Friday, August 28, 2015

How Sailing Can Save the World!

(San Francisco, CA)- John Arndt, the Editor of Latitude 38 in California and founder of “Summer Sailstice”, often has some thought-provoking perspectives on sailing.  Here’s his latest on why sailing matters and how we can save our “Liferaft Earth”:

“I am always puzzled when I encounter concern about the cost of sailing. As the world becomes increasingly urbanized and technical, I get more concerned about the cost of not sailing.

You can ‘follow’ the Volvo Ocean Race and the America’s Cup, and you can ‘watch’ the virtual wind and ‘see’ the ocean currents, but is that the same as having your hand on the tiller as you try to get around a ledge with an adverse current and fading breeze? No, the only way to understand sailing, and gain an appreciation and respect for our waters, is to actually be on them, and cost needn’t be a hurdle.

Three years ago, my brother bought a Hobie 16 with sails and a trailer for $500 (what’s your cell and cable costs/month?). When my brother and I were sailing it last summer, it started sinking after we flipped it. We hopped a tow from a passing lobster boat, got the boat to shore so we could drain it, and then sailed it back to where we could goop up the holes. Great stories followed!

This year it was my nephew’s turn who sunk the boat when a new leak occurred. But he got the boat back, and later dug out the long crack in the hull deck joint, mixed up some epoxy and relaunched. For those in New England this week, Tuesday was a rainy, nasty day, and he and a friend launched again in big breeze to rip around the bay. What a riot!

Finding a leak, mixing epoxy, launching and rigging a Hobie and sailing in a rain storm … all character and confidence building stuff.

In an era where people are cultivated to lust after image-defining stuff like cars and homes, sailing can look positively cheap. Then, when you account for the stories, experiences, and thrills generated by sailing, its value becomes priceless. And who knows, if our fitness and sanity improved by time on the water, we might even reduce the cost of health care.

With Craigslist filled with affordable boats like the Hobie, the cost of sailing is a good investment. I know my nephew and friend will be lusting for a new Hobie long before a new kitchen appliance, making for an important trend to strengthen the marine industry.

Maybe sailing can save the world. Bringing families together, overcoming obstacles with solutions, and connecting with our environment… all the time giggling and memory-making. Can a body-idling iPad do that?”  Thanks for contribution from Craig Leweck/ Scuttlebutt Newsletter.

J/111 ODYSSEY Two-Peats Ida Lewis Race

J/111 sailing Ida Lewis RaceJ/111 EAGLES DARE Wins Double-handed Class
(Newport, RI)– The Ida Lewis Distance Race, a popular sailing overnighter hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I., wrapped up its 11th edition this weekend with the entire 36-boat fleet finishing within the time limit – a stark contrast to last year when many entries had to retire due to inclement weather.

The race started Friday (August 14) at 12:30 p.m. off Fort Adams, near the mouth of Newport Harbor, with a steady breeze and calm seas that remained consistent on two courses: the 153-nautical mile Block Island Course for the IRC Class and the 121-nautical mile Point Judith Course for PHRF and Doublehanded Classes.

Although the fleet was divided on two courses, all boats had to incorporate an approximately 37nm upwind leg from Buzzards Bay to Montauk Point off the eastern end of Long Island, New York. The “tricky beat” called for teams to decide whether to head right or left around Block Island; most boats chose the left because of the wind angles.

The Youth Challenge saw a repeat victory with Fred Van Liew’s (Middletown, R.I.) J/111 team aboard ODYSSEY winning the Arent H. Kits van Heyningen Trophy for the second year in a row. When asked about how her experience on ODYSSEY differed this year compared to last, 18-year-old Kate Nota (Newport, R.I.) said, “We definitely approached racing with a different mindset. Last year, the wind was pretty crazy. With calmer conditions this year, we were able to focus on all the little details and make every second count. It’s good to have different conditions to test us as sailors and build up our experience.”

The Youth Challenge was developed by the race organizers nine years ago as a stepping stone for junior sailors interested in transitioning into offshore racing. This year, the Youth Challenge hosted five teams. (To qualify, more than 40% of the crew had to have reached their 14th birthday but not turned 20 prior to August 15, 2015.)

Nota added that the ODYSSEY team consisted of seven junior sailors and two adults: Van Liew and David Brodsky. “We had a few junior sailors on our team that were new to the event and one who had never sailed in an overnight race before, so it was fun to go through the experience with them and see how excited they were.”

