Thursday, August 28, 2014

J/70 Sailor Heather Gregg-Earl Dominates Nantucket Regatta!

J/70 sailor Heather Gregg-Earl, wins Nantucket IOD Invitational regatta (Nantucket, MA)- The annual Nantucket Race Week IOD Celebrity Invitational Regatta on August 14-15 once again attracted an elite list of accomplished North American sailors to serve as tacticians for  skippers and teams in a benefit for Nantucket Community Sailing.

Organizers generally don’t make the same skipper/tactician pairing two years in a row, so when skipper Heather Gregg of Stage Harbor YC won in 2012 with Celebrity Tactician Robbie Doyle, she couldn’t test the magic last year. But when the two paired up again last week, the magic was alive again, never finishing worse than second, winning the 14 boat event without sailing the final eighth race.

Nantucket Sound delivered optimal race conditions for the fleet of International One Design sloops, with 15-17 knot westerly winds and moderate seas.

Gary Jobson helming, with Jud Smith calling the shots, took second, begging the question “Which ones aren’t celebrities?” Peter Bromby of Bermuda as tactician, with skipper Ted Moore of Marblehead, both first-timers at the event, took third.

The consistency of top finishes, amongst the deep and high level competition, earned Heather Gregg-Earl the “Nantucket Race Week Overall Best Performance Award” from event sponsor Porsche cars.

According to Heather, “It was a solid 15 kts from the Southwest...perfect Nantucket Sound Cape day...lots of sun and wind and tide coming in all day on both Friday and Saturday.  First day, we got a 2-1-1-2. Big waves, particularly on port tack!!  Second day, we got a 2-1-1 and didn't have to sail the last race.  All my J/70 driving was paying off. We just boarded out the jib and flattened the main...then let’er rip!  We were higher and faster both days.  It felt good!”  For more information about his fun Nantucket Race Week Regatta

J/24 German Open Preview

German J/24s sailing in Europe (Hamburg, Germany)- From 29 to 31 August, the best German sailors in the J/24 class are expected to sail at the NRV Champions Week on the Baltic. The organizers, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV), expect more than 200 participating sailors.

"We have scheduled a total of ten races for the weekend. It will be tight racing for the participants,” announced the Race Director, adding, “I know both the sailing area as well as many of the participants for several years. In the J/24 class is the sailing legend Frank Schönfeldt from Hamburg and the defending champions from 2013- ROTOMAN with skipper Tobias Feuerherdt.”

The J/24 German Open is taking place out of the Bolton Marina, one of the most modern ports on the Baltic coast and longtime partner of the NRV for many of its sailing events. This remarkable marina was opened in 2008,  designed by the architect Andreas Hundsdörfer from the outset as regatta hosting site and offers excellent facilities for participants and spectators.  "We wish the participants exciting race days and are already looking forward to the 2015 J/24 World Championships soon,” says Mr. Hundsdörfer.
For more J/24 German Open sailing information

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top German Sailors in J/70 Bundesliga- It’s a Matter of Honor!

J/70 sailing Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga (Berlin, Germany)- The Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga and its 18 sailing clubs will next be stopping on the Wannsee in Berlin, Germany with its fleet of J/70s. Included are two sailing icons from Berlin who have made a ​​lasting impression in the world of sailing.

This coming weekend is a time of great memories. In the Bundesliga, racing on the Berlin Wannsee will be three-time Olympic gold medalist Jochen Schumann.  It’s the first time since 2000 in the Sydney Olympic Games that he will sail with Gunnar Bahr and Ingo Borkowski in the same boat. Their fourth crew from the YC Berlin-Grunau will be Erik Powilleit.

Jochen Schumann- World class sailor from GermanyWith Bahr and Borkowski, Schumann had won his fourth medal in Australia. That it was the Silver Medal “only", Schumann attributes today to several "bad nights”.

What is his objective for the regatta on the Wannsee, with his club positioned in third place overall in the Bundesliga?

