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J/95 Banjo Dominates Off Soundings Spring Series


Congratulations to Rod Johnstone and crew of J/95 Banjo for winning the Sprit Boat Class C-3 in the Off Soundings Spring Series. The Sprit Boat Class C-3 included three J/105s, three J/109s, and a J/92. The event started in Watch Hill, RI then sailed direct to the Great Salt Pond Harbor on Block Island. The famous Around Block Island Race was held on Saturday.

As Rodney reported on the J Boat Blog, “Friday was a real drag race a 12 mile beam reach from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Block Island to a set mark just North of the entrance to New Harbor followed by a 3 mile run to Buoy 1 BI North of the Island and a 3.5 mile beat to the finish at the Harbor entrance. Banjo nailed the jib reaching start. At 1BI we were ahead of everyone except the J/105 DRAGONFLY who rounded just ahead of us and finished first. We were second and third boat-for boat behind us was Hugh McLean’s J/109 Shearwater.

“Saturdays race was counter-clockwise around Block Island. We sailed the long course with the larger, faster classes which meant we had to go out to the Southwest Ledge Whistle buoy about three miles SW of the island, then East to Southeast Point, then NNE to the NE Whistle buoy a mile off Clay Head, then to the NW to 1BI, then finish off the harbor entrance. The wind was light NE at the start with the flood current starting. It was a set-up for us to showcase our shallow draft all the way down the island in the breeze and out of the foul current- and kick some serious butt.

“We started, then skimmed past the end of the breakwater by a boathook length in about 4-5 of water and kept going. Needless to say the J/105 and J109 right on our tail had to jibe back out into the murky calm for a few boat lengths in order to avoid running aground. We rounded SW Ledge Whistle a quarter mile ahead of the next boat. The next leg to the NE Whistle Buoy was a light, tight spinnaker reach and lost ground (again) to everyone ahead of us. The leg from the NE Whistle to 1BI was a light air run at the very end of the flood current. We gained back all of what we had lost on the boats ahead of us on the previous leg maybe three or four minutes. We could sail lower than everyone if not faster. The final beat was a port tack fetch to the finish in about 10-12 knots of wind. The J/109 Shearwater was first over the line, but we corrected out to first place on time, winning both days and won the series with 2 points.

“All in all, Banjo is fun and easy to sail. Now we know it is fast, too. Oh yes, and we could park it in among the powerboats close to shore at the Oar Restaurant.”

Complete Off Soundings Spring Series Results

J/95 Photo Gallery

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