Wednesday, April 28, 2010

J/120 CARINTHIA Wins Regata Del Sol Race

J/120 Carinthia- Frank Kern- offshore sailboat- sailing downwindFrank Kern, from Grosse Pointe, MI is raced his J/120 CARINTHIA in the Regata del Sol Race, winning PHRF Racing class. Twenty-seven boats competed in this 500 nm event which started from the St. Petersburg Pier on April 23rd. It's hosted by St. Petersburg YC and the Club de Yates de Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  It's been run for decades and has a very loyal following.  The town and the yacht club in Isla de Mujeres are apparently spectacular hosts and everyone looks forward to the Regata de Los Amigos-- read more about it here-  

SpinSheet Interview- J Sailor Linda Ambrose

J/ Boats sailor- Linda Ambrose- Annapolis Yacht ClubLinda Ambrose- another long-time J/Sailor is now the Annapolis Yacht Club's Regatta Manager.  The Annapolis Performance Sailing/ Chesapeake Racer Profile recently did an interview of Linda in their most recent Spinsheet (  To read Molly Winans interview of Linda, please download it here (1.4 MB).  

Windcheck Interview- J Sailor Barby Macgowan

J/Boats sailor- 
Barby Macgowan- Newport, RI

Barby Macgowan- a long-time J/Sailor from Texas now living in Newport, RI with husband Billy MacGowan, runs MediaPro International, a public relations firm.  WindCheck magazine, a publication focused on sailing in the Northeast (, recently ran a nice interview on her in their latest publication.  To read it, please download it here (1.0 MB).   

Bermuda Race Week J/105 & J/24 Update

J/105 one-design 
sailboat- sailing Great Sound, Bermuda

Pink Sands & Bermuda Shorts- What's Wrong with that picture?

(April 25, 2010) - With warm trade-wind like breezes, sunny skies, puffy white clouds and pink sand beaches, those fortunate few are thrilled to have weather conditions that must be exceeding their expectations.

J/24 one-design sailboat- 
sailing upwindScott Snyder's Team USA 194 started out by taking two bullets to lead the eleven-boat J/24 fleet. Snyder's home club, Lake Dillon Yacht Club is the nation's highest yacht club at 9,017 feet above sea level, in Summit County Colorado. The lake is still frozen solid, so this is his first time on the water this year. This is his fifth Bermuda International Invitational Race week, the third as a skipper.  By Monday, Scott Snyder continued to show his stern to the rest of the class. He got an excellent start at the committee boat in winds gusting to 26knts. Then he trailed Bermuda’s Trevor Boyce much of the race, but came back to pass him on the final downwind leg to win again. Snyder has 1-1-1 for 3 points while Boyce has 4-2-2 for 8 points. Peter Rich of the Severn Sailing association in Annapolis Maryland climbed into third place with 3-6-3 for 12 points.

The J105 class frolicked in the high winds and Glenn Astwood, skipper of NOT MINE for the day came in second but held on to the /first place slot. NOT MINE has scored 4-1-1-2 for 8 points. Chuck Millican took first today and moved into the second slot with races of 2-4-2-1 for 9 points. James MacDonald now has scores 1-2-3-4 for 10 points. With these close scores it is still anybody’s regatta to win.

For more information and great videos and photos of J/24s and J/105s sailing Bermuda Race Week.  

American YC Spring Series

J/44 one-design sailboat- 
sailing American YC spring series

Great Sailing for J One-Design Classes

(Rye, NY)- Eighty one teams are participating in the AYC Spring Series.  And, as usual, being the wonderful hosts that they are for the opening of the Long Island Sound offshore sailing season, the team at AYC did a remarkable job to run five to six races (depending on course and class) this past weekend in the western reaches of the Sound.  Sailing within site of downtown NY and it's eponymous Empire State Building, the AYC Race Committee ushered the sailors out on the water Saturday morning with some degree of protestations as it looked like a proverbial mill pond out in the middle between the Long Island and Connecticut shorelines.  Nevertheless the AYC PRO's on both the East Course and the West Course persevered, the wind settled into the SSW building from zero up to 13 knots by late afternoon, enabling the East course to run four races and the West course three on what turned out to be a gorgeous, albeit challenging, day for sailing.  By Sunday, the same ginormous Low Pressure system that was terrorizing the American Midwest and South with tales of the world's largest and longest lasting F4 power tornado cutting a 200 mile buzz-saw path several miles wide through the southern heartland turned out to be true, unfortunately.  With thousands of lightning bolts spraying the landscape per hour, there was simply nowhere to hide in that region.  However, the explosive cocktail of warm Gulf of Mexico winds and cold Arctic/ Canadian air masses colliding with brutal fury dissipated by the time the continental-spanning monster front hit the NY region.  Luckily for the sailors, the forecasted 0 knots of wind gusting to 0 knots and incessant drizzle magically transformed into a great day of sailing in Easterly breezes.  With only two races scheduled for Sunday, both course started the first series of races in the 6-10 knot wind range and increased to 12-16 knots by the end of the second race.

The winning formula for success on Saturday in the southwest breezes was fairly typical for the conditions-- it meant playing shifts towards the right-middle of the course, staying in wind streaks and less adverse ebb-tide before sailing across the Sound to the windward mark placed near the Long Island shore.  Sunday, the strategies changed quite dramatically with easterlies and strong ebb.  As large cloud cells rolled through, the wind direction varied from 70 to 90 degrees, with enormous, gusty wind streaks filling in from both sides of the course.  While certainly keeping the RC mark boats on their toes, the tacticians had their hands full keeping their boats in the hunt for good positions to close out the first weekend of sailing.

J/122 one-design sailboat- 
cruising- racingThe J/122 One-Design class saw Tom Boyle and Mike Callahan aboard WINGS figure out the tricky conditions and sail into contention in this tightly fought class, with three firsts and three seconds to be winning by a scant one point margin over Andrew Weiss' family racing CHRISTOPHER DRAGON that managed to garner a 3-1-1-3-2-1 tally.  Lying third is Barry Gold and Jamie Anderson sailing SUNDARI to 2-3-4-2-3-5 finishes.

Jim Bishop and his fun-loving crew aboard their J/44 GOLD DIGGER managed to stay amongst the leaders, hanging onto third place after the weekend in the J/44 One-Design class, sailing to a 5-4-2-3-3-4 score.  Showing some great form were Jeff Willis on CHALLENGE IV and Bill Ketcham on MAXINE.  Both Jeff and Bill stepped up their games this year and sailed consistently to top the leader board.  Bill's MAXINE is currently first with a 1-1-4-4-1-2 record and Jeff's CHALLENGE IV is lying second with 4-3-5-5-2-1 finishes.  The J/44 One-Design Class continue to enjoy fantastic racing with their "class matched/supplied" one-design sails.  Draw each sail out of a hat and off you go!  It's been a terrific formula for success.  Look out for another large J/44 class for this year's Storm Trysail Club Bermuda Race.

J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing
 around windward markThe J/105 One-Design class has a strong turnout of seventeen boats, largest in the AYC Spring Series.  The J/105s saw class leaders like Damian Emery on ECLIPSE and Joerg Esdorn/ Duncan Hennes on KINCSEM rise to the top of the fleet, running first and second, respectively, after five races with just two points separating them.  Hanging onto third place overall is Harald Edegran and Jeremy Henderson on CONUNDRUM.  The current North American Champion Bruce Stone / Scott DeWeese racing POWERPLAY are fourth and George and Alex Wilbanks are fifth sailing REVELATION.

In the IRC 40 Class, Thomas Carroll's J/133 SIREN SONG sailed to a 4-1-1-6-1-1 tally to be leading their class by four points.  Lying third is Ron Richman's J/133 ANTIDOTE and fourth is George Petrides' J/120 AVRA.  Seems like the SIREN SONG gang were sand-bagging the first race to lull their competitors into complacency then simply blew them out of the water-- four bullets in six races in this hotly contested class is strong, keep on rolling next week!

J/109 one-design sailboatJ/109s are racing IRC35 Class against a fleet of well-sailed, similar sized, competitive boats.  This group, too, had to avoid enormous pitfalls on the race course in order to stay in contention.  The J/109s are packing the top of the leader board.  Mike Brown's MISCHIEF is tied for first with a 4-3-3-2-4 record.  Lying third is Adrian Begley's MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN with a 5-5-5-1-3 score.  Rick Lyall's STORM was leader after the first day with a 6-1-1 record but did not sail on Sunday's race.  Watch out if next weekend sees them sail another five races and they get to drop another DNC score, they could leap into top three contention overnight!

Always a leader in PHRF was the J/29 HUSTLER sailed by Tony Esposito.  In fact, in Saturday's light air and flat water conditions, their J/29 was devastating, often hanging with or sailing by the J/105 One-Designs with their large masthead rig and beautiful looking genoas...still a killer boat after all these years!  Their 3-3-1-1-1 record speaks for itself, leading their ten boat PHRF class by three points.  Photo credits- Alan Clark/ Photoboat

For more race and sailing information on the American YC Spring Series.  

