Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Future of Sailing Survey?

J/70 one-design speedster sailboat- sailing upwind What J Sailors Can Do to Help!
(Sydney, Australia)-  Yachting Australia released the findings of a research report regarding the perceptions of sailing in Australia. Developed over six months by leading sports and entertainment consultancy firm gemba, the report will shape future Yachting Australia and yacht club programs to increase membership and participation.

In releasing the report Yachting Australia CEO Phil Jones said that the information will be used to shape a number of future programs and initiatives.  In working with industry partners, he said "we jointly identified the lack of solid data and evidence into the levels of participation in sailing, and what the drivers and barriers were to increasing it," Jones said. "Whilst there are plenty of opinions in the sailing community, we really needed solid and objective information about
what club members and the Australian public think of our sport."

The top six insights in the Report Summary are:
- Australians generally have a low rate of both participation in, and passion for, sailing (we rank 34th and 37th respectively amongst all sports)
- Sailing is perceived as an 'exclusive' sport while not being seen as very 'accessible'. Yacht Clubs are generally not welcoming, and are for older people only
- On average, the starting age of sailing is much higher than other sports with established junior programs
- Primary and Secondary school age children, and young families have the highest interest in participating in sailing in the future
- Relaxation is consistently the most important reason for participation in sailing among both current sailors and those interested in sailing. New participants are interested in a social, relaxed activity rather than competition, the later tending to be more important to current club members.
- The main barrier for future participation is the perceived cost of sailing. Boat ownership, maintenance, storage costs, and annual membership payment, are expensive, especially for a family.

J/70 speedster- the one-design sailboat for the next-generationFrom the J/Boats perspective, we agree.  And, having participated in multiple such studies over the course of time with industry partners like SAIL America, SAILING WORLD, SAIL magazine and others, the results all have similar outcomes--- in short, highlighting a need to make the sport and recreation of sailing more accessible to all.  In fact, it's a primary reason why "accessibility" was a specific requirement for the design of the new J/70 Speedster-- it had to be accessible physically (children, women and men alike) as well as logistically (ramp launch, trailerable and easy to rig).  It's also why J/70 is affordable and designed to address the needs of yacht club, sailing club and public sailing programs in terms of affordability and, most importantly, durability.  Plus, ensuring J/70 had the trademark all-around performance in an exciting new package means it should attract both old and new sailors alike to the brand over the course of time.  To learn more about the J/70 speedster - the ultimate trailerable sailing machine.  To learn more about the social and demographic drivers in sailing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Locals Dominate J/22 Caymans Invitational

J/22s sailing the Great North Sound in Cayman Islands (Cayman Islands)- The Cayman Islands Sailing Club hosted yet another fun-loving, highly competitive event on the Great North Sound in the Cayman Islands for their 2012 International Invitational.  Teams from all over the world attended including ten representatives from Germany (Peter Karrie), South Africa (Len John Van der Wel), Bahamas (Craig Symonette and Dave Valentina), USA (Marc Fisher and Bill Wiggins), United Kingdom (Olie Dix), Jamaica (Peter Harper) and Norway (Are Huser).

J/22s sailing around mark at Cayman Islands invitationalThe sailing conditions were simply epic- postcard perfect weather as advertised with 10-20 knot trade winds blowing all day long all the time with sunny robin's-egg blue skies, puffy white clouds scudding across the horizon and aquamarine blue waters dotted by white breaking waves when the wind was up.  Perfect sailing conditions that challenged the sailors to get off the starting line in clear air, maintain position, get around the marks cleanly with good boat-handling and stay in the battle.  With racing taking place over three days, each day starting at 12 noon, the regatta was exceptionally well managed under the guidance of race officers Peta Adams and Andrew Moon along with visiting international judges Gilmour Manuel and Harry Keith.

J/22 sailors enjoying the international camaraderie of sailing in the islandsIn the end, top local sailor Mike Farrington sailing JUST LEAVING from Cayman Islands Sailing Club triumphed and was crowned the 2012 Invite Champion with finishes of five 1sts, two 2nds and two 3rds, tossing a 3rd to win with just 12 points!  Not too far off the pace was top local woman sailor, Jane Moon, sailing CIAO! to two 1sts, six 2nds and a 4th (tossing the 4th) to finish with a remarkable 14 pts, not enough to overcome Mike's fast, smart crew.  Lying third was Marc Fischer from the USA sailing the great yacht WRECKLESS to a strong 4-1-6-3-3-7-4-3 for 31 points.  Rounding out the top five were another local boat, Simon Farrington on SUNSHINE finishing 4th with 41 pts and Craig Symonette sailing CALIMA 5 from Nassau, Bahamas just getting nipped out for 4th with his record of 8-4-3-27-8-6-4 for 42 pts.  For sailing photo credits  For more Cayman Islands Sailing Club Invitational sailing results

STEAMY Start To Warsash Spring Opener

J/109s starting on Solent (Hamble, So'ton, England)-  The 29th edition of the Warsash Spring Series got underway on 18th March 2012 and on a day when the wind went from zero then up to 16 knots in the short sharp squalls, both competitors and race officers needed to think quickly.

Forecasts varied but in the main indicated  a high pressure area over the south of England bringing light and uncertain winds to the Solent, initially north-west then veering north. Many competitors found ice on the decks but sunshine developed by 0900. The breeze dallied under 5 knots, but this still enabled some crews to put in their first pre-race practice of the season. As the start sequence approached, the wind direction had certainly not settled and a postponement was announced for both Black and White Groups whilst race officers designed and redesigned a multitude of courses accordingly.

