The St. Francis Sailing Foundation launched its J/22 boat program in 2010 to promote sailor development specifically in competitive team and match racing. With the inclusion of Match Racing in the 2012 Olympics and the mounting enthusiasm for America’s Cup match racing, this racing format has grown in significance in the international sailing community. Team Racing, the mainstay of more than 200 college and university sailing programs, has also long played an important role as an incubator for many Olympic sailing medalists and America’s Cup competitors.
Team Racing and Match Racing offer the ultimate test of a competitive sailor’s skills, mental acuity, mastery of rules and teamwork. The races are conducted under separate sets of official rules that enable the use of maneuvers and tactics to gain, offset, or maintain advantage throughout a race. Boat handling skills and strategic application of the rules are especially important in these races.
Boat equality is a fundamental requirement in both team and match racing. Once the equipment is equal, the sailors’ capabilities become the primary determinant of outcomes. The Foundation’s J/22 boat program responds to this essential need by providing 10 identical boats of equal age, construction specifications, rigging, sails and level of maintenance for training, practicing and racing in local team and match race events.
The first St. Francis Sailing Foundation J/22 was delivered in August 2010, and by October 2010 there were enough boats in the fleet to sail an inaugural Team Race regatta. In the ensuing 12 months, 504 unique sailors used the boats a total of 41 days for training, practicing and racing. The fleet continues to be an important asset and in particular, has been significant in developing youth sailing and women’s racing.
In an arrangement with St. Francis Yacht Club, the fleet has full time professional management which assures globally superior race training and competition potential for committed racers.J/22 Program