In the PHRF A Division, the J/109s URSA (Brooke Mastrorio) and VENTO SOLARE (Bill Kneller) took 3rd and 4th place, respectively.  Just behind them, Paul Grimes’ J/35 BREAKAWAY placed fifth and was the 2nd Youth Challenge team overall.  Then, in 7th place was Doug Mckeige’s J/88 JAZZ with a Youth Challenge team that took the 3rd spot in that group.

The PHRF B division had six J/Teams, basically 60% of the class.  Taking 2nd was Jack Gregg’s J/122 TARAHUMARA, followed by Greg Leonard’s J/120 HERON in third position.  Yet another J/120, Bob Manchester’s VAMOOSE took 6th, followed by Dan Heun’s J/122 MOXIEE in 7th.

Finally, in the PHRF Doublehanded division, the J/111 EAGLES DARE skippered by Jonathan Green from Wakefield, MA took class honors.

Starting Line Sponsors for the 2015 Ida Lewis Distance Race include Bluewater Technologies, the City of Newport, Helly Hansen, New England Boatworks and Newport Shipyard; Contributing Sponsors are DYT Yacht Transport, Flint Audio & Video, Gosling’s Rum, Mac Designs, Toni Mills Graphic Design, Triton Insurance, North Sails, Rig Pro Southern Spars and Stella Artois.  Sailing photo credits- Megan Sepe/ Newport.   For more Ida Lewis Distance Race sailing information

Thursday, August 27, 2015

PERSEVERANCE Tops Summer Keelboat

J/105 Perseverance team CHANCE Trumps J/120 Class
(San Francisco, CA)- The San Francisco YC on the northern part of San Francisco Bay hosted their annual Summer Keelboat Regatta for one-design classes.  Featured again this year were the J/105s and J/120s.  For some perspective on how it all went down, here’s the commentary from a J/105 team that has never won a regatta before- Steve Kent and his merry bandits on-board PERSEVERANCE.

“After moving to SF a little over a year ago and buying PERSEVERANCE to race in Fleet 1, we won our first regatta at the SFYC Summer Keelboat event this past weekend. Without a doubt this is one of the most competitive fleets I've had a chance to sail in.

As we expected, over the last year we struggled to learn the boat, assemble a team, figure out the rig, etc. We tore up some gear making the transition from SoCal relatively light air sailing to the breeze on The Bay.  What a great experience!!!  Guys from the top of the fleet like MOJO, DONKEY JACK, and ARBITRAGE were generous with advice and a new jib and main from Quantum have all helped us improve.

A couple things made all the difference this weekend. We forgot about 'winning' the start and instead focused on being at full speed with a hole to leeward anywhere on the line. We also worked hard at a 'quiet boat', not something easy for me, but Alex Steele was a great coach on this aspect.

In the end, it was a close regatta with Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE team just two points back (after two bullets on Sun) and Ryan Simmons’ BLACKHAWK team challenging at every mark in third.

Looking forward to the J/105 North Americans at StFYC Rolex Big Boat Series next month and a full 4 days of racing against the best!  A photo of the happy team here!”

Filling out the top five was Shannon Ryan & Rolf Kaiser’s DONKEY JACK in 4th, just beating out Phil & Ken Laby’s GODOT by 3 pts, who took fifth place.

Amongst the J/120s, Barry Lewis’ CHANCE crew from St Francis YC rattled off three straight bullets to easily win their division- an amazing “lights out” performance.  Taking second overall and fighting for their life to do it was Dave Halliwill’s PEREGRINE crew. Only one point back in third was Timo Bruck’s TWIST Team.  For more San Francisco YC Summer Keelboat sailing information

Conch Republic Cup Announcement!

Conch Republic Cup- Key West to Havana, Cuba (Havana, Cuba)- What is the “Conch Republic Cup”?  Well, it’s none other than the 8th Edition of Key West-Cuba Race Week!  For the first time in history, American sailors can now have a blast sailing 90nm from Key West to Cuba and enjoy several days of sailing in just the most stupendously beautiful, unspoiled, Caribbean waters you will ever see.  Plus, for those sailors “in the know”, namely Europeans, South Americans, and some Americans, the Cuban sailors sure know how to host and throw a party!  The Commodore of Club Nautico de Havana, Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich, is extending a warm welcome to all that can make it to Marina Hemingway this year!

