Thursday, September 29, 2011

J/80 North Americans Preview

J/80 international one-design sailboat- the ultimate sailing sportboat (Larchmont, NY)- This weekend Larchmont YC is hosting the J/80 North American Championship from September 28th to October 2nd.  Twenty-seven teams from across the country are sailing in what may be one of the most competitive J/80 fleets assembled in awhile.  While the recent J/80 Worlds in both Newport, RI and Copenhagen, Denmark were tough fleets with upwards of seventy boats, this shoot-out on Long Island Sound will have four J/80 World Champions, five J/80 North American Champions and several Key West Race Week Champions across multiple classes- J/80s, J/105s and PHRF! That's what one might call a "stacked deck"!

Expect to see amongst the leader-board teams like Kerry Klingler (NA and World Champion) from Long Island, NY; John Storck sailing RUMOR (Key West and 2010 NA's winner) from Long Island, NY; Glenn Darden/ Reese Hillard sailing LE TIGRE (Key West, NA's and World Champions) from Fort Worth, TX; Brian Keane skippering SAVASANA (Key West J/105 Champion) from Buzzards Bay; Curt Johnson helming AVET (J/80 Pacific Coast Champion) from Los Angeles, CA; Gary Kamins/ Jay Lutz sailing FIRED UP (Key West, Worlds and NA Champions) from Houston, TX/ Los Angeles, CA; and Bruno Pasquinelli skippering TIAMO (NA and Buzzards Bay Champion) from Houston, TX.   For more J/80 North American Championship sailing information

Women Superstars @ Santa Maria Cup

J/22 one-design sailboats- sailing Santa Maria Cup Annapolis, MD (Annapolis, MD)-  One of the favorite events on the Women's International Match Race Association (WIMRA) tour has always been racing the fun-to-sail J/22s in the Santa Maria Cup sailed in Annapolis, MD.  Hosted by Eastport YC, the EYC members and Maryland's capitol city of Annapolis roll-out the red carpet to welcome top women's match race teams from around the world, an invitational-only event.

Anna Tunnicliffe- sailing J/22 one-design sailboats- Santa Maria CupWhile the match racing begins on Wednesday, September 28, Tuesday the 27th is filled with Santa Maria Cup excitement. The Boatyard Bar & Grill PRO-AM pits regional challengers from industry, sailing clubs, colleges and high schools against the Santa Maria Cup women super-stars in fleet-racing.  What fun, eh?? Afterwards at the Opening Ceremonies on the City Dock, Eastport Yacht Club Commodore Rick Jackson and Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen welcome the women's teams to Annapolis and proclaim "Celebrate Women's Sailing Week".

J/22 women's sailor- Silja Lehtinen from Finland- sailing Santa Maria CupThen, on Wednesday the racing begins in earnest.  Top billing goes to recent Rolex Women's Sailor of the Year, Anna Tunnicliffe and her team who are also fresh from finishing 2nd in the Rolex Women's Worlds in Rochester, NY. Also a clear favorite, despite a currently low WIMRA ranking, is Liz Baylis, she was the Santa Maria Cup winner in 2003.  Also factoring into the leader-board will be Silja Lehtinen from Finland, she should prove tough to beat and her current #11 ranking in WIMRA means she will be a factor on the race  course.  Likewise, one of the top women match race sailors from France, Julie Brossard, ranked #12 in WIMRA will also be in the hunt for the Finals on Sunday.   Sailing photo credits- Fried Elliott/   For more Santa Maria Cup sailing information

Texas Two-Stepping "J/Fests"

(Houston, TX)- Texas likes'em big.  Regattas. Parties. Cars. Mechanical Bulls. Trucks. Girls hair. Guys hats. College football.  Longhorns.  Rattlesnakes.  Tumbleweed.  Trucks, did I mention them already?  Doh.  But, most of all, Texans LOVE people and friends.  So, it's no wonder ya'all out there are just "family" to them.  Big hearts is what Texans are all about, that's why the gals call you "love" or "sweetie" the first time they see you.  Join in any BBQ with a case of beer and you're a hero and friend for life.  Their sailing is simply an extension of that fun-loving, simple philosophy on life.  Ever wonder why they're renown for their fabulous hospitality?  Wonder no further.  Just jump in the car, toss the family (and dogs) inside, head on down to warmer climes (BTW, it's no longer 100+ degrees down there) and have a blast.  The combination of warm weather, cheap boat storage, cheap lodging, cheap tickets on Southwest Airlines into Houston-Hobby might entice some northern folk who may already be shivering to come on down.  (Note- one of the Dillon J/80 owners leaves his J/80 in Houston over the winter and gets $60.00 round trip tickets and comes every weekend)!!  There are three events to whet your whistle and strum along on any available ukelele or "geetar" at the saloon:

- The Compass Regatta- October 1-2- open to all boats, one-design and PHRF.  The J/111 will be racing in this one along with the J/109 fleet, J/105's, J/120's, etc.  Online Registration here.

- Harvest Moon Regatta- October 13-16- hosted by Lakewood YC in Houston.  This is a 120 nm race from the Galveston Bay jetties to Port Aransas. It's the "Texas Chicago-Mac".  Last year there were 250 boats, racing everything from Grandma's old bathtub to the latest racing machines, J/105s to J/44s.  Like the Chi-Mac, it's the voyage that counts, so you can tell the story at the party later!  Is their a "Pink Pony" in Port Aransas?  Register on-line here.

