Thursday, December 18, 2014

Balmy Winter Around Vashon Island Race

J/160 JAM sailing Vashon Island race off Seattle, WA (Seattle, WA)- “74 hearty boats and crews made the Dec 6th start off the slag pile near Ruston to compete in the second ever counter-clockwise race Around Vashon Island, the first installment in the 2014/2015 South Sound Sailing Series.  It felt like a warm fall day out there compared to last year’s 24 degree temps and for all those that want a screamin’ deal on a Christmas tree or even several cords of wood, the Fall Vashon was for you - formerly regarded as Winter Vashon, I stand corrected by prominent members of Tacoma Yacht Club that winter doesn't start till Dec 21st!

Back to the tree issue, apparently the recent giant tides, northerly winds and extreme river runoff pulled everything imaginable off the shoreline and deposited it in Commencement Bay.  There was more driftwood afloat on the Southern Puget Sound than is standing in the forests nearby!  The calls at the start line were interesting in the light air – “one boat length, boat to leeward, log ahead, don’t come up or you’ll catch the shrubbery!”  Grass clippings, shrubbery, and a copious amount wood from stumps to deadheads- it was all out there, and fortunately for everyone the wind was so calm and the water so flat that it was easy to foresee these hazards and take evasive action.

J/133 Constellatoin sailing Vashon Island Race off SeattleThe deliveries to TYC on Friday were pleasant and even a 6am start Saturday out of Des Moines was downright enjoyable.  OK, a full thermos of hot coffee was helpful there. TYC made everyone feel welcome, as usual, with free moorage, dinner Friday night, use of the small boat hoist, friendly staff, and a hearty Saturday morning breakfast. The course was "innovative" this year with two virtual marks at the North end of Vashon. I've always felt Swiftsure Bank and for those that can remember back that far, the Cobb Seamount, were virtual as well, so for inland sailors to have a chance to round not only one but actually two virtual marks, a challenge to be certain.

J/27 sailing Vashon Island race off SeattleThe start was light, with just enough wind to get to the line and have steerage to dodge the debris.  The forecast southerly was promising though and every time you got that little puff it was a header so spinnakers were the order of the day with the racing fleet chasing the burgeoning cruising fleet East across Commencement Bay. The tugboats must work hard on the weekends down here as two were required to plow through the start line and create a few delays. Small boats, that start first, seemed to have some advantage in these conditions because even as far into the race as the North end of Vashon Dennis Clark, in his J/27 LXIII, was still in the company of 40‘ers!

Point Robinson was the first geography gate and those that were willing to play a little West in the light South westerly started slipping north to lead the charge into the stronger winds. It was obvious light is fast on December 6th and the ability to just be plain slippery paid.

What a gorgeous day, too, as Mt. Rainier was clearly visible and you could identify the airliners by the paint on their tail every couple minutes rising out of SeaTac Airport. Boats swapped gybes and pleasantries as they hull speeded their way north to the mysterious virtual gate. Which headsail to use? How windy is Colvos passage going to be? Discussions were required and the lead boats were visually inspected as they began to heel over on their way South into the passage. Where is my weather drone when I need it?

If you ever wanted to see what a boat can do upwind sailing well, this was your day. The J/133 CONSTELLATION was deadly as they stampeded South down Colvos passage under a heavy spread of canvas.

After correction in the IRC fleet, John McPhail’s gorgeous navy-blue J/160 JAM took second.  Class 2 was dominated by the J/133 CONSTELLATION, owned by Ron Holbrook.

J/109 Tantivy sailing Vashon Island race off SeattleClass 3 was not an easy task in a class of five, count em‘, five J/35’s and two J/109s!  All very capable and fast designs.  Taking second in class was the always well-sailed J/109 TANTIVY.  Class 4 saw one of the West Sounds fastest J/105’s take third- DULCINEA.  Class 5 once again watched that beautifully maintained J/29 SLICK, owned by Mayfield & Nelson, slip into first place in this always tight class.

Almost taking the spread on the day was the amazingly rebuilt J/27 LXIII, owned by Dennis Clark - taking Class 6 by over 35 minutes!  Behind them in third was the well traveled J/27 TRUE NORTH.

As the sun went down on the 2014 Winter Vashon so did the wind, the lights of TYC started to twinkle as the last few boats made the slow crawl to the finish watching their hopes of correcting out on the "Big Boys" slipping away again. A cup of holiday cheer and a warm bunk never sounded better as the sails were furled and hatches were battened down for a long winter’s night.

