It’s that time of year when things slow down, when we sit home on the weekend and sense the end of the sailing season. I look back on the season and think through what our team did well, what we didn’t do so well, and what we can improve on next season. I also look back at how awesome the participation in the J/24 fleet was this season after the prior year when regattas were canceled and boats stayed packed up. As I reflect, I also think about the future of the class. How are we doing as a whole? Did we attract new sailors to the class? Did existing sailors improve, and where are we going to be next year?
I had a blast in the J/24 Class this season, and I look forward to doing it again next year. For some reason, which others may find ridiculous, I cannot leave this boat behind. I sail in a wide variety of classes, but nothing is harder and more rewarding than sailing a J/24 at top-level, competitive regattas. There is something to be said for being able to sail and enjoy the after-race party with your five best friends. The community and culture in this class is awesome. Whether you’re in Lake George, NY, the East Coast Championship in Annapolis, MD, or even Kiel, Germany, sailors in this class sail hard and have a good time (On a side note, Kiel is probably my favorite regatta ever. If you haven’t had the chance to go, add it to your regatta bucket list). The point is the J/24 Class delivered again this year with both great social events and great sailing. Many competitors traveled all summer and participation levels were great. It’s this culture of fun and competitive sailing that will retain class members and attract new ones. I only see the J/24 Class growing from here!
The best part of the summer for me was seeing friends improve on their sailing and have more success than ever! Brad Braddon won a regatta in Sodus, NY, this year; he has been working hard with his team and it is paying off. Kirk Reynolds was back in full force this year and won several regional and district events. Mike Stasko on Team Redline has worked hard to master the J/24, and he ended up 2nd at the East Coast Championship this year. Erica Spenser and the Sea Bags Sailing Team took a 2nd in a race at the East Coast Championship and finished 13th overall. Ted Wiedeke stayed in the top 10 in several regattas, and Mike Wilde joined the J/24 Class this season and will be a tough competitor in the future.
As we look at the schedule for next season, we have multiple major events in the USA that will hopefully bring some of the action back to the US J/24 Class. Midwinters are at Davis Island in Tampa, Nationals in Dallas, and the World Championship is in Corpus Christi, TX, a must-sail venue. North Americans will be hosted in Kingston Ontario, one of my favorite venues. So get your family time in this winter and save up your vacation time because these are some fantastic places to sail next season! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or the team at Quantum Sails to get you up to speed for next season. Check out all of our resources for the J/24 on our website. See you on the water in 2022.