The Black Group committee boat had set-up station near East Bramble and at 1050 IRC1 were sent on a course with Prince Consort buoy off Cowes as the turning mark. The fleet was evenly spread along the line. Even with the westerly tide pushing the boats towards the start line, IRC2 also got away cleanly under the “I” flag but now the fleet had decided that the committee boat end was the favorite. Before the J/109 class could start, the wind had swung even further west and the “AP” flag was displayed again. The effect on the first two classes racing was to turn the first beat into a long starboard tack with a port hand hitch to lay the mark.

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing around mark in EnglandMeanwhile, it was back to the chart table for the race officers on Condor to design another new set of courses for the remaining four Black Group classes. This time West Knoll was the windward mark giving navigators the test of judging tidal heights as they skirted the Bramble Bank. Only one failed and spent an extended break aground until the tide rose again in the afternoon. To save time, IRC3 had a combined start making for a busy line. As these boats headed west, angry grey clouds were forming over the Bramble Bank and these brought lively gusts leaving crews to wonder whether to peel headsails that had initially been set for 5 knots of breeze. No sooner had it arrived, than the wind lessened and turned the run to Universal buoy into a fetch. On completion of the second beat, the wind vanished leaving boats becalmed and pointing in every direction, some with white sails, others with spinnakers. The decision was taken to shorten after the fourth leg and many were grateful for the now east-going tide to reach the finish. For IRC1 and IRC2 the course had been amended to omit the penultimate mark and turn the last leg into a beat.

The biggest win of the day was Paul Griffiths on the J/109 JAGERBOMB, a triumph of tactics which took him to first place by 25 minutes ahead of the nearest rival in the J/109s.  The J/109 class has a very strong showing overall despite the JAGERBOMB's triumphant first outing.  In second was Mike & Sarah Wallis on JAHMALI and third was Roger Phillips on DESIGNSTAR 2.

The closest finish was in the new J/Sprit class where John Cooper and Ian Townend’s J/92 JAMMIN took line honours by a couple of boat lengths but were denied a class win by the lower-handicapped sistership J'RONIMO (John Taylor and David Greenhalgh).  Third was yet another J/92s, Andyy Howe's J/92s BLACKJACK.

White Group this year includes classes for J/80s. For this first week, it was the J/80 crews who proved the hardier and turned out in numbers. With a racing area closer in shore, CRO Peter Knight was hoping to catch the breeze coming down Southampton Water but he also had to stall the start procedure. When the first races were underway, a significant wind shift to the right halfway up the first beat turned the course into a full and bye leg with a broad reach return to the bottom mark. Nick Haigh, with Geoff Carveth helming, sneaked the win in SLIGHTLY STEAM, the latest in the “Steamy” brand, ahead of Ian Atkins in  Third was Terry Palmer on JUST DO IT.

The course was re-laid to account for the new wind and a brief rain shower raised the wind to over 10 knots by the start of the second race. The squall lasted for the first beat but as the sun came out the wind faded to nothing and by the time the boats had reached the leeward mark and tried to start the next beat it was a losing battle. The race officers made the sensible decision to abandon and send everyone home to enjoy "Mothering Sunday".

The Black Group IRC 1 Class only had five finishers due to the crazy conditions, the somewhat distorted race course with Ivan Trotman's J/122 JOLOU surviving the chaos to grab a fifth overall.  For more Warsash Spring Series sailing results.

Monday, March 26, 2012

J/Navy Jams San Diego!

J/105 sailboats- starting off San Diego NOOD Awesome Conditions, Awesome J Sailing
(San Diego, CA)-  This year's Sperry Topsider San Diego NOOD event was a tale of two fleets- those who sailed and the "also-rans" (those who didn't).  As one might expect, given the beautiful conditions on Saturday and the epic, windy, wavy, wet conditions on Sunday, only the entire fleet of J's sailing in San Diego completed the entire series as both a brand and as complete one-design fleets-- others simply didn't sail or had many who simply dropped out.  Twenty five knots on Sunday?!  Most J sailors look upon such conditions with glee, and did so whole-heartedly!

Of the forty-one J's sailing in this year's NOOD Regatta (about 33% of the fleet) it would be hard to tell which fleet loved the conditions the most-- the J/105s, J/120s, J/80s or J/109s.

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing San Diego NOODOf all the fleets, perhaps the most predictable outcome was the performance of Kurt Johnson from California YC on his J/80 AVET.  Sailing to a record of four 1st, a 2nd and two 3rds, he won their seven race series by 8 pts.  Second was Balboa YC's Dan Gribble sailing MONKEY SHOULDER to a 4-4-4-1-2-2-3 to come on strong towards the end of the regatta to secure their position with 20 pts.  In a tie-breaker for third place were John Steen on UNDERDOG and Steve Wyman on NUHUNU.  In the end, John's 2-2-5-7-54-4-1 for 25 pts beat out Steve's 5-3-2-7-1-3-4 for 25 pts.

Not far off the predictability index was Tom Brott's J/109 ELEKTRA, perhaps one of the best-sailed J/109s on the Pacific Coast.  With straight bullets over four races, they dominated their competition for just a grand total of 4 pts.  Lying second was Rex Butler's JD with straight 2nds for 8 pts.  Third was Daylen Teren's GREAT BALLS OF FIRE with straight 3rds!

