Our Island Hopper Race was a complete success with 13 boats competing including 4 beach cats!! The after race BBQ at Elaine Eastern’s in Frank Bay was bigger than ever. Many club members came to enjoy the food and drink. Our own Jim Swan sailed to third place in racing class while Dave Dostal took second in the non-spinnaker class!!
Sunday the St John Yacht Club hosted the Dukes Trophy Race. Winds were light around 5-10 knots and the turnout was also a bit light due to a memorial service Brett Johnso, one of the St Thomas sailors. Still we had a fleet with four boats competing.
The race started at Two Brothers Rocks and the boats beat up to Johnsons Reef outer marker for a spinnaker set and run down the north side of the cays in light and sloppy conditions. Bill Mc Connel in One Love was first to round followed by JP Montagut in Boat Drinks then Mike Finley in Huron Girl and yours truly bringing up the rear in M.T. With the wind well into the north the boats were able to carry the chutes through middle passage something not normally possible in an easterly.
One Love lead up the next beat but the bottom three boats traded places with M.T. in second and Huron Girl third until the top mark where Boat Drinks once again squeaked out ahead with Huron Girl and M. T. close behind at the Rata Rocks rounding. With kites up again the battle for second continued as Huron Girl and One love gybed early and M.T. and One Love opted for a one gybe strategy. This paid off as M.T. was able to get an overlap on Boat Drinks at the Two Brothers rounding and just get by. Once again the Northerly winds allowed the boats to carry the chutes on an exciting spinnaker reach to the Stevens Cay rounding.
From there it was a fetch to the finish with One Love first M.T. second, Boat Drinks third and Huron Girl fourth. Awards and drinks followed at the Banana Deck.
Eleven boats showed up at a very windy start on Sunday steeling themselves for the ten mile beat to east end and the promise of an exciting down wind sleigh ride to the finish at Gallows Point. Three boats dropped out at or just after the start narrowing the fleet to nine. The fleet beat up the North Shore in sustained 20 knots of wind with higher gusts and current induced square waves in Sir Frances Drake Channel. The IC-24 fleet of five boats lead the way with Bill McConnell’s Roundabout and J.P. Montegut’s Boat Drinks swapping the lead in the narrows.
Jim Swan on Kate took a bold move sailing inside Whistling Cay through Funji Pass to look for flatter water and a little less wind in the lee of St John. I actually think the move worked for them as they were a bit light on crew and had great boat speed and were pointing like a tour guide in the flat water. Unfortunately their jib track began coming off the deck shortly after and hindered their tacking ability up the narrows.
Roundabout was the next boat to suffer damage and had to retire before the windward mark with mast problems. The downwind leg proved to be too windy for kites for most of the boats. Only Chuck Pessler on Desperado was able to carry on the reach from Leduc to Ram Head but they took down soon after Ram Head as boats were broaching in the larger seas in the clear of the BVI. We set ours on Osprey at Ram Head only to take it down within a mile when we just could not control the boat.
Once again the KATS IC-24 made us all proud completing the course safely with great speed! Quite an accomplishment considering two of the IC’s retired!!!!!!
Class A: 1st Poets Lounge 2nd Phgawee
Class B: 1st Desperado 2nd Boat Drinks 3rd Kate 4th Osprey 5th Fiona
The fleet of 10 boats, comprised of 5 from St John and 5 from St Thomas, started it light wind which then dropped to no wind prompting a shortened course. A southeastern fill brought the fleet home with our club member Joyce McKenzie on White Sails taking line honors and winning the beach cat class!! JP Montegut and crew on IC-24 Boat Drinks from St. Thomas Yacht Club came out on top with corrected time to win the event. Club members hosted a beach BBQ at Franks Bay immediately following the race which is sure to become an Island Hopper tradition thanks to master BBQ chef Vice Commodore Mike Feierabend.
The Dukes Trophy finally has a SJYC boat name on it. Jim Swan and crew sailed Kate to a one second win over two time trophy winner Chuck Pessler in the 2016 Dukes Trophy Race. The race was run in trying conditions in zero to ten knots of wind. Many of the fleet went from being hero’s to zero’s as the fickle winds of a weakening cold front sat over the islands on Sunday. In a bold move Jim opted to sail west toward St. Thomas in the latter stages of the twice shortened course and made up some losses they had in the earlier stages of the race. They then split with Desperado again going left towards Lind Point at the finish and with some great downwind crew work overtook Pessler at the finish in a fickle NE breeze.
Also participating in the spinnaker class was the KATS IC-24 Fiona with four of the KATS sailors aboard. A great accomplishment considering the kids had only sailed the boat twice before the race!!
Class A: 1st Phigawee
Class B: 1st Kate 2nd Desperado 3rd Boat Drinks 4th Fiona
Beach Cats: 1st Holmberg 2nd Attention