Saturday, May 30, 2015

22 To Many Sailing Newport- Volvo Ocean Race!


J/22s sailing with American war veterans(Newport, RI)- “22 Too Many” is volunteer organization that helps American war veterans adapt & re-integrate into society.

In Newport, these veterans had a great time at the Volvo Ocean Race Village and, more importantly, they had a chance to socialize with real ocean-racing sailors and sail with them on the fleet of Sail Newport’s J/22s off Fort Adams.

Their experience was highlighted here in this sweet sailing video.   Watch the “22 Too Many” YouTube sailing video here:

Friday, May 29, 2015

PNW One Design Regatta- Sailing Was Awesome!

J/105s sailing off Seattle, WA on Puget Sound 
(Seattle, WA)- Yes, the first time the Pacific Northwest One-Design (POD) Regatta was run, and hosted by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle, it can safely be called a success! Just three months after the spark of an idea, over 60 boats came out for this inaugural event. None of this would be possible without the exceptional leadership of our Fleet Captain, Noj Henderson, a capable cadre of volunteers, and our great staff. A huge "shout out" goes to the co-chairs, Steve Sponar & Michele Henderson for taking care of the myriad of details necessary to pull off a regatta on short notice. Special thanks to Phil Nieman, who designed the brilliant POD logo from a couple of scraps of paper hastily drawn at the Boat Show.

Jenn Whitsett from the Seattle Aquarium and Carl Buchan started the weekend off with talks about orca whales and improving sailing success. Both talks were fantastic!

Massive thanks goes to Geoff Peas (this man deserved a medal and GOT ONE), who jumped in at 5 minutes before committee boat launch to serve as PRO on the south course. Our talented and fabulous race committee volunteers, Deb Prince, Joan Chandler, Jeanne McNeil, Joel Highet, Christine Bounds-Poulin, Bob Combie, Paul Carter, Stan & Joyce Buchart, Lorraine Carter, Frost Keaton, and Chuck Stevens were outstanding. Tim Adamson proved to be an exceptional addition to the volunteer staff, and served as a whaler driver. Our staff PRO, Charlie Rathkopf, and scorer Catherine Picha were great, as always.

Our volunteer bartenders included three Commodores! Thanks to Brian Watkins, Jerry Diercks, and Denny Vaughan, along with members Jeff Pullig, Howard Ferguson, and Sarah & Daniel Diaz. A thirsty crowd kept them very busy!  Office staff Beth & Celeste handled last minute drama smoothly and efficiently, per usual, and Chef Jeromi rocked it with the tasty snacks.

We were fortunate to have the lovely and talented Jan Anderson and her Boat Boy Skip out to document the event – they are truly wonderful people – go support them with your event photo purchases!  Click this link here

Without this stellar cast of characters, this event would not have been possible! THANK YOU, ALL!

On the sailing side of things, there was a nice turnout of J/105s and J/80s.  Taking the J/105 class was Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO with a 1-2-2-1 score for 6 pts.  Second was Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM with a 3-1-1-3 record for 8 pts.  Then, in 3rd overall was David Cohen’s INCONCEIVABLE with a 2-3-3-2 for 10 pts.

The J/80s saw a runaway as their class leader, with Lek Dimarucot’s UNDERDOG (appropriately named, eh) scoring only four 1sts to win by a country mile.  The race for the balance of the podium was not so easy; in fact, it was a bit of a dog fight the whole way with both boats earning virtually identical scores and points.  By beating them the last race, Steve Moe’s CRAZY IVAN scored a 2-3-3-2 for 10 pts to grab 2nd.  Losing that tie-break was Mike Poole’s JOLLY GREEN with the inverse scoreline of 3-2-2-3 for 10 pts, too!  For more CYC PNW One-Design sailing information

3 BIG DOGS Chomp J/24 Westerns

J/24s sailing with spinnakers J/70 PRIME NUMBER Sweeps Elite Keel Class
(Belvedere, CA)- The beautiful San Francisco Yacht Club, situated on Belvedere Cove facing the famous Raccoon Straits inside of Angel Island, hosted their annual Elite Keelboat Regatta and the J/24 Western Regional Championship from May 16 to 17. The J/70 class had eight boats racing on the Berkeley Circle along with the fleet of twelve J/24s.

