Sunday, January 25, 2015

J/Sailors Named Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of Year!

(Portsmouth, RI)-  Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, and Stephanie Roble of East Troy, WI, were named US Sailing’s 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A total of ten men and seven women had been shortlisted for the 2014 honors based on nominations submitted by members of US Sailing, with these two sailors then selected for the noteworthy distinction by a diverse panel of sailing journalists.

Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport’s ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. The winners will be honored on Thursday, February 26, 2015, during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, when they will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.

Terry Hutchinson- J/24 and J/70 champion2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year
Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of a year that saw him atop the leaderboard at major regattas more times than any other American sailor. The 2014 award is Hutchinson’s second; he previously earned the honor in 2008 following his win of the TP52 World Championship.

One member of the selection panel remarked that Hutchinson “has this magic; he is the lead figure in campaigns for a lot of different classes,” while another noted that he is “committed and passionate about being at the top of his game.”

As tactician on Alex Roeper’s Plenty, Hutchinson won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, capping a successful season that also saw him win the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship and the California Cup and take class honors at the Rolex Big Boat Series. He also reclaimed the World Championship title in the TP52 class, collecting a class win at Quantum Key West Race Week as well as the TP52 U.S. Championship title. His success in one-design classes did not stop there. In the RC44, he won the Oman Cup as tactician; in the J/70 class, he drove to the win of the Fall Brawl in his hometown; and he finished second at the Melges 32 Gold Cup, again as tactician.

“Being honored for this award is just an incredible feeling,” said Hutchinson. “It is acknowledgement of the hard work done in 2014. Knowing that 99% of my season was as a tactician, it also represents the team concept and the process that goes into winning. I am incredibly fortunate to have the support of family and great teammates; not much separates those two entities. In 2014, as always, we were only as smart as we were fast and that comes at the hand of some great helmsmen in Alex Roepers, Ed Baird and Doug Devos.”

“Being awarded the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award for a second time is quite humbling,” added Hutchinson. “It puts me into a group of American yachtsman that I have always respected and admired for their achievements on the water. I am struggling to find the words, as I am incredibly appreciative of those around me. Quite honestly, I am a bit blown away.”

Hutchinson’s record stands best in the Farr 40s and TP52s, among the premier pro-level monohulls in the world. With a transition to the Maxi 72 class, via the Bella Mente Racing campaign, he will soon have that end of the sailing spectrum covered as well. The 46-year-old father of three is a native of Annapolis. He learned to sail at age three in a Dyer Dhow that was attached by a line to his parent’s Concordia yawl. Going back and forth on the end of that line set him on a course to becoming a college star at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) where he earned Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) All-American honors four times (1987, ‘88, ‘89, ‘90) and was twice recognized as College Sailor of the Year (’89 and ’90).

Stephanie Roble- J/22, J/24, J/80 & J/70 champion2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year
Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. A first-time shortlisted nominee, she was recognized by the selection panel for her versatility; her accomplishments as a skipper and as a crew; and her competitive successes on a variety of platforms, sailing against both men and women. One panelist remarked that Roble “has made bold and courageous choices in her post-collegiate sailing life,” while another lauded her as “the latest in a generation of women sailors who are working hard to make a name and a living at sailing. She is a trailblazer; she is a tremendous ambassador for the sport.”

A member of the Etchells World Championship winning team, Roble also crewed on the seventh-place finisher at the J/70 North American Championship, and the fifth-place finisher at the Melges 20 North American Championship.  As a skipper, she won the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship and placed third at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.  Based on her 2014 match racing results, she begins the New Year as the top American match racer, with a ranking of number three in the world.

“The nominees for this year were incredibly talented, and I am truly honored to be the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year,” said Roble. “The past year has been a fun adventure and true test of personal determination as I dove into professional sailing. I love sharing my passion for sailing with others and learning more about the sport each day. I was fortunate to be a member of several teams throughout the year, including my own match race team, which allowed me to reach many personal goals. In the end, it was through the massive support of my teammates who pushed me to become a better sailor and ultimately receive this coveted award. I am thrilled to join this admirable list of American sailors!”

The 25-year-old Roble began her sailing career in dinghies and scows from Lake Beulah Yacht Club in her hometown of East Troy.  A successful junior sailor, she twice earned ICSA All-American Honors (2010, 2011) while competing for Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) from which she graduated in 2011.  Roble has made the transition to match racing with a goal of winning the Women’s Match Racing World Championship while continuing to compete in the Melges 20, J/70 and Etchells classes.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

J’s Supreme In 48 North Top 25!