J/120 one-design sailboat- sailing San Diego NOOD regattaNext up, the J/120 class.  Like their J/105 brethren, this is perhaps one of the least predictable groups as the combination of crews and skippers, time of day, horoscopes, biorhythms, Mayan calendars and the sort seem to have an enormous influence on the various team's performances.  Nevertheless, some of the top teams maintained form, stayed in the hunt and managed to keep things quite interesting for the top SIX teams.  OK.  Cool stuff.  That's REAL one-design racing.  Four boats, four firsts.  Staying out of trouble pays off in this fleet.  Hitting corners does not.  Starting out strong were John Snook on JIM with a 2-1 and Mike Hatch's J-ALMIGHTY with a 1-2; just off the pace was Peter Zarcades on MELTEMI with a 3-3.  After two races, this top three might be the regatta leaders going forward?  NOT.  As a group, they had to fight to stay in contention with only John Snook's JIM hanging on for dear life to close out with a 2 pt win to be J/120 class champion for the regatta.  Second place was late closer, past champion Chuck Nichols on CC RIDER, a familiar name at the top of the leader board just two points back with a 4-6-2-1 for 13 pts.  Behind him was the bloodbath of a sailing version of the "Shootout at the OK Corral".  Tied for 3rd were Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS and Peter's MELTEMI with records of 5-4-3-2 and 3-3-4-4, respectively, for 14 pts.  Gary's SHENANIGANS winning the tie-break.  Fifth was Mike's J-ALMIGHTY, an early regatta leader closing out with a 1-2-6-6 for 15 pts.

J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing fast off San Diego NOOD regattaThe J/105s were tough as nails as one might expect amongst this competitive fleet.  After all, if past NOOD Champions and Pacific Coast Champions like Dennis & Sharon Case's WINGS, John Demourkas' ROCKIN & GROOVIN and Rick Goebel's SANITY aren't amongst the top of the leader board, you know the fleet is tough.  In the end, it was a "northerner" from Long Beach YC, Gary Mozer's crew on CURRENT OBSESSION 2 that dominated the last day with a 1-1 to add to their 5-3 Saturday scoreline to win by just one point to become the J/105 NOOD Champions.  Second was a strong performance by Bennet Greenwald's PERSEVERANCE to capture a 2-2-5-2 tally for 11 pts.  Third was Rick's SANITY team with a 3-5-2-3 score for 13 pts.  Fourth was John's ROCKIN & GROOVIN team with a 7-1-3-5 score for 16 pts.  And, fifth was local champs Dennis and Sharon Case on WINGS with a 1-4-10-4 record for 19 pts.   Sailing photo credits- Mark Brughe   For more Sperry Topsider San Diego NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/70 Speedster Goes Sailing!

J/70 speedster sailing on Naragansett Bay 
(Newport, RI)- The weather Gods have continued to provide incredible sailing conditions for the sea-trials of the new J/70 Speedster in Rhode Island.   After launching J/70 #1 last Monday, March 12th, it was time J/70 speedster sailing under spinnakerto launch J/70 #2 this past Tuesday, March 20th.  Both boats gently slid off their trailers into the ocean waters off the Bristol boat ramp and shortly after were sailing on upper Narragansett Bay in a building southwesterly.  J/70 first sail- ramp launchable trailerable sailboatBy day’s end both boats were flying across the Bay at 12-15 kts with Team North and Team Quantum scoping out the new speedster.  Overnight, some sail tweaks were done, and the boats were back out yesterday in similar 12-18 knot conditions.  Sailing trials continue over the next several days as more sailmakers arrive.  The plan is to lock in the class sail sizes by the end of next week.  Take a peek at some more sailing shots on the website!   For more J/70 Speedster sailing information

Sunday, March 25, 2012

J/108 In Oslo Boatshow

J/108 shoal-performance cruising sailboat (Oslo, Norway)- The latest edition to the J Shoal Performance fleet, the J/108, will be on display at this year's Oslo Sailboat Show from the 26th to 29th of April.  The J/108 continues to amaze its owners with its remarkable performance both upwind, downwind as well as reaching.  Like its sistership the J/95, the J/108 sails with remarkably good VMG performance upwind in most any wind and wave conditions, a unique capability amongst shoal-draft keel/centerboard sailboats.

To learn more about the J/108 at the Oslo show, please be sure to contact Peter Johansson at Marstrand Yachts- ph# 0046 (0)735 430 800, skype- peter.r.johansson, email-, or visit his website at  For more Oslo Sailboat Show information

A J/24 Mastman Confessional- Dave Reed- Sailing World

J/24 one-design sailing in MexicoWhen a longtime J/24 bowman gets put into mastman duty with a pro team, he gains new insight—and respect—for his neighbor on the rail.  Read more about SAILIG WORLD's Editor, Dave Reed, experience sailing in the recent J/24 Copa Mexico in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

"I’ve been racing on the same J/24 in Newport, RI, with the same fantastic skipper and core team for nearly 30 years. By nature of me being the whippersnapper teen when I joined the team way back when, I guess I’ve always been relegated to the bow. It’s my domain, a position I’ll relinquish only when they take the spinnaker pole from my cold, dead hands.

The funny thing about my career in the J/24 class, however, is that as long as I can remember, I’ve never actually sailed on anyone else’s J/24 for a full regatta.

It’s always been the same boat, same job. Forever.

You’d think, after all these years, I’d have a pretty good handle on what was going on behind me on our boat, one rail seat aft at the mastman’s position, but not really. I guess I’ve always been too busy looking forward, focusing on my own responsibilities on the foredeck. On our boat, this second-spot back is where we usually put newcomers and visitors. You know…where they can “contribute” by adjusting the twings while not really getting in the way.

After my experience last week at the Regata Copa Mexico, a must-do J/24 regatta in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico (just north of Puerto Vallarta), however, I’ve reconsidered the mastman cog in the J/24 crewing machine.

