Racing News and Results

Alec Cutler is New J/22 World Champion
Minnesota Local Terry Foster Places 10th

Alec Cutler of Annapolis, MD, was crowned the 2004 World Champion after holding off reigning champ John den Engelsman of the Netherlands by two points at the World Championship in Annapolis. Cutler was joined by crew Paul Murphy and sailmaker Max Skelley.
The regatta boasted 130 boats, the largest fleet ever to participate in a J/22 championship. The first two days of racing served as a qualifying series, splitting the fleet into gold and silver divisions. The three races in steady breeze on the opening day proved to be the qualifying races after the wind fizzled out on the second day.
Despite light and shifty conditions for the second half of the regatta, the Race Committee was able to complete three races on day three but had to abandon the second race on the final day due to a 40-degree wind shift. Organizers eventually got off two races to bring the series to eight, with a worst-race throw out.
Going into the final day, several teams were in the running for the championship, including 2002 World Champion Terry Flynn. After den Engelsman took a bullet in Friday’s first race, it appeared that the champion would keep his title. But when Cutler took a hefty lead on den Engelsman in the final race, the champion retired from the race knowing that Cutler had secured enough points to win.
"He thumped us good in the first race," Murphy said. "But we were well ahead in the race that was abandoned, so we were feeling confident in the conditions. We sail enough races, and we do it for fun; we just like the game and the test of it. Alec was first to pick up on a lot of the wind shifts out there."
Taking third overall was Dave Van Cleef and his crew, Will Welles, Heather Ambrose and Emma Jones. “Going into the final day, we knew we were quite a bit behind the first three boats, so our plan was to go out and try to win a race,” said Van Cleef. “We were leading through the first run, but we caught the wrong side of a wind shift. Then in the last race, the conditions were so difficult."
U.S. Pan American Sailing Team veteran Henry Filter of Stevensville climbed from seventh at the end of Thursday's racing up to fourth, taking third in the final race. He had teamed up with Rhode Island standout Moose McClintock and an old friend and sailing partner, Greg Anthony. Filter and Anthony, winners of the Sonar North Americans a few years back, also have sailed together in the Melges 24 and Star classes, but Anthony had never sailed on a J/22 until this month, and had never done bow on the boat before.
In the big fleets, crowded conditions often resulted in enormous pinwheels of boats, often 10 or 12 deep, rounding the marks at once. "What you try to do is see it setting up and try not to be on the outside," said Annapolis sailmaker Matt Beck, whose team finished seventh overall. "It was a tough couple of days for the Race Committee, but Principal Race Officer Wayne Bretsch and the committee did a great job moving the marks. It was a great regatta, lots of fun."

Top Ten: 1. Alec Cutler (40 points)
2. John den Engelsman (42)
3. Dave Van Cleef (61)
4. Henry Filter (67)
5. Scott Nixon (74)
6. Greg Fisher (80)
7. Matt Beck (82)
8. Marvin Beckmann (95)
9. Terry Flynn (98)
10. Terry Foster (98)