Wednesday, October 27, 2010

J/122 & J/133 Win Rolex Middle Sea Race

J/122 ARTIE winning Rolex Middle Sea Race- one-design, offshore, performance cruising sailboat ARTIE and JARU Win IRC Class 3 & 4 (Malta)- The 31st edition of the 606-nautical mile Rolex Middle Sea Race began Saturday, 23 October from Grand Harbour, Malta and the first boats finished by Monday the 25th. There is no question it was another epic odyssey for those sailors crossing the trading routes of antiquity, experiencing what many a mariner must have faced back in the days of Phoenicians ruling the Med or the Romans facing enormous navigational (and boat-handling) problems crossing the straits to Tunisia.  In short, whether it was Rome's Neptune or the Greek's Poseidon, the mythological Gods of the Sea threw everything, including the Roman baths and kitchen sinks at the fleet as they took their counter-clockwise course around the extraordinarily picturesque volcanic island of Sicily.  Faced with everything from dead calms to 40+ knot Mistrals from the WNW, it was certainly going to be a test of the sailors as well as their boats.

J/122 ARTIE sailing under spinnaker in Rolex Middle Sea RaceBefore the race, the betting was on as to which Ripard family team was going to beat the other.  And, perhaps more importantly, who was going to add another Rolex watch to their collection, especially after Christian Ripard won class and overall in the 2001 edition of the Rolex MSR with his J/125 STRAIGHT DEALER.  Local knowledge in this race helps and, as predicted, the Ripard-family sailed teams would be very competitive against a very strong fleet of professionally sailed TP52s and an assortment of 45 to 100 foot custom racers.

J/122 ARTIE sailing into sunset during Rolex Middle Sea RaceAfter a difficult, physically-demanding and challenging race, the J/122 ARTIE sailed by Royal Malta YC members Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard won IRC Class 4 were 2nd in IRC overall, just missing by just 26 minutes the overall honors against a slew of high-speed, custom offshore sleds like TP52s and two 100 foot canting keelers.  First J to finish by just 25 minutes over the J/122 ARTIE was the J/133 JARU co-skippered by John Ripard Jr. and his brother-in-law, Andrew Calascione. JARU sailed strongly to win IRC Class 3 and place 3rd just behind ARTIE for IRC overall, in fact, beating in class a Swan 45 and Swan 56 custom and a Summit/Mills 40.  Finishing 5th also in IRC Class 3 and 12th Overall IRC was the J/133 JUNO sailed by Sonke Stein.

ARTIE's Christian Ripard commented- "all three J's, ARTIE J/122, JARU J/133 and JUNO J/133, have done the J Boats family proud and all the crew of these three boats would not change their boats for anything else-- and my congratulations to Didier LeMoal and the Johnstone family and their teams for building us a solid, fast, comfortable, safe boat capable of winning against flat-out offshore race boats crewed by professional America's Cup and Volvo guys!  My bow-man is 19 years old and this was his first offshore race!".

Sailing around island of Sicily, Italy during Rolex Middle Sea RaceIt was a horse-race from the beginning.  By late Sunday night, the J/122 ARTIE was leading the fleet on corrected time going thru the Straits of Messina.  At the Stromboli checkpoint, it was going to the wire in Class Three. Sonke Stein’s J/133 JUNO was leading, but only just, four minutes ahead of JARU and ARGO from Malta and Italy respectively, who are inseparable on corrected time.

Stein said, "Although JUNO is registered in Hamburg, she is based in Malta. This is my first Rolex Middle Sea Race with the boat, but personally this is my ninth race. The crew is mainly Maltese and has done the race many times. We hope to win, but the competition is very strong, we are looking forward to more exciting conditions ahead and above all to enjoy quality time with good friends."

One crew member in the race, Hillary Cook, commented on email, "North of Sicily it feels like we have sailed into a different climate zone. Gone from deck is the stash of sun cream and water bottles, to be replaced by thermals, oilskins and pleas for cups of hot tea. Porridge for breakfast this morning was very welcome after a challenging night, battling heavy rain and a wind which refused to make up its mind whether it was still southeasterly or the promised westerly, and at times settled for being zero."

Rolex Middle Sea Race- J/122 ARTIE sailing in big seasIf you have any interest in peering at a yacht tracker, check out each one of the boats tracks on the RMSR website.  After the R/P 100 Esimit Europa 2 claimed line honours on Monday, the Slovenian maxi held the corrected lead, but only until the TP52 Lucky (USA) completed a fantastic lap around Sicily to take the overall handicap lead. Then it was down to ARTIE, and for a while, fellow Maltese boat JARU, a J/133, to see if they could beat the clock. Artie had to finish at 08.18 Wednesday morning, and at the various checkpoints of the course that meant averaging around mid-9 knots. They had shown flashes of this speed, so it was all possible. It was pretty impressive sailing in a J/122, a 40-foot performance racer-cruiser class that has had great success at several offshore events, including the Rolex Fastnet Race.

ARTIE had a fast passage Tuesday night hitting boat speeds in the high teens, from Lampedusa through the South Comino Channel. Between Gozo and Comino the breeze held out, but around 08.00, as ARTIE sailed into Marsamxett Harbour, the breeze dropped away to zero, along with any chance of making the cutoff.  Crossing the line at 08:44, ARTIE missed the overall win by a mere 26 minutes on corrected time.  Incredible.  And, to know you were winning going into the last few miles up into the Grand Harbour, from the giddy heights of euphoria to the dungeon of dismay in minutes.

J/122 ARTIE sailing downwind under spinnaker off Malta.Owner and co-skipper Lee Satariano could be expected to be disappointed, though he said, "Last night we had many hours where the boat was just surfing down the waves. I really enjoyed that moment, it was really moving.  There was really nothing I would change, we raced the boat to its fullest potential, but we have only had this boat for a short time and we are very happy with our achievement. We knew on the last day that we were close to having first overall, but from the beginning to the end we were always pushing it to the limit. At no point did we take it easy. The entries for the Rolex Middle Sea Race have been increasing every year and the competition is reaching a very high level.  Maltese boats have shown well in recent races, we are up there; we can compete with the international competition."

Artie’s co-skipper, Christian Ripard was also full of wonder about the blast home on the last night. "The last night was just wonderful sailing and the crew had become fully in tune with each other. We were sailing on the edge and that requires precision, something that can only be achieved by perfect harmony which comes with time together on the boat."

J/133 JARU sailing off Lampedusa Islands in Med during Rolex Middle Sea RaceFirst Maltese boat home was Andrew Calascione’s J/133 JARU, after 3 days, 20 hours, 2 minutes. Calascione said, "Sailing last night was one of those really special nights. First of all, the moon came up at a certain time where we were actually heading into it. We probably had a steady 17 knots of wind – chute up – and squalls to 25 knots, with just fantastic speeds because the wind was off the port quarter. Big seas, just a fantastic night of sailing, one of those things you dream of, twelve hours of it! The crew is in great shape, so it was good."  For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information.   Rolex Sailing Photos/ Kurt Arrigo   

Rob Mundle's new release: BLIGH- Master Mariner

Rob Mundle- latest book- Bligh- Master Mariner* Australian J/24 sailor and writer Rob Mundle has just released a new book called, simply, "Bligh".  With his previous book, "Fatal Storm", Rob took nearly 200,000 readers from all around the world into the eye of the storm and the heart of bravery as the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race faltered. In "Bligh", Rob goes back to sea, this time it’s the eighteenth century, the era when brave mariners took their ships beyond the horizon in search of an unknown world. Those chosen to lead these expeditions were exceptional navigators, men who had shown brilliance as they ascended the ranks in the Royal Navy. They were also bloody good sailors. From ship’s boy to Vice-Admiral, discover how much more there is to Captain Bligh than his infamous bad temper. Rob Mundle’s "Bligh" is about bravery and brilliance, endurance and integrity, great battles and victories!

Join Rob as he puts you:
· On a beach in Hawaii as 22-year-old Bligh witnesses the death of his captain and mentor, James Cook.
· Aboard HMS Bounty on its voyage into the South Pacific that led to the famous mutiny.
· In an open long boat with 18 of his crew,cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific by the mutinous Fletcher Christian.
· On survival rations and on the incredible 47-day, 3618 nautical mile open boat voyage from Tonga and Timor: to this day,an unbeaten feat of survival and precision navigation.
· In the company of a young Matthew Flinders, as the 37-year-old Captain Bligh takes HMS Providence on a voyage around the world.