Sparkling Solent for Warsash Finale

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing 
in Solent, England

J/122 JINJA Sets the Pace With 2nd, 3rd

(Southampton, England)-  Warsash Sailing Club was a busy place over the weekend of 24th/25th April when the Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship reached their final stages. Conditions in the Solent were ideal and provided some of the best racing so far this season.

For the second weekend of the Warsash Spring Championship, the J/80s completed 12 races, each of between 40 and 60 minutes. Again there was a distinct winner in John Cooper’s OI! which had never dropped below fifth place. Terry Palmer’s JUST DO IT and Steve Chappell’s JANGO FETT were only five points apart coming second and third. Seven J/109s competed. Although J/DREAM (Kirsty and David Apthorp) counted six first places, Adam Wright in VELVET ELVIS had not dropped below second place and took the Championship trophy by two points.  In the Big Boat IRC division, Ian Matthews' team on the J/122 JINJA sailed well to garner third overall.  Neil Martin's J/133 JAMMY DODGER managed to get seventh followed closely by the J/122 JERONIMO sailed by Jackie and Robert Dodson.

The multi-week Warsash Spring Series finally came to a stunning, gorgeous conclusion, basking in near glam St. Tropez like conditions with sun-a-plenty and good breeze to boot.  At 0830 when the committee boats left the Warsash Sailing Club pontoon for the final day of racing in the Warsash Spring Series the day was grey and drizzly, with poor visibility. It seemed very unlikely that the superb conditions of the Spring Championship the day before would be repeated but slowly, as the first start time approached, the rain died and by 1000 the south-westerly breeze was starting to fill. By midday the Solent was basking in sunshine and the breeze was up to 15 knots – a perfect way to finish the country’s premier early season racing event.

J/109 one-design sailboat- 
sailing Warsash Spring SeriesThe Black Group race team had a particularly complex day’s racing. Not only was there the normal schedule for the Spring Series, but the Spring Championship was also to be concluded which meant two races for Spring Championship entries in IRC1 and IRC2. The steady wind direction made course setting reasonably straightforward and all classes could share the initial legs on a beat to South Bramble with the tide followed by a gybe at Flying Fish and run to a laid mark. Finishing was also at a common mark and the overall length of course was adjusted as appropriate to the time scale. Going into the final day, only a few classes, including the J/109s,  were a foregone conclusion and even then final places further down were still in contention.

IRC1’s first start was subject to a general recall and postponed until after IRC2 whilst other classes got away cleanly. In the end, Ian Matthews' J/122 JINJA sailed a nice series to get second overall.  Team Jellyfish sailed their J/122 JOLLY JELLYFISH into fifth overall after being a contender for top three over earlier weekends.  Neil Martin's crew on his J/133 JAMMY DODGER started slow but picked up some steam to ultimately get eighth overall in a large, competitive fleet.

It was a topsy-turvy day in IRC3. The pre-race leaders like the J/97 JIKA-JIKA (Mike and Jamie Holmes) finished well down the fleet but they were able to retain second place overall.

In the J-Boat one design classes, the J/109 J-DREAM had already secured the series win going into the day but she had a real tussle with VELVET ELVIS (Adam Wright) for the first half of the race before pulling out a four minute lead at the line. OFFBEAT (David Mcleman) managed to overtake VELVET ELVIS for second place.

The first three boats in the J/105 class had been separated by a single point so Rob Dornton Duff’s second consecutive win in JAVA ahead of JOURNEYMAKER 5 (Chris Jones) was sufficient to take the series win. Paul Griffiths’ FAY-J did not compete on the final day but finished third overall.

JAMMIN won the last J/92 race but a second place for Rory and Cathy Staunton on JAYA secured them the series title.  Third was a tie between WIZARD (Bill Howard) and JEKYLL (Dominic Horner) with twelve points a piece, with WIZARD winning the tie-breaker.

On White Group things went straightforwardly with course setting in the steady wind. In the J/80 class, competition has been very close. This weekend saw Ian Atkins back in action with  O.N.B.i.P(Our New Boat is in Poland). They were sailing in a borrowed boat as their new J/80 had been delayed. He proved not to have lost his touch with a 2-1-1 score line for the day. In the overall series John Cooper had a purple patch of four wins on the trot in OI! and that was just enough for him to finish ahead of the RAF boat TEAM SPITFIRE and Terry Palmer’s JUST DO IT.  Full results on the Warsash Sailing Club's Regatta Website      Photo Credits- by Eddie Mays  

J/145 BAD PAK Wins Class- Newport-Ensenada Race

J/145 offshore
 racing- sailing- cruising- sailboat

(Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico)- It was a sweet ride to Ensenda this year. The mad dash down the coast didn't set any records this year, but the fleet of 210+ boats were met with gorgeous weather at the start and less than twenty-four hours later, most of the fleet had finished by Saturday evening.

Winning PHRF Sprit A division was the Transpac-winning J/145 BAD PAK sailed by Tom Holthus of San Diego YC (seen sailing off into the sunset here).  BAD PAK won on corrected by one hour and two minutes and was tenth overall on handicap in the 100+ boat PHRF/ Sprit class  divisions.  BAD PAK was Second fastest elapsed time in all PHRF/  Sprit Racing classes with a time of 18:11:47, just ten minutes slower than the custom racing RP50 BLUE BLAZES, whom BAD PAK beat by nearly nine minutes on corrected time.   Just behind in third place was the J/120 DR NO sailed by Jed Olenick from San Diego YC, missing second place by six minutes!  Fourth in this class was another J/120, John Laun's CAPER also from SDYC.  And, fifth in class was Jeff Shew's J/120 VIVA LA VIDA from Long Beach YC.  Those same three J/120s went 1-2-3 in the J/120 class awards.

The PHRF Sprit B division was an entirely J/Boats affair with Mary Wyland's J/105 LUCKY STAR from American Legion YC winning by forty-seven minutes on corrected time.  Second to them was John Shulze's J/109 LINSTAR from Balboa YC.  And, third was another J/109, Anthony Wetherbee's COMMOTION from Dana Point YC.

There is a short video featuring a J/120 sailing just after start of Ensenada Race by Mary Longpre.  For more sailing and Ensenda Race information  

Royal Hong Kong YC Selects J/80s

J/80 one-design sailboat- Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

From Little Things, Big Things Grow

(Hong Kong, China)- In late 2009 the Royal Hong Kong YC firmed up plans to purchase a number of new boats in partnership with members.  A short list of designs was studied, and after many long hours of discussion and negotiation an agreement was reached with Jim Johnstone of J-Boats Asia, with the boats being built by Hudson Yachts in Xiamen. A few short months later the first J/80's rolled through the Boatyard gates. With a total of 16 boats currently ordered this is a spectacular start to a new fleet in anyone's books, and marks a new chapter in the already strong history of class racing at the RHKYC.

The seed of this idea was sown by past Commodore Inge Strompf-Jeppesen, and came from her own experiences sailing International events in one-design fleets that were owned and managed by a Yacht Club.

J/80 one-design sailboat- hong kong, chinaThe new RHKYC fleet comprises of 6 boats owned by the Club in partnership with members and 10 boats that are 100% member owned. Hebe Haven Yacht Club has also bought 2 boats on the back of the fleet deal offered by J-Boats, and hopes are that we will be well into the twenties before too long.

It is expected that the new fleet will hit the water 'running', with a J/80 division being offered by the HHYC for the summer "Typhoon Series". Plans are for the fleet to base first at Kellett Island, move to Sai Kung for the summer then down to Middle Island for the start of the 2010 - 2011 season. Match racing and keelboat training programs will also be coming on line soon, and the Club owned boats will be available for use by members.  In this photo is new J/80 owner Lonny Chen (J/80 #1211) with Roger Eastham (RHKYC Manager).   For more Royal Hong Kong YC J/80 Fleet info and YouTube videos.  

Huge J Fleet @ SW NOOD Annapolis

J/105 one design sailboat sailing upwind

(Annapolis, MD)- Looks like it will be a stellar turn-out for this weekend's SW NOOD Regatta sailing on Chesapeake Bay. 210+ boats to enjoy a sunny, bright weekend in the 80s and warm southerlies-- at least that's the forecast from Meteo Norteamericano-- one hopes NOAA Marine meteorologists have got it right for once.  The J Fleet is enormous with 117+ boats attending (nearly 60% of the entire NOOD fleet) and representatives from across the spectrum of one-design classes and coming from all points of the compass across the Eastern seaboard- from Toronto, Ontario, Canada (our ice hockey mad friends from way up North) down to Houston, TX (our Tex-Mex bronco-busting cow hands from the real South) and from Boston, MA (that sport crazy town renowned for the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics- what else is there?) out to Chicago, IL (another sport crazy town).  Here's a class-by-class report and some of the leaders to watch for this weekend.
J/109 one-design sailboat sailing around markThe eight boat J/109 One-Design class will have class champions Rick Lyall and Bill Sweetser vying for honors in this closely fought fleet.  Rick's J/109 STORM is dashing south from winning the first day sailing at American YC Spring Series to participate in the first event of the J/109 East Coast Championship.  And, rumor has it Bill Sweetser's RUSH is ready to rock-n-roll.  Should be an interesting match up that sets the standard for the rest of the J/109 season series!