"We, of course, go take a risk," says Schumann. Anyone who has won an Olympic medal should be able to prevail in the Bundesliga. But, this will only be possible from an America's Cup winner's view, when the wind blows strong on the Wannsee. "Then, we are well positioned," says Schumann. During calm periods the boat from Grunau might have a distant chance, because the sailors on competing young sailors from other clubs are too competitive!

Ulrike Schumann sailing on German Olympic teamThat Schumann, who lives in Penzberg, near Munich, returns for the third event of the J/70 Segel-Bundesliga this season in his home, is typical of the Bundesliga regatta. "It's a super nice format that everyone understands," says the former Olympic Champion and Fourth Vice President of VSaW, Ulrike Schumann (un-related to Jochen Schumann, by the way). Ulrike Schumann will just be a tactician on board their team and she is looking forward to the debate with her famous namesake. In fact, a new esprit de corps has evolved.  The same four sailors do not always sail for their respective clubs.  For example, Jochen Schumann, was crew last year for a young women sailor on their club team!

The juggling of top sailors is one of the reasons why the interest in the clubs of the Bundesliga racing is sustainable and broad. "To be allowed to sail for my club, is an honor for me," explains Ulrike Schumann. “Our club’s participation leads to a greater awareness. The competitions have a huge role in developing that interest,” she says.

The situation is similar to the creator of the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga, the former Tornado World Champion, Oliver Schwall. There were several advantages of the fledgling Sailing League: within the clubs you are getting closer together as members; the competitions are also a platform for the presentation of the club to the outside world, beyond the sailing community; and because sailing has finally arrived primarily in the general media locally and nationally, everything in sailing is gaining great exposure as a family activity.

Willi Kuhweide- Olympic class German sailorHow seriously do the best German clubs take the competitions, for example the Bundesliga races next weekend in Berlin? On the terrace of the organizing club, the sailing competitions are transmitted “live” via 60” LED monitors to the public with Hasso Plattner’s SAP Software Ag company providing the tracking and analysis software.  And, if anyone ever puts some of the best German sailors on the Great Wannsee against each other, even the best of the past will celebrate that anniversary. Fifty years ago VSaW member, Willi Kuhweide, won gold at the Olympics sailing in Tokyo, Japan.  Even five decades after his triumph in Tokyo, the aura of his success has still not faded.  On the contrary, Kuhweide, today, is still synonymous with the international success of German sailors.

His VSaW sailing club will celebrate this famous anniversary in parallel with the J/70 Segel-Bundesliga regattas. And Kuhweide, who now lives in Arizona (America), will be traveling to the festivities. He will also take part against his one-time closest rival, the East German sailors Bernd Dehmel!

The erstwhile opponents are likely to be surprised by how professional sailors must be today in order to have success. "At the time, when Willi Kuhweide took Olympic Gold and later won the Bronze Medal, they had nowhere near as much training as sailors have today," said Ulrike Schumann. “However, no such service were offered to the athletes back in their time. For the J/70 Segel-Bundesliga regattas, for example, the 18 yacht club teams no longer need to bring anything but their sailing clothing! The J/70 boats are provided at the respective venues ready to go. A cooperation with the manufacturer of the boats makes this possible,” she says.

To build upon the successful times of Kuhweide and Jochen Schumann, the aim of the German Sailing Association and Sailing Team Germany is to elevate the sport within Germany. The J/70 Segel-Bundesliga plays a role in this context. The great stadium-sailing format attracts a lot of viewers and, unexpectedly, enormous public interest— thanks to modern technology. The last Bundesliga regattas in Travemünde were viewed by up to 25,000 people live on the Internet. "For now, that is a good number for sailing," says Schwall. But, also in Travemünde were many public visitors that were present; they were also able to experience the Bundesliga sailing very close in perfect conditions.

J/125 and J/105 owner- Hasso Plattner of SAP SoftwareAs a partner, SAP Software AG (Chairman/ CEO Hasso Plattner owns a J/105 and J/125) has used a combination of wireless WiFi and their world-renowned database technology to provide real-time tracking and standings of the teams on a “mark-by-mark” basis (e.g. you know how each team is winning or losing the entire regatta each time they pass a mark!). "We need to bring the sport of sailing on land," says Schwall. In Travemünde this requirement was met in spades. The observers ashore were especially satisfied, especially as the regatta unfolded quite dramatically on the water.

