Thursday, May 31, 2012

THE JUG 41 Sailing Fast!

J/22 sailboat- ready to sail on lake in New YorkWins J/22 Jack Rabbit Regatta
(Canandaigua, NY)- Every year, the J/22 class on Canandaigua Lake race one of the great season opener regattas in the Northeast, the "Jack Rabbit" regatta, hosted by Canandaigua YC.  Many J/22s around the northeastern part of America include the Jack Rabbit part of their early season training, hopping into their trucks and making the annual migration in late spring to one of the prettiest lakes in northern New York state.  For the most part, the weather conditions are pretty well dictated by passing frontal systems, so nestled into some pretty mountain valleys, the lake sailors often have to contend with capricious breezes flowing off the mountain ridges and around the various bays.  Sailing can be spectacular, particularly if a strong NW'er front rolls through, kicking up white caps against the spectacular backdrop of lush, vibrant green mountain sides exploding with a rainbow of colors with all the spring flowers.  Besides the sailing, the evening entertainment is notoriously good (e.g. excellent!).

This year, Saturday was like a July Day-- with no wind. However, the company was good with great entertainment.  For New Yorkers, the cool thing is that the Preakness horse race was taking place, providing the excitement of the day with three happy winners.  Wildly popular amongst the crowd was the familiar refrain "I'll Have Another", the standard request for many fun-loving sailors who haven't had enough liquid refreshments on the race course, but made even more appropriate by the fact the winning horse's name was (drum roll, please) --- I'LL HAVE ANOTHER! Too funny.

After the evening's entertainment closed down, the twenty-four J/22 teams were prepared to go racing in just about anything Mother Nature would throw at them on Sunday.  The race committee was able to squeeze in two races with diminishing winds late Sunday morning.  In the end, Chris Doyle's team on THE JUG 41 hung in there to take a 1-2 and win with 3 pts.  Second was Mark & Cory Sertl's LUCY with a 3-1 for 4 pts.  Third was Victor Snyder on MO'MONEY, fourth was John Goller and fifth was Trevor Collins sailing ALTERNATIVE GIRLFRIEND.

A special "Thanks" go out to their Canadian friends who visited them for the first time and had a long drive-- "please come back by", as they say with a Southern-drawl.  For more J/22 Jack Rabbit Regatta sailing information

Gorgeous Sailing Manhattan Regatta

J/105s sailing off Statue of Liberty- New York, NYDoyle's KESTREL Dominates New York Harbor!
(New York, NY)- The 2012 racing season has officially started in New York Harbor with this past weekend’s 2nd Annual Manhattan Regatta. Eleven J/105’s competed in the event, between the watchful gaze of the Statue of Liberty and the awe-inspiring Freedom Tower. Beautiful weather provided the participants with two great days on the water.

Despite a strong current and shifty early afternoon wind patterns, the race committee was still able to send everyone on a variety of courses, including a couple of short sprints that never allowed crews to catch their breath.

Sean Doyle’s KESTREL took first place overall showing that a little current here and there couldn’t stop him from winning six of the seven races sailed in the two-day event. He finished second in the one race he didn’t win. Kevin Grainger (last year’s winner) finished second aboard GUMPTION3 and Paul Beaudin grabbed third on LOULOU.  Local favorite, Austin Fragomen, finished fourth on WARLOCK and Dennis Meichel was fifth on BIGAMY.

J/105s sailing - Freedom Tower in background in New YorkOn Saturday, as the late afternoon sun began to reflect off of the New York skyline, teams enjoyed the post-race party aboard Liberty Landing Marina’s Lightship with smoked BBQ and a keg of Belgian White. Everyone had a blast taking mug shots with The Digital Photobooth, which rolled out instant postcards that kept everyone laughing. A raffle sponsored by Landfall Navigation added to the good times.

On Sunday, after completing three races, the festivities continued on the New York side of the Hudson and concluded with the awarding of trophies aboard Manhattan Sailing Club’s floating Clubhouse.

The Manhattan Regatta is truly a unique racing experience for the J/105 class. The event offers challenging race courses, an iconic backdrop, and simply a fun post-race party Saturday night. Even the Lady Liberty trophies are a departure from the typical silver. As one of the only events in the New England area where boats can tie up together at docks instead of at moorings, teams have more time to prep or just hangout. And most importantly, the event is dedicated solely to the J/105 class, which means more races, more fun and clear air!!

If you would like to see what it’s all about, please check out the incredible sailing photos taken by Pim van Hemmen. You can also check out the crews having fun at Digital PhotoBooth.

Or better yet, join Fleet 10 next year, May 18 & 19 for the 3rd annual Manhattan Regatta. It's bound to be even better!   For more J/105 Manhattan Regatta sailing information

J/24 TUNDRA ROSE Wins Seattle NOOD!

J/24 one-design sailboats- sailing off Seattle, WAJ/80 SKYE ROCKET & J/105  DELIRIUM Win Class (Seattle, WA)- When Seattle decides to put on a show weather-wise, she is a gorgeous place: Mountains abound, Puget Sound and Lake Union and Lake Washington provide ideal racecourses. Sure, it's dark and stormy here in the deepest months of winter, but in the summer, Seattle simply can't be beat. Case-in-point- this past weekend's Sperry Topsider NOOD regatta. While Sunday ended up being a rainy day of sailing (drum roll for the stereotypes), Friday and Saturday were the stuff of sailing legend-  perfect breeze, more sunshine than most Seattleites know how to handle, and enough psyched sailors to create a great event.

