North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Allan Terhune
BAXTERS PREVAIL AT THE J/70 MIDWINTERS
When the Game is Close, North Delivers.
Team Vineyard Vines John and Molly Baxter, Ben Lamb, and North Expert Allan Terhune are the 2020 J/70 Midwinter Champs after a relentless eight-race battle in a variety of testing conditions. On the final day, they snagged two bullets using the 2019 J/70 Worlds winning inventory: F-1 Mainsail, J-6 High Clew Jib and AP-1 Asymmetrical kite.
We caught up with John Baxter for a quick interview.
Team Vineyard Vines had not sailed for a few months leading up to the Midwinters. What did you guys do to prepare and get back up to speed so quickly?
We have tried to be diligent about keeping good team notes and having repeatable settings, since we don’t get to practice a lot before regattas. We had two days of practice prior to the regatta with our training partners on 3 Ball JT and Savasana, along with our coach, Grant “Fuzz” Spanhake. Fuzz was a big factor in getting us back up to speed by looking at our sails and boathandling, and our training partners pushed us with great line-ups and open dialogue throughout the week. Also, it is huge that we get to sail with Ben Lamb and Allan Terhune. They are both great sailors and have been racing a lot in J/70s since our last event together in Cleveland last September, so they helped kick us back into shape as a team.
Not many teams sail as a husband-wife team and also bring the family with them. Why is this so important to you both?
Molly and I met in college on the St. Mary’s College Sailing Team and have loved racing together ever since. We both enjoyed cruising and sailing with our own families when we were kids, and love continuing that tradition with our own two boys. Charlie (6) and James (3) race with us for summer beer can club racing at Riverside Yacht Club, and they love coming to our J/70 regattas.
The J/70 seems like such a simple boat, but there is clearly a lot to it. What are a few things you focus on?
We agree it is a simple boat and we do our best to not over-analyze all the variables. We try to keep our focus on refining our boathandling and technique.
Why do you choose North Sails?
We have been sailing with North Sails for many years. We don’t think it’s an accident that the top of most of the Grand Prix classes are dominated by North Sails. They continually strive to refine and enhance the designs, and Tim Healy and Allan Terhune have worked closely with us to optimize the sails for our style.
See also: Heavy Air Tips – Allan Terhune Explains What Worked for Team Vineyard Vines at the 2020 J/70 Midwinters.