The J/105 One-Design class has twenty-five boats showing up along with some past class champions.  Amongst them will be teams like Jack Biddle's RUM PUPPY, Andrew Kennedy's BAT IV racing with Drake Johnstone as tactician, Jim Rathbun sailing HEY JUDE who finished third in the 2009 North American Championship, Bob Reeves on A-TRAIN, Carl and Scott Gitchell on TENACIOUS and Travis Weisleder on LUCKY DOG.  All these boats are well-sailed and any one of these boats are capable of winning or getting podium finishes.

J/80 one-design sailboats sailing downwindWith thirty-five boats, the J/80 One-Design class is by far the biggest at the regatta.  The J/80s are racing the fourth event in the 2010 USA Tour that leads up to the Worlds in Newport.  A strong Texas contingent is showing up, including past World Champion Terry Flynn on B-TEAM, class leaders Jay Lutz and Gary Kamins on FIRED UP, and Bruno Pasquinelli.  The Massachusetts teams from around Boston/Buzzards Bay are fielding some remarkably strong crews, including past J/105 North American and Key West Champion Brian Keane racing SAVASANA, past J/105 New England Champion and Sonar Champion Henry Brauer who has Stuart Johnstone aboard as tactician sailing RASCAL and Henry de Groot on WIRED.  The locals from Annapolis who expect to give everyone a serious run for the money include Ken Mangano's MANGO, Brian Robinson's ANGRY CHAMELEON, Aaron Galvin's WILLY T and Chris Johnson's DRAGONFLY.

In the J/22s, twenty-two boats will include a strong local contingent comprised of the current J/22 Midwinter and World Champion Greg Fisher racing WHAT KINDA GONE and Jeff Todd on HOT TODDY going up against some of the Rochester gang such as Chris Doyle on SOLID LAYER and Travis Odenbach on INSTIGATOR.

J/24 one-design- world championships- annapolisFor the fifteen J/24s sailing, local legend Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET (remember him leading the J/24 Worlds for a day or so?) will be leading the charge and still teaching some of the kids new tricks on how to get around the race track like the crafty old fox that he is.

The J/30s and J/35s are each eleven boats strong! That's a terrific turn-out for these two classes and familiar names like BIG KAHUNA, CHAOS, REBEL YELL, MEDICINE MAN, BAD COMPANY, AUNT JEAN, MAGGIE, BAD GIRL will be mixing it up with everyone for bragging rights in these perennial one-design classes.   More news soon.  You can follow the action at Sailing World's site.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

J/80 Wake-boarding?

J/80 wake 
boarding OK, so our British J/80 friends sailing on Plymouth Sound have a great sense of humor.  Or, perhaps whoever dreamed up this idea surely has a "mad streak"?  How about wake-boarding, powered by the big a-sail and using a 6 hp engine and towed by the main halyard to blow off some steam before a regatta?! A new side-bar event for J/80 regattas? If you don't believe it, watch this YouTube video with a rapping Moby song mixed into it. 

J/120 Sailor Frank Kern Handicap Racing Ideas

J/120 CARINTHIA owner and BYC member Frank Kern from Detroit, MI explains what a group of owners are doing to buck the handicapping issues racing o the Great Lakes with the new ORROA (ORR Owners Association) racing series.  At the end of last year, after talking to a number of fellow owners, the frustration with the many different rules in place was becoming apparent, with some owners so unhappy with the rules they were stuck with that they began skipping races.  PHRF is nearly universal, but it's application by local officials can lead to some strange results, and often it is hard for committees to fairly rate new or one-off designs.  Other international rules unfairly penalize sportboats and many 10-20 year old offshore designs while sportboats and many 10-20 year old offshore designs have ratings that are carries the inevitable drawbacks that brings, while  Our brainstorming session came up with an idea to give sailors a reason to participate in more races - create a series for them to compete under a rating rule that they consider fair.  Read more about Frank Kern's handicap sailing idea here.    

J/24 Champion Ken Read Racing PUMA in VOR 2011

J/Boats sailor 
Ken Read sailing Volvo 70 PUMANine lives? How about two?  That black cat known as PUMA is sailing the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race. Read SA Editor Scot Tempesta's "InnerView" with Ken Read, the skipper and CEO of PUMA Ocean Racing.  Great discussion from Kenny and good perspective on what it takes to get the job done in this brutal race, a serious test of the sailors and gear.

SA: We see that you have entered il mostro in the upcoming Newport to Bermuda race, and we see Puma Avanti ramping up. We know what it all means - that Puma will be back for the next VOR! So, tell us a little bit about the Puma VOR effort this time. You are the CEO/skipper, so we know you'll be aboard. What other changes have you made for this effort?

KR: Well, we are thrilled to be back.  It has been touch and go since the end of the last race.  It gets in your blood and it’s hard to shake.  With that said, Kimo (Worthington), Antonio Bertone and I broke down every single part of the program from the last race- what we did well and what we didn’t do so well.  We have massaged nearly every aspect of the program but kept the fundamentals that made it successful- like PUMA being a sailor driven program that relies on a touch of common sense from time to time.  And, of course trying to bring a new level of excitement to the sport of sailing.  Read more about Kenny's InnerView here.    

J/22 Cayman Islands Nationals

J/22 one-design
 sailboats- sailing downwind

Over this past weekend, the J/22 class on Cayman Islands hosted their National Championships with spirited, closely fought racing amongst the nine boats.  While the runaway winner was Mike Farrington sailing COMPASS to five firsts, the battle for second place between three boats went right to the end.  Coming out of their dust-up and leading this trio was Charles Grover racing SUNSHINE to second place, followed by Thomas Hanson sailing DMS to third and Steve Adams taking fourth on-board WRECKLESS.   For more J/22 Cayman Islands sailing info

Spanish J/80s Miss Volcano Cloud

one-design sailboat- sailing off Palma Spain

(Spain)- With the ash cloud hanging heavy over northern Europe and severely curtailing outdoor activities, the Spanish fleet of J/80s enjoyed good racing off their Mediterranean coastlines in Palma (see above), Santander and Bilbao.  In the Santander J/80 fleet, they're racing for the MAQUCHE TROPHY and FONESTAR raced by Jaime Piris, Alfredo Portilla, Carlos Bats and Bryan Lee continue to be the leader in the overall standings, winning four straight races against a thirty boat fleet! Second is LUPA skippered by Adrian Zamacona and third the MABLE V sailed by Oriol.   Photo credit- Jesus Renedo

In the Bilbao J/80 fleet, the Basques were racing for their Spring Trophy on a perfect day for sailing, sunny, clear with a fresh northeast wind around 15-18 knots creating surfable one meter waves.  José Azqueta with GUIDE VIII continues to lead with 11 points ahed of Meda Diego's SUMINAM and 15 points ahead of Ibon Basanez's JET SET. Next Saturday will be the second day of the championship.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Spring Championship/ Warsash Getting Hot!

J/80s sailing 
Warsash Spring Series- Solent, England

(Southampton, England)- Yes, things were hotting up at Warsash Sailing Club over the weekend of 17th/18th April in more ways than one. Firstly, the Spring Championship got underway with a full schedule of racing on Saturday as well as the Spring Series continuing into its fifth week on Sunday. Then the high pressure system gave rise to Mediterranean-style temperatures but it also meant the volcanic dust cloud remained over the UK.

The Spring Championship takes place on Saturday's this year over the final two weekends of the Spring Series. Black Group classes include “Big Boats”  and J/109s. White Group classes J/80s. No discards are allowed for the Spring Championship – every race has to count.

The J/80s racing was managed by Jon Spencer. He too completed the full schedule of racing. Steve Chappell on JANGO FETT in the J/80s took two wins bit slipped to ninth in Race 2 resulting in a total of 13 points. John Cooper in OI! gained the top points for the day with only one win but a more consistent score.

Further out in the Solent the Black Group committee boat was anchored near Universal Marina buoy. The wind was consistently from the south-east, again peaking at 8 knots but with much lighter patches. Here event Chairman Peter Bateson set windward/leeward courses for the “Big Boats” and J/109s. A mixture of fixed and laid marks was used reaching towards the eastern end of Ryde Middle Bank. Starts were all on time, with no general recalls or OCS scores and the full program of races was completed.  By Race 2 the tide had slackened and the final two races had windward legs against the tide.  The J/109s enjoyed a short final race of just two miles but with the beat against a strong ebb tide in a fading breeze, that was certainly enough.  The runaway leader in the J/109s was Adam Wright in VELVET ELVIS with the Apthorp's J/DREAM second and Mcgough's JUST SO third.

The Warsash Series continued racing on Sunday, the forecast was for even lighter winds. Some crews took a good supply of Sunday newspapers hoping this ruse would guarantee the arrival of a decent breeze. Unfortunately it didn’t work! Teams took the opportunity of carrying out minor repairs or just enjoyed the sunshine. The area round the Black Group committee boat at Universal Marina buoy soon resembled a boat park.  Further inshore, they fared no better and at noon they and all Black Group classes were abandoned.

