Friday, November 23, 2007

J/80’s 1-2 in Asian Sportboat Champs

The J/80 recently debuted in Asia at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Maersk Asian International Sportboat Championship, where two out-of-the-box J/80 yachts took the top two spots, finishing ahead of a mixed fleet of custom and production built sportboats from China, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Jeff Johnstone of J Boats and his all-Hong Kong crew edged out colleague Jeff Brown of San Diego to complete the one-two sweep. Brown, with partner Hudson Wang, recently opened the J Boats Asia dealership with an office in downtown Hong Kong and with plans for a mainland China office in 2008.

The Asian debut comes at a time when J/80 activity is booming worldwide. The recent J/80 World Championship in La Trinite-sur-Mer, France had 124 competing teams - a record for the Class, and momentum continues to build. "The J/80 is a solid all-around performer that’s really easy to sail," Johnstone said. "It's more stable than most sportboats, and so attracts and rewards sailors from a wider age and ability range."

Brown is equally enthusiastic about the J/80's Asian debut. "We see Hong Kong, China, and Asia as great opportunities for J/80 sailing and for the J/80 Class," said Brown. "There is no better small keelboat for new sailors - the J/80 combines the speed and responsiveness of a small boat with the comfort and stability of a larger yacht. With momentum so strong around the world, we're hoping to host the J/80 Pacific Rim Championship in a few years!"

The J/80 will be on display at the Shanghai International Boat Show next April.

Friday, November 16, 2007

J/80 2007 NA Championship

Kerry Klingler sailing his J/80 Lifted with crew including Doug Lynn, Neil Bresnan & John Bowden recently won his second consecutive J/80 North American Championship and third J80 NA title overall by winning the final show-down race where a single point separated the top three boats.

Just six weeks before the J/80 NA Championships the J/80 Class organization faced a terrible problem. Lake Norman, N.C., where the regatta was scheduled to take place was drying up because of the severe drought in the southeast USA. With too little water to launch boats and race it was panic time! The class’s first call was to Kristen Robinson to ask if Eastport YC, in Annapolis, could host the regatta. The club accepted and started organizing a first class event in record time. The class embraced the move and teams from as far away as California changed plans. The end result was a true championship regatta, raced by 33 competitors who love the boat… Complete wrap-up.

J/109s 1-2 @ IRC East Coast Champs

Bill Sweetser’s J/109 Rush dominated his IRC Class 4 followed by fellow J/109 owner Steve McManus sailing Saykadoo (thumbnail courtesy of to second in the Storm Trysail Club 2007 IRC East Coast Championship recently held in Annapolis. With finishes of 1.5,2,1,1,2,1,1 for a total of 9.5 points after throw-out, Sweetser & crew achieved the lowest point total for all IRC classes at the event! While the overall IRC award somehow eluded Rush and the Class 4 group, overall it was a great showing for both the Rush & Saykadoo teams!

And speaking of teams, Robin Team’s brand new J/122 Teamwork sailing in her first out of the box event finished a respectable 2nd place in IRC Class 3. With no wind during the practice race to tune up and then breeze-on for day 1, the Teamwork crew put their new boat and team on a steep learning curve, improving each race and eventually taking at least one first and a couple of second place finishes for the series….next stop, Key West. In total 45 boats, divided into five classes competed in this the final event in the 2007 IRC Gulf Stream Series. Results.

Masquerade Repeats at J/105 NAs

A repeat win for a great team as Tom Coates and crew from San Francisco Bay aboard Masquerade topped the record 68 boat J/105 fleet in Annapolis earlier this month. With a slow start and a stellar finish these guys literally came out of nowhere to win again. As far as J/105 one-design events go, this was a milestone event and a culmination of 16 years of class development and growth. A record turnout of boats and some competitive racing and challenging conditions. During the buffet dinner party on Friday night, special recognition was given to long time J/Dealer Paul Mikulski by J/Boats President Jeff Johnstone for Paul’s un-tiring contribution to the success of the local J/105 class and his work promoting J/Boats on the Chesapeake over the past two decades. A special J/105 half hull model was awarded to Paul who now continues as broker with the new J/Dealer in Annapolis Ken Comerford of North Point Yacht Sales at J/Port.

Each J/105 competing at the North American event was GPS monitored by the folks at Kattack who recorded every race and through the magic of the web will allow anyone to play, rewind, and replay any race of the series. Go to to download the player….it’s pretty cool stuff.

For complete reports and links to the daily commentary from the event as well as to online photos please visit the J/105 Class web site.