The success of the Bundesliga, meanwhile, has spread abroad. In Denmark, there is now a similar league.  Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia and the United States will soon follow. In Europe, like football (soccer to Americans) a Champions League is evolving. A first test for this is to take place this fall in Copenhagen, Denmark on the J/70s (12 boats and 24 teams total).

Should Schumann be there in Denmark with his club from YC Grunau, it could lead to a duel, in which he could settle an old score in the J/70 SAILING Champions League one day. In Sydney in 2000, he was inferior to the Dane Jesper Bank under curious circumstances. To beat Bank, might alleviate the pain of that time so many years ago to miss a fourth Olympic Gold Medal??  Time will tell.  Perhaps, their children and friends will become good friends!  Thanks for contribution from De Morgen Post in Germany

Glorious Chester Race Week!

J/120 sailing at Chester Race Week J/Teams Love Sunny, Perfect Weather
(Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada)- As can often happen way, way Down East, it’s always a bit of a “roll-of-the-dice” whether you have a week of foggy dew and no wind or a simply spectacular stretch of weather that seems to make for an endless, perfect summer!  Somehow, the sailors in this year’s Chester Race Week just south of Halifax, Nova Scotia were treated to one of their best sailing weeks in recent memory.

As a consequence of being blessed by the best that Mother Nature can deliver, one of the best “social/ party” race weeks on the North American calendar went off without a hitch and with many J/Teams collecting way more than their fair share of silverware.  In addition, the Canadian J/24s were simultaneously hosting their 2014 Canadian Nationals.

Starting from the first day, the week got off to a great start. According to One-Design Course Race Officer Brian Todd, sailors were treated to near-perfect conditions, “we had excellent winds, 8-11 knots, and racing was tight, and fun. My race committee team was fantastic, constantly adjusting the course to make it perfect for the sailors.”  After the first day of racing, Lunenburg YC’s John Whynacht on the J/24 STICKY FINGERS took the class lead, never to relinquish it for the rest of the regatta!

J/teams sailing at Chester Race WeekFor many of the J/Teams, the second day of racing was thrilling and challenging!  For other fleets, too much wind and waves forced cancellation of races and for others it also meant lots of broken rigging or torn sails. PRO Liz Shaw said that while conditions were challenging, and the incidents heartbreaking to watch, the high winds made for some exciting racing. “On heavy air days like today, the adrenaline is a little higher. It’s not about who has the fastest, lightest boat, it’s about who is mentally and physically prepared to sail in tougher conditions. Sailors are pushed to their limits and you can really see their tactical brains at work. It’s pure excitement,” commented Shaw.

After the rough and tumble second day, the breeze lightened up for the third day of racing.  Starting out with a wee bit of clouds, rain and no wind, the harbor postponement was finally lifted as the sun poked through and a nice breeze built for the afternoon.  Most fleets managed to get in at least one race and fleets like the J/24s managed to get in two before the breeze died.  For the J/24s, it was becoming apparent that Whynacht’s STICKY FINGERS was in a class of their own, posting two more top three scores.

Mother Nature again delivered in spades on the final day. Conditions were great with a nice, steady southwest seabreeze, and winds of 15-20 knots. Most courses ended up finishing in a short rain squall under black skies and rainy, blustery conditions. But, it passed quickly and blue skies returned in time for trophy presentations.

“Today was a fantastic end to a great week of sailing,” said Liz Shaw, principal race officer, Chester Race Week 2014. “The racing was incredibly close and exciting, with a number of classes decided by mere seconds on the last race.  All in all, Chester Race Week was an incredible event. There were a lot of standout moments over the past few days in weather and competition, and sailors were mentally and physically pushed to their limits. Our new web-based regatta management system, YachtScoring.com, delivered results faster and more accurately than ever before.”