Showcasing three-consecutive days of top-tier sailing in various weather and water conditions, J/24 Skipper Mark Laura and his boat, TUNDRA ROSE, was declared top overall boat at the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in Seattle. As a reward for mastering the Puget Sound race course, Laura and crew won an invitation to compete in the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship Regatta in the British Virgin Islands at the end of the season to compete aboard Sunsail 44S against the other overall winners in the 2012 series.

J/24s finishing sailboat race off Seattle, WAWhat may have earned Mark's team the top-billing for the regatta was the fact that the top four teams all finished within three points of one another after seven closely fought races.  Mark's team started off with a bomber race- a 9th- but managed to rattle off a string of four 3rds and two 5ths to win by only 1 pt with no first places-- that's consistency!  Tied for second were PEARL and TREMENDOUS SLOUCH- accounting for three 1sts in the event.  Winning the tie-break with two of those 1sts was TUNDRA ROSE sailed by Mike Johnson's team on PEARL, their 3-1-3-7-11-6-1 for 32 pts was enough to secure second place.  Third was Scott Milne on TREMENDOUS SLOUCH, sailing to a 2-7-1-10-2-8-2 for 32 pts to snatch third overall.  Fourth was SELF ABUSE (Harry Dursch) and fifth was R.Y.L.A.H. (John Mason).

J/80s sailing Puget Sound off Seattle, WashingtonThe J/80 class had a tight, four boat fleet with well-sailed boats.  Just about all the boats won a race, indicative of how close the racing was overall.  And, there were no runaway winners.  Fun racing.  In the end, it was Bill McKinnon's SKYE ROCKET that won with just 19 pts.  Second was HEART ATTACK sailed by Joel Shapiro with 21 pts and third was David Schutte on TAJ MAJAL with 23 pts.

J/105s sailing off Seattle, WashingtonThe J/105s also had good teams returning from last year and it was clear that a trio of boats were having a heckuva regatta.  Like their J/80 counterparts, in this case five races were won by different boats over nine races-- a pretty equitable distribution.  Making fewer mistakes than most was Jerry Diercks' DELIRIUM, amassing a 1-4-6-1-2-2-3-3-3-3 for 25 pts.  The fun-loving "Italians" aboard Lorenzo Migliorini's ALLEGRO VIVACE were leading after six races but maybe had too much fun on Saturday night?  In the end, their record of 4-5-2-2-1-1-1-7-4 for 27 pts fell just short of snagging gold, having to settle for silver on the podium.  Third was Doug Schenk's FREE BOWL OF SOUP with a 2-1-5-6-5-3-4-1-2 for 29 points, nearly overtaking their friends on the VIVACE.  Fourth was Jim Geros' LAST TANGO and fifth was Erik Kristen's JUBILEE.   Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson     Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.  For more Sperry Topsider Seattle NOOD Regatta sailing information

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BLACKHAWK Sailing To Victory

Scooter Simmons Wins J/105 Swiftsure Regatta
(San Francisco, CA)- On May 19-20, nineteen Fleet One J/105s participated in the St Francis Yacht Club's Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta, a 6 race regatta which replaces the Stone Cup.  The weekend weather was beautiful and uncharacteristically warm with clear skies.  The breeze of around 15 kts in the mornings built to the low-to-mid 20’s, with gusts up to 31 kt on Saturday afternoon-- almost double the forecast.  The wind, plus the flood tide, placed a premium on superb starts, good crew work and lane planning when short tacking the City Front upwind for tide relief, and rewarded coordinated boat handling in the downwind planing conditions.

Going into the last race, any of the top six boats could have won the regatta. Scooter Simmon’s BLACKHAWK pulled out a race bullet after two upwind tacking duels and two downwind drag races against Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE, both boats hurtling across the Bay at sustained speeds of 16-18 kts, including a wild surf to the finish.  ARBITRAGE had entered the day in seventh, but with a 2-3-2 in Sunday’s three races, worked up to second, just a point behind BLACKHAWK.  RISK, MOJO and JAM SESSION filled out the top 5 places.  At the awards ceremony, there was a lot of chatter among people who said they had never gone that fast in a keelboat.   For more J/105 Swiftsure Regatta sailing information

J/122 & J/109 On RYA Team GBR- Commodore's Cup

J/109 sailing upwind on Solent(London, England)- The GBR line-up for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup 2012 has been completed with the announcement of four teams representing RYA Team GBR this July in one of the most prestigious events on the international yachting calendar.  The 11th biennial event gives crews the opportunity to compete for their country as part of a team event and is always an extremely competitive regatta. In 2008 RYA Team GBR won the Commodores' Cup and narrowly missed out to Ireland in 2010. This year, the RYA's selectors have sought to ensure the best possible combination of boats and crews to ensure victory this summer, and also help develop strength in depth for future years.