Conch Republic to Havana sailboat startThe event is scheduled right after Quantum Key West Race Week finishes in the end of January.  So, boats that are planning to continue their Florida winter getaway can add this one to their “bucket list” of fabulous regatta itineraries.  And, for those boats contemplating heading further east into the Caribbean for the sextet of famous winter regattas (RORC 600, St Maarten, St Thomas, BVI, St Barths, Antigua); this week would be a natural one to start the winter-long celebration of fun-in-the-sun!  Here is the current schedule of five (5) races total:
  • Jan 27- Wednesday- Captains Meeting and party at Key West
  • Jan 28- Thursday- Key West to Veradero, Cuba Race
  • Jan 29- Friday- Veradero Awards and party
  • Jan 30- Saturday- free day
  • Jan 31- Sunday- Veradero Offshore buoy race- Awards/ party after
  • Feb 1- Monday- Veradero to Havana Race- Marina Hemingway
  • Feb 2- Tuesday- free day
  • Feb 3- Wednesday- Havana’s El Malecon Parade Race- awards/party @ Marina Hemingway
  • Feb 4- Thursday- free day
  • Feb 5- Friday- Havana to Key West Race
  • Feb 6- Saturday- Key West awards/ party
Please contact Peter Goldsmith at cell# (305)-304-4582 or email- Jeff@MainsailNews.TV to express interest and get on the direct contact list for updates.  Here is the Conch Republic Cup Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Yachts & Yachting Interview- World Champion Stevie Morrison

J/111 Journeymaker II sailing Cowes Race Week (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Steve Morrison, who was sailing on the J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II at Cowes Race Week, talks  about his sailing experience at Cowes with Y&Y correspondent Mark Jardine.  Stevie is the current skipper of the Oman Air Extreme 40 catamaran, an Olympic 49er sailor at both Qingdao 2008 & London 2012 and former World Champion in both Fireball & 49er classes.

Mark Jardine: So Stevie, you're over here for Cowes Week, what are you sailing on and how are things going?

Extreme J/111 Journeymaker II sailing teamStevie Morrison: I'm here for a couple of days with some people who support me in the 49er, a company called BTG, and they've got a J/111 called JOURNEYMAKER II. They are very keen sailors from Hamble. We've got some of the guys from the company coming to experience it, and hopefully helping Louise [Dame Louise Makin] and Chris who sail the boat move on to the J/111 Worlds here next year. They've got a good programme going forward to that. It's great for me, usually sailing dinghies, I get a chance to experience this side of sailing. It's all far too serious - I love it for what it is - but this [Cowes Week] is the essence of sailing. When you look in London, or anywhere, you find people who see sailing as Cowes Week. To me it's about getting people excited about sailing, and obviously Cowes Week does that. It lets the normal guy, who's maybe trying sailing, come and race against some of the best guys in the world. Terry Hutchinson's here somewhere and other guys like that are kicking around Cowes, and they are some of the very best sailors in the world. For me Stevie- UK Olympic teamit's great to see them, and hopefully for other guys it's even better to see them. It is a unique experience and I'm glad to be here.

Mark Jardine: As well as life on the water, how are you enjoying the social side of Cowes Week?

Stevie Morrison: It's fantastic. We've come along to the beer tent after sailing with some of the staff of BTG who have sailed for just two days. I think we were first J/111 today and these guys are four out of eight crew on the boat, so they had big roles to play. So, they are very excited about the fact we were first in our class. Then I bumped into some of the guys from the British Sailing Team, bumped into you, bumped into Ben Vines. I love it, it's an environment which encapsulates sailing under one roof. There's a lot of people here and it's really nice for me to bump into old friends. Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson & Paul Wyeth/   Read more of Stevie’s AAM Cowes Race Week J/111 experience here.

J/70 SAILING Champions League Qualifiers

J/70 one-design sailboat (Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy)- The concept for “sailing leagues” has continued to grow dramatically across Europe.  From the initial idea first proposed by two-times World Tornado Champion Oliver Schwall and J/Boats’ Germany representative, Mittelmans Werft GMBH, the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga has mushroomed into the SAILING Champions League across many countries on the continent.