All this before he was 40! You’ll never think Bligh a villain again. This is the story of one of our greatest master mariners. Rob Mundle is an international bestselling author, journalist, event organiser and competitive yachtsman. His "Fatal Storm", the story of the tragic Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race gone wrong – remains one of the world’s seminal ocean racing books. Australia’s premier maritime journalist and author, Rob Mundle’s Bligh is his tenth book. He lives in Queensland. For publicity enquiries please contact Alexandra Barlow-  Or, just go to, you're sure to find it there.  Great Holiday gift!!

The Australian J/24 Legends Regatta- Part II

J/24 sailing Australia- Rob Mundle- author, journalist sailing J/24
(New South Wales, Australia)- Gotta hand it to our friends from Down Under.  The boys from OZ clearly have a lot of fun sailing.  And the Legends Regatta was no exception.  Simon Grain has provided a tremendous follow-up to the coverage in the past week:

"The Legends Regatta was born out of an idea from Peter Stevens early last year and it was decided to run it in NSW due to the larger amount of boats and Legends residing there and last weekend saw the culmination of a massive amount of work to make this event happen.

J/24s rounding mark, setting spinnakers- J/24 Australia Legends RegattaThe Gosford weekend was a huge success for the class and I want to thank the members of the NSW Association that put in such a huge effort to make this all happen. The result is a real credit to the vision and hard work of Terry Wise, Arthur Crothers and Paula Shires-Clarke who were the main drivers of this event, I know personally that Paula has lived and breathed this event for the last 6 months, working tirelessly to make it all a success. Many others were involved and I wish to thank them for their effort also especially Tim Briggs for his support in offering sponsorship and help with the legends venue. Thanks must go to all the sponsors small and large that offered their help with the regatta, with around $50,000 worth of sponsorship this surely rank as the most amazing event of recent times within the class and indeed within yachting in Australia.  Thanks to Gosford Sailing Club for running the regatta and to Graeme Watt and his wife Margo who came from Melbourne to bring their considerable experience as international fleet race officers to run the racing. And finally a huge thank you to all the competitors and Legends who came and made this the most exciting J24 event in recent Australian sailing history.

Sailing on the flat waters of Brisbane Water was a delight (being used to Port Phillip chop), but it was tough with varying wind strengths and directions and the hottest and largest ‘national’ fleet seen in Australia for many years. The quality of the fleet was impressive and I know that there were a few that found and the level and the workload difficult if not scary. It does however remind us that there are levels of sailing competition far above even this weekend – just ask anyone who has done a worlds!

I asked the race winners (and others) to comment on the NSW States and Legends Regatta for the benefit of those who didn’t go or were just wondering how they did it. Here are comments from them on their perspective."  Go to this link and read on-- some great and really, really funny stories.  Lotsa comments and every word is a gem.  Especially Peter Steven's story of grit and determination to simply get there!

Read more about the J/24 Australian Legends sailing stories here.

Cayman Islands J/22 Governors Cup

J/22s sailing in Cayman Islands- Governors Cup winnersJUST LEAVING Left Them Behind!

(Cayman Island, Sometime Last Week)- Yes, the "island groove" and ethos is still alive and well with our dear friends down in the Caribbean and those in the same friendly latitudes.  Remember that feature awhile back in J/News about our friends in the Cayman Islands deciding that sailing was "important"?  That is was good for families, friends and strangers?  That it would promote fun, camaraderie and a greater appreciation for being outdoors and enjoying our little lifeboat called "Planet Earth"??

Well, the gang down in The Caymans are slowly (emphasis, slowly), winding up their winter sailing season while the poor sods up in The North (as opposed to The Down Under) are "Cooling Down".  The season starts with The Governors Cup.

J/22s sailing upwind during Governors Cup- Cayman IslandsThis year, the gang aboard JUST LEAVING simply just left The Opposition behind in The 2010 J22 Governor's Cup.  The Event was sailed in fairly light conditions over two days, with a total of seven races sailed in the mind-numbingly beautiful clear blue waters and steady as-a-rock 15-20 knot trade wind breezes.

With the experienced crew of Mike Farrington on helm, ably supported by Matt Diaz and Sam Dawson, their JUST LEAVING Team have dominated the fleet of late.  Nevertheless, they were given a good challenge by Nick Taylor driving MOONSHINE in Commodore Andrew Moon's absence (gone AWOL making moonshine?).  Giving them all a run for their money was Peter Cunningham's SUNSHINE taking third.  Oh dear, could it be that someone was JUST LEAVING town in the SUNSHINE because one was making MOONSHINE?  Hope not.   For more Cayman Islands J/22 sailing information.  

IBerdrola J/80 Cup

J/80 Spain- sailing Iberdrola Cup off Palma Mallorca, Spain
(Palma Mallorca, Spain- Sept 17-18)- Sponsored by Iberdrola and the Hotel Association of Cala Millor, there were two amazing, incredible, wonderful days of racing in the match racing format sailing aboard J/80s off Palma.  The two finalists- HOTEL EDEN and MOYA HORRACH-The Art Gallery- had an fantastic fight with many lead changes over the course of eight races.  At the end of this titanic struggle for alien supremacy in the Iberdrola J/80 Cup, it was Team MOYA HORRACH-The Art Gallery winning by 6 to 2 over HOTEL EDEN.

J/80s sailing in Spain off Palma Mallorca- for Iberdrola CupThanks to the organizers for their efforts, making available to the press and guests a catamaran where snacks and beverages were provided for all while enjoying the races. As well, hotel rooms for participants in the beautiful port of Cala Bona were also provided FOR FREE (yes, it's not a misprint).  Gee, sounds like a tough life-- qualify to race the Iberdrola J/80 Cup, get wined and dined, get given J/80s to match race, sail in a gorgeous port off Palma, stay in a hotel for FREE?  Hmmm.  Sounds like it's time to get a J/80 and do some real sailing.  Without a doubt, the amigos in Espana are having a fun time sailing J/80s, at some point the rest of the world will catch on.  Great mix of guys and girls on their boats, perhaps that's the secret. :)  For more Iberdrola J/80 Cup sailing in Spain.

J/22 The Netherlands Cooling Down!

J/22 one-design sailboat- sailing Dutch Championships off The Hague, Netherlands
GILL Girls Finish Third- Yippee!

(The Hague, The Netherlands)- The J/22 center of the universe.  The Chairman's Word.  The Place To Be-- it's called The Hague.  Catch my drift?  Seems The Brassermeer is The Locus of The J/22s on The Planet Europa.  Here's The Chairman's Word from The High above The Hague:

"You sometimes hear people say that time flies ... It's already October and that means that the water is 'cooling down', ie. low temperatures, short days, cold water, the J-22 fleet, too, after a busy and competitive season to prepare for the Brassermeer.

J/22 one-design sailboats- sailing around mark at Dutch NationalsA busy and competitive season that was it. For those who seem to forget, all of course started this year with the team Braassem Kesbeke (Ned 1609) as the winner. After the fleet was well represented in Stellendam with Team Henri Lloyd (Ger 1513) as the winner. Everybody was aware that hereafter you can not just be champion. Resulting in more J-22 teams at the start in Medemblik and more teams soon after the launch on the North Sea Regatta. Where Team Henri Lloyd (Ger 1513) again sailed to victory. This team would then be the new World Champion?

There were training at weekends and even ordered a Warming Up Worlds sailed so everyone could get used to the notorious North Sea. Finally it was the day of the World Cup.  Many sailors appeared to be well matched, but there was only a very deserving winner of-- Quantum Racing Team (Ned 1364).

Most teams had just sailed enough but this was definitely not the case at all. A few weeks later there was a thrilling battle between Team Henri Lloyd (1591) and Team Patron (1449) in Travemunde, Germany.

J/22 one-design sailboat- sailing upwind on Brassermeer Sea, The NetherlandsTeam Kesbeke (1609) found that the boat had been dry long enough and dropped again in Muiden that she wanted to become Dutch champion. Two weeks later the big day-- the next showdown. Amid all the Olympic classes also were the J-22's to decide who was going to be Dutch champion. Until the finish it was really exciting, but team Quantum Racing (1364) became Dutch Champion.

Oh, forgot.  The "Cooling Down" of The Netherlands, The J/22 Fleet. The End Of The World, Cup season that is, was a real sailing spectacle.

There was already quite a breeze for the start of the regatta. By the time Maria and her team shot away from the starting line in a 25 knot breeze, it was clear the spinnaker laps were going to be very short. The cheers of many a boat was heard clearly across the course.

After the first race the wind increased even more. There was still waiting for a while, but when 38 knots was measured everyone was sent to the port. After a few hours of waiting, a lot of chocolate and pea soup, the wind had fallen far enough for another 2 races to start. After three races, the top team was Kesbeke NED 1609 with 3 points.

