Wednesday, October 26, 2016

J/Crews Sweep Harvest Moon Regatta

J/105 sailing Houston (Seabrook, TX)- Perhaps one of the most beautiful experiences any offshore sailor can have is to take off from Galveston Bay on an afternoon start, sail out into the Gulf of Mexico and turn left down the shoreline to Port Aransas about 50 nm down the coastline.  In most years, it’s a gentle cruise down the coast under spinnaker with a massive “fall harvest moon” slowly emerging over the ESE horizon, seemingly ready to engulf the entire Earth in its glow.  For those who have sailed this race over the years, it is a mind-bending experience to see the Moon refracting so that it looks like it is the Second Coming of Christ- or some other out-of-body scenario.  Blood orange, giant, and melting across the horizon on the Gulf of Mexico, it’s no wonder that so many people keep coming back for more!

This year, a good weather forecast meant that teams turned out “en’masse” to enjoy the gorgeous overnight sail.  In ORC Spinnaker classes, it was remarkable that both “A” and “B” classes saw total “clean sweeps” by J/Crews!

In ORC Class A, 1st was Jim Liston’s J/120 AEOLUS from Houston YC, 2nd was Albrecht Goethe’s J/46 HAMBURG II from Lakewood YC, 3rd was JD Hill’s J/122 SECOND STAR from Lakewood YC and 6th was Andy Wescoat’s J/109 HARM’s WAY from Galveston Bay Cruising Association!

The scenario was the same for ORC Class B.  But, in this case, it was a sweep of the top five!  1st was John Barnett’s J/105 VICI from Lakewood YC, 2nd was Josh Richline’s J/105 VELOCE from Corpus Christi YC, 3rd was JB Bednar’s J/105 STINGER from Lakewood YC, 4th was John Bell’s J/105 KINDERSPIEL 2 from Corpus Christi YC, and 5th was Jeff Progelhof’s J/36 SENOR MOMENT for Houston YC! An amazing accomplishment for all J/Sailors across the board!  For more Harvest Moon Regatta sailing information

GAN’JA Tops Crouesty J/80 Coupe de France

J/80 sailing off France (Arzon, France)- Eighteen teams enjoyed the 2016 edition of the Crouesty J/Cup. It was an incredibly challenging regatta, starting on Friday in light to moderate winds and ending up with mind-blowing 20-35 kts winds on the final day of racing on Sunday.  Winning four races to take the title was Luc Nadal’s GAN’JA from NDCV Angers with a scoreline of 3-1-6-1-12-1-1-2-3 for 18 pts net.

The event started Friday with three general recalls in the first race alone! Two more races were sailed that day and leading after the first day’s racing was Sylvain Pellisier’s VOILERIE ALL PURPOSE with a 6-2-1 record for 9 pts. Second on the day was Nadal’s GAN’JA with a 3-1-6 for 10 pts and third was top female skipper- Capucine Vitel’s VITEL SAILING TEAM with a 1-3-7 for 11 pts.

On Saturday, three more races were sailed in a wind that gradually freshened from 8 to 25 knots.  Three different teams won races- VOILERIE ALL PURPOSE, DONGFENG, and GAN’JA.  It was clear that DONGFENG’s crew (Charles Caudrelier, Marie Riou, Pascal Bid├ęgorry, Thomas Rouxel) were obviously at ease in the breeze.

J/80s sailing off FranceSunday was altogether different for everyone.  With 35 knots of breeze (a small gale, by most measures) on the south Bay of Quiberon, a J/80, even without spinnaker, is mind-blowing!!  But, with a spinnaker, and the DONGFENG team skippered by Charles Caudrelier, it was the exceptional. Indeed, the third and final race of the day started in a good 22 knots and at the end of the first run, it was gusting over 35 knots- - that destroyed a main and some spinnakers.

After all the carnage on Sunday, GAN’JA’s Nadal emerged the overall winner. They were followed by Pellissier’s VOILERIE ALL PURPOSE in second with Caudrelier’s DONGFENG in third.  Rounding out the top five was Ms Vitel’s VITEL SAILING TEAM in 4th and Charles le guil Gaetan’s 3D PAYSAGES in fifth place.

