Monday, December 18, 2017

J/121 SAIL magazine guide review
HOT New Boat For a Cool New Kind of Racing
SAIL's 2018 Sailboat Guide for New Boats Features J/121 Offshore Speedster
(Boston, MA)- Every boat design strives for something new. But, a new kind of racing? In fact, that's exactly what designer Alan Johnstone and the rest of the folks at J/Boats set out to do with their new J/121 one-design offshore speedster. In the process, they also just happened to create a boat that is both drop-dead gorgeous and sails like a witch—two reasons why it won SAIL magazine's 2018 Best Boats award in the 30 to 40ft Performance category.

At the heart of the J/121's design brief was a desire to create a shorthanded speedster that can be competitively raced with just five sailors— as opposed to the eight to 10 normally required to race a 40-footer— in the interest of making things easier logistically for today's busy skipper.

Also, on the agenda was a boat that would work well in something called "Open Course" racing: a middle-distance format that combines the best of both around-the-buoys and offshore racing, with an eye toward getting away from the windward-leeward "sausage" courses that have come to dominate one-design sailboat racing in recent years.

With this in mind, the J/121 has been spec’d with a "five-sail" rig flying a powerful main, slightly overlapping genoa and a staysail on a continuous-line furler off the boat's deck-stepped, double-spreader Southern Spars carbon-fiber mast.

Off the wind, sails #4 and #5 consist of a Code 0 or A-2 spinnaker tacked onto the end of a J/ Boats trademark retracting carbon sprit. The idea is to be able to raise or lower the staysail while either fully deploying or rolling up the genoa to "change gears" depending on the sailing conditions, a la a Volvo 65 or IMOCA Open 60 ocean racer.

All lines are led aft, either to the twin helms set immediately aft of a main traveler spanning the breadth of the cockpit sole—exactly as it should be aboard any serious performance boat—or to the cabin top. These include everything from the headsail sheets to the staysail halyard to a 3D genoa lead that employs a series of high-modulus in- and out-haulers and low-friction rings to place the clew of the genoa exactly where you want it. (The boat also comes with a hydraulic backstay adjuster.) The result is a fairly complex network of lines running aft—this is not a boat for newbies. But, it all makes sense and is well within the grasp of any experienced sailor.

Then there's the water ballast: yes, water ballast in a J/Boat. Doing away with four or five crew is all well and good, but you still need righting moment if want to carry any kind of sail in a blow, so J/Boats has included a 104gal water ballast tank to either side to take the place of roughly "four big guys" worth of rail meat—rail meat that'll never call in sick or have any kind of family conflicts.

The system is simple to use: just prime one of the tanks using an electric pump—you'll know its full when the overflow starts gushing out via a drainage port in the transom—then transfer from one side to the other prior to each tack using a set of valves actuated by a pair of short lines set at the aft end of the starboard-side cockpit bench.

Beyond that, the J/121 is vintage J/Boats, with an infused E-glass, balsa-cored hull, a deep low-center-of gravity L-shaped bulb-keel and a powerful high-aspect spade rudder. I really like the sculpted cabin trunks and plumb ends Al has been drawing in recent years, and the look is an especially good one in this latest design.  Read the rest of the three page article here from SAIL magazine   Read the SAIL magazine 2018 BEST BOATS Review here   For more J/121 offshore speedster sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Russian J/70 Sail Training Fun!

J/70 Russian team training Kaliningrad, Baltic Sea (Kaliningrad, Russia)- J/Boats Russia distributor, Dmitry Zaritskiy from Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, sent us a link to a short video based on one of their training sessions this fall.

On board J/70 RUS 1272 were Dmitry Zaritsky, Irina Gorbatyuk, Victor Poluichik, Daria Krysina and Sergey Dimitriev.

Apparently, it was a great training session for this crew! Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Russian Woman Sailing Photographer Honored

Russian Sailor of Year Awards winner- Elena Otekina (Moscow,  Russia)- At the 2017 Russian Sailor of the Year Awards in Moscow, Russia, Elena Otekina was awarded “Best Sailing Media” due to her amazing coverage of the 2017 J/70 World Championship in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy and also for her coverage of numerous Russian J/70 Sailing League events during the course of the year.

“Congratulations” to Elena for her contribution to both growing and bringing awareness of the sport of sailing to the public, not just in Russia, but worldwide. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

J/24 FIVE FOR FIGHTING Wins Autumn Championship

J/24 sailing off Italy's Carrara marble mountains (Marina di Carrara, Italy)- The 2017 Autumn Championship for the Gulf of Poets J/24 Fleet took place over two weekends and was organized by the Club Nautica Marina di Carrara in collaboration with the Circolo della Vela Marina di Massa.  The region is not necessarily famous for its amazing sailing conditions, since the rest of the world knows it for something decorating many upscale households and offices- their renowned “Carrara marble”!  The mountainsides gleam white in the day and glow orange at sunset- an astonishing view!

