J/109 E-News

Summer 2011

In This Issue
From the Prez
Block Island Race Week
Water Water Everywhere
North Americans Preview
Upcoming Regattas
From the Prez

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Fellow J109 Class Members,


Regatta Results, New Treasurer, Rules Changes Proposed

I hope all of you are having an enjoyable summer! We are about midway through the 2011 sailing season and I am encouraged by the activity and participation in various class events. Ten boats competed at the Annapolis NOOD in a tightly fought contest where Bill Sweetser's RUSH edged out Adrian Begley's MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN. We had 15 boats the J109 East Coast Championship at Block Island Race Week including a number of first time participants.The J109 fleet was the largest one design class at the regatta! A remarkable 14 J109s raced in the Chicago to Mackinac Race. And based on early indications, it appears we will have a strong turnout for the J109 North American Championship in Annapolis this October... Read President's Letter
Block Island Race Week a RUSH



RUSH enjoys a lead downwind. Photo courtesy of PhotoBoat


Bill Sweetser and his team on RUSH won the J/109 division at Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week. With a near record number of boats (15), the 109's were the largest one design class racing at this premier event.


"I'm not sure why we had such a strong turnout," Sweetser explained with a laugh. "We had a few new people, but mostly it was people we knew-they just all showed up together for a change."


Best of all, it was an organically grown fleet. "Nobody made a big deal of drumming up boats," Sweetser said. "It just happened from the ground up."


The around the buoys racing was mostly light air, which seems to favor RUSH. But they also won the Around the Island Race, a perennial favorite that had excellent conditions and the most breeze of the week. Sweetser and his team decided to try to be first around each mark in case the course was shortened, but the wind turned out to provide a fast trip around the island. "It's always a great race, but everyone really enjoyed it this year."


As for crew, Sweetser can't speak highly enough of the RUSH team. "We had three new people on the boat," he said. "I was a worried about whether we could integrate three newcomers at a big regatta, but they all worked out really well. The crew work couldn't have been any better."


This crowded mark rounding showed how tight the racing was. Photo courtesy of PhotoBoat


On board RUSH were Louie Palmer (main trimmer), Tom Babel (tactician), Susan Toth (pit/squirrel), Bob Forster (mast), Grady Byus (primary jib trimmer), Marty Fetsch (bow), Bobby Brooks (spin trimmer), and skipper Bill Sweetser.


"We have a set way of doing sets and douses," Sweetser explained. "And it's all written down, so everyone knows their job. We didn't have one spinnaker twist all week."


The second annual class party was also a big hit, and a large percentage of the J/109 teams were there. Hosted by Bob Schwartz of NORDLYS, several teams contributed salads, desserts, and grillables. "People came early and stayed late, so they must have been having a good time," Sweetser said.


Block Island Race Week Results

PhotoBoat has photos organized by boat name, so visit their site and check out your own team.


Water, Water, Everywhere

2011BIRWStormSTORM's speed was fine upwind. Photo courtesy PhotoBoat


It's the perfect regatta anxiety dream: what if just before the last day of a major event, you realized that all week long you'd been carrying an extra 418 pounds of non-moveable ballast?


That's just what happened to Class President Rick Lyall at Block Island Race Week this year. And in spite of the bitter taste left over from it all, he agreed to tell us how it all happened.


"The week started out great," he explained on the phone recently. "We had a new set of Quantum sails and some fine speed on the practice day. And on the first race day, STORM was second to the weather mark, so we were happy with our upwind speed at that point."


But downwind, they lost three boats. Disappointed, the team chalked it up to tactical mistakes and figured that would be their drop race.


And then the next day, it happened again. They rounded the first mark in 2nd, and finished 5th.


"I had all sorts of things to blame," Rick explained. "Tactics, current, the wrong side of the shift. And we were using different sails, so maybe we weren't tuned right. It never occurred to me to blame the boat."


After no wind or racing on day three, Thursday was the Round the Island race. Team STORM was called over the line, went back, and then rounded the first mark in 5th. "We passed a boat and ended up fourth, so we figured we were back in the game."


It wasn't until they were back at the dock, enjoying a post-race libation or two, that the watery facts were established. Glancing below, Rick saw one of his team rinsing his sunglasses using the sink faucet.


"I looked and him and asked, 'Why is there water coming out of the faucet?' I'd thought the tanks were empty."


They turned on the tap and let it run. Then they turned on the head sink tap, and that ran too. Twenty minutes later, the first tank was empty. Then they looked under the port settee and found that water tank was also full.


"It took forty minutes to get all the water out of the tanks. I looked up the capacity, and it's 50 gallons. 418 pounds."


A few targeted questions and the mystery was solved: the boat yard had filled the tanks when the boat was commissioned. Rick wonders now how many previous seasons he's unknowingly raced with full tanks.


"Friday we went out and won the first race, wire to wire," he said. "We had a second in the last race, and moved up to third overall. The boat felt totally different.  All I can say is that we will be lighter and faster in Annapolis for the J109 North Americans!"

Regatta Preview: North Americans
AYC Burgee The J/109 North Americans will be held October 12-16, 2011 at Annapolis Yacht Club, hosted by Fleet #4. The early registration deadline is September 1, 2011. Arrangements can be made to store boats in Annapolis for the winter, in prime position for the spring 2012 Annapolis NOOD.
This enewsletter was edited and produced for the J/109 Class Association by
Carol Newman Cronin of Live Wire.