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Round The County Race at Orcas Island Yacht Club

by J/Boats 16 Nov 2018 13:56 PST
Round The County Race © Sean Trew

117 boats signed up for the 2018 running of everyone's favorite "welcome to winter" race in the Pacific Northwest, the Round the County, hosted by the Orcas Island Yacht Club and the Friday Harbor Sailing Club.

The forecast for the Islands turned out to be reasonably accurate. For Saturday, it was East winds five to 15 knots becoming NE in the afternoon. Then, on Sunday, the wind shifted into the North and was about 8-10 kts and relatively flat waters.

Furthermore, the currents didn't look to be too strong compared to previous years, but it was a factor for Saturday's racing; the bigger boats could get through Haro Straits at the halfway point before it started ebbing against the rest of the fleet. Then, on Sunday the currents lined up well with the northerly winds.

Class five had two of the classic J/performance cruisers, the J/30. Jim Bottles Celebration and Theo Singelis' TAKU were among the fastest rated boats in their class. As it turned out, they had their work cut out for them going up against a gaggle of Santa Cruz 27's and the world's fastest Catalina 36. In the end, only Bottles' Celebration cracked the top five, going home with a fourth place flag.

The only J/crew in Class four was one of Seattle's best-sailed boats, Pat Denny's J/29 Here & Now (a.k.a. known by locals as "beer and now!"). As they have done so many times before, they crushed Saturday's race with a 15+ minute corrected time win. Then, hung tough on Sunday to take a comfortable win over their class of fifteen boats.

Class three had a plethora of J/crews, four J/105's, a J/40, a J/33 and a J/88. Taking third was Phoenix's J/105 Jaded, they were followed by Powell's J/33 Keet in fourth, Hayward and Townrow's J/105 Kinetic in fifth, White's J/88 Bon Bini in sixth, Le Moule and Pace's J/105 Liftoff in eighth, and Gardner-Brown's J/105 Dulcinea in tenth, a good showing for the crews taking six of the top ten.

Class two had a good group of J's, with one J/40 and four of the classic J/35's. In the end, Stenwick's J/35 The Boss was the only one to make the podium, capturing the bronze. Only Murphy's J/40 Semper Quarens managed to crack the top ten, taking eighth in a tightly-fought class.

Class one had ten J/Teams! Yes, ten classy performance cruisers carrying full interiors all the way around the course against Flying Tigers and Farr 30's along with some other big performance cruisers. Six J/109's and four J/120's were up against some great boats and sailors. Despite the shifty, lighter conditions favoring the stripped out ultra-lights, Petersen's J/109 Legacy sailed well to take the bronze on the podium. Then, Halliday's J/120 Heron 2 took fifth in the closely-fought class.

Class Zero went all the way from the slowest rated boat, Welch's J/111 Recon, to the beautiful J/122 Grace sailed by the Mack family, to the fastest boat in the fleet, the amazing performance cruiser that is Fox and McPhail's J/160 JAM. In the end, it was the slowest-rated boat that won, Welch's J/111 Recon; they were followed by the Mack's J/122 Grace in sixth.

In the ORC Class, Tenneson's J/145 Jedi and Andrew's J/125 Hamachi were up against some amazingly advanced designs along with three TP52's and an RP55. Nevertheless, the J/125 Hamachi found the conditions to their liking and took the class win, while the J/145 Jedi managed a fifth place. A great outcome for all in the J/Tribe!!

For more Round the County Race sailing information, visit

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