As a Worlds Qualifier regatta, the J/24s were the headliner class for the weekend.  Sailing like a rabid dog going after the last bone on Earth (e.g. like the MadMax movie), Pat Toole’s Santa Barbara YC team on 3 BIG DOGS (past J/24 North American Champions) proved they still had all the skills necessary to be top dog for the weekend, posting four bullets and a 5th to win with 9 pts.

Not surprisingly, another J/24 class leader, the ultra-suave team on TREMENDOUS SLOUCH from Corinthian YC in Seattle, WA, were whipped into a frenzy of energy and uber tactics-calling by their chief cook, bottle washer and skipper- Scott Milne; they posted four deuces and a trey to easily grab second overall for the event.

Rounding out the podium was Paul van Ravenswaay’s FERAL ROOSTER with just 23 pts.  Behind them in fourth was another CYC Seattle boat, Carl Sheath’s SUSPENCE with 25 pts.  Fifth place was decided by a tie-breaker with James Baurley’s CRITTER taking it over Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR.

The all SF Bay J/70 class was pretty well dominated by Peter Cameron’s PRIME NUMBER; their 2-3-1-1-1 scored them just 8 pts.  Starting quickly but fading into the fog and haze was Geoff McDonald’s 1FA with a 1-1-3-2-2 for 9 pts.  Then, the consistent Chris Kostanecki on JENNIFER posted all 2nds & 3rds to grab third place with 13 pts.

Just behind the top three, it was a complete free-for-all with nothing getting settled for the next five boats until the last race or two.  Winning this heart-stopping, anxiety-ridden roller coaster was Tom Thayer’s RAMPAGE, taking fourth place by a whisker with 25 pts.  Only one point back in fifth place was John Brigden’s COOL STORY BRO.   For more Elite Keel/ J/24 Western Regionals sailing information

CHARLY Loves J/80 GPEN!

J/80s sailing GPEN in Camaret, France (Camaret, France)- At Camaret, the J/80 Class has always been very loyal to the Grand Prix Ecole Navale France Championship Monotype habitable. Camaret even organized the J/80 2006 European Championship. It is this year, again, the largest class at GPEN are the J/80s; with 58 boats it also marked a participation record for the event. While starting off very slowly on the first day of racing, it was Martin Bertrand’s CHARLY Team (Xavier Lara, Thomas Haddouche, Julien Lebru, and Amelie Grassi) that closed with a flourish of top five finishes to win by 9 pts.

For the first day of racing on the harbor waters of Brest, it was anything but easy for many of the top teams. The sailing conditions were ideal (8-9 knots in the morning, 12 kts in the afternoon from the WNW with a strong current and sun!).  It allowed the Race Committee, chaired by Alexandre BOUCHARD, to launch three races, including two starts under the terrible black rule.  Overall, no crew really dominated for the day, the differences were small and the standings changed dramatically virtually every race.

The overall standings after 3 races were PIERRE OCEANE (Herve Leduc) in first, followed by GAN’JA (Luc Nadal) and COURIER JUNIOR (Eric Brezellec) in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

J/80 GPEN winnersLike the day before, the J/80 teams started their first race a little before 11:00 am. The Race Committee was able to launch four races in ideal conditions: 8-16 kts of WNW breezes oscillating somewhat evenly and, again, with lots of sun! The general recalls resulted in black flags, including the last race that was fatal for many teams. Because of the adverse current on the line, about fifteen boats were BFD.

