Thursday, April 28, 2011

J/22s and J/80s Sailing In Group Experiential Learning (GEL) programs

J/80s for US Sailing Olympic Team sailingGEL has renewed its bronze level partnership with the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG). Initiated in 2009, GEL has delivered high-impact team building and leadership training experiences for USSTAG sponsors.

The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics is made up of the country’s top athletes in each of the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes who train together with the common goals of winning medals at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Weymouth, England.

As part of the partnership in 2011, GEL will introduce some of USSTAG’s non-endemic sponsors to the sport of sailing, while offering sailing veterans the opportunity to sharpen their skills and enhance their teamwork on the water. Many GEL events will feature participation by USSTAG’s Olympians and Olympic hopefuls.

"We take great pride in helping USSTAG with sailing programs which support team members’ Olympic and Paralympic dreams and the business objectives of USSTAG’s other sponsors. The relationship also provides special opportunities for our own clients to sail with and simultaneously support the athletes,” said Jay Palace (San Francisco, Calif.), President of GEL.

GEL will host two introductions to their signature program “BoatWorks” in a one-day complimentary experiential sailing program for leaders and HR professionals. The first “Taste of BoatWorks” will be held on May 26 in partnership with Courageous Sailing Center, sailing J/22s in Boston, Mass. On June 29, the second “Taste of BoatWorks” will be held in partnership with J World Annapolis, sailing J/80s in Annapolis, Md. At both locations, participants will be introduced to GEL’s facilitated leadership development program offered across the country at various US SAILING-accredited Keelboat Sailing Schools.

Later this summer, GEL will team up with the Courageous Sailing Center to organize a special introduction to sailing and racing for USSTAG’s title sponsor AlphaGraphics all sailing on J/22s. Franchise owners from the New England area will sail side-by-side with USSTAG members on the Charles River. The afternoon of racing on the J/22s will strengthen relationships and give participants a unique glimpse into the training, preparation and focus required to win medals at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We are excited to continue and enhance our relationship with GEL,” said Katie Smith (Newport, R.I.), USSTAG’s Commercial Manager.  “We had a very successful event in Naples, Fla. last year where AlphaGraphics executives and franchisees got the opportunity to race on J/80s (see photos) with Olympian Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) and gain insight to the teamwork and challenges involved with racing.  GEL did a phenomenal job translating the passion for sailing into easily accomplished onboard activities. It was a very positive experience for everyone involved.”  For more information about the GEL USSTAG sailing experience program.  

J/24 South American Champs XXVIII

J/24 South Americans- Montevideo, Uruguay
Rigoni's LUCA Wins Tough Battle
(Puerto del Buceo, Montevideo, Uruguay- Apr 17-23)- The J/24 class had their South American Championship hosted by Yacht Club Uruguayo this past weekend.  With spirited competition from teams in the Buenos Aires and Uruguayan fleets, it was sure to be a tough competition.  After starting out strong Alejoni Rigoni on LUCA from Buenos Aires just managed to hold onto his lead going into the last three races, overcoming the late challenge from Diego Garcia skippering ALFA BETA from the local YC Uruguay club.

The YCU PRO managed to get off nine races over the three days.  The fleet was treated to nice conditions and some challenging races.  Rigoni's LUCA sailed a very consistent series, posting mostly top three finishes, but never winning a race!  Rignoi's 2-2-2-3-2-2-7-6-3 for a total of 16 points (two toss races included) was just one point clear of Garcia's 4-4-3-2-dsq-3-2-1-2 for 17 total points.  Lying third was Mateas Pereira sailing CARRERA from Buenos Aires, winning the most races (4) in the entire fleet. But Pereira's finishes were too inconsistent to overcome the regatta leaders, garnering a 1-5-1-1-1-5-6-5-5 for 19 points.    More J/24 South Americans sailing information   

J/22 Warming Up Regatta

J/22 sailboats- off Netherlands one-design racing
(Brassermeer, Netherlands)-  Every year the J/22 fleet that sailed on the big inland "sea" called the Brassermeer that border Germany and the Netherlands host two beginning and season ending events- appropriately called the "Warming Up" and the "Cooling Down" regatta.

Most teams arrive on Friday afternoon and rig by Saturday morning.  This year started off with a beautiful mill pond- water smooth as glass and reflecting all the clouds and sun perfectly!  By late afternoon, a mild thermal winds kicks in to start to move the boats.  Said one J/22 sailor, Thomas Gutenstein, "When a few small wind lines show on the water we go out - even if's no racing, just for fun, we sail a round. I am amazed how little we need to move the J!"  After three races, the teams retire back for dinner in the clubhouse.  Thomas continues, "we sit together with the four German teams, "talk shop" and end the day. Of the Dutch team, only the "Gill Racing Team" and part of the Regatta Committee is there. Most Dutch to operate the sailing as we go to the gym: Go there - Sports - have a beer or coffee and then again from home!"

After the races on Sunday with a total of four completed in the light wind conditions, all the crew puts their boats away and head for home.  The remarkable aspect of sailing in Europe is that teams can come from all over the Continent and get to the sailing area, literally, by plane, train and automobile in just a few hours or less.  Said Thomas, "by 1900, JAY-2-PLAY is ready to be towed home and Sophie and Martin are sitting in the train to Schiphol Airport, Martin flies to Frankfurt and Sophie takes the train to Hanover! Till next time!  Thomas."   For more J/22 sailing stories in the Netherlands.   

Brazil Wins Trofeo Accademia Navale

J/24s racing in Italy
(Livorno, Italy)-   Brazil beats Italy?  Sounds like a soccer (futbol) game.  No, just a story of a good Brazilian sailor stuck in Italy not wishing to leave such a warm, loving, hospitable and fun-loving people that love the "dolce vita", have delicious pastas and even yummier wines.

With an impressive series (five first places and two second places) the Brazilian Mauricio Santa Cruz and his equally renowned BRUSCHETTA crew dominated the Trofeo Accademia Navale held in the city of Livorno. The prestigious event held for more than a quarter of a century ensures not only top-level racing but charm and appeal-- thanks to the Navy and its splendid setting on the seashore next to the village of Tuttovela.

The J/24 world champion (champion in 2006, ’07 and ’09), Mauricio, and his team did not even need to take to the water in the eighth and final round: they had, in fact, won the coveted trophy (delivered by Admiral Division of Pierluigi Rosati, Commander of the Naval Academy) to close the regatta with 9 points.  Silver went to JAMAICA helmed by Carrara Peter Diamond (with a crew Gianluca Caridi, Giuseppe Garofalo, Fabrizio Ginesi, Paul Governato) 26 points.  Just one point away with the Bronze medal was LA SUPERBA NAVALE led by Ignazio Bonanno.

Eight races with challenging weather and sea conditions were completed under the careful direction of the Navy League of Livorno.  Forty-two teams participated- a record for the T.A.N. regatta.  There was a strong presence of foreign Navies- with Naval Academy teams represented from Chile, China, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Japan, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.  For more Trofeo Accademia Navale sailing information.   

J/145 1st Class Hong Kong-San Fernando Race

(Hong Kong, China)- The J/145 REDEYE, sailed by Royal Hong Kong YC members Thompson & Leese, raced the RHKYC's RORC San Fernando Race, a 480 nm mile dash from the islands off Hong Kong to San Fernando, Philippines and managed to become the first boat to finish in their class and get 2nd on handicap IRC.

The race was described as being of two halves- "upwind and very lumpy to start with, which was tough on the crews. The second half was sailed in much easier conditions and overall the race was a very productive and useful experience for Hong Kong sailors. It was a "classic San Fernando Race."  The first night was very bumpy with confused seas and blowing 20-25 knots, but the last night was great offshore sailing, spinnaker reaching under a big red moon."   For more Royal Hong Kong YC San Fernando Race sailing information.   

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brezellec & J/97 Sail To SPI Ouest-France Wins

J/80 Spi Ouest champion- Brezellec
(La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The largest one-design fleet in the history of SPI Ouest-France delivered in spades.  Great competition, good sailing and a champion whom is greatly respected in French sailing circles.  Eric Brezellec, from Saint-Quay Portrieux, residing in Brest, was the overall J/80 class winner.  With his crew, he won his second brilliant Spi Ouest France.

Eric has won four J/80 Cups in France (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2010). "This morning, I have no aches because we did not have severe weather conditions. For cons, I'm tired mentally because it's not easy for nerves to function in a split-fleet of 100 J/80s (the fleet was split into two flights).  It is the happiness of winning for the second time this great race of the season that brings great pleasure", said Eric.

J/80 sailing off France downwind"I sailed in the J/80 since 2004. Our victory is linked to a good analysis of the water but also to our knowledge of J/80. We know how it works and we have a great set of sails. And, we are used to sailing in large J/80 fleets. In the J/80 Coupe de France, we regularly sail 60 boats on the starting line. We are not surprised at the mark roundings, they can be jammed!"  Eric plans on sailing the J/80 World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark in July 3-8.

While Eric sailed his INTERFACE CONCEPT 2 to a 3-4-2-1-5-6-3 record for races counted, Sylvain Pellisier on VOILERIE ALL PURPOSE sailed a series of very consistent races to start out slowly and make a strong bid to win the regatta, getting an 8-8-3-3-3-1-11-6.  Had it not been for a bad race #7, Pellisier may have won the regatta.  Third was Maxime Roussea on GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES perhaps sailing the strongest regatta of the entire top three finishers.  Maxime was leading the regatta for the first six races, getting a 3-2-1-3-7-1. But disastrous last two races of 19-46 simply dropped them off the top of the podium, having to drop a 46th just to finish 3rd overall.