J/105 sailing- Seattle series (Seattle, WA)- Last week we featured one of the premiere season long awards for “most excellent” performances in the greater Pacific Northwest.  This week we get the 48 North/ Fisheries Supply Top 25!  Again, “congratulations” to the top J sailors who took 40% of the Top 25.

Here is how it all shook out in the end.  Taking 2nd was Bob Brunius’ J/120 TIME BANDIT tied on class score but just 3/4 point back on average fleet score!  In 4th was Jerry Diercks’ J/105 DELIRIUM; 6th was Stuart Brunell’s J/109 TANTIVY; in 7th was Bob Mayfield & Christine Nelson’s J/29 SLICK; 9th was James Geros’ J/105 LAST TANGO; 18th was John McPhail’s gorgeous navy blue J/160 JAM; another spectacular blue boat took 20th- John Tenneson’s J/145 JEDI; Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA took 22nd; in 23rd was the Seattle Sailing Club’s J/105 LIFE IS GOOD; and rounding it all out was Pat Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW in 25th.  Good show all!  Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson   Courtesy of 48 North Digital online

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sails For Sustenance!

North Sails for Sustenance (Chicago, IL)- Join Us for a Fun Night Out!!  Hello J/Sailors! North Sails is proud to host a fund-raising event with Sails for Sustenance on January 28, 2015 at our loft at 1665 North Elston, Chicago, IL. Because many of you have generously donated to this program in the past, you are familiar with the organization. For those who have never heard of Sails for Sustenance, they collect donated sails and take them to fishermen in Haiti to re-purpose for their livelihood.

North Sails- Ken ReadWe plan on a fun evening of food, music, Hawaiian dance lessons, live & silent auctions, and North Sails President Ken Read will give an update on the Comanche project and speak about the Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup - all to benefit Sails for Sustenance. We hope to see you on January 28 for a bit of much-needed Wednesday night sailing fun. And please pass on the invitation to other sailors you know!  By the way, mention to Ken you saw this invite on J/News & Facebook and he promises a free, personal Hawaiian dance lesson!!

Ticket price is $50/person and all proceeds go to Sails for Sustenance. Limited tickets available- Please email questions to

Thursday, January 22, 2015

J/24 Australian Nationals

J/24s sailing Australia (Adelaide, SA, Australia)- “When you've got it, flaunt it! And, that’s just what ‘The Black Prince of Sandringham’ in Pacemaker did in the last race today,” commented Simon Grain. He continues, “With the series win in the bag after two wins this morning they were spectators at the last start, watching the fleet sail off while they cruised home to early celebratory drinks. Well done Dave, congratulations to you and your crew, Herschel, Rachael, Sam and Luke!”

The J/24s in Australia continue to have spirited, fun racing and their grass-roots efforts continue to bring new sailors into the fold in their various fleets that range all over Australia and Tasmania.  The indefatigable, irrepressible, and always amusing Simon Grain provided further insights on the comings and goings of this year’s J/24 Nationals in Adelaide.  Starting on the first day, here is how it all went down “Down Under”.

Day One
“Day one has got off to an interesting start with more protests that races held.  Can you imagine that?!  Come on boys & girls, this is supposed to be fun!

After a very stormy morning today following two 38 deg days previously that have had those preparing their boats spending unusually large amounts of time falling about with heat stress and consuming large amounts of water rather than beer, racing got going with a huge black wall of cloud to the north of the race track. The breeze was a light and variable 13 knots, flat seas and warm muggy temp, champagne sailing really.

Dave Suda won the first race from Simon Grain sailing Code Violation but is on the receiving end of a multi-boat protest at the top mark for a port and starboard in the second race. At least 4 protests are in already and I believe there may be more to come – busy night in the committee room!

Code Violation was leading all the way round the track in the second race before falling into a hole 100m from the finish and having 3 boats sail around them as the breeze died. Brendan Lee took out the second race from Doug Watson, Dave Suda and Code.”

J/24s Australia- sailing under umbrellasDay Two
“Overcast skies all day with a building SE breeze gave the nationals competitors a great day’s racing without the heat and burning sun of the past few days. Around 8-10 knots breeze and flat water for the first race and ending up with the whole fleet on jibs in around 20 knots.

