SAN DIEGO — After three days of a scoreboard order that wouldn’t budge, Jud Smith finally broke out of second place to win the 2015 Green Flash J/70 North American Championship held at San Diego Yacht Club, Sept. 23– 27.
With light winds and a 2 p.m. deadline for the final race start, Smith only had two races to shorten Doug Strebel’s 15-point lead. Winds blew at an average of 6-8 knots over the racing venue, set up just offshore from Coronado beach. The first race of the day was a four-leg course, with two upwind and two downwind sprints. Smith finished in ninth place, while Strebel fell to the second half of the fleet, finishing in 25th.
In addition to a major change on the scoreboard, Race 9 also had significant changes of its own. John Brigden was poised for a top finish after an early lead in the upwind leg, but ultimately fell behind and finished in 14th place. Shannon Bush and Thomas Bowen both conceded two places during the second two legs, finishing in sixth and fourth, respectively.
Joel Ronning won Race 9, followed by Jeff Brown in second place and Julian Fernandez Neckelmann in third.
Going into the final race of the regatta, a two-point spread separated Smith in first from Strebel in second. Since competitors were not eligible for any throw-out scores, every race counted towards the final showdown.
The final race of the regatta was a five-leg course with an upwind finish, whose original start was temporarily postponed to allow for consistent breezes to fill in.
By the time the fleet made it to the first upwind mark, Brad Rodi was leading the race with regatta leader Smith just four boats behind. Strebel was well behind the top third of the fleet during the second leg. He finished the race in 18th place, guaranteeing that Smith would take home the title
J/70 North American Championship – Open Class
1st Place: Jud Smith, Africa
2nd Place: Doug Strebel, Zounds powered by Black River Racing
3rd Place: Tim Healy, Helly Hansen
4th Place: Brad Rodi, Bl!ss
5th Place: John Brigden, Cool Story, Bro
J/70 North American Championship – Corinthian Class
1st Place: Chris Raab, Sugoi
2nd Place: Pat Toole, 3 Big Dogs
3rd Place: Steve Shaw, Smoking J
For more information, visit j70nac.com.