Glenn Darden’s Baby Doll, sailing with Willem Van Waay, Jackson Benvenutti and Min Min Kelly, have been crowned 2023 J/22 North American Champions. Darden, hailing from Fort Worth Boat Club in Texas, and 21 other teams travelled to CORK in Kingston, Ontario, Canada to battle it out over seven races. Able to discard a sixth from race one, Baby Doll pounded out only top three scores and took to the shores for the final race to let the fleet sort out the top group. Only two points separated places two through four, with Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger taking the silver position (24 points), one ahead of Mike Gemperline’s Defiance sailing J/22 hull #16. This year marks the 40-year anniversary of the J/22. “There should never be a quiet moment on the boat; constant information was key from the front to the back,” summarized by Min Min Kelly. Added Willem Van Waay, “We had a sit-down talk after sailing the first day. How can we improve our game? We talked for a good hour on how to communicate clearer, our game plan, the rig, who to cover. Every start before the five-minute, we already knew exactly where we were at, our plan, our numbers, where to go and where we’re tacking. That was a big gain for our group.” Jackson Benvenutti confirmed, “Everyone was on the same page, asking the questions. Glenn lets us know when something needs to change. What would be better for you to know? Always being open and flowing with the communication, such as we might sail the boat a little different if we knew the rig was tight.” The Race Committee moved up Sunday’s start by 90 minutes to maximize the final day of racing. Winds began around 11 knots, as Darden notched his third consecutive bullet. By race 8, won by Gemperline, the breeze faded to about 6 knots. Teams returned to shore for an hour and half, then headed back out on Lake Ontario for the final contest in 11 knots, won by Chris Doyle’s The Jug 4 1. Photos are available on the J/22 Class Facebook page. Complete results may be found at:

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