The next morning was a sunny autumn morning- picture perfect!  The wind was making us all a bit nervous, it was certainly not above 10 knots. Fortunately, the wind filled a little and we could sail three delicious races. Unfortunately, the wind began to turn somewhat in the afternoon. There was even an aborted start because the wind turned 30 degrees. Therefore, we did not manage to get in a fourth race, bummer!

With 4 first places and two second places, Team NED 1609 Kesbeke Eelco Blok, Bart Fast and Niels Block Majeure were first.  Second with 10 points were Team Sika Roy Heiner NED Academy 1450 Ronald Veraar, Robert Janssen and Joost Brouwer.   Third, with only 5 points difference were the ladies from Team NED 1141 GILL, Maria Poulie, Bregtje Lodewikes, Renske Verbeek and Leontien Benders-- gorgeous girls, right?!  Smart those girls!

And with that the 2010 season ended. It was a great year and we hope that many play our Winter Games on the Brassermeer, everyone and all teams are welcome.  Prior to the Winter Games we will be givng training on Saturday. The first will be given by Wouter Kollman. Thereafter, Rik Sand Boer for some courses.  Set the weekend of 11 and 12 December in your diary.  More later.

Looking back, it has so far been a great sailing season with great moments and winners! But looking forward, we have a lot to do!  Until next week!  The Boss- Floris Toetenel."  For more J/22 The Netherlands Sailing Information.

ECLIPSE Wins J/105 Manhasset Bay Fall Series

J/105s sailing on Long Island Sound
(Manhasset, New York- Oct. 23-24)-  It only took one race on the final day of the season to decide the champion of the Manhasset Bay Fall Series. Sailing in a fresh easterly breeze, Damian Emery's ECLIPSE picked off PLANET CLAIRE on the second weather leg and JADED on the final downwind leg to capture victory in both the race and the series. There was still another race to sail, but with ECLIPSE holding a throwout of 5 points, the win gave it all the margin it needed to assure first place in the Fall championship. Then, almost as if performing a victory lap (or two), ECLIPSE went on to comfortably win the eighth and final race of the series--leading from the favored pin end all of the way to the finish.

The regatta completed an exceptional season for Emery, who entered more East Coast J/105 events than any other boat and who won four of them: Cedar Point, Block Island, the West Passage Regatta and the J/105 East Coast Championships in Newport. Second place for the Manhasset Fall Series went to KINCSEM, sailed by Joerg Esdorn and Duncan Hennes. Third went to Josh Burak on PEREGRINA; fourth to 2009 winner Kevin Granger on GUMPTION, and fifth to Paul Strauch on ANDIAMO. Eleven J/105s participated in the event, but the competition was tight as the entrants were all among the area's top performers in 2010.   For more J/105 Manhasset sailing information.

Challenging Garmin Hamble Winter/ Big Boat Series

J/80s sailing Hambe Winter Series on the Solent

(Hamble, England)-  The third weekend of the 2010 Garmin Hamble Winter Series (24 October) produced more good racing.   Sunday's steady northerly breeze produced double wins from the two J classes in the Garmin Black Group fleet, including the Apthorp’s  J/109 J-DREAM and Mike and Jamie Holmes' JIKA-JIKA.  Saturday's racing was marked by an unexpected squall when 12–15 knots of westerly breeze leapt to 40 knots at precisely 1300hrs. It was soon over but Race Director Jamie Wilkinson had immediately signaled an abandonment, and the two fleets returned for a restart of Race 3.

J/109 one-design, racing, cruising, performance sailboat- sailing Hamble Winter Series- Solent, EnglandSixteen J/109s sailed this weekend, making for tough competition.  Was it a "dream come true", again?  Sure was.  The J-DREAM team (David & Kirsty Apthorp) dialed up the pressure again on their colleagues and now have a 1-3-1-2-1-1 score for 6 points.  Lying second is OFFBEAT (David McLeman) with a 9-2-4-3-4-5 tally for 18 points.  Third just one point back is OUTRAJEOUS (Richard & Valerie Griffith) with scores of 5-5-3-4-5-2 for 19 points.

In the Big Boat Series IRC 0 Class, the J/122s and J/133s continue to sail in a challenging series.  Ian Matthews' J/122 JINJA is sailing well, still lying in second place.  Jackie and Robert Dobson's J/133 JERONIMO sailed a reasonable set of races on the third weekend, but dropping them into 6th place, but only 5 points from 3rd overall!  The tale of the tape in this class goes race-by-race; especially since JINJA is counting a DNF in Race 9 in her scores.

In IRC 3 Class, the J/97s continue to sail well, with one leading the standings and the others falling off the pace a bit.  Mike and Jamie Holmes J/97 JIKA-JIKA has now surged into the lead with a 4-1-1-3-1-1 record for 7 points in this competitive 17 boat class.  Mike Flood's J/97 INDULJENCE, Ed Holton's J/110 SHADES OF BLUE, Bill Blain's J/97 BATFISH IV and Richard Watney's J/97 JENGA VI have fallen back or for family reasons have not been able to sail the full series.

Amongst the J/80s it's John Cooper on OI! still dominating the Winter Series with a 1-1-1-3-2-2-2-2 for 11 points!  Now just seven points back is Patrick Liardet on AQUA-J  with a 2-4-3-5-4-3-1-1 for 18 points.  Now lying third is Gordon Craigen's SWALLOW with a 6-3-4-4-6-1-3-3 for 24 points.

The Bugle's Oliver Weeks presented the overall trophies and prizes, and the whole fleet were invited to enjoy live music at The Bugle in Hamble that evening. The Spinlock day prizes were presented by James Hall and Simon Crowther.  Next Sunday’s racing (31 Oct.) sees the fourth round of the main Garmin Hamble Winter Series, with day prizes presented by Harken UK. There will also be more cakes on the menu in response to popular demand! Me thinks carbo-loading with sausage patsy's and Guinness were standard issue crew meals.  Have times changed?    Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth Pictures    For more Garmin Hamble Winter Series results and sailing information.

Cherry Picks RYA Match Race Hat Trick

J/80s sailing in RYA Match Race regatta on Queen Mary Reservoir- London, England
(Queen Mary Reservoir, London, England- Oct. 22-24)- Racing in a matched fleet of J/80s, Nick Cherry picked up a third Royal Yachting Association National Match Racing title, scooping victory in a thrilling final showdown.

It went right down to the wire with a maximum five race final but it was two-time National title holder Nick Cherry (2007,2006) who finally walked away victorious this past weekend, walking off with the coveted crown for a third time at the 2010 RYA National Match Racing Championship Grand Final held at Queen Mary Sailing Club, Staines (about 15 minutes southwest of Heathrow Airport).  Nick had to overcome double defending champion Mark Campbell-James (2009, 2008, 2005), who was also looking likely to rack up a three straight wins hat-trick this year sailing with his newly crowned Extreme 40 Series Champion brother Paul.  Cherry kept his nerve right up until the last possible race clinching the 2010 title in the "thrilla from Manila" final "rope-a-dope" race.    

Entering the quarter finals on Saturday in pole position with a 100% unbeaten record Campbell-James retained his perfect score right up until the third race of the finals. But it didn’t take long for Cherry, who suffered defeats to Sam Pearson and Campbell-James early on in the round-robin phase, to find his winning pace. The Southampton based sailor stepped it up a gear and cruised through the quarter and semi-finals having not dropped a race, boosting his team’s confidence ready for the trophy deciding duel.

It was Campbell-James who took the first two wins looking to have all but sealed the crown. However race three saw a come-back from Cherry who edged ahead and forced the result to a fourth contest. Holding his nerve in impressive style Cherry and his crew, Matt Adams, Ed Hill and Connor Myant, pushed through with another win, this time more convincing, profiting from a lucky split on the start line enabling him to stretch out ahead.

With two wins a piece tensions were running high between the old rivals as they went into the fifth and final clash. Neck-and-neck right up to the second windward mark, the race could have gone either way. But pushing in front after a head-to-wind luffing match, Cherry rounded the mark first sealing the deal and crossing the line ahead of his opponent to swipe the title in an enthralling climax to the event.

A chuffed Cherry commented: "It feels really good to win again. When we were two races down we just said to each other we knew we could do it and we’re sailing pretty well. We didn’t get too down and just carried on and got stuck in! I think we got in tune with the shifts and started to sail the race course more effectively than our opponents and it came together for us. There was plenty of overtaking, hanging around head-to-wind at the windward mark and there was lead changing in almost every race. We’ve raced Mark a lot over the years and it’s always close. It’s what we know so we knew if we could just hold it together there was every chance we could win. We really enjoyed it!" he concluded.