J/80 one-design sailboats - sailing Spi Ouest FranceOf note, Bruno Trouble's team on COYOTE finished 12th overall, with Phillipe Girardin, Patrice Roynette and Gilles Fournier as crew.  They firmly established primal, senior, supremacy by winning their first race! Nevertheless, they sailed well to get a 1-6-8-10-9-19-20-41.  Their finishes for the first five races put them in the top five but an unfortunate last three races dropped them off the top ten.  Also, Christine Briand (famous naval architect's Phillipe Briand's wife) sailed a great series to finish 6th sailing her J/80 J'ILE DE RE to a good record of 13-3-4-2-5-5-15-45.  Past top 3 finisher Luc Nadal on GAN'JA was 8th.  Laura Vroon's team from the Netherlands, JOIE DE VIVRE, finished 18th, winning a race, too!  And, top Italian team was Massimo Rama's team on JENIALE finishing 23rd.

As for the J/97, Didier Le Moal's team on J-LANCE won with a 1-1-2-2-1-1-1 to simply dominate their class, the largest IRC class at SPI-Ouest-France with over forty boats.  In the J/22 class, Huet's EUROPEAN HOMES managed to squeeze out a victory with a 1-2-4-4-2-3-2-1.  Pouteau's SOFFE was second and Raphalen's BANQUE POPULAIRE ATLANTIQUE was third.  Sailing photo credits:  Eric Rousseau - VELOX IMAGES,   Laurent Vidal - PHOTOMER   For more Spi Ouest-France sailing information   

J's Invade Annapolis NOOD

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Charleston, SC
The Battle (and the Party) Rage On!
(Annapolis, MD)- After last weekend's Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, there will be plenty of scores to settle at the Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD.  Next weekend's STS Annapolis NOOD will see 221 teams racing in 16 one-design divisions. An enormous turnout of 138 J's (62% of the entire fleet!) are sailing in seven fleets, including thirty-seven J/22s, thirteen J/24s, twenty-nine J/80s, fourteen J/30s, twenty-eight J/105s, seven J/35s and ten J/109s.

The 37-boat J/22 class will be the largest in Annapolis. Expect a good battle between Todd Hiller's LEADING EDGE and Travis Odenbach's INSTIGATOR teams; Hiller and Odenbach finished third and fourth, respectively, in Charleston.  However, some additional hot sailors locally and from the Newport contingent will certainly be factors on the leader-board, including Tim Healey's SAILORS FOR THE SEA from Newport, RI, a past J/24 and J/22 champion; Carol Cronin sailing HPS, a past Women's keelboat champion from Jamestown, RI; Allen "Albie" Terhune from Arnold, MD; Kevin Doyle and Victor Snyder on MO'MONEY from Youngstown, NY; and Jeff Todd on HOT TODDY from Annapolis, MD.  Shaking off some ice and rust from the Great White North will be the long-distance travelers from Toronto, ONT, Stu Lawrie on CATCH 22.

Of the 29 teams registered for the J/80 division, 12 competed at CRW, including top-five skippers Kerry Klingler from Larchmont, NY; Will Welles from Newport, RI on RASCAL; Bruno Pasquinelli from Dallas, Texas on TIAMO; Thomas Klok and Will Crump on GULDFAXE from Copenhagen, Denmark and Annapolis, MD; and John White from Annapolis, MD. However, upping the ante considerably will be the presence of past World and Key West Champion Glenn Darden from Ft Worth, TX sailing LE TIGRE, fresh off the Texas J/80 Circuit.

In the 13-boat J/24 division, expect Chris Jankowski's STREET LEGAL crew to be hot coming off a second-place finish last weekend.  But, giving them a serious run for the money will be Mark Hillman sailing WIP and class centenarian Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET (showing the kids again how to get it done!), amongst others.

Within the J/105 fleet will be several strong teams that will all factor during the races and some of whom will be on the leader board at the conclusion of racing on Sunday.  Amongst those teams will be several top Annapolis J/105 sailors like Peter McChesney sailing THE MYSTERY MACHINE, Carl and Scott Gitchell steering TENACIOUS, Bob Reeves on A-TRAIN, Jack Biddle on RUM PUPPY, Chris and Carolyn Groobey on JAVA and Andy Kennedy on BAT IV.  Solid out-of-town teams that also had success in regional and National J/105 events include Jim Rathbun on HEY JUDE from Toronto, ONT and John Gottwald racing EAGLES WINGS from Chicago, IL.

The J/109 teams are all looking forward to another competitive, but fun, regatta.  Said Steve McManus on SAYKADOO, "Bill Sweetser is a great guy, and his boat RUSH is the top boat in our fleet. He is also very understated. At any rate, Bill is hosting a party at his home in Annapolis for the J/109 crews on the Saturday evening.  Last year, all the skippers and crew were there!!"  Say no more, these guys know how to have a good time!  Two good out-of-town teams joining the fun will be Craig Wright's AFTERTHOUGHT from Raleigh, NC and Adrian Begley's MAD DOGS from Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

The J/35s have several familiar faces showing up at the OK Corral to determine who's going to win the gun-fight.  Amongst them are names like AUNT JEAN sailed by Jim Sagerholm from the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, Peter Scheidt's MAGGIE and Chuck Kohlerman's MEDICINE MAN.

Big brother of J/24 lives!  As #2 in the J family of boats, the J/30s continue to enjoy a renaissance and this year is proving to be one of the strongest J/30 one-design class reunions post last year's well-attended J/30 Nationals in Marblehead, MA.  With fourteen J/30s on the line, there will be some strong competition.  As in last year's NOOD and Annapolis Race Week, amongst the leaders will be Bob Rutsch and Mike Costello on BEPOP; Larry Christy's BIG KAHUNA team; Ron Anderson sailing INSATIABLE, Bob Putnam skippering BETTER MOUSETRAP and George Watson racing AVITA.  Thanks for Mike Lovett/ Sailing World for contributing to this story.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes Photography-  For more Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Annapolis sailing information.   

J/111 Sailing RORC Offshore

J/111 one-design sailboat sailing off England
(Cowes, IOW, England)- There are over 100 boats bound for Le Havre, France this coming weekend.  Amongst them is Nial Dowling's J/111, ARABELLA making its offshore debut for The Cervantes Trophy.  The race starts Saturday, April 30 from RYS is organised by RORC in association with the Société des Régates du Havre and the Royal Yacht Squadron. The Cervantes Trophy Race marks the start of the RORC European race circuit with eleven races scheduled for destinations in Northern France, Holland, Ireland and many ports of call in the United Kingdom.

The majority of the RORC fleet for the Cervantes Trophy is an eclectic mix of performance cruising boats.  In IRC-2, it has no less than 20 types of yachts, including RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine's boat. The much travelled Nial Dowling will be racing his new J/111 ARABELLA for the first time offshore and could have a close battle for line honours in class with several other notable 39-42 footers.  An impressive line up in IRC-3 has nine J/109s, including proven competitors such as Robin Taunt's JIBE and Paul Griffith's JAGERBOMB.  The Two-Handed Class, an increasingly popular discipline, has attracted nine yachts for The Cervantes Trophy Race, including Rear Commodore Nick Martin's J/105, DIABLO-J, which won the Cherbourg Race at the end of the 2010 season.  For more RORC Cervantes Trophy sailing information.  Sailing Photo credits- Paul Wyeth-

ANOTHER TOY Wins Tazzie J/24 States

(Derwent, Tasmania)- On Saturday 5th of April the Derwent Sailing Squadron held the Tasmanian J/24 Championships. With a lot of work behind the scenes, Peter Bingham (STREETCAR) managed to secure five boats to compete in the championships.

Racing was tight in the first two races, with DRUMBEAT (J. Cooper) taking the honours from ANOTHER TOY  (G. Rowlings) and DIVINE MADNESS (C. Squires).  After the first race the wind died and the DSS racing committee flew the AP flag. The wind must have had a numbing effect, as a number of boats miscounted the numbers of laps on the subsequent race!!

Race three was a tightly contested affair, with numerous lead changes over the course of the day. Newcomer to the class, Greg Rowlings (ANOTHER TOY) secured his first win for the series followed closely by STREETCAR and DIVINE MADNESS.

After a short break, racing in the afternoon saw the wind pick up to 20 knots with numerous white caps in the Derwent. ANOTHER TOY (Greg Rowlings) showed a clean pair of heels taking out these two races and subsequently the series. DRUMBEAT and STREETCAR fought it out until the end with DRUMBEAT finishing runner-up on a count-back. What is more remarkable is that the owner of DRUMBEAT, John Lewis, donated his boat to the Cooper boys (Johnny and Tom) and fellow students from St. Virgil’s College, who displayed excellent boat handling skills in their first up regatta in a J/24. Watch out for these boys in years to come!

A special mention must go out to the Derwent Sailing Squadron who continue to support the Tasmanian J/24 Association. They put on a magnificent series and backed it up with a great BBQ at the club afterwards.  The final results were Greg's ANOTHER TOY with 5 pts, Cooper's DRUMBEAT getting second with 10 pts beating on a tie-breaker Bingham's STREETCAR who ended up third.  Fourth was Squires' DIVINE MADNESS only one point back with 11 pts and fifth was Jim Anderson's SAILING MADE EASY.   For more Tasmanian J/24 sailing information.   

Friday, April 22, 2011

J's Enjoy Spring Sailing Fling in Charleston

J/80 sailing Charleston Race Week
J/122 GAMBLER & J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN Triumph, J/111 2nd
(Charleston, SC- Apr 14-17) - Springtime in Charleston is one of the more perfect places to spend the spring season and nature smiles especially fondly on Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week every year. For local Charleston resident and J/22 competitor, Greg Fisher, it's all about the community. The multiple world champion and former sail designer recently left the sailmaking industry to accept the position as Director of Sailing for the College Of Charleston. "The amazing thing about Charleston sailors is how they come together as a community for important events," Fisher said. "Hundreds of passionate sailors and their families get together to support Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, Charleston Community Sailing and the College, and it really feels like you're part of a big family when you're with them."

