Wednesday, February 23, 2011

J/108 Star Of Miami Show

J/108 shoal-performance cruising sailboat- the ultimate freedom machine- sailing in Miami(Miami, FL)- The spectacular, postcard weather conditions this past week apparently put sailboat buyers in a buying mood.  While no one is clamoring to buy futures derivatives on the next taxi-cab driver stock recommendation, it does seem the "hide-in-the-bunker" mindset is evolving to a more relaxed and confident point of view.  No worries, the world is not going to end in 2012. So far, no meteors, aliens or solar flares in the galaxy headed for us anytime soon.  Good news!

Blessed with seven-plus days of "classic Miami Beach" weather, 70s days, 50s nights, sunny, gentle 5-12 knots NE-SE breezes, the Miami show goers positive and upbeat mood was translating into boat sales.  There was strong interest in the new J/108 shoal performance cruising boat and its sistership J/95.  The overall concept of having your ultimate freedom machine, sailing unfettered across some of the greatest shoal-water cruising grounds on Earth is attracting more J sailors that wish to broaden their horizons more than ever before.  Learn more about the J/108 shoal-performance sailboat here.

Irish J/111 Review

J/111 one-design sailing upwind(Harbor Springs, MI)-  For those of you interested in the J/111, we thought we'd pass along some comments made by David Irish, a very experienced offshore sailor and champion racer from the Great Lakes, that had the opportunity to test sail the J/111 over two days in a variety of conditions off Newport, both in Narragansett Bay and offshore in Rhode Island Sound.  Dave offered his perspectives and reactions to the J/111:

"The J-111 is a different kind of J-Boat.  It has a tall carbon rig and relatively more sail area in relation to its displacement.  The interior is simple, comfortable, and roomy, but not elaborate.  The galley is basic with a stove, sink, and ice box.  The head forward has full privacy, and there is an aft-located sit down navigation station with room for what is needed.  Full headroom in the boat feels great.

But to a sailor who likes going offshore and often races, there are some characteristics of the J-111 that greatly please me.  First, I am ready for wheel steering in a boat of this size, but I am quite fussy about the wheel arrangement.  The gearing or ratio must be quick, with no wheel winding!  If my hand is on the top of the wheel and I move it to the right, the bow pulpit should move to the right with it.  As well, the diameter of the wheel should provide comfortable hand height when standing behind or towards the sides, and to allow you to steer upwind while sitting outboard and even straddling the wheel with small vertical wheel movements.  And of course the rudder has to be up to the job, deep and well designed to provide solid control and direct response.   The J-111 rates a 10 on each of these properties!

Second, the rig is all important for sailing pleasure and racing success.  The days of overlapping genoas on short rigs are largely gone.  Better than big overlapping genoa jobs for power is the taller rig, preferably carbon, with easy to trim jibs that don’t overlap the mast.  Combine that with today’s jib roller furling equipment and we get great performance and simple sail management.  The J-111 has a tall carbon mast from Hall Spars.  The mast has a clever track, which will accept a bolt rope, round slugs, or substantial cars.  I opt for the cars, with the mainsail left on the boom, all ready to hoist, low friction, and simple and safe for short-handed or single-handed sailing.  As well, with luff cars, reefing is both simple and safe.  To raise the sail, take off the sail cover, snap on the halyard, hoist, and trim—that’s it!!! And reversing the process after a sail is as simple- just flake the sail on the boom with the luff supported by the cars and put on the sail cover.  This boat is well suited for single-handed and short-handed sailing, both favorites of mine.

And third, asymmetrical spinnakers set on a sprit have matured nicely.  In the early days of this arrangement I was unconvinced.  Sure, sail handling was easy and reaching was good, but downwind left something to be desired. To keep power in the sail, we had to reach up to a “hotter” angle, and gave away the ability to sail deep.  Probably the biggest change has been the evolution in sail shape to powerful heads on the sails that will lift or roll the sail out to weather, and give a downwind shape similar to a symmetrical spinnaker.  As well, a light and easily driven hull that will get up and go makes downwind sailing with A-sails the fun way to go,  simpler to manage and potentially faster and more fun to sail. With no spinnaker pole, no mast track and eye, no after-guys, no topping lift, and just one string to handle in a jibe, the parts count went way down!

The first three items are big, but of course there are many reasons to like this boat including: the boom ends at a point forward of the wheel and is 6’ above the cockpit floor to minimize the worrisome possibilities of a whack on the head for skipper or crew; the powerful 3 cylinder engine utilizes a sail drive for smooth and quiet propulsion and precise handling and docking; and the cabin house is the right height so that when the helmsman sits at the helm, he or she looks over the cabin top at boats and water, not into the side of the cabin or the foot of an overlapping jib.

Sailing the boat I felt completely at home and comfortable and happy.  I can hardly wait for spring to start the next chapter in my sailing life on J-111 hull #15!!"   For more J/111 one-design sailboat information.   

Team TARHEEL Wins J/24 Midwinters

J/24 one-designs sailing downwind on Tampa Bay(Tampa, FL)- It was not to be.  Racing the last two days, that is.  No chance for the top five to fight it out for top honors at this years J/24 Midwinters sailed on Tampa Bay;  the final two days of the four day Midwinter event were cancelled due to no wind.  As a result, the Davis Island YC in Tampa, FL, host to the Twenty-seven boats that participated in the Midwinters, did an admirable job in getting off six good races on Thursday and Friday.  As a result, Peter Bream from Jacksonville, FL racing TEAM TARHEEL won the J/24 Midwinter Championship with just 7 points, counting three first and two seconds in his score after six races. Getting silver on the podium was Pan Am Games Trials Gold Medallist John Mollicone sailing the "green" boat, 11th HOUR RACING/ SAILORS FOR THE SEA with 13 points.  Third overall was Rossi Milev on ORANGE BLOSSOM/ CLEAN AIR, another "green" boat.  Fourth was class veteran and wise man, Tony Parker sailed the "never-say-die-cause-we-will-catch-you" BANGOR PACKET from Washington, DC with 30 points.  Fifth was Robby Brown on USA 799 with 35 points.

The racing was tight in sailing conditions that ranged from 5 to 12 knots in the two days the fleet did race.  The usually aggressive starting line maneuvering got some boats in trouble while others took advantage and gained solid positions on the first upwind legs to carve out better fleet positions.  In these conditions, lanes upwind on the first leg were critical for clear air and boat speed.  Aggressive tactics downwind often bunched up the fleet at the leeward mark, creating very tight, contentious mark roundings-- permitting some boats to swing past a half-dozen boats or more and jump higher in the race standings.   For more J/24 Midwinter sailing  results   


J/24 Midwinters winnersA Heart-warming Wedding Present Goes Big and Dominates!!
(St. Petersburg, FL- Feb 20th)- Todd and Genoa Fedyszyn on SPOONY TACTICS edged out Mike Ingham's FAWN LIEBOWITZ and Travis Odenbach's WATERLINE SYSTEMS to win the 20-boat J/24 division at Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD, the largest fleet at the regatta by a country mile!  As a result, the Fedyszyn's also earned overall honors over the 86 boat, 9 class event, which includes an invitation to compete in the Sperry Top-Sider Caribbean NOOD Championship in the British Virgin Islands this November.  Cool!

Todd and Genoa Fedyszyn received their J/24 SPOONY TACTICS as a wedding present from her parents. "It's a good boat," she says. "It might not be pretty, but it's fast."

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing on starting lineLike many wedding presents, however, the Fedyszyn's doesn't get used all that much. Both husband and wife coach sailing for St. Petersburg YC's junior program; they spend most weekends attending the sailing aspirations of others. One regatta they never miss—not for the past six years, at least—is the Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD. "With our schedules, this is the one event we set aside in advance," says Todd Fedyszyn. "We look forward to it every year. You can bet we'll be here next year."