A big congratulations to the race committee for its effectiveness throughout the three days of racing and thank you to the volunteers of YCCA for their warm welcome.  For more J/80 Crouesty de Arzon sailing information

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

J/World Sailing Program- Winter 2017

J/80 and J/70s sailing J/World (Annapolis, MD)- This year, J/World coaches will be participating in the Quantum J/70 Winter Series.  They will have spaces available for sailors onboard their J/70's for anyone who is interested in upping their sailing game, gaining experience sailing in a big one design fleet or exploring the shear joy of the easy speed of the J/70.  Space fills fast, but there are three opening spaces for our programs in both December and January.  Like all of the programs, clients will get to do it all, including driving, trimming and calling the shots on the race course.

For J/70 owners who are traveling to these events, there is a great opportunity to join in the structured drills and daily organized debriefs that take place during the practice days.  Any team that is interested in joining us for an organized practice session should contact us to find out how we can provide low cost support prior to the event.

Finally, J/World have experienced racing coaches who are available to support newer J/70 owners at these events.  Let’s face it- a 50 boat fleet of the best sailors in the world tuned up to race the hottest boat on the market can be a little intimidating. We've been there and done that, and would love to help any interested team get up to speed in any capacity that makes sense.  In this capacity, J/World will be at these events:
  • Davis Island #1
  • Davis Island #2
  • Key West Race Week
  • Davis Island #3
  • St. Pete NOODs
  • J/70 Midwinters
  • Miami Bacardi Cup
  • Charleston Race Week
  • Annapolis NOOD
Please note- J/World has space open on the J/88 for the famous Fort Lauderdale- Key West Race.  Their annual "Rocket Round The Reef" event is the most exciting adventure race for J/Boat sailors.  We prepare with three days of intense training before the overnight sprint to Key West.  This year, there will be two other 88's racing and for any J/Boat sailor who can't commit to Key West Race week or is considering moving into an offshore style boat like the new J/121 - this is the training event for them.  Space is very limited and we do ask to review a sailing resume before we book the client.

For more information on J/World’s J/70 and J/88 training programs, please contact Kristen Berry- work- 410-280-2040/  cell- 410-599-3542/ email- website.

Silvestri Wins Mallory Cup (US Adult Sailing Championship)

J/22 Mallory Cup in San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)- Quick and competitive races, on-the-water umpiring, no discards, and an improved viewing experience of the fleet racing for everyone involved, proved to be the key recipe for a successful 2016 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship held October 12-15 in San Francisco, CA.

Hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay, this US Sailing National Championship truly challenged the ten teams competing in equalized J/22 one-design keelboats. In the end it was the experience, local knowledge and preparation of the team representing the Northern California Yachting Association/ St. Francis Yacht Club who came out on top.  The fleet tallied eight races on Wednesday; six races on Thursday; two on Friday, and four on Saturday.

J/22 Russ Silvestri at Mallory CupRuss Silvestri (San Francisco, Calif.), John Collins (Mill Valley, Calif.), Mario Yovkov (San Francisco, Calif.), and Maggie Bacon (San Francisco, Calif.) won by 13 points over 20 races. The team representing Southern California Yachting Association/San Diego Yacht Club, led by Tyler Sinks (San Diego, Calif.), placed second overall. Sinks was joined by crew mates Jake La Dow (San Diego, Calif.), Jake Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.), and Max Hutcheson (San Diego, Calif.).

Despite the close races throughout the four-day event, this championship was a two-team duel from start to finish. Silvestri won nine races and placed second nine times. Sinks won eight races and had a lead through most of Wednesday.

Silvestri led by nine points entering Saturday’s racing and his team continued to post consistent results (4-1-2-1) to seal the championship and the Clifford D. Mallory Trophy.