While the rest of America was fretting about tax filing deadlines, Charleston Harbor gave sailors a tax day gift - nearly perfect weather for sailboat racing on Friday. "I don't think I've ever had a day with such perfect sailing weather," said a competitor on the offshore PHRF course. "We had tight racing with 15-18 knots out of the East - perfect wind, perfect waves, and warm sunshine all day."

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing Charleston Race WeekRacing offshore on the north/south courses were the big boats.  The new J/111 VELOCITY finished the day in fourth in a very competitive PHRF B Class with a 3-4-4 record. "This was the boat's first day of racing ever, and we're having a good time figuring her out," explained trimmer Dave Malkin of Annapolis. "We're definitely looking forward to even more breeze tomorrow." Kemah, TX J/122 owner Doug Shaffer leads the class with just four points in three races aboard GAMBLER, getting a 1-1-2 score.  In second was yet another J/122, Robin Team's TEAMWORK from Lexington, NC with a 4-2-1 record, getting stronger every race as their team dials it in to be a class leader.  Having a tough time against their stablemates were the two J/120s, John Keenan's ILLYRIA and Rick Moore's MOOSE DOWN, finishing further down the ladder.

J/124 sailing Charleston Race WeekIn PHRF A, the J/124 WICKED sailed by Doug Curtiss and crew from Branford, CT lay in a three-way tie for second with a 2-3-4 score.  Just behind them were the two J/130s, David Hackney's SUGAR MAGNOLIA and Noel Sterret's SOLARUS.

In PHRF C were the 35 footers-, including the J/35, J/109 and three J/105s.  After the end of a glorious day of racing, the J/35 ARROW sailed by Willy Schwenzfeier from Charleston, SC sailed a solid 4-5-6 to lie 4th for the day.  Ric Campeau's J/109 HOODOO had some flashes of brilliance but couldn't put it all together, ending up with a 7-6-9 for 6th.

Over in PHRF D, a real fight was taking  place for the top three positions on the podium.  Leading the charge was the masthead/outboard J/29 FOR SAIL skippered by Jim Mackevich from Edison, NJ with a 4-2-1 record for 7 pts.  Just behind them by one point was Steve Thurston sailing MIGHTY PUFFIN, another masthead/outboard J/29, sailing to a 2-1-5 record for 8 pts.  Just off the pace was Dave Pritchard's J/92 AMIGOS sailing to a 7-4-3 tally.

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing to offset mark at Charleston Race WeekOn the inshore one-design courses, the J/22s, J/24s and J/80s were having a great day sailing, with all three classes getting in four races.  Sailing on the new Course "0", the J/22s and J/24s were sailing in the easterly breeze with the windward mark set about 85 degrees from the start line.  While the first race was affected by the strong ebb current flowing out of the harbor, after 12:18pm the next three races were fought in a building flood current.  If you haven't heard about it before, there's no question that current is a factor in setting your course strategies and tactics, on some courses more important than others.  For the J/24s and J/22s, the first beats were influenced by the presence of the giant sand spit called Shutes Folly Island with a little fort at the SE end of it- Castle Pinckney.  The combination of less adverse current near the island and the puffs backing left most of the afternoon meant the fleet had to play middle left nearly all day.  At the end of the day, it was pretty clear the top three in the very competitive 25 boat J/24 class traded places taking most of the podium finishes.  Leading the charge was past J/24 Champion Mike Ingham, from Rochester, NY, who had the wind and current scenario wired, sailing to a very consistent 1-3-1-2 record for 7 pts.  Sailing STREET LEGAL into second for the day was Chris Jankowski from Richmond, VA with a 3-2-2-3 tally for 10 pts.  And getting stronger by the race was John Surguy's team on VANISHING ACT from Marlboro, NJ, sailing to a 4-4-3-1 scoreline for 12 pts to secure third place for the day.

The J/22s had a very strong sixteen boat fleet and the competition for the top spots was going to be tough with some excellent teams fielded not only from local Charleston sailors, but also from very strong J/22 one-design class fleets in both Rochester, NY and Annapolis, MD.  After the first two races, it was obvious that a near match-race was forming for the top spots between Chris Doyle sailing SOLID LAYER from Rochester, NY and Greg Fisher from Charleston, SC.  After the first two races, Chris had a 1-2 and Greg had a 2-1.  As the afternoon wore on, Chris and his SOLID LAYER crew made their move and established primal supremacy in the J/22 fleet, getting two more bullets to finish the day with a 1-2-1-1 for 5 pts.  Greg's team sailed well to finish the day with a 2-1-3-3 tally for 9 pts.  Behind them was another match race shaping up between Todd Hiller from Annapolis, MD sailing LEADING EDGE and Travis Odenbach from Rochester, NY sailing INSTIGATOR.  This duel ended up tied for the day with Todd scoring a 3-3-2-6 and Travis with a 4-4-4-2, the tiebreaker going in favor of Todd.

J/80s one-design sailboats- sailing downwind at Charleston, SCA great turnout of twenty-six boats meant the J/80s were going to have a good series with some very competitive teams attending.  Plus, a fun, fast course with less than 1.0 nm windward-leeward legs meant that skippers, tacticians and crews would be busy.  Unlike the J/22 and J/24 Course "0", the J/80s were sailing on Course 1 along the southern part of the harbor.  The PRO set the windward mark at about 90 degrees and basically never changed it all day.  The winds built from 6-12 to 9-17 knots from the East by mid-afternoon, making for epic, brilliant sailing, perhaps the best course for sailing in the entire regatta (based on hearsay at the Goslings tent afterwards!).  Like the Course "0" sailors, the J/80s saw the winds oscillate significantly, but the right side of the course along shore only paid off twice on 8 total windward legs over 4 races! Fast out of the blocks was Bruno Pasquinelli from Dallas, TX sailing TIAMO to a 1-1-4-6 score for the day for 12 pts.  However, the team of Henry Brauer and Will Welles sailing RASCAL from Marblehead, MA/ Newport, RI sailed consistently well, never finishing out of the top three, rounding either the first or second mark in first place in every race, to get a 3-3-1-2 record to end the day with 9 pts to be at the top of the leader-board.  In third due to a tie-breaker with Bruno's TIAMO team was Kerry Klingler's team from Larchmont, NY sailing to a 5-2-2-3 for 12 pts.

The talk of the dock after the spectacular day's racing was whether or not the dire predictions for Saturday's sailing would come true- a weather forecast that included no less than trailer-destroying tornados, frightening line squalls, severe ginormous thunderstorms, massive car-destroying hail stones, monster micro-burst puffs and gale-force wind conditions. If Friday's conditions provided a chance for racers to knock the rust off, Saturday would undoubtedly separate the top teams from those who could use a bit more practice-- or the crazed from the simply normal.  As Saturday dawned, it was clear the prognosticators were correct, the forecast was more accurate than most had hoped; in fact, the storm front killed nearly 50 people in tornados less than 100 miles away.  As a result, Regatta Chairman Randy Draftz was put in the unenviable position of having to cancel racing for the first time ever in the race week's history.  Nevertheless, many were sanguine about the dilemma and felt it was a good call.

Multiple J/24 World Champion Anthony Kotoun of Newport, RI was one of them, and the Virgin Islands native who has sailed the past four Charleston Race Weeks, shared his thoughts on Charleston Race Week: "I just love this regatta," he said. When pressed on why, he mentioned the parallels with Caribbean regattas. "I just came back from sailing in St. Thomas at the Rolex Regatta, the BVI at the Spring Regatta and St. Maarten for the Heineken event, and Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week is the only event in the country that's got a flavor like those." Kotoun cited "great breezes, beautiful surroundings, and the regatta village here on the beach that's really something you don't see anywhere but the Caribbean."

An earlier start time for Sunday saw frantic preparations as all boats were seen pulling piles of extra sails and gear off their boats to lighten their loads for the expected forecast of a dying 5-10 kt wind. The offshore courses saw sufficient sailing breeze through most of the day, with the first race run under very light northerly conditions and the final race in a moderate Charleston sea breeze of 10 knots.

The biggest boats at the event had an exciting, three-way battle for the lead in PHRF A, with the J/124 WICKED ending up third after the smoke cleared.  WICKED missed 2nd by 1 pt and first by just 2 pts, a shift here, a puff there and the tables would have turned completely in their favor.

J/122 offshore racer-cruiser sailboat- one-design sailingIn PHRF B, Doug Shaffer's J/122 GAMBLER simply sailed away, leaving the fleet in their rear-view mirror, winning the last two races to win by 9 pts over the J/111 VELOCITY.  After their Friday "practice race" day, the gang on the J/111 VELOCITY got their act together, retuned the rig, trimmed the sails faster, avoided some big holes and even led the entire fleet around one leeward gate to secure 2nd overall with a solid 2-2 showing on the last day for a total of 15 pts.  Third was Robin Team's J/122 TEAMWORK, sailing an uncharacteristic 7-3 to finish 3rd with 17 pts.

The mighty struggle between the 30 footers in PHRF D was finally settled in favor of Steve Thurston's well-sailed J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN, getting a 4-1 to win with 13 pts.  Jim's J/29 FOR SAIL had a slow day, getting a 7-5 to drop to 4th after leading on the first day.  Dave Pritchard's J/92 AMIGOS got their mojo on and managed to peel off a 1-2 for the best record on Sunday to get 3rd overall with 17 pts.  The Palmetto Cup, which is awarded each year to the best boat competing in the PHRF (handicap rating) classes, went to Steve Thurston and his crew from Bristol, RI racing aboard the mighty yacht  MIGHTY PUFFIN!