The normal ‘bang the left’ rules applied today with boats getting big lifts along the beach to a top mark down towards Largs. Racing is very close with the top boats getting around in a very tight group and the bulk of the back following closely behind.

Results are not online yet due to a protest. Today’s race winners are Doug Watson in El Fideldo, Brendan Lee in By the Lee and two races to Dave Suda in Pacemaker. Overall leader is Doug Watson, followed by Simon Grain and Dave Suda.”

Day Three
“More overcast grey skies today, suiting the Black Prince of Sandringham perfectly with 3 bullets added to his score. With the first drop coming into effect today, his score of 11 is half that of Brendan Lee (SYC) on 23 points. Doug Watson, Adelaide’s leading skipper is third with Simon Grain (SYC) now forth after an ordinary day. Sandringham boats fill 6 of the first 7 places, so the competitive fleet at SYC shows it’s worth.

The most novel picture was Jeanette Syme sailing around before the start in the rain under an umbrella at the back of the boat.

Today’s first race started in very light conditions with a swing to the left and an increase of breeze to around 18 knots, catching some of the fleet unawares, but giving a fast and exciting kite ride back to the finish. Finishing order was Dave Suda, Doug Watson, Ron Thompson.

Race two and we had a shifty SE breeze of around 15knots. Once again banging the beach proved to be the way to go and even some of the locals didn’t take their own advice on going left. Dougie Watson telling me that for 4 years he has sailed here and knows the left rule like the back of his hand. Why did I go right twice ? he asked me. Finishing order was Dave Suda,  Brendan Lee, Simon Grain.

Race three and the wind had lightened off so much that it was almost a drifter off the start with many people calling it a lottery. didn’t bother the Black Prince though as he scooted off to a 3rd win of the day in a shortened race. The planned race 4 was not held due to the lack of wind and interest.  Finishing order was Dave Suda, Rob Hogan (Cookie Monster), Dave McKay (Stockcar).

Performance Handicap is being lead by Jeanette Syme in Foolish Behavior from Rob Hogan in Cookie Monster and Helen Wilmer in Good Company.”

Day Four- the Grand Finale
“This morning the real race was for second, third and fourth with Doug Watson (El Fideldo), Brendan Lee (By the Lee) and Simon Grain (Code Violation) all in with a chance on second and third. Simon Grain scared the other two enough with two seconds behind Dave’s two firsts in the first two races that they both pounced on the poor blighter from Sandy and after a dump on Simon First leg, Code was out the back. A certain discard for sure and made certain by an unfortunate bottom mark rounding when Lisa on the foredeck got hit by the kite pole and covered the deck and her white top with an alarming shade of red. Retired hurt – but you have to look after the ladies faces! Doug Watson put in a stellar performance to take out the race and the second overall from Brendan with Simon in fourth. A long jump back to Kirsty Harris in Hyperactive and Ron Thompson in Kicking. Rob Hogan coming in 7th making the famous Cookie Monster get up and fly with a best place 2nd in the regatta, “good to see that old sun umbrella kite go Rob” and Dave Mackay from Cronulla, our newest ‘circuit devotee’ in Stockcar coming home 8th.

Unfortunately, after an enormous effort in training and preparation program prior to the nationals our Victorian President Doug MacGregor got a hit from the boom and has now gained a few stitches but lost a couple of teeth, tough luck and a bad end to a good campaign, but Doug will be back with that Scottish vigor and determination we all see in him. Our thoughts are with you Doug. Maybe a trip to Thailand coming up – I hear the teeth are good and cheap there.

The Performance Handicap winner is Janette Syme with a well-deserved win over newcomer Steve O’Rourke and his crew of grandkids (well done Steve, your competitive spirit and attendance at the regatta is much appreciated by the class and we look forward to see you again in the circuit). Janette arrived in the heat before the regatta and rubbed the black antifoul off the bottom of Foolish Behaviour prior to the start – our own little coal miner!  Go Janette – we love you sailing the J’s with us. Next big gig is the Vic States – 18th April. (SA States possibly the last weekend in Feb, but yet to be confirmed). Rob Hogan in Cookie Monster took out 3rd from Helen Wilmer in Good Company in fourth.

