Hey Jude wins the Canadian Championship
2014 J/105 Canadian Championship: GAME ON!
The J/105 Canadian Championship was held on September 6th and 7th at RCYC. This traditional 3-day event was shortened to 2-days to respect the time requirements of the J/105 North Americans, also at RCYC, later in the month. The event attracted 21 teams and the entries included boats from the USA and Bermuda; teams were ramping up and it promised to be a warm-up for the North Americans.
On Saturday the teams were met with medium breeze from the west, which was forecast to shift to the north; to add to the fun there were patches of west to east current that made the laylines a bit of a challenge. Mandate jumped out of the blocks to take the first race, with Hey Jude following in second and Endeavour taking third. It became apparent that there was going to be “no love” on the start line for this event as there were a number of General Recalls and Black Flags the became a recurring theme. In races two and three, Mandate and Hey Jude traded firsts and seconds with Jamaica Me Crazy and Distant Passion (Bermuda) taking third respectively. On this day, teams were rewarded by getting off the line clean, and then helping the boat go upwind in the short chop. With a sudden drop in the breeze and then a hard shift to the north, the race committee wisely decided to call it a day. After three races, the top five consisted of Mandate (4 pts), Hey Jude (5 pts), Live Edge (13 pts), Forro (17 pts), and Jamaica (19 pts).
The crews enjoyed a fun social evening where the day’s challenges and opportunities were discussed. Topics like: how to keep the boat powered up in short chop, or how to get a handle on the current and local knowledge, for the visitors, were discussed. It was apparent in Saturday’s informal debrief that the key asset of Toronto’s J/105 Fleet is its willingness to share knowledge.
The schedule planned for an earlier start on Sunday, and the teams were hoping to get one good race in during the dying northerly before the afternoon’s uncertainty. The first race was a tedious affair and crews were rewarded by keeping the boat going fast through the water at all times; being caught downspeed was a killer. There was a familiar outcome in this race with Hey Jude taking the gun, and Mandate finishing a close second; Endeavour was an even closer third to Mandate. The second race of the day proved pivotal; it was really difficult to figure out what, if anything, the wind would do and it became a choice of whether the remaining gradient would prevail, or whether the seabreeze would come in this late in the day. Hey Jude placed their bets on the seabreeze and it payed off for a first, with Jamaica and Usual Suspects not far behind.
There was time for a sixth race and Hey Jude just needed keep it clean to take the Canadian title; easier said than done in a quality fleet with no drop races. A shaky first-beat saw Hey Jude round the weather mark deep in the fleet; while Mandate was out to a commanding lead with Jamaica close behind. Hey Jude was able to leverage boatspeed and boathandling to be upwardly mobile and take a 3rd in that race and clinch the regatta. Mandate claimed second, while Forro took third with Jamaica forth, and Endeavour fifth.
What became clearly apparent was the competitiveness of the local fleet and the learning curve of the visiting boats as they prepared for the North Americans. Local boats like Forro, Jamaica, Endeavour, Live Edge, and Tusk all showed that they were ready to roll. Visiting boats like Distant Passion (Bermuda), Ali Cat (California), and Good Lookin (Michigan) gave notice that they were getting a handle on the local conditions were going to be a force in the NAs. Many thanks to Doug Bullock and his team of volunteers for this prelude to the 2014 J/105 North Americans at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto.
Written by Scott Collinson - Hey Jude
1st place: Hey Jude
2nd place: Mandate
3rd place: Forro