Beverly Yacht Club Commodore Jack Gierhart (left) presented the perpetual J/80 North American Class Association trophy to Bill Marvel, Zander Gryska, 2018 champion skipper Chip Johns & Cam Tougas. Race PRO Sam Vineyard is at right
Chip Johns and his crew of Zander Gryska (mast), Cam Tougas (pit), and Bill Marvel (trimmer) dominated in 3 days of racing in windy conditions to win this year’s 2018 J/80 North American Championship, hosted by the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, Mass. The crew aboard 702 Cavitica, whose worst score in the 13 races held was a 4, got shot out of a cannon early to open the competition with two straight wins on the opening day of racing on Buzzards Bay and never looked back. Congratulations to team Cavitica on a fine performance!
Thursday evening at the skippers’ meeting before racing opened, Race PRO Sam Vineyard promised a brisk turn-around between races, for the 22 teams assembled, as a cold front with heavy rain and a lightning show outside the BYC clubhouse swept in a strong northeasterly breeze that would hold and build across the event. Vineyard was true to his word, getting off 5 races on day one in 13-knots and better; day two saw 15-plus knots with higher gusts in the often oscillating winds and washing machine-like chop; day three saw 15-20 knots under a low overcast cloud cover- all in unusual contrast to Buzzards Bay usual southwesterly thermal and wave set.
The conditions made the starts critical as those who got off with clear air got to choose when to tack on each shift while the boats in the second row looked to clear air but often got pin-balled by the lead group. Here again, Johns and his team were masters of the start with phenomenal acceleration off the line and going the right way. They seemed to tack on every shift and while they didn’t win every race, their 1,1,3,3,2,1,1,3,1,4,2,4 scores were enough to hold off Kevin Hayes & Jeff Kirchoff’s More Gostosa from fleet 1 on Lake Winnipisaukee, helmed by Conor Hayes, who finished in second overall, 11 points behind, and 2016 NA Champ John White on 1162, who finished 3rd, with 44 points.
Johns, a past Commodore at BYC, was instrumental in getting BYC to host the Championship this year. The fleet-12 Marion racers upheld the honor of the host club with an outstanding demonstration of winning starts, acelleration off the line, upwind boatspeed-keeping the boat flat in windy conditions, great tactics and sound boathandling.
The excellent all volunteer BYC committee provided housing for visiting teams and quick turn-around on launch and haul at Barden’s Boat Yard. While J/80 class president Ramzi Bannura oversaw the weigh-in and measurement supported by several independent ISAF measurers. BYC’s hot clam chowder, free beer, excellent food service, and inclusive dockage made a welcome and easy focus on the racing.
Full Official scoring can be found on Yachtscoring.com
Photographer Anne T. Converse has posted some pics on facebook HERE.
Day 2, Race 1 Cavitica horizons the fleet. Photo courtesy of Hew Russell
The start line with Gary Panariellero (Bow#7) who finished 4th overall getting the jump! photo courtesy of Hew Russell