A disappointed Campbell-James was eager to sing his opponent's praises: "It was good racing out there – we're a bit gutted but we were unbeaten until the last three races and those were the three that counted. Nick sailed well and we had a good fight on pretty much every race of the final."  With half his crew hailing from the same town as Cherry he joked: "My crew Paul and Nick are a bit upset about the Southampton rivalry but they’re good mates and they’ll get over it!"

The petit final saw Women’s World Match Racing Champions Lucy Macgregor and Annie Lush, plus crew, beat higher ISAF ranked skipper Ali Hall in three straight wins ensuring a well-deserved podium spot for this week’s Busan Women's International Match Race, (Korea) bound team.  The girls were a potent force in this year's event.  Even Campbell-James was treating them with the upmost respect and awe, stating that, "I think the girls are going to be on form – they’ve obviously been sailing well all year and they are World Champions. The interesting thing will be how much the level has moved on since last year with the girls having done so much and how the guys are going to fair against them. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top."

Racing was tight across all ten teams sailing at the Grand Final, and youngest competing skipper, James French, made a great event debut beating World University Match Racing Champion Andrew Shaw in one of his races.      

Long standing Umpire, Chris Simon, joined Cherry in taking home an accolade from the weekend picking up the Paul Banner trophy for his sportsmanship and outstanding contribution to International Umpiring; the event marking his retirement from his international role.  Final results and sailing information for J/80 RYA Match Racing.   Preview of the J/80 RYA Match Race sailing event.
J/109 Whiskey Jack sailing in Hong Kong, China- one-design, cruising, racing sailboatJ/109 WHISKEY JACK Sailing China Cup

(Hong Kong, China)- The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club was a-hummin’ and a-buzzin’ Wednesday evening, with all the crews in town – many of them overseas – for the opening cocktails and the skippers’ briefing for tomorrow’s passage race from Hong Kong to Longcheer, Daya Bay, Shenzhen, the opening event of the CCIR.  The buzz was because "China’s signature offshore yachting race" to Longcheer, China was cancelled.  Something to do with local marine regulations.  Instead, the racing fleet will make its way to Daya Bay, and the Race Officer will slot an extra race into the Saturday-Sunday-Monday programme to make up for the lost opening race.  The sailors have been promised an Opening Ceremony of impressive proportions, complete with lots of speeches from people in suits (don't we love it, bow-ties anyone?). Guy Nowell, from Sail-World Asia, will be reporting from the side deck of the J/109 WHISKEY JACK during the regatta.  For more China Cup sailing information.

British-American Cup Sail J/80s

J/80s sailing in RYA Match Race in Staines, London, England- Royal Thames YC and Royal Yacht Squadron
(London, England- 27–31 October)- The oldest international team racing contest in the world is taking place this weekend on Royal Thames YC's London sailing venue at Queen Mary Water.  Racing will take place in the fleet of 6 evenly matched J/80s jointly owned and managed by Royal Thames Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron (based in Cowes, England).

The British-American Cup, first raced in 1922, enters a new era in 2010 with the first match of the Fifth Series, to be sailed at Queen Mary Water.  On-the-water practice for both British and American teams is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, with racing taking place on Friday 29th, Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st October.

The BA Cup represents a pinnacle in international team racing in keelboats. First sailed in International 6 Metres and contested effectively as a fleet racing contest between the United States and Great Britain it is now raced at the keenest level as a four-on-four team race by the top team racers in the two countries. Several British clubs have from time-to-time been involved in the British end of the contest including the Royal Victoria YC, the Royal Northern (now Royal Northern & Clyde) YC, the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Thames YC while throughout its history the Seawahnaka Corinthian YC of Oyster Bay, NY has been the American custodian of the contest.

It is the two Clubs who have been continuously associated with the contest since it began who take it forward to the Fifth Series, with a new trophy presented by the Royal Thames YC to be contested in three matches, in 2010, 2012 and 2014.  The first match will be in the UK, the next in Oyster Bay and the third in UK. After 2014 the Clubs will decide whether to continue with the Fifth Series or once more refresh the contest with a new format.  For more British American Cup sailing information.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

J Contenders In Rolex Middle Sea Race

J Sailors at Royal Malta YC's Middle Sea Race
(Malta)- Flying into Malta it’s hard not to be struck by the landscape- the buildings all a blinding beige in the hot sun, the landscape fairly arid and dry. It’s more reminiscent of the Northern African coast, which is only 155 nautical miles west. The island archipelago is at the crossroads of the Mediterranean situated, as it is, midway between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia. The setting is stunning enough that Ted Turner described the MSR as "the most beautiful race course in the world".

J/133 JARU sailing off MaltaThe 31st edition of the 606-nautical mile Rolex Middle Sea Race begins Saturday, 23 October from Grand Harbour. The race is organized and hosted by the Royal Malta Yacht Club.  This year’s fleet is more diverse than in any years past, with numerous entries from throughout Europe, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Many of the fleet is moored in Camper & Nicholson’s Grand Harbour Marina and dockside there today there was a flurry of activity with crews effecting repairs or otherwise prepping for Saturday’s offshore race.  Along the quay, there were country flags on the back of boats from Spain, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, the UK and United States, as well as a local fleet of competitors from Malta. One would think the Maltese might have an edge – local knowledge of the area, perhaps – and in that group one of the ringers may well be JARU, a J/133 co-skippered by John Ripard Jr. and his brother-in-law, Andrew Calascione. The close relations don’t stop there, as half the crew are composed of their children, with a few close friends from the UK there to round out the crew.

J/133 JARU sailor Sebastian RipardSailing onboard, as helmsman and watch leader, is 23-year old, Sebastian Ripard. This youngest of the Ripard generation is taking time out from his, and team mate Benji Borg’s, campaign in the 49er class for the 2012/2016 Olympics. This 600+ mile race requires switching gears from "around the cans". Asked what he likes about this, his eighth, race, Sebastian said, "It’s a beautiful race. I mean one of the marks is a volcano, which is often erupting! There’s always a bit of everything in this race, tactically there are a lot of different points where the race compresses, so there’s a lot of tricky areas: the Straits (of Messina), Stromboli, by Favignana, which make it challenging throughout. There are a lot of variables that keep on changing. And I quite enjoy the mental demands of an offshore race; it’s more of an adventure. In his first go round in 2002, he racked up an overall win on the J/109 JAMMIN with – same as this year – his father and uncle. He followed that with a second place in the J/109 ARTIE with Lee Sartariano.

The J-Boat has a good track record for the race: a J/133 won its’ class and placed second overall in the 2008 Rolex Middle Sea Race. The 43-footer was Sailing World magazines' "Boat of the Year" award when it was launched in 2003 and the design has proven itself for performance cruising and offshore racing.  Sailing on the latest ARTIE, a J/122, will be other Royal Malta YC members and even more Ripard family members aboard- Lee Satariano & Christian Ripard.  Christian has also won the MSR on board a number of other J's in the past, continuing the tradition of the Ripard family as they have for generations on the island republic.  Finally, giving the two "Ripard-sailed" boats a run for their money will be the J/133 JUNO sailed by Sonke Stein.  Story from Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo.  For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information.

Growing Sailing at the Grass Roots- the College Edition

California Maritime sailing team- big boat series winners
(Vallejo, CA)- This fall J sailors at the college level have had their fair share of fun in the sun, sailing everything from J/22s to J/44s.  At one end of the scale, the Storm Trysail Club's Big Boat Series on Long Island Sound had an enormous turn-out with dozens of college teams vying for glory on what appears to be the college-version of J/Fest.  And, about the same time, another group were dueling for big boat supremacy on the US Navy Academy 44 footers to qualify for the Student Yachting World Cup in France!  Busy week! Stories below.

What could be cooler than for a little maritime academy that use their fleet of six J/22s and a J/105 to train for keelboat events in the battle-hardened college sailing circuit and win the "big one"- the Kennedy Cup sailed on 44 footers at the US Navy Academy in Annapolis, MD.  Then, better yet, in a real, heart-warming "David and Goliath" story, that same team qualifies to sail in the 30th annual Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle, France from October 24th to 29th!  Yes, hopes and dreams do come true sometimes.  The California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA with an enrollment of about 850 students, will be by far the smallest school among the 11 international universities entered from the Canada, England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Japan.