After the largest and most competitive trials in years, ranging from a challenging Morgan Cup race (5 May) in bitterly cold conditions to three days racing in the Vice Admiral Cup this weekend (18-20 May), the RYA Team GBR include the following:

RYA Team GBR White- Neil Kipling's JOOPSTER (J/122), Magnum III (Ker 40), Philosophie (Beneteau First 40.7) and RYA Team GBR Black- David Aisher's YEOMAN OF WIGHT (J/109), Cobra (King 40), Salvo (Corby 33).

Stacey Clark, Chairman of the RYA Council and Chairman of the Commodores' Cup Selection Committee, commented: “The selection trials have been extremely competitive with just seconds between the boats on both the inshore and offshore races.  We were very impressed by the standard of racing and have decided to enter four teams for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores Cup, the maximum number allowed.  The four teams will be very competitive against the other national teams and newly appointed team manager Nigel King will be working with the teams to try and ensure a GBR victory this summer.”

A tough mix of inshore and offshore racing, the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup 2012 is an intense seven-day event that will take place in and around the Solent from Saturday 21st July – Saturday 28th July 2012.   For more Vice Commodores Cup sailing information

J/122 LITHIUM Wins Rottnest

J/122 sailing off Perth, Australia Monkhouse Crew Top Off Great Season in Australia
(Perth, WA, Australia)- Fresh from winning the IRC Double-Handed Division in Perth’s 2011/12 Offshore Series the J/122 LITHIUM amended its IRC certificate to Class standard sails for the Festival of Sail Around Rottnest Race.  The IRC rating went from 1.058 in the double handed configuration (furling No. 3 headsail plus A5 spinnaker) to 1.086 with class standard sails.  The change in rating proved worthwhile for the 31 nm Around Rottnest Race which was sailed in light conditions.  The Race has a first prize of $2,000 and 26 of Perth’s top race boats lined up for the start.

Here's the report from LITHIUM's owner, Graeme Monkhouse- "We fluffed the first start, but there was a general recall. The second start was near perfect - boat end start with clear air and speed, on top of the larger boats, free to tack.

We picked the wind well for most of the race and as we rounded the west end of Rottnest we were a couple of hundred metres behind the overall leaders.  "General Lee" was still behind us, after breaking the start, and we were close to the Farr 40 and a few 52 footers.  Things were looking good.

A two knot wind provided slow work up the northern side of the island and saw us finish in a good position compared to similar size and larger boats.

As we motored into the anchorage, the wind increased in strength and the smaller yachts had a quick spinnaker ride to the finish. Unfortunately, the late wind change meant a smaller boat beat us on IRC handicap, dropping us to second place overall as we watched the scores trickle in.  Nevertheless, a great night unfolded at the "Quokka Arms" pub for the crews of 70 boats who took part in the weekend.  Our second place provided $1,000 for the crew to help celebrate.  We had a fabulous time and love the J/122.  Amazingly comfortable and fast boat!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

JEEZ LOUISE Wins Vice Admirals Cup 111s

J/111s sailing upwind - Vice Admirals Cup- Cowes, EnglandSteven Tapper's STALKER Trumps J/109 Class (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The weather may have been grey and murky on the Solent today, but the quality of racing at the opening day of the 2012 Vice Admiral's Cup was spectacularly vibrant. For the 71 teams in six classes the day brought light to moderate shifty winds of circa 6-12 knots combined with a strong ebb tide, giving tacticians and navigators plenty to think about.

Race Officer Bob Milner set up shop for Classes 0, 1 and 2 along the Ryde bank, whilst his colleague Robert Lamb took Classes 3, 4 and 5 up onto the Hillhead plateau.  All fleets were sailing windward leeward courses and the race committee succeeded in completing the three races scheduled for all classes.

J/109s sailing in formation - Vice Admirals CupAfter racing Jonathan Goring confirmed that his overall impression of the day was, "Incredibly shifty! The wind was veering right all day and there was a massive 90 degree shift just before the third race. Our boat is the highest rating in the fleet so we're constantly looking to pick our gap and find clear air. The tide played a crucial part too although at times, particularly in the first race, it was hard to decide what to do for tidal advantage. We got forced off to the right into more tide and expected to loose out, but at the first mark we'd gained on those who came up the bank! This is a crucial regatta for those of us hoping to be selected for the GBR Team and the Commodores' Cup so we're crossing our fingers for more breeze tomorrow."

In Class 2 for the J/111's David and Kirsty Apthorp's J-DREAM won the first and last races and came 4th in the second, while Jame's Arnell's JEEZ LOUISE scored 3-1-2 leaving the boats tied on six points overall with J-DREAM claiming the lead on count back. Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas's SHMOKIN JOE sat in third place overall, two points being the leaders, thanks to a 2nd and two 3rd places.

J/109 one-design- sailing Vice Admirals Cup off Cowes, IOW, UKThe fifteen J/109s in Class 3 put on a great showing with some exciting racing that got so close at times that the Protest Committee had two protests to resolve after racing. Steve and Jody's Maine's J2EAU took the honours in race one from Christopher Palmer's J-TAIME with David McGough's JUST SO 3rd.   But it was Steven Tapper's STALKER that claimed the boat of the day prize thanks to a 4th in race one followed by wins in next two races. In the overall standings STALKER had a two-point lead over J2EAU while Jonathan Hearth's JAGERBOMB took 3rd place on 11 points with J'TAIME fourth on 16.