Italy's Carrara mountain rangeIn total, ten races were run over the two weekends.  A victory in the last race simply confirmed the crushing win the young crew on ITA 304 FIVE FOR FIGHTING put on the dozen-boat fleet.  The team was led by owner/skipper Eugenia De Giacomo with crew of Nicola and Matilde Pitanti, Lorenzo Cusimano and Bruna Marco.

The sailing was characterized by sun and perfect wind, about 10-15 knots from the northeast on Saturday.  Then on Sunday, two more races in similar conditions to count five for the weekend.  There were four different winners of the races, including FIVE FOR FIGHTING (race 6 and 10), Riccardo Pacini’s COCCOE, Roberta Banfo’s TALLY-HO (skippered by Luca Macchiarini), and Giuseppe Simonelli’s RAZOR BILL (skippered by Davide Sampiero).

J/24 sailing off Carrara marble mountains in ItalyAt the end of racing on Sunday, F4F had five 1sts and three 2nds in their ten-race tally to win with 16 pts net- a huge margin over the second place team.  That boat was Pacini’s COCCOE with 25 pts net. Third and fourth places were determined by a tie-breaker between Pietro Diamanti’s JAMAICA and Macchiarini’s TALLY-HO, with the former getting the benefit of count back to round out the podium. Fifth place went to Simonelli’s RAZOR BILL.

"They were beautiful regattas, very fun and very competitive,” commented Pietro Diamanti. "I am satisfied with this edition of the Autumn Championship and the victory of a crew made up of determined and very good youngsters like Five for Fighting, always ready to go down into the water and to commit to the maximum. Congratulations also to Riccardo Pacini, a great return with a super crew formed by my brother Giuseppe, Fabio Apollonio and Renzo Marini and Tommy Fusato."  For more Italian J/24 Class sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

J/46 BRAVO World Cruising Update

J/46 Bravo sailing Caribbean(English Harbour, Antigua)- “The J/46 BRAVO has done it again,” says proud and happy owner Tom Babbit from Portland, Maine. “We now have three Maine to Caribbean passages under our belts, the first, nearly 30 years ago on our J/40 with 7 and 10 year old daughters as our only crew. 

As we’ve aged a bit, we have gone longer [46‘) and gradually transitioned crew from family to great and very experienced friends. 

This year’s voyage was a nonstop (hopefully) from Camden to Antigua. The crew was Galen Todd (J/42 Tango) with whom I have several thousand passage, cruising, and racing miles, and Paul Rogers, (J/42 Canty) who has a transatlantic (on Canty) and ten years or so cruising Scandinavia and the Med - so far) plus a house full of trophies.

We delayed our Camden departure to Tuesday, Oct. 31 (Halloween), due to 60-knot winds on Monday in Camden. Our first afternoon and evening were “sporty” going to weather in 25 to 30 TWS with large seas and of course lobster pots to dodge while we had daylight. Things moderated for day two and then we entered the Gulf Stream, with 25 to 30 against the flow. 12 to 14 knots SOG was fun for a while, but the sea state was a bit of a challenge...especially when the tanker Alexia suggested we head up into the mountainous seas and pass astern! A firm negative response from Bravo to that suggestion saw us both agree to alter course hard to starboard and pass port-to-port, nary a mile between us. 

After that, there was only one more sporty night well south of Bermuda (where we stopped for a few hours to top fuel off). After three days of motoring, the trades filled and we were off on moonlit nights arriving in 10.5 days at first light on 11 November.  Except for two shredded jib sheets in the Gulf Stream, zero damage to BRAVO, and a happy landing in Paradise! What a great boat and crew!”  Thanks for this contribution from Tom Babbitt. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

J/30 PAPARAZZI Two-Peats The “Buffet Race”

J/30 Wirth Munroe winners- Paparazzi! (Palm Beach, FL)- Nicknamed “the buffet race,” the 61st Annual Wirth M. Munroe Race commenced December 1st for the 60nm course from Miami to Palm Beach. Aside from a short-lived rainstorm, the 22 teams enjoyed sunny conditions with breeze in the teens before arriving to rum drinks and the infamous seafood buffet at the Sailfish Club of Florida.

This year’s race was a bit more challenging than last year and that one was tough enough. The boats that did well sailed 11-12 miles offshore, first on a port tack, to go “Gulf Stream hunting”- finding the hot 88 F water flowing at 4.5+ kts north over the bottom!

