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J/111 World Championship at Hampton Yacht Club - Preview

by J/Boats 14 Oct 15:15 BST 18-24 October 2021
J/111 World Championship © Paul Wyeth

The 2021 edition of the J/111 World Championship will be hosted by Hampton Yacht Club at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay off Hampton, Virginia.

Eight top-level teams will be participating, including Peter Wagner's J/111 World Championship crew on Skeleton Key from San Francisco, CA.

The regatta is scheduled to take place from October 18th to 24th, with racing beginning on Thursday, October 21st. Up to three races a day may be sailed over the four-day series.

To say the field of competitors is loaded would be a mild understatement. Virtually every boat has a world-class team, and a number of famous tacticians will be present. For example, sailing with Andrew and Sedgwick Ward will be multiple World Champion Bill Hardesty from San Diego, CA. Then, aboard Rod Jabin's Ramrod team will be another multiple World Champion, Chris Larson. And the list goes on... to be sure none of the eight teams participating will be lacking for great teamwork and solid tactics and strategy.

The "hot money" may be on Jabin's Ramrod, having won several regattas this summer and, most recently, a strong, decisive win in the recent Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge Regatta last weekend on local Chesapeake Bay waters. Ramrod was up against Wagner's Skeleton Key as well as two other strong local teams with lots of silverware spilling off their trophy room shelves; Marty Roesch's Velocity and Ian Hill's Sitella.

Joining these top crews will be two winning Long Island Sound boats, the Ward's Bravo and Bill and Jackie Baxter's Fireball from Riverside Yacht Club. The Fireball crew are Long Island Sound champions two years in a row and have won Block Island Race Week twice on their J/111, yet another "family" crew that compete at high levels.

Interestingly, there are two very talented teams from Cleveland, Ohio that will be giving everyone a serious "run-for-the-money" in virtually any weather condition. Past Key West Race Week Champion Rob Ruhlman's Spaceman Spiff is a known well-oiled, well-sailed family program that can win anywhere. In recent years, Jeff Davis' Shamrock team have also proven themselves, having won the Verve Cup and the Chicago NOOD J/111 class with relative ease against the famously strong J/111 Chicago fleet.

As media pundits have said in the past, with seemingly equally strong programs across the board, "pull up your chairs, grab your beer and bucket of popcorn" and watch this space. Handicapping this group of eight boats would drive any Las Vegas bookmaker crazy... as it's nearly impossible odds to consider. What is certain is that it will be tight, very competitive sailing where one foot gained here and there, as in a college sailing, will make a big difference in the ultimate outcome.

Event website

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