For the second day of sailing, the teams were delighted when day two brought sunshine and wind, albeit a shifty 6-10 knots from the west, enabling all six fleets to complete three more races - races 4-6 of the series. With more tricky wind and tide conditions to contend with and the discard in play there have been plenty of place changes on the leader boards and there's all to play for going into the final day on Sunday.

Race Officers Robert Lamb and Bob Milner took their fleets up onto the Hillhead Plateau with the race area for Classes 0 to 2 set to the south-west of that for Classes 3 to 5. The big boat fleets were able to get underway on time at 10.30, but the smaller boats, which were closer in to the mainland shore, had a postponement whilst they waited for the lighter and shiftier inshore wind to settle.

J/111 sailing upwind - off Cowes, IOW, EnglandThere were big changes for the J/111s where the normally ultra-reliable David & Kirsty Apthorp's J-DREAM had a shocker of a day finishing last in races four and five before recovering slightly to take 4th in race six. As a result they drop from first to fourth in the overall standings. James Arnell's JEEZ LOUISE moved up into the lead from second thanks to a 4-3-1 score. Ricardo Tavoncelli's MANIC finally found form winning races four and five but dropped back into last in the last race although it was enough to move them up into second overall on equal point with Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas's SHMOKIN JOE. MANIC held second on count back.

J/109 sailboats- sailing on the Solent, Cowes, EnglandSteven Tapper's STALKER had a firm grip on the 16 strong J/109 fleet thanks to two further wins and a second place. They counted 6 points and had an 11 point lead over nearest rival J2EAU, owned by Steve and Jody Maine, who managed to hang onto second overall by adding 3-8-7 to their card. Six points behind them was Tor McLaren's INSPARA, who moved up from fifth, and fourth place was now held by Paul Griffiths' JAGERBOMB. STALKER's run of luck almost came to an end in the fifth race when their jib sheet snapped as the tacked onto the starboard layline for the first mark. Fortunately the crew's quick thinking saved the day and within a few seconds three of the team had hold of the flapping sheet tail and clew and they were able to sheet in effectively enough to allow them to continue towards the mark at almost full speed as their team mates rigged up a replacement sheet.

Arctic Tern- supervisor of mark roundings!The wind Gods smiled at last on the final day of racing, where the fleet enjoyed two final races in a 12-16 knot north-north-easterly. An ebb tide kept the sea relatively flat and conditions were near perfect for the final showdown.  Again the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club's Race Committee took their race courses up onto the Hillhead Plateau and with the stronger winds they were able to set longer windward leeward courses using a mix of laid and permanent marks.

Class 2 for the J/111s saw plenty of "thrust & parry" as the boats enjoyed the stronger breeze.  JEEZ LOUISE held their lead thanks to a win in the first race followed by a 5th, which they discarded to take the series by 8 points.  SHMOKIN JOE pulled up into second overall while J-DREAM hit their stride again after yesterday's misstep, jumping back up into third overall.

STALKER gave the J/109s of Class 3 a master-class (e.g. a "schooling") as this well-drilled crew took two further bullets to win the series by 22 points, the biggest margin of all the fleets. Although STALKER had first place sewn up the battle for second and third raged.  The Main's J2EAU put in a steady day to take second place leaving Mclaren's INSPARA and Griffiths' JAGERBOMB, vying for third.  JAGERBOMB put in a sterling effort but at the end of the day both boats were tied on 39 points with INSPARA taking third on countback.  Post-racing Steven Tapper commented, "It all came good for us really, we had our worst race first of all with very flukey winds and we didn't read it very well, but it then got better and better for us as the weekend went on."   Sailing photo credits- Fiona Brown   For more Vice Admirals Cup sailing information

J's Dominate North Sea Race

J's sailing off starting line (Harwich, England)- Racing across the North Sea in May is not for the faint-hearted. However 58 yachts were on the start line in Harwich, England, on Saturday morning to race the RORC North Sea Race 210 miles to the beautiful resort town of Scheveningen in The Netherlands. Cold but bright sunny conditions prevailed with a moderate breeze, piping up to close to a stiff breeze at times.

Under IRC, Stan Fenton's J/105 FAY-J was just two minutes behind on corrected time IRC Overall and came out victorious in IRC Four.  FAY-J races extensively on the East Coast of England and Stan was very happy with their result.

"It was a tiring race but we are delighted with our result," smiled Stan Fenton. "We went very well between Smith's Knoll and MSP, we were slightly south of the rhumb line rather than most of the other boats who went north, which meant we were in slightly more tide to start with but we could set our kite for about half the leg and I think that is where we made a lot of time up. We do a lot of racing on the East Coast, next up for us is the Haven series race from Shotley to Burnham-on-Crouch and then East Anglian Offshore Series, including The Haughton Cup, so it is a pretty full season."