- J/Fest Southwest- October 29-30th- also hosted by Lakewood YC as a J/Boats only event.  There will be one-design classes for J/22 (J/World Annapolis on the water coaching for this fleet), J/24 (circuit stop), J/80 (circuit stop), J/105 (Regional invitational), J/109 (regional invitational) and J/PHRF, and J/Cruise.  On course video/ photography will also be streamed to TV's live during the day.  Friends and family not on the water can track their favorite J team or head over to the amusement park at Kemah or NASA/Johnson Space Center for the tour, or museum's shopping!  After racing, the J/24 fleet is sponsoring lawn games after Saturday's racing and Lakewood YC is putting on a Cajun feast Saturday night!  After dinner, boogie to some live music!  If you have a big boat we are offering free in-and-out launch/haul with a 50 ton crane!  Register on-line here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

J's Dominate "The HOOD" Regatta

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing downwind on Galveston Bay, Houston, TX (Houston, TX)- The Houston Yacht Club along with their neighbors in the "hood", Lakewood and Texas Corinthian YCs, always seem to be favorites amongst sailors for hosting regattas.  For all the reasons outlined above when talking about our friends in Texas, they pull out all the stops and make sure everyone is welcome-- and, most importantly, do it in a "big" way so everyone is happy!  This past weekend's HOOD Regatta (Houston Offshore One-Design) was an epochal, history-making event for the region.  There were one hundred boats that showed up and the J sailors simply dominated the proceedings, showing up with 48 J's in total spread across J/22s (19), J/24s (12), J/80s (13) and J/105s (4)- by a country furlong the most dominant "brand" at the regatta- 50% of the fleet!  Might as well have been called "J/Fest Pre-Regatta"!

J/22 one-design sailboats- sailing Houston's Galveston BayIn the biggest fleet of the event, the J/22s saw some excellent racing across the board with a few surprises, twists and turns thrown in for good measure.  Past J/22 World Champion Terry Flynn had a rough go of it, sailing his J/22 TEJAS to a hard fought third place with a 2-3-1-2-5-11 record for 24 pts, losing out any chance at first because of the "slow" last race.  Reigning supreme was a long-time road warrior Rob Johnston from Dallas' Rush Creek YC, sailing his J/22 DIESEL SNACK to a pretty convincing first overall, snagging four bullets, a 3rd and 6th to win by 8 pts.  Second was another Dallas team, Max scott racing FAST LANE to a 4-5-2-3-2-5 for 21 points, holding off the indomitable Terry Flynn for one more regatta.  Fourth was Brank Koeopke sailing RICH SKANK (?) and fifth was Ruthie Lambert skippering OUT OF SIGHT.

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing Houston Galveston BayThe J/24s had a real donnybrook for the top three, with all scores being settled between the teams in the last race.  Emerging from the dust bowl of a scrum was Bobby Harden's team on MR HAPPY, their 3-1-3-3-2-3 for 15 pts being the most consistent of the top teams.  Winning going into the last two races was Bryan Dryer on RUM LINE, but Bryan's team couldn't hold it together, adding a 7-5 to their previous 1-2-2-2 record to finish second with 19 pts.  After starting slowly with a 4-6, Doug Weakly's team on AMBASSADOR screamed into contention with three straight bullets, only to blow it in the last race with an 8th for 21 pts to secure third overall.  Lying fourth was Corey Harding on another "happy" boat- HAPPY DANCE.  And, fifth was Dov Kivlovitz on USA 93!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off starting line Houston, TXThere was a great turnout for the J/80s in this event.  Bill Rose's team on KICKS simply did "kick up their heels" and show their transom to the fleet, amassing an impressive two 1sts and three 2nds for 8 pts to win by the healthiest margin in the entire regatta- 12 pts in five races!  Paul Parsons raced PARSONS PROJECT to a 1-2-6(scp)-5-6 for 20 pts, good enough for second.  Just behind them it was a full-on wild ride for four boats, all of whom nearly all tied each other after the last race!  Winning the tie-breaker for third was Claude Welles on JACKRABBIT, fourth was Forbes Durdin on MOJITO.  Winning the tie-break for fifth was Al Poindexter skippering ANDALE, sixth was Alan Bates on WHISKEY TANGO.

J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing upwind on Galveston Bay, Houston, TXWhile the J/105s may have had one of the smallest fleets in the regatta, it might as well have been a three-way match race for top honors.  No quarter given here, or there, or anywhere!  At the end, the top three boats finished just three points apart after five races.  Emerging from the scuffles in the last race was Bob Brann's RADIANCE, winning with a 3-2-2-1-1 for 9 pts.  Missing out a strong opportunity to win was Uzi Ozeri's INFINITY.  Uzi's team started by firing off a 1-1-1, then succumbed perhaps to a case of missing brain cells (or "slows") on Sunday, amassing a 3-4 for 10 points to drop into second.  Hanging tough all regatta long was Malcolm Brenner's BABE, sailing to a 2-3-3-2-2 for 12 pts to snag the bronze on the podium.

Finally, "Thanks" must be given to the amazing program laid out by the event's sponsors.  Mount Gay Rum had a bevy of Mt. Gay Girls running around serving up Rum drinks.  The HYC Ragnots also supported the event with "Weinerfest", raising money for the HYC Youth programs-- no question the crowds seem to be pleased with the delicious combination of wieners and Mt Gay for dinner!    Sailing photo credits- Lacy Photos   Sailing photo credits- Byrne Photo   For more J/80 & J/105 sailing information.    For more J/22 & J/24 sailing information

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

25th Key West "J/Fest" Ready to Roll!