As is so often the case, the key to victory was consistency on the starting line. In the ultra-competitive J/24 class, many of the pre-regatta favorites found their score lines mired in alphabet soup after incurring OCS penalties. "We were able to avoid being over early," says Fedyszyn. "One of our biggest problems in the past was our starts were either unbelievable or second-row. This year, three of our four starts were great, and even the one that wasn't, we were able to tack away early and get right, which was our plan.

"We were actually a little more aggressive with our starts than we've been in the past," continues Fedyszyn. "We used to always start in the middle of the line. This year, we were either within two boats of the boat end, or two boats of the pin. We just took a stab at the favored end. Having sailed against [local J/24 ace] Robby Brown in the past few years, that seemed to be where he was getting us. So we were a little more aggressive this year, and it paid off."

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing past mark at Sperry Topsider SW Nood St Petersburg RegattaThe SPOONY TACTICS crew—which also includes trimmer Doug Weekly and tactician Eric Bardes—has a fairly democratic approach to onboard communication. Information flows to Todd Fedyszyn, the skipper, from the bow on back. "Having worked together over the years, we respect each other," says Genoa Fedyszyn, who handles foredeck duties. "There isn't the sense that someone's opinion is better than someone else's."  "We like to make decisions as a team," adds her husband. "There's not just one decision maker. Everyone's input is welcome. We don't like decisions to be one person's. Of course, sometimes it doesn't end up that way."

On Sunday, the SPOONY TACTICS brain trust had some difficult decisions to make. "That dying easterly breeze is hard to understand," says Todd Fedyszyn. "We see those conditions a lot, but they're hard to read. It's hard to know whether to go right or left, especially with the current switching mid race."

Although he's been sailing on Tampa Bay for years, Bardes was at a loss when confronting Sunday's sputtering winds. "Local knowledge? Not today," he says. "It was tough. We took some risks looking for fresh air, and they paid off."  It was risky business maintaining a consistent scoreline in St. Petersburg, and when they're kicking back in the Caribbean this fall, the SPOONY TACTICS gang will be thanking their lucky stars. Contributed by by Michael Lovett at Sailing World.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.    Full Sperry Topsider Sailing World NOOD St Petersburg report and sailing results   

Tabares Wins J/80 Match Race Qualifier

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off Canary Islands, SpainSailing J/80s In Club Canarias Match Race
(Islas Canarias, Spain- Feb 22)- Over the past weekend, a qualifying regatta in J/80s took place at the Real Club Nautico de Arrecife in the Canary Islands to decide the representative of the club in the next Canarios Club Match Race to be held on March 11-13 in Lanzarote.

The four finalists had been racing and practicing quite hard to win the honor of representing the RCNA club in this prestigious match race event.  At the end, one of RCNA's best known J/80 sailors, Rayco Tabares won the event on his J/80 HOTEL PRINCESSA YAIZA. Second was Nete Arms with TGA ADVISERS.  Third was Alfredo Gonzalez with the OKUPA III and Juan Pablo Rompeltien with BODEGAS EL GRIFO ended up fourth.

The mode of competition was under the Round Robin system. In the first round, the HOTEL PRINCESA YAIZA beat OKUPA III. At the second round, TGA ADVISERS defeated BODEGAS EL GRIFO. At the third round, Rayco bdeat Juan Pablo and with two wins climbed the ladder into the final. In the fourth round, Nete defeated Alfredo to also go into the final with two victories.  In the Finals between the Rayco Tabares on HOTEL PRINCESA YAIZA and TG ADVISERS' Nete Arms it was very close in the first race, but with Rayco winning.  The second race of the best of three match clearly went to Rayco Tabares, winning the series 2-0.

The Canaries Match Race event will take place in the capital of Lanzarote, close to the coast, between the zone from the Islet Reef and the harbor, making it even more beautiful and close to the viewer, with ideal condition and winds between 12 and 14 knots.   For more J/80 Spain and Canary Islands sailing information.   

Good Times on J/24s in St. Pete

J/24 one-design sailboat- youth sailing in SW NOOD regattaYoungest Team Sailing J/24 RUSH
(St. Petersburg, FL)- For the youngest team competing at the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD, it's all gravy.  Noah Blacker has a catch phrase. Or, at least, he had one on Day 1 of the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD.  "Good times," says the teenage skipper of the J/24 RUSH. "For us, it's all about having a good time and racing against some really good sailors."

Blacker and crew—Addison Hackstaff, Alexandria Church, Martin Hood, Hayden Grant, Liam McCarthy—are products of the St. Petersburg YC's junior-sailing program. "We all sail Lasers and 420s for our high schools," says Blacker. "We sail against each other a lot, but when we sail together, it's just all fun. We have the music going— good times.

"It's funny," continues Blacker. "Our coach gets mad at us because we'd all rather go to a J/24 regatta. I mean, we love sailing Lasers, but they're so solitary. When we get to sail together, it's more fun. There's jokes going around, and we all kind of play off each other."

Two years ago, Blacker convinced his father, Michael—who's sailing this weekend on the J/24 HOT WHEELS—to trade in the family's 30-foot racer-cruiser for the 24-foot one-design. "At first, we just wanted to throw a crew together and see what we could do," says the younger Blacker. "This year, we wanted to be a bit more competitive.  As dinghy sailors, we practice a lot, and [compared to keelboat sailors] we probably get out on the water on a more consistent basis. We wanted to show that dinghy sailors can be competitive in keelboats."

In two races on Friday afternoon, this team of dinghy sailors showed some respectable keelboat chops, posting a 14-4 in a 20-boat fleet that includes such hotshot skippers as former national and North American champion Mike Ingham. "The first race was rough," says Blacker. "We don't start in the J/24 too often, and they don't start like a Laser, by any means. We got shut out, and had a second-row start.

"The second race, everything went well for us," he continues. "We came off the start, knew our plan, and when it came down to it, the stars aligned and we had the ability to execute. We got to go where we wanted to and tack on our own shifts. We were a little disappointed that we didn't hold on to the lead we had going around the first windward mark, but none of us holds it against each other for making the wrong call. Hey, we're just trying to have a good time."  Contributed by by Michael Lovett at Sailing World.   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.    Full Sperry Topsider Sailing World NOOD St Petersburg report and sailing results   

NEXTEL Leading J/80 Memorial Regatta

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off Santader, Spain(Santander, Spain)- The Santander J/80 fleet is competing in the 5th Antonio Pereda-Sealing Memorial Regatta on the Bay of Santander.  In the past weekend, the fleet was greeted by a NW wind that started out nicely but slowly diminished during the course of the day.  It was pert clear that the right hand side of the course was the place to be along the shore to get out of the current and play the shifts and puffs coming off the shore, providing strong lifts on starboard tack.  Conversely, riding a puff on starboard gybe after the set to get out into the current and gybing on a good shift to get on port to ride it hard downwind was the best bet.

Making the best "plays" of the day was past J/80 World Champ Ignacio Camino on NEXTEL ENGINEERING, now standing in first.  Second for the day in this regatta was Tono Gorostegui sailing SLAM RACING and third is currently Jose Miguel Oriol on MABLE.  Not too far from the hunt for the top three is another J/80 World Champion, the 2010 winner Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS, now lying fourth and just behind him is Javier Lopez-Vazquez, a Spanish Champion, in fifth sailing BANCAJA AVIVA.

With one more weekend to go in this Memorial Regatta, anything goes for the top three as with one more race, the fleet can then post scores with throwouts and the picture will change dramatically, especially if Pichu's ECC VIVIENDAS sails consistently.  It also means BANCAJA AVIVA ha a chance to finish in the top three as well.  It's been close and very competitive racing in the fleet of twenty-nine boats, surely one of the most toughest gathering of J/80s in the world on a weekend basis!   For more Spanish J/80 Sailing information.   


J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing in ItalyJ/80 Italian Winter Cup Finishes in Style
(Tigullio, Italy- Feb 20)- This past weekend saw the completion of the 35th Winter Championship in Tigullio, a beautiful lake to sail in Italy.  The last weekend was not without its own dramas, thanks in part to the crazy weather conditions and "nightmarish" wind.