What's remarkable is that in IRC Overall, J's took 7 of top 10!! And, in fact, J's took 9 of top 15 places!  Just behind FAY-J was the J/122 JUNIQUE sailed double-handed by Chris Revelman, getting 3rd overall,  2nd in IRC2 class, Double handed 1st!  Winning IRC 3 class and 4th overall was the J/109 YETI sailed by Paul van der Pol.  Third in IRC 2 Class and 5th overall was the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER, sailed by the dynamic duo of John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef (yes, the "Batman & Robin" of Dutch sailing).

Filling out the rest of the top 15 in IRC Overall for J's were the following boats-
7th- J/109 CAPTAIN JACK- Vert Visser- 2nd IRC3 class
9th- J/105 DIABLO-J- Nick Martin- 4th in IRC3 class, Doublehanded 2nd
10th- J/105 HARPOEN- Harry Rek- 2nd IRC4 class
13th- J/133 ASSARAIN IV- Angus Bates- 2nd IRC One
15th- J/109 ARETHUSA- Kees Mijs- 5th IRC3 class

Many of the competitors taking part in the North Sea Race will also be racing in the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta during the Whitsunday weekend, from 25th to 28th May. Hundreds of boats compete in this, the biggest yacht, sportsboat, dinghy and catamaran regatta in Holland, including the yachts hoping to represent Benelux in the forthcoming Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup in July.  For more RORC North Sea Race sailing information

Spectaculaire Sailing Grand Prix Ecole Navale

J/80s sailing Grand Prix Ecole Navale in France Brezellec's INTERFACE CONCEPT I Smokes J/80 Fleet (Presque Ile de Crozon, France)- This year's running of GPEN, as it's known locally, was near perfect.  Great weather.  Excellent Race Committees and PROs.  Monstrous J/80 class?  Yes, again, the largest class by a country furlong with fifty-eight teams participating.  Said Marc Bouvet, head of the FFV (the French Sailing Federation), "This is the third year that the Grand Prix Ecole Navale provides support to the championship of French one-designs. With 180 boats (J/80s nearly 33% of the fleet), the event is a major one-design event in France. With nine nations present, it's fast becoming a classic in European one-design sailing circles. Moreover, foreigners may well come away with a title, may the best man win! But mostly GPEN is just an extraordinary event with an exceptional stretch of water, a commitment to the French Navy and an exceptional organization thanks to Alain Daoulas and his team."  Bouvet's comments were spot on, great racing for all and the J/80 class was no exception- producing a dominant winner in the form of Eric Brezellec's team on INTERFACE CONCEPT I.  Here is how it all turned out for the teams that sailed on this gorgeous body of water along the Atlantic side of France.

J/80 Interface Concept I sailed by Eric BrezellecThe first day was busy with four races in the breeze for all sailors. The winds started at ten knots increasing to 20 knots early in the afternoon.  Eric Brezellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT I found the conditions to his liking, scoring a 1-4-3-5 to be leading after the first day.  Second was Luc Nadal on GAN'JA with a 3-21-4-1 and third was Nolwenn Lemaitre on ECOLE NAVALE I with a 6-6-5-3.

After an invigorating day on Friday where the race committees were able to run four race for all series, Saturday was marked by calm conditions. Blame the capricious wind. It was not until the end of the day the J/80s sailed in much cleaner winds with about 7 kts of breeze.  As a result, only one race was sailed.  Matthew Souben, tactician of J/80 QUANTUM, said "The GPEN brings together top national crews. The level of the fleet is very high. It has been three years since I sailed on the series and I see it growing from year to year.  The formula for J/80 works perfectly with a large fleet and a one-design boat. This morning we were sixth in the standings, four points behind the podium.  It has been fantastic racing."

J/80s sailing around mark- Presque Ile de Crozon, FranceSunday's forecast was significantly better, N-NW winds blowing 10-12 kts promised good racing and a wonderful finale to the GPEN event.  After four days of racing, it's been quite clear the series is becoming more competitive in the J/80 class, the largest in the GPEN regatta. The win goes again, as in 2010 and 2011, to Eric Brezellec and his crew on INTERFACE CONCEPT I.  Careful preparation, a set of sails developed by the skipper, training partners who join him on the podium-- all point to talent, work experience and above all three race wins that allowed them to dominate the Grand Prix. Very difficult to beat a scoreline of 1-4-3-5-1-1-3 for 13 pts net over a 7 race series-- an average below 2nd place!

J/80 Arpege Promotion sailing team at GPENBehind Eric's IC1 team, it was very close for the top five, only four points separating the next four boats.  Finishing in second overall was Martin Le Pape sailing ARPEGE PROMOTION to a 7-7-12-4-11-2-1 record for a net of 32 points.  Third was Nolwenn Lemaitre sailing the top Ecole Navale boat for the French Navy, ECOLE NAVALE I sailed to a 6-6-5-3-14-7-5 tally for a 33.6 net pts total.  Fourth in the fleet of 58 teams was Luc Nadal on GAN'JA with a 3-21-4-1-4-4-19 score line for 35 pts.  Fifth was Simon Moriceau on INTERFACE CONCEPT 2 with one of the most consistent scores in the top five- tallying a 4-8-6-9-3-bfd-6 for a 36 pts net- other than Brezellec, the only boat to score all top 10 finishes.  For more Grand Prix Ecole Navale sailing information

Monday, May 28, 2012

J/24 Italian & J/24 European Championship Preview

J/24s sailing downwind under spinnaker (Arzachena, Sardinia, Italy)- With 51 teams already registered, the Club Nautico Arzachena on the spectacular island of Sardinia will have near record attendance for both the Italian J/24 Championship and the J/24 European Championship.  It's not surprising that sailors look forward to making a "pilgrimage" to the great island of Sardinia since it generally offers fabulous sailing conditions, gorgeous azure blue Mediterranean waters, and incredibly delicious hospitality.