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing around mark at Key West Race Week (Key West, FL)- America's premiere midwinter big-boat regatta, Key West Race Week sailing January 16-20, 2012, has much to celebrate. It's the 25th anniversary of the event, it has Quantum Sails as a title sponsor, and J sailors will again help create what has become a "de facto" J/Fest every winter in January down in the sunny, warm, near tropical trade-winds that are typical in the lower Keys at this time of year.

The tradition all started with the J/24 Midwinters in 1978, a week of sailing after the traditional "SORC feeder-race" known as the Lauderdale-Key West Race.  The first year was a resounding success, attracting most sailing industry luminaries you hear/ read about today in a 21 boat J/24 fleet- Tom Whidden, Vincent Brun, Dave Ullman, Dave Hirsch, Mark Ploch, Larry Leonard, Augie Diaz, Gary Weismann, Ed Reynolds, Jimmy Allsop, Dave Curtiss, Bob Barton, Bill Allen, Gordy Bowers, John Southam, Jimmy Scott, Scott Allan, John Kolius, Neal Fowler, Rick Grajirena, Carter Gowrie, Charlie Scott and so forth.  In less than five years, YACHTING magazine's Charlie Barthold was so inspired by the success of the J/24 Midwinters event in Key West they created Key West Race Week to incorporate not just one-design classes, but handicap classes, too.  The rest is history.  Later, as the baton was passed onto others, now under the leadership of Peter Craig at Premiere Racing, the event has continued to both prosper and survive the "best of times, the worst of times".

This coming year, a new innovation for 2012 will be J/Boats specific handicap classes.  “We are really excited about the prospects of developing J-specific handicap classes at Key West next January,” said Jeff Johnstone. “The concept is to group together different J designs of similar speed to provide both excellent class racing, as well as to open up the possibility for sub-class one-design racing. An example would be the J/111s and one or two other models racing together with a tight rating band. We are already projecting as many as six J/111s next year.”

In addition, the J/105s and the J/80s are again expecting solid turnouts for their 2012 Midwinter Championships in Key West with twenty or more boats expected in each class.  Most importantly, for both the J/105s and J/80s, there are "winter circuits" that enable sailing once a month from Jan-Feb-Mar-Apr leading up to the spring season on the Chesapeake!   Sailing photo credit- Ken  For more 25th Anniversary Key West Race Week sailing information.

J/80 China Rising

J/80 Xiamen Boatshow (Xiamen, China)- J/80s continue to expand their fleets and events across the vast shorelines and river deltas of China.  This fall there is a good chance for those who sail in Asia/Pac to hop aboard a J/80 and help grow the sport of sailing to an enthusiastic group of budding sailors.

The first event is the China Club Match Racing Championships, being held on October 1st through the 7th in Xiamen.  Currently there are 48 Chinese teams registered for the largest J/80 event in the Asian Market.  This event will be larger, in fact, than last year's Asia Games that saw strong participation from Asian sailing teams from across the region.  That's enormous growth in such a short period of time.  For a sense of perspective on the wealth and growth of this region and why the middle-class want to experience new outdoor activities that are supported by their governments (like sailing- the ultimate "green", environmentally-friendly recreation), the "Golden Triangle" is defined as Japan/ Korea to the East, China J/80 fleet- the one-design sailboat for China Match Race Regattato the North, the "island nations" to the South (Philippines/ Malaysia/ Singapore/ Indonesia), Hong Kong and India as part of "the West"-- it's collective GDP of $15+ trillion far exceeds that of America or Europe--- with projections by 2025 to eclipse both USA and Europe combined (e.g. so what are 2.5 BILLION people going to spend their leisure time doing?  Sailing is cheap, comparatively speaking).  Ever wonder why Macau, China (one of the 16th century's most prolific trading ports) is the gambling capital of the world today? Hmmm. Good thing that J/80s will be sailing on Wuyuan Bay off Xiamen.  For more sailing and regatta information.

Next up on the schedule will be the J/80 Fall Regatta in southern China.  This event runs from October 14-16 and will be sailed off LiuZhou, GuangXi, China.   For more sailing information, please visit (if you can't read Chinese, please contact Jim or Cindy below for an introduction on how to sail the event).

Finally, if you haven't been able to make travel plans to get to either Xiamen or Liu Zhou to sail J/80s, you can always catch up with the local J/80 sailors in Xiamen at this fall's Xiamen Boatshow from November 4th to 7th.  As Jim, Hudson and Cindy have explained many times, there is such enthusiasm for sailing locally that they're literally booking people weeks in advance to get on board the boats.  The Xiamen Boatshow is a great way to meet them all.  More Xiamen Boatshow details can be found here.

For more Chinese sailing and Xiamen show information, you can always email J/Boats Asia- Cindy Chen ( or Jim Johnstone (

MENTAL FLOSS Wins J/24 NE Regionals

J/24 sailboats- sailing off starting line (Harlem, NY)- In a battle of wits, cunning, intrigue, wisdom and plain old luck, it was MENTAL FLOSS over a weakened BLITZ(krieg) that took it all from DOUBLE VISION (the gang that couldn't shoot straight), with a VANISHING ACT not too far behind. Are you serious?  This cannot be real!  But, again, "truth is often stranger than fiction".  In this case, J/24 boat names in themselves can be wonderfully entertaining to discuss over evening cocktails with friends (though, in some cases, NOT family).

