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North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Mike Marshall, Mike Ingham, Tim Healy, Will Welles
Images © Onne Van der Wal

33rd ANNUAL NEWPORT REGATTA

Narragansett Bay delivers mixed conditions for the 33rd annual Newport Regatta, with North Sails clients finishing strong across the board

Another action-packed weekend took place on the docks at Sail Newport, as 177 boats flocked to this local sailing hub to take part in the annual Newport Regatta. Sailors from 24 U.S. states and three countries made for tough competition across the board, and the event was full of surprises as the weather served up new conditions each day-keeping fleets on their toes and ready for anything.

North Sails is a proud sponsor of the Newport Regatta, offering on the water support through North U Regatta Services, post-race debriefs and a dedicated clinic for the J/24 fleet – a popular class among local sailors.

The clinic featured a panel discussion with North U coach and J/24 skipper, Mike Ingham, North Sails designer, Mike Marshall, President of North Sails One Design, Tim Healy, and prior NA Champion, Travis Odenbach. The group answered questions about their different preferences in rig tuning and setup, offering ideas about would work well and what wouldn’t in the expected conditions. Insightful questions from fellow fleet members focused around sail trim, and the big question of the day was when to make the decision to switch from the Genoa to the blade. Ultimately the deciding factor was your sailing area. Sailors were advised to keep the genoa when breeze is up and waves are bigger; even though you would be using it at the top of its wind range, the sail will provide more punch through the waves and maintain boat speed. The blade should be used in shifty, flatter water where you expect to tack more often, and/or when you need to make quick maneuvers in the heavier air. The J/24s were not able to go out as a fleet for the clinic due to inclement weather, but much was observed and retained from the class experts panel discussion.

The Melges 20, J/70s, RS Aero, 110, and M32 fleets started racing Friday in very challenging conditions. Hard rain fell consistently with shifty winds, and large puffs streaming down the race course, making things interesting for sailors and race committee alike. The wind was shifted 30-90 degrees throughout the day, keeping the competitors and committee on their toes and ready for changes to incur.

Saturday was a completely different day, where fog off Block Island sound greeted sailors on the outside circle, but slowly dissipated and brought a lovely 10-12 knot breeze. With another fog line that moved in, the wind was shifty, but cleared and settled, building to a beautiful 15-17 knots and two additional races were completed in great sailing conditions.

On Sunday the sea breeze was tricky to settle, but when it did, it was a full on 18-20 knots, with some larger gusts keeping things exciting and fun, proving that Newport in the summertime can really offer fantastic sailing. Sailors went home tired and happy.

Awards set up and ready!
Pacific Yankee, Melges 20 Winners
110 Winners, Team Retrad
Ensign Winners, Team Chowder

Story Contributors

33rd Annual Newport Regatta headshot
Mike Marshall

One Design Expert, Sail Designer — Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Mike won the 2016 J/22 Worlds, which led to a Rolex Yachtsman of the Year nomination. He has also won the J/22 North Americans and finished top ten at multiple J/24 Worlds, North Americans, and Nationals. He graduated with a degree in Geophysics from Connecticut...

33rd Annual Newport Regatta 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...

33rd Annual Newport Regatta 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...

33rd Annual Newport Regatta 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...