The class showed a great deal of appreciation for the efforts of SA President Jim Townsend and wife Robin and his team in putting the regatta and the class back together in SA – we can’t say enough thanks for all your effort. Thank you to all the CYCSA members and volunteers in helping to put the Nationals together and making it a well run and smooth operation.”   Australian J/24 Nationals sailing information   For Australian J/24 Class information

NEW WAVE Triumphs In J/70 Q-II

J/70s sailing Tampa Bay, FL (Tampa, FL)- The second stop of the three-event Quantum J/70 Winter Series attracted 52 boats for the seven race regatta hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL. Setting the pace from their opening race bullet was Marty Kullman on NEW WAVE, posting only one score out of the top three to win by 12 points over Will Welles’ RASCAL team in second.  Taking third was Al Terhune’s DAZZLER, 4th was Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING and fifth was Henry Brauer’s SCAMP team (they also won Corinthian’s Division).

Conditions were light to medium air both days allowing seven races to be completed. Many teams arrived in time to get some practice time in Friday including a practice start/race program sponsored by Quantum Sails and J/World Annapolis.

The weekend started out on the colder side with all competitors looking more like they were heading to the ski slopes than out on the bay for a day of racing in sunny southern Florida!  On Saturday, the Davis Island RC was able to run 4 very good races in winds ranging from 8-12 knots out of the Northeast.  Most starts required an I Flag or I over Z to keep the aggressive fleet on the pre-start side of the line.   But with the Patriots vs Ravens football game starting at 4:30, both New England and Annapolis football fans had more to worry about than finishing ahead of the pack.

On Sunday, the weather man gave the crews hope to enjoy some warmer weather albeit with less velocity on the race course.  Once again, the DIYC/RC did a masterful job of coping with a fluky breeze that could not decide if it wanted to be a Northeaster or an Easterly.  Winds ranged from 6-10 knots most of the day with some decent shifts on each leg.  Three races were sailed for a complete series.

Behind Brauer’s SCAMP, Chuck Millican from Bermuda sailed one of his best series to date, taking 2nd overall Corinthians onboard his ELUSIVE.  Third was past Corinthians winner Rob Britts on HOTMESS.  Rounding out the top five were Pete Tuite on CURRAGH in 4th and Andrew & Melissa Fisher on BUTTON FLY in 5th.  For more Quantum J/70 Winter Series sailing information

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Boat Show Time Again!

J/122E cruising racing sailboat
(Newport, RI)- In addition to the London, Toronto and Chicago boat shows taking place this week, be sure to pencil in a date to go see more of the latest, greatest and hottest sailboats in the J/Boats line-up in Dusseldorf, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.  Here is what’s happening at each place:

J/70 Denmark- sailing leagueJan 17-25- Boot Dusseldorf
Taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany, on display will be the spectacular new J/122E Euro-styled cruiser-racer and the highly popular J/70 that has, literally, taken over one-design keelboat sailing in Germany.  Due to the extraordinary popularity of the “Deutsche Segel—Bundesliga (learn more here) and the fact the Lake Constance sailing association (made up of 100+ clubs on the Bodensee) chose the J/70 as their next-generation one-design keelboat, the J/70 is poised to become the dominant factor in German sailing for the next decade.  Learn more about the new J/Boats “E” series cruising boats (J/97E, J/112E and J/122E) from the fantastic team at Mittelman’s Werft (Henning Mittelman & Bo Teichman) and from the J/Europe Team of Fred Bouvier/ Didier Le Moal and J/Boats’ Jeff Johnstone.  For more Boot Dusseldorf boat show information.

Jan 22-25- San Diego Sun Road Boat Show
The team at JK3 Yachts keeps expanding as the enthusiasm for J/Boats in Southern California continues to grow.  Be sure to catch up with Jeff Brown, President of JK3 Yachts, and his terrific crew to talk about the new “E” series cruising J/Boats as well as see on the display the fast-growing fleet of J/70s in SoCal (host of the 2015 J/70 North Americans); the “new kid on the block” taking lots of SoCal offshore silverware- the J/88; and enormously successful offshore/ one-design speedster- the J/111.  For more San Diego Sun Road boat show information

J/88 family speedster- CanadaJan 22-25- San Francisco Boat Show
An ever-growing and popular boat show in the greater San Francisco Bay area has become the January boat show that is held on the waterfront, right between Pier 48 and the AT&T Ball Park- home of the San Francisco Giants!  On display this year will be a trio of boats- the J/70 that has been enjoying tremendous growth on the Bay (and home for the 2016 J/70 Worlds); the new J/88 family speedster (a California offshore flyer with two monster wins under its belt); and the J/111 (continuing to expand its presence on the Bay with over a dozen boats now sailing one-design).  On hand to guide you through the process of Q&A regards these fun-to-sail boats will be the dynamic duo at the SAIL California office- Norm Davant & Pat Nolan.  For more San Francisco Boat Show information.

