Veronica Brown

Kevin Grainger & crew take J/105 class by storm

Kevin Grainger and his crew on his J/105 Gumption3 stole the show at this year's Cedar Point Yacht Club One Design Regatta from June 1-2. Finishing one point ahead of the second place boat, Gumption3 raced with brand-new North Class Sail Development (CSD) AP upwind sails.

J/105 Gumption3 owned by Kevin Grainger
"I have been a long-time customer of Max Skelley and switched to North for my Etchells sails a few seasons back when Max started working for North Sails," said Grainger who lives in Rye, NY. "Jeremy Wilmot sent me an extensive package in the spring and after constantly battling with North-powered J/105s like Masquerade, I made the move. I have really enjoyed working with Max and wanted to stay in one house for both boats," Grainger explained.

"It was an exciting regatta for Kevin and his team and I think they benefitted from North Client Services during the event," said North Sails representative Jeremy Wilmot, who will work with Grainger locally. Andreas Josenhans (North Sails Performance Resource Group) and Tom Castiglione (North Sails representative in Milford, CT) were on the water all weekend taking photos and doing post-race debriefs with boats trying to help improve sail trim and boat performance. "They stayed in the top five all weekend and have seen an improvement in speed and overall performance with their new sails," Wilmot said.

"Jeremy has been great so far doing some tuning with us and getting us set-up with our new sails," said Grainger who has owned the boat since 2000. "We started our season with lackluster results due to minimal boat preparation and an older sail inventory. The effort by the North team at the Cedar Point YC Regatta was greatly appreciated. We are making our partnership with North Sails as effective as possible and we already see that in our results," Grainger said.

Grainger got his start thirteen years ago when he bought his J/105, which at the time had a shoal draft keel. He first raced in New York Harbor on Tuesday nights with the Manhattan Sailing Club and a few years later switched the boat to a deep draft keel before racing in Key West in 2003. "We have come a long way since we switched keels," Grainger explained. "By 2005, we won the Long Island Sound J/105 Fleet 6 championship and were placing in the top five at Key West and SORC. But since then, we have been inconsistent so it was time to switch up our boat setup and try something new."

Gumption3 was never for lack of speed at the Cedar Point YC Regatta and Grainger already has some new tactics to try. "The North Sails mainsail seems to have more range and we can work the boat around the sail through better tuning, adjusting our mast butt position and other small tweaks with the mast and boat setup," said Grainger. "The jib seems to be flatter, too, so with these new sails, we feel like we can make the boat more consistent in lighter breezes. We're also trying some different tactics at the start line which will hopefully continue to keep us at the top of the fleet as well."

Gumption3 will continue racing on Thursday nights in Western Long Island Sound as well as other events this summer in preparation for the upcoming J/105 North Americans in Annapolis in October. They will race at Larchmont Race Week in July and "will continue to practice to be sure our setup is right and our crew work is polished," Grainger concluded. "We look forward to a very competitive event and hope to have some fun, too."

North Sails wishes the Kevin and the entire crew much success this season. For more information on the J/105 North Americans and to register, visit: http://www.j105nac.com/