by Mark Rivera
The Hillman Capital Management J/24 East Coast Championships hosted by the Severn Sailing Association (SSA) and Fleet 8 in Annapolis, MD is held in the fall around Halloween and has the reputation of providing big breezes with cool temperatures, three days of competitive racing, and a great party. The 34th edition of this fall classic however featured mild temperatures, a shifty breeze that ranged between only five and fifteen knots, and the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
11th Hour Racing - (Pictured from L-R: Mark Rivera – ECC Chair, Gordon Borges, Colin Loen, Geoff Becker, Tim Healy, Paul Abdullah) - 2012 HCM J24 East Coast Championship
With the final day of racing cancelled, the highly experienced SSA Race Committee successfully set off seven races, and it was enough to crown Tim Healy and his 11th Hour Racing crew as this year's J24 East Coast Champion. Having just placed second at this year's J/24 World Championships in Rochester, NY, the former World Champion quickly established his skillful management of the shifting conditions. Healy left no doubt as the top competitor of the event, having no finishes worse than fourth place in a fleet of 34 boats.
Once again, SSA was able to accommodate everyone even while undergoing a major renovation of the clubhouse. After each day of racing, sailors were met at the docks by fleet volunteers with smiling faces and trays full of Copperhead Ale and Bud Light. There was also an unlimited supply of Dark and Stormys at the tent party to satisfy even the thirstiest sailor.
The event also treated racers to a traditional Maryland crab soup and a fresh oyster bar, which featured the two-time U.S. National Oyster Shucking Champion, George 'The Oyster Guy' Hastings. Besides the epic games of flip cup and corn hole, the tent party was highlighted by the event raffle that gave away over 50 items and featured a new J/24 Quantum mainsail won by Peter Bream.
Plans are already under way for next year's event and it promises to be even bigger and better. Come on out if you've never been to the East Coast Championships or haven't been in a while. You won't want to miss out on one of the most premier sailing events on the East Coast.
Click here for full results
J24 East Coast Championship website