“We knew from the start that Tyler Sinks was going to be the guy to beat,” said Silvestri. “They went after us in the starts today, but with a nine point lead, we wanted to stay close with them and not make any mistakes. We had the benefit of the local knowledge and confidence in our boat speed and how to set up our boat every day.”

“Today, we started races on the north side of Alcatraz with the wind coming from the south,” Silvestri continued. “Usually we are closer to Alcatraz, so that was different. There were storms coming through, so it was shifty at times. At the start of the tide, the wind was coming in and at the end it was going out, so just racing here all the time you have a sense of that and it helped us.”

Silvestri was also impressed with the new racing format, “I love the on-the-water umpiring. They are in the right position 99 percent of the time. You finish the race and there is no protest. It’s infinitely better.  It couldn’t be a better regatta to come to. The boats are prepared. It’s a $350 USD entry fee. You get all your food. It’s a great deal.  St. Francis YC did a great job running the event. It was great having the umpires out there and the race committee work was good in a challenging environment with the cross current and deep water. Getting the marks in the right spot was not easy.”  For more Mallory Cup/ US Adult Sailing Championship information

Monday, October 24, 2016

Classic Manhasset Bay Fall Series

J/105 Manhasset winners (Manhasset, Long Island, NY)- The Manhasset Bay YC has for decades hosted what is the grand finale to the western Long Island Sound sailing season.  Massively popular for years, it has now become the final event for masses of J/105s, J/109s and several offshore J/crews.  This year, Chamber of Commerce fall weather greeted sailors with temps in the low-mid 60's and winds in the 4-8 kt range Saturday and 14-18 kts on Sunday, offering a chance for the fleets to test out both light air and medium-heavy air skills and settings.

Out-of-towners dominated the J/105 fleet at the Manhasset Bay Fall Series, a precursor to the J/105 NA's being held later this week in the same waters. Team MANDATE from Toronto, sailed by Terry McLaughlin and Rod Wilmer, won in convincing fashion, posting a 2-1-2-1-1-1 for six points net, followed by San Franciscans Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault on GOOD TRADE with 15 points, winning the tie-breaker over Fred deNapoli's gang from Marblehead on ALLEGRO SIMPLICITA.  The photo below shows the winners (Left to right)- Terry McLaughlin, Bruce Stone, Fred de Napoli.

J/105 top three- Manhasset BayThe John B. Thomson, Sr. trophy was awarded to the Canadian team on the J/105 MANDATE (skipper Terry McLaughlin and Rod Wilmer) as having the best overall performance in one design racing!

In the PHRF 1 Class, Sam Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE crushed it on the last day, closing out their series with a 2-1-1 to nearly take the overall class win.  Instead, they settled for a well-deserved silver in a class full of wildly disparate boats (Melges 32, Custom 40 ft sled, Tripp 40 and IMX-45).

In PHRF 2 Class, it was a battle of the J/Crews.  Winning was Carl Olsson’s bright red J/109 MORNING GLORY with an amazing 2-1-1-1.5-2-1 record for 6.5 pts net.  Second was Iris Vogel’s J/88 DEVIATION, she sailed fast and like her J/109 stablemate, posted all top three finishes.  Fourth was Bob Schwartz’s navy-blue J/109 NORDLYS, winning the tie-breaker over Todd Aven’s J/92 THIN MAN at 21 pts each.  Sixth was Jason Viseltear’s J/80 UPSETTER with 26 pts.  For more Manhasset Bay Fall Series sailing information

St. Francis YC Hosting 2017 J/111 Worlds

J/111 sailing San Francisco Bay (San Francisco, CA)- The 2017 J/111 Worlds will be hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) in San Francisco, CA from August 23–27, 2017. This will be the fourth World Championship for this competitive one-design class and its first on the U.S. West Coast. Regatta chairman Gerard Sheridan is anticipating a strong turnout with a diverse entry list. Says Sheridan, “We’re expecting boats from the West Coast, the Midwest and the East Coast as well as a solid turnout from Europe and abroad.”

