Wind Wizards Leading Second Day of J/111 North American's
The second day of the International J/111 class's first North American Championships dawned with no breeze, a spectacularly sunny, cool day and lots of on-shore activity keeping the crews entertained. Why? Because Friday is practice day for the famous Chicago Air & Water Show that takes place Saturday and Sunday and attracts well over one million people to the spectacular Chicago waterfront to watch all sorts of insane human pyramids going six levels on water skis and innumerable aerobatics displays by fighter jets, bi-planes and simply crazy helicopter stunts doing barrel-rolls and inverted fly-overs!
With a harbor postponement that lasted until 12pm, the CYC PRO wisely waited for the classic summer sea-breeze to develop from the ESE. By 1300 hrs the first race was off in a building SE breeze of 5-6 kts. The wind shifted dramatically a number of times with breeze lanes forming in both corners of the course. As the breeze clocked further left to 115 degrees (a bit unusual, but not unlikely) the fleet was having to contend with dynamic fleet scenarios that saw many boats going deep into corners only never to be seen again. As a result, there were some substantial changes in the standings after the results of day two on the water.
Moving into first place by virtue of an outstanding day on the water was Richard Lehmann's "wind wizards" on the mighty WINDCZAR from Little Traverse YC in Harbor Springs, Michigan. Their 2-1-5 record was added to their 1-3 on day one to put them 8 pts clear in first place with 12 pts total. Having a less "smokin hot" day was Len Siegal's LUCKY DUBIE. While sailing a brilliant last race of the day, the first two races were simply forgettable. After posting a 9-7-1, the Lucky Dubsters dropped into second with 20 pts total. Third is now the famous red boat called MENTAL piloted by Paul Stahlberg and gang from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their very consistent 5-2-6 pulled them into third overall with 28 pts.
The forecast for Saturday's racing will be most interesting-- first because of Chicago's festivities. While the J/111 crews were on the water, the CYC PRO announced to everyone that Saturday's starting line would be at least 4 nm further east into Lake Michigan and, if we went far enough, might have to bring our passports for Canadian customs and immigration control! Just kidding. But, the simple reason for the announcement was that with a million people on the waterfront of Chicago and another quarter million party-crazy boaters watching the Chicago Air & Water Show from the water in all manners of floating things like inner tubes, kayaks, inflatable swimming pools, inflatable king-sized air-mattresses, a few million SeaRays and Bayliners plus 200 ft mega yachts and every in between, it was probably best to steer clear of them all!
With regards to the weather conditions, theoretically the forecast shows easterlies blowing on-shore in the morning at 4-7 kts, building and backing to the ENE by late afternoon. In short, local knowledge has clearly shown that it hasn't helped in the last two days. So, perhaps throwing all caution to the winds, we may see some locals simply hit the left corner hard to see if it pays off! One wonders.
The one interesting statistic that pops up again after the second day of racing is how close and how competitive the sailing has been amongst the fourteen boats. Now, ten of fourteen boats have posted finishes in the top five! That's simply unheard of in ANY one-design fleet. More fun and games for the crews tomorrow.