Call your local sailmaker and convince them there is no snow on them thar hills anyway so they may as well go sailing!  Have them come out and critique you at Duwamish Head Jan 10th hosted by the very cordial Three Tree Point Yacht Club.   See you on the water!”  Thanks for the contribution from Andy Schwenk.  Sailing photo credits-Jan Pix @ SmugMug

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beautiful J/Models for Home or Office J/122 model (San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic)- Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Denis Cartier’s model-making business- has produced a number of gorgeous J/models, ranging from the J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80 up to the J/109, J/122 and J/44.

With their great devotion to both the sea and sailing, Abordage has been proudly producing beautifully handcrafted ship models, either classic or modern ships, since the Company’s inception in 1989.

From their well-established boat yard in the Dominican Republic, the highly skilled team of craftsmen works with only the finest of materials and produces every ship model in minute detail and with innovative perfection.  If you have an interest in these remarkably affordable models of your boat, please visit-   For J/Model examples, please take a look at some of the stunning detail here.

The Perfect Gift For People Who Love Sailing!

J/Sailing Calendar 2015 (Newport, RI)- HOT Off the Press!  Order your J/Calendar 2015 now! There’s still enough time to fill the stockings or toss some under the tree for your favorite sailors!

For 2015, we have created another beautiful calendar for J sailors who love the joys of sailing a J in some of the most spectacular harbors and waters of the world.  Whether you are a cruising, racing or armchair sailor, these stunning sailboat photographs will transport you to wonderful sailing experiences in far away places.

The 2015 sailing calendar features photos of J/70s flying off Monte Carlo & Lake Garda; J/24s dueling off Sweden, Newport & Seattle; surrealistic J/80s off Santander, Spain; J/120s gliding off San Diego; J/111s serenely sailing on the Solent; J/22s sailing off the Netherlands; and other gorgeous images of J/105s and J/122.  A great gift for loved ones, family, friends and crew (see gallery here). Order your 2015 J/Calendar today here!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

White Hot Rum Series A J/Team Festival

J/105s sailing in Hot Rum seriess off San Diego, CAJ/70s Eclipse PHRF Class 4!
(San Diego, CA)- For the three weekends that comprise the San Diego YC’s Hot Rum Series, it’s clear the veterans know you can expect just about anything the weather Gods can throw at you— from full-on gales to simply no wind- known as a “glass out”.  While the first weekend offered somewhat reasonable racing, the last two races of this year’s series were fraught with peril.

For example, Hot Rum #2 was another busy day on the water for competitors and Race Committee. With the addition of a nice westerly breeze, maneuvers at the start line were much easier to accomplish and nobody came in contact with the RC Signal boat.

However, on the return leg, our “Check In” notice of outbound Navy Ship @ 1500 materialized. We are not given notice of what, precisely when, or how the vessels will maneuver or be getting underway. That’s (understandably) the US Navy way. Departure times for their operations are not generally subject to negotiation or influenced by recreational traffic. However, much more than you are probably aware, the US Navy makes regular considerations for recreational traffic both in the bay and in the Coronado Roads, in the course of their everyday operations.

While it was unfortunate that there was also an outbound car carrier passing Ballast Point just moments before the US Navy Sub got underway, in the midst of dozens of Hot Rum competitors negotiating each other, light winds, changing tide and inbound at Ballast Point meant this mix of commercial traffic, US Navy subs and Hot Rum sailors had about as good an outcome as there could have been— e.g. complete and utter chaos reigned!

Know that the Harbor Pilots and SeaTractor crew, along with the US Navy Sub Crew and Security boats accomplished their task swiftly and with much more traffic, much closer than they would ordinarily allow, without complaint. A big “Thank You” to them, and all sailors who complied with directions and alterations of course. Working together with all the various facets that make up the San Diego Bay is what makes Hot Rum Series contest unique, interesting, and possible!

Then, for the following weekend, the weather Gods again didn’t cooperate, with light airs prevailing most all day and most boats roasting in the beautiful SoCal “Sunny Diego” weather.

In Class 2, the J/120s turned out seven strong and some crews had a successful go of it in less than ideal J/120 sailing conditions.  At the top of the heap was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER, taking 2nd in class and garnering top honors for J/120s.  Following them was Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY at 5th in class and 2nd J/120.  Third J/120 was Ernie Pennell’s TAMA JAMA.