The Harlem Yacht Club and J/24 Fleet 61 were hosts for this year's 2011 J/24 Northeast Regional Championships.  They held the racing on Eastchester Bay off of beautiful City Island, The Bronx, New York.  Cool stuff, really.  A Bronx yacht club with tremendous heritage, it all started with a bunch of great guys from Harlem who simply wanted to enjoy some time on the water with their friends.  What a great recipe for broadening the sport of sailing to many who may not have had the opportunity to participate because of where they lived in New York city.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable elements of this regatta was the re-emergence of J/24 class's stalwarts from the 80s/90s, for example- Al Constants from Long Island, NY.  Al and team showed up with BLITZ  to perhaps dial-up their program for the J/24 Worlds in Rochester, NY in 2012??  The wheels are spinning now.  The BLITZ boys, as both Al and his brother Dave had always been renown, put on a terrific performance in this event, sailing consistently in the top three to finish second for the regatta with 22 pts.  Holding the "old guard" off was Aidan Glackin on MENTAL FLOSS, sailing an impeccable regatta to win with 20 pts.  Just off the pace was Phil Walters DOUBLE VISION with 28 pts for third place.  Fourth was John Surguy on VANISHING ACT and fifth was Kevin Sailor racing SURCEASE.   For more J/24 Northeast Regionals sailing results

J/125 Double Trouble- YouTube Video

J/125 Double Trouble- Andy Costello- photo- Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing Andy Costello and the DOUBLE TROUBLE boys love racing this boat BOTH inshore around the buoys and offshore.  But, offshore is their "first love" and DT has had some epic experiences in "fresh to frightening" weather conditions up and down the Pacific West Coast-- some have asked what the experience is like-  well, here's a reasonably good YouTube video of their experiences:

Monday, September 26, 2011

J/108 & J/111 @ Annapolis Boatshow

J/108 shoal performance cruising sailboat (Annapolis, MD)- With its successful introduction this past winter, the J/108 shoal-performance cruising yacht has far surpassed the expectations of its lucky owners.  The first J cruiser to combine stand-up headroom with legendary J-performance in a 35 footer that can wander across the shallows of the world's best cruising grounds drawing less than the original J/24!  Now that's shallow.  At only 4.0 feet with board up, the horizon is nearly your only limit for cruising grounds-- in other words, the ENTIRE Bahamas Banks are your cruising ground, not just a few corners of a few million square miles.  And, when you need to dial-up some upwind performance, the  8' draft with board down assures you of sparkling VMG's upwind, a near impossibility with competitive shoal-draft cruisers.  Be sure to visit the J-booth at Annapolis to see this revolutionary J cruiser.

J/111 speedster- one-design sailboat- sailing sunsetAlso featured at the show will be the new J/111 speedster, the boat that has been taking the offshore world by storm. It's perhaps the most evolutionary/ revolutionary J designed to date-- simplicity, speed and minimalism, comfort and control in a uniquely thrilling package.  Nearly a year after it's launch in 2010, over 40 J/111s are now sailing and the "winners list" reads like a "who's who" of events worldwide, quite a remarkable start for any boat.  Better yet?  Success at a world-class level has been achieved by a cadre of corinthian/ amateur sailors having a great time at what they love to do best--- sailing with friends and family, having fun, and winning a pickle dish or two for the trophy shelf.  Isn't it time to join in on the fun?!

For more J/108 information-
For more J/111 information-

Average WHITE BOAT Wins Huge J/30 NA's

J/30 one-design sailboat- sailing downwind under spinnaker (Annapolis, MD)- Nineteen J/30s showed up to the starting line for the 2011 J/30 Intergalactic North American Championship hosted by the Annapolis Yacht Club.  19 boats!  That is way cool.  Proof that you can't relegate that old war-horse onto the ash-heap of yachting history.  Au contraire!  J/30s have seen it all, survived it all, changed the paradigm for 30 foot racer-cruisers forever, and continue to demonstrate why their loyal owners love them so much.  It's a great combination of a good performing boat, easy to handle by a small family and can cruise comfortably.  And, there were some spectacular examples of J/30s lovingly restored to what really look like "better than new" boats!  Perhaps the J/30s will one day have a "Grand Prix concours'd'elegance" themselves, eh?!

The racing was close and the lead changed hands several times.  Fittingly, four boats won races over the course of seven total.  The top five was not locked in until the dust cleared after the final, seventh race!  Leading the charge home to the top of the podium was Dave McConaughy's WHITE BOAT from Hampton YC.  Dave's crew seemed to ride one heckuva roller-coaster over the seven races, nearly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!  Starting with a 6-4, this "average white band" of sailors ran off with three 1sts, then just about tossed the regatta away with a mind-blowing 8-8 in the last two races to win by only four points.  Fighting tooth and nail all weekend was Steve Buzbee's BLUE MEANIE up from Raritan Bay YC.  Steve's team managed a steady 2-7-8-5-2-5-4 for 33 pts to get the silver.  Just behind him were three boats that had to beat one another in the last race to secure 3rd.  Winning the tie-breaker for third was Bob Rutsch and Mike Costello sailing BEPOP from the host, Annapolis YC.  On the losing end of that stick was fellow club member Grealy Putnam taking fourth racing BETTER MOUSETRAP.  Perhaps the "long-distance" award goes to Whitney Kent from South Shore YC in Milwaukee, racing the beautiful navy blue RAFIKI to fifth overall, book-ending their record with a 1st in the first race and 2nd in the last race!