Simply put, Sardinia is a favorite with sailors around the world. The weather and sea conditions and the spectacular landscape, from the Gulf of Arzachena and the archipelago of La Maddalena, make it a sought-after area for sailing competitions.  Not surprising.  So far, lovers of the Italian landscape and seascape include 29 Italian, 13 German, 2 Hungarian, 2 Greek, 2 Monaco, 1 Swedish, 1 Brazilian and 1 American team to date!  Included are the reigning Italian Champions on LA SUPERBA and recent J/24 World Champion- BRUSCHETTA, with Brazilian Mauricio Santa Cruz at the helm.

"We are pleased with the large number of participants, especially given the economic crisis that has forced many clubs to waive participation," says Tonino Chessa, president of the organizing committee, "we feared for the heavy costs of travel necessary to reach Sardinia. Fortunately, some shipping companies have guaranteed benefits on prices. This first result encourages us to continue to focus on these events, which I believe are the best tool for the dissemination of the economic development of our region and, especially, for the dissemination of the sport of sailing."  The races start with the practice race of the Italian Championship on Friday May 25.  For more J/24 Italian & European Championship sailing information

Sunday, May 27, 2012

J/70 Newport Sailing Demos

J/70 sailing off Newport, RI (Newport, RI)- For Memorial Day weekend and the balance of the Newport summer the J/70 will be ready to go speeding around Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor for those interested in experiencing a fun, easy-to-handle sailing machine they can trail and launch anywhere off a boat-ramp with three feet of water. Kids love it. Girls & boys love it. Moms love it. What's not to like for Dad?  Volvo 70s hit 15+ kts in 20 kts TWS.  So do J/70s, in complete control.  Mom and the kids may just plane-away into the sunset they're having so much fun.  J/70 is a lovable, fast, easy-to-handle boat for family sailors. With 100+ owners to date that are ready to roll-- why not you?

If you wish to experience the extraordinary, exhilarating performance of the J/70, then simply contact us and setup a demo in Newport this summer.  Call 401-846-8410 or email we'll happily schedule a sail for you in lovely Newport Harbor.  For more J/70 speedster sailing information

J-Normous FIGAWI Turnout

J/105 sailing FIGAWI Race to Nantucket- Vineyard Vines special (Hyannis, MA)- The 41st Annual Figawi Race Weekend is recognized as a top sailing event not only on the East Coast but is known internationally as well. Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the the Cape Cod and Nantucket summer season in America.  Entries include sailors from several states, 240+ boats (including 30 power boats) and over 3,000 sailors and visitors.  It's one of the world's largest "pursuit" races-- depending on rating, slowest boats start first, fastest last and whomever crosses the finish line first wins!  Other events like it exist, like the infamous "Three Bridge Fiasco" in San Francisco Bay that are of equal significance on the West Coast.

J/42 sailing to Nantucket on Figawi sailboat raceThe weekend begins with a Kickoff Party at Hyannis Yacht Club on Friday. Then, early Saturday morning, crews begin gathering. Skippers and boat owners prepare their boats, gather their crews, and head out to the start line. The first boat officially begins at 10 am off the Hyannis Port Jetty. But beginning around 8 am, the parade of sailboats head out of Lewis Bay, pass by Kalmus Beach, and gather off Hyannis Port. The boats start from 10 am until approximately noon, depending on their handicapped start time. All boats in all divisions compete across Nantucket Sound, in various courses, to be the first one to reach Nantucket.

Why sail? According to Brad Mascott, recent owner of J/105 #209 TWO IF BY SEA for the past two years, "I just love this boat and love this race, wouldn't miss it for anything!"  Find out why for yourself.  Lots of fun, lots of laughs and lots of memories with friends and loved ones.  Many other J's are participating and seem to agree with Brad's perspective on this special Nantucket event.

J/160 Altantic- gorgeous grey-blue fast cruiserAt this stage, there are two J/24s, two J/29s sailing.  Dawson Hodgson's J/100 GRIMACE from Rhode Island is sailing, so are two J/105s from Nantucket Community Sailing Center.  A J/35 and Doug Curtiss's J/111 WICKED 2.0 from Marion, MA are in the line-up.  Two J/37c's are going for it, including Stephen Lipman's DUCK SOUP from Newport, RI and Andrew Davis' DESTINY from Groton, MA.  Three J/40s are cruising fast, including Kirk Brown's JAZZ from Hingham, MA; Bill Jones' SMITTEN from Marblehead, MA and Peter Stockus' PASSAGE from Canton, MA.  Two J/120's are doing the event, Jim Masiero's URSUS MARITIMUS from Sterling, MA and Dave Follet's GLORY from Boxborough, MA. Tony Iacono's J/42 AFFINITY from West Chester, PA and Kevin McLaughlin's J/44 SPICE from Fairhaven, MA may be in the hunt. Two J/46's are sailing, Dick Eagan's WINGS from Osterville, MA and Renee & Bill Jacobson's VANISH from Boston, MA.  Finally, two of the big, fast cruising J/160s- Alan Fougere's AVATAR from Pocasset, MA and Ben Blake's ATLANTIC from Stonington, CT- will be thundering into the finish line at a great rate of speed if the little guys in front haven't gotten there already!

