Rolex Big Boat Series 2011 - Sometimes things just happen to go your way. A few months ago, that wasn’t the case for Andy Costello and his crew on the J-125, Double Trouble. Having just started the Trans Pac in Division 4 the day before, DT had moved into seventh overall in the fleet in short order, and begun to crack off and plan away from the much large boats when things went south in a hurry.
With winds hitting 30 plus on Saturday’s "Big Blow" and a massive ebb flowing, Double Troubles pick up crew mad it look easy as they blasted across the Bay - Rolex Big Boat Series 2011
300nm from shore, the boat suddenly developed cracking noises and the rudder loaded up, followed by water in mild amounts seeping in. The starboard rudder support strut had pulled free and the load was now transferred to only the deck and hull. Andy was forced to make the gut wrenching decision to turn back to shore and abandon what might have been, the race of a lifetime.
Double Trouble, on the West Coast for its second tour of duty was purchased by Andy a few years ago and has done exceedingly well in offshore events. Prepping of boat and crew building had centered on that Transpac, and since then, things had gone quiet at Camp Costello. Keep in mind the J-125 doesn’t get very favorable rating in handicap around the can racing, but does magical thing in a breeze off wind, DT doesn’t compete in a lot of buoy races, but somehow things changed dramatically in the days leading up to the 2011 edition of Big Boat Series.
Now sporting a brand new Rolex after his last minute pick-up crew helped Double Trouble to a perfect seven bullets in the newly established Fast Forty division of the RBBS, we got Andy to give us the lowdown on how this instant campaign got off the ground and did so convincingly well!
PD: You managed to pull together an impressive crew on short notice with some big names, some who have sailed with you before and some not. Can you provide crew list, their jobs and prior DT experience?
AC : 'I was really not planning on BBS after our disappointment in the Transpac. In the end I really ended up doing it for a few reasons. One, the J125's came all the way from So Cal and Lake Tahoe, no easy feat and the St Francis Yacht Club had gone through the time to make a fair class we could compete in. I didn't think it would be fair for my
Jody had a few 18 foot skiff sailors form Auckland still in town . Nick Keatley and Josh McCormack, both are super rockstars. Extremely strong, light on their feet and killing it for the team and always with a smile!
'After our first tack at practice the Sunday before the Regatta I knew we would be a threat. These boys were tacking the 150 genoa like it was a freaking 95%. Will and I looked at each after that tack and were like 'Holy shit'! Matt Noble was also in town and is always on the top of my list when trying to get a crew together so I rang him up. I’ve always loved sailing with him and Trevor does too!'
'Matt and I sailed together in earlier days back when I had a Sydney 38 he helped me win a Santa Cruz open in 30 knots of breeze, something I hadn’t forgot. He has gone on to way bigger things as I’m sure you are aware (that’s why you don't see him a lot on DT) but was he was taking a much needed break from his schedule but was happy to join the team.
'Next on the list was Jonny Goldsberry, another guy I’ve sailed with over the years, including that same Santa Cruz open with Matt. I still remember handing this kid the wheel to my Sydney 38 with Jay Crum calling tactics in the final race of that regatta. We were one of the only Sydney 38's still on our feet and we had a couple clutch 30 knot jibes to the finish for the win, I knew I was going to wipe out and it was super gnarly but he pulled it off ! He also brought along his crew from their 49er campaign, Charlie Smyth. Charlie’s a total gentleman and super competent. Unfortunately, Jonny got really sick the day before BBS and was instructed by his doctor not to race, but enlisted Kevin Moon as his own replacement.'
'It worked out to be my Dream Team, I don’t think this will ever get topped for me.'
boat to sit by the way side as prepped out as she was to do well in Transpac and not at least give it a shot. I also thought Tim Fuller 'Resolute', Vigo 'Time Shaver', Richard Ferris 'August Ice' deserved the competition they came up for. Gilles Combrisson, owner of GC Marine put a lot of work into my boat prepping it for Transpac and he and I were especially bummed after putting a year’s worth of work into DT. He said 'Andy We should do BBS we need to try to end the season on a good note' That got my competitive juices flowing.'
'Then I got a call from Jody McCormack a few weeks before BBS asking me if I was going to be racing DT. She offered me any help prepping the boat and help putting a crew together and capped it off with 'It would be a blast.' My next call was to Trevor (Baylis) who I had to email as he was cruising with is family up in the Pacific Northwest . I wanted him to call tactics, however he replied 'How about I trim main and strategize and we ask my brother for the boat to boat stuff? '.
'Will was my next call: His reply was 'I’m IN'. Now I was getting super stoked.
