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Musical Chairs- By Dave Reed

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Sailing World Editor Dave Reed was embedded with Tim Healy's J/70 HELLY HANSEN for an insider's look into the class's first major event.  Here are some excerpts:

Sunday, January 20- The Beginning of Time
"Tim Healy, John Mollicone, Geoff Becker. These guys are what you’d call 'The Starting Three'. As J/24 champions many times over, they know what they’re doing. Together, they’d be pretty darn close to an ideal combined weight for the J/70 class, rumored to be around 600 pounds or so, but no one really knows. Then there’s myself. Over the next five days of racing I could either be the extra (excess) weight in this program, or just the right difference when, and if, it gets really windy. I’m OK with being an extra set of hands and a little more righting moment. I’ve got one of the best seats in the house.

It’s all new, this J/70 thing. Most of the teams in the fleet are still assembling boats, sailing them for the first time, and debating over headstay length, rake, and whether to race with three up or four up, and then where to put them and who does what. In the fleet of nearly 40, the talent and crew combinations are all over the map. Where there’s a few big guys, there’s a petite fourth. There are big-three Etchells-type teams, and plenty of foursomes."

Friday, January 25- The End of Time
"The Final Four- A week ago, as you may recall (if not, see above), I joined 'The Starting Three' in Key West, full of uncertainties. A new boat, a new team, zero practice days, and a lot to figure out: who does what, who sits where, what’s the right headstay length, and on and on.

Our first two starts were terrible, and in light winds, comebacks don’t happen easily. That’s where the double-digit points came in. The next day, we went 3,3,1. 'The Tim Healy' (as labeled on his recyclable metal water bottle on the boat), shook off whatever it was that was occupying his mind, and started like the expert he is. After winning the last race of the day, he joked with a wry smile, “Well, at least I know I don’t suck.”

Read more about Dave's adventures being the "cog in the wheel" on what is, at least for the moment, one of the world's fastest J/70s:
http://www.sailingworld.com/blogs/racing/musical-chairs

See Facebook sailing video for good downwind sailing technique on Tim's boat here:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4732758151773&set=vb.44471546672&type=2&theater

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