Depending on the various conditions, the theory of the "Pursuit Race" format is that all competitors should reach Nantucket Harbor Buoy at around the same time. They finish at the entrance of Nantucket Harbor and parade into Nantucket Boat Basin.

Saturday night Figawi hosts a Competitor Party under the tent on Nantucket. Mt Gay, Budweiser, Hammer & Sickle, Vineyard Vines and French Rabbit join Figawi along with live entertainment to throw a great gathering where old friends meet up after a long winter, and new friends are made.

Sunday is a day to enjoy Nantucket Island whether visiting local shops, enjoying restaurants, or walking on the docks at Nantucket Boat Basin. Figawi hosts a Traditional Clambake under the Event Tent. Lobster, mussels, award winning chowder, chicken, steak, potatoes, and much more are included in the reasonable fee.  As the day winds down, the Prize Giving starts late afternoon where 97+ trophies are awarded.  After the Award Ceremony, it's time to change gears and prep the tent for the Sunday night party-- it's basically a repeat of Saturday night.

Monday morning, it is time to get back to racing. The newly formatted Monday Race dubbed "Redux" has been changed to encourage as many entrants as possible. The race now ends in a neutral location allowing skippers to head north or south towards home. The gathering at HYC in the later afternoon includes entertainment and one last time to enjoy the Figawi camaraderie until next year.    Sailing photo credits- Blake Jackson   For more FIGAWI Race sailing information

Saturday, May 26, 2012

J/Navy Sailing Swiftsure Race

Swiftsure Lightship Classic- turning mark was a lightship (Victoria, BC)-  The premiere race of the Pacific Northwest will showcase three overnight race courses (80, 103, and 139 nautical miles) and one long day race over the course of the Memorial Day Weekend.  With the start line off Victoria's beautiful waterfront, and racing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca with its beautiful coastline and challenging winds and currents, it is a must for all sailors young and old. It's a remarkable race that is steeped in local history and legend.

The famous sailboat "finish" to end all finishes- after 100 miles!The first recorded sailboat racing in the Victoria area was in the late 1850′s, between boats of the British Royal Navy and the early Colonists (about the same time the yacht AMERICA was eviscerating the Queen's fastest loyalists in the Around Isle of Wight Race- e.g. the 100 Guinea Cup-- a.k.a. America's Cup).  Interest in the sport grew in the following decades, and by 1930, a long distance race from Cadboro Bay around the Lightship on Swiftsure Bank, at the entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait was proposed, and there were six entrants! By 1960, forty-five boats were entered in this now-classic race. In 1962, after considerable grumbling by skippers of boats that were too small to go to “the Bank”, Royal Victoria Yacht Club introduced a shorter-course race to Clallam Bay, some fifteen miles west of Port Angeles, and called it the Juan de Fuca Race. Later, with increased participation and faced with only two courses, one of 137 miles and the other of only 76 miles, the race organizers and many skippers found themselves in a dilemma. The solution was the introduction in 1988 of the Cape Flattery race, of 100 miles in length, halfway between the Swiftsure Bank and the Clallam Bay courses. This has proved to be a very popular race, attracting some of the very largest boats.  Imagine the Rolex RORC Fastnet Race today, it could have over 1,000 boats with a similar format!

Swiftsure sailing spectators- the world's best sailing spectatorsIn the earlier years of Swiftsure, Eaton’s Department Store major-display window at the corner of Douglas & View (the equivalent of HARROD's in London, England) in downtown Victoria was set up as “Swiftsure Headquarters”. A large map of the race course was installed, and the progress of the race was shown by moving miniature boats across the map. As the numbers of boats increased this became a daunting task. The event, and this way of graphically displaying progress, was very much appreciated by Victorians. “Thousands of people used to line the sidewalks, sit on the curbs. There was a feeling of excitement right there, in the middle of town”!  And, Ladbrokes betting parlor could not have been far away!

J/109 sailing the classic light air Swiftsure“Since the first radio broadcast from “Does crazy yotsmen” competed with the fisherman’s band to the outside world during the 1952 race, Humphrey Golby has been “on the air”. Media coverage expanded when Harold Elworthy’s Island Tug and Barge Company generously provided tugboats for the press. Radio station CKDA pioneered 'live broadcasting' of sailing with the limited ship-to-shore equipment of the day and ‘The voice’ was born.”  Needless to say, modern sailing coverage is just beginning to take light, thanks to friends like Stan Honey and others with a bit of Polynesian navigator experience and know-how inter-mixed with FOX Sports production capabilities.