Double Trouble leaving the fleet behind on Friday's Race - Rolex Big Boat Series 2011
Will Baylis Tactician: 'Brilliant and he makes what he does look way to easy' and we know it’s not!
Trevor Baylis: Main Trim and Strategist: 'Never satisfied with speed there is always another way to make the boat go faster.'
Matt Noble: Primary Trimmer Up wind and Down Wind. 'Super strong and super low key'
Josh McCormack: Off side Trim: 'Can tail like nobody else.'
Jody McCormack :Pit and Team Leader 'She kept the boys motivated and focused key to our success.'
Nick Keately: Mast: 'Rang the bell on every hoist.'
Gilles Combrisson: Mid Bow and boat prep: 'Our first day work list was long but it translated to upwind speed from day to on and he got it done.'
Charlie Smythe: Bow: 'Made not one mistake all regatta handled everything the after guard asked of him in crazy conditions with little time especially when your blasting into leeward marks at 20 knots.'
Kevin Moon: 'Floated as we needed more weight to keep up with the other 125's up wind, he is capable of way more but that’s what we needed and he got it done.'
Tommy Pastalka: 'His first BBS and was our squirrel and trimmed the stay sail down wind , his first BBS and seven bullets as his J105 ride bailed at the last minute. He told this will be hard to top.'
PD: A lot of 18' and skiff sailors in the group, how did the no fear factor play into pushing the boat in marginal conditions?
AC: 'There was no fear factor on our boat. Just focus. We pushed DT to her limits on every run. Two years of offshore experience and having Trevor Baylis to teach you where they are helps you learn to play drive the edge. In big breeze there are HUGE gains on the 125 if you can play that limit and succeed.'
PD: Most memorable moment(s) for you during the regatta?
AC: 1. 'The Teams focus dedication and each ones contribution to the win!'
2. 'The perfect set of conditions for a 125 breeze wise'
3. 'Looking forward to blasting by the competition on the runs'
4. 'Rounding the windward mark just behind the Far 400 hoisting and blasting by them on a plane and then holding them off for most of a 25 to 30 knot downwind run ( Farr 400 prepared or not, this was cool).'
A gaggle of 125's - Rolex Big Boat Series 2011
PD: You got the Baylis brothers together on the same boat, the 1st time we have seen that in quite some time...Did they get along? (tic)
AC: 'They got along great! It was seamless! Trevor would say 'What do you want to do Bro' ? They discuss the situation and then Trevor would give will input and Will would make the decision. Trevor and Will both know their strengths and rely upon each other’s best attributes. Trevor knows his downwind jibe angles from skiffs. Will knows his boat to boat tactics and they both see the Bay, in my opinion, like nobody else. It’s in their family genes..I can’t explain how good they are, as its on too many levels.'
PD: You had some disappointments earlier in the season including having to pull out of the Transpac, does this victory make up for some of that?
AC: 'No, the victory doesn’t make up for Transpac, which was always the goal. However the experience of sailing with this BBS team, building it on short notice, and succeeding as a team and learning from Trevor and Will during the series more than makes up for it!!!'
PD: The Fast 40' class seems like a great idea on paper, but for the most part ended up being the J-125 class drag race, where have all the other 125's been hiding?
AC: 'So Cal'
PD: Are they coming back for more?
AC:'I hope so'
PD: It would have been nice to see the J-111's on the course, and a little more practice time for the Farr 400, what's the talk on the dock for continued contest possibly involving these and other Fast 40's listed early in the promos?
AC: 'The talk on the dock from anyone who knows is Dee Smith’s team didn’t have enough time in the boat to win this class. There is no doubt the Farr has a ton of untapped potential and I’m sure the BBS results would be far different next year if they have a year to develop the boat and have a crew that was more familiar with the boat. It’s taken us 2 1/2 years to get DT up to speed. When we started racing her two years ago there were certain race boats we couldn't touch up wind, now they can’t touch us. It takes development and we’re always looking for ways to make the boat go faster. That’s not to say the J125 is not a weapon, she was way ahead of her time.She's not a Farr 400 but you can’t say she is not stiff competition 12 years after inception!'
PD: Other classes not in attendance you would like to see in the Fast 40’s?
AC: 'J-111's, The three carbon sprited turbo 1D35's '
PD: Plans for Double Trouble in the future?
AC: 'DT has some unfinished business with a race to Hawaii. Pac Cup 2012 is on the horizon!'
Editors Note: The next stop in the Fast 40’s West Coast Tour will be the Great Pumpkin Regatta held by the Richmond Yacht Club October 29 and 30. J-111 'Madmen' and SC 37,' Tiburon' are on the recruitment list!
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