The overall standings changed dramatically after the first day.  At this point, CHARLY leapt into first overall, followed by PIERRE OCEANE in 2nd and Brezellec’s team hanging onto 3rd.  Crashing hard and fast down the standings after two BFD’s was Nadal’s GAN’JA.  The most startling advancement up the standings in this game of “snakes & ladders” was ECOLE NAVALE sailed by Frederic Hauville, posting two bullets in the last two races to climb into 4th overall!

For the final day, the RC got the fleet out early for a 0930 hrs start.  However, light winds were the enemy of all good planning and efforts.  Unfortunately, the Race Committee was unable to launch races because the weather conditions were too light: 2-4 knots of wind oscillating between 300 and 350 with lots of current, bright sun, and perfectly smooth water!  As a result, the RC sent the fleet home just before noontime.

The title of “Champion of France Monotype habitable” was awarded to the young Rochelais crew of CHARLY sailed by Martin Bertrand. "This is our first victory in J/80 and only our second competition on this level after the Spi Ouest France Intermarché. We are a young crew (average 23 years) from the 470 class. Our goal this year is the World Championship in Kiel early July. This is a bay that we know well as we often sailed 470s there. We look forward in any case to the Championship of France organized here in GPEN; it was good preparation for the Worlds,“ commented Bertrand.

The runner-up was PIERRE OCEAN skippered by Herve Leduc and his team of Loic Avram, Etienne Luenau, Alexandre Goyer and Nathalie Giloy. The crew of COURIER JUNIOR (Herve Corlay, Morgan Riou, Julie Richeux, Nicolas Richard) steered by Eric Brezellec completed the podium.  Fourth went to ECOLE NAVALE, notable for Hauville’s incredible comeback feat on Saturday.  Fifth was APCC EQUIPE JEUNNE helmed by Hugo Abeguile.

A big thank you for the excellent organization of this event, especially Alain DAOULAS (and teams), Nautical Commissioner of the race, Alexandre BOUCHARD (and his team), Chairman of the Race Committee, for its professionalism, and the city of Camaret (and volunteers) for the fantastic welcome.

Of the nine women skippers in the event (nearly 10% of the boats), the top two women’s teams finished in the top ten!  They were Maxime Rousseaux on CN ST CAST/ GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES in 7th place (notably posting a 5-2-1 scoreline in the middle of the series!) and Maxime Mesnil’s CO-PILOTES in 10th place.   Sailing photo credits- Pierrick Contin   For more Grand Prix de l'Ecole Navale sailing information

Thursday, May 28, 2015

JUST IN TIME Winners @ Wannsee Woche

J/70s sailing Wannsee Woche in Berlin, Germany (Berlin, Germany)- As the first major J/70 regatta of the season hosted by Potsdamer YC on the Wannsee in Berlin, it was the team of JUST IN TIME skippered by Gordon Nickel (including Sebastian Rocke, Fiege Nils-Mathes, Nils Merten Farber) that took the thirteen boat fleet overall honors.  As they say in America, they were first to “punch out” on the time-clock after a weekend of long hard work!

The event had two days of racing with six total races- three each on Saturday and Sunday.  Both days were just about spectacularly perfect— 8 to 18 kts of breeze, some of the best sailing conditions anyone could imagine for the middle of Berlin’s beautiful lake (one of the coolest cities in the middle of Europe!)

J/70s sailing Wannsee in Berlin, GermanyFor the first day of sailing, the crew of DUFTe skippered by Frank-Uwe Fuchs was the runaway leader with a 1-7-1 tally.  Tied for second were Nickel’s JUST IN TIME team with a 6-6-2 and Maxmilian Nickel’s team on JUKEBOX with a 4-3-5.

The second day of sailing brought more good breezes, more sun and even shiftier, puffier breezes!  In the end, it was Nickel’s JUST IN TIME crew that closed out the regatta with a strong series of races and won with a scorecard of 6-6-2-2-2-1 for 13 pts net.