Cal Maritime Sailing Director Susan "Charlie" Arms-Cartee says she and her team don’t worry much about those figures. "We have a history of doing well against much larger competitors. We took the Kennedy Cup in the 2009 National Intercollegiate Offshore Championships last fall to win the right to compete in France, and we recently beat Navy to take our fifth Shields Trophy in seven tries at Annapolis, MD, against teams from the U.S. service and maritime academies." According to "Charlie", "we use the J/105 to help us "show the flag" in Bay Area events and regattas and means our veterans can step aboard other competitive boats on the Bay with greater confidence in their skills."

Arms Cartee says Cal Maritime’s small size can be an advantage. “Many on Team USA have sailed with each other for two and three years in a variety of boat classifications and conditions. As the first team from the West Coast to compete for the U.S. in this event in its 30-year history, we think we have some demonstrated strengths in sailing in the kind of heavier winds we’re told are the norm in late October on the Atlantic Coast of France. Many on our team are comfortable with the stronger winds we often find in northern California and especially on San Francisco Bay. But we’ve also got team members with skills in light winds, as we demonstrated with our recent Shields victory.”

Follow the adventures of Team USA at the Student Yachting World Cup.  We hope the skills learned at home along with their counterparts, many of whom have also been "schooled" on other J's, like 24s and 80s in Europe, all have fun and good sailing!  Read more about sailing the Student Yachting World Cup.  Cal Maritime TeamUSA sailing website.

HOT Premier Marinas Autumn Championships

J/109 one-design, racing, cruising sailboat- sailing downwind Garmin Winter Series
Awesome Toe-In-The-Water Party

(Hamble, England)- Both the J/80s and the J/109s were in for an extra special treat for this year's version of the Premier Marinas Autumn Championships-- lots of races!  Run by the Hamble River Sailing Club, the PRO's did a fantastic job of getting the troops mobilized early and running a lot of races in great sailing conditions.  In addition to the hot competition on the water, the J/80 and J/109 classes were treated to a fantastic party on Saturday evening sponsored by Key Yachting and in aid of Toe in the Water- the charity that benefits recovering British military war veterans (damn good sailors, too!.

J/109 one-design starting line- sailing upwindThe J/109s saw a terrific turnout with 15 boats participating.  It was quite a battle for first overall in the The Velvet Elvis Sailing Team just about "ran the table" sailing VELVET ELVIS to a remarkably consistent 1-2-2-1-2-1 record for a mere 9 points.  Giving them a run for the money was the powerful J-DREAM team headed by David and Kirsty Apthorp, sailing to an equally as strong 4-1-1-2-1-2 record for 11 points. Watching the drama unfold in front of them were Richard and Valerie Griffith sailing OUTRAJEOUS to a 2-4-3-3-3-3 record for 18 points and third overall.  Perhaps sailing one of his strongest series in awhile is David Aisher's YEOMAN OF WIGHT, starting strongly, then fading a bit, with a 3-3-6-4-7-6 for 29 points.  Fifth is Dom Monkhouse's team on ME JULIE with a consistent 5-5-5-10-5-4 tally for 34 points.
If the J/109s had some hot competition, the competition amongst 17 J/80s was smokin' hot!  Dueling amongst a trio of boats were J/80 UK fleet leaders Ian Atkins, John Cooper and Team Spitfire. Talk about throwing three teams into the proverbial frying pan, the tale of the tape was determined in the last race with all three teams finishing within 3 points of each other-- shades of the recent J/80 Worlds in Newport!  Fun stuff. 

J/80 one-design sailboats- Toe In The Water Charity- British servicemen
Ian Atkins finally got his BOATS.COM team rolling this 2010 season, firing the first salvo of the series with a 1st in the first race.  Second in that race was John Cooper on OI!  Lurking just behind in 4th was British Royal Air Force's Team Spitfire firing on all cylinders with SPITFIRE.  By the next race, the standings amongst these three amigos flip-flopped, so in short they were tied after two races!  And so the story went on for the next four races. After the dust cleared, Ian Atkin's team on BOATS.COM prevailed by a mere 2 points, sailing to a 1-4-1-2-1-3 score for 12 points.  Second was John Cooper's OI! with a 2-3-3-1-3-2 tally for 14 points.  One point back in third was Team Spitfire's SPITFIRE getting a 4-2-2-4-2-1 record for 15 points, finishing strongly! The tri-service initiative, Toe in the Water (TITW), entered four J/80s in the event, and each of these boats had a crew of five on board, some of whom are recovering from traumatic injuries. According to Becci Eplett of the J-Boats UK agents Key Yachting, who supported the party; "They are a hugely competitive bunch on the race-track and a delight to race against".  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth Pictures    For more Premier Marinas Autumn Championships sailing info.

Hot Garmin Hamble Winter/ Big Boat Series

J/80s sailing one-design at Garmin Winter Series
(Hamble, England- October 16-17)-  The second weekend of the 2010 Garmin Hamble Winter Series produced two more days of excellent racing in a shifting north to north-easterly breeze.  While Saturday produced tough racing for the J/109, J/80 in 10-20 knots of cool breeze, Sunday was a softer day, with sunshine and blue skies, but still with big wind shifts. The Black Group start was set up on the Ryde Bank with a long first beat across the ebbing tide to windward marks near the mainland shore. With two races scheduled and the prospect of a softening breeze, the second start sequence was underway by midday on the same start line. Although the classes starting later struggled in the now east-going tide all boats were finished by 1430.  For Sunday, the J/80 fleet was closer to the shore there was around eight knots of breeze for their first race, falling to six knots for the second. Soon afterwards the breeze fell away completely, and with two good races in the bag to conclude the Autumn Championships for these classes, White Group PRO Rob Lamb decided to call it a day and send the fleet in. 

J/109 one-design, cruising, racing sailboat- sailing at Hamble, EnglandFourteen J/109s made it to the start this past weekend for the J/109 Winter series.  After getting their boat back in the water and tuned, it was again the J-DREAM team (David & Kirsty Apthorp) that re-asserted their ability to dig out after tough starts or windward legs, having accumulated finishes of 1-3-1-2 for 7 points to lead the Griffith's by ten.  Sailing consistently for second overall at this stage is OUTRAJEOUS (Richard & Valerie Griffith) with scores of 5-5-3-4 for 17 points.  In hot pursuit of them is OFFBEAT (David McLeman) with a 9-2-4-3 tally, showing great improvement after the first race.  Keep your eyes on the Velvet Elvis Sailing Team sailing VELVET ELVIS!  While not sailing the first weekend, their 2-1 this past weekend shows they mean business and with a few toss races later in the series, could easily be contenders for the top three.

In the Big Boat Series IRC 0 Class, the J/122s and J/133s are sailing a demanding, challenging regatta fighting the usual large current shears and wind shifts so typical of the Solent.  Ian Matthews' J/122 JINJA is sailing a strong series, lying in second place.  Jackie and Robert Dobson's J/133 JERONIMO sailed a very strong second weekend, getting three seconds to pull them up to fifth place!  Neil Martin's J/133 JAMMY DODGER is having a tough go of it, managing to get a 2-3 in the series, but are just a bit off the pace, sitting in seventh for now.

J/109 sailing downwind past buoy in Garmin Hamble Winter Series, EnglandIn IRC 3 Class, the J/97s continue to sail well and lead the standings.  Mike and Jamie Holmes J/97 JIKA-JIKA has now surged into the lead with a 4-1-1-3 record for 9 points.  Mike Flood's J/97 INDULJENCE lies third just one point back from second with a 2-5-4-4 score for 15 points.  Ed Holton's J/110 SHADES OF BLUE has dropped off the pace and is now in 5th with a 3-2-7-9 for 21 points.  Watch out for Bill Blain's J/97 BATFISH IV to climb the standings quickly, starting off with an 8-5 and also Richard Watney's J/97 JENGA VI getting a 5-2 last weekend.

Amongst the J/80s it's John Cooper on OI! still dominating the Winter Series with a 1-1-1-3-2 for 8 points!  Ten points behind him is Patrick Liardet on AQUA-J  with a 2-4-3-5-4 for 18 points.  Tied for third is Ian Atkins' BOATS.COM and Terry Palmer's JUST DO IT.  Ian's 3-dnf-dns-1-3 still give him 21 points to Terry's 4-2-2-6-7 for the same total.  Showing up for this past weekend was the powerhouse Team Spitfire team racing SPITFIRE to a 2-1!  At that pace, they'll be a force to reckon with in the coming weekends.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth Pictures    For more Garmin Hamble Winter Series results and sailing information.

