Maxwell wins J/22 East Coast Championship with sister on bow

Bill Wagner
Contact Reporterbwagner@capgaznews.com

J.R. Maxwell has sailed with his sister numerous times on various boats in a variety of locales. However, J.R. and Emily Maxwell had never sailed together in Annapolis aboard a J/22.

Brother and sister enjoyed a triumphant reunion last weekend in leading the Scooby team to victory in the J/22 East Coast Championship. J.R. Maxwell steered his own boat while Emily worked the bow as the Annapolis Yacht Club entry finished first or second in four of six races in posting a low score of 13 points.

Alon Finkelstein trimmed the headsails and called tactics aboard Scooby, which wound up six points clear of runner-up Bad News (Mike Marshall, New York Yacht Club). Hot Toddy, skippered by Annapolis resident Jeff Todd, placed third with 23 points.

“It was awesome sailing the J/22 with my sister and I’m very proud of the whole team for its performance,” Maxwell said. “We weren’t always the fastest boat, but I think we sailed really smart tactically. We made a lot of small decisions that paid big dividends.”

Eastport Yacht Club hosted the J/22 East Coast Championship and completed three races on both Saturday and Sunday. A fleet of 14 boats competed in 10-15 knot winds from the north-northeast that were extremely shifty.

“It was one of those events when it really paid to keep your head outside of the boat,” Maxwell said. “It was important to stay in the puffs and on the correct side of the shifts, but also change gears as the velocity increased and decreased.”

Maxwell said the wind shifts were sometimes as severe as 30-40 degrees, which altered the normal strategy for racing on the Chesapeake Bay.

“It felt like lake sailing to some extent. So you had to change your mindset,” he said. “A lot of times, it made sense to tack, go about 10 boat lengths then tack again.”

This marks the second East Coast Championship captured by Maxwell, who has been racing a J/22 since 2011. The Arlington, Virginia resident previously secured the title in 2015 and has been runner-up on two other occasions.

Finkelstein, who works at Farr Yacht Design, is a former J/22 owner and has been crewing for Maxwell since selling his boat two year ago. Emily Maxwell was an All-American sailor at Boston College.

“We were about 100 pounds under weight, but we figured out fairly quickly how to depower the boat,” said J.R. Maxwell, who sailed collegiately at Tufts and works in management consulting.

It was a deep and talented fleet with eight different boats finishing fifth or better in at least one race. Annapolis Yacht Club member Brad Julian also won a race along with Maxwell, Marshall and Todd.

“We have a really strong fleet in Annapolis, which makes every race really interesting,” Maxwell said. “It’s really exciting to compete against so many great sailors.”

J/22 East Coast Championship (16 boats)

Eastport Yacht Club

1, Scooby, J.R. Maxwell, 3-4-1-2-2-1=13; 2, Bad News, Mike Marshall, New York Yacht Club, 2-1-2-1-3-10=19; 3, Hot Toddy, Jeff Todd, Annapolis Yacht Club, 1-6-4-5-4-3=23; 4, The Corner of Sanity and Madness, Chris Junge, Eastport Yacht Club, 5-2-3-4-6-4=24

 

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