Inshore, conditions were more fickle and no races were completed on the J/24 and J/22 race course, with only one completed on the J/80 course.  Former North American and National J/24 Champion Mike Ingham was disappointed that his class didn't see enough wind for a final race today, though he was happy to take the victory in the most competitive J/24 fleet that Charleston has seen in several years. "We last sailed here for our National Championship about six years ago, and it's just as great as I remembered," said Mike. "On Friday, we got four solid races in, and just kept our noses clean and tried to sail smart. It worked."

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing downwind with spinnakersFor the J/80s, it was a beautiful, but disappointing day.  The one and only race was punctuated by a series of events for the leaders and the entire fleet that could best be described as "unfortunate".  The PRO elected to start the race in a rapidly dying breeze from the NW (it was forecast to die by 11am) at precisely 10:40 am after it was obvious the Viper 640 fleet that started at 10:35am were struggling getting to the first windward mark.  Toss in a dying breeze with massive holes, 40 degree shifts and a full-moon ebb tide flowing at 3 knots and what do you get?  A very ugly picture that many sailing in England's Solent are all too familiar with.  Out of 26 boats only 5 managed to finish the race (exactly 1/5th of the fleet) and the rest scored TLE (time limit expired!).  Not exactly a "fair or reasonable" race for all involved, e.g. an awfully expensive one-day regatta!  Nevertheless, not often you see top three finishers scored with TLE's as counters!  Kerry Klingler's team avoided the mishaps and secured a finish to win with 15 pts with a 5-2-2-3-3 score.  In finishing second, the Brauer/Welles team got caught by the finish line buoy, literally, and instead of winning the regatta was forced to take a TLE, scoring 3-3-1-2-TLE for 16 pts.  Third was Bruno's TIAMO team who seemingly took an involuntary tour of Fort Sumter over on another course as they were getting flushed out to sea, finishing with a 1-1-4-6-TLE for 19 pts.  Thanks to Mike Lovett's contributions from his Sailing World Forum report (

Sailing Photo Credits:
Meredith Block-
Priscilla Parker-

VIdeo coverage:
  - OTWA  Sailing Coverage- Day One
  - T2P.TV- Day One Summary

For more Charleston Race Week sailing information   

Ensenada Race- Light Air Sailing- J's Triumph

J/145 Sequoyah from Santa Barbara, California- sailing Ensenada Race
J/29 RUSH STREET & J/145 BAD PAK Class Winners
(Newport Beach, CA- April 15-17)-  This year's 64th Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race provided a slightly less than perfect mix of fun and adventure as racers had to decide whether to head off-shore for stronger winds or to sail the 125 nm rhumb line towards the finish.  For the 175 boats gathered on the starting line off Newport Beach, CA, the probabilities that it was going to be a slow race, like real slow race, were nearly 100%!  The weather forecast for Friday was for a west-northwesterly wind up to nine knots---virtually the rhumb (direct) line to Todos Santos Bay all along the entire Southern California and Baja California coasts. Stronger breeze was expected offshore, but a lighter patch of wind of three to six knots will separate the sea breeze near the coast from the gradient wind farther offshore.  Then winds diminishing on Saturday with very little "gradient effect" to keep the fleet moving.

Scot Tempesta's Sailing Anarchy report regarding the sailing conditions for this year's N2E race- "…as for wind, there was a good bit of breeze in the evening on Friday - we saw 20 true at one point. We, too, tried to stay outside given the weather forecasts, but a huge right shift couldn't be ignored so we came into the Coronado Islands on port gybe.  But, it was getting lighter, so we bit the bullet and took a long, long unfavored starboard gybe out into more pressure - maybe 10 miles or so outside the Coronado's. We then just tried to keep our outside lane, jibe on the shifts and come in a bit later rather than earlier."  He did OK, winning his class, as did a few other J's following a similar strategy.

J/130 racer-cruiser- sailing on Pacific Ocean during Ensenada RaceThe strong contingent of J sailors were not able to dial-in their accustomed form of reaching away at surfing speeds all night and all day long with the giant asymmetric spinnakers flying over ballooning staysails and walking off with all the booty at the awards.  Instead, it was all light air VMG'ing down the track, a race so tricky and full of holes that even Dennis Conner's Farr 60 STARS & STRIPES managed to beat very well sailed 70-80 footers!

Despite the light and challenging conditions, the J's swept Sprit A class! Tom Holthus' TransPac winning J/145 BAD PAK from San Diego YC won both line honors and handicap honors.  Second both over the line and in handicap was Mark Surber's J/125 DERIVATIVE from CORYC.  Third was the other J/145, the Santa Barbara YC's team of Poppe/ Parks sailing with some happy sailors aboard SEQUOYAH.  Paul Marais's gorgeous J/160 INDIGO from SYC-LB was fourth in class.  And, fifth was the J/130 BEBE sailed by another fun crew from Santa Barbara YC, Chuck Browning and gang.

Leading the charge in Sprit B class was Scot's ANARCHY, while the J/120 BARAKA sailed by Janet Mostafa from Balboa YC came in a very respectable second and the J/105 LUCKY STAR sailed by Mark Wyland from ALYC finished third.  Due to the lack of wind, the rest of the class all dropped out…smaller boats were having a tough go of it.

Seth Hall and Steve Ronk on the J/124 MARISOL from CYA finished 3rd in their PHRF Cruz GA class.

Finally, yet another member of the Santa Barbara sailing mafia won PHRF E! Larry Leveille's J/29 RUSH STREET (last year's Kings Harbor Race Winner) from Santa Barbara YC won their class quite handily, proving yet again the venerable J/29 masthead/outboard version is a really tough offshore boat to beat in most races- light, heavy, surfing, or simply pounding your teeth-fillings out in an uphill gut-buster.  For more Ensenda Race sailing information.   

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Light Sailing Breeze For Warsash Finale

J/109 racer-cruiser- one-design- sailing with spinnaker on Solent, England
J/111 ARABELLA Wins IRC1-B Class
(Warsash, Southampton Water, England- April 16-17)- The last weekend of the Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship took place on 16-17 April. The event has been running since 1984 and now involves over 100 Warsash members afloat and ashore. What was different this year was the persistent light conditions which race officers around in the early days cannot remember happening before. On only two days did the wind stay in double figures but more often than not loitered in the 5-8 knot range for racing. This may have meant less toll on boats and equipment but a real challenge, especially for tacticians and helms.

Saturday- Spring Championship- Day 3
Again a high pressure system hung over the Solent – wonderful sunshine but the water resembled a mill pond.  The postponement flag was raised at 0950 with race officers constantly checking for wind in the area. As the day wore on, there had been no change or likelihood of a breeze filling in by soon after midday and there was no choice but to cancel all racing for the day. This proved to be a wise move since although a 6 knot breeze did perk up in the afternoon, it vanished again within half an hour.

J/80s one-design sailboat- sailing on Solent, EnglandSunday- Warsash Spring Series- Day 6 & Spring Champs- Day 4
The forecast promised slightly better conditions for Sunday but as the Black Group fleet gathered near East Knoll, it looked unlikely. When the first signal was due to be sounded, visibility was obscured by a veil of haze from which emerged a stream of commercial traffic inbound for Southampton. The postponement flag was hoisted and race officers made the first of several radio announcements to keep competitors aware of their intentions. Shortly after noon, everyone’s patience was rewarded. A south-easterly breeze filled in and, whilst never more than 8 knots, was sufficient to allow racing. Courses were set with Flying Fish the first windward mark, followed by runs and beats in the area of Hill Head and Universal Marina. With some classes combined, the first start consisted of IRC1, Big Boat and Farr 45s. With a strong adverse tide, some skippers were slow to reach the line and AP was flown again to allow these boats to clear the line. This also coincided with a brief wind shift and when it had steadied again came the turn of IRC2 and J/109 classes with a slightly shorter course. The ODM end of the line was favored.  The J/109 OFFBEAT got clear air and made significant gains to lead their class at the first mark, going on to take line honours.

J/80 one-design sailboat- Henri Lloyd sailing upwind on Solent, EnglandOn the White Group sportsboats’ racing area, the wind had arrived a little earlier. The first set of races got away cleanly only then to suffer the large wind shift experienced further out. The J/80 fleet was boosted by entries for the Spring Championship. Ian Atkins sailing Dan Brown’s HENRI LLOYD SHOCKWAVE Lloyd Shockwave took the first J/80 race ahead of AQUA-J (Patrick Liardet) and Robin Fielder helming WARP FACTOR IX.   Life was not so simple for the start of the second set of races. The J/80s then had a rush of blood to the head and were recalled. Everyone had another go and this time successfully. However, the clock was ticking and it became clear that this would have to be the final race.

On the first lap, HENRI LLOYD SHOCKWAVE established a lead over AQUA-J and JUMPING JENGA (Stewart Hawthorn). These positions were maintained on the second run but then the two boats became involved in a luffing match as they approached the bottom mark. When they gybed for the final time they found that JUMPING JENGA's layline from closer inshore was the better one. This allowed Stewart Hawthorn to round the mark in the lead and complete the short reach to the finish seven seconds ahead.

Spring Championship Final Results
The Spring Championship does not allow discards and six races were finally counted to decide the overall standings. The J/80 Spring Championship winner was HENRI LLOYD SHOCKWAVE, just one point ahead of Patrick Liardet's AQUA-J with the RAF’s TEAM SPITFIRE third.

There was no catching VELVET ELVIS leading the J/109s sailing to a 1-2-1-2-2-1 for 9 pts.  After a slow start to the season, second went to a resurgent J-DREAM sailed by David and Kirsty Apthorp and getting a 2-1-2-1-5-2 score for 13 pts.  Third was Richard and Valerie Griffith's OUTRAJEOUS with a very consistent 3-3-5-4-3-3 tally for 21 pts.