BTW, for RAFIKI, please be sure to read in the J/Community section the loving, remarkable story about two teenage girls racing her double-handed off Milwaukee in the Queen's Cup on Lake Michigan.   For more J/30 North Americans sailing information

J Sailors Dominate New York YC Rolex Invitational

* Friend, 470, J/24 and J/105 sailor- Terry McLaughlin along with fellow friend, J/24 sailor John Hele (owner of DARING), won the NYYC Invite Cup on Swan 42s.  In fact, the entire top FIVE finishers in the NYYC Invite Cup were all comprised of top J sailors in various J classes.  Besides John and Terry, Ken Colburn and Phil Lotz were champion J/105 sailors themselves racing for NYYC; Peter McChesney and friends from Annapolis YC in third were champion J/22 and J/24 sailors (many in the crew); Billy Lynn and friends from Eastern YC in fourth were champion J/22, J/24 and J/105 sailors; and in fifth was Jim Madden from Newport Harbor YC of STARK RAVING MAD fame (J/125) and BRAND NEW DAY (J/65 Bermuda winner).  Apparently, unless you had some form of "J/One-Design" experience, you were "toast" in this event-- the evidence is clear and unmistakable.

Canada leading New York YC Rolex Invite CupFor Terry Mclaughlin and John Hele, it was a "redemption" regatta.  In a reversal of fortunes from the inaugural event two years ago, they cleaned-out their competitors starting from the very first day. Terry/ John and crew sailed a nearly flawless series with seven top five finishes out of eleven races. In races where they were deep in the fleet, they inevitably overhauled the boats ahead. Terry said, “I think we came back quite well this series. It's important because you can’t get off the line in great shape or get around the first mark in great shape for eleven races in a row.”

McLaughlin won a silver medal in the Flying Dutchman class in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and was the skipper of CANADA I in the 1983 America’s Cup challenger series. These days Terry's business is importing the famous DUBARRY clothing and footwear from Ireland, and his sailing more relegated to occasional racing with friends-- like J/105s for serious competition with Ken and other friends in Toronto! Gotta test out those boots, eh!?

In a new addition to the event, the team leading in points at the end of each day flew a “gold” spinnaker in the following day’s races (e.g. a "borrowed" idea from that famous French bike race- The TOUR DE FRANCE- remember the famous "yellow jersey"?).  Cute!  The Royal Canadian team quickly took that honor after the first day and never relinquished it for the week (one wonders, was it as fast, or faster?).

J/22 HOT TICKET Report- Rolex Women's Worlds

J/22 Hot Ticket team- sailed by Sue Mikulski and Sandy Adzick in Rolex Women's Worlds A Refreshing POV from the Rolex Women's Worlds- from Sue Mikulski and Sandy Adzick:

The HOT TICKET Team, comprised of skipper Sandy Adzick and crew members Hilary Armstrong, Debbie Gibbons-Neff and Sue Mikulski, had a fantastic time sailing in the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship held at Rochester Yacht Club at the end of August. There were 36 all-women teams participating from the Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada and 16 US states with sailors ranging from ages 11 to 65. Where else can women sailors of such diverse back grounds, have a chance to sail against past Olympians, Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year, All-American Collegiate sailors and recent Quantum Female College Sailors of the Year. The depth of the competition was among one of the strongest it has been in a long time. This may have been a result of the seven Road to Rolex clinics held at various locations this year and the Junior Next Step to Rolex Program that was run two days before the event. Our seasoned team of the “over 50 Ladies Club” had many combined years of sailing wisdom and knowledge but the younger teenage sailors definitely showed us what they had recently learned.

Saturday was a day of measurements, weigh-ins and rigging our boats. Some of the sailors even had the opportunity to tune up on Lake Ontario during a quiet afternoon on the water. That all changed on Sunday when Hurricane Irene edged by the club with 45 mph winds and waves crashing over the bulkhead forcing RYC to close the hoists and cancel the practice races for the day. Mother Nature was to be respected. Competitors with their new bright red vests donated by Gill could be seen through out the Rochester area. Some of the substitute activities for the day included "retail therapy", food shopping at Wegmans, going to the movies, a visit to Niagara Falls and wine tasting at a local winery until the Opening Ceremonies that evening.  One of the highlights of the evening was keynote speaker, Dawn Seymour, a pilot in the United States Air Force and a former WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot) in World War II. Mrs. Seymour, who is 94 years old, was an incredible inspiration to the women sailors as she spoke about her passion for flying, comparing it to our enthusiasm for sailing. Her daughter Amy Moran, sailing with Cory Sertl, and granddaughter Merritt Moran, crewing for Katja Sertl, were present as she received many standing ovations from the crowd.

As it seems to happen at most regattas, a day of too much wind is followed by no wind the next day. With extremely light air on Monday we all floated around for six hours checking in with old friends and making some new ones. A few us even reminisced about two years ago when we played Bingo on the water. (By the way, the Coast Guard found that the use of a VHF radio for that purpose is against regulations!). That evening, ROLEX hosted a unique and entertaining dinner at the Artisans Works, a 40,000 sq. ft. facility with over 500,000 pieces of artwork and art objects to explore and ponder.

On Tuesday, due to the extended forecast for the rest of the week, PRO Hank Stuart ran five excellent races in 8-12 knot breezes.  With four different winners that day the battle for the top position had begun.  Anna Tunnicliffe (defending ‘09 champion and Gold medalist in Laser Radials at the ‘08 Olympics), Sally Barkow (‘08 Olympian and Rolex champion in ’03, ’05, ’07), Carol Cronin, (’04 Olympian) and Cory Sertl (two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, ’88 Olympian & ’01 Rolex champion,) with all exceptional and talented crew, were now vying for the top spot.

