon (74)
6. Greg Fisher (80)
7. Matt Beck (82)
8. Marvin Beckmann (95)
9. Terry Flynn (98)
10. Terry Foster (98)