J/Teams reveled in the wide variety of conditions, especially the teams sailing the PHRF Distance races, random-leg courses selected before the start of each day’s race.  In PHRF A1, the J/120s cleaned house, taking 1st and 2nd.  Richard Calder’s BRILLIANCE and Dwayne Smithers’ ADIOS tied on points at ten apiece, with the tie-breaker going to BRILLIANCE.  Fourth in class was Paul Rafuse’s J/109 WISC.

In PHRF A2 were a trio of J/35s that customarily do quite well in class.  However, this year the top banana was Thane MacDonald’s J-HAWK, top J/35 but only 7th in class.

In the nearly all J/Boats PHRF A3 class, it was “local hero” Colin Mann winning with his J/92 POOH STICKS, followed by Sean McDermott’s J/105 McMAC in 2nd and Jim Snair’s J/88 PLAYMATE in 3rd.  In fact, the J/88s took three of the top five spots, Dave Connolly’s J/88 CRAZY EIGHTS in 4th and Terry Mckenna’s DOG PARTY in 5th.

PHRF A4 class was also determined on a tie-breaker, with Chris MacDonald’s J/29 SCOTCH MIST IV taking class honors.

On Course Bravo were the PHRF Buoy Racing fleets.  In PHRF B1, the fleet was treated to a “schooling” by the J/29 SILVER WOMAN skippered by Andrew Childs; nine bullets in 11 races gave them a 14 pt lead over fellow J/29 sailor Don Williams on PARADIGM SHIFT.  Fourth and fifth, respectively, were also taken by J/29s-- Erin & Carlisle Norwood’s FAVOURITE CHILD and Paul Dexter’s PAINKILLER.

The PHRF B2 class had two J/30s sail well to take two spots on the podium.  Jordan MacNeil’s J/30 FLUX was second and Jesleine Baker’s J/30 JUST ADD WATER was third.

Finally, the Canadian J/24 Nationals were won in a landslide victory by Whynacht’s STICKY FINGERS.  Scoring four 1sts and four 2nds, their final tally of 19 pts meant they won by 7 pts.  While local knowledge was certainly helpful for Lunenberg’s Whynacht, Toronto sailor Nick Jako also managed to post all top five scores sailing TAZ for a total of 26 pts, just enough to hold onto second. Another Halifax “local”, Greg Blunden steering ADRENALINE RUSH, snagged third. Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com  For more Chester Race Week sailing information

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

J/111 ODYSSEY YOUTH CHALLENGE Wins Ida Lewis Race!

J/111 Odyssey crew- winners Youth Challenge J/88 McMICHAELS YOUTH TEAM Takes 2nd!
(Newport, RI)- This year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race was blessed by amazingly beautiful sailing conditions. Starting out in a strong southwester blowing 15-22 kts, the fleet took off at noon and into the sunset far offshore, seeking their first “mark” of the course— a “virtual mark” they had to navigate around using the GPS (hopefully accurate).

The “virtual mark” added an intriguing new twist to the 10th Annual Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR). The popular overnight race took the fleet of PHRF, IRC, One-Design, Double-handed and “Youth Challenge” boats on one of four courses – between 104nm and 177nm – that trace the New England coastline.  First boats in the fleet were finishing by Saturday morning and most everyone finished by the evening— a fast, fun race for all with many J/teams reporting surfing or planing into the mid-teens on at least two of the legs!

Awarded the Kits van Heyningen Trophy for winning the Youth Challenge was Fred Van Liew’s team on the J/111 ODYSSEY (to qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew had reached their 14th birthday but not turned 20 prior to August 15).  When asked what he thought were the determining factors in ODYSSEY’s win, 17-year-old Trevor Davidson said, “Team chemistry and the fact that we were so comfortable and trusting in each other’s judgment.” Davidson was one of seven youth sailors onboard. “We also sailed really well at night. Between 1am and 4am in the morning is when everyone starts to drop off, but that was when we were at our best. We had four guys out on deck and we were doing ten knots with the kite up in 15 knots of breeze.”