The thrown-together crew of which I was part of for this incredible regatta included Chris Snow, of North Sails San Diego, who, as a past national champion, was obviously most qualified to drive. Our talented trimmer was Rich Bowen, designer for North Sails. The tactical genius (and “funny stuff”) would come from the mind of Chuck Allen, who completed the North Sails back-of-the-bus brain trust. That left the front-half of the boat to me, and George Witter, pitman for the 2010 J/24 national champions 3 Big Dogs.

When I learned I’d been slotted into the mastman position, with George on the bow, I was sort of bummed and anxious.

“I’d be better off on the bow,” I thought to myself. “That’s what I know best . . . Maybe I should propose George and I switch.”

But the team roles had been professionally predetermined, so as we sailed out for our first day of practice, I started to mentally go through the mastman’s job list for every maneuver.

This is when I realized I wasn’t exactly sure what the mastman does on other J/24s other than pull the twings and move from side-to-side. On our boat back home, the jobs in the middle of the boat are, for the most part, divided as such: our genoa trimmer trims upwind, then moves to the middle of the boat downwind. The mastman, who helps call puffs upwind, slides to the cockpit to trim the spinnaker. Our tactician handles the twings during the jibes works the pit, and the bowman, of course, handles everything forward of the mast, including halyards. This is, generally, how we’ve always done things.

But after an educational week in the mastman’s seat—a position, I grew to love—I’m convinced we need to change the way we do things back home. And, strangely enough, it all boils down to empowering our mastman. Here’s how things were divided on Bogus:

The trimmer trimmed the jib and the spinnaker. He never stepped forward of the companionway, which eliminated any position shuffles.

The tactician focused on tactics, fleet management, boat balance (weight fore and aft, side to side), parked in the companionway downwind, rolled the boat from the inside, and stuffed the kite in the takedown.

As the mastman, I looked up the course in the pre-start, looking for wind and surprises, called out time aloud in the pre-start, counting every second after 30 seconds. Upwind and down, I called puffs, lulls, and waves and aggressively rolled the boat in tacks and jibes, hiking off the twing line on the jibe roll. I served as human guy and then gathered the foot of the spinnaker before hitting the rail. And when the manure was hitting the fan on the foredeck, I was on halyard backup. I reset sail controls (outhaul and vang) before and after the mark roundings, and moved my weight all over the place to help balance the boat. Now that’s a lot more than just pulling the twings and staying out of the way."  For more SAILING WORLD Mastman sailing experience perspectives.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rolex Cup Regatta Preview

J36 and J95 crossing tacks in Rolex Cup St Thomas, USVI (St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- This coming weekend, the “Crown Jewel” of Caribbean racing takes place--the Rolex Cup Regatta- where sailors can experience reliable breezes, warm azure waters and world-renowned Island hospitality off the eastern end of St Thomas.  The competition and the camaraderie are unsurpassed; attracting sailing teams from around the world, and from this perspective its 2012 edition will prove to be the most diverse ever, with entries from the USA, Russia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Monaco and beyond. The three-day event, scheduled for March 23-25, is hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club, which for 39 years has devoted itself to producing this regatta’s famed offerings: three days of high-quality racing and serious fun in an inspiringly scenic island atmosphere.

J/80 Otra Kosa sailing Rolex Cup St Thomas USVIThe racing starts on Friday-- beginning with the picturesque and traditional distance races from the east end of St. Thomas to Charlotte Amalie Harbour and back. The tactically demanding Pillsbury Sound Race in and among the cays of St. Thomas and St. John is Sunday’s highlight.  This “Sunday drive” has decided final standing in most classes in each of the last five years.  The culmination of the International Rolex Regatta’s lively competition is a presentation on Sunday of coveted Rolex timepieces to winners in select classes.  A total of 66 boats are sailing including the 7 J's below, 16 of the IC-24s (modified J/24s)-- nearly 33% of the fleet!

CSA 1 Class has the J/122 LAZY DOG sailed by Sergio Sagramoso from San Juan, Puerto Rico, missing will be the J/122 LOST HORIZON and the J/120 EL OCASO.

CSA 2 Class has four J's sailing, including the J/105 DARK STAR sailed by Jonathan Lipuscek from San Juan, Puerto Rico; the J/27 MAGNIFICENT 7 sailed by Paul Davis from St Thomas, USVI; the J/30 COMFORTABLY NUMB sailed by Marston Winkles from St Thomas, USVI; and the J/80 OTRA KOSA sailed by Kike Gonzalez from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

J/35 offshore cruising racing sailboat sailing CaribbeanCSA 4 Non-Spinnaker is always a tough class to win simply because there are some good family teams racing.  This year, again, sees the return of the Sanpere family racing their multiple Rolex Winner, the J/36 CAYENITTA GRANDE skippered by Antonio Sanpere from Christiansted, St Croix, USVI.  Challenging them will be the J/95 SHAMROCK VII sailed by Tom Mullen from Campton, New Hampshire, who recently just finished sailing their best Caribbean regatta yet in the St Maarten Heineken Regatta.

Finally, sailing in IRC 1 Class are an entire crew of J Owners and alumni sailing on the 72 footer SAFARA with the famous UK skipper, Brian Thomson aboard.  Here's a breakdown of their crew:  Brian Thomson just broke the round-the-world sailing record with the French crew on the 130 foot trimaran Banque Populaire (he's sailed J/24s and J/35s); Christian Reynolds (J/92s & J/24s); Mark LeVan (J/22s, J/24s, J/35s and J/46); Diane Staley (J/105s); Jennifer Griffith (J/80s); Stuart Brown (J/24 Cowes Week Champion); Jeff Mootz (J/24s & J/105s); Rod Olsen (J/24s, J/35s, J/32 & J/36); Randee Hurst (J/80s, J/105s & J/120); and Richie and Lori Stearns- the J/Dealer from Chicago, Illinois. Sailing photo credits- Ingrid   For more Rolex Cup sailing information

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PACEMAKER Wins J/24 Australian Nationals

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing Australia in strong winds (Adelaide, South Australia)-  In a nail biting finish that went down to the last race finish positions, Dave Suda and his crew of Herschel, Luke, Sam and Rachel sailing PACEMAKER won a well deserved 2012 National Championship by one point from Ben Lamb sailing Alyn Stevenson’s FUN 2 with last years Nationals winner Sean Kirkjian sailing SAILPAC.