In the Black Championship BB2 Class, Ian Matthew's J/122 JINJA sailed to a 2-8-2-3-4-7 to finish third, only 2 points out of second.  Lying fourth was Jackie and Robert Dodson's J/133 JERONIMO sailing to a steadily improving 9-7-6-5-5-2 for 34 pts.

J/111- the ultimate one-design sailboat- sailing in Solent, EnglandSpring Series Final Results
In the Spring Series, IRC1 Overall results, the J/111 ARABELLA sailed by Nial Dowling finished a respectable fourth counting drop races, but second overall behind Nik Zenstrom's Farr 45 RAN if all races were counters!! Kudos to Nial's team for strong sailing in a very tough class.  Neil Kipling's J/122 JOOPSTER also sailed nicely to win two of the six races sailed to get 6th, only 1 pt from 5th overall IRC despite counting a DNS in Race 1 and tossing a DNS in Race 5-- had they gotten one more race under their belts, the J/122 JOOPSTER would certainly have had a shot at 1-2-3 overall in IRC.

In the breakout IRC1-B Class, Nial's J/111 ARABELLA (pictured here) wins IRC Class on her first series outing ever!  Quite a remarkable feat, to say the least.  Amassing a 2-3-4-4-2-1 record for 12 pts (4th dropped) to win class.  Third was the J/122 JOOPSTER sailed by Neil, sailing to a DNS(13)-1-1-1-DNS(20)-4 score for 20 pts.

In IRC3 Class, the J/97 JIKA-JIKA sailed by Mike and Jamie Holmes sailed nicely all spring to finish third overall with a 4-3-13-4-3-3 tally for 17 pts (13th dropped).  Without question, Mike and Jamie are probably still kicking themselves for having to toss the 13th and wondering how they ever got that far down the standings in the first place!

In the one-design groups Mike & Sarah Wallis' JAHMALI led Matt Boyle' SHIVA in the J/109s. Third was David Mcleman's OFFBEAT, fourth David McGough's JUST SO and fifth David and Kirsty Apthorp's J/DREAM.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing in EnglandThe J/80s sailed a total of twelve races over so many weekends and despite the lack of wind had a great time sailing on their shorter courses-- sometimes a good thing on the Solent!!  Patrick Liardet's AQUA-J was the overall series winner.  Second was Stew Hawthorn and Paul Heys on JUMPING JENGA, third was Dan Brown (with's Ian Atkins sometimes) on HENRI LLOYD SHOCKWAVE, fourth was Tony Hanlon/ Team Spitfire on SPITFIRE and fifth was Terry Palmer's JUST DO IT!

In challenging light conditions the fact that the vast majority of races were completed is a credit to the patience of the race management team and the competitors in equal measure. The prize-giving will be held on Friday 20th May when all competitors and crews will be welcome at Warsash Sailing Club’s Shore House to join club members in celebrating a very successful event. The 2012 Warsash Spring Series starts on Sunday 11th March.    Sailing Photo Credits- Eddie Mays.    For more Warsash Spring Series sailing results.   

J/92 & J/109 Dominate Corinthians Race

(San Francisco, CA)- In the second of their series, the Singlehanded Society of San Francisco (SSS) held their 18-mile Corinthian Race (named for the Corinthian Yacht Club who hosts the start) on Saturday, April 2nd.

All boats could either sail single or double-handed, the entry list for the Corinthian Race included 18 J/Boats, which as we all know are perfect for this kind of racing!  Dispersed amongst the fleet were the following J's- J/80, J/92 (2), J/100, J/105 (5), J/109 (2), J/120, J/35, J/32 (2), J/30, J/29 and J/24.  While only two J's sailed singlehanded, all the rest sailed doublehanded.

As Bob Johnson, owner/ skipper of the J/92 RAGTIME, reports, "After a long series of Pacific storms, some local damage from the tsunami and general cabin fever, it was apparent skippers are anxious to get back out there and race around the central Bay."  And, indeed they had a good time.  Bob managed to sail a reasonably fast race and won the Singlehanded PHRR Class 3.  Just behind him was the J/105 LARRIKIN sailed by Stuart Taylor from St Francis YC.

Doublehanded PHRF Class 11 was a near sweep for the j's in the largest class of the race, 21 boats competing and J's getting 8 of the top 10!  First was the J/109 SYMMETRY sailed by Howard Turner from Santa Cruz YC.  Third was another J/92, Tracy Rogers' RELENTLESS from CPYC. Fourth was the J/105 LIGHTWAVE sailed by Richard Craig. Sixth was the J/105 RACER-X sailed by Rich Pipkin. Eighth was the J/105 AKULA skippered by Doug Bailey. Ninth was the J/120 TWIST sailed by Timo Bruck.  And, tenth was another J/109, Jim Vickers' JOYRIDE.

In Doublehanded PHRF Class 12, the J/80 PAINKILLER skippered by Eric Patterson was second, followed by the J/32 PARADIGM skippers by Luther Izmirian.  Lying eighth was another J/32 sistership, Ed Ruszel's FLICKER.

Not to be left out of the silverware was the lone J/24 DOWNTOWN UPROAR, raced by Darren Cumming in Doublehanded PHRF Class 13.  Finally, in Doublehanded PHRF Class 16, the J/30 IONE sailed by Peter Jermyn finished a respectable fourth and the J/29 AUDACIOUS captained by Scott Christensen finished 5th.   More sailing information is available at Singlehanded Society of San Francisco site.   

J/145 Sailing Hong Kong-San Fernando Race

(Hong Kong, China)- The J/145 REDEYE, sailed by Royal Hong Kong YC members Thompson & Leese, are sailing in the RHKYC's RORC San Fernando Race, a 480 nm mile dash from the islands off Hong Kong to San Fernando harbour on the northern part of the Philippines.

The 10 to 12 knot due easterly that had been recorded earlier in the day by Race Officer Jimmy Farquhar, quickly built into a 20 knot breeze, and an hour after the start, the fleet had cleared Lei Yue Mun Gap, and was heading out into open water across the treacherous South China Sea.  As of 1800hrs Wednesday evening (USA) REDEYE was leading her IRC Cruising fleet by a substantial margin, 30 nm already with 2/3 of the race left to go! A rough first two night beckons, with a forecast of force 5 to 6, but with visibility at 8km, it should also be a spectacular night sailing.  This was a video of the fleet start- Hong Kong time with the city in the background (China Bank Tower is the tall one).   You can track the fleet sailling the course using the Yellowbrick Tracker site here.  For more Royal Hong Kong YC San Fernando Race sailing information.   

Johnstone Cousin Brad Van Liew Wins Velux 5- Leg 4

Brad Van Liew- sailing Velux 5 ocean race off Charleston, SC*Johnstone Cousin Brad Van Liew Wins Velux 5- Leg 4- Congratulations Cuz!!  Awesome job.  Just a young buck at the ripe age of 43 years old, Brad sailed into his home town of Charleston, South Carolina, Tuesday to rapturous applause from the flotilla of spectator boats who turned out to greet him. After sailing more than 5,900 nautical miles from Punta del Este in Uruguay, Brad crossed the finish line in Charleston Harbor at 1658 local time following 23 days, 4 hours and 58 minutes at sea.

His victory makes it four wins out of four legs in the Velux 5 Oceans, a 30,000-mile singlehanded race around the globe sailed in 60ft yachts called Eco 60s. With one more leg to sail, Brad has a dominant lead at the top of the Velux 5 Oceans leader-board.  In fact, were it not for a mandatory finish of every leg to count for the overall title, Brad would not have to sail the last leg to win!  Awesome, he only has to start, relax, eat and drink well and simply finish!  Brad is a veteran of two previous Velux 5 Oceans races in 1998 and 2002, when it was known as "The Around Alone". Brad won Class Two of the 2002 edition.  For more information on Brad's sailing adventures on Velux 5 Ocean Race.   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PalmaVela Features Olympic/ World Champions Sailing J/80s

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Palma Mallorca, Spain
(Palma de Mallorca, Spain)- Some of the most magnificent sailboats of the world will compete from the 20th to 24th of April in the Mapfre PalmaVela regatta. Twelve classes will join competition during the four racing days. A total of 120 boats, 1000 sailors, 15 divisions and 15 countries will compete, distributed across four racing areas.

While the giant sailing yachts will be racing further offshore, the giants of sailing in Spain will be racing in the J/80 class.  The J/80 has grown into the most important one-design racing boat in Spain and will see 23 highly competitive teams taking part in this year's regatta.  It's a gathering some of the best national and international sailors that call Europe home.  For these teams, the Mapfre PalmaVela will also serve as a warm-up for the debut of the class in the Copa del Rey Audi-Mapfre regatta that will be sailed in July.

The participation of three Olympic Medallists and a World Champion is proof of the extremely competitive level of the class. Barcelona 1992 Gold Medallist Jose María van der Ploeg will take the helm of the J/80 GREAT SAILING and so will Montreal 1976 Silver Medallist Toño Gorostegui onboard CANTABRIA INFINITA. Portuguese Hugo Rocha, Bronze Medallist in Atlanta 1996, will skipper TURISMO DO ALGARVE, while J/80 World Champion Ignacio Camino will sail onboard NEXTEL ENGINEERING. ALCOLA sailed by Estanislao Carpio, FIERABRAS skippered by Diego Colón, PORTCALL COMPOSITES helmed by José Carlos Frau, Javier Sanz's PRO RIGGING, or Miguel Pujadas' EDER HOTELS are some of the strong Majorcan J/80 teams to compete this week in Palma. Defending champion Carlos Martínez also stands out as one of the favorites.  For more Mapfre PalmaVela Sailing information.   

