Jason Sutherland Leads E Scow National Championship

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11 September 2010

70 boats on the starting line for the 2010 National Championship regatta hosted by Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club. LEHYC hosts the National Champs every five years and this is their largest turnout ever.

On Thursday, The Grand Lake YC people showed up in style with their large enclosed trailer carrying 3 E-scow inside and one on the roof. On Friday Grand Lake skipper Jason Sutherland and crew, Jay O'Neal, Tom Coulthurst, and Jennie Coulthrust showed up with a little style of their own. In racing conditions that made consistency scarce, they had two 5th place finishes to lead the regatta after two races. Two other boats stayed in single digit finishes: Jeff Bonanni LE-73 and Peter Hurley MA-10.

The winds have been from the NW for the last couple of days. No boats went out to test the waters on Thursday when the winds were a good 20+ with gusts approaching 30 mph. The practice race was canceled. Very Late in the afternoon Jeff Bonanni and team did get a short sail after the winds had died down - he was itching to sail since he arrived a few days early to get in some practice and had been left high and dry because of extreme sailing conditions. While Jeff was out sailing most everyone else was putting the finishing touches on their boats - lots of boats turned on their side to get a coat of wax, a tuning guage or tape measure in the hand of every other person walking around. Lots of excitement and anticipation in the air with talk of strong winds continuing for the first day of racing.

An overcast Friday morning saw a lot of ac tivity early with sailors showing up at 7:00am for 9:30 harbor gun and a 10:30 warning signal. The wind looked good, not blowing the leaves off the trees, but a nice 15 mph range looked most likely, still from the NW. The NW winds can be very shifty especially when light - would that hold true with a bigger breeze?

At the skippers meeting they announced a 30 minute delay in the first start to give everyone time to get their boats in. The NW winds made it a little harder to get away from the two cranes lauching the boats, and took a little extra time. The line was set and high tide arrived about the same time as the first start, 11:05 AM. The current was still flowing however and the starboard line boat looked strange to us midwestern sailors as the stern was pointing into the wind with a tight anchor chain pulling off the bow. The current was eager to push everyone over the line early. Although many sailors were sure they were over at the first start, especially near the leeward end of the line, Bob Steven, the PRO, saw everyone neatly lined up down the line and the first race started as scheduled. The leeward end was favored, and those that were able to cross the fleet to get right were okay because there was a big right shift later in the leg. Most boats from the leeward end had to crawl back throughout the race. Bobby Koar BH-22 lead at the first mark with Chad Hillyer T17 in second followed by Paul Magno LA-88, Bill Nolden LA-11, and Jason Sutherland GL-31. It wasn't until the second downwind to the finish that the postions changed. All year Bobby Koar has been fast and able to easily stay in front, but Chad Hillyer got into more preasure and was able to slip past Bobby to win the race. The race lasted exactly an hour for the leaders. Because of the shifty winds, and velocity changes across the coarse, the fleet spread out enough for the RC to easily record the downwind finishes.

Race two was frustrating for RC and sailors. The shifts were larger and the velocity was up and down between 5-15 mph. The RC had a hard time anticipating the next shift and getting a good line at start time was a challenge. The first start most boats piled up at the windward end and pushed over early - general recall. After some delay for line adjustments the second start, I and Z flag flying, the boats again were to eager and pushed over at the leeward end of the line. The third start was clean and Peter Maas X-20 was glad it was, he led at the first mark followed by Sam Rogers M-42, Jack Lampman LE-8, Butch Leonard LE-5, Blain Unicume GL-0, Marc Feaster IH-22, and Justin Segersten H-38 in 7th. This was Justin's best mark rounding at a regatta. The wind dropped down in the middle of the race and then came up again near the end. Jason Sutherland was 11th and moved up each mark rounding and finish 5th. Robby Wilkins was 10th and he passed the most boats in the top group. Robby got into some pressure on the first downwind and moved into 3rd place. On the fifth leg to the finish Sam Rogers M-42, in the lead, was covering Peter Maas X-20. Robby Wilkins SC-27 still in third got some new pressure and shift that was enough to carry him over the line in 1st place. NCESA Commodore Art Brereton TO-101 was 4th, followed by Toby Sutherland GL-31.

Top Ten Results
1.) Jason Sutherland
2.) Jeffrey Bonanni
3.) Peter Hurley
4.) Peter Mass
5.) Sam Rogers
6.) Art Brereton
7.) Chad Hillyer
8.) Paul Magno
9.) Robby Wilkins
10.) John Brown 

Full Results