In PHS the winner was local sailor Jamie Goode from fellow SA sailor and national Measurer Peter Stevens and Dave Suda. As customary the the PHS placings can’t be won by OD place getters so third on PHS goes to Melbourne sailor and previous Nationals winner (10 years ago) Hugo Ottaway.

The racing was keen and extremely competitive for the fifteen boats that showed up to establish the top J/24 teams in Australia.  The Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia did a fabulous job running the event.  In glorious sunshine and shirts and short weather with a calm 8 knots building to a 15 knot sea breeze the fleet enjoyed superb sailing conditions.  Four races were sailed on the first day and another four are planned for the second day with two on Monday.

On day one, the team on FUN 2 sailed by Ben Lamb and Arthur Crothers had a bonanza day, starting out "slowly" with a 6th, then finishing with a flourish of three 1sts for a total of 9 points. Sean Kirkjian on SAILPAC also from NSW was lying second with a 2-6-2-4 and Adam Evans on SDM from Victoria was in third with a steady 3-4-4-3.

Dave Suda in his new-ish Italian boat PACEMAKER cleared out in the first race to win by nearly half a leg and must have been feeling pretty good, but by the end of the day with two OCS calls was back down the results. Hugo Ottaway on BRUSCHETTA VI was also having an average series so far and dropped one of his crew over the side in the last race to add a less than perfect touch. However, the Italian boats seem to have good speed as shown by both Dave and Ben.  Back in the pack, chomping on the heels of the winners, was a very close group of very good sailors. The racing is extremely tight and one small mistake takes you to the back of the pack very quickly.

By the second day, racing had gotten a lot tighter, with the fleet now counting 7 of 8 races (including a drop race).  At this point, Dave Suda on PACEMAKER went on a tear with two 1sts and four 2nds to get back on track and was now tied on points with Ben Lamb on FUN 2 with 10 pts apiece.  Third was Adam's SDM with 17 pts, fourth was Sean's SAILPAC with 18 pts and fifth was Steve Girdis' CONVICTS REVENGE with 27 pts.

It was pretty the regatta was going right down to the wire on the last day of racing between the two teams tied on points for the lead- PACEMAKER and FUN 2.  In the end, FUN 2's 5-1 was no match for PACEMAKER's consistent 2-3, giving the match to Dave Suda's team by one point!  There was also a helluva match for third on the podium, with the nod going to Sean's SAILPAC team with Adam's SDM team getting fourth.  Rounding out the top five was Steve's CONVICTS REVENGE.  For more J/24 Australian Nationals sailing information

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

LE TIGRE Wins Epic Bacardi Cup

J80 sailing Bacardi Cup Miami Sailing Week (Miami, FL)- The Bacardi Miami Sailing Week could not have wished for better, more extraordinary "postcard"-type sailing conditions-- some even called it "epic". In fact, in some respects for the International Star fleet with multiple Gold Star World Champions present, it may be been "too perfect".  With a massive High weather system slowly moving offshore to the North and a large Low depression Southeast, the regatta organizers had a remarkable string of six-plus days of strong winds from the easterly quadrants (NE to SE) blowing from 8 to 30 knots.  For the Stars, Tuesday and Wednesday were cancelled due to 20-30 knot winds-- perfect J/80 sailing weather, of course!  By Thursday the winds had abated enough so the J/80s could enjoy three straight days of simply picture-perfect sailing.  In the end, Glenn Darden's team on LE TIGRE simply "ate everyone's lunch", sailing to dominant win in the J/80 class.

On the first day of sailing, the all-American fleet of nine J/80s were led by Glenn's LE TIGRE team from Forth Worth, TX with five points after winning the second and third races of the day.  Gary Kamins (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) on FIRED UP was second with eight points on finishes of 2-4-2, followed by Rick Schaffer (Ft. Worth, Texas) with 13 points on finishes of 4-6-3.  Fourth overall was Henry Brauer (Marblehead, Mass.) on RASCAL after finishes of 6-3-5 earned 14 points.  Nizar Abuzeni (St. Paul, Minn.), won the opening race of the day which he followed with finishes of 7-8.  Abuzeni was fifth overall with 16 points.  On this day, the fleet was treated to 18 to 25 knot winds and wild and woolly planing runs, making the weather legs the time to recuperate for the crew in preparation for the next 12-16 knot "planing mode" run.

J/80 sailboats- sailing downwind at Bacardi Cup Miami SailingBy the second day winds had moderated to "only" 14-20 knots, ensuring the crew's supply of "vitamin A" (a.k.a. Advil or Aleve) would be put to good use again to alleviate sore muscles, backs and arms!  Glenn and the LE TIGRE crew continued to lead the standings after winning back-to-back races which he sandwiched between finishes of second and third.  It was a tough four-race day that started early at 1030 hours!  Darden had only nine points to the 19 of Gary's FIRED UP team who finished 4-6-3-4.  Rick Schaffer (Ft. Worth, Texas) placed 3-7-9-1 and was tied on 24 points with Henry Brauer's RASCAL team who posted finishes of 8-3-2-5.