Storm Trysail College J/Fest

J/109 fleet racing at Storm Trysail Big Boat Series
Fabulous Sailing On Long Island Sound

(Larchmont, NY- October 9-10)- Over the Columbus Day Weekend the Larchmont Yacht Club hosted sailors from 30 schools and universities for the Storm Trysail Foundation’s Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR) Presented by Prestige BMW. The annual regatta— now in its 10th year— saw over 300 sailors crew the 36 boats in the fleet, making the IOR the largest college sailing regatta in the country.  It was a veritable showcase for J/Boats- of 36 boats, it was a J/Fest of 31 J's, with 7 J-44’s, 3 J-122’s, 1 J-133, 8 J-109’s, 11 J-105’s, a J/120 and a J/35.

J/44 sailing upwind at Storm Trysail Big Boat seriesMaine Maritime’s sailing team coach Tom Brown decided to pull his team out of all their dinghy events for the weekend so that his team could sail big boats at the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta instead. After driving over eight hours with his 17 sailors, Brown’s strategy paid off as team won two of the five divisions in the 38-boat fleet. Over 300 sailors participated make the IOR the largest college sailing regatta in the country.  The enthusiasm was so strong, that the University of Michigan team drove 2 vans 11 hours each way in order to race!! 

The weather gods smiled this year offering sunny skies and breezes that built from 10 knots for the first race to 15-20 knots for the subsequent races on both days.  PRO Butch Ulmer ran seven races in two days. The race organizers worked hard to put J/109 STORM sailing at Storm Trysail Big Boat seriestogether one-design and closely-rated divisions to keep the racing tight. "The student sailors were some of the best we have seen in the ten years that STC has been running this event," said Paul Hoffman who ran the windward mark boat. "Racing was so close that three of the divisions ended up tied for first after seven races. More than once practically the whole J/109 fleet rounded the marks en-mass."

Maine’s Coach Brown said, "I have never seen so many smiles. Our team was so stoked that they stayed awake talking about the racing for the eight-hour drive back to Castine. When I got back to school, I had got a congratulatory note from the President of the school. They take big boat sailing seriously here. We will be back next year and we hope to have the same boats again."

J/122 Chris Dragon sailing Storm Trysail Big Boat seriesThe purpose of the regatta is two-fold: to introduce dinghy sailors to the team work and fun of big-boat racing and to provide a chance for experienced big boat sailors to have a chance to compete in well-prepared evenly-matched boats. STC has worked hard to build up this regatta because getting sailors involved in the sport of ocean racing goes right to the Club's mission statement.

Unlike other collegiate regattas, the boats are privately owned and the boat owners sail with the student sailors as coaches and safety officers. The regatta is not possible without the boat owners who lend their boats and time in order help educate the next generation of offshore racers.

J/105 Morning Glory sailng Storm Trysail Big Boat seriesDr. Carl Olsson, who has lent his J/105 Morning Glory to his alma mater Bowdoin for the last eight years and who will be Larchmont Yacht Club’s Commodore next year, pledged to help the regatta grow significantly under his watch. "I believe that this regatta is so important the we will grow the event from 300 sailors to 500 in the next two years." To help meet this goal, the Storm Trysail Foundation funds educational events like the IOR and its junior safety at sea seminars across the country.

"Everyone who participates in this regatta has a great time," said regatta chair Adam Loory. "Both college sailors and boat owners tell me that this is the most fun regatta that they sail in all year. The boat owners get to go sailing without having to make a week’s worth of phone calls to round up crew, the kids get to sail on some of the most competitive boats around, and the whole event is free thanks to the sponsors who help support the regatta."  Corporate sponsorship came from Prestige BMW, Rolex, Vineyard Vines, Safe Flight Instruments,  Caithness Energy, UK-Halsey Sailmakers, Gill, Coca Cola and Heineken.   For more Storm Trysail Big Boat sailing information.     Sailing photo credits- Carter Williams photos.  Howie McMichael sailing photos.    Steve Landis sailing photos.

WHITE TRASH Wins J/22 Southeast Champs

J/22 SE Champs winners(Birmingham, AL)- The Birmingham Sailing Club held their annual Leukemia Cup Regatta and hosted the J/22 fleet for their Southeast Championship Regatta. The event was held over the weekend of September 17-19, 2010. The regatta counts for double points in the Southeast Circuit and rotates from year to year amongst  the major sailing venues of the Circuit. Previous championship regattas have been held on Percy Priest Lake-Nashville, TN, and Choctawachee Bay-Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

J/22 girls team winning big!With double points on the line, everyone brought their “A” game. Eight J/22s were there for the racing. Three boats were local and the remaining five trailered in from Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. High pressure moved in for the weekend and settled in over the area making for very light and shifty conditions. At the end of one race what had been the windward mark was now almost a perfect set for the leeward mark! In conditions like this it’s sometimes hard to remember that the only place worse to be than on your own boat trying to go forward is to be on the race committee boat trying to get in a few quality races.

When it was over, three races counted and Sean Clare sailing WHITE TRASH with crew of Doc Bellows, Ashley Sulkalski and Micah Souza (Ashley’s 6 year old son won the regatta).  Finishes were 3-1-2.  A very determined past Rolex competitor, Jennifer Grant with crew of Sam Grant  took a solid second with finishes of 2-4-1. Local knowledge paid off for Bob Blythe and crew of Rebecca Blythe and Larry VanHorne who placed third with finished of 1-5-5.  Contributed by Wayne Cassady.  For more J/22 One-design sailing info.

J/80 Crushes Maui-Honolulu Race

(Lahaina, Maui)- Got a great report from Bob Stephenson sailing his J/80 CRUSADER across the infamous and insanely notorious Molokai Channel- known to get 20-30 knot winds and 15 foot seas!  Yikes.  If everyone thought racing J/80s in the J/80 Worlds was tough in 15-30 knots and up to 7 foot seas, imagine them double the height!  Bob was inspired to see all the coverage of the recent J/80 Worlds.  He wanted to make sure to let everyone know that he's having a scream sailing his J/80 off Maui in the Hawaiian Islands and is hoping to see more of you 80 sailors out there soon!

Bob commented on their sailing exploits racing the J/80 is such incredibly beautiful conditions, "our J/80 CRUSADER won the 64th Annual Lahiana Maui to Honolulu race, a 69.9 nm race that took us about 7 hours 45 minutes to complete, taking both class B and overall PHRF. CRUSADER crew reports hitting 15.5 knots-plus surfing the Molokai Channel. CRUSADER also sneaked by her sistership BOONDOGGLE, to take Class B in the Lahiana Offshores and to win the first ever J/80 Hawaii State champs."  For more J/80 Hawaii sailing information.

J/Fest SW Great Success

J/24s sailing J/Fest Southwest in Houston, TX on Galveston BayZartler, Goethe, Flynn, Shaffer Get Straight Firsts!

(Houston, TX)- The first J/Fest Southwest took place on Galveston Bay this past weekend, hosted by Lakewood Yacht Club.  Forty boats participated ranging from the majestic J/122 GAMBLER down to fleets of J/22s, J/24s, J/80s, J/105s and J/109s!  On Saturday the fleet awoke to a beautiful sunny, crisp fall morning, with a light northerly.  By afternoon the sea breeze filled in for some great racing on Galveston Bay.  Sunday a similar scenario played out for the weather.  In short, it was amazing work by the regatta committee, led by Lakewood YC Fleet Captain, Carl Drechsel, to get off up to six races for some of the fleets on what was a beautiful weekend.  The general theme voiced by all the competitors is that the race committee’s did an outstanding job, and the racers handled themselves in a corinthian manner both days! 

In the J/22 class, Brant Koepke from Galveston Bay Cruising Association sailed RICH SKANK into first place after a slow start, garnering a 5-3-1-2-1-2-1 score to win with 10 points after seven races, one throw-out.  Second place was a duel between Pat Gibson from Houston Yacht Club sailing CRIMSON RIBBON and Casey Lambert from Lakewood Yacht Club racing OUT OF SIGHT. Pat started out strong with a 1-2 to Casey's 4-5.  But, after a tough seven races, Pat prevailed on the tie-breaker with his 1-2-4-4-3-1-4 score for 15 points.  Finishing third was Casey getting a 4-5-3-1-2-3-2 also with 15 points.

The J/24s had a strong turnout with ten boats.  Racing was close for the top five.  But getting three firsts and keeping himself out of trouble allowed Pedro Gianotti from Galveston Bay Cruising Association to race AMBASSADOR to the top of the heap with a 2-1-4-1-5-2-1 with 11 points.  The race for second and third was very tight, with the final result determined by who beat who in the last race.  Stuart Lindow sailed TROPICAL AGGRESSION into second place by just a whisker over Dov Kiviovitz's NO NAME.  Stuart's 1-6-2-3-1-6-4 record for 17 points just gave him the edge over Dov's 5-3-1-5-8-1-3 for 18 points.   Kelly Holmes placed fourth.  Kelly did a really neat thing and crewed on his boat with the University of North Texas Sailing Team.  Lots of smiles on the UNT sailors faces.

