Quantum Rochester's Travis Odenbach reflects on the 2021 J/22 season and looks ahead to the 2022 season. The J/22 is a fantastic one-design boat to sail, with many fleets in the US and several international locations. Read on to find out why you should get involved.
It’s interesting how the J/22 Class ebbs and flows in certain areas of the United States. In Rochester and Youngstown, NY, for example, we had big fleets within the last 10 years that have since gone away. But the best part about the J/22 Class is that as one fleet dissolves, another evolves. The boats were built to last, and now they’re more accessible to a broader age group; thanks to a diluted market in the 20- to 30-foot boat range, most J/22s are less expensive now.
Where are all the J/22s in the US? Mainly in Texas and Louisiana, where you’ll see a plethora of fleets. It seems there are about 20 to 30 boats that travel in this southern circuit. This region of the US is also active with racers: The Midwinters are almost always here and the Worlds was in Corpus Christi over the summer. The camaraderie among these fleets was amazing to see this summer. Everyone knows each other, and the fleet socializes after sailing much more than any I have been involved with. There are family teams and professional teams and everything in-between. The diversity and active participation are signs of a strong class. Another hotbed for the J/22 is Oklahoma. I have yet to race there, but from everything I hear they are trucking right along and enjoying themselves.
Canandaigua, NY, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, is home to the Canandaigua Yacht Club. CYC has built a fleet of 16 J/22s. I’ve sailed with the fleet there and again witnessed a strong sense of camaraderie. It’s an active fleet, having seen steady growth for the last five years. CYC hosts the Jack Rabbit regatta, and it’s a ball. If you like flat water and a shifty venue to test your tactics, this is the venue for you!
Tawas Bay, Michigan, will host the upcoming North Americans and it will most certainly be a fun event. I encourage anyone who can to participate. The Lake Huron color is beautiful, and the hospitality could almost be labelled Southern Charm (I say almost because Michiganders don’t serve as much fried food as our southern neighbors!).
Last but not least are our J/22 racing friends in Annapolis, MD, and its large fleet. Annapolis hosts the East Coast Championship every year and are accommodating to out-of-towners. It’s a great way to end the northern US season. Annapolis’ Severn Sailing Association makes sure the regatta is well run but still laid back.
So if you’re wondering where to sail next season or thinking about getting more involved, check out these great venues and thriving J/22 fleets. There’s plenty of racing to be had all over the US. The best part about the class is that everyone is open to sharing tips and tricks and committed to bringing the rest of the fleet up to speed. I look forward to seeing everyone at these locations in 2022 and beyond. Enjoy a bit of the off season and head down to Midwinters. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or the team at Quantum Sails to get you prepared for next season. Check out all our resources for the J/22 here.