In what seems to be a rather normal scenario for incredibly close J/70 one-design racing, the next two boats on the podium ended up tied on points for second overall.  Winning the tie-breaker with a record of 1-7-1-5-6-4 for 17 pts net was Fuchs’ DUFTe from Yacht J/70 Berlin- Germany- Wansee Woche winnersClub Berlin Grünau.  Third was Max Nickel’s Berliner Yacht Club team sitting on a 4-3-5-1-4-5 record on the same 17 pts net (note- they were the only team in the top three to score all top five finishes).

Also of note was the family team aboard QUICKLY BEE- GER 728; Jürgen Freiheit sailed with his wife Birgit Freiheit and their son Oliver Freiheit and his girl-friend Martje Uecker.  After just taking delivery of their boat, this was their first major J/70 regatta and they managed a 3rd in their first race and a first in their 5th race of the regatta!  Perhaps more good news from this family effort in the near future!  For more Germany J/70 sailing information

J/111 RIPS North Sea Race!

J/111 Xcentric Ripper sailing North Sea RaceJ/105 PANTHER Top Women's Duo!
(Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef's Dutch J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER was the winner of the 18-strong IRC Two-Handed Class, winner of the ORC Two-Handed Class, second ORC Overall, third in IRC 2 Class and fourth IRC Overall! Talk about filling up your trophy shelves in just one race!  FOUR trophies in ONE race for ONE boat!  This was the tenth North Sea Race for John van der Starre and by far their closest finish. After time correction, Xcentric Ripper won the class by four seconds.

"It was a tough but very nice race for us. There was lots of reaching, which was perfect for a J/111. Winning the Two-Handed Class against very good opposition was very satisfying,” commented John van der Starre. "These days with AIS it is possible to see how well you are doing but you don't know how the weather will change for the boats J/111 Xcentric Ripper winners- Robin Verhoef and John van der Starrebehind you. In the delivery race to Harwich, Vuurschepen Race, the wind held up for the boats behind us but for the North Sea Race, that didn't happen. Myself and Robin have been racing together on the boat for four years, so we know our strengths and weaknesses. From the weather forecast we knew that we would have a point where there would be totally no wind on that first night but we know that would give us a good opportunity to gain on the opponents, we decided to stay more to the west, while our opposition went more to the east. The tactic really worked well for us with some good shifts. The wind was picking up, we were planing with about 12 knots of boat speed, it was fantastic but we did have one scary moment, as there were some large navigation marks which were not lit and we passed one by just 30 metres. When we got to Smith's Knoll Buoy, we knew we were in a strong position but to win by just 4 seconds! One little mistake and we would have been second, the Two-Handed Class at the Rolex Fastnet Race is going to be incredible but, having won the class for the North Sea Race, 2015 is already a success for us!”

On the way over to Harwich port, the Vuurschepen Race was good practice for all the crews.  In ORC 2 division, a duo of J/109s were racing, with JAI LAI (JC Bornet) taking 2nd in class and MAJIC (Arnout Joorritsma) in 8th place.  In ORC Two-Handed Class, there were seven very well-sailed and prepared J/Teams. Top J team in this race was the J/109 FIRESTORM (Wim van Slooten/ Jochem Hamstra) in third place and their sistership ARETHUSA (Kees Mijs) was 11th.  The J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER (John van der Starre/ Robin Verhoef) was 7th, followed by the J/122 JUNIQUE RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM (Chris Revelman/ Pascal Bakker) in 8th place.  Just behind was the J/105 PANTHER sailed by the women’s team of Yvonne Beusker/ Edith Voskamp finished 9th.  After leading the race for a while, the J/133 BATFISH (Bart Desaunois/ Gerard de Boer) took 12th place and in 14th was the J/120 MAVERICK (Chris Schram).