Van Liew and his friend Bob Goss made up the “adult” portion of the team. “The youth sailors we had with us were very competent,” said Van Liew who has a number of offshore races under his belt. “Offshore racing calls for a different kind of sailing and teamwork than buoy racing. It’s a matter of pacing yourself and trying to take care of yourself and your team. Everybody has multiple responsibilities, because you move around for watches.”  Van Liew added that the Ida Lewis Distance Race is a fantastic stepping stone for the next generation of sailors interested in transitioning into longer offshore courses. “This is a star event and one I am going to put it on the schedule for next year!”

J/88 second in Youth Challenge- Fleig familyThe report from the J/88 was equally enthusiastic.  In this case, the J/88 offshore experience was a “family affair”!  Here is the commentary from skipper Rick Fleig, “the race turned out to be a spectacular Ida Distance Race on the 88! What a terrific boat. I had gone on out on the 88 last summer on a few demo sails for some prospective clients, but putting her through her paces in the ILDR was fantastic. We had a great start, though in retrospect both Steve & I said we should have tacked onto port right after the committee boat’s anchor line to keep our air clear as we stayed on the starboard board a little too long and got run over by a 45+ footer and then sat in some bad air for a while. We also should have sailed with the 95% heavy blade jib - we didn't and we were on our ear most of the time upwind for the first few hours. Certainly a mistake in those conditions with only four aboard, two of which were teenagers. Regardless, we had so much fun and the boat was really a joy to sail.

J/111 Odyssey starting Ida Lewis Race with Youth ChallengeWe hit 17.5 knots on the first long run to Buzzards Bay Tower with my son Tyler notching the high speed for the race!! Awesome stuff!  All that downwind Laser practice pays off even in big boats! We did a few round ups on that leg with Steve, myself and Tyler all contributing, as it takes a little getting used to feeling the rudder load up as you come across the wave face, heating it up, and then running back down. We learned that you have to feel the load and then carve down slowly to get the best performance. Steve was turning hard down the wave face Laser style and it wasn't as effective as carving a slow turn down and holding onto the wave and plane. Fun stuff!!

All that in only 15-18 knots TWS, simply an amazing boat!! Just a little more breeze and time on the stick and surely we would have hit 20 kts boatspeed easy downwind!

To sum up - we missed first place in the division by 11 seconds to the J/111 ODYSSEY! And, when I suggested to Steve, his son John, and my son Tyler that we should do it again next year in a bigger boat, they all said in unison, ‘No way - this boat is awesome!’ And, I have to say, I agree!

Thanks again for allowing both Steve and I the opportunity to sail with our sons in a great event on the J/88, making some memories that will never be forgotten.  Everything worked very well and even in that breeze, the boat was totally manageable by two adults and two teenagers. Talk about great family sailing!”

J/111 Eagles Dare at Ida Lewis startIn addition to the 88 and 111 sailing the Youth Challenge, there was quite a line-up of eleven other J/Teams that participated in the event (30.0% of 53 keelboats)!  In the IRC Division, Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION took a 7th in their 14 boat class.  Then in PHRF Division, Bob Manchester’s J/120 VAMOOSE took 3rd, followed by Paul Grimes family crew on their J/35 BREAKAWAY in fourth.

The PHRF Double-handed Class saw Mike Piper’s J/111 EAGLES DARE from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA sailing against three fast Class 40s and managing to take 4th— as Mike described the experience, “it’s hard to hold back the Class 40s when 75% of the race was reaching!  A mixture of wind strength and direction is much better for us.”

Finally, in the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class, five J/Teams dominated overall.  Taking second was EC Helme’s J/92s SPIRIT, followed by Brooke Mastrorio’s J/109 URSA in 3rd, Bob Anderson’s J/46 ARIEL in 4th, Brendan Kelley’s J/133 EXILE in 5th and Chris Oliver’s University of Michigan college team sailing the J/40 COVENANT took 6th.   For more Ida Lewis Distance Race sailing information

Ingham Crowned J/24 European Open Winner

J/24 Sailors for the Sea- Mike Ingham at EuropeansGermany’s Schonfeldt Tops Europeans
(Angelholm, Sweden)- This past weekend, a fleet of thirty-five J/24s assembled in the beautiful little seaside resort of Angelholm, Sweden to compete for the J/24 European Championship.  Conditions ranged widely from gales and thunderstorms to gorgeous sunny days with moderate winds.  Topping the standings was the American team of Mike Ingham, comfortably winning the regatta by 30 points over the next boat- as a result the winner of the “Open Europeans”.  The top European boat was Germany’s Frank Schonfeldt from the Muhlenberger Segel-Club sailing HENK.

