Interview with Michael Weber and Jeff Braddon on the 2021 Jackrabbit J / 22 regatta

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Interview with Michael Weber and Jeff Braddon on the 2021 Jackrabbit J / 22 regatta

by David Schmidt Sep 15 03:00 PM UTC
September 18 and 19, 201

Action on the racetrack during the J / 22 Jackrabbit Regatta © Image courtesy of the J / 22 Jackrabbit Regatta

When it comes to keelboat simplicity, it’s hard to beat the J / 22, a design Rod Johnstone illuminated with meaning and color in 1983. While the J / 22 was not its sister’s overall feel. eldest, the J / 24, or its much younger niece, the J / 70, the 22-foot family keelboat is actively sailed in some eighteen countries. To date, some 1,650 J / 22s have been built, and the design was used as the platform of choice for the International Women’s Keelboat Championship from 1991 to 2011.

Today, the now classic design is widely raced in both saltwater and freshwater, and it regularly draws strong sailors to a wide range of events.

One such freshwater regatta is the 2021 Jackrabbit J / 22 Regatta, which will take place on the waters of Lake Canandaigua and will be hosted by the Canandaigua Yacht Club in Canandaigua, New York on September 18-19.

I inquired with Michael Weber and Jeff Braddon, who are Advisors Emeritus and President (respectively) of the 2021 Jackrabbit J / 22 Regatta, via email, to learn more about this One Design event.

Can you tell us about the history and culture of the regatta?

The Jackrabbit first took place in the mid-90s. The Canandaigua [J/22] The fleet was newly formed and we had half a dozen boats at the club.

Over the years, our fleet has grown to 17 boats. The regatta is intended to be a moment of pleasure for all. We want sailors to come to Canandaigua and enjoy our beautiful Finger Lake.

What kind of entry numbers do you see this year? Also, how do they compare to previous editions of the regatta?

With the pandemic still active, we expect 20-25 participants. Last year we had a day of running and a picnic just to [our local] fleet. We have [been] attracting participants mainly from the northeast [USA] and Canadian. Some attendees from Ohio say they have their best boating of the year in Canandaigua.

We hope that the Canadian border will open because we had a good performance for them with skippers and crews who participated in the J / 22 events in North America and Europe.

Given Canandaigua’s proximity to Canada, has the border situation cast shadows on your entry list?

Absoutely. We usually have three to five ships from Canada. They typically win the Distance Travel Award every year.

We are in close contact with our Canadian friends, and [we’re] Hoping [that] things will open up.

[Our friends at the Hudson Yacht Club in Canada] are hosting the Canadian Championships the week before our regatta and in the hope that some participants will join us.

What types of competitors does this regatta tend to attract? And where do these sailors come from?

The competition is mostly coming from the North East, but we have a lot of top level sailors coming forward. [For example,] Travis Odenbach, Chris Doyle, Kevin Doyle, Mike Ingham, Michel Cimon, Ron Harris, Richard (Dick) Hallagan are among the many sailors present.

In terms of weather, what conditions can sailors expect on Lake Canandaigua from mid-September to the end? Additionally, what are the most optimistic and the most pessimistic weather scenarios?

We have been organizing the regatta in the spring (mid-May) for many years. Conditions could be just about anything you can expect cold, hot, too much wind and not enough [breeze].

This year we are trying early fall which is beautiful in the Finger Lakes. Temperatures are generally mild during the day with lots of sunshine. Ideal for those camping at the club. The winds will hopefully be in the range of 8-12.

Autumn here is beautiful!

If you could give one piece of advice to visiting (and local) teams, what would it be?

Get ready for some great little lake races. We usually have westerly winds, but they can be unstable.

If the winds are southerly, the races tend to be longer and the waves extend the length (16 miles) of the lake. The water temperature is delicious, so swimming is always an option if the winds die off.

I know it’s still early days, but do you envision some perennial favorites for solid finishes? And the black horses?

Dick Hallagan is usually up there. Travis Odenbach and his team are serious competition for everyone. Cory and Mark Sertl, if they show up, are a threat.

As we receive very good sailors, we have a Mid Fleet Award which is the best price presented, and there is always an active completion for that. Much harder to understand or predict to be there.

Can you tell us about the efforts that you and the other regatta organizers have made to try to reduce the environmental footprint of the regatta or to make the regatta greener?

We had a fairly close race with the committee boat parked at the start and two boats marked. Safety is our priority and we don’t think fewer powerboats is a good thing.

Is there anything else you would like to add for the record?

Our entire fleet has been actively involved in making the regatta fun for all involved and with many hands involved in the planning and execution we are shooting for Fun for All. If that sounds like a J / 22, you are welcome to come and play on beautiful Lake Canandaigua.


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