The breeze first started out nicely from the Northeast, the usual northern wind for the lake at this time of year.  However, after nearly 10 perfects races over the course of the many weekends of sailing, the last Sunday was one of the most difficult days for sailing.  Poor PRO on the TYC Race Committee!  The first race started OK but the coursed was shortened halfway through.  The second race turned into the "nightmare", with very little air starting from the North, then Westerly, then SE, then nearly nothing.  In the end, Frederick Rajola's OLJ SPIRIT HATAMURI wins the Winter Championship and takes home the Cup!  Second was Rama Massimon's JENIALE! from YCC and third MONTPRES sailed by Paolo Montedonico also from YCC.

The Italian J/80 heads next weekend to Santa Margherita along the coast near Portofino for their next regatta on February 27th.  Then after that it looks like Rama Massimo's team on JENIALE! are headed to La Trinite Sur Mer, France to compete against a few thousand Frenchmen (and women) racing J/80s in the huge SPI OUEST Regatta later in March.  For more J/80 Italy sailing information.   

God's Fireworks Blitz SCYA Midwinters

J/109 racer-cruiser sailboat-sailing off Los Angeles, Long Beach, CAJ/109 ELECTRA Zaps Fleet
(Los Angeles, CA)- The 82nd SCYA Midwinter Regatta had its fair share of drama this past weekend.  A massive storm system rolled across southern California Saturday bringing with it God's lightning show and waterspouts nearby.  That meant the race committee abandoned racing Saturday afternoon when a waterspout was sighted and an electrical storm with heavy rain crashed across the harbor.

There were more than 600 boats competing along the Southern California coast with entrants coming from as far east as Arizona. Alamitos Bay YC alone had 59 boats in nine classes, enjoying brilliant sunshine on what someone described as "a chamber of commerce day," although the wind never topped 7 knots and thermometers flirted with 60 degrees---balmy by current U.S. weather patterns.  Other than, of course, Midwest-like tornado's, water spouts, epic light shows in the sky and driving, torrential rain.  Fun, eh?

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off San Diego, CAAs for racing action, on Saturday the breeze of 5-8 knots bounced back and forth making it tough for the teams to find fastest way around course. After only two of three scheduled races, the line squall roared across the race area, forcing abandonment of racing.  "On Saturday we had 40 degree wind shifts," said one competitor, "and it was all we could do to keep up with the shifts. Sunday was much more steady. We went left all day long and it was a pretty good day to be going left!"  Sunday had more wind with 8-12 knots throughout the day and the seas had calmed down allowing the boats to focus more on racing each other rather than the weather.

After the dust settled on the course area, John Snooks J/120 JIM from Long Beach YC finished third in PHRF A Class.  And, following on his earlier season success, Tom Brott's J/109 ELECTRA from Seal Beach YC sailed to a hard-fought second overall in PHRF B Class while Scott McDaniels' J/105 OFF THE PORCH was fourth in class.

In the J/80 one-design class, Curt Johnson on AVET showed their transom to the fleet most of the time, finishing first with a 2-1-1-1 record for 5 points.  Second was Peter Arpesella's BLUE JAY with a 1-2-2-3 record for 8 points.  Coming into the bronze position on the podium was Jerry Kaye on MisQue with a 3-3-3-2 record for 11 points.  For more SCYA Midwinters sailing information-  or and see some more sailing photos here- Sailing Photo credits- Dennis St. Onge aka- DA Woody   

WINGS Wins SDYC J/105 One-Design Weekend

J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing off San Diego, CA0(San Diego, CA)- Over the Valentines Day Weekend, San Diego YC held their one-design weekend for J/105s and other classes.  A very competitive fleet of J/105s turned out for the event.  While the Cases were not sailing their boat, Jim Dorsey took over WINGS and simply dominated the fleet with straight bullets for a total of 3 points!  Second was hard-charging Chuck Driscoll on BLOW BOAT getting an equally impressive record of three 2nds for 6 points.  However, behind these two was a real battle for third place. Going into the last race it was wide open for the top five.  Getting the better of the group was Mark Mitchell on STRAIGHT EDGE with a 7-4-3 record for 14 points to grab third overall.  Lying fourth after the fight was Rick Goebel on SANITY with a 3-6-9 record for 18 points and fifth was the Majemik/ O'Connell team on SPEEDPLAY with a 6-9-4 record for 19 points!  Close racing for this pack.  For more San Diego YC sailing results.   

J/24 Australia's February "HIT THE MARK"

On the News-stands Now! (Sydney, Australia, Feb 16th)- Editor Doug McGregor comes up with some beauties, but this time in addition to his own quick wit, he has the dulcet tongue of Ron Thomson on the Thommo Cup to aid his story telling. Hugo tells it like it was at Geelong this year, J24 Victoria launches a new Facebook page and a very Sanguine Jack Crawford is about to tie a not very nautical knot. Five pages of great J/24 Fleet reading! Download it here.   

Bob Riggle- J/109 GAIA owner- A Remembrance and Tribute

J/109 sailor- Bob Riggle- from Seattle, WAA terrible tragedy occurred on the high seas this past week.  Long-time J sailors, Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle, from Seattle, WA (pictured here) were sailing with their friends Jean and Scott Adam on their boat QUEST off Oman and were headed, ultimately, for Europe.  However, the notorious Somalian pirates boarded and hijacked their boat and crew of four over 250 miles out at sea.  Despite best efforts by the US Navy and amazing Navy Seals teams, the rescue effort ended in tragedy with both couples dying in the process.

J/109 racer-cruiser sailboat GAIA- sailing off Java Sea cruising offshoreOur heartfelt condolences, warm hugs and best wishes to the Adams family, Mackay family and the Riggle family.  Bob was a long-time J sailor, having recently cruised and circumnavigated the world using the Equatorial route with his J/109 GAIA-- the inspiration for the educational blog he wrote and has been part of our J/News introduction for the past two years.  We are deeply sad and feel tremendous sorrow for Bob and his fellow sailors, extraordinary samaritans and just amazingly thoughtful people.  You can read more about this sailing tragedy at the New York Times.

We hope as a tribute to Bob's love for sailing, that we all learn from his example and greatly appreciate the legacy he left behind for all of us chronicling his adventures on the J/109 GAIA's blog at:   

Terry Hutchinson Racing Fast Cats

J/24 World Champion- Terry Hutchinson- sailing Extreme 40 for Team Artemis* Past J/24 World Champion and College Sailor of the Year, Terry Hutchinson, is killing it in the "stadium" format at the Extreme 40 series off Muscat, Oman, his first major multihull series and first for Team Artemis.  After the first two days of open water courses, Wednesday was the first day of short course ‘stadium’ racing for the 11-boat Extreme 40 fleet, with their course positioned along the shore in front of the spectators and VIPs. The new team led by Terry Hutchinson and his crew on Artemis Racing had an exceptional day, posting a score line of 2-1-2-1-1 in the five races to elevate them from fifth overall yesterday to second place overall.

“We had a brilliant day on the water today, there were a lot of people on the shore line - close enough to hear them cheering on the finish line. I have never experienced something like that before. It was a first!” said  Hutchinson. “The stadium racing format delivered everything it promised - short and intense races right in front of the spectators. When you have a good day you love it, when you have a bad day you hate it, and we absolutely loved it today!”

Artemis crew Morgan Trubovich explained further:  “The story of the day was that Terry was on fire. With such short races it was critical that you had a good start and a good first beat. We did that every time. Start after start we were right on the start line, at full speed, going in the right direction.”

