International J/24 Class Association

Odenbach Wins 2011 North American Championship

August 22, 2011

By John Heseltine
For the J/24 North American Website

HALIFAX – The final day of the North American Championship again brought shifty light winds that tested the ability of all sailors to be consistent. It was probably even tougher than Friday, as a matter of fact. Once again new boats made appearances at the head of the fleet and the sailors who dominated previously struggled to figure out what was going on.

The strongest performer of the day was Travis Odenbach in Waterline Systems, who won the first race playing what appeared to me from my position on the sideline as one of two boats that didn’t make the first race start to be a strong lefthand shift as the wind moved from the west to the south. He was followed by Chris Jankowski in Street Legal and Will Welles in Carolina Girl.

The second race was a bit more complex as good shifts were identifiable to both the left and the right. I can`t provide too many details on this one because the Stix and Stones crew actually sailed and after rounding the windward mark roughly mid-fleet managed to pull up our spinnaker on the inside of our genoa, which gave us a very good look at the bottom end of the fleet a very distant view of the front. I did, however, see the Craig Noakes & Ian Dawson partnership in Lightning McQueen round the windward mark in first after, I believe, working the right. I also know Ted Bartlewski and crew in Drivers Wanted followed at that point in one of the first mark roundings at which two Canadian boats held the top two spots. They apparently held on through the balance of the race followed by Will Welles, who nabbed his second third of the day.

I can give a lot more detail on the final race of the day and the regatta. As I’ve mentioned, my skipper, Erik Koppernaes is a dyed in the wool contrarian. For the third race the bulk of the fleet (i.e., about 25 of 30) lit out for the left side no doubt considering the forecast that the wind would back. We, on the other hand, started by the Committee boat and quickly tacked with a small apology onto our friend Greg Blunden with whom we set out to the west with a couple of other stragglers. As it turned out, Erik was onto something as we watched the boats to the east fade and stall, as we picked up with Greg tucked below us. After Greg tacked to starboard, we waited a bit and tacked ourselves, skipping along just below the starboard tack layline with the entire fleet framed in our genoa window.

We rounded the windward mark in first with Greg on our tail and a good lead over the rest of the fleet. Our boat however is slow. Its a cottage boat that should be sold to a good family on Grand Lake so they can race it against the Tanzer 22s up there  (it is minimum weight and it has good sails but the bottom needs serious work to avoid being put out to pasture - Ed.). Our crew work also isn`t that smooth. It didn`t take Greg long to catch us after he executed a good gybe set at the offset. We were happy enough to settle for second through the gate in any case. In character, we went left after heading upwind while Greg again went right. We needed to clear our air but Erik also thought it was swinging east and his calculation didn`t appear to be wrong. There was good wind all the way, although Greg`s boat, Adrenaline Rush, did pull away on the right. As I mentioned, our boat is slow and we didn`t consider it to be any shame to lose one place upwind to Travis Odenbach.

The three of us held on downwind but wouldn`t you know the last race each day has five legs. The boat in fourth place as we headed upwind to the right was Will Welles who already had two threes on the day and appeared to have a strong interest in getting another. He worked us up the righthand side of the last windward leg as Adrenaline Rush sailed conservatively and very well to stay between Waterline Systems and the finish line. Greg ultimately finished with a comfortable lead over Travis Odenbach but Will Wells was more than we could handle, beating us with a lovely roll tack to the finish for his third consecutive third on the third day.

From the bigger and admittedly more relevant perspective of the overall regatta results, Odenbach’s pass on us to get into second was critical. The leader going into the last race was John Mollicone, who I have been identifying for two days as Tim Healy for the simple reason that Mr. Healy was the name on the registration form. Whether Mr. Mollicone or Mr. Healy is the current World Champion, I’m not clear, but their boat 11th Hour Racing is damned fast and they held a good lead going into the last day thanks to consistent sailing over the first two days as they managed to be in the top three in all six races.

Day three was, however, a bit rougher as they led off with a twelfth. A sixth in the final race, however, appeared to put them in the driver’s seat as they went into the last race needing only a ninth to retain the lead over Odenbach, who was the only boat within range of them. Unfortunately, as so often seems to happen, what had to happen was exactly what transpired. The 11th Hour team finished in eleventh with Carter While in AL and Chris Jankowski in Street Legal respectively occupying the ninth and tenth places that Mollicone needed to overtake Odenbach. I have no idea how close they all were but Ì’m guessing there wasn’t a lot of distance between them.