YC Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, ItalyFor 2015, the first 16 clubs from eight countries have been nominated for the 2nd annual SAILING Champions League event in September in Porto Cervo- the regatta will be hosted by YC Costa Smeralda from Sept 17-20th in their brand new fleet of eight matched International J/70s. Three clubs from Germany, two from Italy, two from Switzerland, two from Russia, two from Poland, two from Norway and one from the Netherlands are eligible to participate in the regatta on Sardinia. Furthermore, two wild cards have been allocated to the hosting YC Costa Smeralda from Porto Cervo and to the 2014 Champions- the Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub from Copenhagen, Denmark.

The clubs that have been invited include:
  • Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria- Palermo, Italy- 1st Italian Sailing League 2015
  • Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club-    Tutzing, Germany- 2nd German Sailing League 2014
  • Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub- Copenhagen, Denmark- Overall Champion 2014
  • Kongelig Norsk Seilforening- Oslo, Norway- 1st Norwegian Sailing League
  • NAVIGATOR Sailing Team- Moscow, Russia- 1st Act 2 Russian Sailing League 2015
  • Norddeutscher Regatta Verein-    Hamburg, Germany- 1st German Sailing League 2014
  • Pirogovo Yacht Club- Moscow, Russia- 1st Act 1 Russian Sailing League 2015
  • Regattaclub Oberhofen- Oberhofen/Thun, Switzerland- 1st Swiss Sailing League 2015
  • Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano- Trieste, Italy- 2nd Italian Sailing League 2015
  • Société Nautique de Genève- Geneve, Switzerland- 2nd Swiss Sailing League 2015
  • Stavanger Seilforening- Stavanger, Norway- 2nd Norwegian Sailing League
  • Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee- Berlin, Germany- 3rd German Sailing League 2014
  • WaterSportVereniging Almere Haven- Amsterdam, Netherlands- 1st Dutch Sailing League
  • Yacht Club Costa Smeralda- Porto Cervo, Sardinia– Hosting Club
  • Yacht Club Sopot- Sopot, Poland- 1st Polish Sailing League 2015
  • Yacht Klub Polski Szczecin- Szczecin, Poland- 2nd Polish Sailing League 2015
One might ask, “what is the cost of participation for my sailing club”?  Virtually nothing.  Participation is the primary consideration.  The European J/70 sailing leagues have taken off because it encourages “club membership” participation with a minimal entry fee of less than 750 EUR per regatta sailing on supplied one-design J/70s. Sponsors and partners help underwrite the entire program.  In Europe, SAP Software AG, Chairman/ CEO Hasso Plattner’s database/ analytics software company, has been a huge participant and supporter of sailing leagues (Hasso is a J/100 and J/105 owner and actively supports the 505 and J/70 classes in Europe). Learn more here about the program and how you can promote it in your country! Sailing photo credits- MittelmansWerft/ Sven Jurgensen.  For more SAILING Champions League regatta information.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Delicious AUDI Hamilton Race Week

Audi Hamilton Race week start (Hamilton Islands, Australia)- The Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is one of Australia’s favourite yachting events and a firm fixture on the international sailing calendar. Competitors, family and friends come together to enjoy the convivial atmosphere and unique camaraderie of the event’s on-water and off-water carnival. Every August, spectators and “yachties” from around the globe descend upon Hamilton Island for “the week”- Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta.

Audi Hamilton Race Week- whale jumpingPerfectly situated on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, amongst Queensland's seventy-four Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island offers an experience like no other: glorious weather, azure waters, brilliant beaches, awe-inspiring coral reefs, fascinating flora and fauna, fine food and wines, and activities almost too numerous to mention.

Hamilton Island’s CEO, Olympic and World Champion sailor Glenn Bourke, said Race Week organizers were justifiably proud of the fact that 202 yachts had entered this year.  “This great fleet confirms that Audi Hamilton Island Race Week continues to stand as Australia’s premier offshore regatta, and undoubtedly one of the best sailing events in the world,” Bourke said.  “From our Audi Hamilton Race Week fashion weekside, we are well aware of the effort all participants, their families and friends, put in, just to be with us each year. It’s this commitment on their part that causes us to work even harder so every Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is bigger, better and more fun.”

Brilliant sailing conditions on day one of the IRC Australian Championship inflated adrenaline levels and threw the less practiced straight into the deep, briny end of the fleet, whether they wanted to be there or not.  Cool 20-knot SSE tradewinds and breeze against tide for the Dent Passage spinnaker start on Sunday, August 16 put the sail trimmers on high alert and the photographers in a clicking fury.

