The J-Fest Regatta is always one of the highlights of J105 Fleet One's championship season. Not only does the St Francis Yacht Club provide excellent race management, but the party, hosted by Norman Davant from Sail California, has developed a powerful reputation for good times, great live music and sponsored libations (Mount Gay Rum and Mount Beautiful Winery). Norman presides as ring-master for a highly entertaining and boistrous raffle, sponsored this year by Svendsens, Trident Funding, West Marine, Cameron International, Doyle, Hall Spars, Seashine, B&G, North, JBoats, Quantum, and Interlux.
The J105s fielded an impressve 20 boat fleet for 5 races over 2 days in the usual windward-leeward format. Conditions were clear and sunny with 12 to 18 kts of cool breeze from a slightly more Southerly direction than is typical for the City Front course. With a well established and strong ebb running both days, the obvious imperative after each start was to find a clear port tack lane back out to the stronger current and breeze in the Central Bay. Starting well was particularly critical to snagging a premium lane, with the tactical benefit at the boat end offset by a slight bias in favor of the pin. Downwind legs also presented choices, with some boats preferring the northerly, more direct VMG course in breeze, but adverse current, while others chose a fast mode to the beach and ebb relief.
Mojo took the first race, and the subsequent bullets went to Godot and the Arbitrage team sailing the borrowed Joyride hull while their boat awaits repairs. Donkey and Risk also showed good results and Blackhawk returned to form with a bullet in Race 4. As racing ended it looked like Mojo's regatta with Godot also placing well, however, a start line altercation between the two boats in race 4 spawned a protest. When the dust cleared late on Sunday evening, the jury handed down a mutual-fratricide-by-protest ruling and both were DSQ'ed - Godot for rule 11 and Mojo for rule 14. Donkey Jack's bullet in the final race allowed them to inherit an impressive debut victory for their new stick. Team Donkey was followed in the winner's circle by a very consistent Risk, the well-sailed Advantage3, Blackhawk and excellent performance by Alchemy, taking 5th overall.
Kattack replays are available here. Don't forget to sign up for Vallejo on May 4 & 5 and for the upcoming Aldo Alessio Regatta (J105's skip Friday's distance race and participate in buoy races on Saturday and Sunday).