Wednesday competitors experienced winds in many directions, and competitors sailed three races complete with course changes on almost every leg.  Marieke Poulie from Amsterdam, Jo Ann Fisher, Kirsten Werner, College All American Sailors Ann Haeger and Allie Blecher and even Cory Sertl’s 18 year old daughter Katja, all challenged the ladies at the top.

As Thursday racing began it was the first time in Rolex IWKC history that the leader had to sail the last race due to the close scores with throw outs. PRO Hank Stuart was able to get in a third race 30 minutes before the deadline. This was the deciding race for the Championship. Cory Sertl lead most of the race but Sally Barkow edged her out followed by Cory’s 18-year-old daughter Katja Sertl, Anna Tunnicliffe and then Cory. Word spread quickly when we arrived back at the yacht club that a protest had been filed by Sertl against Barkow for a foul at the start. With Barkow being disqualified from this race which now became her throw out, Cory Sertl won her third Championship with crew members Amy Moran, Annemarie Cook, and Jane Mastrandrea.

The final evenings’ ROLEX Gala began with competitors enjoying a lovely breeze outside on the veranda. While we waited for the awards to be presented sailors discussed the next regattas they were traveling to. Kathy Parks, Sue McIntyre and Susan Turhham discussed their trip to New Orleans for the J/22 Worlds. Others were off to sail in International Match races and 470 trials for the 2012 Olympics. Awards were presented to the top 10 teams with each team being honored with a photo taken with Helen Ingerson, the founding member of this event. Cory Sertl accepted the US Sailing’s Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex timepiece thanking her team and also mentioning what a thrill it was to compete against her own daughter, who pushed her even harder to sail faster. This was also a special day for Linda Hiller and Sandy Adzick who were both celebrating their birthdays. Only at an all women’s event would all the competitors sing Happy Birthday at an awards ceremony and then dance the night away with their former competitors, celebrating a well-run regatta from every perspective.

The camaraderie between the teams, the sailors of all ages and different sailing levels, the depth of competition, and the lifelong friendships are what keep competitors returning each year. The keelboat championship is a first class event, and truly promotes women's sailing, giving newer competitors the opportunity to sail against some of the best in our sport, where they learn about themselves, team and skill building, and have an experience on and off the water that we all will remember for a very long time.

A huge thanks again to Regatta Event Chairman Chris Dorsey, and all of the wonderful volunteers from Rochester YC, the US Sailing representatives, the international judges, PRO Hank Stuart and his Committee, and ROLEX that made this regatta a great pleasure to sail in.

The 2013 Rolex IWKC will be held in October out of St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco where they have a new fleet of J/22s. There is always a terrific breeze in the Bay at that time of year with incredible views of the city, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge, which will make for a spectacular venue to sail and race. The HOT TICKET ladies are marking our calendars now! See you all there!  BTW, Stu J, we know you love the Bay. Can you help us?  The girls.  :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Netherlands "Try-Sailing" Weekend

J/Fest Trysail Benelux (Bruinisse, Netherlands)-  From October 8-9, in the southern part of the Netherlands, J/Netherlands is hosting a Try-Sailing Weekend on various J's, including the J/111.  Over sixty people have registered so far to join in the festivities and try everything from J/22s to J/80s and J/109s up to J/111s!  You think the Chinese are enthusiastic about sailing J's, there has been tremendous enthusiasm across the board in the "Benelux" region for sailing a range of J's--- from J/22s, J/24s, J/80s, J/105s (especially double-handed) up to the J/109s and J/111s.  Be sure to contact Robin or Angelique Verhoef ( to book a sail aboard any one of these popular J's sailing in this event.

RELOADED Blasts BMW J/24 Europeans

BMW J/24 European sailing champions- Dublin, Ireland (Dublin, Ireland)- In ideal conditions - moderate to fresh south-easterly winds and sunshine - the BMW J/24 European Championships concluded at Howth with four back-to-back races to complete the full 10-race program.  Top of the table was the American team of RELOADED (Mark Penfold) with 34 points, three ahead of the leading European entry IL RICIO (Ian Southworth/Chris McLaughlin) which takes the European Championship trophy.

For the 210 competitors from nine countries this year's J/24 Europeans was a resounding success both on and off the water.  Despite the fact that the event had seen real, honest-to-goodness, nuclear gale conditions the first day.  That day (Monday) fell victim to the weather, when winds in excess of 30 knots and gusts over 50 knots left the Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove with no option other than to abandon racing.

BMW Ireland sponsor J/24 Europeans- joy is plain sailingA major factor in the event's success was the generous sponsorship from BMW Ireland whose displays added immensely to the occasion. BMW's contribution was huge, not just in financial terms but also by way of support in several other key areas.  The Race Management team, led by Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove, deservedly received countless plaudits for completing the 10-race schedule despite severe weather conditions preventing two full days of racing. The quality of the courses and the efficiency of the race management were also applauded.

Ashore, the pre-event measurement and registration went smoothly and the craning in and out of 42 boats was an exercise in real co-ordination by the marine staff. Organising Committee Chairman Derek Bothwell paid tribute to the core group on his committee who handled general administration, measurement, accommodation, PR and social activities and to the 60 volunteers who helped in other ways such as RIB drivers, committee and mark boats personnel, race office etc.