J/130 sailing off AustraliaTwo of the larger J models are participating in this year’s fabulous event.  One is the J/130 RAGTIME sailing in IRC 4 Class- the owners, Chris & Bernadette Morgan, acquired her and base her at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.  Since then, RAGTIME’s first major win was the 2014 Brisbane to Keppel race.  At this stage of the regatta, RAGTIME is lying mid-fleet.

The other team sailing is the J/133 EUPHORIA, skippered by Anthony Coleman, in EHC Racer-Cruiser class.  EUPHORIA had raced extensively in both the USA and United Kingdom. She arrived into Australia in 2009 and races regularly with the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on Sydney Harbour.  In 2011, she won Performance Racing 2 Division at Hamilton Island Race Week. With a solid crew on board, EUPHORIA is currently sitting tight on her 2nd place position and hopes to improve that to #1 soon!  For more AUDI Hamilton Island Race Week sailing information.

J/97E In Control!

J/97E sailing- wheel option(Newport, RI)- For many, the elegance of sailing with a simple wheel allows maximum cockpit space and comfort, plus allows the kiddies to steer whenever they want to.  Famous for transforming the “feel” and “touch” of wheel-based systems, J/Boats has pushed the envelope for self-aligning rudder bearings so that nothing is sacrificed for that magical touch of the tiller.

The new J/97E features not only the super-comfortable cockpit pioneered by the J/111, but also its amazingly touch-sensitive steering.  Check it all out at the fall boat shows this year- Newport and Annapolis will both have the amazing new, spacious, open, airy J/97E- experience how it brings the “outdoors in”!  Learn more about the NEW J/97E family cruiser/ racer.

Monday, August 24, 2015

J/88 Fall Regatta Extravaganza!

J/88 sailing off New YorkWinter 88 Storms Brewing!
(Long Island Sound, CT/NY)- What better way to “thank” your crew for sticking it out through a long hot July and August “dog days” of summer sailing than six fantastic weekends of cool, awesome Fall Sailing on Long Island Sound!!  The J/88s in the Northeast are getting themselves organized for fun, fall sailing. Here is their schedule:

Northeast Fall 88 Series
Winter 88 Series
For the Fall series, McMichael Yacht Yard is offering a steeply discounted launch/haul package for any 88's arriving by trailer. McMichael will launch and retrieve boats from their Mamaroneck yard for a flat fee of $200 round trip, including trailer storage. With an owner (or owner’s representative), McMichael will also step, tune and unstep the rig for an additional $225.  Contact to make a reservation today!

There are now over THIRTY+ J/88s east of Chicago that can go sailing in these events.  And, the winter circuit is next!!  Starting with Key West- and even Havana, Cuba!!  If you want to learn more about the fast, exciting, J/88 family trailer-sailor, please be sure to contact your local J/Dealer or J/Boats at ph# 401-846-8410 or email-   Sailing photo credits- Don Finkle/ RCR Yachts. For more J/88 family speedster sailing information

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rolex Fastnet Race Update

Fastnet Race start (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The Sunday start on the Solent was a “drift-a-thon” for most of the fleet trying to float across the line in the westbound current.  Big crowds packed the Cowes and Western Solent shoreline in the afternoon as the record-sized fleet of 356 set off on the 90th anniversary Rolex Fastnet Race, organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. With a complete lack of wind in the central Solent, the boats ghosted across the start line starting their 605nm voyage to the Fastnet Rock and on to Plymouth with a whimper.

The six IRC fleets set off in ascending size order with IRC 4 first and IRC Z and the canting keel class last at 1340 BST. For the most part, the boats at the island end of the line got away best, but had to make a costly tack across towards the mainland shore. The boats that started at the mainland ‘pin’ end, found themselves punching flood tide in no wind. As an indication of the misery the faster boats faced in the first few hours- at Hurst Narrows, the leading IRC 4 boats were hanging on to the IMOCA 60s and Class40s!!

While the forecast remained largely light, according to navigator Ian Moore, it improved slightly. A localized area of high pressure was now sitting over Cornwall. This was due to move south on Wednesday by which time, Moore says southwesterlies would be building along its western to northern perimeter.

By Monday, the fleet had made some progress overnight with the majority of the fleet having been lured out into the middle of the Channel following the temptation of stronger winds.  At the time, the southerly lobe of an area of high pressure was extending across Cornwall and south into the Channel.  Consequently, the forecast for Monday was not good with the lobe of high pressure due to expand creating a windless zone between the Scilly Isles and the Lizard and perhaps further southeast.