Fortunately, Jon Spencer tucked up inshore and found just enough early morning breeze funneling down Southampton Water to get one race going for the J/80s. Even here the breeze faded away and the course was shortened at the bottom mark. In the J/80s JANGO FETT (Steve Chappell) made a cracking start at the pin end of the line. Halfway up the first beat there was nothing to separate the leaders as they crossed tacks. JANGO FETT’s team read the wind well. Having gone left into deeper water they then put in a long hitch inshore before hitting the layline and making a tack out to the top mark. This was enough to give her the lead ahead of OI!  (John Cooper) and SPITFIRE (Royal Air Force Sailing Assoc). OI! slowly pulled away but on the second run back ELLE S'APPELLE (Thor Askelund) gybed inshore immediately, kept more breeze and arrived at the top mark just behind the leader. This established the pecking order for the final lap.   Full sailing news and regatta results on the Warsash Website         Photo by Eddie Mays

Newport-Ensenada Race Preview

(Newport Beach, CA)- The mad dash down the coast of California to Mexico is taking place this weekend.  Over 210 boats are registered as many southern California sailors head south for the party in Ensenada.  Starting at Friday noon, the record for any type of sailboat is just over six hours by the old Starts & Stripes catamaran used to defend the America's Cup off San Diego a century ago.  Amongst the fleet will be Larry Leveille's J/29 RUSH STREET, Seth Hall's J/124 MARISOL, seven J/120s racing essentially one-design, Paul Margis' beautiful J/160 INDIGO, Tom Holthus' Transpac Race-winning J/145 BAD PAK (pictured here), three J/105s and two J/109s!  Should be fun and wish them well on the fast reach to Ensenada.  More news next week.   For more sailing and Ensenda Race information 

J/24 Victorian State Champs

one-design sailboat sailing in Melbourne, Australia

(Melbourne, Australia)- Good things come in small packages, just ask Jeanette Syme. She helmed SCOTT SALISBURY into 3rd place at this weekend’s Victorian State Champs at Sandringham YC in Melbourne.

Jeanette couldn’t have seen much of the race out in front as she is only half the height of Pete Stevens who spent the weekend right in front of her doing the trimming, but she is beaming. Big brother Ron, sailing KICKING BOTTOM sailed very well and although the green machine was up near the pointy end of the fleet a lot of the time, he could only manage 5th.  We suggested Jeanette should rename her boat “KICKING RON”.

In fact, the whole KICKING BOTTOM/ SCOTT SALISBURY relationship is an interesting tale. The Melbourne fleet is undergoing something of an explosion of interest and in the last few months we have seen two new boats join the fleet and we have another 3-4 people genuinely interested in buying boats. Warren Campbell who has been sailing on KICKING BOTTOM for the last two owners, jumped out and bought SCOTT SALISBURY from Adelaide a couple of days before the regatta. Peter Stevens very kindly brought the boat over and sailed on it with Arthur Crothers and Jeanette Syme and crew who came down from Sydney. So Warren, still sailing on KICKING BOTTOM watched his new boat sailed by his skipper’s sister fly by to finish ahead!  Got all that!  Need more?

Simon Grain was the bridesmaid again and Dave Suda, who didn’t even make double digits in his series score was very clearly the winner and deservedly so. He had an almost clean sweep with 5 wins and a second – guess to who – Yep “Kicking Ron”.  Good things do come in small packages, although she did say the crew were brilliant, too.  Of course the “Kicking Ron” crew stayed at Warrens!

What it does very clearly show is that you can take an older boat, set it up in half a day and be very competitive in the fleet.

A very noticeable change this year was the calibre of the fleet, with close racing, and boats that have been out the back, now right up in the pack. Boat speed was generally up on last year and so Ron Thomson’s KICKING BOTTOM, Mike Lewenhagen’s EXCITE YOUR SENSES and Doug MacGregor’s CRACKERJACK all lifted themselves into 5, 6 and 7 respectively. The HYPERACTIVE BABES had an up and down regatta and finished fourth.

The weather co-operated with 5 – 15 knot northerlies, a little shifty and patchy at times but great sailing and with this sort of weather for many of the last years comps, the Vic States really is the “Balmy Regatta”.

Although we had expected 4 interstate boats, it turned out to be two and the other boat was Terry Wise from Sydney who brought down STARPAC with a very keen sailing school crew who really enjoyed the glamour Melbourne weather experience, flat water and warm sunny skies.  The tail end of the fleet was rounded out with new owners Andrew and Chris Hely on VERTIGO, Jack Crawford’s SANGUINE and another new owner Rowan Pollard on TWO DOGS.

Glam weather also allowed the social side of things to go very well indeed, with a huge BBQ at Lisa Simonov’s house ("THANK YOU" Lisa) and virtually the whole regatta crowd were able to have a great night outside in the warm weather. Terry Wise gave a presentation on the upcoming Gosford “Legends Regatta” that is shaping up to be a very big event.

You’ve probably picked the name missing from the results. Hugo Ottaway was unable to make it this year due to his son doing the big 21 party and the bleary eyed master did struggle down on the Sunday to say hi – “lights on, but no one home” look!

The class is on fire and next year at the rate we are going we could very well have 20 boats on the start line, so book early if you want a bed in Melbourne!    For more J/24 Australia sailing news and results    

Hublot Palmavela Regatta

J/80 one-design 
sailboat- sailing off Palma Mallorca, Spain in Palmavela

Tres Amigos, Tres Campiones

(Palma de Mallorca, Spain)- If there is any place on Earth that comes close to a sailing paradise, Palma surely has to be on the list with its spectacular geography, great sailing on the bay and beautiful, historic town anchored by the skyscraping Santa Maria cathedral.  The mountainous ridge along the NW portion of Mallorca creates a reasonably reliable sea breeze from the WSW.  No wonder Palma's town and harbors are favorites of super yachts and sailors alike for centuries, or why photographers like Jesus Renedo (featured here), that call Palma "home", consider it one of the most spectacular places to shoot sailboats in the world.

The first big event of the sailing season for Palma is the Hublot Palmavela and it's considered one of the best of the year, often because of the spectacular spring sailing conditions with bright, crystal blue skies.  This year's seventh edition lived up to those expectations, with skies made even clearer with no European air traffic due to Iceland's volcanic ash cloud over northern Europe.

The J/80 fleet had twenty-two entries, attracting a star-studded cast of sailors that included two former J/80 World Champions, Jose Maria Torcida and Ignacio Camino, from 2007 and 2008, respectively.  According to Jesus, "it was an incredibly tight fleet to watch and, to our joy, one of the WALLY super yacht owners, Thomas Bascher, left his Wally 100 footer OPEN SEASON to have loads of fun racing one-design in J/80s."

After two beautiful days of sailing, it was hard to hold the ex-World Champions and the Spanish National champions off the podium.  At the end, it was Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF that set the standard with just twelves points!  Camino on NEXTEL finished second with thirty one points, just beating his fellow World Champion Torcida sailing ECC VIVIENDAS who finished third with thirty five points.  Photo Credits- Jesus Renedo.  For more J/80 Sailing results.  For more Palmavela sailing and regatta information  


J/95- Yachts & Yachting sailing test- shoal draft cruising 

(Hamble, So'ton, England)- Andi Robertson from Y&Y put the J/95 through her paces on a lengthy sail on the Southampton Water on a sparkling day in January and arrived back on shore a bit "smitten", as they say.  According to Andi, "the J/95 is something a little bit different, with its shallow draught and short-handed options.  We sailed J-FEVER, it was a huge amount of fun without expending a lot of energy or stress."  Andi's verdict, "overall the J/95 checks so many boxes that it becomes hard to define, but it certainly is a very desirable go anywhere small cruiser which has a great all round performance."  You can read the three page article and photos by downloading Andi's Y&Y article here (a 4.1 MB PDF file).    


