Please select your home edition
Edition
Sea Sure 2021 - FLO - LEADERBOARD

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

by David Schmidt 15 Sep 2021 08:00 PDT September 18 and 19, 201
Racecourse action at the Jackrabbit J/22 Regatta © Image courtesy of the Jackrabbit J/22 Regatta

When it comes to keelboat simplicity, it's tough to beat the J/22, a design that Rod Johnstone lit with sense and color in 1983. While the J/22 wasn't the global sensation of its older sister, the J/24, or its much younger niece, the J/70, the 22-foot, family-oriented 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 on both saltwater and freshwater, and it regularly attracts strong sailors to a wide range of events.

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

I checked in with Michael Weber and Jeff Braddon, who serve as advisor emeritus and chair (respectively) of the 2021 Jackrabbit J/22 regatta, via email, to learn more about this One Design event.

Can you tell us about the regatta's history and culture?

The Jackrabbit was initially held in the mid 90s. The Canandaigua [J/22] 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 meant to be a fun time for all. We want sailors to come to Canandaigua and enjoy our beautiful Finger Lake.

What kind of entry numbers are you seeing this year? Also, how do these stack up to previous editions of the regatta?

With the pandemic still active we are hoping for 20-25 participants. Last year we did a racing day and picnic just for [our local] fleet. We have [been] drawing participants mostly from the Northeast [USA] and Canada. Some Ohio participants say that they have their best sailing of the year at Canandaigua.

We are hoping that the Canadian border will open as we have had a strong showing for them with skippers and crew who have participated in J/22 events in North America and Europe

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

Definitely. We typically have three to five boats form Canada. They usually win the Distance Travel Award each 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 Championship the week before our regatta and in hopes that some participants will join us.

What kinds of competitors does this regatta tend to attract? Also, where do these sailors tend to hail from?

Competition comes mainly from the Northeast, but we have many top sailors show up. [For example,] Travis Odenbach, Chris Doyle, Kevin Doyle, Mike Ingham, Michel Cimon, Ron Harris, Richard (Dick) Hallagan are among the many sailors who have attended.

Weather-wise, what kind of conditions can sailors expect to encounter on Canandaigua Lake in mid-to-late-September? Also, what are the best-case and worst-case weather scenarios?

We have held the regatta in the spring (mid-May) for many years. The conditions could be pretty much anything you might expect cold, warm, too much wind and not enough [breeze].

This year we are trying the early fall, which is beautiful in the Finger Lakes. The temperatures are typically mild during the day with lots of sunshine. Great for those that camp at the club. Winds will hopefully be in the 8-12 range.

Fall here is beautiful!

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

Come ready for great small lake racing. We typically have winds from the west, but they can be shifty.

If the winds are southerly, races tend to be longer and waves build the length (16 miles) of the lake. Water temperature is delightful so swimming is always an option if the winds die.

I know that it's still early days, but are your eying any perennial favorites for strong finishes? What about any dark horses?

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

As we do get some very good sailors, we have a Mid Fleet Award that is the best award presented, and there is always active completion for it. Much harder to figure out or plan to be there.

Can you tell us about any efforts that you and the other regatta organizers have made to try to lower the regatta's environmental footprint or otherwise green-up the regatta?

We run a pretty tight race with the committee boat parked at the start finish and two mark-set boats. Safety is our priority and we do not feel that fewer powerboats are a good move.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

All of our fleet has been actively involved to make the regatta fun for everyone attending and with lots of hands involved in the planning and execution we are shooting for Fun for All. If it looks like a J/22 you are welcome to come and play on beautiful Canandaigua Lake.

Related Articles

Todd Cox on the 2022 Dragon's Breath Regatta
An interview with Todd Cox on the 2022 Dragon's Breath Regatta I checked in with Todd Cox, race chair of the 2022 Dragon's Breath Regatta, via email, to learn more about this exciting handicap regatta. Posted on 5 Aug
Scott Walsh on the Double Damned 2022
Scott Walsh on the Double Damned 2022 I checked in with Scott Walsh, race director of the Double Damned 2022 regatta, via email, to learn more about this classic big-breeze One Design regatta. Posted on 3 Aug
Brian Lockwood on the Montana Cup Regatta
Not the first place that most people think of when the conversation turns to sailing I checked in with Brian Lockwood, vice commodore of racing at the North Flathead Yacht Club, which is hosting the 45th Annual Montana Cup Regatta, via email, to learn more about this exciting Rocky Mountain regatta. Posted on 2 Aug
Watching sailing's magic unfurl offshore
One of the greatest pleasures is to experience nature in all her moods and forms One of the greatest pleasures of offshore sailing is the chance to experience nature in all of her moods and forms. One particular evening stands out. Posted on 2 Aug
Captain Donald Lawson on his Dark Seas Project
We love fast boats and cool people at Sail-World We love fast boats and cool people at Sail-World, and while the French horde many of the coolest multis, a few make it to the USA. Such was the case when Donald Lawson acquired Defiant, his ORMA 60, a pedigreed trimaran that's ready to rewrite records. Posted on 1 Aug
Beginning a Winning
Could also have been winning from the beginning. So what does it all mean? Could also have been winning from the beginning. Either way I was able to seriously consider all that it takes to get into yachting, and the very essence of the difference between being a participant, and taking home the silverware. Posted on 31 Jul
One percenters
Exactly how big can the difference be with the fast displacement hull form? Throughout the course of the journey, we have been privileged to have great intel from Naval Architect, Pat Bray. Resident of British Columbia, Bray has brought to the table brilliant insight into passage making for large vessels. Posted on 27 Jul
Debi Schoenherr on the 2022 Ugotta Regatta
David Schmidt checks in with the regatta chair ahead of the 61st running of the event I checked in with Debi Schoenherr, regatta chair of the 61st Annual Ugotta Regatta and One Design Series, via email, to learn more about this classic Lake Michigan keelboat regatta. Posted on 27 Jul
Holly Paterson on the 2022 Camden Classic Cup
Holly Paterson on the 2022 Camden Classic Cup I checked in with Holly Paterson, event director of the 2022 Camden Classic Cup, via email, to learn more about this exciting classic- and modern-yacht regatta. Posted on 26 Jul
Through the eye of a needle
Adventure sailing at its best Saturday was a day which will live in the memories of many of the youth sailors at my home club of Keyhaven for a long time, for all the right reasons. Posted on 25 Jul
Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px3 BOTTOMMarine Resources 2022 Salary Survey FOOTERHyde Sails 2022 One Design FOOTER