J/80 one-designs sailing on Galveston Bay, Houston, TX in JFest SouthwestFresh from having raced the J/80 Worlds and, most likely, still licking their wounds, was the team of Terry Flynn and Dave Whelan from Fort Worth Boat Club racing QUANTUM RACING.  That experience in Newport seemed to have sharpened their skills, winning 6 of 7 races to win by 6 points over Paul Parsons team hailing from Galveston Bay Cruising Association sailing PARSONS PROJECT.  Third was Ramon Torres' 80 PROOF from Fort Worth Boat Club another 6 points back.  What was really cool was that Kurt Vanderwall pulled his J/80 down from Dillon, Colorado to partake in the festivities.

Special J/Fest guest Rod Johnstone was brought aboard Scott Spurlin's J/105 RAGTIME-JTEEZ to have some of that special karma help them get around the course faster and smarter.  It nearly worked!  Winning the J/105s was long-time J/105 champion Bill Zartler from Lakewood Yacht Club sailing SOLARIS to straight firsts after five races!  Ouch!  Talk about a "spanking".  Even Rod J was impressed, wondering himself what special voodoo or karma was being practiced aboard the great yacht SOLARIS-- something special that's for sure!  Scott and Rod managed to sail well to finish 2nd ten points back with a 3-2-2-5-3 score.  Giving them a run for the money was Matt Arno from Fort Worth Boat Club sailing the BLUE FLASH into third with a 2-5-3-2-5 record.

The J/109s were having fun amongst themselves.  It was the HAMBURG boys using the FRENCH CONNECTION to stay out of HARMS WAY!!  Ha!  Well, nearly the case.  Albrecht Goethe's HAMBURG from Lakewood Yacht Club pretty much showed their tail feathers to the rest of the 109 class all weekend, getting straight bullets.  Second was John Mather's FRENCH CONNECTION from Galveston Bay Cruising Association and third was Mark Smith's HARMS WAY from Fort Worth Boat Club. 

J/Boats co-founder Rod Johnstone with Rita Matthews- J/24 Houston sailorOver in handicap land, the J Fleet sailed PHRF and managed to get in three races.  At the end, Doug Shaffer's well-campaigned J/122 GAMBLER from Lakewood Yacht Club managed to pull off the top of the podium finish also with straight firsts.  Just behind was Alex Ascencios' J/120 PREMIER from Lakewood Yacht Club and in third was Walter Caldwell's J/40 SHAKEN NOT STIRRED from Galveston Bay Cruising Association.

Of note was the chance for Rod Johnstone to catch up with Rita Matthews (pictured at right).  Rita, and her husband Ed, owned the first J/24 on Galveston Bay.  Over the years Rita and Ed sailed many times with Rod.  Rod took the opportunity to tell the attendee’s about that first J/24 on the bay and that “Rita was the mother of all J/Boats in Texas”.  A touching, sweet moment for all!  For more J/Fest Southwest sailing information.

No Saving Sailing Needed?

J/22s sailing on Lake Minnetonka at Wayzata Yacht Club, MN.Try Fleets of J/22s, J/24s or J/80s

(Lake Minnetonka, MN)-  Dallas Johnson submitted a letter to Sailing World/ Scuttlebutt where he commented that while everyone is talking these days about "Saving Sailing", there are still sailing areas - such as his home waters of Lake Minnetonka - that are doing just fine.  As current Commodore of Wayzata Yacht Club, Dallas provides some insight into what’s going right on their lake in Minnesota (note- they were home to J/24 and J/22 Fleets #1).  Dallas' comments are an honest, simple and incredibly straightforward program to keep sailors coming to their programs and having FUN:

"There's no magic bullet or super genius running our programs, but there are some basics:

First, we focus on having a well rounded board of directors who are focused on our club mission statement of being "a dedicated, passionate sailboat racing club", and it's a working board where everyone is expected to be energetic and do more than contribute their opinions. They take their jobs seriously.

Second, we own our club property: year after year that Board of Directors has made the commitment to invest in our club (often against the wishes of vocal club members) and provided us with a substantial base of operations. We do not live like a bird on a wire with rented or borrowed property smiling at how little we spent to get there.

Third, we have two-tiered mooring rates. By far our biggest asset has been to provide "owner" mooring rates to boats that race at least 15 races per year. All other boats pay about double for a slip rate which is equivalent to commercial marinas on the lake. This gets rid of the dead wood.

Fourth, we got strong One-Design racing fed by handicap fleets: We love the simplicity and comradeship of one design, and we structure our fleets to have different flavors of non-competing one design fleets so that even the casual/family racer has a one design fleet to join. It's not an accident that we are home to J/24 and J/22 fleet #1.

Fifth, our great RC pays off: We spend copious amounts of money on our RC equipment and paid RC staff. They provide us with what many visitors tell me is the best staff  in the country.

Sixth, lotsa Seminars: I've lost count of how many seminars we do each year. All of them are inexpensive and mostly volunteer run.

Seventh, inexpensive Crew Membership levels help participation: All those people who don't own boats can join or club for a measly $100 per year, and it creates commitment.

Eighth, the "Crew Needing A Ride" Table gets lotsa takers: Before every race we have a table on the patio reserved for anyone who wants to pick up a ride (member or not). Excellent recruiting tool.

Ninth, Women and more women: Specifically, women sailors. We court them, encourage them, train them. Women are half the population, it's a big market, and they are really, really fun to sail with and somehow (magically) they bring in more men to the club. I am told that many clubs are not female friendly, too bad, we're having a ball!

Tenth, Free Beer: Another obvious thing. Along with free soda we provide a free keg after most races. (note: the women are not free, anything but!)

Eleventh, more kids.  Here's a simple formula.  Women + beer = kids and families. And nothing kills sailing more than an uncooperative family. So we focus very hard on trying to make our club family friendly, and we strongly support our youth sailing center and its programs.

Here are the things we don't do: We don't have a bar, a restaurant, a "model room" of our past glories, blue blazers, and anyone who suggests getting a pool is thrown off the dock. We are not a country club with a sailing program, and our lack of "ancillary revenue sources" like a bar or restaurant means that we are free to throw some great parties after the race and make everyone feel welcome.

In short, we focus our energy on providing a solid base for excellent racing programs, and we try to keep it simple, friendly, and fun.  For more on Saving Sailing, please refer to various articles at:  or

Ghislanzoni's J/133 CHESTRESS^2 Winning In Italy

J/133 Chestress 2 crew in ItalyGiancarlo Ghislanzoni, owner of the J/133 CHESTRESS^2 in Italy, was recently in Boston, MA looking over an MJM 40z with Bob Johnstone.  He sent along a heart-warming note about his experiences with boats, family, and friends sailing in the Med:  As "GG" said, "Adding a 40z to the J/133 in our family is indeed an enduring aspiration; even stronger after seeing the real boat, what a beauty! I am making progress towards the goal. Meanwhile, our CHESTRESS^2, it keeps winning in the MED!  We thought the victory at the 2008 Middle Sea Race couldn't be repeated, but this J/133 and her crew of committed and enthusiastic corinthians had another year that we could only dream of.  Here are the main highlights:

- overall victory at the Campionato Invernale del Tigullio, the main winter series in Italy; a result beyond class victories that we have been chasing for years against the best local X-Yachts, Swan 45s, Grand Soleils, Sydneys, and  other Js.  It finally came true in 2010, at the very end of ten memorable regattas over the winter.

- overall victory at the Regate Pirelli in Portofino, probably the most flashy handicap regatta around the cans in Italy.  We had  enthusiastic coverage from the specialized press for beating the professional teams (e.g.. the official Swan 42 from Nautor-Swan- Leonardo Ferragamo's personal boat), as well as from lifestyle (e.g. Vanity Fair) and gossip magazines (see below)- guess which ones we discovered have most impact, even on the business community!

J/133 Chestress 2 sailing in Pirelli regatta at Portofino, Italy- overall victory of the Italian Offshore Championship, based on the three best results at the eight main offshore regattas, like the mythical and magical Rolex Giraglia Race and the Tre Golfi Race. We were not able to beat the most focused racing boats and professional crews in the individual offshore races, but better season's strategy and consistent performance led us to the overall victory and a gold medal from the Italian Sail Federation.