Brian Keane moved up a spot to round out the top-five with 25 points. 'Today we had less breeze but conditions were challenging with lots of wind shifts,' said Glenn Darden. 'I would say that this was the biggest challenge to overcome. Luckily our tactician did a great job in searching for the breeze. We also had good starts and these are the secrets of the day.  For tomorrow (Saturday) the strategy is to keep the momentum with my team. We've been sailing together for three years and hopefully this will get us on top tomorrow night."

Three final races were sailed by the J/80 fleet to complete their series debut.  Glenn's "Tigers" led the standings all the way to the win, which he wrapped up without needing to sail the 10th and final race.  Darden won the first two races of the day, and discarded the 10 points from not sailing the final race to net 14 points for the series.  Henry Brauer's RASCAL team made the biggest move of the regatta, moving up from fourth overall to second with 30 points after finishing with a strong 3-2-1 on the final day.  Gary Kamins FIRED UP crew with 4-5-5 ended the series with 33 points, followed by Rick Schaffer with 41 and Nizar Abueni with 44.

“Sometimes it looks easier than what it is,” said Darden.  “Today we had much lighter wind and wind shifts that made it challenging.  We had to work for our wins, but we are very pleased for the victory.  I'm also very pleased to be in Bacardi Sailing Week, and, looking forward to next year, I most certainly will recommend it to other competitors and sincerely hope participation will be up next year.  I look forward to the event ceremony and dinner, Bacardi style!”  For more Bacardi Sailing Week sailing information

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Mexican Sailing Extravaganza

J24 sailing north upwind in Mexico regatta (Riviera Nayarit, Mexico)- For two-time Copa Mexico regatta participant, Chris Snow from North Sails San Diego, this past week of sailing provided him and his team a lot of fun memories, great racing and some great lessons on J/24 racing in general.  Here's an account of Chris's epic journey into parts unknown "south of the border":

"On my way home now from the 2012 Copa De Mexico regatta held this last week on Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. What week it was both on and off the water!

The Copa de Mexico is a two and half week long sailing extravaganza that combines three events. First is the finish of the 1200 mile long San Diego to Puerto Vallarta race. Second is the event J/24 event which I participated in which is a World Championship style event sailed over 5 days (10 races) on Banderas Bay. The third event is MEXORC which is a big boat event also over 5 days that  combines closed course racing and medium distance races around the bay.

The venue, Banderas Bay, is the largest bay in the world and combines stunning mountain backdrops with warm water and good wind. The event is staged from the new Marina Rivera Nayarit in a small village on the north side of the bay called La Cruz. All crews are housed at the Marival Resort a short bus ride away in Nuevo Vallarta which is large development of resorts with good security and all the amenities.

The event is heavily subsidized by the state of Nayarit, the Mexican federal government and the Mexican Tourism board. This helps to make it quite affordable for more crews, and creates a whole fleet of ambassadors for Mexico and the region. 52 J/24s participated in this edition with crews coming from the U.S., Sweden, Monaco, Italy, Chile, Germany, France, Brazil, and of course Mexico. Charter boats are provided for all out of country sailors.

I was fortunate to have a great crew (pictured here) who sailed with me for the week. We had a great time, made some great new friends and renewed friendships with many others. For the week I had doing bow, George Witter from Santa Barbara, CA. George normally sails with recent NA Champions THREE BIG DOGS. Doing  the mast, calling the wind and providing Spanish translation was Dave Reed from Newport, Rhode Island.  Dave is the editor of Sailing World and will hopefully be doing a feature story on the event.  Doing tactics and lightening the mood onboard was Chuck “El Chucko” Allen.  Rich Bowen trimmed sails and helped a lot with boat speed.

Sailing conditions for the regatta were varied from a full day of 18 plus knots on the practice day to races sailed in 5-6 knots-- Sunny skies and warm temps were the rule each day. Some of us put on spray tops but only very briefly.

With a large fleet, the starting line was quite long placing a real premium on starting at the correct end. With fairly shifty conditions it was important to be in phase right away with clear air, if you could do this big gains could be made if not it was very difficult to break out of the pack.

On board our boat our strategy was to be conservative, get good starts and let our speed work to our advantage over the long time.  My rusty starting skills were a challenge in the beginning of the regatta but got better as the event went on. Also we unfortunately were OCS on the “Z Flag” start which cost us a few extra unneeded points. In the end we were pleased to finish a solid third and look forward to the Spring and Summer season coming up.

Here are some thing I learned over the week that might help you in your J/24 Sailing:
- Always set the rig up for conditions at the start, don’t worry about the rest of the race speed off the line is essential
- When starting allow plenty of time coming back on port to find a hole. Keep going on port until you find one. Starting with a boat directly to leeward is practically impossible
- If in doubt set the boat up for the lulls
- In choppy conditions always sail the boat flat-- even if it feels slow-- The boat does not sideslip when flat.
- Downwind in choppy rolling seas spread crew weight as far as you can side to side. This helps a lot of stabilize the boat.
- If port tack jibe is favored and you are towards the front of the fleet be careful about jibing under all the starboard boats approaching the weather mark-- Better to go a short distance and jibe in clear air.
- At downwind gates-- If they are evenly favored go to one the one that will have less downwind traffic"
For more Mexican J/24 sailing information

BRUSCHETTA Two-Peats J/24 Copa Mexico

J24 Copa Mexico Regatta (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)-  The second edition of the J/24 Copa Mexico Olympic Edition was yet another resounding success.  With fifty J/24s competing from over a dozen countries, the sailing was both competitive and a lot of fun for all those participating.  In fact, with the support of Mexico's Presidente Felipe Calderon helping to award special trophies and roll-out the "red carpet", the province of Riviera Nayarit, NEXTEL, DELL, MICROSOFT and others, it would be hard not to have fun in this extravaganza sailed on Bahia de Banderas on Mexico's "Riviera".