For the return trip in the RORC North Sea Race, the reaching conditions found favor with many of the J teams.  In the IRC Double-Handed division, behind the winning duo on the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER was the J/122 JUNIQUE RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM in 4th place, followed by the J/109 FIRESTORM in 5th, then the J/120 MAVERICK in 7th, the J/133 BATFISH in 10th and the women on the J/105 PANTHER in 12th.

Incredibly, the J/111 as a double-handed team took 3rd place in IRC 2 Class with fully crewed boats!  Angus Bates’ J/133 ASSARAIN IV took 5th place while Richard Fawcett’s J/120 JAMEERAH took 6th. The J/122 JUNIQUE took 7th and the J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER sailed by Donall Ryan from the British Army Sailing Association placed 8th.  10th was the J/120 MAVERICK.  Not a bad showing for J’s in this class, just 6 of the top 10!

Yvonne Busker sailing J/105 PantherYvonne Beusker on the double-handed women’s team on the J/105 PANTHER provided this report on their collective experience:

“Home sweet home! Preparation is everything.  Or, as they say, diminishes the worry of unexpected fixes. Edith and I have prepared in wintertime during North Sea IJspegel Trophy winter competition in Scheveningen after our thorough refit/upgrade.

What a feast!  So, there we are, participating in the first Two-Handed Nationals ever held in the world. Not an easy one, I must say as these duo's have committed to 3 consecutive races, starting with:
  1. 130nm offshore Vuurschepen Race from Scheveningen to Harwich/Woolverstone, with 1 day recovery; then
  2. starting the next 200nm offshore North Sea Race from Harwich back to Scheveningen; and then
  3. four days of inshore racing during North Sea Regatta!
Basically, you must be mad to do all the work that full crew teams undertake with only two!  And, well, if we're mad anyway, let's have these duo's really push it to the max with way much more races then any other nationals before so they can actually call themselves the national champ!

Ready to start the Vuurschepen Race on Tuesday evening 12 May. Always a bit more excited as you start the race going directly into the night while crossing one of the busiest seas with commercial vessels in the world! If you want to know how a rabbit feels crossing the highway... well here's a good one. We knew to start with a lot of wind, which would completely vanish at dawn. It would cover such a large area that it was impossible to escape. Not a good combination for sailing yachts especially if you add the strong tides to it. In short: the ladies managed to not perform well at the start and when it should have been relatively easy, but kind of outperformed when it tactically became outrageously difficult. These light winds made the race take up about 25.5 hours, much more time then we'd ever sailed it before. Smaller boats obviously arrive later, and the combination small boat plus long period of no wind allows for less time recuperating for the start of the North Sea Race.

So, traditionally Thursday after the Vuurschepen Race and before the North Sea Race, there's the Pinn Mill lunch, followed by the prize giving at Royal Harwich Yacht Club/ Woolverstone. This leaves for only a few morning hours of repairing and preparation for the race starting the day after. Noordzee Club's lunch at Pinn Mill is famous. Always good to be among those 'chosen ones' and peers with the same experience; and well, what happens in Pinn Mill Stays in Pin mill?!  ;)  If you've never been there, well it's hard to explain. So why not try to attend next year?

Then, the North Sea Race. Traditionally always good to have extra competition from our UK, Belgian and French sailing friends. To our British friends... why are you sailing straight back to the U.K.?? Don't you know the 3rd largest inshore sailing event of West Europe, the North Sea Regatta, is about to start in a few days? Need to work? Well, leave the boat in Scheveningen and book a return on the Harwich ferry?

J/105 Panther sailing Dutch Two-handed NationalsAgain, we prepared for a medium wind start, preparing for a no wind treat in a few hours time. We noticed that we had less time to recuperate and prepare then we'd wish for. It's always difficult when sailing with only two, to schedule for rests and the duration for them. We're human, so we need it.  However, with two you can't schedule by the clock, as no wind ever sticks to regular working hours. That's one that needs emphasis in our further practice. After the start, we sailed up to black deep buoy, always a difficult one with the tides around the sand bank. We sure miscalculated the current around buoy!  Those were very, very expensive extra minutes we lost and made us in a lesser position entering the no wind zone. We were quite keen on changing headsails, spi's in a timely matter, which was a good heads-up.