J/95 Yachting World sailing test- shoal draft cruising sailboat

(Hamble, So'ton, England)- A team of experienced sailors and writers from Yachting World, led by Toby Hodges from YW, took the gorgeous black-hulled J/95 for a lengthy test this spring on the Hamble River and on the Solent.  Titled "Thriller Keels", Toby talks about the sailing the J/95 as "Shoal with style" due to its innovative lifting keel and rudder designs and superior performance.  As Toby describes it, "With a blade-like stern and alluringly sleek, low topsides she is a strikingly pretty yacht.." and due to its shoal draft, "in the UK we know the value of escaping the crowds up creeks and shallow bays..."  Read more about it and download Toby's YW article here (a 7.3 MB PDF file).   Learn more about the J/95 shoal-draft performance cruising sailboat.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

J/Fest West 2010

J/Fest West- J/105 
sailing around mark

Stormy, Grey Weather Thrashes the Bay

(San Francisco, CA)- The fleet of J's that gathered together for this year's J/Fest were greeted by stormier than normal weather and with breeze directions that were nowhere near the norm for San Francisco Bay.  Here's an account of what it was like to race in the J/105 fleet from the winner, Bruce Stone sailing his boat ARBITRAGE- "It rained and was cold and gusty, up to 25 knots, out of the southeast, so they put the starting line between Harding Rock Buoy near Angel Island and Alcatraz, and ran us to the south near Aquatic Park, a routing I have never done before, across the shipping lanes and across the tide...and the wind near the shore was in the 8-11 range so setting the rig tension was tricky.  Needless to say it was our kind of cockamamie race. We had a good start, duked it out with 4-5 boats who also sailed well, and ultimately won the race. It rained quite hard toward the finish, the front went through and they sent us home.  The wind died after we hit the dock!"  Photo Credit- Erik Simonson/

J/Fest West- J/90 and J/120 sailing downwindIn the 22 boat strong J/105s it was a donnybrook as usual for the top five sailors.  Who won was determined by the finish of the last "cockamamie" race with St. Francis YC's ARBITRAGE avoiding a bad race and just beating Tiburon's Scooter Simmons on BLACKHAWK, getting a first to Scooter's ninth.  Bruce's team on ARBITRAGE won with a 1-6-3-1 1 tally, beating by four points Scooter Simmons sailing BLACKHAWK with a 4-1-1-9 record. Lying third was Phil Laby and Rick Pipkin's RACER-X from Alameda just two points back....again with a mathematical chance to win in the last race despite their 9th place in the third race.  Photo Credit- Erik Simonson/

The J/120 class also saw spirited competition with eight boats.  Racing with several "ringers" from the New England area was Northeast Harbor's Steve Madeira on MR MAGOO, winning by just two points over Harry Lewis' team on CHANCE from San Francisco (see the J/Calendar photo of them!).  Both boats had nearly identical records, MAGOO with a 1-3-1-1 record and CHANCE with 3-1-2-2!  Just off these two boats blistering pace was Don Payan's DAYENU from San Francisco with a 2-4-5-3 score to capture third on the podium with fourteen points.

The J/24s had a blast as usual amongst the seven boats.  Berkeley's Mike Whitfieldon aboard TMC RACING won with a strong 1-1-2-1 record, winning by five points over Darren Cummings' DOWNTOWN UPROAR from Treasure Island with a 2-2-3-3 score to garner second place and Don Taylor's ON BELAY from Brickyard Cove finishing with 4-4-1-2 to get third overall. 

The J Handicap fleet had six boats.  The winner was definitely not determined until the closing minutes of their last race.  The J/22 called CHEESEBURGER became the giant-killer in this fleet.  The CHEESEBURGER gang led by Peter Lane from Paradise Cay won on a squeaker, and a tie-breaker, over Trig Liljestrand of Belvedere Cove on RAGTIME, the super-fast J/90- a downwind flyer in most conditions.  Third was Cam Lewis of Monterey, CA sailing his J/22 TRINITY.  Share For more J/Fest sailing information

J's Enjoy Gorgeous Sailing At Charleston Race Week

J/80s sailing at Charleston 
Race Week

J Sailors Love Southern Hospitality!

(Charleston, SC- Apr 9-11)- After the first two days at 2010 Charleston Race Week brought winds of up to 20 knots, the final day of racing eased up to just 8-12 knots of warm wind blowing across the harbor. For the 184 teams competing, not a frown was seen on the hundreds of faces at the awards ceremony on Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina's sandy beach. "The city, the weather and the event organizers couldn't have presented this town any better," said local sailing coach Ryan Hamm, whose J/24 PIGS FLY TOO finished in 6th place. "The competition is stiff, and it's great to see so many sailors learn to love Charleston.

Chilly temperatures greeted the record fleet of racing sailboats on Friday. Braving 55 degree-morning temperatures and a wind-chill driven by the 20-knot breeze made the racing "a serious adrenalin rush", as competitor Peter Crawford put it. Temperatures reached the 70s by noon, providing picture perfect sailing conditions to start race week off with a bang. "I don't know if conditions could be any more perfect than today," said Christof Wieland, who traveled all the way from Germany to compete in his second Charleston Race Week.  By Saturday morning, more nice wind, warm sun and waves graced Charleston with picture-perfect conditions. For the second straight day, winds up to 20 knots propelled the J fleets across all four courses.  Sunday dawned with a big change to the previous two extreme sailing days, with just 8 - 12 knots of warm wind blowing across the harbor.

The J/80s had a tough twenty boat fleet, with many serious North American and Worlds contenders vying for the top spots.  After the smoke cleared, past World Champion Kerry Klingler skippering LIFTED just beat out the Roger/Welan team sailing B-TEAM on a tie-breaker, each finishing with 22 points, taking seven first places of the ten races between them.  Key West Race Week winners Glenn Darden and Reese Hillard finished third in LE TIGRE, fourth was Bruno Pasquinelli on TIAMO and fifth was Henry Brauer and Will Welles on RASCAL.

The seventeen boat strong J/24 fleet had a great turnout for this event and they certainly enjoyed the breezy conditions racing inside Charleston Harbor.  Chip Till on MURDER INCORPORATED managed to hang onto the lead on the last day to win by one point over Joe McDonald on REX.  Chris Jankowski finished third.  The top three were a tough bunch, garnering all ten first places distributed amongst them!

The J/105s had a small but highly competitive class of six boats.  The top three were trading off the fleet lead all three days, race to race.  At the end of their scrum, Jackson Benvenutti's LITTLE BOOTY prevailed on yet another tie-breaker over veteran J/105 campaigner, Damian Emery and the beautiful flag blue hulled ECLIPSE.  Bill Zartler and crew aboard SOLARIS sailed great on the last day, getting two bullets, but not enough to take on the fleet leaders, finishing just three points back in third. Like the J/24s, this tough bunch took all eight firsts places in the regatta.

In the first ever IRC fleet at this race week, the J/122 TEAMWORK that won last year's handicap class sailed nicely to finish third overall.  Seemingly, the crazy currents, tide lines and wave conditions conspired to favor the larger boats, the winner was a custom IRC RP52 called VINCITORRE with straight firsts.

In PHRF A, Will Hanckel's J/120 EMOCEAN sailed the offshore course, finishing just one point out of first.  On the last day, a soul-satisfying 2-1 got them into the hunt, but not enough to win the event, having to settle for second place.  In PHRF B, Willy Schwenzfeier's J/35 ARROW had fun sailing to a fourth overall.  In PHRF D, the three masthead J/29s were having a ball racing against each other.  At the end, Jim Mackevich's FOR SAIL beat out perennial Key West Race Week participant (and often winner) Steve Thurston's MIGHTY PUFFIN from Rhode Island.  Miles Martschink's MONGO didn't sail the first day but still managed a fourth in fleet.   For more regatta/ sailing information on Charleston Race Week.  

Warsash Spring Series Week 4

J/109 sailing in Warsash 
Spring Series in England (Hamble, So'ton, England)- Back after an Easter break, the Warsash Spring Series continued on April 11 with the entries topping 200. There were challenging conditions for Week 4 with the wind ranging between 9-14 knots. The general mean direction was from the northeast, but local conditions prevailed on the three separate race tracks.  Jon Spencer, in charge of the White Group J/80s was closest inshore and reported the wind moving to the east each time it faded. In the middle of the Solent at ‘Flying Fish’ buoy, Black Group CRO David Greenway found the wind sufficiently stable to set the same basic course for all the keelboat classes, with only a minor adjustment for the smaller boats. The only interruption to a smooth start sequence came between the J/109 and IRC3 starts, when a second outer distance mark was laid to achieve a square line.

IRC1 got away on time and JINJA, Ian Matthews’ J/122, took a flyer from the pin end of the line and established a winning lead within the first 10 minutes of the race.   JINJA is the fourth different winner in IRC 1 so the class is wide open with two races to go. Another J/122 JOLLY JELLYFISH has sailed consistently well to remain second overall in the series standings.

Unusually, the highly competitive J/109 class was slightly reluctant at the start. This gave David McCleman helming OFFBEAT, who had perhaps been watching the earlier starts, the golden opportunity to grab the favoured position at the pin end. He achieved an immediate lead. David Apthorp on J/DREAM gained on the first beat and, although never far away, could not get close enough to cause danger.  The seventeen J/109s saw Kirsty and David Apthorp's J-DREAM continue to separate themselves from the pack with a 1-2 this past weekend to be ahead by ten points.  David Mcleman's OFFBEAT has jumped into second ahead of James Arnell's JEEZ-LOUISE.

IRC3 and the combined J/105 and J/92 starts were subject to individual recalls. As the wind lightened towards the Island shore, rounding Prince Consort buoy against the tide caused a few problems and the fleet became very spread out.  JIKA-JIKA, the fast J/97, took second place on handicap. Charles Wittam’s Juno has now won three of the four races and holds a good lead in the class. At the back of the fleet Domaine and Gambit ran out of time but benefited from the “out of time” provision in the Sailing Instructions.