The first day of racing started out with a postponement due to gale force winds and lightning.  But, once the first warning signal sounded the three races scheduled for the day were carried out without further delays. As a result, the strong breezes persisted for most of the day and it forced many crews to choose between the 150% genoa or the 100% jib; crews were often madly running around on deck just before the start hoping for a last-minute advantage (hanks aren’t that easy to swap out!).

J/24s sailing at Europeans in SwedenThe first race was won by Mike Ingham’s USA 5443 (USA), followed by Manfred Konig’s VITESSE (GER) and Frank Schonfeldt’s HENK (GER). The second race was won by HENK, followed by VITESSE and QUICK & DIRTY.  Then, the third race of the day saw a different combination, it was won by Chris McLaughlin’s IL RICCIO (last year’s 2013 Europeans winner in Monaco from GBR), followed by Ingham's USA 5443 and Tobias Feuerherdt’s TEAM ROTOMAN (GER).  The results after the first day showed that German teams were in 1st and 3rd (Konig’s VITESSE and Schonfeldt’s HENK, respectively) and in 2nd was McLaughlin’s IL RICCIO.

Race day two offered strong breeze but no rain and the event was able to complete four races. The crews were clearly exhausted after that long workout!  Race winners were: R4– VITESSE; R5– TEAM ROTOMAN, R6– USA 5443; and R7– Till Pomarius’ TINTO from Germany. After the second day of racing, Ingham’s USA 5443 surged into the overall regatta lead due to their finishes of 5-3-1-6, followed by VITESSE and TEAM ROTOMAN.  At this point, McLaughlin’s IL RICCIO had accumulated two scoring penalties in race 2 & 4, took a DNF in race 5, then unfortunately DNS’d the rest of the series.

The third day dawned just as nice as the day before, great winds of 12-20 kts with lots of sun and two more races that started on-time at 11am.  In addition to the usual suspects who occupied most of the top three spots, new faces included Johann Huhn’s HUNGRIGER WOLF from Germany taking a 3rd in R8 and Peer Kock’s German team on UK GISCHT & GLUT taking a third in R9.  At this point, Ingham’s 1-2 score for the day simply drove them further ahead of the rest of the pack.

J/24s sailing on sunlit seas under spinnakerAmazingly, the last race day offered more of the same weather!  Imagine that?!  With great winds and sunny skies, the sailors could not have been happier, plus the beaches were packed with lots of beautiful Swedes vacationing immediately in front of the harbor entrance. Two more races were scheduled and were carried out without delays. The day’s winners saw a number of new faces in the crowd.  In R10, Matthias Garzman’s GUNNI (GER) won, followed by Per-Hakan Persson's FRONT RUNNER (the top Swedish boat) and Jan Kahler’s UNITED 5 (GER).  In the last race R11, UNITED 5 took the bullet followed by USA 5443 and HENK.

In the end, Mike Ingham’s American crew were crowned the overall Open J/24 European’s winners.  The top European and the next three positions were dominated by German teams; Schonfeldt’s HENK crew in 2nd, Konig’s VITESSE in 3rd and Kock’s UK GISCHT & GLUT 4th.  Fifth was the top Swedish boat, Persson’s FRONT RUNNER from the Malmo Sailing Club.

Women's J/24 team at Europeans in SwedenTop prize for best Women’s crew went to VEGA RAGAZZA– Stephanie Koepcke and her lovely crew from Germany’s Muhlenberger Segel-Club- she finished 10th in a highly competitive J/24 fleet!