With all the action, you basically burn calories like crazy. As for the food? To sail on you need high-energy food and munchies like nuts and high fiber dried apricot and so on. There's so much good freeze-dried food available. We had great flavors with us, and a few test versions... let's say, not all the test versions have passed the test for further use.

So back to the race: it was a long one, by dawn welcoming us with cloud covers and rain. With Scheveningen in sight, we had the sun welcoming us back home.

Something that wasn't the case for Luctor3, CoinCoin and Jazz. During the night all 3 hit a buoy, unlit and not located where it was supposed to. We hope that the actions undertaken by the Dutch and English authorities against the owner of these buoys to avoid any further accidents in the future.  We feel sorry for you guys. Thank you for your sanity after the accident and warning the fleet behind you of these unlit buoys adrift.

So, now waiting for the price giving for the North Sea Race in a few hours. We congratulate our Two-Handed class winners, with a well-deserved spot.

So, let's talk about those Two-Handed nutheads, which cover one-third of the fleet. It's not just about testosterone. Let's not forget the female die-hards of the Vuurschepen Race: Astrid de Vin– skipper 'Il Corvo', Jessica Wegener– co-skipper 'RoaringX', Els Besse– co-skipper 'Windsprint' and, of course, the Panther team with co-skipper Edith Voskamp and skipper Yvonne Beusker. We challenge other women sailors for more girl-power and girl-competition!

Preliminary scores mention 9th place overall. I guess, we can say we've won 1st prize in the all-women skipper class and also became winner of all female duo's class!! Too bad there's no prize for that!! :)

Suggestion to the Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA- can you support more women’s offshore sailing and set a prize for that?? So, Team SCA, just send me a PM/text and we'll arrange it! :)

Sore muscles.  Very tired.  A long list full of improvements.  But, also satisfied we've also got more good news. With the completion of these races and races last September, we've more than qualified ourselves as a duo for the Fastnet (Rolex Fastnet Race) starting August 2015!!  Yipee!!  Watch out boys, you may be in trouble yet!”   For more North Sea Regatta sailing information.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Calling all J/Boat sailors!

Summer Sailstice 2015Come sailing with us!
(Newport, RI)- We are inviting all J/Boat sailors worldwide to come sailing 'with us' as part of the Summer Sailstice global celebration of sailing.  We want to show off the best of J/Boat sailing and you can help us do it by entering your sailing plans for this once-a-year event held annually on the weekend nearest the summer solstice.  This year the June 20th weekend.

Everyone signed up and sailing is eligible to win a $100 gift certificate to the J/Boat store plus a one-week BVI charter from Sunsail and numerous other prizes.  You can participate if you're racing Block Island Race Week, the Marion Bermuda Race, Cleveland Race week or cruising the Med or just out for an afternoon sail.  Sign up, hoist your sails and celebrate J/Boat sailing.

Sign up at http://www.summersailstice.com.  This allows you to post your sailing plans, publicize a fleet event, invite others or see what other sailors are doing in the area.  Participants can host a cruising rendezvous, hold a race or sail however you like for the Sailstice holiday. There’s no better way to start the summer and the ideal way to connect with all J/Boat sailors around the world.  Ideally, we'd love to have all 14,000 J/Boats in all four corners of the globe all sailing 'together' in this worldwide celebration of sailing!

All events can be posted on this map.  Individuals can enter their sailing plans to show up here.

We're looking forward to sailing and celebrating 'with you' on Summer Sailstice 2015!  Where will you be sailing your J/Boat for Summer Sailstice?   Fair Winds,  The Newport J/Team