Please select your home edition
C-Tech 2020 Battens 2 728x90 TOP

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

by David Schmidt 15 Sep 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

A Q&A with Mark Wheeler on the 2021 J/111 Worlds
An interview with Mark Wheeler on the 2021 J/111 Worlds Sail-World checked in with Mark Wheeler, regatta chairman of the 2021 J/111 Worlds, via email, to learn more about this One Design championship. Posted on 14 Oct
Spain SailGP debriefing, U.S. Youth Championship
Latest newsletter from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA While early October is always a great time for racing in North America, last week's sailing news cycle was dominated by the Spain SailGP event, which unfurled off Cadiz, Spain, on the country's southwest coast. Posted on 12 Oct
Jumbos rule
B&G gave us Nemesis, and this was a pretty cool piece of kit indeed. Not all the world's jumbos got retired and parked in the Arizona desert at the beginning of 2020. Boeing's venerable bus had served us all - so, so well… Later on that same year, B&G, gave us Nemesis, and this was a pretty cool piece of kit indeed. Posted on 10 Oct
Nancy Pearson and Buttons Padin on the Viper640 NA
David Schmidt checks in with the event co-chair and class administrator Sail-World checked in with Nancy Pearson and Ed “Buttons” Padin, event co-chair of the 2021 Viper 640 North American Championship and Viper 640 Class Administrator (respectively), via email, to learn more about this One Design regatta. Posted on 5 Oct
What's happening in America's Cup land?
Like it or not, it is the pinnacle event in yachting A lot is written about the America's Cup, and a huge amount of it is speculation. Like it or not, it is the pinnacle event in yachting, and for those who try to win it, it becomes an all-consuming obsession. Posted on 4 Oct
Hinman Trophy, offshore sailing, and Mini Transat
Summer may have handed the baton off to autumn, but the sailing scene hasn't been cooling off Summer may have handed the baton off to autumn, but that certainly doesn't mean that the sailing scene has been cooling off in North America, at least not yet. This past weekend gave the sailing world multiple great events to follow and participate in. Posted on 28 Sep
Hooray for the hundredth!
Here is our card to the J/99, which will soon enough have 100 vessels sailing all around the world. Now if you're a British subject that means you get a letter from HRH QEII. If you're French, maybe you get one from President Macron. Certainly POTUS does to US citizens. Posted on 26 Sep
James Keen on the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge
An interview with James Keen on the 2021 Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge I checked in with James Keen, chairman of the 2021 Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge, via email, to learn more about this exciting regatta. Posted on 23 Sep
Square peg, round hole. Round peg, square hole.
One thing is pretty clear with fluid dynamics. Smooth and flowing wins the day. If you think about fluid dynamics for just a second, one thing is pretty clear. Smooth and flowing wins the day. Posted on 23 Sep
Mixing it up
A few sailing events which are a bit 'out of the norm' As we head towards the end of September, I've been thinking about which events, and days out sailing, have been the most fun this year. There are a few to choose from, and overall it's been a good year for time on the water. Posted on 21 Sep
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERDoyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 BOTTOMNorth Sails 2021 FOOTER