Moral of the story?  Simple.  Start out with dinghies, go college sailing to "learn how to sail" tactically, then jump into J/24s (or J/22s and J/80s) to learn how to apply the secret ingredients of speed, tactics and strategy! They're all inexpensive, FUN boats to sail with strong, competitive fleets worldwide. Next stop?  Extreme 40s, America's Cup or Volvo Ocean Race-- the world's your oyster! :)   

J/24 Sailors Dominating RORC Caribbean 600

J/100 Rambler winning RORC 600 raceThere seemed to be a small reunion of champion J/24 alumni racing in the RORC Caribbean 600 before the start of the race off English Harbour, Antigua.  RORC Chief Eddie Warden-Owen was on hand to manage the event, a former J/24 European and U.K. Champion.  Ken Read, former J/24 World Champ (many times) and College Sailor of the Year was sailing with a former J/24 owner, George David on the colossally fast 100 footer- RAMBLER 100- the "new J/100"??.

Amongst the J/24 cognoscenti was Cam Lewis (left) doing tactics/ speed on the awesomely cool looking hot orange Gunboat PHAEDO (built by brother Peter Johnstone).  Also in the hunt for top awards was Andy Beadsworth and Simon Rogers sailing on the Rogers 82 AEGIR built by Carbon Ocean- both Andy and Simon are former J/24 UK Champions.  At the end of the day, all these J/24 sailors powered up and guided some of the fastest boats around the 600 nm circuit.

J/24 champion Ken Read at RORC 600 raceKenny and George (right) won overall line honors and set a new record for the 600 nautical mile race course- 1 day 16 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds- that's FAST-- you spend about 80% of the time reaching across the steady, strong trade winds-- very cool race course and a dream to sail with good breeze.  Kenny Read commented dockside in Antigua- "That was a lot of fun but hard work for a while, you do something like sail around the world and that is almost easy compared to this, because there is no time to take any sleep, you're taking so many corners and turns but it is also a gorgeous course, it's a dream come true type of event. I am glad we came and that George invited me. Probably the most memorable part of the course was at night with a full moon at the top of St. Maarten, big breeze Gunboat 66 Phaedo sailing off Antigua in ROR 600 raceand massive breaking waves, it was huge fun and really cool, we came out of their doing 26 knots, it has been a real adventure and Rambler 100 is a whole new dimension for sailing."

Not to be outdone by the 100 footers, Cam and PHAEDO became video stars, see this very cool YouTube video.  Also, there was another good YouTube video of PHAEDO on its race preparation.  For more RORC 600 sailing results go'll see the Guboat 66 (left) was a pretty darn quick cat- not bad for a "cruising boat"!   

Race-ready J/105 San Diego

J/105 one-design sailboat Buy it now!  Sail The 2012 North Americans in San Diego!
Hull #130 is essentially a brand new J/105 with every imaginable upgrade completed in September of 2009. Everything has been done to the highest standard, and within class rules for J/105 one design racing. The owner has spared absolutely no expense to make this J/105 better than new in all aspects. Hull #130 has undergone a complete and meticulous overhaul from the top of the mast to the bottom of the keel. From its Fitzgerald Grand Prix bottom job (completed prior to the 2009 refit) to the complete stripping and painting of the deck and nonskid and new deck hardware, this 105 is the most perfect 105 conceivable. It is hull #130, making it a very competitive hull to begin with and the upgrades ensure that it is the fastest 105 out there. The full specs include only the work that has been done this year, and even the extensive list does not do justice to the perfection of this boat. An absolute must see. For more information, view the complete listing on   Or contact Jeff Brown 619 224-6200.  Photo is of sistership   

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing in J/80 Worlds- Newport(Newport, RI)- The final day of racing at last year's J/80 Worlds in Newport, RI produced fantastic opportunities for sailing photographers to capture the essence of sailing a high-performance sport boat in epic sailboat racing conditions- ginormous, breaking waves, 18-30 knots winds from the southwest, and clear, azure blue skies with torn-cotton shaped clouds scudding across the horizon.  When other 20-32 foot sport-boats stop racing at 22 knots, the J/80s RULE!!  And, of course, have a LOT of fun sailing on such spectacular days--- where men are men and women are women and have a blast! Just ask Mr. J/80 France, Bruno Trouble, what it's like to sail in up to 30 knot winds!  Bruno and his crew (average age of 64 years old), sailing COYOTE/ JURASSIC PARK, LOVED it and sailed every race, often finishing in the top 15!

One of those sailing photographers at the event, Paul Todd from Outside Images New Zealand, captured some remarkable photos, many of them memorialized in his J/80 coffee table book that you can buy from  Here's another photo from that epic day of bashing, crashing and flying off the waves-- it's New York YC members Henry Brauer and Stuart Johnstone on the J/80 RASCAL screaming into the finish line of the last race.  Get Sailing World's March issue on the news-stands now-   

German J/22 Class BOOT-Dusseldorf Report

J/22 one-design sailboat class- Germany's BOOT Dusseldfor boat show(Dusseldorf, Germany)- Much has happened at the Dusseldorf BOOT Show in 2011, a total of 250,500 visitors from 60 countries attended the Dusseldorf boat this year.  The German J/22 Class Association continues to grow in Germany, we're very committed and enthusiastic and participating one more time in this great Boat show brings us great exposure. In the class everyone is engaged, which is probably due to the structure of a large circle of friends and that helps to grow the class. And just as exciting, they were also on the exhibition and showed the interested visitors that "J/22 sailing” in our class association is a good choice.

The booth with a brand new J/22 and movies from the World Championships 2009 at Lake Garda was very nicely designed and attracted the visitors which came into the hall of the sailing center.  Everyone who sees the images of the J/22 fleet from Lake Garda is fascinated, those people we can’t help to find out how to go sailing on a J/22!

With the promotion of the "Marinepool European J/22 Championship" in 2011 in Travemünde Week, supported by “Dimension-Polyant” and “Marine pool”, visitors were able to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful J/22 but also recognize how strong the J/22 class is in Europe. So, whoever enjoys competitive sailing and is in a class of boat where the fleets in their regattas are decreasing, you're warmly welcomed in the J/22 Class Association!  The upward trend continues and the interest of attracting more and more sailors is increasing. And each of our members has a little part in it. Good prospects - right?"  To learn more about joining the J/22 Class sailing in Europe and America.   

Mollicone Wins J/24 Pan Am Games Trials

J/24 one-design class sailboat- sailing Midwinters off Tampa, FL(Tampa, FL)- John Mollicone racing Team 11TH HOUR RACING/ SAILORS FOR THE SEA beat a "who's who" of recent J/24 Champions (National, North American and World) vying for the honors of heading south to an awesome place to sail the Pan Am Games 2011 off Vallarta Yacht Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on the spectacular sailing venue, Bahia de Banderas.

After 7 races in winds ranging from 5 to 15 knots, John Mollicone and his team of have won the gold medal in the U.S. Pan Am Games Trials. The silver medal was won by the team helmed by Flip Wehrheim sailing ULTIMATE MARINE GROUP and the bronze went to Will Welles and his team sailing FAWN LIEBOWITZ.

10 boats sailed in the “Pan Am” configuration with teams of four and using 100% jibs only. Racing was incredibly tight with even the top sailors struggling at times to stay out of last place. The small fleet made for the perfect format for the trials as the Games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in October will be limited to seven countries.  For more J/24 Pan Am Games Trials sailing information.   For more J/24 Pan Am Games Mexico sailing information.   

J/122 Racing Fast in Australia

J/122 offshore racer-cruiser sailboat- sailing off Australia(Sydney, Australia)- The J/122 MARTA JEAN recently sailed the Newcastle Race in Australia.  The report from the captain and crew follows:

"10 days prior to the race we had enough crew who were keen to do the Sydney to Newcastle race, and all that was holding us back was a higher level of safety compliance - so we decided to go for it. We had met all audit requirements one day before the deadline for race entry.  This was our first Cat 3 and Ocean Point Score race, following a season of Short Ocean Point Score races in Newcastle (Cat 4).