J/24 one-design sailboats- sailing start of BMW J/24 Europeans With the exception of their discard of a 20th in the fifth race, RELOADED was consistently in the top four in most races and had one bullet, while closest rivals IL RICIO had two bullets and only a 9th to discard.  That they had some 28 points to spare over the third placed SERCO (Bob Turner) emphasized their dominance over the series. The German champion ROTOMAN (Kai Mares) was only a point behind in 4th place and won the final race of the regatta while Stuart Jardine, the oldest helm in the championship, had the distinction of winning three races, including the first two races of the final day. Another German boat HUNGRIGER WOLF (Johann Huhn) had six top ten results to earn 6th overall.

Local boat JIBBERISH (O'Kelly/Wormald/Walsh) enjoyed its best result when finishing second behind STOUCHE (Jardine) in the seventh race while German entry JJONE (Frithjof Schade) was looking at the same transom in the eighth race. The Southworth/McLaughlin crew topped the fleet in the penultimate race followed by the Hungarian boat NAVISCON (Farkas Litkey) while SERCO took second behind ROTOMAN in the final race.

BMW J/24 Europeans- sailing aournd markNeeding to beat their US rivals by several places in the last race to take 1st overall, IL RICIO could only manage an 8th to RELOADED's 5th. The leading Irish crew was HARD ON PORT (Flor O'Driscoll, HYC) in 10th overall with JAMAIS ENCORE (John-Patrick McCaldin, Lough Erne YC) next best in 17th.

The 42-boat fleet had faced a tough schedule of five back-to-back races on the third day of the regatta, sailed in ideal conditions. They made up for the weather-affected program and it was the consistency of the sole American entry and a leading UK contender over those five races which put them very much in command going into the final day.

RELOADED (Mark Penfold, Rochester YC) with Mike Ingham on helm, won the first race of the day, sailed in a brisk westerly, with Irish champion Flor O'Driscoll (Hard on Port, HYC) producing the best local result to date by finishing 2nd ahead of the much-fancied IL RICIO (Ian Southworth/Chris McLaughlin, RCYC Cowes).

The British boat moved up a gear in the second race, winning from defending champions SERCO (Bob Turner, Castle Cove SC) and the Greek champions EVNIKI (Aitsiadis Dimitrios) but RELOADED bounced back by taking the gun on the series' 4th race ahead of SERCO again and JELI (Stig McDonald, Royal Western YC).

Race 5 in the series saw a complete reversal of fortunes, with the honours going to boats not previously in the frame. Victory went to JAWBREAKER (David Cooper, Royal Western YC) in front of German boat JJONE (Frithjof Schade, Joersfelder SC) and the Italian champions LA SUPERBA (Ignazio Bonanno, C V Marina Militara).  At the same time, it proved disastrous for RELOADED and SERCO who finished 20th and 22nd respectively. Added to a black flag on the opening race, that result had a significant impact on SERCO's chances of retaining the trophy.  The fifth race of a long day was a triumph for one of the J/24 Class stalwarts Stuart Jardine whose STOUCHE headed HUNGRIDER WOLF (Johann Huhn, SVAOe) and RELOADED to the finishing line.  With one discard in force at the moment, RELOADED had just two points of a margin over IL RICIO, with SERCO 21 points adrift in the bronze medal position.   Sailing photo credits-  FOTOSAIL
For more J/24 Europeans sailing information

ECC VIVIENDAS Wins Trofeo Iberdrola

J/80 Spain- Trofeo Iberdrola- one-design sailing off Bilbao, spain (Bilbao, Spain)- This year's Trofeo Iberdrola again established itself as one of the leading regattas held in the Bay of Biscay, marking the start of the fall sailing season in southern Europe.  True to form, the top Spanish J/80 sailors were a factor at the top of the fleet, including three J/80 World Champions!  In a very competitive regatta marked by significant swings in position on each leg, the winner of this year's event was Pichu Torcida sailing his famous J/80 ECC VIVIENDAS, just squeaking out a victory over Iker Almandoz by one point!

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing downwind off Bilbao, SpainAs past J/80 World Champion 2010 in Newport and one of Spain's best sailors, Pichu had to work very hard on the second day of the regatta to win.  As one of the favorites, Pichu won both races on the second and decisive day over Almandoz's team on ESPALARTA GOLD SAILING.  Pichu said, "on the last day, the fourth and fifth races were thrilling for us."  Behind the first two spots, the double J/80 World Champion, Ignacio Camino sailing his equally famous boat NEXTEL ENGINEERING, was third, just three points behind the winning boat from the Real Club MarĂ­timo de Santander. Fourth place was MARIFLOR skippered by Alexander Diaz and the fifth and sixth places went to the Basque sailors, AS DE GIA sailed by Jose Azqueta and PAKEA BIZKAIA sailed by Peru Mugica, both tied with 21 points.   For more J/80 Spain Trofeo Iberdrola sailing information

J/100 Wins Chicago "There & Back" Race

J/100 sailboat- sailing on Lake Michigan* Whaaat's up?  A J/100 Wins "There & Back Race" on Lake Michigan.  It just seems that Paul and Susan Herer are having a wonderful time sailing their J/100 on the Great Lakes.  Perhaps most importantly, daysailing is their primary time to enjoy their J/100 WHAAT'S UP along the Chicago waterfront.  But, every once in awhile, they decide to test their mettle against Chicago's best and sail in some double-handed races together.  Recently, they entered their J/100 WHAAT'S UP in the Double-handed section of the annual "There & Back Race" hosted by Belmont Yacht Club.  While the usual race is a 47 NM course, this year it was shortened due to light air conditions.  Whatever the conditions, it did nothing to diminish Paul and Susan's determination to get around it as fast as possible, winning both handicap AND line honors for the fleet!  Congratulations!  Yet another case, like their J/109 friends in the recent UK J/109 Europeans, of promoting harmonious, marriage therapy through sailing!

