Team Zephyr v2.0, powered by a complete North Sails inventory and led by experienced J/30 sailor and co-owner Scott Tonguis, won the Midwinter Regatta held March 13-15 at the New Orleans Yacht Club. The five race event, held in light and tricky conditions, was won by Tonguis, a New Orleans native, and crew on a tiebreaker with three bullets and a second and third place finish.
“It was very close between us and the second place boat and we often go back and forth with local teams which keeps it exciting and fun,” Tonguis said. “I’ve moved away from New Orleans and now live in Kentucky but I try to get down here as often as I can to race with friends that I don’t get to see all the time. After 25 years of racing sailboats, it’s more about the people. The regattas are just an excuse to get everyone together and have fun,” Tonguis explained.
Tonguis started sailing in high school in New Orleans and tagged along with his older sister when she went sailing on her friends’ boats. It was during these years that Scott met North Sails representative and local sailing legend Benz Faget. “I met Benz on the J/24 Texas circuit and also sailed with Chris Weintjes (another well-known local) on the Ranger 37 circuit,” explained Tonguis. “If you go sailing with really good sailors who know what they’re doing, you wind up learning a ton and gaining knowledge and experience you can’t get on your own.”
Tonguis’s first J/30, a family-owned boat named Zephyr, was lost in Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. “I hadn’t planned on replacing the boat but David Erwin, co-president of the J/30 class, put together a small consortium of people, including me, to own and race Zephyr v2.0. I agreed to be part of the team and come down as often as I can to race. Dave is more of a behind-the-scenes guy who does some racing and all of the organization,” Tonguis explained. “We usually race with 7 or 8 people and even though Dave can’t always race with us, he’s a huge fan of sailing and does whatever he can to support the class. He always tries to keep sailing relevant while we face challenges with other commitments and opportunities.”
“I’m very proud of Scott and the team on Zephyr v2.0 for their performance at the Midwinters with an all-amateur crew,” said Benz Faget. “It was a tight battle but Scott and crew pulled it out. They have been very good North Sails customers for many years and their teamwork and sail handling paid off earning them a well-deserved win,” Faget said.
Next up for Zephyr v2.0 is a PHRF handicapped regatta in Biloxi, MS, called the Challenge Cup, where the team will be one of four boats representing the New Orleans Yacht Club. The North team wishes the Zephyr v2.0 crew much luck at this event and throughout the rest of the season. For more information on the J/30 Midwinters, visit: http://j30.us/blog/
Photo: New Orleans Sailing / Curt Christensen