This announcement comes at the conclusion of an impressive 2016 racing season at St. Francis Yacht Club, in which the club hosted multiple consecutive championships and international regattas including Hydrofoil Worlds, International Knarr Championship, Rolex Big Boat Series (the largest in history), Alcatel J/70 Worlds and the US Sailing Adult Championship. “The club has proven itself time and again as one of the most desired regatta hosts in the country,” says Sheridan. “Our race staff and volunteer race committee have earned their reputation for organizing top-flight regattas; our clubhouse wows visitors with every amenity; and our natural venue is second to none.”

The J/111 has been in production for six years now. Introduced in August 2010, there are now about 130 J/111s racing in over a dozen countries. San Francisco sailor Rob Theis has been racing J/111s since 2014 and won the J/111 class in both the 2014 and 2015 Rolex Big Boat Series. “This is a very active boat,” says Theis. “It will plane at 12 knots. It goes 18-20 knots downwind. It’s not technically a sportboat, but it can sure feel like one.”

Recognizing that San Francisco can be a trek for many sailors, St. Francis Yacht Club has organized a 2017 regatta schedule around the J/111 Worlds to accommodate multiple races for visiting sailors. The Aldo Alessio/ Swiftsure Regatta will take place in August and the 2017 Rolex Big Boat Series is scheduled for the 2nd week of September. “If you visit St. Francis Yacht Club in 2017, you’ll be visiting a world-class city and sailing in up to three great regattas,” says Sheridan. Sailing photo credits- Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing.  For more 2017 J/111 Worlds sailing information

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sailing J/88s Faster- North Sails' Vince Brun

J/88 North Sails boat- tuning(San Diego, CA)- Vince Brun- North Sails Offshore One-Design Leader- provided some hints on sailing the J/88 (and similar boats) better.

Brun enjoyed a weeks racing with Kevin Marks and his team on VELOCITY for the J/88 North Americans. The event was hosted by the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY from September 24th to October 2nd.

Below you can read Vince's tips on boat set-up and pre-race routines. These suggestions were put together from his observations taken during the course of the regatta and are applicable across a wide-range of keelboats- large and small!

Boat Preparation
Bottom- Needless to say the bottom of the boat being clean and properly maintained is a key part of any fast boat or program. Going fast starts there and I can assure you that not one boat ever won a big event with a poorly maintained bottom. Don’t matter how well the crew perform, the rig is set, the sails trimmed, or the helmsman skills, a clean and smooth bottom, will have a huge impact on the overall boat performance. For this reason, I always make sure that my boat bottom is as good as I can possibly get it, this will give me confidence which helps me focus exclusively on the mast and sail setup.

Sails, Rig Setup, and Performance
Rig Setup- I found that the current North Sails J/88 tuning guide was extremely accurate on the gauge numbers.

Light Medium versus Heavy Jib- At the regatta Velocity performed better with the Light/Medium jib up to 18 knots TWS, and this was made clear when we had the heavy jib in winds between 14 to 18 knots. The J/88 likes to be slightly overpowered and the small jib didn’t help in that range. This was noticed not only in the lack of acceleration after a wave, but also in the poor pointing ability. I would tend to use the Light Medium, even if the breeze is hitting 19 knots in the puffs, when the wind drops, the J-88 gets underpowered quickly when using the heavier jib.

Backstay- The backstay is a key control on the J/88 in all conditions, not only helping with the flattening of the mainsail but also critical on controlling the forestay tension, and therefore forestay sag. Find a good way to calibrate your “fast settings” with good backstay marks, so that they can be duplicated again, and again.

Inhaulers and Jib Lead Position- For anyone trimming the jib, the inhauler and jib lead position are key controls in achieving a well-set jib. If these controls are set in the wrong position, the trimmer won’t be able to have the jib properly trimmed. During a race you don't normally have the luxury to stay on the leeward side to get the sail set up just right, so having these settings established well before the race is extremely important.

In my opinion, the key to success on any boat, is the confidence to be able to repeat “fast settings” that were learned in previous races or training and only work on fine-tune changes from there. These numbers should be constantly added into your boat's tuning matrix, so that these adjustments can be made automatically, which will help free everyone’s minds to better focus on what is happening on the race course and strategy.

