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North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Tim Healy, Will Welles, Geoff Moore, Paul Abdullah, Mike Ingham
Images © Chris Howell


North Sails clients conquer extreme light air conditions in Toronto, topping the podium

Sixty-three teams from nine nations traveled to Toronto, Ontario for the 2017 J/24 World Championship. With support from our experts, North Sails clients raised the speed bar in the extreme light air conditions to step onto the podium. The week began with a practice race and a debrief hosted by Tim Healy and Will Welles, who have a history of memorable finishes in the J/24. Every team took something away that would be critical in aiding their light air performance. Rig setup questions included:  Mast butt placement to flatten the main and tighten the headstay, fine-tune adjustments for lowers (half a turn depending on turnbuckle style). Other questions focused on starting in light air and big fleets, since getting off the starting line was one of the most difficult parts of each race.

Here are some of the answers:

1. The key to getting a hole in the front row was to set up early, around 1:30 seconds, and get the boat going at full speed by 45 seconds.

2. Identify  the boats coming from behind to steal your hole in time to shut them out.

3. A slightly lighter crew weight was desirable for predicted conditions. Some teams were closer to the maximum weight (880 pounds) than others.

4. Boat should be at minimum builder’s weight, with no extra stuff onboard. Carry tools and spares, no extra optional equipment that can’t really help you in the long run.

5. Adverse current is very unusual on Lake Ontario, but it truly existed and was a huge factor during the week, especially at the start and windward mark roundings which wasn’t very noticeable unless you were at the top of the course.

“What made it tricky is that you couldn’t see the current on the water. Maybe because the wind was so light and there was pollen in the water, which made it slick so you couldn’t see it on the water. I saw adverse current coming into the top of the leg. It was noticeably there.” -Tim Healy

Once racing started, teams battled the highs and lows of light air racing through trial and error. Starting each race with a clear mind made it possible to accomplish what sometimes seemed to be the impossible. The Race Committee did their best to get off as many fair races as possible, keeping in mind the World Championship level of competition that makes this type of event so challenging.

“Don’t let yourselves get down on a bad race. Keep your chin up and never give up till it’s over. That’s the key.” -Will Welles

Thursday there was no wind until the late afternoon.

“J/24 fleet, welcome to Thursday night racing,” joked the Race Committee chair over the VHF, before starting the final race of the day at 5:00 pm.

With only eight races, teams close on points were forced to take big risks in order to move up the results sheet. Sometimes starting away from everyone paid off, though the boats starting at the favored end would come out ahead. Straight line speed off the line was also a major component of success, allowing teams to break free and stay in clear air. Going into the last day, Tony Parker and his team Bangor Packet and Rossi Milev’s Clear Air were close on points, which put some serious pressure on the two teams. Race eight started in just barely enough pressure to sail. The last leg was shortened, and a 25 degree left shift rewarded the boats that stuck it out to the port layline. Rossi finished second, moving his team into first overall. When race nine was blown off with the entire fleet in a giant clump at the bottom of the course, Clear Air shut Bangor Packet out of the championship. Amongst the many cheers and whistles when the RC posted AP over A, there was relief and celebration for those who held their own, and for some, there was no chance of recovery or redemption.

A fantastic week in Toronto sailing against the best J/24 teams in the world made for a great event and many lessons in patience, the power of positivity, and teamwork. Thanks to the race committee and all the volunteers who made this event a success and did their best to get in the most races possible.

Thank you to Port Credit Yacht Club and Chris and Julie Howell for your support in the J/24 Class.

Congratulations to all of our clients, and special congrats to Rossi Milev’s team on Clear Air; hard work and not giving up after double-digit finishes really makes a difference and doesn’t mean you can’t win a regatta. We also congratulate the Women’s Sea Bags Sailing Team for being the top all-female finishers, winning the Jaeger Women’s Trophy.

Full Results

For more information on World Championship winning J/24 sails, contact your local North Sails Expert.


5th Place, Carter & Molly White, team YouRegatta
Team Clear Air, 2017 J/24 World Champions!
2nd Place, Bangor Packet
3rd Place, LULL
Women’s Sea Bags Sailing Team, first all female team overall. Winners of the Jaeger Women’s Trophy.

Story Contributors

2017 J/24 World Championship headshot
Tim Healy

One Design Expert — Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Tim has won 18 major titles including two World Championships in the J/24 class. A three-time All-American Sailor at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, Healy also won a Gold Medal at the 2003 Pan American Games. His recent success in the...

2017 J/24 World Championship headshot
Will Welles

One Design Expert — Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Will Welles has been a member of the North Sails Rhode Island team since January of 2007, although in total he sports more than eighteen years of experience in the sailmaking industry, including a six-year apprenticeship at the North Sails...

2017 J/24 World Championship headshot
Geoff Moore

Sales Expert — Toronto, Ontario

Geoff has been with North Sails since 2001 and has won multiple North Americans in the Beneteau 36.7 and J/24, as well as three Canada Cup trophies. After relocating from Newport, Rhode Island, he joined the sales force in our Toronto...

2017 J/24 World Championship headshot
Paul Abdullah

One Design Expert —

Paul is an accomplished sailor with multiple titles including the J/70 World Championship in 2014. Paul is also a specialist in the J/24, Thistle and Y-Flyer classes.

2017 J/24 World Championship headshot
Mike Ingham

One Design Expert —

Mike Ingham has over 25 National and Continental Championships in multiple competitive one-design classes. He has a passion for sharing with others through coaching and writing. He was recently named 2017 Coach of the Year by US Sailing for his...