Record 105 J/80s Racing SPI Ouest!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing in La Trinite, Spi-Ouest Regatta, France
(La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The largest one-design fleet in the history of SPI Ouest-France is expected for the J/80 class with more than 105 teams planning to attend.  Seven countries are represented with international crews from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden. The strength of the French J/80 class have contributed to this record turnout, it's considered the best one-design class in France and routinely attracts the best French one-design sailors; included amongst them is Bruno Trouble, the managing director of Louis Vuitton's participation in the America's Cup.  Bruno is again expected to sail with most of his "Jurassic Park" COYOTE crew that accompanied him in Newport for the J/80 Worlds--- one tough group of hombres!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing La Trinite- Spi-Ouest- FranceThis strong turnout also bodes well for the J/80 Worlds 2013 that will take place in France (over 140 crews expected) and for which preparations have already begun (applications of organizing clubs are open, the final site selection will be done later this year).

Of note will be the fact that one of the best PRO's in France, Christophe Gaumont, will be managing the races at SPI Ouest, as he did for the 2007 J/80 Worlds.  The fleet will be split in two with four flights rotating against one another to determine the Gold and Silver fleets, then competition will commence to determine the ultimate overall champion.  For more SPI-Ouest J/80 sailing information.
Sailing photo credits:   Eric Rousseau - VELOX IMAGES    Laurent Vidal - PHOTOMER   

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Windy J/Fest San Francisco

J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing San Francisco Bay at J/Fest
Tie-breakers, Tight Racing Define Leaders For J/24s, J/105s, J/120s

(San Francisco, CA)- This year's J/Fest San Francisco with very competitive fleets of J/24s, J/105s and J/120s started out on a typically benign morning for the Bay.  A bit of fog, some sun and forecasts for a "good breeze".  For anyone of you who've ever experienced a "good breeze" in most parts of the world, that usually means something less than the Saffer-Simpson hurricane scale of I and perhaps more like the Beaufort scale of 4 (a nice 13-18 knot wind).  While the first race may have been near forecasts, the afternoon race was anything but-- more like a "gentle gale" in the 22-32+ knot range.  A report follows from Bruce Stone- one who usually sails his own J/105 ARBITRAGE, but turned it over to Nicole Breault while he suffered from pneumonia on a posh Protector RIB.

"Day One of J/Fest on San Francisco Bay started with wind in the high single digits and finished in the low 30’s, taking out quite a few boats along the way with a typical assortment of broaches, breakdowns and shrimped kites.  Bullets in the first two races were scored by Rolf Kaiser’s DONKEY JACK, who lead by impressive margins.  In the last race, BLACKHAWK, skippered by Scooter Simmons, nailed the pin, caught the relief along the shore, and led wire to wire. However, the day belonged to ARBITRAGE skippered by Nicole Breault, she scored three deuces and led by three points over Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION, with DONKEY JACK in third.

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing San Francisco BayDay Two was completely different.  The forecast was for lighter winds, mainly high teens, with gusts ONLY hitting mid-20’s-- ya’ gotta love SF Bay!  Big problem for the racers Sunday-- the race committee called for starboard roundings, which made no sense given the tides.  Almost every boat approached windward mark from starboard, had to weave through the boats setting their kites, most of whom wanted to jibe to the flood on the shore-- so picture the route being kind of like a bow-tie.  And, it created too many opportunities for wipe-outs and collisions."

For J/105 sailor Lou Scannon, they had another report for the madding crowd. "J/Fest Day 1 was quite exciting - Race 1 - we led to the first mark both times, but lost at the finish because we went toward the wrong side of the RC and only realized it when it was at 315° or less off the bow and 200 m away.  Crash jibe and lost the kite (started the race in 8kts but it was blowing a steady 20 then) and lost 3 boats.  We would have won.  New crew - 4 new folks on-board so it was a pretty understandable mistake.  We were beating boats that did not take last year off in Taiwan and the guy we were dicin' with has a professional on board, and we had on the old sails, so I am pretty pleased with our speed and boat handling.  She's a fast boat!

J/105 sailboats- rounding mark under spinnakerAt the start of Race 2 we had put up the jib and headed for the pin end for a very conservative start as we were so underweight by then (blowing 25 w/ gusts to 30+) that my goal was survival and to stay clear of everybody.  I have only once sailed in a stronger breeze on the Bay - it was nukin'.  There was a very strong ebb (all the snow melt in the Sierra) with some of the weirdest currents I have ever seen.  A new boat to the fleet decided to try a port-tack start and apparently did not see us.  I hailed starboard 3 times very loud, but they could not hear us.  At the last moment I switched from "Starboard" to "Oh crap &#$%*@--- kaboom".  I pondered heading down, but in hind-sight that would have likely been especially catastrophic as it would have likely been a very high-speed bow-to-bow and rigs might have come down and hull-deck-joins destroyed.  I headed up, tacked and we got hit in the port stern as my boat was rolling over to port in the avoidance tack.  The 3 bow guys got ejected under the lifelines (I did not see or know about it until later - they all hung on and got back on board quickly (without me knowing anything).  We flipped over to port to get the hole up off the water, dropped the jib and then called the RC.  We told them that we needed a tow as the starboard tack back the St Francis YC would have sunk us.  We got towed in and taped up the hole and covered it with the Rolex sticker.  I feel like I should have thrown a handful of Vicoden into the keel sump for the old girl."

After all the chaos and coping with nukin' conditions on the Bay, it was Jeff Litfin and John Case on their J/105 MOJO that keep their nose clean and managed to pull off a 4-5-4-2-1 record for 16 points-- starting out the day in fourth and rising to the top in the difficult conditions on day 2.  Second in the 105s was Scooter Simmons on BLACKHAWK with a 5-7-1-4-4 record, another phoenix arising from the ashes of the first day to rocket from fifth day one to silver on the podium.  Only Adam Spiegel's JAM SESSION managed to stay on the podium after the first day-- holy batman, lotsa carnage day two.  The JAM boys got 4 3rds and 9th to tie Scooter but lost on the tie-break.  Fourth was Rolf Kaiser's DONKEY JACK, after seemingly racing untouchable out of the blocks in the first two races with a 1-1, Rolf's gang must've let it get to their heads, amassing a brick-laying record of 8-7-7 to miss third by three points.  And, the luckless maiden getting the real short-end of the stick was Nicole Breault.  After sailing brilliantly on the first day when it was absolutely howling, blowing dogs off chains in the Marina, all kinds of APBs going out for "fifi la piu" the mini-poodle and fair maidens in short-shorts getting blown into the water, it was Nicole who could not overcome a head-to-wind luffing match with an out-of-control J/105 at the last windward mark when she was in third place.  Nicole's 2-2-2-6-14 record was a tough nut to swallow, "watch out", says women sailing's "Terminator", "I'll be back"!!

J/120 one-design sailboat- sailng San Francisco J/Fest regattaHaving every bit as much fun as the J/105s were the fleet of J/120s that were starting in front of the J/105 madness.  Behind all of them witnessing the carnage were the J/24s.  One the first day, the J/24s had a ball, nothing if not used to the nukin conditions, the teams sailing these boats had all seen it before.  Though not a "yawner", they did manage to toss in a few broaches for a few green crews getting used to the ropes again.  Rising above the crowd day one happened to be the top three boats fighting it out with each other for braggin rights.  Basically, the top three were all TIED after the first day of two races.  Mike Whitfield's TMC RACING, Don Taylor's ON BELAY and Darren Cumming's DOWNTOWN UPROAR all had four points each.  Scores would have to be settle on the last day.  Indeed, they were.  Mike's TMC RACING team simply took off and got two bullets, scoring a 2-2-1-1 to win with 6 pts.  Second was Don's team ON BELAY with a 3-1-2-3 record for 9 pts and third was Darren's team with a 1-3-3-4 for 11 pts.

The J/120s are a remarkably tight fleet, just about all of them have won the Rolex Big Boat Series at one time or another.  Depending on conditions, crew and solar flares or karma (remember, lots of Northern Lights this past week due to a solar storm enshrouding us all), one team seems to do better than the others.  This weekend it happened to be the MR MAGOO team led by Steve Madeira from Northeast Harbor, ME.  Steve's team led by only a point after the first day, but hung tough on day two to win by four points with a 4-2-1-3-1 record.  John Wimer on DESDEMONA and Don Payan's DAYENU were tied after day one.  But it was John's DESDEMONA team that won the final tie-breaker on the last race!  They had a 5-1-2-1-6 for 15 pts, just to keep everyone on their toes!  Third was Don's DAYENU with a 1-3-4-5-2 for 15 pts.  Only 1 point back was Barry Lewis' CHANCE.   Ultimate Yacht Shots Ultimate J-Sailing photos.  Ultimate Videos/ slideshow from Ultimate YachtShots.  For more J/Fest West San Francisco Bay sailing results   

J/24 ECC'S Sailing into 21st Century

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing East Coast Champs in Annapolis, MD
(Annapolis, MD- Oct 28-30)- The J/24 fleet down in Annapolis is going techie, thanks to Mark Hillman, his company Hillman Capital Management and other supporting sponsors. Hillman has been competing for many years in the J/24 class (placing in the top of the fleet many times at the ECC's) and has been a sponsor for the J/24 ECC since 2002.  Hillman thought it was time to re-vamp the event and take it into the direction that sailing events are moving in which is using technology to reach out to people everywhere, to allow viewers to watch and get a feel for sailing like you can in any other broadcast sport. Some new elements the regatta will include are: on the water commentary, live video feed from boats, on-the-water coaching, and real-time scores. Many of the J/24s sailing this weekend in the Charleston Race Week will be experiencing similar on-the-water multimedia, led by Alan Block doing the Sailing Anarchy On-the-water-anarchy production.    Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.   Read more about sailing the J/24 East Coast Champs.   