To say competition was strong would be an understatement.  With three multiple J/24 World Champions and North American Champions present, the top three boats would surely be no "push-overs" in the realm of international one-design competition.  As anticipated, the top five was made up of World Champions, NA Champions and Mexican Champions-- ouch, that racing must've been hot, hot, hot!  Winning his second Copa Mexico in a row was none other than 2010 J/24 World Champion Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil on his famous NEXTEL BRUSCHETTA.  Second was the previous year's 2009 J/24 World Champion Tim Healey from Newport, Rhode Island on 11TH HOUR RACING/ SAILORS FOR THE SEA.  Third was a J/24 North American and National Champion, Chris Snow from San Diego, California on his familiar blue boat BOGUS.  Fourth was past J/24 World Champion Mike Ingham from Rochester, New York on BLUE DEMON.  And, fifth was Mexican Champion Ken Porter on COMEX.  Incredibly, everyone in the top five won at least one race out of the total of ten races, including Robert Vernon on JOYITA from Chile.

J24 sailing regatta copa mexicoThe opening day of racing began to establish a pecking order very quickly for the top of the podium.  After just two races, Mauricio's NEXTEL BRUSCHETTA had two 1sts and Tim Healey's 11TH HOUR RACING/ SAILORS FOR THE SEA had two 2nds!  It was a decent day of sailing marked by several large shifts, one even forcing an abandonment and restart of the second race of the day.

The next day saw very little wind between 6 and 8 knots, causing both courses to be shortened, with Tim Healey winning the first race and Robert Vernon from Chile winning the other-- proof the South American teams are getting stronger every year!

The third day of racing started with 8 knots of breeze, it went up to 12 and in the second race it went back down to 4 knots, so the course had to be shortened again.  Some boats did not finish due to the wind conditions.  This time, there were two new race winners-  Kenneth Porter (MEX) on board COMEX and Mike Ingham (USA) on board BLUE DEMON.

J24s sailing spinnakers in Mexico regattaOn the fourth day, the fleet was blessed with fabulous, picture-perfect sailing conditions.  The fleet  started late due to wind changes, but ended up winds of 16 knots with gusts of 18 and 20 kts.  Winners on this day were Mauricio's NEXTEL BRUSCHETTA and Tim Healey's 11TH HOUR RACING, losing the first to an SCP (scoring penalty).

In the end, Mauricio's crew did not have to sail the last race on the fifth and final day, enabling Chris Snow and team on BOGUS to grab their first race win of the regatta.  Congratulations to Mauricio's NEXTEL BRUSCHETTA team on a job well done, same to Tim Healy, Chris Snow, Mike Ingham and Ken Porter to round out the top five, respectively.   Sailing photo credits- Jen Edney   For more J/24 Copa Mexico Regatta sailing information

Monday, March 19, 2012

SOLARIS Dazzles J/105 Midwinters

J/105s sailing Galveston Bay, Houston, Texas (Seabrook, TX) - Local Bill Zartler raced SOLARIS to a dominant victory at the J/105 Midwinter Championship in Seabrook, TX. Finishing with just 10 points over seven races, the team won five of the races, and scored a second and third in the others. SOLARIS won Sunday's only race, as a storm forced an end to the regatta in the late morning. The top four overall were comprised of local sailors, with Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE in the runner-up position (21 points), Uzi Ozeri on INFINITY in third (29 points) and Alan Bates on ZIPPITY in fourth (34 points).  Following Zartler, Bates's ZIPPITY came in second in Sunday's race, trailed by Lakenmacher's RADIANCE.

Twelve teams competed in the annual event, held for the first time at the Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, TX. Competitors enjoyed favorable breeze throughout the championship and multiple social opportunities on shore for the fleet to interact.

After the first day of racing, three local teams were at the top of the leaderboard-- Bill Zartler on SOLARIS and Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE were tied at three points each after flip-flopping the first and second place finishes in the day's two races. Uzi Ozeri on INFINITY took two third-place tallies and stood at third place overall.  The winds on Galveston Bay blew a consistent 16 knots, with gusts well into the 20s. The 12 teams battled through choppy waves and swells of six feet.

By the conclusion of sailing on the second day of the events, it was self-evident the "Z-Team" on SOLARIS were serious about putting on a dominant performance.  Four races were completed on Saturday, bringing the series total to six.  Zartler's team scored three firsts plus a third-place finish to end the day with just nine points total. The locals continued to dominate the top spots, as Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE stood in second place overall with 18 points and Uzi Ozeri on INFINITY was is in third place with 23 points. Other than Zartler's SOLARIS, the day's other race winner was Paul Beaudin racing AVICI. The New York-based team came on strong all day, also tallying a second, fourth and sixth. Conditions on Galveston Bay were ideal for the J/105 with winds at 16-20 knots.

The J/105 Class would like to thank the Lakewood Yacht Club for hosting, and Dwight Bengtson and his Race Committee for their excellent race management.  For more J/105 Midwinters regatta sailing information

El Presidente de Mexico LOVES Sailing!

