John Mollicone of Newport, RI outlasted 45 other teams to become the J/24 Sea Bags North American Champion.With Tim Healy (tactics), Collin Leon (mast), Geoff Becker (trim) and Gordon Borges (bow), team Helly Hansen totaled 50 points in the 10-race series to narrowly edge out a charging Matias Seguel of Chile by two points. Nicolas Cubria of Argentina took Elvis to third place with 62 points.
Mollicone at 2013 J/24 North American Championship
'We did a really good job grinding back,' Mollicone shared. 'We found ourselves in a lot of tough spots but were able to slowly chip away and pass boats.' He gave the credit to his team’s boat handling, crew work and tactics, saying 'Everyone stayed really calm and cool, even if we were deep.' One such occasion was when they were OCS in a race, but still made the top 10. He added, 'Today, things weren’t looking good for a while, but we just kept our composure. A lot of that is all of us sailing together a lot.' Mollicone won the 2012 North American Championship last November with the same crew.
Hosted by Sail Newport and J/24 Fleet 50, the closing day dawned cool and overcast with light winds around six to eight knots, which dropped during the first race to about four knots by the time teams crossed the finish line. Conditions turned around by the next start as the clouds dissipated, the sun returned and the breeze increased to 8-10. For the first time during the event, the course was moved inside to the bay on Sunday. 'It was really tricky with lots of outgoing current,' Mollicone explained. 'The breeze was unstable so it was really difficult sailing. In the last beat of the last race, we went from mid-20s to what we thought for a while was top three. That’s how shifty it was!'
Local Will Welles on Cougar won his second race of the regatta in Sunday’s initial battle. Seguel’s Semi Pro took second, and another local—Bob Kinsman on Dogfish third. In the final race of the championship, Taylor Neff’s Bubbles, of Minnesota, claimed the top spot, followed by Canadian Michael Howarth’s Mister H and Seguel.
Mollicone praised the conditions during the four-day event, especially the three days on the outside course. 'That’s what Newport is known for—waves, solid breeze, southern direction.'
The top 10 are:
1. John Mollicone, USA (50 points)
2. Matias Seguel, CHI (52)
3. Nicolas Cubria, ARG (62)
4. Will Welles, USA (81)
5. Michael Marshall, USA (86)
6. Sergio Pendola, ARG (92)
7. Peter Bream, USA (98)
8. Shimoyama/Hillman, JPN (110)
9. Bob Kinsman, USA (116)
10. Kris Werner, USA (118)
Entrants from Japan, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Canada and the USA comprised the 46-boat fleet. Complete results of the race