The results are preliminary as I`m wirting but first day leaders Mauricio Santa Cruz in Bruschetta held on for third through a tie breaker over Will Welles. The top Canadian was Ted Bartlewski in Drivers Wanted, who took fifth. Top Atlantic Canadian was Johnny Whynacht, who brought the crew of Sticky Fingers home in seventh.

See our Results page for the complete official results of the regatta.

(Courtesy of Lynn Gray, Ocean Media Design)

Pl Helm Boat Sail R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 Total Net
1 Travis Odenbach Waterlinesystems CAN-5256 7 RDG 3 7 1 5 6 1 5 2 37 30
2 John Mollicone 11th Hour Racing USA-5235 2 2 3 3 3 1 (12) 6 11 43 31
3 Mauricio Santa Cruz Bruschetta BRA-37 1 1 1 (11) 8 4 7 8 6 47 36
4 Will Welles Carolina Girl USA-5277 5 4 2 (20) 9 7 3 3 3 56 36
5 Ted Bartlewski Drivers Wanted CAN-1964 4 9 6 8 (24) 13 4 2 5 75 51
6 Chris Jankowski Street Legal USA-2918 12 31 BFD 4 5 12 2 2 10 13 91 60
7 John Whynacht Stickey Fingers CAN-2246 6 7 9 (17) 7 3 10 4 15 78 61
8 Thomas Barbeau NAVTECH.CA CAN-4260 7 11 10 4 1 (12) 6 12 (16 R10) 79 63
9 Tony Packet Bangor Packet USA-58 3 6 5 2 (26) 20 R10 5 7 16 90 64
10 Carter White AL USA-2785 8 31 BFD 8 13 13 5 9 9 9 105 74
11 Ian Dawson Lightning McQueen CAN-4013 10 10 18 6 10 11 11 1 18 95 77
12 Ted Murphy Juvenile Delinquent CAN-4013 9 11 R31 14 10 2 10 8 16 R31 (21) 101 80
13 Greg Blunden Adrenaline Rush CAN-4331 11 13 11 15 (27) 8 24 15 1 125 98
14 Lisa Ross SLAM CAN-543 16 5 12 (18) 16 18 13 17 7 122 104
15 Nick Hamblin Jammin CAN-42 14 20 R10 19 (21) 6 15 (23) 16 8 142 119
16 Ben Maloney Satisfied CAN-4025 31 R40 23 R10 13 (23) 11 9 16 19 (31 BFD) 161 130
17 Sean McDermott Swish CAN-3424 13 12 17 16 (22) 21 21 18 14 154 132
18 Andrew Rankin Samsquanch CAN-2108 15 16 21 9 19 16 18 23 R40 (31 BFD) 168 137
19 Erik Koppernaes Stix and Stones CAN-2113 18 15 28 R31 7 20 25 (31 dns) 28 4 176 145
20 Don Taylor SFPF USA-1036 31 R40 18 16 25 15 17 19 25 19 185 154
21 Kimberly Drisdelle Blackjack CAN-797 17 22 20 (27) 17 26 20 14 20 183 156
22 Mike Sascro Abracadabra CAN-3919 31 DNC 23 15 28 4 24 14 26 25 190 159
23 Brien Storey Storey CAN-2918 23 19 23 12 21 19 25 (31 R40) 24 197 166
24 Paul Anstey J-Peas USA-451 27 26 24 19 28 (29) 15 22 12 202 173
25 Joe Carter Durty Nelly CAN-2520 24 20 26 14 18 22 (31 dns) 20 31 DNF 206 175
26 Ross Romney Rush Hour CAN-3270 26 21 29 24 14 20 22 21 (31 BFD) 208 177
27 John McSheffery Out of the Blue CAN-236 20 24 22 (26) 25 23 26 23 23 212 186
28 Mattieu Belanger Joker CAN-2102 28 25 28 22 23 27 17 27 17 214 186
29 Guy O’Brien Sparwars CAN-3246 25 27 31 DNF 31 DNF 30 28 27 29 22 250 219
30 Sarah Boyne Turning for Turtles CAN-4101 21 31 DNF 27 29 29 30 28 30 26 251 220

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