We sailed with 5 crew from LITHIUM (Sydney based J/122), and 5 of our own crew from MARTA JEAN (J/122 Newcastle based). Essentially we had a lot of generalist skills, and not too many specialists, but we prided ourselves on learning from each others objective feedback and everyones desire to improve boat speed beyond the targets (obtained from polar diagrams for the J122 posted on the web)

24 boats had entered the race, including 17 for IRC.  The race started at 9.00am off Point Piper in Sydney harbour, and would be a 66mn run up the coast(at 010 deg) to the entrance of Newcastle harbour.  The wind was close to forecast, with a norwesterly 15 - 20kn for the first half of the race, swinging around slightly to a northerly 20 - 25kn for the second half of the race, with some soft patches where the wind dropped to 10kn for short periods.  It was a very hot day, with temperatures over 35C so it was important to keep the sunscreen and water up to everyone, so we didn't have anyone suffering from heat stroke or dehydration.

Our J/122 sailed well to windward, and the crew enjoyed the first six hours on the rail on a single tack, making good progress at 7-8kn and maintaining a competitive position in the fleet. As the breeze moved more easterly in the afternoon, the race became more tactical with the impact of adverse currents and wind shifts, with the option to keep in close the coast, or to go further offshore.

We reached the entrance to Newcastle harbour for the final downwind run to the finish line after 9 hours of sailing.  We finished 2nd on PHS and 6th on IRC, which was a great result considering the level of experience and expertise in the fleet. It just goes to show how well you can do with a J?122, even with cruising sails, and a relatively inexperienced crew."  For more J/122 offshore racer-cruiser sailboat information.   

Bream Leading J/24 Midwinters

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing off Tampa Bay, FL(Tampa, FL)- As part of its "J-One-Design Fest Month" at Davis Island YC, the club is hosting not just the J/24 Pan Am Trials and J/24 Midwinters, but J/22 Midwinters and the J/22 Rolex Women's World Clinic, too!  A busy bunch they are in Tampa, FL.

After 6 races, Peter Bream from Jacksonville, FL racing TEAM TARHEEL is winning the J/24 Midwinter Championship with just 7 points, counting three first and two seconds in his score after six races. Conditions range from 5 to 12 knots with tight mark roundings and aggressive starts.  Lying second is John Mollicone sailing the "green" boat, 11th HOUR RACING/ SAILORS FOR THE SEA with 13 points.  Third Rossi Milev on ORANGE BLOSSOM/ CLEAN AIR, another "green" boat.  Fourth is class veteran and wise man, Tony Parker sailed the remarkable BANGOR PACKET from Washington, DC with 30 points.  Fifth is Robby Brown on USA 799 with 35 points.  The racing is tight and it remains to be seen if Peter Bream and crew can maintain their incredible fast, dominating pace and strong tactics.  Five races remain to be sailed with a late afternoon cutoff time on Thursday, Feb 16.  Follow the J/24 Midwinters sailing results live from the water here.   

J/22 Midwinters & Women's Rolex Campaigns Start

J/22 one-design sailboat- sailing and training for regattaWeek of J/22 Racing at Davis Island YC
(Tampa, FL– Feb 17)– J/22 racers from around North America are flocking to Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL for a week of competition on the bay.  From Thursday, February 24 through Saturday, February 26, approximately 30 J/22s will battle it out for the title of 2011 Layline J/22 Midwinter Champion.  The fleet boasts a number of acclaimed racers, so everyone is expecting a close match throughout the event.  Weather forecasters are predicting a sunny, warm week to welcome sailors escaping from the winter weather.

Preceding the J/22 Midwinter Championship, the first Road to Rolex clinic on the 2011 calendar will be held February 21-22.   Two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Sally Barkow, an accomplished match racer and 2008 Olympian, will lead the women-only clinic.  Registration on Monday, February 21, is followed by boat rigging with industry experts on hand to assist.  The afternoon’s on-the-water session will be filmed for review during a working dinner that evening.  Tuesday, February 22, the clinic will resume on-the-water.  A break at noon for a debrief will precede the short race series in the afternoon which will determine the clinic winner who receives a $200 credit toward her entry fee in the Rolex IWKC.  A debrief, reception and awards will close out the clinic.  Organized in preparation for US SAILING’s 2011 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, the Road to Rolex clinics facilitate the participation of women in keelboat racing.

It’s not too late to participate in either of these events!  Visit to register and for updated results throughout the week.   

NEW J/108 @ Miami Show

Visit Slip #24-B At Miamarina/ Bayside Feb 17-21
(Miami, FL)- If you're ready to experience the ultimate freedom machine, don't hesitate to head for Miami, enjoy a bit of sunshine and beautiful Florida weather, and check out the latest of J's shoal-performance cruisers/ daysailers- the J/108.  The weather forecast is spectacular- sunny, 70s daytime, 50s night-time, gentle breeze form southeast.

With proven performance on all points of sail, the J/108 demonstrates that you really can "have your cake and eat it, too"! The J/108s "finger-tip control" in demanding weather conditions or simply maneuvering in shoal waters instills confidence and, combined with its beautiful, comfortable, spacious interior, considerably expands your cruising range for a 35 foot sailboat-- dare venture where few other sailboats can go!  For more Miami Boatshow information.   Learn more about the J/108 shoal-performance sailboat here.   

J/111 One-Design & Racing Update

J/111 One-design cruiser-racer- sailing off Key West 

(Newport, RI)- Launched just over 6 months ago, the new J/111 has rapidly achieved significant momentum worldwide.  With over sixty boats ordered from 10 countries, one-design fleets are already forming in Canada (Nova Scotia), USA (Midwest and New England) and England (the Solent) with more to come.

J/111 events in America are slated to start in summer 2011, starting with the renowned Rolex Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week, then Chester Race Week in Halifax, the Chicago-Mackinac Race and the Harbor Springs Ugotta Regatta in the Midwest. By fall, the Solent-based UK J/111s plan to sail the Garmin Hamble Winter Series.  Things will really kick into gear in 2012 with a USA and European class schedule culminating in the first North American and European championships.

Several J/111 owners are planning to sail major offshore events in 2011 either as crewed or double-handed teams, including the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Gotland Runt Race in Sweden and the Rolex RORC Caribbean 600 Race.  Included in the mix will be the classic California "north-south" races like the Cabo Race, Puerto Vallarta Race, Ensenada Race and the La Paz Race.  And, on the East Coast of America owners are sailing the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race and the Stamford-Vineyard Race.

The J/111 owners are already putting their boats to the test in a wide variety of sailing conditions and finding the boat to be exceptionally fast in both light and heavy winds. Early race results are promising with a debut victory at Key West Race Week, and local wins in England, New Zealand and the USA under varying handicap systems.  The J/111 is exceeding its “speedster” billing with several owners having now clocked average speeds over 18 knots (top speed 23.1 knots).

In order to meet the high global demand, new J/111 production has expanded to Europe with JB Composites of France expected to launch their first boats this spring. This added build capacity permits the J/111 class to grow faster and stronger throughout Europe and also allows CCF Composites, the Bristol, RI based American J/111 builder, to meet the strong demand for J/111s in America.  Production at CCF is now at four J/111s per month.  For more J/111 one-design sailboat information   

Monday, February 14, 2011

J/108 SAIL Magazine Review

(Key West/ Boston)- According to SAIL magazine editor Adam Cort, "It was the perfect test for the new J/108. We were in Key West, and the light southerly breeze was opposing an ebb tide, creating a nasty chop in the shipping channel, so we opted instead to make an end run between Sunset Key and Wisteria Island.

Doing so in a typical, deep-draft, 35-foot J/Boat would have been risky at best—on the chart the passage between the two islands shows a couple of narrow 8-foot channels flanked by unmarked shoals. But the J/108 is no typical J. Like the 31-foot J/95, which came out in 2009, the J/108 features a shoal-draft keel and centerboard, and twin rudders. The basic hull form is the same as the acclaimed J/109, which draws 7 feet, much too much for comfort in this kind of a situation. But with the centerboard up draws just under 4 feet—about the same as a J/24!