The combined J/105 and J/92 starts were subject to individual recalls. As the wind lightened towards the Island shore, rounding Prince Consort buoy against the tide caused a few problems and the fleet became very spread out. The J class was finished early at the last windward mark. Rob Dornton-Duff in his J/105 JAVA ended a run of third places with the J/105 win. Things are extremely tight at the top of the leader board. Anyone who can put together two more good results over the remaining two weeks could change things dramatically.  For J/105s, there is still what amounts to a three-way tie for first place.  And, they're still only separated by a point!  Chris Jones JOURNEYMAKER 5 is now third in a tie for second with Paul Griffith's FAY-J and Rob Dornton-Duff's JAVA that was in third is now first!  The battle continues, more news next week...hold on to those keyboards!

On the same course, the J/92s continue to have very tight class racing amongst the top competitors.  Leaping into the overall series lead after a slow start is Bill Howard's WIZARD.  Yes, it did take some mastery of Hamble/ Solent wizardry to win two races in a row against this hard fought class.  The trio of Andrew, Matt and Peter Campbell sailing JAMMIN are now down to fourth. Dominic Horner's JEKYLL in second and  Rory and Cathy Staunton on JAYA are third.  Anyone who can put together two more good results over the remaining two weeks could change things dramatically.

The J/80s are also having some great one-design racing in a wide variety of conditions. Not sailing this weekend was Terri Palmer on JUST DO IT dropping to third in the standings after a dominating performance the previous weekends.  The fly-boys on TEAM SPITFIRE are now in first after some good sailing, just leading John Cooper's OI! John Cooper in Oi! took the first race but the RAF TEAM SPITFIRE made the best start of the second race. They managed to stay ahead of both OI! and Charles Somerset’s LOUDWATER down the run but a poor spinnaker drop let both the others through. At the same time, Katie, working foredeck on Jannine Stoodley’s WAIRUA thought of having a quick swim but after testing the water temperature decided against it and stayed on board. At the end of the third beat, JAVA NANO had made up a large deficit to round the mark in the lead but a poor tactical decision on the final run put her back in the pack. In the end, LOUDWATER took the gun a few boat lengths ahead of OI! TEAM SPITFIRE had their revenge in the final race establishing a small lead to the finish. LOUDWATER and OI! finished virtually level, only two seconds separating them.  Full sailing results on the Warsash Website   Sailing Photos by Eddie Mays  


J/80 Spain sailing Avega 

(Santander, Spain)- Thirty two boats participated in the coveted J/80 AVEGA Cup in Santander.  The event is widely popular because the winners get to take home HUGE new LED television sets to enjoy with family and friends those popular futbol (soccer) matches so prevalent in Spain and Europe.  The picture here is of José Manuel Sansalvador, CEO of AVEGA SRL, along with the winners of the biggest TV, Pichu Torcida and crew from ECC VIVIENDAS.  They sure are happy aren't they?

After two very nice days of sailing in the beautiful waters off Santander, Pichu's crew won by six points over his arch competitor BANCAJA sailed by Javier López-Vázquez.  There was a big point jump after the leaders up to NEXTEL ENGINEERING raced by Ignacio Camino, fourth was GRUPO RHIN skippered by Angel Herrerias and fifth was a regular front-runner in this fleet, FUNDESTIC capably steered by Toño Gorostegui.  For more J/80 Spain sailing info.  

Slow Rolex China Sea Race

J/109 cruising-racing
 sailboat- sailing Rolex China Sea Race

(Hong Kong, China- April 5)- The 25th China Sea Race started Thursday 01 April 2010, from Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong and sent the fleet across 565 nm course across the straits to Subic Bay in the Philippines.  The prevailing strategies are to do whatever it takes to get across the straits fast then the issue becomes what to do with the Philippine coastline, stay in our stay out offshore to get the best winds-- and it changes a lot from year to year.  As one of the sailors said about this year's conditions, “It was very unique in that there were very light winds on the first day, and strong winds on Friday afternoon and Saturday. It was exciting in the sense that you have to prepare your route and where you’re going to have your landfall. It paid off in that we were more east compared to the others in our division, so we were able to get the land breeze earlier.”  Another navigator said, “We always planned to go north then come south, but we actually had to do an ‘S’. Our plan was to stay high, but we knew from the weather on Thursday night that a big surge would come through. Our plan was just to bear off and go with our max VMG with the surge. It was very frustrating sitting around yesterday, and we caught a corridor of wind and we were desperate to get to the land by dawn, but we didn’t make it. We knew there would be no wind out on the sea and we wanted the land breeze. So we had to struggle; we would go along the coast and sail into each bay – there was more wind in the bays than outside, so we scalloped our way down the coast.”

Having a bit of struggle with this year's navigational challenge were the two J's racing across this Asian offshore classic.  The J/145 RED EYE sailed by Paul Leese and Wayne Thompson- finished 4th in IRC Racing B, they were also 10th boat across the line behind a fleet of very fast vintage TP52s. The J/109 WHISKEY JACK that sailed well by Nick Southward in the 2009 Asian offshore series faired not much better, getting a 4th in IRC Racing C.  For more Rolex China Sea Race info.  

Nicolas Troussel, Famous French Sailor, Racing J/80s SPI OUEST

sailor Nicolas Troussel racing Figaro

Of interest to those who follow the French offshore sailing scene were some of the notables racing J/80s at SPI OUEST the previous fortnight.  Sailing with J/France West Brittany dealer, PL Yachting, was the famous French offshore sailor "Nicolas Troussel", the past Figaro race winner and offshore Figaro annual championship winner.  Also joining them in the 93 boat J/80 class was Jean Galfione, the old French Gold Medallist at the Olympic Games (pole vaulting)!  Apparently, Jean said handling the J/80 foredeck duties with a carbon pole, the horizontal variety, was "tres simple"!  

J/24 Champion Ken Read Racing PUMA in VOR

J/Boats sailor Ken Read sailing Volvo 70 PUMAKen and crew are preparing for another rock around the clock!  Good Luck!  PUMA announced last week that it will participate in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 after placing second overall in the 2008-2009 competition. Led by Kenny in the last race, Ken will again be in charge of the PUMA Ocean Racing team, and shares his thoughts about the team, the lessons learned in the last race, and how they seek to improve for the next race.  Scuttlebutt has an interesting series of interviews with Ken here.  

J/80 Cruising Across the Atlantic?

Seriously? Why? Here's an amusing story about sailing a J/80 on the old "trade-winds" route from Europe to the Caribbean, going by way of the Azores and the Canaries.  Follow the adventurous blog of two Swedish J/80 sailors, Andreas and Jens, a fire-fighter and IT consultant, respectively.  "The idea of sailing to the West Indies was born during a warm summer night on our way to Fårö, Sweden. A J/80, is an eight metre long J/80 Piratesracing boat with the same conveniences as a two-man-tent and is so fast that it even leaves some 40-feet boats behind. J/80 boats have been sailed in races like Gotland Runt and other ocean races many times but still, no one has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in one. We will change that during the autumn 2007.  So follow us during our preparations and also during our journey to the West Indies in one of the smallest racing boats!"  They're now down in Los Roques/ Tortuga off Venezuela having a scream cruising, fishing and kite-boarding.

So, Ken, maybe you should get these guys to sail with you on the Volvo 70 PUMA!  Clearly, a luxury yacht ride compared to a J/80, eh?  Could even use their "rubber-band auto-steering" innovation, too, that works surfing down waves up to 20 knots!  This story had me in tears laughing.  

Can Favourites Win Match Race France in J/80s?

Ben Ainslie- J/80s sailing Match Race France in Marseilles. Not.  Instead, it was "Local French Hero Reverses History!"  Here's the report from the WMRT.  "Twelve skippers went to Yacht Club Pointe Rouge, Southern France for the start of the 2010 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). The first of this 10 event global series starts in Marseille and will count towards points for the ultimate prize of becoming the 2010 ISAF World Match Racing Champion.  With a daunting line up of skippers including seasoned World Champions, Olympic medal holders and adrenalin-fuelled youngsters, any skipper lining up to perform pre-start tactics would have to be confident of their match racing prowess and boat handling abilities onboard the J/80 yachts. The J/80 will provide a lively model for the skippers to race, a design that works for dinghy sailors as well as big boat racers making tight boat maneuvering during the pre-start achievable for all skippers. The J/80 cockpit is also spacious for the four person crew to perform their jobs to the best of their ability, involving constant alteration of sails, body weight and vantage points to see the competing boat's next move. The J/80's will be raced asymmetrically for this event so it will be interesting to see if those skippers who have previous asymmetric experience will have an advantage on the downhill legs."