Indeed our beloved CHESTRESS^2 ('what a stress', squared) and her blue asymmetrics keeps giving us unexpected glory despite her five years and amateur crew, thanks to her consistent performance in all conditions:  e.g. we had three races with 5 knots of wind and three races with over 25 knots-plus at the Regate Pirelli in Portofino, difficult to cope equally well for others.

During the year other boats outperformed our J/133 in specific conditions, but no other boat performed so well under both IRC and ORC ruling, around the cans and offshore, in light air and large breaking waves and did it in such an accessible way: half of the crew, including myself, have turned 50 this year!

We now look at the next season with the usual dose of realism about who we are and what our real and demanding professional lives are; but CHESTRESS^2 makes us also confident that the impossible may come true again!"  Best regards, GG

Community Sailing- Sodus Bay using J/24s

Community Sailing- doing the right thing at Sailing Anarchy for youth sailing- SA Editor Scot Tempesta has been a strong supporter of sailing at the grass roots.  He recently featured Sodus Bay's junior program (another program that uses J/24s as their keelboat), "Here's a community sailing/ youth sailing group that all SA readers should be aware of. Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association (SBJSA) has been teaching kids and adults sailing, swimming and environmental awareness on the south shore of Lake Ontario since 1956. SBJSA is a not-for-profit, educational, community based sailing school based on Great Sodus Bay in upstate New York. SBJSA teaches kids from ~ 8 to adult beginning and advanced sailing. All the students are also encouraged to move on to the learn to race (LTR) programs both on Great Sodus Bay and at interclub and regional regattas. All our students are also taught all 7 levels of American Red Cross certified swimming.

The SBJSA fleet is made up of Optis, Lasers, 420s, Lightnings and J/24s. The fleet currently has over 60 boats and 130 - 150 students actively sailing for the multiple session, season each summer. Above all our goal is to instill "Teamwork, Sportsmanship, Responsibility, Leadership and Environmental Awareness" in all our students. Our motto is , "Sailing is Fun! It builds self-reliance, physical strength, quick thinking and a love for the environment".

SBJSA offers scholarship assistance to students through the generosity of many local families and organizations. The school is run by a volunteer board and volunteer help from parents. This bunch of "misfit, do gooders" volunteers their time and energy just to see the smiles on kids faces the first time they figure out how to control wind, waves and fiberglass, and are truly in command of their own vessel.

The Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association alumni have moved on in all aspects of sailing and water safety. There are SBJSA alumni who have sailed and raced in regional, collegiate and national campaigns. Others have raced internationally and even sailed on Americas Cup campaigns. Students have also gone on to careers in ocean research and naval architecture.

Three years ago SBJSA built a new 3500 sq. ft. teaching facility through the help of a multitude of contributors and volunteers. Many donated money. Some donated material and several donated their time as a labor of love of sailing. Sodus Bay Junior Sailing owes them and all the volunteers over the past 53 years a great debt of gratitude. We have high hopes that through all their efforts we will be teaching kids sailing and swimming well past our 100th anniversary in 2056."  For more community sailing stories, read about them or send them into Sailing Anarchy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

J/111 Speedster Garnering Accolades At Annapolis Show

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing off ChicagoSAIL Best Boats Award

(Annapolis, MD)- The J/111 met with tremendous enthusiasm from not only sailors attending the show, but from the professional sailing media as well.  From the SAIL Magazine Judges for their Best Boats Awards 2011, their review of the 111's qualities were reflected in their commentary from their initial review- please read more at SAIL here.

Sailing World Boat of the Year Nominee

As one of the hottest new boats to be launched in 2010 with nearly fifty boats on order, the 111 has been selected by the Sailing World Boat of the Year Judges to be a nominee for the Best Performance category.  Here are first impressions so far from Dave Reed at Sailing World:

"The J/111 from J Boats showed up on time for its high-noon appointment, and as if on cue, the breeze bumped up a few knots. Excellent sailing, said each judge afterwards. "That’s definitely a contender." Maybe the best boat from J Boats yet—even better than last year’s J/95. It’s definitely a frontrunner, but there are still plenty of boats yet to sail."  Read more about the SW BOTY process here.

Pichu Torcida Wins 2nd J/80 Worlds

J/80 Worlds- Pichu Torcida wins - crew photoEpic, Wild, Wet, Sunny Finale

(Newport, RI- October 5-9)- Sixty-two teams from nine countries sailed last week in the J/80 Worlds off Newport.  With six past World Champions sailing, it was tightly fought competition amongst excellent sailors.  It will be remembered as one of the best sailing regattas ever.

J/80 Worlds- sailing downwind under full plane
The sailing itself was extraordinary.  When the regatta started on Sunday/ Monday, teams were practicing in 15-30 knot winds.  More of the same was predicted for the next day. Tuesday's northeaster blowing 15-25 knots offshore with ginormous waves from the east made for some incredibly long planes/ surfs on what seemed like a long roller-coaster ride.  Wednesday's WNW breeze offshore was incredibly tactical and shifty.  That was followed up by yet another even shiftier and tactical day on Thursday inside Narragansett Bay.  For the grand finale on Friday, the fleet was treated to epic conditions- sun, 15-30 knot shifty winds from the WSW, ginormous steep waves, with the 80s wildly planing downwind.

J/80 Worlds- rounding windward markThe first two-time winner of the J/80 Worlds was Jose Maria "Pichu" Torcida sailing ECC VIVIENDAS from Santander, Spain.  However, going into to the last day of racing, it was truly anybody's guess as to who would end up crowned as the 2010 J/80 World Champion.  The top five all had a good chance of winning. At one point, PERALEJA GOLF's Carlos Martinez had it in the bag and was ready to celebrate.  After race ten, Scott Young's and Terry Flynn's team on QUANTUM RACING were ready to break out the champagne, as Pichu Torcida's crew on ECC VIVIENDAS had experienced a massive gybe broach (keel-waving anyone?) and finished 18th. After race eleven, it was anyone's guess how the standings finished as there were enough black flags, DSQs and Z flag penalties that it was next to impossible to compute 3-5 point differences in the standings for the top 25 finishers, forgetting the fact that the top five were racing for the title separated by several points going into the first race of the day.

J/80 Worlds- Scott Young and Terry Flynn- runners upSetting the stage for the last race was the fact that it was still anyone's ball-game to go win.  The top three were now the top five-- any finish up or down the top ten in the last race would determine who would win between Scott's QUANTUM RACING, Pichu's ECC VIVIENDAS, Carlos' PERALEJA GOLF, Jeff Johnstone's LITTLE FEAT (who BTW had the best scores for the last two days, each day!) and Glenn Darden's LE TIGRE.  By now, it was clear that PRO Tom Duggan and Brad Read had the SailNewport RC team troops marshaled together to get yet one more unbelievably epic race off in the spectacular conditions the fleet had enjoyed in race ten.  The fleet started in a "baby gale"- blowing a steady 20-30 knots, shifting 10-15 degrees, with large breaking waves.  Carlos Martinez won the last race in convincing fashion- planing across the finish line going at least 17 knots and enshrouded in huge sheets of salt spray.  Second was Javier Blanco sailing CROCS in his best race of the series.  Third was Jeff Johnstone on LITTLE FEAT, despite sailing 80% of the last run wing-on-wing with main and jib after shrimping and shredding their spinnaker on the set at the last windward mark.  Fourth was Glenn Darden on LE TIGRE and fifth Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS with the six point spread they needed to beat Scott and Terry's QUANTUM RACING for the World title.

J/80 Worlds- ECC Viviendas winning a sailboat race.After the dust and salt-spray settled, Pichu's ECC VIVIENDAS team from Real Club Nautico Santander (Spain) are crowned the 2010 J/80 World Champions, winning by two points over Scott Young/ Terry Flynn's team from Austin Yacht Club on QUANTUM RACING that had 50 points.  Third was Carlos Martinez's team from Santiago, Spain on PERALEJA GOLF, only four points back with 54 points.  Fourth was Jeff Johnstone's team on LITTLE FEAT from Ida Lewis YC with 58 points, just one point ahead of Glenn Darden's LE TIGRE team from Fort Worth Boat Club with 59 points. It was truly a horse-race at the end to determine the final standings for the top five, and not one anyone will forget for a long time.

Congratulations to Jeff Johnstone, Kendra Muenter from J/Boats and Brad Read and Tom Duggan from SailNewport as the principal regatta/ race organizers for conducting what had to be one of the best regattas ever in most sailor's recent memories.  Sailing Photo Credits- Allen and Daniela Clark-  Follow all the action, photos and results for the J/80 Worlds.