Six J/105s took up the challenge in Class 3 with Dag Fish’s VIGGEN taking class honors and 2nd in class.  Third in Class and 2nd J/105 was Dennis Case’s WINGS, losing a tie-breaker with VIGGEN at 13 pts each.  Notably, Herb Zoehrer’s J/35 Z-FORCE had a good outing, taking 7th in a class of 40 boats!

The most surprising outcome of the series was the extraordinary performance of the top J/70s, with Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR winning class with Karl Pomeroy’s ZERO TO 60 taking 2nd only one point back!  The third J/70 was David Cheresh’s FLARE in 8th.

Finally, hanging tough in Class 5 yet again was Mark Clements’ classic J/24 BRIGADOON, closing with a superior performance in the last race by taking 3rd in a fleet of 26 boats!   For more San Diego YC Hot Rum Series sailing information

Monday, December 15, 2014

RORC TransAtlantic Update #2- Almost Done!

start of RORC Trans-Atlantic race off Grand Canaria, Canary Islands (Grand Canaria, Canary Islands)- In the mix for both IRC Class 2 leadership and also IRC Overall honors is the J/133 APOLLO 7 from the United Kingdom, skippered by her owner Nigel Passmore.  As they close down to the final part of the 2,900nm long Trans-Atlantic Race from the Canary Islands down the tradewinds route to Grenada, the APOLLO 7 team is working hard to milk the breeze for every advantage possible.

The overall race win is difficult to predict; as the wind is likely to lighten for the leaders during their approach to the islands, but the rest of the fleet are going to begin to catch up with them. With weather models showing a consistent easterly wind after the leaders have finished, we may be looking to one of the smaller boats to lift the IRC Trophy. The APOLLO 7 is the biggest threat. And, the fleet is encountering unforeseen obstacles to their progress.

As one boat recently reported, “Day 10 out here and life is good. It's important to look around sometimes and really enjoy the great times we are having. We are in slightly lighter pressure then usual, but still moving well and we seem to be holding with the competition. It's sunny and warm and watches were flying by until we started sailing through massive amounts of seaweed. The stuff haunts us, huge patches with no way through and no way to see them at night. Everyone on board has a different idea of how often we should back down (stop the boat and go in reverse to clear the keel and rudder) and some creative ideas are developing about how to clear the rudders underway. We think we lose a little over half a mile for every back down, but sometimes the weed can reduce boats speed by 1.5-2 knots, so it's a funny opinionated game to see how often stopping is necessary. Often we will prep for a back down, only to have the weed come off seconds before then maneuver...classic. I'm writing this post after having some frustrating time at the helm, so my hatred of the weed is at an all-time high. Perhaps it's not as bad is I'm making it sound! Under 700 miles to the finish and we are pushing hard to keep our position. There are some potentially tricky spots up ahead, so stay tuned to see how it works out!”

On December 4th, APOLLO 7 reported on their blog, “Good morning on day five! Life onboard has fallen into a good routine as we head south. For the navigators it is like a game of chess on a massive board, right/wrong moves being rewarded or punished in sea miles.

The temperature is slowly rising and it was a nice dawn with a warm breeze today, just rewards after three hours of charging along at 10+ knots into total darkness.

My watch mates Dan Gohl and Mark Davies are determined to beat Brett Arrons, Steve Wassells and Jim Slaters 16.4 knots. We'll keep trying!”

Then, on December 8th the APOLLO 7 gang commented, “Well, is it really a week ago that we left the windy Lanzarote?

When I set out on this adventure it was with the dream of long surfing downwind days with blue skies and the Atlantic has delivered it! It’s amazing, we are currently surfing due west at 12 -13 knots and have a few days ago enjoyed blasts of 20 knots, and all this on a J/Cruiseliner like the J/133!

Progress should be good over the next three days with stronger winds expected and with our best 24hr run of 294 miles to beat.

This leads to the ultimate goal of box ticking the Atlantic, so it’s sail fast and safe on APOLLO 7 and deliver its astronauts to Grenada in 7/8 days time!”

Background: The RORC Transatlantic Race started November 30 from Puerto Calero Marina in the Canary Islands. The 11-boat fleet departed Puerto Calero Marina, Lanzarote bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada West Indies, 2,995 nm away across the Atlantic Ocean.  For more RORC Trans-Atlantic Race sailing information

Could This Be Love? Grow Sailing Jamaica Style!