J/22 Art-quality Fine Prints

(Newport, RI)- WG Sofrin Fine Prints is pleased to announce the introduction of a customizable J/22 combination sail-lines plan print. This print was developed in conjunction with the J/Boats design team using the original design data from Rodney Johnstone. This soon to be classic keepsake is perfect for any office, home, or club. The print is produced using the archival inks on acid free select print stock.

WG Sofrin Fine Prints specializes in offering a customizable print service. Originally Sofrin entered the fine print industry through a project he developed with MIT. Presently Sofrin's work is collected around the globe, and his original work can be viewed upon appointment at the MIT Museum.  Please contact with any questions or to request the custom order form.   

Strong J Fleet Blasting to Ensenada

Mexico fiesta celebration for Ensenada Race (Newport Beach, CA- April 15-17)- A West Coast classic, a 125.5 nm overnight race that provides the perfect mix of fun and adventure as racers decide whether to head off-shore for stronger winds or to sail the rhumb line towards the finish. With over 50 trophy categories and numerous classes the opportunity to "take home the silver" makes this race appealing to all levels of participants. Whether you are a first-time racer or an experienced pro, this one is for you.

The race is sandwiched between some really fun events – something that all sailors like. Enjoy the "Send-Off" Fiesta at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club the night before the race, a long-standing traditional that must be experienced to be believed. The post-race party atmosphere Saturday and Sunday at Race Headquarters, the Bahia Hotel in Ensenada, will definitely make you smile. Plus, a lucky raffle winner will get to ride around in the new Tesla Motors all-electric Roadster for the whole bloody weekend!! By Sunday afternoon, the city of Ensenada pulls out all of the stops and puts on a huge fiesta for racers, crew, family and friends. In the courtyard of the Bahia Hotel, the music rocks, food and drink flows and everyone parties to all hours of the night.  Most importantly, get your picture taken riding the burros! A Kodak moment to memorialize for your Facebook pals you actually went there to race, not to party.

J/120 sailing to Ensenda, Mexico sailboat raceAmongst the 175 entries is a large and strong contingent of J sailors.  Perhaps leading the charge down the coast for the J/Fleet will be the four "superfast" J's in Sprit A class.  Never to shy away from a fun challenge is perennial front-runner Tom Holthus on his well-campaigned, TransPac winning J/145 BAD PAK from San Diego YC.  Yet another J/145 vying for honors will be Santa Barbara YC's team of Poppe/ Parks sailing with a good crew aboard SEQUOYAH.  Nipping at their heels like a mad dog with a bone in its teeth will be Mark Surber's J/125 DERIVATIVE from CORYC.  Cruising in serious comfort and giving all these J "sleds" a case of anxiety attacks (depending on conditions, of course) will be Paul Marais's gorgeous J/160 INDIGO from SYC-LB.  And, just to keep these trophy-hunters honest will be a J/130 sailed by yet another good crew from Santa Barbara YC, Chuck Browning and gang aboard BEBE.

Leading the charge in Sprit B class will be two J/120s, BARAKA sailed by Janet Mostafa from Balboa YC and FEE EVENT raced by Chuck Wert from BCYC.  Along with them will be two J/105s, ROCINANTE's Juan Lois from SBYRC and LUCKY STAR's Mark Wyland from ALYC.  Spread across other parts of the PHRF classes are the following:  Seth Hall's J/124 MARISOL from CYA, Larry Leveille's J/29 RUSH STREET (last year's Kings Harbor Race Winner) from Santa Barbara YC and Tom Lehtonen's J/30 EGGEMOGIN from SBYRC.  Any one of these boats has the ability to upset the proverbial "apple cart" for the big boys-- won't be the first time a J/29 or J/30 has spoiled the party.   For more Ensenda Race sailing information   

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Warsash Spring Championship Enjoy Champagne Sailing

J/109 sailboats- sailing under spinnaker on Solent, England (Warsash, Southampton Water, England- April 9-10)- It was a busy weekend for Warsash Sailing Club when Saturday racing for the Spring Championship was added to the penultimate gathering of the Spring Series on Sunday. On Saturday the Solent provided “champagne sailing” – a sparkling day with a perfect sailing breeze. Sunday was a time for patience.  The weather forecast for the weekend proved very accurate, promising quite different conditions for the two days. Saturday brought a south-easterly 10-15 knots blowing in from the Nab Tower direction. Overnight the high pressure built and Sunday morning saw the same blue skies but with very little wind.

The Spring Championship got off to an excellent start with testing but ideal conditions. Course setting was comparatively easy for the race officers in the steady breeze. The Black Group Spring Championship classes were divided into Big Boats 1 and 2 and J/109s. Race Officers David Greenway and Peter Bateson used laid marks to adjust the length of the beats and runs for the different classes and efficiently completed four races. Peter Knight was overseeing the sportsboat classes for J/80s with a race track set up in the entrance to Southampton Water.  Again the full schedule finished just in time for everyone to be back in the clubhouse to watch the Grand National.

In Black Group the tightest competition came in BB2’s second race with Jammy Dodger (J/133 – Neil Martin) getting third by two seconds. In the J/109s Velvet Elvis and J/Dream could not be separated with identical score-lines of two wins and two second places.

In White Group, three boats opened up a small advantage in the J/80 class after their four races. Patrick Liardet (Aqua-J) led by one point from Dan Brown (Henri Lloyd Shockwave) with Tony Hanlon’s RAF team on Spitfire a further point away.

J/122 sailboat- sailing around mark in England's Solent WaterOn Sunday, the television reported that the temperature in Bournemouth was higher than in Bermuda!! In the Solent the high pressure system resulted in brilliant sunshine but virtually no wind. Competitors and race officers had a long wait whilst some skippers carried out housekeeping jobs aloft on the rig and others read the Sunday papers. During long postponements like this it is customary for some crews to enjoy a swim, but not usually during the Spring Series when the water temperature is 10 degrees Celsius!

It was an agonizing time for the race officers hoping for the breeze to be sustained above 5 knots and from a steady direction. The mark laying boats were constantly being sent off in readiness only to return when the fickle breeze spun round and back. Just after noon, Black Group PRO David Greenway and his team stationed near Universal Marina buoy took the brave decision to get racing underway in a very localized south-easterly gusting to 6 knots. Classes were combined into three starts with the time limit extended to two and a half hours. IRC1 were set a laid windward mark just north of the Ryde Middle Bank followed by a run to Fastnet, beat to North East Ryde Middle and three further laid marks finishing near the start.

The first start comprised IRC1 and both “Big Boat” classes. The ODM end of the line was favored by many. Two were caught out as OCS but only Neil Kipling’s J/122 JOOPSTER failed to return although she is contesting this. On the next start, for IRC2 and the J/109s, the committee boat end held the most attraction but with such a large number of boats, the fleet was spread evenly along the line by the gun. Finally, at 1250 it was the turn of IRC3 who got clean away. The breeze held whilst the boats were beating and, with a weather-going tide, everyone made the top mark in reasonable time. The bigger boats in the first race made good progress but as they started their second beat the wind was already fading and their course was shortened at the end of the next run which enabled everyone to record a valid finish.

J/109 sailboat- sailing upwind in England's Warsash Spring ChampsFor the smaller boats in the second and third starts, life was more difficult. The boats were slowing down by the windward mark and progress was painfully slow on the run which sometimes turned into a shy spinnaker reach to Hamble Yacht Services where the course was shortened.  Two factors were critical. Gaining clean air was vital with so many boats sailing lower trying to gain an advantage only to find that the wind shadows from the boats above them extended much further than normal and the increased adverse tidal flow held them back. The other element was to choose the correct time to gybe along the mainland shore. Those that got it right made significant gains.

For the J/109s, VELVET ELVIS winning scoreline was a 1-2-1-2-2 for 8 pts.  Second was David and Kirsty Apthorp's team on J-DREAM starting to hit their stride and get a tally of a 2-1-2-1-5 for 11 pts to just lose out on the last race of the weekend.  Lying third was Richard and Valerie Griffith's OUTRAJEOUS with a 3-3-5-4-3 record for 18 pts.

Amongst the Big Boats, the J/122 JINJA sailed by Ian Matthews managed to get a consistent 2-8-2-3-4 score for 19 points.  Short of a regrettable "toss race" with their 8th, they sailed solidly enough to be a winner for the Spring Champs.

The fourteen boat J/80 class saw the Spring Series leader AQUA-J sailed by Patrick Liardet continue to show their winning form in the Spring Championship.  With a 2-1-1-4 score for 8 pts they just nipped out Dan Brown's up and coming HENRI LLOYD SHOCKWAVE team that had a 1-3-2-3 score for 9 pts.  Showing renewed vigor and aggressiveness, the Royal Air Force Team on SPITFIRE led by Tony Hanlon came out firing on all cylinders, getting a 4-2-3-1 to show strong improvement over the course of the weekend to get third with 10 pts.  Fourth was fall Hamble Winter Series champion John Cooper on OI! with a 3-5-4-5 tally for 17 pts and fifth was Paul Heys and Stew Hawthorn on JUMPIN JENGA with a 6-7-5-2 score line for  20 pts.   Sailing Photo Credits- Eddie Mays.    For more Warsash Spring Series sailing results.   

J/109 Wins Double-handed Farallones Race

J/125 racer- sailing off San Francisco
(San Francisco, CA)- As has happened over the course of this famously tough race, the fleet was greeted by the same forecast as the J/Fest crews were-- light in the morning and increasing velocity to a "good breeze" by late afternoon.  What no forecaster seemed to take into account were two very critical elements, particularly as they applied to the hapless double-handers headed outside the fabled "Golden Gate" to arm-wrestle their wheels and tillers over the great monster known as the "potato patch" and head around some islands renowned as much for feeding fat little seals off its shores to those scourges of the deep, the Great White Shark.  One element was how HOT it was going to get inland, the great bread-basket of California known as the Great Valley and the second element was how strong the currents would be on the ebb due to excessive rains and snow melt coming from the very same Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.  The combination proved yet again to be pretty toxic.