In fact, this is precisely why J/Boats created the new design. The company’s performance-cruisers and one-designs have been wildly popular over the years wherever there’s plenty of deep water. But J/Boats has achieved much less success in thin-water country, like the Florida Keys. Although many sailors, myself included, looked askance at the J/95—how could you have true J/Boats performance without a deep keel— the boat has been a success, both critically and commercially, so that it just made sense to upsize the formula.  Read more about Adam's J/108 sailing review here.

A recent test sail by Florida yacht broker Lee Messina, from Sarasota Yacht & Ship Services (a former J/30 owner who raced and cruised her extensively), had this to say after Wednesday evenings sunset sail on the new J/108, "Wow!! This is a lively and fast, yet stable racer/cruiser. For those who understand the lingo, she sailed close-hauled as well with the centerboard up as she did with it down in light air. Thank you again, Craig and Denise for an enjoyable sail on a great boat. Fair Winds and Following Seas, Lee".  For more J/108 shoal-performance sailboat information.

J/111 ARABELLA Leading Frostbite Series

J/111 Arabella leading WInter Series Royal Southampton YC(Southampton, England)-  The Royal Southampton YC Frostbite Series is in full swing and the fleet is being treated to, as usual, fairly extreme conditions-- from benign and beautiful to crazy and cold!

RACES 1 & 2
It was a windy blustery day which greeted the fleet for the first sail of the year and one which would certainly blow away the cobwebs from the H&Q!

The gradient wind was circa 22 knots with gust up to 30 knots from the SW which was relatively warm, especially after the recent cold spell for the inaugural race of the Doyle Sails Frostbite Series. With 35 entries in two IRC and two RSYC classes the first race got under way with many putting reefs in. The first run was exciting with plenty of boats flying their kites however there were plenty of broaches in the strong gusts and from early on Doyle Sails were going to be kept busy after the race!

J/80 sailing Southampton Water in Winter SeriesAn early casualty was ALICE, last year’s series winner, who sadly broke their mast which went with a bang as it was carbon fibre, fortunately no one was hurt. JAMMIN too had problems with their gennaker which wrapped around the forestay and took a good flogging in the breeze.

With four boats retiring and others with torn sails when the gradient wind picked up to 25 knots plus and the gusts up to 35 knots, the second race was wisely abandoned.

The racing was close in all classes with Class 1 being won by J/DREAM – Kirsty and David Apthorp’s J/109. Class 2 was won by J’RONIMO – David Greehalgh’s J/92s.

J/92 sailing on Southampton Water in Winter SeriesRACES 3 & 4
It was frosty for the early starters with wall-to-wall sunshine and a light Northerly breeze greeting the racers for the second days racing in the aptly named Frostbite Series.

In total contrast to the last Sunday of racing, the breeze for Race 3 was very light and fickle, shifting back and forth as it ran down Southampton Water as the boats started at Deans Lake beating for Hovercraft 1. All four classes got away but with the shifty light wind it was debatable whether they would finish the race until it shifted 50 degrees to the east and increased to 10 knots. Class 2 was won by JAMMIN the J/92 owned by Matt, Pete and Andrew. Class 3 was won by ARABELLA, the new J/111 owned by Niall Dowling.

With a steady 10 knot North Easterly established the second race was back and forth across Southampton Water and, as long as one had plenty of layers on it was not too cold in the sun.  Again all four Classes had clean starts ,although with a little jostling in Class 2, After Barn was the windward mark then up the river before cascading back and forth down to the finish at Deans Lake. All in all just enough before retiring to the warmth of the club which was very busy for the prize giving of bottles of wine and  Doyle Sailmakers bags.

With a more stable wind, the finish order changed significantly.  It was J-DREAM, Kirsty and David Apthorp’s J/109 who took the bullet in Class 1.  Niall Dowling’s J/111 ARABELLA had her second win of the day in Class 3 to now be leading the series in Class 3.

Sailing Photo Credit- John Greenway

More J/111 one-design racer-cruiser sailboat information.   

J/111 Yachting World "OnTest" Review

J/111 Yachting World cover(London, England)- The March 2011 Yachting World magazine is out on the news-stands now; on the cover is Frank Slootman's new J/111, INVISIBLE HAND shot by Erik Simonson at check it out.  Here's an update on Toby Hodges "OnTest" review of the Niall Dowling's J/111 ARABELLA- "Yachting World were the first media in Europe to sail this sizzling hot new one-design cruiser-racer. Conceived as a one-off, demand meant the J/111 quickly became a one-design, and in a special feature in our March issue, you'll find out why the midsize racing market has been crying out for such a model. But the J/111 is no one-trick pony. Her deck-layout makes her ideal for both crewed and two-handed racing, and we've no doubt she'll be highly competitive in IRC handicap events. This is a hot boat for the new season. Start saving now!"

J/111 Yachting World interview- Paul HeysToby's OnTest video review of the J/111 ARABELLA is located both on the Yachting World site as well as  on YouTube.  You can see the full video review here-  Paul Heys, the J/UK dealer for J-Boats for the last 16 years was interviewed by Toby.  Paul explains more about the target market of the J/111, why she's the "2011 version of the J/105" and why she looks set to take the market by storm. See Paul's J/111 interview on YouTube-     For more J/111 sailing information   

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

J Scale Models from SeaCraft Classics

J/Boats scale model sailboat builders* For a gorgeous, highly detailed model of your J, you might consider contacting Howard Leonard at SeaCraft Classics.  He recently built a spectacular J/44 model of BEAGLE for the owner Dr. Gutin.  Pictured here is the J/44 model, apparently Howard's done a few others of various sizes and shapes in the J model range.  If you want to contact him, you can reach him at-  Howard Leonard, SeaCraft Classics, Port Hadlock, WA-  or ph# 800-356-1987 or find him on his website at   

J/24 Crews Make Bigger Boats Go FAST To Hobart

J/24 Australia crew- powering big boats in Sydney Hobart RaceJ/24 Crews Make Bigger Boats Go FAST To Hobart- Sure enough, Down Under with our Aussie friends, it's pretty clear that J/24 training and experience comes in handy for "big boat" owners who are trying to make that 600+ nm dash from Sydney to Hobart a bit faster and safer.  Amongst the VELOCE crew and friends with some of the booty from their win to Hobart are NINE (9) J/24 sailors in the crew picture-- e.g. most of the crew!!

Once again some of the little boat guys went to do battle on big boats to Hobart – seems they like us out there. Or as Tim Bilham from Sydney points out, the Sydney-Hobart was their training ground for their subsequent J/24 Nationals victory. Coincidentally, their Hobart ride was on the First 45 VICTOIRE, another larger Tupperware version of their J/24 VICTORY.

Tim says, “our training for the J/24 Nationals on DEATH STAR has been predominantly centered around Hobart preparation. On our J/24 crew, we have Duncan (bow), me (pit) and Sean (helm) who all did the Syd-Hobart on VICTOIRE (Beneteau First 45).

We won our IRC and ORCi divisions and came 5th overall on IRC. Only plastic production boat in the top ten. Shane (our trimmer) sailed the Hobart on INVESTEC LOYALK. I’m sure he’s using a lot of the knowledge gained from sailing a 100 foot maxi with powered winches in his J/24 sailing”.

“David (our mast guy on the J/24) is the smart one and skipped the Hobart but this doesn’t seem to be holding him back at all on the J/24.”

As we know the Hobart fleet had some moments out there and some boats didn’t make it, although we think all the J Guys got there.

