Saturday, April 25, 2015

VROON Wins J/80 Netherlands Winter Series

J/80 Benelux fleet sailing (Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- The J/80 fleet in The Netherlands continue their annual program of hosting a Winter Series as part of their fleet building initiatives.  This year it was unusually good weather most of the time and over the course of several weekends the fleet managed to get in eighteen races.

For the second year in a row, after winning 13 races, the champion was yet again Laura Vroon.  Taking a solid second place for the series was the NJOY team.  Also, sitting on third place was another familiar face, the JUUL team, always dangerous but not as consistent as the other boats.

Now, the Netherlands J/80 fleet is preparing for their famous Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta and the J/80 World Championships in Germany will follow that soon after.  For more Dutch J/80 sailing information

Friday, April 24, 2015

MARINA CORUNA Wins J/80 La Coruna Winter Series

J/80 sailing Spain (La Coruna, Spain)- The third and final act of the J/80 Winter Series hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of La Coruna was blessed with nice stable winds from the west at 10-12 kts. In this third act - the seventh day of racing in the series- it was a final battle between BIBA (skippered by Miguel Fernández Vasco) and MARINA CORUNA (led by Pablo Martinez) that determined the final outcome of the midwinter series.

The Race Officer, Alberto Bolívar, and his team of volunteers were able to set good courses all weekend long and provide the sailors some excellent racing.

In the first race, Carlos Pampín and his crew had a spectacular race, but suffered a controversial disqualification for a premature start.  The MARINA CORUNA team rounded the weather mark in second with BIBA hot on their heels.  However, MARINA CORUNA blew their spinnaker hoist, “shrimping” it into the water and ended up finishing 4th in the race.  Meanwhile, BIBA took off and won the race comfortably followed by MELTEMI (Guillermo Blanco) and MOURA (Jacobo Penide), to complete the podium.

In the second race, BIBA won again with a huge lead thanks to effective maneuvers at mark roundings and excellent tactics.  MARINA CORUNA crossed the line in second place, enough to preserve their lead for the series, followed by MELTEMI and MOURA.

The third race was a duel between the two series leaders. After a closely contested first beat with stable wind direction, but very gusty, MARINA CORUNA rounded the first windward mark in first place and this time did not fail in their maneuvers. From there, BIBA challenged them hard throughout the whole race but MARINA CORUNA managed to hang on to their lead, followed by BIBA and MOURA.

At the conclusion of racing, MARINA CORUNA sailed the 18 races and collected just 26 pts, to safely win the Winter Series.  For its part, BIBA had a spectacular 1-1-2 in the final act, taking the victory of Act III and taking 2nd overall for the series with 30 pts.  Carlos Pampín and crew on MIUDO from the local sailing school sailed to a very creditable third place overall with 55 points.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Columbian J/88 Sailing off Cartagena

J/88 sailing Cartagena, Columbia(Cartagena, Columbia)- A J/88 recently landed in Cartagena, Columbia, that beautiful harbor and city on the northern coast along the Caribbean Sea.  Her new owners, Fuad and Sam Navarros, apparently love the boat and their family is having a wonderful time sailing her in local events!

The J/88 is the second J “speedster” to join the ranks of fast offshore boats in Columbia’s offshore racing community.  The first one was Cesar Rojas’ J/111 that sailed in Key West in 2011.

ZEPHYR Crowned J/30 Midwinter Champ

J/30 sailing Midwinters- New Orleans, LA (New Orleans, Louisiana)- Team Zephyr v2.0, led by experienced J/30 sailor and co-owner Scott Tonguis, won the Midwinter Regatta held March 13-15 at the New Orleans Yacht Club. The five-race event, held in light and tricky conditions, was won by Tonguis, a New Orleans native, and crew on a tiebreaker with three bullets and a second and third place finish.

“It was very close between us and the second place boat and we often go back and forth with local teams which keeps it exciting and fun,” Tonguis said. “I’ve moved away from New Orleans and now live in Kentucky but I try to get down here as often as I can to race with friends that I don’t get to see all the time. After 25 years of racing sailboats, it’s more about the people. The regattas are just an excuse to get everyone together and have fun,” Tonguis explained.

Tonguis started sailing in high school in New Orleans and tagged along with his older sister when she went sailing on her friends’ boats. It was during these years that Scott met North Sails representative and local sailing legend Benz Faget. “I met Benz on the J/24 Texas circuit and also sailed with Chris Weintjes (another well-known local) on the Ranger 37 circuit,” explained Tonguis. “If you go sailing with really good sailors who know what they’re doing, you wind up learning a ton and gaining knowledge and experience you can’t get on your own.”

Tonguis’s first J/30, a family-owned boat named ZEPHYR, was lost in Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. “I hadn’t planned on replacing the boat but David Erwin, co-president of the J/30 class, put together a small consortium of people, including me, to own and race Zephyr v2.0. I agreed to be part of the team and come down as often as I can to race. Dave is more of a behind-the-scenes guy who does some racing and all of the organization,” Tonguis explained. “We usually race with 7 or 8 people and even though Dave can’t always race with us, he’s a huge fan of sailing and does whatever he can to support the class. He always tries to keep sailing relevant while we face challenges with other commitments and opportunities.”

“I’m very proud of Scott and the team on Zephyr v2.0 for their performance at the Midwinters with an all-amateur crew,” said Benz Faget. “It was a tight battle but Scott and crew pulled it out. They have been very good North Sails customers for many years and their teamwork and sail handling paid off earning them a well-deserved win,” Faget said.