Top award for best Youth Team went to LUV– Tom Stryi and crew from Germany.

Stewart and Mary-Anne Jardine’s “Old Boat Trophy” for inspiration to the J/24 class went to the Swedish all-women crew of FOR FUN (BLUE)– Liselotte Sjöberg and crew.

And last, but certainly not least, a special award was given to the Youngest Crew member of the Europeans– Nils (12 years old) who showed great courage and fighting spirit together with his crew on HOLLENHUND RELOADED, skippered by Martin Maschnitza from Kieler YC.   Sailing photo credits- Helene Ohsbeck  For more European J/24 Championship sailing information

Monday, August 25, 2014

South Africa Tops International YC Challenge

J/24s sailing off New York waterfront (New York, NY)- Last weekend, nineteen teams of amateur sailors from 14 nations sailed in the Sixth Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge in absolutely gorgeous sailing conditions on the Hudson River, right next to the famous Statue of Liberty. The races took place in Manhattan YC’s bright red J/24s; races were started off their famous floating clubhouse, the Sparkman & Stephens designed “Honorable William Wall”, anchored in New York Harbor just north of Ellis Island.

Winning the regatta with considerable ease was the Royal Cape Yacht Club from Capetown, South Africa.  How did the South African team do it? By sailing fast and smart and avoiding any un-necessary mistakes.  This dark horse was a well-practiced team, all used to sailing big waves and even bigger winds off the tip of Capetown; a place renowned for nasty gales, chilly winds, and “jumping great white sharks” feeding on innocent little seals off the infamous Shark Island (often seen getting “big air” right in the middle of some of their race courses)!  Needless to say, not much was going to intimidate this team of one-design and offshore sailors.

J/24 South African sailing teamThe South Africans arrived to the regatta without fanfare and at the Opening Ceremony, described themselves as the “most humble” team at the regatta. They told the story about how they scraped together funds for their 36 hour flight to New York City by soliciting donations. They were surprised by the many generous sources that collectively made their participation possible. Despite their challenges, they easily led the regatta after sailing three races on the first day- posting a 5-2-1.  Not a bad score considering none of them had ever sailed on the Hudson River before!  Over the next two days, they never slowed down, adding a 7-2-2-1-2 to close the regatta with 15 pts net and win by a stellar margin of 5 pts.

Starting out in second after the first day were the Royal Danish Yacht Club team from Denmark.  They managed to post very consistent scores of 4-4-2-2-3-4-8-1 for 20 pts net to secure a firm grasp on the silver overall.

J/24s sailing on Hudson River, New YorkThird place and the balance of the top five saw just about every team experience some amazingly bad races; as the Aussies often say, “we sent it down the mine shaft!”  After day one, the Manhattan YC #2 team was third with a 1-9-3, but then disappeared into the abyss on day two with an epochal record of 17-13-8 to take themselves out of contention (hmmm, rumor had it they were showing some of their newfound foreign friends a good time Friday night in downtown Manhattan until twilight?).

Howth YC from Howth, Ireland, a hotbed of J/24 activity in that island nation and recent host of the J/24 Worlds, also started out strong with a 2-6-7-5, temporarily holding onto third place after four races.  Then, they bombed two races, gathering a 17-3-18-3 to drop themselves into fifth overall.

Third was taken by the Swiss team from Lake Geneva, sailing for the Cercle de la Voile de la Societe Nautique de Geneve.  They started out with an astonishingly humble record of 9-1-12-10, but then closed with a flourish, posting a 4-1-3-10 for a total of 38 pts net.  They narrowly beat out another team of dinghy and one-design sailors from Bermuda’s Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club.  The Bermuda team also had a slow start, amassing a disappointing 3-16-8-12 in the first four races to firmly secure a mid-fleet position.  Nevertheless, like their Swiss counterparts, they pulled themselves up by their collective bootstraps and reeled off a 1-6-4-5 in the last four races for 39 pts net, just missing the podium by one point!   For more sailing photos- DC IYC Facebook page & credits- Scot Surbeck  For more Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge sailing information