Jan 23- Feb 1- Seattle Boat Show
As the largest boat show on the west coast, Seattle convention center will have the J/122E and J/88 on display- Friday, January 23rd to Sunday, February 1st.  Be sure to catch-up with Bob Ross and Ben Braden at Sailboats Northwest.  Said Bob, “Unless the Seattle Seahawks are in the Super Bowl, in which case the show will end a day early on Saturday January 31st, we look forward to seeing you’all there!”  For more Seattle Boat Show information.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Battle of the Kites

J/122e sailing off Mumbai, India (Mumbai, India)- The “Raja Maharaja Talpade Cup” is a combined class regatta that saw a variety of new sails sported by many of the boats; including the unfurling of the new spinnaker for the J/122E SKADOOSH!!

The Mumbai sailing club’s Race Committee planned a “butterfly course” around the harbour for the fleet.  The race handicap system was designed for a close racing day. The small boats all started and went off onto the shorter Under 22-foot course and the larger keelboats went onto their long and fun course. The boats all started with their given timings.

According to Sunil Lobo sailing aboard the J/122E SKADOOSH, “We were the last boat to start. After a close bow to stern rounding at the next mark SKADOOSH started to hoist the “doppelganger” A3 sail and introduce it to the fleet sailing off Mumbai Harbour. With the girl’s team working smoothly to make sure it was flying beautifully, we were steadily catching up to the top of the fleet.

Harbour sailing always has its moments with ships moving in and out; make (or cross) one ship, then you sometimes have to drop everything and go for the duck on another! We were one of those unlucky few that had to drop our spinnaker and head up to clear the ship!  Ugh! However, we were somewhat lucky and others were not so lucky.  The Beneteau First 35 tried very hard to cross in front of one ship, but the ship had to slow down almost to a dead halt and alter course to avoid a collision!

J/122E sailing off Mumbai, India- rounding markAt the second mark rounding (actually an enormous oil rig), we had fun as we executed the rounding well and were on the inner most position gaining ground to the next mark. We realized that with 4 boats right on our wind, the only way to shake them off was to roll them!  So, we powered up and went for speed and before we knew it one by one they fell in behind us!  Thank goodness.  But, we still had a long way to go to catch up to the J/24 helmed by Shahid Basher leading the entire fleet!

The third mark was a clear rounding for us (no boats around), with kites going up and heading downwind on our next leg. The wind was slowly dying away and coming in patches, it was to our luck that we found a nice wind patch and caught yet another competitor called Tengi.  We decided to pass them to leeward since we didn’t want our enormous kite to cover their rig!

The 3 “big boys” were now in the battle for Mumbai offshore supremacy.  It would take shrewd tactics on the final leg of the race to the finish.  With the J/122E rapidly over-hauling the leaders, the J/24 SHEIKIN was next boat to fall into our cross-hairs. The J/24 ELMO, which had been in the lead for most of the race, was thrown off course by another ship and lost his long lead over the two of us.

Before we knew it, all three boats were neck-to-neck, lunging for the finish line. This kind of struggle for the finish line at the end of a nice “cruising race” is always heart-warming. The J/24 ELMO crossed first with their crew smiling.  Then, the J/24 SHEIKEN and the J/122E were closing quickly for 2nd place boat-for-boat; the honors going to SHEIKIN’s bow crossing ahead of SKADOOSH by a mere 2 meters! Rajan, our race officer on the committee boat, had a huge smile on his face, happily giving the finishing whistle to each boat as they passed by in quick succession.

The race was a lot of fun and left everyone eager to see what the verdict was on the overall results. Everyone sailed well.  However, in the end the J/24 ELMO came out with their second win of the season in the keelboat class, followed by SHEIKEN and then TENGI. Even though we didn’t place for various reasons, we look forward to the next pursuit race coming up!”