J/80 in World Match Race Tour ChampionshipAs the regatta unfolded, it was clear that strong dinghy sailors had an advantage.  Here's what happened, "Stage 1 of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), has put a new twist on an ancient maritime tale. The scenario of English sailors battling French sailors is reminiscent of the famed 1805 Battle of Trafalgar when UK’s Lord Nelson defeated Emperor Napoleon of France. Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAM ORIGIN took on Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team.  The French local, Richard, took a convincing victory winning both of the final two matches raced under a testing 6-7 knot westerly. Richard celebrated with local Marseille supporters, who were quick to take to the water in boats of all sizes."  Photo Credits- Gilles Martin-Raget

Mathieu Richard, who is also tactician for the French America’s Cup syndicate, ALEPH, observed, “We had a slow start to the regatta, but a slow start motivates you to really improve when it counts.” Ainslie sees his time invested in attending WMRT events as a profitable way to keep his match race training fresh, “My ultimate goal for the ISAF World Match Racing Tour events is to improve my match racing skills and rules knowledge”. The Tour forms an important ingredient in Ainslie’s long term America’s Cup ambition with TEAM ORIGIN.   Richard advanced to the finals by beating Francesco Bruni (ITA) 2-1, while Ainslie bested Paolo Cian (ITA) by a similar score. Bruni beat Cian in the single race Petit Final.  For more info sailing J/80s in the World Match Racing Tour  

J/24s- A Strange Paradox

J/24s sailing off Sydney, 
Australia/ Melbourne, Australia Speaking of J/24s, here's an amusing pitch from the Australian J/24 Class, titled "A Strange Paradox".  As Australian J/24 class leader Simon Paine describes it, "In a world that is constantly changing and becoming more expensive, one keelboat class offers you the opportunity to cruise and race for under $20,000 AUD (note- they're even cheaper in America). A class that offers fleets all over Australia and an international fleet of over 5,500 boats.  You guessed it – the J24. And it’s making a big come back as people realize the unique potential of this little boat.  24 ft with a main, jib, genoa and kite, five crew, 4 bunks and an icebox. 24 ft of competitive excitement. And they are everywhere and compared to Etchells, Sportsboats and other similar sized keel boats – they’re as cheap as hell!

Some call it old – it is, same age as the Etchells.

Some call it slow – it isn’t, Div 3 of this years Spinnaker Cruising (Racing class) at Geelong Audi Week (the biggest class available), 56 boats and J/24s gained 3 First places and a Second over the line in the 4 races held, even though it was the smallest boat in the fleet (beating boats 12ft longer over the line). It isn’t a sports boat speedboat, but it is a one design that doesn’t get out designed and out dated.

Some do call it outdated – it isn’t in fact, in a handicap or measurement class it rates so well they hate us entering – we tend to win. We still put 90 odd boats on the start line at most world champs.

So what other one design keelboat is there for under $20,000 AUD with all these benefits you can get into and race competitively (or cruise), in a fleet around Australia?

You’re right – there isn’t another one.

Some people call it all sorts of names--- but, we simply call it the J/24!

We’re putting "stars" into--- reasonably priced--- boats!"

Take a look at how they're promoting J/24 fun and "class" in Australia.  Good on ya mates!  

J/100 Classic Daysailor Growing Worldwide

J/100 surfing 
downwind- day sailing- sailboat

(Newport, RI)- The reaction most sailors have when seeing the J/100 for the first time is often one of wonder and day-dreaming about taking off with a friend or loved one for a gorgeous evening sail.  Interest in the J/100 is going strong and with three new boats going to Long Island Sound and one to Sydney, Australia for summer 2010! The most exciting development is the addition of the new bow sprit package, which was first installed on the J/100 recently shipped to Sydney, Australia.  The J/100 sprit extends to 5.5' in front of the headstay (or 4.25' in front of the stem) and allows the kite size to increase from 80m2 to 89m2, or the same size as a J/105 class kite.   The Australian J/100 will be displayed by Ray & Sandra Entwistle (of Yacht Spot) at the Sydney Boat Show in July, while another J/100 sporting a spectacular AWLGRIP black hull will display at the Newport Show this September.  For more J/100 sailboat information.  

J/80 Wins Asia's ABMA Sportboat Class Award

J/80 Sailboat wins 
Asia ABMA Sportboat Award

(Shanghai, China)- The awards and enthusiasm for the J/80 class continue to roll in, a phenomenal achievement for the world's largest ISAF International sportboat class and a boat first designed in 1993 to grow the sportboat revolution worldwide.  This past week, the Asia Boat Marine Association voted on the "Best Sportboat for Asia", a category that had a slew of other well-known sportboats competing.  The J/80 received five of ten votes while its erstwhile competitors received only one or two votes each!  The four reasons mentioned by the ABMA Committee that strongly influenced the voters were:
    * New Hong Kong Fleet
    * Use of the J/80 in the Asian Games
    * Production in Xiamen
    * Overall an all-around performer meeting the sportboat and daysailing requirements.
For more information on the ABMA Sportboat Sailing Awards  

J/111- Hatched and Ready to Fly!

J/111 sailboat hull

(Bristol, RI)- Fresh out of the molds and seemingly ready to take off is J/111 hull numero uno at CCF Composites operations in Bristol, RI.  The first boat will spend the summer in Newport, RI sailing locally and moored in Brenton Cove, just off the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court docks.  The second boat is going to Chicago to sail the renowned 290 nautical mile sprint- the Chicago-Mac- at the end of July with a cracker-jack crew that won last year's event overall.  Peel your eyes away from your work screens and take a look at this gorgeous hull, sweeet lines and curvy, firm buttocks- she's a keeper, fun, fast and great-looking!  You can see more revealing shots of the first J/111 hull here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Project Sails to Save Haiti- Send Old J/Sails!

John and Linda Dodge of Richmond, Virginia are in the second month of their Project Sails to Save Haiti, a donation program designed to get as many used sails ( " the bigger the better but we will take anything" ) as well as spinnaker poles, lines, and anything else one might think of to construct shelter in an effort to help the over 600,000 Haitians who have been left out in the exposure due to the January 12th earthquake that killed over 230,000. With the rain season now upon them and the death toll rising, time is of the essence. John is an oncology account specialist with Cephalon Oncology and an active sailor on the sailing circuit while wife Linda is a pilot with the rank of captain with United Airlines who also shares the love of racing, Along with help from son's Kyle (UVA) and Justin (Collegiate), the couple has focused their attention on sailors of the Chesapeake Bay. Whether it's fellow members of Storm Trysail Club (all stations), Fishing Bay Yacht Club, CBYRA (all regions), US Sailing, maxi's, one design, or cruisers, they will take what you have to offer. Simply call or email John and he will arrange to pick up the gear. The couple will transport all donations to Miami where the sails will be loaded on a ship and sailed to Haiti for distribution to the homeless. The first shipment was a huge success and they look to have an even bigger load for the next sail. Their efforts continue to spread nation - wide as more sailors read about Project Sails to Save Haiti, including sailors from California, Wisconsin, Texas, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. North Sails Chesapeake in Annapolis, Md (410) 263-6666 and North Sails in Hampton, Va.(804) 722-4000 have agreed to act as a drop off points for local sailors in those areas. For more information,email or call John at or 804-334-6950. A great time to clean out sail lockers, containers, trailers,storage sheds, and help thousands of men,women, and children in the process.  

Can The Favorites Win Match Race France in Marseilles?

J/80 in World Match Racing
 Tour sailng off Marseilles, France Twelve skippers are headed to Yacht Club Pointe Rouge, Southern France this week for the official start of the 2010 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). The first of this 10 event global series starts in Marseille and will count towards points for the ultimate prize of becoming the 2010 ISAF World Match Racing Champion.

With a daunting line up of skippers including seasoned World Champions, Olympic medal holders and adrenalin-fueled youngsters, any skipper lining up to perform pre-start tactics will have to be confident of their match racing prowess and boat handling abilities onboard the J/80 yachts. Tipped to win and "dark horse of the Tour" is new entrant, Francesco Bruni (ITA) who has recently won the Congressional Cup, while competitors should pay note of re-emerging helms such as Bertrand Pace racing on the waters of his home nation.

All teams including the new wild card entries will be up against the 2010 Tour Card Holders: Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), and Ben Ainslie (GBR) who finished in the top 3 standings during the 2009 Tour and have been actively training with their chosen teams prior to Match Race France.

Marseille offers excellent match racing conditions with excellent spectator opportunities. The J/80 will provide a lively model for the skippers to race. A small keelboat launched by J/Boats, the style works for dinghy sailors as well as big boat racers making tight boat maneuvering during the pre-start achievable for all skippers. The cockpit is also spacious for the four person crew to perform their jobs to the best of their ability, involving constant alteration of sails, body weight and vantage points to see the competing boat's next move. The J/80's will be raced asymmetrically for this event so it will be interesting to see if those skippers who have previous asymmetric experience will have an advantage on the downhill legs.  For more info sailing J/80s in the World Match Racing Tour-  

Paige Brooks- "A Bag of Ice"- Her Account Racing IC-24s

"That’s what I needed for my hands after sailing 21 races this weekend in the IC24 class at the BVI Spring Regatta. We had 8 races our first day, 7 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.  If the idea of sailing 16 sausages in one day sounds exhausting, it is, but that’s what the racers ask for and at the BVI Spring Regatta in Tortola the PRO didn’t mind making it happen.  The builder and the local fleets have worked hard to build the class almost entirely from grass roots work. At this event, the class buys a few cases of beer, throws it in a cooler and invites all of the racers, new and old, to hang out before joining the fray of ‘the tent.’