Next up for Zephyr v2.0 is a PHRF handicapped regatta in Biloxi, MS, called the Challenge Cup, where the team will be one of four boats representing the New Orleans Yacht Club. The North team wishes the Zephyr v2.0 crew much luck at this event and throughout the rest of the season.  For more J/30 Midwinters sailing information

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

INFINITY Tops Texas J/105 Invitational

J/105s sailing Texas Invitational (Houston, Texas)- In spite of losing PRO Dwight Bengston at the last minute, J/105 Fleet 17's first annual Texas Invitational went off without a hitch under absolutely beautiful blue Texas skies in perfect winds and temperatures. A big thanks goes to John Barnett (Vici) and a host of Lakewood Yacht Club volunteers for quickly stepping up to the plate to make sure the 10-race schedule was executed to perfection.

Seven boats competed with both Fleet 17 and non-Fleet 17 owners on the helm. The 10 races were split into evens and odds. Fleet 17 owners helmed odd numbered races, and non-Fleet 17 owners helmed even number races. Big thanks to the Bermuda fleet for allowing Fleet 17 to copy their format. This is a super format that produces a fabulous opportunity for owners and crew to travel without having to drag their boats along.

Five races were sailed on Friday in light winds under clear skies with temperatures in the 70s. Three races went off under similar conditions on Saturday, and then the big Texas sea breezes filled in for some spectacular kite flying in 18-25 knots on Sunday. There was a bit of carnage but no actual protests.

For the local Fleet 17 owners, Bill Lakenmacher's RADIANCE took first with 12 points, Uzi Ozeri's INFINITY came in second with 15 and Brad Robbins' RUMPUS finished in third. The non-Fleet17-ers had Glen Darden (Dallas) on INFINITY in first, James Macdonald (Bermuda) on RADIANCE in second, and Mark Smith (Fort Worth) in third. The same boats took the top three places overall with Ozeri/Darden in first, Lakenmacher/MacDonald in second, and Robbins/Smith in third.

Watch two nice YouTube sailing videos here:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

J/40 HERON REACH Sailing Blue Planet Odyssey!

J/40 cruisers (Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)- If some of you recall, Virginia and Jerry from Bellingham, Washington did an extensive refit on their J/40, called HERON REACH, set sail from San Diego to the Marquesas Islands to join the “Blue Planet Odyssey”. They recently made it to the Marquesas, here’s a recent excerpt from their blog:

“On Sunday, March 29th at 6:15pm, we morphed from Pollywogs into Shellbacks! In other words, we crossed the equator into the South Pacific!  We celebrated with a toast of gratitude to Neptune.  Not  surprisingly, it doesn't look any different out there, but we have a powerful sense of the accomplishment for crossing this imaginary line!  Tonight we saw the  Southern Cross  for the first time, the smallest of the 88 named constellations. It points to the south celestial pole and feels like a different world. But the next day, it was back to squalls coming on the horizon.

J/40 cruising Marquesas IslandsWe  have traveled 4,223 nautical miles since we left Bellingham, all on the largest body of water in the world.  The Pacific Ocean (North and South) cover more area than all of Earth's continents put together.  It is surrounded by the Ring of Fire, hundreds, if not thousands of both active and dormant volcanoes.  There are over 20,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, most of which are concentrated in the south or west where we are headed.  Some of the islands are associated with their neighboring continent, like Japan, in the east, the Aleutians in the north, or Vancouver Island and the Gulf and San Juan Islands in our own backyard.  Another type is the high volcanic island such as the Hawaiian Islands or the Marquesas.  Finally, there are the sandy coral  atolls like the majority of the islands of the South Pacific.  It is this type most in danger by the rising seas of climate change.  It is astounding to us, as we cross this vast ocean, to realize that we have raised the temperature of such a gargantuan mass and changed its acidity level with our high carbon uses!”   Read more about their adventures here.

J/112E Performance Cruiser Update

J/112E performance cruiser sailboat- first hull(Les Sables d’Olonne, France)- J/112E hull #1 is out of the mold and production is off and running at J Composites in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.   Hull #2 follows shortly as things gear up for a mid-summer product launch and busy fall boatshow schedule in Europe and North America. More progress photos and details to come!

J/112E is the newest addition to J/Boats’ “E” Series of versatile performance sailing yachts. The “E” is for elegance and evolution in performance cruising design.

This dual purpose design has a spacious two-cabin accommodation plan and a comfortable, ergonomic cockpit.  The all-new  J/112E is as well suited for the annual cruise as she is sprinting to Mackinac Island or short-handing through rough weather on long passages.

Her moderate displacement design with a high aspect, non-overlapping sailplan has proven to be a very efficient configuration.  It provides ample sail power in light winds (while most others are motoring), and offers easy to down-shift options when the wind builds. J’s are known for being able to sail well under mainsail alone, jib alone, and nearly any combination of mainsail and small jib. The J/112E is no exception. All one needs is a mainsail and 105% jib to enjoy easy, high performance sailing in winds from 5 to 25 knots.  For downwind fun or extensive offshore passages, one can deploy with minimal effort the asymmetric spinnaker from the retractable carbon sprit.  Learn more about this exciting new performance cruiser at the fall boat shows!   For more J/112E performance cruiser sailboat information