Running rigging with proper length and good marks- As emphasized above, I’m a firm believer that good marks on the control lines, are a tremendous help to crews allowing them to perform their tasks faster and with more precision.

Example: If the spinnaker halyard is marked when the sail is fully up, the mast person will know precisely when that job is done and be able to move to his next task quicker, and without hesitation.

Mainsheet- I would suggest having the mainsheet fine tune separated from the mainsheet gross, to avoid the lines tangling at the leeward rounding or during pre-start maneuvers.

Spinnaker sheet turning block position- It might be a good idea to have the turning block for the spinnaker sheet moved forward, so that the spinnaker and jib sheets don’t cross. This allows the spinnaker sheet to stay ahead of the jib winch and in line with the spinnaker top deck winch.

Folding Propeller- As we learned on the first race on Sunday, it’s extremely important to have the propeller properly closed before the start to avoid the extra drag. The boat should be traveling at full speed before turning the engine off and putting it in reverse, this will ensure that the prop is properly set.

Pre Race Routine/ Pre race position
I have seen many different approaches to this, but ultimately everyone has the same items crossed, before the start. Below is my pre-race routine that I try to execute before every race day. It’s very simple:

1. Get to the starting area and start sailing on starboard (hopefully against another boat) for a good period of time to record the wind oscillation range, and have the lifts and headers numbers well defined.

2. During this time, I also fine-tune my controls so that I’m comfortable with the boat speed (this being the reason for another boat being around). If there are speed issues, I make changes and continue testing.

3. After this is done, I hoist the spinnaker to make sure all the lines are led correctly and practice a few jibes to get the crew polished and ready for the day.

4. At the starting area, I normally check in and inspect the starting line, by going head to wind near the committee boat.  I am also checking the wind direction and comparing it with the line setup.

5. Now with all the data needed, the crew can discuss and prepare the starting and first leg strategy.

Starting around other boats
Obviously it’s hard to predict what others will do when approaching the starting line with a minute (or less) to the start. Possibly more important than how close you are to the line, is what “upwind lane” you will have 30 to 60 seconds after the start. A boat close to leeward with their bow slightly forward, will be a serious issue immediately after the gun. There are a couple of ways to escape this situation but the key is to identify the problem earlier rather than later, particularly when there are boats closer to windward.

If someone is close to leeward with a minute or more to go, you have two possible options:

1. Two tacks – which involve doing two quick tacks and opening the gap to the leeward boat and closing on the windward boat. This normally requires a nice gap to windward and great crew work to make this maneuver possible. This technique will require a well-trained crew that understands the boat and can execute the tacks with relatively minimum loss of speed.

2. The other more common option is to "push" the leeward boat by bearing off and taking their stern, establishing a hook to leeward. In most cases this attempt will force the leeward boat to do the same, but if they are late responding, which is not uncommon, you will be in a controlling position since you will have more speed and be able to hook. If you are unable to execute the hook, because the leeward boat has mimicked your move, you will be forced to go with plan A and do a double tack to protect your hole and future lane.

Again, identifying the situation early will give you more options to avoid a bad starting position.

Vince sent his thanks to Kevin and his team for making him welcome aboard Velocity and for an enjoyable weeks racing.  For more tips from Vince Brun’s North Sails One-Design performance programs.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

J/70 Corinthian Nationals Preview

J/70s sailing off Annapolis, MD (Annapolis, MD)- As 45 corinthian J/70 teams (no category 3 sailors aboard) descend upon Annapolis to prepare for the inaugural J/70 Corinthian National Championship from October 20th to 23rd, they will be met with plenty of professionalism.  In addition to the professional race management provided by Eastport Yacht Club, J/World will be providing on the water coaching, practice drills and short course practice races to all entrants on Thursday October 20th. Designed to be a high level primer to sailing in Annapolis and an opportunity for all teams to receive outside feedback this is one practice session you can't afford to miss.  In addition to J/World staff, one-design sailmaker talent from Ullman Sails, North Sails and Quantum will be on the water working with J/World to provide insights into sail shape, boat handling, strategy and tactics.  Thursday's Practice Session starts at 1030 and concludes no later than 1600.