At start of the Farallones Race, it was blowing 15-20 knots. But, by the time the fleet was outside of the Golden Gate Bridge, it was blowing more like 20-40 knots with huge, breaking waves.  Sailing in the fleet was a J/105, a J/109, a J/120 and the J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE (DT), Andy Costello's speedster on the Bay.  DT started the race, broke their rudder quadrant and returned home-- here's Andy's report to Sailing Anarchy:

"Well DT had a great start and we were first out of the Bay with "Trunk Monkey", the only other mono that managed to exit the bay without being caught at the start by the tide. Once we cleared Point Bonita we were the northern most boat in the fleet and were taking pretty steep waves off the shoals but managed to get thru pretty well besides getting banged around a bit. The wind steadily built to the low 20's just off Bonita, then as we progressed a mile or so out out the waves and wind continued to increase up to solid 26s with gusts close to 30 knots. By this point we were trying to slow DT down and she was just jumping off the backs of the steep waves and hard into the next. I thought our rig was going to come down every time we leaped off the next wave. Pat went down to get his handheld GPS to get a heading for the Rock and I was up alone for a while.  We leaped off a huge wave and when we came down the boat came down with such force I heard a crack from the steering quadrant area.  At the same time our back-stay handle was flung overboard into the ocean!! Wow!! ( Take note- would have been smart to a have a tether on that!).  Now the rig was un-adjustable, great!?  We sailed along for a good 4 or 5 more miles waiting to see if the wind would increase or subside, during that time the creaks from the steering area were coming and going depending on load. I asked Pat what the heading was for the island and he gave me the news that our only mapping GPS had bit the dust!! 12 miles out from Farallones Islands, we decided to give up on our attempt of first monohull to finish (there was NO ONE else in sight)!

We continued upwind until an inbound freighter took our stern and followed him until we knew we were in the channel back to Golden Gate Bridge. On our way back in we sailed for 10 minutes before we saw the Open 50 coming upwind. I think we would have had our shot at overall honors as our J/125 has the legs downwind and the Open 50 had some catching up to do (like 15 miles worth!). He probably would have caught us but our start had paid off huge. We hugged the green Markers all the way in dodging 3 in-bound and out-bound freighter's.  Under main alone we wee trying to keep the boat as unloaded as we could, but we still hit over 18 knots on multiple occasions (a few times the speedo would be reading 16, 17 and then it would drop down even though the boat was still accelerating-- only then did I realize the speedos were both completely out of the water!! Ha!!). The J/125 is a joy to drive downwind when your not worrying about your rudder!"  Thanks goodness these two (Andy and Pat) made it home safely.

Hanging tough in the same conditions were the J/105, J/109 and J/120.  A bunch of guys from Chicago had brought their J/105 GONZO to the Bay for the winter sailing series.  Apparently, they've had a great time sailing on the Bay in everything from light air to the classic nukin' conditions the Bay can offer-- cart-wheeling AC72's anyone??  In any event, Ken Garch sailed GONZO to a very respectable 2nd in Class 4 ULDB, sailing the course in just 8 hours.  It was their first time sailing this grueling race, not bad for a bunch of newbies from a lake in the Midwest.

The top finishing J was Howard Turner's J/109 SYMMETRY from Santa Cruz, sailing an elapsed time of 7:46:26 to beat the famously fast offshore J/105 speedsters on elapsed time.  Howard's SYMMETRY won Class 3 Monohull by nearly an hour over three other famously fast Express 37s.

In the same class at DOUBLE TROUBLE was the J/120 JAMANI sailed by Sean Mulvihill and friend.  JAMANI had an elapsed time of 7:54:27 to get a fourth in class and finish behind the J/105 and J/109 on corrected overall.    For more Doublehanded Farallones sailing results   

J/122 LOST HORIZON Survives St Barths

J/122 racer-cruiser sailboat-  sailing in Caribbean Skipper says- "Crew Enjoyed Themselves Too Much"

(St Barths, Caribbean)-  What's the attraction of St Barths?  The gorgeous French and Swedish women on the beaches looking every bit the part of their infamous Brazilian Ipanema Beach counterparts? Is it the amazingly steady trade winds and challenging sailing conditions?  Or, is it the extraordinary geography and gastronomy?  Most would say it's a potent, intoxicating combination of all the above.  Really.  What's not to like about this little jewel in the middle of the eastern Caribbean?  No question some crews may enjoy themselves a wee bit too much. Why not?

While St. Barth is an island whose natural beauty you can enjoy, the chic French isle is also where one can find the highest level of gastronomy in the Caribbean. For one of the nights in the Race Village, there was a special event showcasing three famous chefs, Laurent Cantineaux (Le Bonito in St. Barth), Yann Vinsot (Hôtel Saint Barth île de France) and Jean Luc Grabowski (President of the “Goût et saveurs” gastronomy club), for an evening dedicated to food tastings and culinary demonstrations.

How did this all get created in the first place?  In 1784, the island of St. Barth became a currency exchange-- particularly for slavers in the Triangle Trade and pirates looting the Spanish Main!  Louis XVI decided to hand over what he owned in exchange for warehouse facilities in the port of Gothenburg, Sweden-- less risky. King Gustave III of Sweden, who really admired French culture, took possession of the 21 sq km of land in the middle of the Caribbean, and the island’s fortunes changed for the good. The monarch did all he could to make the most of his purchase, beginning with setting up a "free port" and building up a town around the harbour. Between 1786 and 1787, the port changed its name from “Le Carénage” to Gustavia to pay homage to King Gustave III.  As a "free port" for anyone-- come one, come all-- St. Barth was a trade and supply center during the 18th century for much of the Caribbean, beginning a mercantile tradition that has lasted to the present day. While Sweden sold the island back to France in 1878, its influence on the island is still seen through street names, the presence of Sweden’s national arms in the island’s coat of arms.

This year, the fleet continued to grow.  The forty-eight boats that assembled in Gustavia's anchorage for the start of the second edition of Les Voiles de St Barths regatta could not have been blessed with nicer weather conditions.  The first day of racing dawned with 25 knots of tropical tradewind breeze and showers sweeping over the picturesque French island located midway down the Caribbean chain. The regatta’s fleet set off on a race course around the nearby archipelago, and met with plenty of wind and bumpy seas, especially on the islands’ exposed eastern side.  You certainly couldn’t have asked for a prettier race course, which sent fleets on courses of 16, 22, or 25nm around pretty little islets. Most intriguing was the trip around the northern tip of St. Barth and through the nearby archipelago, which in a typically French way makes one ready for a meal with names such as Ile Chevreau (baby goat), Ile Fregate (bird), Ile le Boulanger (the baker), Ile Fourchue (fork), Grouper et Petite Groupers (fish), Le Boeuf (beef), and Le Pain du Sucre (sugarloaf).

By the second day, the weather offered 15 - 16 knots of breeze and a much reduced sea from the day before, when many boats returned to the quay to lick their wounds and effect repairs, which included torn sails, broken head foils, and damaged rigging.  At all four race starts, the groupings were much tighter as crews ramped up their performances and rivalries reared their heads, especially in the hard fought Racing Cruising Class that included Jim Dobb's J/122 LOST HORIZON.  As the largest at Les Voiles with 24 entries, Racing Cruising was again sent on a 16 nautical mile course, which was much less punishing than the opening race.

After lazy Thursday lay-day, the trade wind fan was still on – set at medium-high – with an 18 knot east-southeast breeze, and a gentle swell. In the Racing Cruising class, one competitor commented on the J/122 LOST HORIZON owned by Jim Dobbs (Antigua, W.I.)-  “He’s really quick, so we have to look at him, too. So our strategy today is as fast as we can push it. Have a good start is always important too, get away quickly, and get a good wind shift on the shore of the island.”  He was right, as LOST HORIZON went on to “correct out” first for the day. The J/122 has been inching up the leader board all week, and their victory moved them up into second overall with a record of 4-3-1.

As if to ensure that competitors had seen all the beaches and sights that St. Barth has to offer, race officers today sent the fleet on its final circumnavigation counter-clockwise around the eight-square mile island: a 23-nautical mile course for the Racing Cruising group.  In the morning, rain clouds scudded over the island, which by the 1100 start time caused some impressive shifts in wind direction and velocity on the right side of the race course. Once around the southern end of the island, the boats were into a 17 knot east-southeasterly with a three-foot sea. While it qualified as the lightest wind speeds for the week, it still ranked as great sailing conditions.

One sailor described the somewhat tricky conditions, saying, “It was lighter today – well, 17 knots – so lighter for St Barth. We had a 40-degree wind shift in the rain shadow on the west side, and the breeze dropped to nine knots at one point. Then on the windward side there were some pretty big waves".  In Racing Cruising, there were a handful of boats in contention for first overall going into the last race, including the J/122 LOST HORIZON. In the end, while Jim and crew on LOST HORIZON had been on a roll, moving up the rankings through the week, they were stopped just short of a win, correcting out today three minutes back to finish the week in second overall.  Jim was overheard saying, "well, the food was great, the beaches gorgeous, the women prettier and the crew loved it, so everyone wins!"  Who can blame him.  As the competing yachts crossed the finish line they were greeted by a tender manned with Les Voiles de St. Barth officials, who presented each of the crews with a bottle of Taittinger Champagne – and thus putting a final French touch on a ritual that in other parts of the world involves iced cold beer.  Who's going next year?  The whole J/Boats office will be run from there for a week!  For more Les Voile de St. Barths sailing information.