Donald Lasky’s J/30 PAPARAZZI won PHRF B for the 2nd year in a row and was 2nd overall. PAPARAZZI is very well sailed and the crew were really tired when they reached the Sailfish Club- most of the crew are in their 60’s or 70’s!  For more Wirth M. Munroe Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, December 11, 2017

J/70s Sweep SDYC Hot Rum Series Class!

J/70 sailing and winning San Diego YC Hot Rum Series (San Diego, CA)- Originated in 1957, the annual Sinnhoffer Hot Rum Series completed its three race schedule (Nov. 4, 18, Dec. 2) under sunny skies and light to moderate winds in San Diego, CA. With a pursuit start and an 11.9 nm random leg course for the 140 teams, the course setup again favored the big boats powering through the fleet of smaller boats that had started in much lighter winds.

J/125 sailing San Diego YC Hot Rum seriesThe J/125s had a rough go of it this year in PHRF 1 class.  In the end, they ended up separated by three points, with Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER edging out Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE, taking 7th and 8th in class, respectively.  Both boats had solid finishes, mostly top ten, but not enough to overcome the big tall rigs of the TP52’s and larger boats.

PHRF Class 2 was shaping up to be quite a pitched battle between two J/120s and the famous America’s Cup helmsman- Dennis Conner on his appropriately named MENACE.  Going into the last race, the J/120s were 1st and 3rd but could not hold on to those positions.  In a light air reaching drag race, the J/120s were a little out-classed.  John Laun’s CAPER finished on the podium in 3rd place while his friend Chuck Nichols on CC RIDER settled for 4th place.

J/105 Blink sailing Hot Rum SeriesUsually the domain of the J/105 class, PHRF 3 Class saw a strong performance from Dagfish’s VIGGEN to take home the silver with all top five scores.  Then, Scheel’s SUN PUFFIN took 7th, Rick Goebel’s SANITY posted a DNC-2-2 to crush the last two races but was only good enough for the 8th spot. Howell’s fun-loving holiday-trimmed BLINK took 9th and Sanford’s CREATIVE placed 11th.

The big winners in PHRF Class 4 were the trio of J/70s.  Winning on a tie-breaker at 10 pts each was Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO, getting the short end of that stick was Wyman’s NUNUHUNU.  Then, only one point back was Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR.

Finally, in PHRF 5 class, The Case’s sailed one of San Diego YC’s J/22s called ZO ZO to 4th place.
For more San Diego YC Hot Rum Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

J/34 Knee Deep- Summer 2017 Video

J/34 IOR Knee Deep sailing Lake Erie (Sandusky, Ohio)-  From Brett Langolf, owner of the classic J/34 IOR boat called KNEE DEEP, yet another awesome compilation of sailing their beloved boat on Lake Erie.  Said Brett, “we won some, lost some, got wet, went fast & drank out of trophies. Cheers to family & friends for a great season!”

Their team is based out of Deadman's Flat Yacht Club & Sandusky Sailing Club.  Here is KNEE DEEP’s website-

This video, without question, is the very essence of what this sport is all about! Fun, family, perhaps some adult libations (okay, a lot of those), and just getting out there and doing it you’re own way.  Watch J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP sailing video compilation here of their 2017 sailing season Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/Sailors Leading Sweep of Volvo Ocean Race?

Team Vestas 11th Hour sailing Volvo race (Capetown, South Africa)- J/sailors leading sweep of Volvo Ocean Race after two legs? The skippers with extensive J/one-design experience were 1st- J/80, 2nd- J/24, 3rd- J/80, or in other words- MAPFRE, VESTAS 11th HOUR RACING, and DONGFENG Race Team. Yes, indeed, knowing how to cut your teeth on the knife-edge against one-design world champions hones your instincts to sail fast, consistently 24x7, and continually tweak the boat and sails to gain tenths of a knot, here and there.

The Spanish flagged MAPFRE team won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race on November 24, the 7,000 nautical mile marathon from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa.

“It’s amazing, we’re super-happy. We came here in one piece and in front of the others, we can’t ask for more,” said skipper Xabi Fern├índez (a long-time champion J/80 sailor in Spain). “This is what we will see all the way around the world. Super-tight racing, everyone has good speed and small mistakes are very expensive. This time we were luck to do the least mistakes and that’s why we won.”

MAPFRE trailed Dongfeng Race Team on the long charge to the south, but last weekend, 14 days into the leg and after crossing the Doldrums, navigator Juan Vila (another J/24 and J/80 sailor) and skipper Xabi Fern├índez put in a quick gybe to the southwest that Dongfeng didn’t match. It turned out to be a winning move; within hours the Spanish team had a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

In contrast, after leading from the first night, Dongfeng suddenly found itself in fourth place two weeks into the leg. But skipper Charles Caudrelier led his team to an inspiring fight-back. Over the final days, Dongfeng clawed its way back into a well-deserved second place.