Following the practice session and immediately after racing on Friday and Saturday, J/World Director Kristen Berry will be moderating a panel discussion to help participants learn and integrate the information and observations of the on the water coaches. Debrief at the Eastport Yacht Club will be at 1800 on Thursday and following racing Friday and Saturday.

The fleet is studded with great talent across the board, with teams coming from the Midwest, Texas, the eastern seaboard and Quebec.  Top teams might include Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT from Kemah, TX; Peter McChesney’s ARRR from Annapolis, MD; Bryan Cameron & Brian Elliott’s B-SQUARED from Sayville, NY; Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY from Annapolis, MD; Cole Allsopp & Bill Jorch’s MOXIE from Annapolis; Marty McKenna’s RARITY from Youngstown YC; Alex Meleny’s TRUCKIN from Vineyard Haven YC; Henry Filter’s WILD CHILD from Eastport YC; and John Hammel’s ZOMBIE fro Noroton YC.

For the Thursday practice, please be sure to contact Kristen Berry at ph- 410-280-2040 or on how J/World can support your team at this and other events.  For more J/70 Corinthian Nationals sailing information

J/105 Stella Artois North Americans Preview

J/105 sailing offshore (Larchmont, NY)- Since 1991, as the world’s first sprit “sportboat class”, the J/105 class continues to attract a strong group of corinthian sailors from across the spectrum of experience; both offshore sailors as well as round the buoys windward/leeward specialists.  For the 2016 edition of the 2016 Stella Artois J/105 North American Championship, forty boats from across several continents- the USA, Canada, Bermuda and Europe- are participating.

The host, Larchmont Yacht Club, is famous for its “Pandemonium” facility and its unconditional support of one-design sailing and offshore events.  The forty teams can expect terrific on-shore festivities for all four days of the event, starting Wednesday evening and ending with the awards ceremony on Sunday.

The field has diverse talents and includes several North American Champions (like Terry McLaughlin and Rod Wilmer’s MANDATE, James Rathbun’s HEY JUDE, Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault’s GOOD TRADE) as well as multiple regional champions in events like Block Island Race Week, J/Fest Southwest, Marblehead Race Week, NYYC Race Week (like Damian Emery’s ECLIPSE, Fred deNapoli’s ALLEGRO SIMPLICITA, Mike Mountford’s LIVE EDGE, Bill Lakenmacher’s RADIANCE, George & Alex Wilbanks’ REVELATION, Paul Beaudin’s LOULOU, Fred Darlington’s TONTO and Mark Masur’s TWO FEATHERS).

The previous weekend was treated as a training/ warm-up for several boats sailing the Manhasset Bay YC Fall Series.  What was notable was the dominance of the top three boats, winning was the Toronto, Ontario team hailing from Royal Canadian YC- McLaughlin/ Wilmer’s MANDATE.  They were followed by two teams that finished the regatta tied on points- Stone/Breault’s GOOD TRADE taking the tie-breaker over deNapoli’s ALLEGRO SIMPLICITA.  Another noteworthy performance was to see the American YC’s J/105 YOUNG AMERICAN, sailed by the Young American Junior Big Boat Team, win one race in convincing fashion.

With four days of racing scheduled and up to 12 races to be sailed, the J/105 teams will be working hard to maintain a high degree of consistency.  The weather forecast indicates the first two days will be in light to moderate breezes.  But, a Low that continues to deepen and move up the northeastern shoreline is showing it may give sailors 15-25 kt winds, gusting to 30 kts and much, much cooler temperatures- high 40s and low 50s for Saturday & Sunday!  True fall weather conditions on Long Island Sound!   For more Stella Artois J/105 North Americans sailing information

Friday, October 21, 2016

J/105 Masters Regatta- The Real Preview

J/105 Masters sailing San Diego, CA (San Diego, CA)- It may be “horses for courses” in this year’s International Master’s Regatta, hosted by San Diego YC from October 21st to 23rd.  Many of the sailors are past World, Continental and National Champions in various classes, some like heavy air, many prefer lighter air.  San Diego Harbor can be a challenge and even on foggy mornings with a gentle breeze, the mighty thermal that develops from the massive heating over the mountains inland can produce 18-22 kt winds late in the day.  In any event, everyone will likely have their shot at glory depending on the weather conditions.