For the IRC fleet, the first issue was getting around the first Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) box, keeping the fleet away from the thousands of ships that ply the Channel each day.  A lack of wind meant some boats even kedged to stop going backwards as they made their way around the TSS Channel box’s northern perimeter.

The next issue was getting by the two enormous “tide gates” that were forming into the overall strategies off Start Point (Dartmouth) and Land’s End (boatspeed/ VMG dependent, of course).  The boats that gained the most gybed and went inshore for localized breezes and tide/current relief.  Once there, most boats crept along the coastline as they meandered there way out to the hair-raising currents that boil in massive whirlpools off Land’s End.

By Tuesday morning, the weak, dying front across southern Ireland and the Celtic Sea combined with an absence of isobars anywhere in the UK made it a most frustrating night for crews. The GRIB files for the race area showed winds of no more than 5 knots between the Fastnet Rock and Start Point and a large hole in the breeze to the west of the front and another hole between the Scilly Isles and the Lizard.

However, while the race has largely been light so far, there was light at the end of the tunnel for competitors. A southwesterly breeze is forecast to fill in from the southwest in the Celtic Sea late Tuesday afternoon ahead of a front. By the early hours of Wednesday morning 20 knot southerlies are forecast at the Fastnet Rock, spreading across the race track over the course of the morning.

J/111 BLUR sailing teamLeading the charge amongst the J/Teams after the first two days were the J/111s BLUR (Peter Gustafsson) and XCENTRIC RIPPER (John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef, also sailing double-handed).  They were closely linked with the J/122s that kept trading places with them; Chris Revelman & Pascal Bakker’s JUNIQUE RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM (a double-handed entry) from the Netherlands, Alain Catherineau’s LORELEI from France, Clive Mile’s new J/122E JANGLE, and Scott Miller’s RESOLUTE (top American double-handed Bermuda 1-2 champion).  The three J/133s kept “rubber-banding” with this grouping as well depending on which wind patch they were in- Angus Bates’ ASSARAIN IV, Dave Ballantyne’s JINGS or Gilles Fournier’s PINTIA from France.  Also, lurking amongst the fleet leaders were the amazingly well-sailed J/105 JESTER, skippered by the double-handed team of Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley.  Nearby to them were a gaggle of J/109s- Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB, Alain Bornet’s JAI LAI and also the top J from the 2013 Fastnet- the J/120 RHAPSODIE V skippered by Jean Jacques Godet from France.

Only time will tell how it all shakes out in one of the more tactical Fastnet Races in recent history.  Christian Ripard, four-times winner of the famously light air race- the ROLEX Middle Sea Race- offered his inputs to the various J/Teams:

Christian Ripard- J/122 sailor- Malta- Middlesea Race“You can win or lose in light winds so I teach my crew when it goes light this is where you win the race.  Everybody can sail in a good wind but you have to strive very hard to make sure you perform well in the light. If the boat is going just a fraction of a knot more than a competitor, you get ahead and when the breeze does kick in, that lead multiplies. In the light, we can sail 5 or 10% better than the opposition and that is difficult to achieve in a true wind.

Patience in light weather is the key with very few movements of the crew on board and even off-watch; you have to be aware of where to put your weight. Sail selection and development is a key area. For example using a wind seeker, which is actually a very small sail, but keeps its shape well and keeps the boat steering a course.

Spotting wind on the water is very important. If we see a gust, we sail for it, regardless of heading and sail from gust to gust. At night, I use normal binoculars and with a trained eye, you can see the zephyrs coming down. It is much easier if there is little swell during. Contours, ripples and dark patches in the water are the telltales of wind.

After dusk, I don't allow any light on board except for the navigational lights. I have been on boats that light up the sails for the trim but I can't steer like that and it has got to be dead quiet, just one guy calling the breeze. However the real skill is simply patience – it is easy to concentrate for two hours, but all night takes patience. Picking a nearby boat and competing with it, also keeps the crews adrenalin level up.“  Let’s hope the 48 J/Teams sailing in the race are mindful of Christian’s pearls of wisdom— after all, he had to put these ideas to good use winning the Middle Sea Race twice on the J/122 ARTIE!  Sailing Photo Credits- ROLEX/ Kurt Arrigo.  For more Rolex Fastnet Race sailing information