ANNAPOLIS -- Reigning J/24 world champion Jim Brady of Annapolis successfully defended his 1989 East Coast Championship title yesterday when he recovered from sixth place after Saturday's racing.
He won this year's title with strong showings in yesterday's contests, beating two-time collegiate Sailor of the Year Terry Hutchinson of Harwood and two-time world champion Ken Read of Newport, R.I.
Hutchinson, who had an early lead on the series with bullets in both of Saturday's races, was penalized 20 percent in yesterday's first race after he was a premature starter. He restarted properly to take third overall. Brady rallied over his Saturday's performance to place third in the first race and first in the final race yesterday.
The annual series is the largest single-start J/24 event in the world, and drew 86 teams from the eastern United States, as well as from Canada, Bermuda and Poland. It concluded yesterday with two races in a shifty northwesterly breeze of 15 to 25 knots and choppy water off the mouth of the Severn River.
"It was an extremely difficult regatta," said Brady, who is associated with North Sails. "Terry probably deserved to win it, but we got extremely lucky. You had to take a fair amount of risk in the shifty air and yet still try to remain conservative. The puffs came down the course so quickly you couldn't see them and get ready. They just hit and that's the way it was."
Crewing with Brady were British sailor Andy Hemmings of North Sails UK, tactician John Alofsin of J Worlds in Newport, R.I., Jack McDonald from Washington and veteran foredeckman Steve Inman of Houston.