Consistency Wins J/24 North Americans For Team from Santa Barbarbara, Calif.
Pat Toole and the crew of 3 Big Dogs from Santa Barbara, Calif., put together five solid races Sunday to win the J/24 North American Championship, hosted by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle. It was the first victory in a major regatta for the “Dogs” who sail out of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.
“It was a great day of sailing – our best ever,” Toole said after the win.
What was the key for 3 Big Dogs?
“It wasn’t our starts. In fact, the last start was horrible,” Toole said. “But even when we got bad starts, we were able to duck sterns and get in phase with the wind shifts right away and sail a long, correct board. That was it.”
Toole finished the regatta with a total of 27 points in 10 races sailed over three days. His finishes were 3, 1, 4, 5, (15), 1, 3, 1, 5, 4. Finishing second was Keith Whittemore of Seattle and his crew on Tundra Rose, with 33 points.
Tundra Rose was in the hunt, but hurt his chances by finishing 9th and 7th in Sunday’s third and fifth races, respectively. Scott Milne of Seattle and the crew of Tremendous Slouch were leading going into the last day after winning all three races Saturday, but finished third with deep finishes in four of the five races Sunday.
The wind Sunday was from the south and shifty at 8 to15 knots.
Whittemore congratulated 3 Big Dogs for their victory and said the competition was tough throughout the regatta.
“At the top of the fleet, getting by people was almost impossible,” he said. “You had to have a good start and go the right way, and if you didn’t do that you were back a ways. The three leaders were all up and down, but the 3 Dogs guys sailed the most consistent series.
“No doubt about it, they were solid all the time,” Whittemore added. “They had one down race, but other than that they did a great job and they deserved to win the series.”
Tom Niccoli, Tremendous Slouch trimmer, said the of the racing:
“It was phenomenal. I thought we did well, but it was harder today (Sunday) to get the settings right. It was up and down and there was a lot more wave action that made it harder for us to find a groove and get settled in. The Dogs were always going the right way with great boat speed and great sailing.”
Toole’s previous high finishes in big J/24 regattas included a third in the 2008 North Americans in Marina Del Ray and a third in the Nationals last year on San Francisco Bay.
His crew included Les Wolff, bow, Chris Stankevitz, mast, George Witter, pit, and Dale Turley, trimmer-tactician.