Two weeks after winning the East Coast Championships, Stephen Tedeschi’s TASTES LIKE CHICKEN did it again with a consistent string of eight top-four finishes to win tghe J/109 division and also to be awarded a Rolex watch for the best overall performance amongst the one design classes. “I am very flattered that the race committee and Storm Trysail Club recognized the J/109 class in such a manner. It speaks a great deal to the current strength of competition in the class.”
The principal race officer, Butch Ulmer, had his hands full with the two largest classes; the J/109s and J/105s. “The race committee was on their A game all week. Great courses, on top of all the wind shifts, and alert with calling starts. It really shows when you have someone like Ulmer’s experience on the Race Committee” said Tedeschi. The eighteen J/109’s descended on the small island off the coast of Rhode Island to compete in the Summer’s most prestigious regatta hosted bi-annually by the Storm Trysail Club. Just two weeks after 17 boats competed for the East Coast Championships the J/109 fleet was prepared for some very competitive racing. At least four previous Block Island champions were on hand to try and repeat a previous performance and the fleet was laced with National and World champions from other one design classes. Last years winner, Ted Herlihy with his veteran crew on board GUT FEELING, sorely missed their secret weapon, Andy Herlihy, who was not available for the entire regatta.
Rick Lyall sailed a great regatta with his colorful STORM, posting three first place finishes, including a win in the Around Block Island Race. STORM had finished second in the last two big regattas of the season, (East Coast Championships and AYC Spring Series) and was looking to get over the hump and return to their winning ways but two finishes out of the top five led them to fighting for second place in the last day after TASTES LIKE CHICKEN had locked up the series with a 1,2 on Thursday and with a throw out.
There were plenty of fireworks on the last day; the battle for second was tight. After eight races only ten points separated second through fifth places, STORM with 20, JIBBER JABBER 22, GOSSIP with 26, and both GUT FEELING and MISCHIEF with 30 points, and within striking distance was the IRC East Coast Champion RUSH from Annapolis with 35 points to make a bid to move up.
At the end of the day it was STORM who stepped up to defend their two point lead over JIBBER JABBER and won the last race to maintain second place. GOSSIP who was neck and neck with STORM around the course in the last race, moved ahead of JIBBER JABBER in the standings with a second place to take third overall. JIBBER JABBER had a run of bad luck in Block Island, leading the regatta after race five, and then had some bad breaks out on the course in races 6, 7, and 8, the night before the last race their tactician had a bicycle accident while riding back to the house. With another eighth place in the last race, they lost their four point lead over GOSSIP to end up with a very respectable fourth.
Elsewhere on the course the defending champion GUT FEELING was locked in a battle with MISCHIEF in a tie for fifth after eight races. GUT FEELING won in a closely matched last leg, leaving Mike Brown and his crew on MISCHIEF with a sixth overall after sailing a very impressive regatta with their first four race all in the top five.
Next years event will be run by Ted and Skip Zuse as they have in the past in the STC off years. Most J/109s asked if they would return for next year said most definitely.
1. Tastes Like Chicken, Stephen Tedeschi, 18
2. Storm, Rick Lyall, 21
3. Gossip, Steve Kenny & Greg Ames, 28
4. Jibber Jabber, David Jannetti, 30
5. Gut Feeling, Ted Herlihy, 33
6. Mischief, Mike Brown, 34
7. Rush, Bill Sweetser, 45
8. Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Adrian Begley, 46
9. offBEAT, Doug Hannah, 48
10. Caminos, D. & N. Filippelli, 59
11. Rogue, Edward Dole, 80
12. Rocky Racer, Milt Gottschalk, 83
13. Warrior2, Tom Burrows, 93
14. Melody, Alan Tannous, 96
15. Shearwater, Hugh McLean, 96
16. Ceol na Mara, David Frizell, 99
17. Navicular, Douglas Wisch, 107
18. Sanibel, Gerry Keeler, 115