The other element they added to the race course was umpires.  There’s no room to wonder if you hit the mark, or fouled someone, because more than likely the umpires were there to see it and rule immediately.  Rather than feeling like there were cops on a course that never before required them, the umpires reeled in the people who notoriously push the envelope, and penalized the guys who went in too close at roundings after they were told not to, etc. After racing, the umpires joined us at the beer cooler and fielded questions about their rulings, making it a learning situation for all involved.

These teams follow the same fleet building party / fun idea.....  Colin Rathbun who skippered the 2nd place boat LIME says the sailors “love the class because they are low maintenance one design boats with great competition.  Every year more new people get into this boat and quickly learn to race.”  LIME by the way, is a local mobile telephone company who sponsored this team’s racing for the second year in a row.  There was also a boat sponsored by a rum company who contributed to the end of day beer cooler…

And like some classes (or to hear Clean tell it) there was the nuttiness that makes it all boat had to pull their very overhung skipper out of bed so they could leave the dock, there was a team who wore blue striped wigs to race, and another who sang Spanish shanties while waiting for breeze.

Conditions this weekend followed the regular regatta host mantra of: “This wind is not what we usually have here.” The light and shifty wind came off the land for the first two days of the regatta on our race course.  Saturday a windless blanket covered all of the racing circles until late in the day.  But on Easter Sunday the Sir Francis Drake Channel finally provided what the organizers wanted and we had great breeze coming straight down the channel in sunny 80 degree weather. Unfortunately for me, great breeze wasn’t what these blistered hands needed, but it’s hard to whine when you’re racing in Tortola."

As reported on SA's front page  

Dr. Laura's J/125 WARRIOR Wins Cabo Race!

J/125 Warrior sailed by Dr. 
Laura Schlessinger in Cabo RaceDr. Laura- Owner of J/125 WARRIOR- Winner of Balboa-Cabo Race!  No one can accuse Dr. laura of not marching to her own beat. Here she gives a brief description of her recent Cabo race, and nary a mention of being second to finish, first in class and first overall. 

"I wanted an adventure...and I got the ride of my life! The first twelve hours were a misery: I was cold and tired and concerned with whether or not the scopolamine patch would work - wondering why I did this to myself on purpose. After was a dream and a rigorous schedule: four hours on duty/four hours trying to sleep in a pipe berth under the spinn winch screeching continuously. I can now officially sleep under any conditions! Four more days of giant sea turtles, shark fins, a whale fluke, dolphin, and adorable flying fish. I had the greatest time.

By the last third of the trip I was trying to get my crew to agree to continue to Hawaii...I just wanted to stay out there. The last ten miles of driving in a great breeze in the moonlight had me at the helm with tears rolling down my face. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I am so glad I did this...and with the guys on my crew who were a blast. We all worked hard and laughed hard. It is amazing that six people can function that well in so small a space...but we did. (Pictured above from l to r: Sam Solhaug, Paul Wolthausen, Eric Bohman, me, Kevin Miller, and Kit Will.)

We will all never forget Kit Will cantilevered with a kelp stick trying to stab the critter we caught on our keel (we had to do backdown to get it off) or Kevin squeezing the contents of mayonnaise packets to reduce the weight on the boat, the Norway/Sweden competitive jabs between Sam Solhaug and Eric Bohman, Paul Wolthausen sharing the string cheese and salami he snuck onto the boat or me hitting the water to attract the shark so Kevin would believe me that it was there and not jump in for a swim when we were becalmed on Tuesday.  It was the ride of a lifetime...and I'm glad I did it."

As reported on SA's front page.  

RORC Easter Challenge Regatta

J/133 Jammy Dodger 
sailing RORC Easter off Cowes, England

J/133 JAMMY DODGER Sailing Fast

(Cowes, IOW, England)- Bright sunshine and decent wind gave the competitors in the RORC Easter Challenge a day to remember. Eddie Warden-Owen, Chief Executive of the RORC was out on the water coaching everyday and commented after the conclusion of racing.  "Today was brilliant, stunning weather, decent breeze, shifting both ways, classic west Norwest Solent conditions with the breeze coming down the Solent and out of Southampton Water. Early bias on the left gave way to advantage on the right. Great sailing and a real challenge for the competitors."

While most of the competitors from the Warsash Spring Series took a break on the holiday Easter Weekend, a few intrepid souls in the J Camp ventured forth to keep refining their program a few more increments with the help of Eddie Warden-Owen's crew.  Amongst them in Class IRC Zero was Neil Martin's J/133 JAMMY DODGER.  Neil practiced his tactics/ strategy in Key West Race Week on his J/80.  And, it seems some of that work is paying off.  Neil had a very consistent regatta and was rewarded with third overall in an extremely competitive IRC Class Zero grouping.  Meanwhile, not to be outdone by its larger sister, the British Keelboat Academy's J/80, helmed by Mark Lees, completed the Easter weekend in third.   For more RORC sailing info.     Photo credits- Paul Wyeth  


The Account And Epilogue From Tony Brogan

(Vancouver, BC)- As one sailor recalled after getting into Nanaimo Harbour, "an ambulance pulled onto the Government Dock to pick up some of the crew of Clint Curries' 30 footer INCISOR, which had sunk. Tony Brogan's J-30 RADIANT HEAT had retired and was motoring to Nanaimo and saw what looked like a rig standing up in the water with no boat attached. They went to investigate and found Clint and his 5 crew mates hanging onto the overturned hull. All were hypothermic by then and Clint was unresponsive when they got him aboard and one other guy aboard. The other four were pulled from the water by the Coast Guard after they arrived on location. Life is sometimes just a thread and if RADIANT HEAT hadn't been damaged when and where it was and been lucky enough to have seen an anomaly and smart enough to go to investigate this could very easily have been a different story. The water is stinking cold, the seas were rough and breaking and the crew of INCISOR didn't have a radio or flares available. Fortunately, all recovered in hospital and went home."  See this third party account of the Southern Straits Race at SA.

However, for the real "insider's view" of what took place, please read Tony's own account that was first posted on the J/30 Class Association website/ blog.  

Stormy Vancouver Southern Straits Race Canceled

 sailing off Vancouver, BC, Canada in Southern Straits Race

J/109 ASTRAL PLANE Surfs Home, J/30 RADIANT HEAT To The Rescue!

(Vancouver, BC, Canada)- This annual event has enjoyed a Jekyll and Hyde reputation over the years.  Rarely is it the picture-perfect, postcard event enjoying the spectacular vistas of snow-capped, pine tree carpeted 9,000 foot mountain peaks serving as a luscious backdrop for photos of beautiful sailboats gracefully gliding across the Straits.  This year it was, instead a matter of survival.  It was a lesson in how not to explore the deepest, darkest side of a Low pressure system racing across the Northern Pacific from Alaska and crashing into the Pacific Northwest's infamously turbulent western coastal ridges of the Rocky Mountains. Normally, the race starts off downtown Vancouver in English Bay, then heads west six miles off the point, then you sail a few triangles/ sausages out in the Straits of Georgia, then return home to Nanaimo Harbour for your pickle dish (at least that's the plan).  According to one participant in this year's race, "you started, and with the wind blowing from the southeast at 25 knots, it was a siren song meant to suck you out into the Straits. Yes, it is blowing but the seas are flat in English Bay and it doesn't seem to be such a big deal. The big boats go off and pop their kites and start heading west the 6 miles to Georgia Strait. Everybody is thinking, "cool, we get to make a fast passage".  But, the real race starts 6 miles west where there appeared to be little blue box cars (e.g. huge waves) running to the northwest out in the Strait."

The forecast given at the skipper's briefing was for a Low pressure system to arrive at 985 millibars packing sustained 35-45 knot winds with 6-12 foot breaking seas.  According to sailors on the course, the actual numbers were worse - the barometer sank below 980 millibars, the highest gusts recorded at the weather buoys were 64 knots and the seas got mountainous- over six meters (nearly 20 feet) in height. Sustained winds on the course were 45+ knots with 50 knot gust being the norm and some even higher.  Do memories of Fastnet Force 10 off England or The Perfect Storm off New England (NE America) spring to mind?

Just a few hours into the race, over 50 boats turned back and never made it to Nanaimo Harbor across the Straits.  One boat sank and all six people, thankfully, got rescued by the J/30 RADIANT HEAT, sailed by Tony Brogan.  Apparently, Tony and crew demonstrated extraordinary seamanship and are true heroes to those whom they pulled out of the water (all completely hypothermic and one person unconscious).  See Tony's story below  and link to the full story.

In addition to RADIANT HEAT's noble efforts, the crew aboard the J/109 ASTRAL PLANE monitored everyone they sailed by and managed to get to Nanaimo Harbour, one of only ten boats to get there in the entire fleet.  Take a ride with the RVYC J/109 crew onboard ASTRAL PLANE as they surfed across the Straits, planing most of the way.  ASTRAL suffered minor damage including a blown traveller and ripped main.