By comparison, the other overwhelmingly J/24 crewed boat was the Elliot 44 VELOCE out of Melbourne doing the M2H Eastcoaster. VELOCE was one of the front 3 that got away from the fleet and had a dream ride to Hobart, beating the old race record and finishing in a time of 2 days 2hrs 40min to take the race and series wins and just to keep the boys happy, hitting around 24 knots down the coast of Tassie in the middle of a very black night. VELOCE also set an additional informal record as the smallest boat in many years to win the King of the Derwent Double with line honours and handicap wins. Making the boat go to Hobart were Melbourne J/24 Guys; Mark Houghton, Kelvin Oldridge, Simon Grain, Noel Duffy and, of course, Fitzy.  Joining us for the race in Hobart were Stewart Geeves, Neil Wallace, Priscilla Cutter and Lisa Simonov. So you might say most of the crew !

Jane Flowers who sails on MAKE MY J went down the east coast in luxury on the 60ft Swan DREAMCATCHER 3 and Rowan “Two Dogs” Pollard also out of Sandy, won 1st place in Cruising Division of the S2H (keeping himself a much tidier boy than previous ‘escapades’ offshore).

So that’s at least 13 J24 Guys that I know of doing the Hobart thing. Well done everybody. And then many of us fronted up for further training in Sydney!   For more J/24 Australian Sailing news.   

J/24s & Shake-A-Leg Miami At Key West

J/24 Shake-a-leg- Key West Race Week* During Key West Race Week 2011, Kerry Gruson, a disabled sailor from Shake-A-Leg Miami, helmed John Smittle's J24 CLASS ACT for the first time Tuesday, then Wednesday and then again Thursday.

John Smittle has made it possible for disabled sailors and now current Military Veterans from Shake-A-Leg Miami to compete in Key West Race Week since 2005.  On Thursday, Ketty Wilson Gonzalez, an Iraq War Vet who is part of the Shake-A-Leg Miami Veteran's program, also joined the team.  Cool, eh?

J/24 Shake-a-leg crew- Key West Race WeekJohn Smittle who teaches at J/World Key West, has a local sail making and canvas repair loft and is also a Navy Pilot Veteran (a.k.a. a Top Gun/ Black Aces trainer on those little F-14 jets that only go a million miles an hour upside down over Havana--- just to check on Fidel).

If any of you J Sailors wish to help out on Harry Horgan's eponymous program in Miami, please don't hesitate to contact him at:  Harry Horgan, Ph# 305-527-5602 or or visit Shake-A-Leg Sailing website-   

A "BowGirl's" Perspective on sailing J/92's

* A "BowGirl's" Perspective on sailing J/92's-  "September 2006, St Malo. That was when I officially resigned from my role as bow-girl on the 1720 that I was sailing at the time. And yes, there was a certain amount of petulance involved. The 1720 has no guard-wires. It’s scary up there. My knees hurt. Everything was just so loaded up and hard work. There was no loo on board. And what sort of woman calls herself a ‘bow-girl’ at the age of 38 anyway?

Since then I’ve sailed and race on countless Js but have always steadfastly refused to step forward of the mast. Until last Sunday that is, when I found myself ‘guesting’ in the ‘bow-middle-aged-woman’ role on Andy and Annie’s J/92 S ‘Blackjack’ in the Southampton Frostbite Series. It was an absolute blast. I’ve not sailed the J/92 for ages, although it was one of the first Js I ever sailed, and I’d simply forgotten what great little boats they are.

On Sunday we had light airs and crystal blue skies. We had ice on the decks (so a perfect excuse for my ineptitude up at the front) and we had the luxury of guard-wires too, of course! We were a crew of four boys and two girls. We even had a loo, imagine that!? And you know what? We could do it all easily! Everything on the J/92 is set up so well. Annie (who is tiny) and I could get the kite up and down easily between us. Our gybes were (mostly) good. You simply don’t need a gorilla on the bow or to have a team of gorillas on the rail. The J/92s are such forgiving boats and they are fast. Just a little breeze sees the boat power up and take off and it’s absolutely great! Best of all, we had LOTS of other J/92s to race against; it was fabulous!

I am a born again (forgot-how-much-fun-they-are) J/92 fan.

There are newer Js and there are bigger Js of course, but this 30 footer planes easily and just wants to go fast. She has her own class racing and her own National Championships. She also has a busy and sociable Class Association (see the newsletter attached below). And she has guard-rails and loo as well; have I mentioned that? Put simply, the J/92 is a super, super boat.   Read more about the J/92 UK Class in their recent newsletter (downloadable PDF).   For more J/92 UK sailing news.   

J's Dominate Pacific NW Top 10

J/109 sailing Seattle, WA- Pacific Northwest champions(Seattle, WA)- What do 7 of the top 10 boats in the Pacific Northwest sailing circuit share in common?  A natural predisposition to have fun, sail fast on easy-to-sail boats, never-say-die and keep a smile on their face every time they jump aboard their J's to go sailing every day!

J/109 sailing in Seattle, WA- Pacific Northwest ChampionshipFor the 2010 sailing season, starting in 2nd overall, was Stu Burnell's J/109 TANTIVITY from Corinthian YC (photo above) that lost overall honors on a tie-breaker despite having the lowest total point score for the season!  They were followed in 3rd by Tom Mitchell's J/35c WILDFLOWER that won a three-way tie-breaker over Erik Kristen's J/105 JUBILEE in 5th. In 6th was the J/109 ILLUSIONIST sailed by Dave McLean from Corinthian YC, 7th was Dave Dack and Rick Nordquist racing their J/109 J-TRIPPER, 8th was the J/105 LAST TANGO sailed by John Peterson from Shilshole Bay YC and 9th was the J/105 ALLEGRO VIVACE sailed by Lorenzo Migliorini Corinthian YC.   For more J/Boats Pacific NW sailing information.   

J/80 Challenge Trinitaine

(La Trinite Sur Mer, France)- Ever wonder why the Spanish and French teams continue to get stronger and stronger every year and the talent level in their fleets overall continue to improve significantly?  The British J/80 teams understand the problem, and do a lot of training with their RYA Coaches at various venues.

The Trinitaine J/80 fleet is conducting their 3rd edition of the Challenge J/80 Trinite over five weekends in the winter/ spring- February 12/13 and 26/27 - 12/13 and 26/27 March - 9 / 10 April.  It's a great program with specific training targeted on Saturdays and race-training on Sundays.  Afterwards, the entire training class goes to a debriefing at the "Cafe Zing"/ Internet Bar for video and tactical review.  Most importantly, to improve training, they're trying a new method for tracking via mobile phones. Go here to check out the iSea 3D program for ANY SmartPhone.  Or, for Apple iPhone's Sailboat Tracking app, you can go to iTunes.    For more information regarding J/80 sail-training in La Trinite Sur Mer, France.   

J/80 Italy Winter Championships

(Tigullio, Italy)- All was not lost on the 2nd to last weekend of the 35th edition of the Winter Championships in Tigullio.  A beautiful northerly wind helped get the fleet around the beautiful waters off Tigullio and it was clear that some of the class leaders had it all figured out.

The team of Frederick Rajola on OLJ SPIRIT-HATAMURI consolidated their first place position by getting two 3rds and a 1st to get themselves five points clear of Massimo Rama's JENIALE! in the overall standings, 18 points to 23 points, respectively.  Lying third is Paolo Montedonico sailing MONTPRES with 28 points, having a very strong last weekend with two 2nds and a 1st!  Fourth is Alberto Garibotto on J-BES with 33 points and 5th is  Massimo Zunin's JOCONDA with 40 points.

The final set of races takes place on February 20th, let the games begin for the final top three on the podium!  As shifty as the wind was this past weekend, anything can happen!  For more J/80 Italian class sailing information.   

J/80 Palma 2010 Video

J/80 video- of J/80s sailing off Palma Mallorca, Spain(Palma Mallorca, Spain)- In a tribute to his friends who sail amongst the many J/80s that comprise the fleet in Palma, the highly regarded sailing photograher, Jesus Renedo, produced a nice compilation of the year's sailing events along with a powerful musical soundtrack mixed in-- perhaps an inspiration from a long, entertaining evening down along the city-front?  See the Jesus Renedo YouTube video of J/80s in Palma.
For more J/80 saling information in Palma de Mallorca.   