Masters co-chair, Tim Fuller (owner of the J/125 RESOLUTE), describes the tone and energy of the regatta. "This prestigious event brings together many of the “who’s who” of sailing in years past. The minimum age of the skipper is 60, and the crew is 45. In 2015, SDYC’s heralded Malin Burnham and his top shelf crew took home the Masters trophy after a challenging series of races and weather. It’s safe to say that the Masters competitors have learned to balance their competitive instincts and a good time back on land after the races. No question those folks can tell sailing stories in the comfort of the bar until the cows come home!”

J/105 Masters sailorsFuller also explained why the event is raced in these boats: "For those that may not know, both the International Masters Regatta and Lipton Cup regattas are sailed in J/105’s- 35 foot one-design racing sloops. A few years ago SDYC made the bold decision to take over as host for these events and supply all 12 owner-provided J/105’s with identical club-owned sails and other on-board gear. This combination of identical hulls and sails makes for fair competition.  And, all the rigs are identically tuned by an expert “tuning crew”.  That fact does not go unnoticed by the talented skippers and crews assembled to wrestle over the coveted Lipton Cup and Masters trophy. Because of SDYC’s continued commitment, and the support of local J105 boat owners, these regattas are assured success well into the future."

The event is loaded with a cast of characters, all of whom are champions past and present and can drive any boat fast.  Here’s a quick backgrounder on them.

Jon Andron, with Shawn Bennett as tactician, hails from St Francis YC. An accomplished sailor for many years, Jon has completed 15 Transpac races, is a former 505 North American Champion and sailed on Intrepid in the 1970 America's Cup. Jon will be vying for his first win of the Masters trophy that was last won by St. Francis in 2008 by skipper John Kilroy

Rich du Moulin, with Barrett Holby as tactician, from Larchmont YC.  Richard is from Larchmont Yacht Club has been racing an Express 37. With family and friends, he has won Block Island Race Week, the Vineyard and Block Island Races, and many other events. He also has four first places and four third places in eight Newport Bermuda Races. His lifetime goal is a record thirty Bermuda Races and he says, “My next will be 25….if I can race as long as Malin Burnham I might get to 34!” Richard has also raced the Transatlantic Race, Fastnet and Rolex Sydney Hobart. Richard founded the Storm Trysail Club's Junior Safety at Sea Program which has held over 100 seminars for more than 5,000 junior sailors over the past 20 years.

Tom Ehman, from New York YC, is the winner of the 1976 Championship of Champions and the founder of the San Francisco Yacht Racing Challenge that will be sailed in Super 12s. Tom started working with America's Cup in 1980, and has served many roles including rules advisor, team executive, event manager, and chairman of the Challenger Commission.  Plus, he was Executive Director of US Sailing for over 10 years.

Bob Fisher, with Nigel Brooks as tactician, is from Royal Lymington YC. Bob, a.k.a. “the Fish”, has a background sailing on #EastCoast waters and has won multiple Hornet and Fireball National and World Championships. He is also a previous winner of the Little America’s Cup and has been a navigator on several challenges across the #Atlantic.  Bob is perhaps most famous for his acerbic editorials on all things America’s Cup, is a Yachts & Yachting columnist, and has published several extraordinary books on sailing and the AC.  While many will debate this point, the Fish can be credited with having “hatched” several of the world’s top sailing journalists in their youth- Stew Alexander and Tim Jefferies (both now top dogs at The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, respectively).