Teenage Girls Sailing J/30 Double-handed

J/30 Rafiki- sailed by two teenage girls in Milwaukee* Teenage Queen Bees Sail Queens Cup In J/30 Double-handed?  Hmmm. Something fishy about this headline?  Not really.  Whitney Kent admits she slept through her first several Queen’s Cup races-- after all, starting as a "princess" that’s understandable, considering she was just 4 years old during her first race with her parents in 1997.  Her sister Alison (Gator) was 3.

This year, at ages 18 and 17, Whitney and Alison Kent launched their own campaign in the Short-handed Fleet on RAFIKI, their J/30. They have probably set a record as the two youngest sailors in the 73-year history of the Queen’s Cup.

Whitney’s idea to do the Queen’s Cup with her sister was sparked in 2009 when she sailed in the Short-handed Fleet on Quicksilver with her mom, Cheri Kent Jones.

However, Whitney felt that Quicksilver, a C&C 41, was a lot of boat for two teenagers to handle. When she got RAFIKI in 2010, it was the right-sized boat, but it wasn’t ready to sail until later that summer. She had another year to make plans for the 2011 Queen’s Cup with Alison.

The next step was to convince the parents this was a good idea. “They quizzed us — what would you do in this situation, what would you do if this happened?” Whitney said.

Stepdad Eric Jones (“Inky”) was finally convinced last winter that the two sisters could safely campaign RAFIKI.

Meanwhile, their dad Tim Kent would be racing against them in the Short-handed Fleet on NEMESIS, a J/35.  “We had a bet going that the losing boat would have to buy dinner for the winner,” Whitney said.

The day of the race — Friday July 1 — winds were 25 knots and gusting higher. Whitney and Alison had some trouble on the way to the starting line. With the apparent wind indicator up to 38 knots in the harbor, the mainsail got stuck on the way up. To make matters even more “interesting,” as Whitney described it, the engine wouldn’t start. These experienced sailors did not panic. They anchored to keep from drifting into the break-wall and called for help. The SSYC tender came to their assistance, and they were able to hoist the mainsail and start the race 20 minutes late. “We made up some time,” Whitney said.

Alison said her first goal had been to beat her dad in the race, followed by the goal of finishing. After the problem at the start, she said her priorities were switched – her first goal was to finish the race!

During the night, each of them took turns at the helm for an hour. “It was a real workout,” said Alison. “I needed both hands on the tiller to steer through the waves.” Their point of sail across the lake was a beam reach. With winds mostly above 17 knots, it was a fast race.

During the night they made two headsail changes. When winds were down to about 12 knots, they shook out a reef and put up the #2 genoa. Later, they put the #3 genoa back up.

How did they feel when they crossed the finish line in the dark at 3:40 a.m.? “Pretty excited,” Whitney said. The excitement quickly turned to focus on finding a tow to the dock. This year was Whitney’s second fastest crossing, finishing in 9 hours 59 minutes. At thirty feet long, RAFIKI is also the smallest boat she has sailed in the Queen’s Cup.

“We really bonded,” Alison said about the experience with her older sister. Both Whitney and Alison say they want to race in the Short-handed Fleet again. Also — they beat their dad Tim Kent on NEMESIS!

How did the blue-hulled J/30 get the name RAFIKI? “When I was little, I watched The Lion King and Rafiki was my favorite character,” Whitney said.

Whitney will be a freshman at UW-Milwaukee this fall, and Alison will be a senior at Brookfield East High School.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

J/70 Speedster Smokin Hot!

J/70 one-design sailboat- the ultimate trailerable sailing boat for family and friends (Newport, RI)- J's first ramp-launchable keelboat - the 22.75 ft J/70 Speedster- is ready to launch a deliciously hot fiesta of fun-in-the-sun.  It's fine-entry bow and beautifully curving, flared hull shape ends in a powerful transom that simply defines speed, fun and control (sweet curves, eh!).  Speed on all points of sail- that J-trademark capability to sail equally as well upwind as well as fly off-the-wind.  J/70's pedigree follows the new 111's powerful all-around performance, with similar horsepower to weight and wetted surface ratios.  A Southern Spar all-carbon rig package (mast/spreaders, boom, sprit) ensure high performance and righting moments.

J/70 one-design sailboat- master plug- international sailing boatThe J/70 master hull plug is finished and hull molding is underway.  The hull form was initially cut with an extremely precise 5-axis robotic milling machine and then faired and long-boarded to match hull fairing templates.  The master hull plug has been mirror-finished to millimeter tolerances, assuring sailors of strict, international one-design sailing.  The project timeline has two J/70's sailing before the end of 2011.  Full production is expected to begin by January 2012 with the first shipments to North America and Europe arriving by late February/early March.  Due to overwhelmingly interest worldwide, plans are already in place to build additional tooling to assist with the ramp-up as well to fast-track a European start-up in 2012 for additional international sailing events.

Be sure to speak to your J/Dealers soon.  J/70 is on-track to take the world by storm in 2012, a boat that is easy-to-sail, high performance and exciting to sail.  Yet, a stable enough sailboat for family and friends weekend and beer-can sailing. Most importantly, it's built to last for high R.O.I. on your sailing dollar.  For more J/70 Speedster sailing information and latest developments click here.