2005 J-22 North American Championship

A total of 59 boats registered, all through the Regatta web page (no longer available), including those who registered locally. Over 50 of those preregistered and the last few on location. For whatever reasons, 3 were no-shows so only 56 actually competed and were counted as entrants for scoring purposes. Our on-line registration and subsequent import of the entrants into SailOK Scoring was flawless. We kept the registrations up-to-date in the scoring system daily. It required less than a minute to download from the internet and update the data on the scoring computer each day. When registration closed the scorer needed only a few minutes to verify everything against the official list and make a couple of changes where the registration web page was incorrect. Major success number one!

Competitors started showing up as early as Monday, May 16, and were greeted with winds of 20 mph plus. This continued for the next 2 days. Some, typically from areas with less blustery weather, wondered if Oklahoma is always like this. Some local responded, "No sometimes it really blows." There was a practice race scheduled for Wednesday, May 18. The race committee diligently prepared a great course on beautiful Lake Hefner. In the lulls, the wind usually dropped to 22 mph and gusts were recorded at up to 39. Predictably, none of the competitors left the harbor. In fact, there was no activity on any of the boats. Someone then opened the keg early.

The average wind on Lake Hefner is 14.4 mph. That is 24 hours by 365 days per year. It should be obvious that the up to 39 we had Wednesday would have to be balanced by something lighter in order to make that average work out. True to form, when the real racing started Thursday, the day started out at about 8 mph and held long enough to barely work in 2 races. The 3rd had to be postponed to Friday. So, we started out behind already.

One of the most exciting points in the racing was the first weather mark rounding of the first race. All 56 boats rounded within less than 2 minutes. The fleet did spread out considerably, however, after that. There was about a 20 minute spread at the finish just over an hour later. The real excitement that day, though, was back in the harbor. One of the spectator boats, a really nice Islander 28, caught fire when attempting to back into her slip. All on board abandoned quickly with just a few bruises and one minor burn. At least 4 fire trucks came to put it out as well as police, a number of spectators and TV channel helicopters. The plume of black smoke could be seen for many miles and, since the wind had died, it went straight up. The boat was a total loss. Funny how the EPA inspector got there almost before the fire fighters.

All day Friday, the wind was essentially zero with little teasers from time-to-time. That pretty well balanced out Wednesday. Several of the competitors were requesting that we sacrifice another boat to the wind gods but there seemed to be a lack of willing boat owners. There were no races held or even attempted. Not even the race committee left the harbor. The keg was not opened early, something about the sailors drinking so much Thursday that we might not make it through the regatta.

With great anticipation, everyone met Saturday morning, hoping for wind. At least 4 races were required to make a championship regatta and we only had 2 so far. Sunday was a reserve day but we had boats from many miles away and everyone wanted to finish the regatta Saturday due to the long drive home. That fairly small but potent high pressure that had settled right over us the previous day had finally moved far enough east that we were getting a little wind. The real concern was getting some races in before the afternoon heat, which turned out to be 97 degrees, would likely kill any remaining wind. This was more like August rather than May weather.

Most of the morning, the wind ranged between 8 and 16. The direction varied a few degrees either way but that is inland lake sailing. Except for the starting lines, the competitors seemed to handle it pretty well. The race committee did a masterful job of setting a square line and fair course and quickly got in 2 good races in the good wind. By the 3rd race, it was getting a little lighter and shiftier. But, after a few of recalls, another good race was held. That made 5 races and allowed for a discard. By that time, it was getting pretty hot but the wind still held reasonably well. Having enough time left in the day, the race committee elected to hold one more race. The competitors must have been eager to get off the lake as soon as possible because there were no recalls in the 'P' flag start.

Now for success number two, from SailOK Scoring viewpoint, that is. The on-the-water RC Score Sheet had been tried a few times during earlier, and smaller, races. It had worked flawlessly although a minor problem was discovered in importing but quickly corrected before the next race. Also, an enhancement was added to both programs at the request of the scorer. In fact, in one race with 25 boats, the scorer was able to record finishes as the boats were finishing. By filling in missing data during lulls, she was finished as the last boat crossed the finish line. This was a handicapped race so finish times were required as well as sail numbers. I found that pretty impressive.

With 56 boats finishing in this regatta, we elected not to try real time recording on the computer. Instead, we had several people recording on paper then transcribed to the laptop after comparing all paper copies and determining the proper results to record. After each race, the results were recorded into the SailOk RC Score Sheet and verified, usually before the PRO was ready to start the next race. We were not able to send results to shore wirelessly due to costs. Instead we copied to a diskette for a runner boat to take in. Since the official scorer was working on-the-water, and the judges had asked that we not post preliminary results to the web page, even though clearly marked as preliminary, there seemed little incentive to officially score and post between races so we waited until the end of each day. After the last finish Thursday, though, we did rush in to import and score both races. The results were posted on the bulletin board before the first competitor was in and the finish line was little more than a mile from the harbor. It literally took a minute or two to import, verify and print each race.

With only 56 boats, there was no need to split the fleet with a seeding round of races. So, we were not able to use that new feature of SailOK Scoring. But it has received extensive testing with made-up data and will soon be tested with the actual data from this regatta, in the split-the-fleet mode.

Click here for the results as scored and posted by SailOK Scoring.

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