ZEIKA Wins J/80 Winter Trophy

J/80 sailing off Spain(La Coruna, Spain- Feb 7th)- This past weekend the J/80 Spanish class held the penultimate round of the Winter Trophy organized by the Real Club Nautico de La Coruna and Sada Yacht Club. On Saturday, the J/80s completed 3 windward-leeward races in the Ria de Sada, with a northwest wind of 6 knots at the start, but reached 15 knots during the third race.

At the end of the Winter Series Trophy, it was a good day for MARINA CORUNA skippered by Paul Chavert, with two wins and a third for the day to hold on to second place overall with 13 points for the series.  ZEIKA skippered by Mariano Zapata, with a second and two fifths, remained the class leaders in the standings with 12 points, one point ahead of MARINA CORUNA.  LA SAL DE BAZAN sailed by Blanco-Iglesias, with a 2-4-5, goes from fifth to third place overall with 23 points, ahead of IN ITINERE, skippered by Fernando Bonilla, in fourth place with 24 points.

After the racing, the J/80 fleet held the traditional version of a "Spanish Tea" in the storeroom of the Real Club Nautico de La Coruna in which the sailors were able to taste the delicacies cooked up by various members of the class….sounded yummy and tasty! Paella, red or port wine to warm up the insides?  For more Barcelona J/80 sailing information.   

J/24 Pan Am Games Trials

J/24 Pan Am Games sailing team(Tampa, FL)- This week, the Davis Island YC who bills themselves as "The Sailingest Yacht Club South of the Mason Dixon Line (actually, Southeast)" is playing host to three J regattas in a row!  First, they are hosting the J/24 Pan Am Games Trials, then the J/24 Midwinters, then the J/22 Midwinters-- they will be busy catering to the fun-loving, under-demanding needs of J/22 and J/24 sailors who always look forward to their time in the sun in midwinter Florida.

Starting this week, the J/24 Pan Am Games Trials has a "who's who" of recent J/24 Champions (National, North American and World) vying for the honors of heading south to an awesome place to sail the Pan Am Games 2011 off Vallarta Yacht Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on the spectacular sailing venue, Bahia de Banderas.  Amongst the leaders will be Charlie Enright from Bristol, RI sailing MOOKIE, Will Welles from Portsmouth, RI skippering FAWN LIEBOWITZ and John Mollicone from Newport, RI racing 11TH HOUR RACING- "the green, environmental boat".

Sailing against the American representative will be Maurizio Santa Cruz from Brazil, a past J/24 World Champion, who will have just come off of some good practice sailing the J/24s at Monaco's Primo Cup last weekend as a qualifier for the J/24 Worlds in Montevideo, Uruguay in September of this year.  For more J/24 Pan Am Games Trials sailing information.   For more J/24 Pan Am Games Mexico sailing information.

Of note are the fact that J/80 and J/24 sailors from Texas have won the Lightning berth for the American team at the Pan Am Games. Jay and Jody Lutz along with foredeck crew Derek Gauger recently won the Lightning Class Pan Am Trial's dominating a very tough group of sailors-- Go get 'em guys!!   

J/24 Monaco Primo Cup

J/24 sailing Monaco Primo Cup (Monaco- Feb 4-6)- This year's 27th edition of the Primo Cup/ Trophy Credit Suisse runs over two weekends, the 4-6th and 12-13th of February and has traditionally marked the launch of the international racing season in the beautiful, picturesque principality of Monaco.  For over a dozen years, Prince Albert of Monaco raced J/24s in the event, inviting other royals from around Europe to participate and either stay at the Palace or nearby swanky hotels along the waterfront.  This past year, Port Hercules was buzzing with all the competitors from around Europe- Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Great Britain, Hungary and, remarkably, a huge contingent from Russia.  Of the 99 entries in 5 classes, the J/24s were the largest sailing class at the event (others had many "no shows").  Those 24 J/24 entries came from 7 countries- Monaco, France, England, Hungary, Italy, Brazil and Sweden.  Amongst them were Sweden's Anna Maria Gunderson, Brazil's BRUSCHETTA sailed by Maurizio Santa Cruz with J/Boats Italy's Paolo Boido aboard, England's HITCHHIKER sailed by Andrew Taylor and JOLLY ROGER helmed by Roger Morris, and Hungary's NORD TELECOM SAILING TEAM skippered by Gabor Makai.

J/24s in Monaco harbor- Primo Cup 2011Brazil's Mauricio Santa Cruz, three times world title holder in 2006, 2007 and 2009, commented, "It is the first time I sail in Monaco, this event is internationally recognized for it gathers the best European challengers." To gather all the competitors, Dennis Frederiksen, J/24 class representative, had organised a skiing weekend in Limone, France. Dennis mentioned that "the competition would be a great challenge as the winner of this series would also receive an "invitation" for the J/24 World Championship on 11th to 19th November 2011 in Montevideo, Uruguay."

"The years follow on and none are alike. After the snow and very strong breezes of 2010, it is the first time in 27 years that we have had such light, sunny conditions!" declared Thierry Leret, Race Committee President, at the prize-giving. Indeed, spring-like conditions, with an anticyclone centered on the Gulf of Genoa meant only one race counted during the whole of the first weekend of the Primo Cup - Trophy Credit Suisse.

J/24 Bruschetta Brazil team- Paolo Boido and Mauricio Santa Cruz"That's the risk you run with regattas! We had the most amazing practice sailing conditions from Tuesday to Thursday with 15 knots of wind and a calm sea which meant we were able to sail with many foreign teams who had arrived early to get in some training!" observed Jean Rodelato, one of the J/24 specialists in the very international field.

"It is the first time I have come to Monaco to race in the Primo Cup, as I had heard so much about this event which is a benchmark on the international one-design scene. I witnessed the dynamism of the Monegasque J/24 class which organised a ski & sail ahead of the regatta,"  commented Mauricio Santa Cruz (Bruschetta), triple world champion. Faced with a Monegasque and Italian armada, he clinched a fine second ahead of the Monegasque Pieter Flohil (Dangerous) and won “selection by invitation” to take part in the series’ world championship being held 11 to 19 November 2011 in Argentina.

J/24 Monaco Primo Cup- awards and giftsAs it turns out, Mauricio only had to sail one race!  On Saturday 5th February, following a recall, the J/24s competitors had to calm down their enthusiasm after being shown a black flag, with all early starts disqualified.  Despite a slow start, Santa Cruz's BRUSCHETTA team figured out the tactics and surged through the fleet to finish 2nd in the one and only race that was run on all three days!  The placid, calm seas made for gorgeous sunrise and sunset photos but offered impossible conditions to finish off the regatta after a beautiful start on Friday midday.  BTW, the "swag" the competitors receive for entering the event is extraordinary, as are the trophies-- including a Hublot Yacht Chronograph for all the winners, tasty champagne and lots of other nice things like you see in this photo! See you there next year!   Sailing and Regatta Photos by Carlo Borlenghi     For more J/24 Monaco Primo Cup Sailing Information.   

J's Sailing St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

J/30 Blue Peter sailing Caribbean sailing regattas(St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles)- With less than a month to go before the kick-off of the 31st St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, which this year runs from March 3-6, the entry list continues to grow at a rapid pace, and now surpasses over a hundred yachts competing in a half-dozen different classes.  With over fifty entries to date, however, the lion's share of entries will be racing in the CSA Monohull classes, and it's a truly international field, with competitors from France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Turkey, the United States, and a host of Caribbean nations.

While the sailors themselves represent a wide and varied background, the respective yachts also form a diverse and eclectic fleet. At the smaller end of the spectrum is Tanner Jones's gorgeous electric blue J/30, BLUE PETER (the April 2011 J/Calendar poster girl pix above) and the fun-loving team on the J/105 NO FACE 2 FACE.  We wish them fair winds  and following seas-- at least most of the time.  For more Heineken Regatta Sailing information.