J/24 sailor - Mexico's President Felipe de Calderon at J/24 Copa Mexico RegattaYes, it's true.  President Felipe Calderon is a big supporter of sailing in Mexico.  Felipe sailed J/24s for years in Valle de Bravo just west of Mexico City-- an absolutely spectacular lake high up in the mountains.  Through El Presidente, Mexican sailing has blossomed and Felipe has supported the Mexican Navy sail-training programs- mostly on existing J/24s around Mexico, including Opti's and Laser's for local, public kids and adults.  They're all public access sailing programs!  More on other such public/ private sailing program partnerships in Mexico next week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

J/80s Hong Kong Host World Police Sailing Championships

J/80 World Police Sailing Championships (Hong Kong, China)- Royal Hong Kong YC, Hebe Haven YC, Aberdeen Boat Club and the Hong Kong Police Sailing Club are co-hosting the World Police Sailing Championships on the emerald green waters of Hong Kong's southern side of the island- the Middle Island facility for RHKYC.  The event will be sailed on the International J/80s from October 21st to 27th.  All participants must be a serving, or honorably retired, Police or Law Enforcement officer (or civilian staff) in their respective countries.

Accommodation will be provided within the Hong Kong Police College Aberdeen Campus Officers’ Mess and comprises of 40 single rooms and 10 double suites.  $37,000 HKD = $4,700 USD (about 7.75 exchange)- and for that you get a J/80 one-design sailboat with sails, food, breakfast, lunch, dinner and accommodations for ONE WEEK for four people!!  Wow. Thank Goodness our security forces know how to take care of our security needs, but more importantly ALSO know how to sail and have fun!

So far, it looks like over a dozen teams are committed to this event from around the world, including teams from Switzerland (2-3); Germany (2-3); Amsterdam, Netherlands; Dorset, England; Lancashire, England; Hong Kong; Macau; Qingdao; Shanghai; and Beijing.  For more J/80 World Police Sailing Championships

J/105 San Diego Volunteer Party!

J/105s sailing off San Diego, California in regatta October 2012 will be a banner month for the J/105 in San Diego! 

SDYC will be hosting the J/105 SoCal Championships and the J/105 North American Championships, followed by the 2012 International Masters’ Regatta and, finally, the Lipton Cup Trophy-- all in J/105s.

If you have the talent and the desire to put it to work and help make the J/105 class proud, we want YOU on-board for the J/105 2012 Committee! Please help and volunteer a wee-bit of your time-- contact us and learn how you can help!

You can contact- Joanne O’Dea/ J/Concierge at email- or phone- 619-347-9407

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Innovative Warsash Spring Series Starts

Warsash spring series team (Hamble, So'ton, England)-  The 29th Warsash Spring Series gets underway this Sunday 18th March. Again the Spring Series and Spring Championship will follow the popular tried and tested formula but the race management team at Warsash Sailing Club has also taken on board feedback from competitors with a view to improving the event still further.

New for the 2012 Spring Series will be a J-Sprit class for J/105, J/100, J/97, J/95 and J/92 designs, racing together under IRC ratings. Spring Series Chairman Peter Bateson commented: “We feel this addition will benefit those boats with very similar sailing characteristics and competitors can enjoy courses designed for them, rather than sharing with conventionally rigged boats.”

The Spring Championship weekends, with racing on Saturday and Sunday, are being held on 21st/22nd and 28th/29th April. The Championship is being held on the final two weekends with multiple races for IRC1, IRC2, J/109s and J/80s, amongst others. There is also a separate class for trialists for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup, currently with 10 entries in Black Group IRC 2 Class, including David Aisher's J/109 YEOMAN OF WIGHT.

J111 sailing Hamble, Solent, EnglandMany class trophy winners of 2011 are returning to the fray to defend their titles – including JAHMALI (J/109) and AQUA-J (J/80). David and Kirsty Apthorp have been keen contenders in the J/109 division for several years but for 2012 their J-DREAM is a J/111 which will enjoy keen competition with J/111 sisterships ICARUS sailed by Charles Rolls and Andrew Christie, JEEZ LOUISE skippered by James Arnell and SHMOKIN JOE sailed by Duncan Mcdonald. It looks like the Black Group IRC 1 Class will have some pretty extraordinary competition in addition to the 111s.  Factor in two J/122s, Ken Lowes' GHOST and Ivan Trotman's JOLOU and two J/133s, Neil Martin's JAMMY DODGER and Dave Ballantyne's JINGS! and you have nearly half of IRC 1 being J/Boat owners vying for the podium.

The J/109 class has a very strong showing of fourteen boats and amongst them are some familiar names returning to the Spring Series for a shot at some silverware.  Sure to be in the contention include Mike & Sarah Wallis' JAHMALI, David & Mary McGough's JUST SO, Richard & Valerie Griffith's OUTRAJEOUS, Paul Griffith's JAGERBOMB and David Mcleman's OFFBEAT.

In the newly formed J/Sprit Class, the mix of J/92s, J/97s and J/105s will make for some excellent racing by several successful teams over the past few seasons.  Chief amongst them should be the leading J/92s, including Andy Howe's BLACKJACK and John Taylor and David Greenhalgh's J'RONIMO.  Within the J/97s, Nick and Adam Munday's INDULJENCE and last year's champion Michael Holmes' JIKA-JIKA should be at the top of the pack.  If there's good J/105 weather with a bit of reaching, look for Chris Jones' seasoned offshore campaigners on JOURNEYMAKER 5 to factor into the results depending on weather and course layouts.

The J/80 section continues to grow in popularity, with Stewart Hawthorn on J'AI DEUX AMOURS and Nick and Annie Haigh on SLIGHTLY STEAMY swapping from Black Group classes. The increase in numbers may perhaps be due to the J/80 World Championships being held in Dartmouth later in the summer. Also, some class veterans notably missing from last year's action are back on course, including Ian Atkins' BOATS.COM and Tony Hanlon on the Royal Air Force Sailing Team's SPITFIRE.  For more Warsash Spring Series sailing results.  Sailing Photo Credit- Tim Wright-