J/22 Jamin Jamaica sailing regattaThe Silver Anniversary J/22 Jamin’ Jamaica
(Montego Bay, Jamaica)- You bet mon!  Since 1983, J/22s have been part of the sailing landscape in Jamaica; a beautiful, rugged, jungle festooned island in the middle of the Caribbean, renowned for “Bob Marley and the Wailers” and their unique form of reggae music.  While Marley and friends like Peter Tosh continued to attract a worldwide audience for their metaphorical “chill”, relaxing rhythms and stories of life in ‘da hood in Jamaica, the J/22 also expanded as a fleet at Montego Bay Yacht Club.

Not soon after the arrival of the first J/22s, many local sailors fell in love with their little boats and continued to champion their use to the local school kids and local population, encouraging one and all to enjoy sailing off the spectacular coastline along the north shore of the island.  For over a quarter century, the “Jamaica, No Problem Mon” family of J/22 sailors have hosted their Jamin’ Jamaica Invitational since 1989, a wildly popular event for those “in the know”.

J/22 Montego Bay, JamaicaThe format was simple.  The local fleet of around a dozen boats would have their Jamaican J/22 Nationals 2-3 weeks prior to the Jamin’ Regatta, with the top two teams from each fleet “qualifying” to sail their own boats in the Jamin’ event to represent the homeland of Jamaica (MoBay and Kingston).  The rest of the boats would be offered to “international” teams from around the Americas, Europe and South Africa— just about anywhere there were J/22 teams.  Boats would be “drawn” out of a hat and teams of 3-4 crew could show up, use their own sails if they wished, and even enjoy local host accommodations in some of the coolest places you could ever dream about.

In the early days, the first long-time J/22 Class President, Galen Freeman from Tennessee, sailed in that first event and fell in love with the club, the parties, the sailing and, most of all, the people.  It’s not hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to go.  To say that the membership of Montego Bay YC throws down the red carpet for visiting crews and welcomes everyone in one big warm hug as “family mon!” is a bit of an understatement.  After four days or more of sailing and experiencing the island, you’d swear you just picked up several new “brothers & sisters” along the way.

J/22 Canada team at Jamaica Stylee partyNo question, the Jamaica J/22 sailors love to have fun and love sharing it even more with their friends. A highlight of the regatta is the Saturday evening “Jamaica Stylee” Party hosted by the most amazingly sweet couple, Bryan and Lyn Langford.  Dressed in 70s “stylee style”, the sailors enjoy what has to be one of the nicest potluck dinner parties you’d ever attend.  With a superb “DJ playlist” of awesome reggae tunes, the sailors often leave with bellies full of the best “jerk chicken”, “pepper fish (snapper)”, “pepper shrimp” and other local delicacies while being plied with gallons of the favorite local rum--- Appleton’s!  Many happy faces (sometimes goofy) are seen leaving in the wee hours of the morning.  That Sunday’s racing ever gets going by 11am in the morning for the last three races is often a miracle.

Leading the charge on the entertainment front has to be one of Kingston’s greatest characters, Rugie Misir.  Having owned a J/22 for only four years and sailed for just about as long, Rugie is one of the latest members of the local J/22 tribe.  Telling tall tales goes with the territory and Rugie has had more than his fair share in such a short period of time.  Chief amongst them was a recent outing in Kingston Harbor.  Rugie and the boys decided to head out one afternoon in a 25-30 kt easterly breeze in the flat waters of the harbor. Using their “chicken chute”, they wanted to see how fast they could go (or how scared they might get).  “After a few J/22 Kingston Jamaica speed record!broaches, we got her goin’ good, spray flying everywhere mon’ and de crew goin’ crazy!” said Rugie.  “We hit 18.7 kts average for nearly 2km!  Simply amazin’! Check out our video!”

Here’s proof, watch their “Jamaica crazy J/22” YouTube sailing video here:

As a natural self-promoter in business, Rugie also recognized the need to get more kids and adults involved in the sport he all of a sudden fell completely in love with.  With the help of the J/22 Jamaica class President, Richard Hamilton, they have collaborated to spearhead efforts to get more people J/22 Jamaica sailing promotioninvolved, women, kids, young and old alike.  They created a J/22 “promotion” video for Jamaica that is somewhat amusing and heart-warming.