Dave Irish is from Little Traverse YC in Harbor Springs, MI. David has extensive sailing leadership background as a three time past president of US SAILING, former Vice President of ISAF (now World Sailing) and founder of the Irish Boat Shop, Inc. in #HarborSprings and #Charlevoix, MI. In 2013, David was awarded the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing, and in 2015, he was inducted to the Little Traverse Yacht Club Hall of Fame.  As a sailor, Dave has won the Chicago-Mackinac Race in his division so many times over the past 50 years, he’s lost count!

J/105 Masters sailingBill Menninger, with Jon Pinckney as tactician, is from Newport Harbor YC in Newport Beach, CA. Bill, and a former Governor's Cup - Balboa Yacht Club Winner from the mid-70s, now concentrates on local sailing races including the Harbor 20 Sailing Club Championship. He has also gravitated towards team racing in recent years, winning the US Championship and many other prominent events. Bill frequently sails with his son, Michael, and so far, the two are the only father-son winners of the Governor’s Cup. Bill and Michael will crew NHYC’s Lipton Cup team together at SDYC the weekend following the Masters Regatta.  Bill’s biggest moment of fame sailing the J/24 World Championship in San Francisco was winning the infamous “long-distance” race ahead of Stu Johnstone, John Kolius and John Kostecki!

Dick Tillman, with Tracy Usher as tactician, is from Melbourne YC in Melbourne, FL. Dick last raced the Masters Regatta nine years ago. Among other accomplishments, Tillman was member of the 1976 #Olympic Team and was a 1965 #Rolex Yachtsman of the Year recipient. He wrote a book about sailing and racing Lasers in 2005 and was the 2002 World Lasers Masters Champion. Considered one of the greatest masters sailors of all time, Tillman will be vying for his first win of the Masters Regatta Trophy

Tom Webster, with John Rumsey and Danny Thompson as tactician/ strategists, is from Barnet Bay, NJ. Tom was a South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association Penguin and Y-Flyer Champion and a National Junior Champion in the early 1960s. Tom has sailed with numerous sailors in many events over the years, but has focused the last 20 years of sailing on helping other people in the sport. In 1996, Tom was awarded the ISAF silver medal in Brighton, United Kingdom for contributions in the sport. He has served as a chairman in past NA Finn and NA Europe Class Regattas as well as the 1998 MUMM 30 World Championship. In the early 2000s, Tom was a protocol officer in the #Sydney and #Athens Olympic Games. Most recently in 2013, Tom served as an America’s Cup protocol officer for Golden Gate Yacht Club, the defender of the cup.

Don Trask, with Paul Cayard and Chris Snow as “snack-ticians”, is from St Francis YC in San Francisco, CA.  Don hardly needs any introduction, nor does Paul Cayard.  Nevertheless, it was Don who founded the idea for this amazing regatta.  He is also a Laser Masters winner, won numerous J/24 Westerns, built the J/24 and Lasers for years (into the largest one-designs in their respective categories on the Left Coast).  The original Masters were held at St Francis YC for years on J/24s.  But, that was getting a bit tough on the old guys.  So, in a “master’s stroke”, Don decided “let’s do it in J/105s instead!”  Indeed, it was a brilliant improvement.  Now guys like Don and “the Fish” can still steer at 80+ years old!

Chuck Nichols, with Andy La Dow as tactician, is from San Diego YC in San Diego, CA.  Amongst other numerous accomplishments in sailing, Chuck has been Commodore of  SDYC and has campaigned his J/120 CC RIDER actively for nearly two decades, winning just about every major Southern California regatta in the process.

Doug Rastello (a.k.a. “Rat”), with famous yacht design Bruce Nelson as tactician, is from Newport Harbor YC in Newport Beach, CA.  Doug notably raced 470s for years at a World Championship level against the likes of David Ullman and others.  In addition, Doug also raced successfully in the world of match racing, participating in many of the top events, like the Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA.

Don Martin is from Royal Vancouver YC in Vancouver, BC and is a successful offshore and one-design sailor in the spectacular waters and bays in the shadows of the magnificent Olympic peninsula to the southwest and the Canadian Rockies in their backyard.  For more International J/105 Masters Regatta information