“A good second place,” said Caudrelier (who selected and trained many crew on J/80s in China). “For sure, at one moment we were hoping for better, but a few days ago it was much worse and we made a fantastic comeback. Well done to MAPFRE, they made fewer mistakes than us, but we never gave up, the crew never complained, they just worked on the comeback… We have amazing speed in strong winds, we’ve worked on that a lot, and it was unbelievable, we were nearly a knot faster sometimes.”

Charlie Enright- skipper of Team Vestas 11th Hour in Volvo raceCompleting the podium was Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the winner of Leg 1. Skipper Charlie Enright’s team (long-time J/24 sailor and World Champion) was always in the mix with the leaders on this leg, but couldn’t find a way to slip into the lead.

“We’re happy with a podium result against a lot of good teams,” Enright said, dockside in Cape Town. “We’re not satisfied yet with how we’re sailing the boat, so we still have a lot of work to do, but we’ll keep chipping away. We’re still trying to get faster through the water and streamline our decision-making, but it’s a long race. We have time.”

MAPRFE won Leg 2 and now takes the overall lead. For Leg 2, MAPFRE sailed 7,886.5 nautical miles over the ground at an average speed of 17.3 knots!

The teams will now prepare for the In-Port Race on December 8 before the 6,500nm Leg 3 from Cape Town, South Africa to Melbourne, Australia that starts on December 10.  Follow these three teams on the Volvo Ocean Race here- Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

ARC Rallies- Caribbean 1500 & Atlantic Update

Sailing the ARC Atlantic rally (Grand Canary, Spain)- “World Cruising”, the organization that created a number of “cruising rallies” called “ARC” (originally, Atlantic Rally Cruising), has seen its first major event finish in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, while the second event, ARC Atlantic, is still taking place having started on November 19th.

The longest-running ocean crossing rally in North America, the “1500” is a must-do for many cruisers. The ARC Caribbean 1500 fleet sails from Portsmouth, VA at the mouth the Chesapeake Bay to Nanny Cay on Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The start port and dates make the most of the available weather to maximize your Caribbean sailing, and the week-long pre-departure program will get you relaxed and ready for cruising.

Without a doubt, the most difficult part of getting to the Caribbean is timing the weather window before departure. Fall on the East Coast is squeezed between late summer hurricane season and early winter gale season. By joining the 1500, cruisers can rest assured that the “experts” are there to take the pressure off that decision. The support team consists of professional ocean sailors working closely with weather forecasters at WRI to ensure the fleet makes it across the Gulf Stream and into warmer waters in the best possible conditions.

Shortly after the start of the 2017 edition of the “1500”, one boat sent out an update over satellite email explaining, “it is an absolutely gorgeous day here in the North Atlantic. We are currently 640 nm off the coast of Georgia.  Last night was equally stunning. We were treated to a blaze orange moonrise followed by a moonlit night that danced on the water. The winds were favorable and we were cruising along comfortably at 11 knots or so.”

It did not take the fleet very long this year to make the 1,500nm crossing to Nanny Cay in Tortola, BVI.  In fact, Pete Watkins from Boise, Idaho, sailed his J/42 MERLIN so fast that he ended up 2nd Overall and 2nd in Cruising A Class!  Now, that’s a nice way to celebrate the start of the 2017/ 2018 winter Caribbean sailing season!  For more Caribbean 1500 sailing information

J/133 sailing ARC Atlantic RallyARC ATLANTIC
The 2017 edition of the ARC Atlantic attracted nearly 200 boats and 1,200 people to sail 2,700nm across the Atlantic from Gran Canary Island (Spain) to Saint Lucia situated in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean.

This year’s “cruising rally” attracted a broad cross-section of sailors; families with children, tough offshore racers, cruising couples, big boats and modest boats. Crossing the Atlantic together, but having their own adventures. Many are already looking forward to their arrival in Saint Lucia to be met on the dock with a rum punch and a chilled beer after two weeks at sea!

After starting November 19th, Sunday, the fleet is making good progress towards St Lucia, and the crews are celebrating and enjoying the Atlantic crossing on board their yachts in many different ways. For some it’s flying a spinnaker, others it’s catching a fish or practicing celestial navigation.

The lone J/crew participating in this year’s event is the J/133 JACKY X owned and skippered by Gerard Feenema from The Netherlands.  Currently, as of 1500 hrs, November 30th, they are lying 4th in Cruising D, but on a significantly better, faster track to St Lucia than her erstwhile classmates.  They are approximately 1,500nm from landfall in the Caribbean.  For more ARC Atlantic sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.