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Texan Caldwell triumphs at J/22 Jamin Jamaica Carnival Edition

by J/Boats 8 Jan 14:23 PST December 3-5, 2021
Jamin Jamaica J/22 Regatta © Jamin Jamaica J / 22 Regatta

As is customary in Jamaica around early December, we had some incredible weather for the 2021 Jammin Jamaica- Carnival Edition, sailed on the Montego Bay Yacht Club's fleet of one-design J/22 sailboats. Great wind, bright sunshine, and crystal-clear waters! A couple of boats even saw a pod of dolphins during the windward leg of our Day 2 racing.

Jamin was poised to be back to "normal" this year with lots of international teams showing interest. But, due to Covid scares, we had a few last-minute dropouts. More importantly, they have all opted to come in 2022, so keep an eye out for that NOR around Spring 2022. In the end, there were seven boats on the line: one foreign team (Houston, Texas), two from Kingston's Royal Jamaica Yacht Club, and four from the Montego Bay Yacht Club (MBYC).

The local class rules require 705 lbs as the class minimum weight limit and that extra 100 lbs goes a long way in the 18+knots of breeze experienced on Mo'Bay.

The competition throughout the weekend was competitive and Corinthian, only a couple of protest flags were seen, and no official protests were lodged as the penalties were settled on the water.

Thursday, after the boats were launched, teams got some much-needed practice time. Then, everyone looked forward to the lovely welcome cocktail hosted by the MBYC.

Day 1- A Gorgeous Opening Day

There was lots of excitement in the air on Friday morning as the J/22 teams met for the official skippers briefing. The three-day series was forecasted to be an eight-race series, with one toss out, so the best 7 scores would be tallied.

As the racers got onto the race track in Mo'Bay, they saw good winds. Everyone was getting into the groove and figuring out their rhythm.

Fast out of the blocks on the first day was Steven "Cookie" Cook's Geronimo with a blistering 1-1-2 scoreline. Close behind him was that "foreigner" Texan team- Walter Caldwell from Galveston Bay Cruising Association.

While there was nothing official on the agenda for Friday Evening, the teams did a "link-up and drink-up" with a dozen souls on board the J/22 Defender to observe an incredible sunset (floatin' a wee-bit low on that waterline, eh?).

Day 2- Breezy, FUN Day

Much to the delight of all sailors, the second day was full of strong winds and wonderful course selections by Race Office, Robin DeLisser.

In the end, Caldwell's Texan crew on Defender lived up to her name and capitalized with three top-place finishes (all bullets) garnering a shocking score of 3 on the day. Cooke's Geronimo crew took second with 8 points, followed by Mike Morse's Ayahso.

The evening's festivities were a "soca-style" Carnival Party. And, much like on the water, the Texans brought the ruckus!! Below is them in costume with Jamin Chair and MBYC Vice Commodore, Spencer May.

Day 3- Flukey Shifty Finale

Unlike the first two days, the finale was quite a doozie. Flukey winds in the first race accounted for a fascinating race course, with some boats heading out to sea seeking stronger winds, while others hugged the coastline, hoping for a more direct line between marks.

In the end, Race 1 boiled down to Geronimo, Renegade, and Defender coming in 1, 2, 3. This meant the last race would be vital to the outcome of the series and in true Jamaica fashion, we made it lots of fun.

The final race was a traditional upwind/downwind course with 3 separate upwind marks, all varying distances from the start and slightly different angles to the breeze.

Ultimately, it was Walter Caldwell's Texan team on Defender that was crowned 2021 Jammin' Jamaica- Carnival Edition overall Champion. They were followed by Steven Cooke's Geronimo team in second, with Morse's Ayahos team taking home the bronze medal.

More Jammin' Jamaica J/22 Regatta sailing information here.

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