You can see that J/22 Jamaica sailing promotional video on YouTube here:

In their efforts to cast a wider net around the world, Jamaica’s J/22 fleet first invited American teams and later invited others from Germany, The Netherlands, South Africa, and, ultimately, the sailing teams from a nearby neighbor- the Cayman Islands.

J/22 Cayman Islands women's Viking Team!While Jamaica was the first J/22 fleet in the Caribbean, the Cayman fleet grew quickly in recent years. With nearly the same number of boats, their 13 teams have fielded strong one-design sailors, including Mike Farrington who recently placed third in the J/22 Worlds in South Africa.  One of those teams sailing in Jamin’ this year was Team YAHOO! and included a cast of characters like Mark Edmunds (helm), Pete Bridge (trimmer), Jo Richards (foredeck) and Eduardo Bernal (rail meat, tactician, traveller, backstay, bar duty, pre-start timing, clothing coordinator, travel planner, accommodation chef de mission and anything else the team needed). Their mission statement: “Start at the front, stay at the front!” Fallback mission statement: “drink plenty, enjoy the sailing and hospitality of MoBay YC!”  That just about characterizes another one of their fun-loving, marauding teams from Cayman- the brave women’s team hailing from northern Cayman- the “Vikings”.  All four girls were blonds, were beautiful and were led by their skipper J/22 Cayman Islands youth promotionSuvi Hayden- her crew included Jo Richards, Kristine Verner, and Karin McGrath (a sailing instructor at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club). 

Here’s the J/22 Cayman Island Sailing kids promo Vimeo:

Besides the local “homies” and the Cayman trio of boats, the Silver Anniversary Regatta that sailed over the 6th and 7th December also saw teams from Canada and America.

The regatta was blessed by idyllic sailing conditions both days.  As promised by the local Chamber of Commerce cheerleader (Evelyn Harrington), “the winds are light in the morning, build from 10 to 11am, then diminish in the evening to a light cool breeze.  Plus, it will be sunny all day with cottony clouds scudding across the horizon, perhaps we may get a light drizzle from a stray cloud, and the sunsets will be perfect.”  She was just about 95% right.  The PRO Peter Harper, with help from Commodore Nigel, support from Bryan and Lyn Langford and others all pitched in to conduct seven races in all.  Saturday’s racing was quite blustery, with 15-25 kts puffs whistling over the mountainous peninsula near the windward mark with 40-60 degree shifts from the ENE wrecking havoc on every windward leg and run.  The fourth and last race of the day was the standard windward-leeward 1 1/2 legs followed by a long run into the MoBay YC finish dock!

J/22 Jamin Jamaica visitor skippersThe next day dawned with much lighter winds from the NNE. Thank goodness, as many teams were a bit groggy after the Saturday night festivities at the Langford’s house.  Starting again at the red sea-buoy, the RC sent the fleet off on an “ocean tour” up the beaches to colorful mark names like “Doctor’s Cave” and “Hospital”.  In the end, Team USA comprised of Mike Morse, Noel, Stuart Johnstone and Julia Langford took fleet honors sailing DEFENDER.  In the battle for second, Richard Hamilton from MoBay took second on RENEGADE followed by Team ZIPPER from the Cayman Islands (skipper Bruce, Dave, Rob and Jenny Smith). The final leg of the last race determined the final outcome for 2nd and 3rd; ZIPPER dropped to 6th on the final run to the finish while RENEGADE took the “ocean option” downwind to snag 2nd in the race and second overall by one point.

For any J sailors wishing to learn more about the event in December 2015, please don’t hesitate to contact Jamaica J/22 fleet captain Richard Hamilton @ Learn more on the Jamin Facebook page.   For more J/22 Jamin’ Jamaica Regatta sailing information

Sunday, December 14, 2014

“Happy Thanksgiving” from J/Boats Cleveland!

J/105 family sailing off Cleveland, Ohio (Cleveland, Ohio)-  Here's the city-front of Cleveland from our annual Thanksgiving Day sail! According to Doug Moose, “The annual Thanksgiving Day Sail on Lake Erie is an honored tradition for us Clevelanders.  Whatever the weather you will always find one or two boats braving the elements to gain bragging rights at the dinner table for the evenings feast.  This year we were treated to a 30 degree day with 18 knot winds out of the north and a fresh inch or two of wet snow on the decks.  Now its time to get the boat out of the water!!”