J/80s sailing off Victorica, BC, CanadaWhat's unusual about this year's Swiftsure Classic? SWISH and JOYRIDE, a pair of J/80's, are the latest entries in 2012 Swiftsure. What's cool about these two boats is that a crew of Commodores will be racing one and their "First Ladies" will be racing the other. Yikes! Class warfare?  Warfare of the sexes?  The Battle of Haves vs HaveNots (Huguenots?).  Commodores of Vice (the girls) vs Commodores Ex (the boys)?  Hmmmm.  What it is-- the Commodores from Royal Victoria Yacht Club (Jeremy Smith), Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (Guy Walters) and Seattle Yacht Club (Chuck Lowry) will race SWISH.  Their wives- Tara Smith, Barbara Picton and Pam Lowry will race JOYRIDE.  Both boats will be skippered by a Smith-- how appropriate.  Good fun and games!  Please be forewarned, any "mushroom cloud" seen in the vicinity of Victoria BC is simply two J/80s having a simple "port-starboard altercation".  :)

Aside from the fun and frolic in the J/80s inshore off Victoria, there are 24 J's participating in the four different races, nearly 14% of the overall fleet and the largest brand sailing offshore in the Seattle/ Vancouver region in the event.

J/160 cruiser racer sailboat- sailing Swiftsure RaceIn the "Big Daddy" event- the original, classic Swiftsure Race division that goes out of the Straits of Juan de Fuca for 139 nm- there are 24 boats participating from the start to Swiftsure Bank and return.  Included are the gorgeous J/160 JAM sailed by John McPhail and the speedy lightweight flyer, the J/125 WARRIOR skippered by Greg Constable.

The incredibly popular Cape Flattery Race division that goes for 103 nm has 75 boats going from the start to Neah Bay and return.  This cast of characters includes the J/145 DOUBLE TAKE sailed by Tom Huseby- his second J/145!  It also includes the J/46 RIVA (Scott Campbell), the successfully campaigned J/122 ANAM CARA (Tom Kelly- from Portland YC in Oregon), the J/120 TIME BANDIT (Robert Brunius), the new J/111 ADALGISA (Lynn Adkins), the J/37 FUTURE PRIMITIVE (Ron Mackenzie), the J/105 LAST TANGO (Jim Geros), the J/35 TAKING OFF (Russell Engbrecht) and the J/42 VELOCITY (Tom Keffer).

The Juan de Fuca Race division that goes for 80 nm has 44 boats sailing from start to Clallam Bay and return to the finish.  Included in this class are a slew of J/109s and J/30s.  The J/109 teams are JEOPARDY (Ed Pinkham), TIPPY (Peter McComb) and DIVA (Jim Prentice).  The J/30 teams are LIMELIGHT (Martin Vachon), CONRAD J (Geoffrey Wolf) and RADIANT HEAT (Tony Brogan).   For more Swiftsure Race sailing information on Facebook   For more Swiftsure Race sailing information

Friday, May 25, 2012

J/80 Sail Training Video- off Santander, Spain

J/80 sailing training video off Santander, Spain(Santander, Spain)- Over the past few months, the J/80 Santander fleet in Spain has had Santiago Fiochi conduct on-going video sessions and fleet seminars on how to sail J/80s better and faster.  If you want to answer some questions about how you defend yourself better on starting lines with an aggressive J/80 fleet, here's some good instructional video.

In this particular video (of the dozen or so available on Santiago's "YouTube channel"), it's the first race in the VIII Trofeo Autoridad Portuaria de Santander  on Santander Bay on-board ESP 880 with Spanish champion Javier López-Vázquez helming.  Winds are in the 4-12 knot range.  It was recorded with GoPro Hero 2s mounted on both the boom and a mast camera.  Check out the J/80 sailing video here.

J/30 sailors-owners on Google Maps- Google Earth

J/30 sailboat- owners sailing areas and ports (New Orleans, LA)- Dave Irwin from the J/30 USA National Class Association put together a great "map" of all J/30 owners from around the USA.  When you open this map what strikes you the most is how diverse and dispersed the J/30 owner group has become over time.  Quite literally, J/30 owners are spread all over the map, from Hawaii to the Caribbean and from Mexico north to Alaska and all points in between on the old compass rose!  Very cool use of geographical information systems to help bring J/30 owners together-- if not in sailing, then in traveling as everyone moves around the country visiting friends or on business!  Other classes should do the same-- helps create the "virtual bar" to meet others and catch-up, trade war stories, trade ways in which to maintain the boats and keep them in great shape, too.
Check out the J/30 owners sailing locations on Google Maps.

PHANTOM Smokes J/22 South African Nationals

J/22 one-design sailboat- sailing in South Africa (Deneysville, South Africa)- The South African J/22 fleet continue to have good times and the near record turnout of thirty-one J/22s for their annual South African Nationals is a strong indicator of the fun-loving time their having with their boats.  Host club Deneysville Aquatic Club put on a good show and managed to start twelves races for one of the more memorable championships in recent years.

J/22 Hakahana sailing in South AfricaWhile starting off a bit slow, Andrea Giovannini's team on PHANTOM lived up to their name and snuck out of the weeds in the shallows to  smoke the fleet over the next ten races.  Overcoming a 9-9 in the first two races Andrea and crew counted four 1sts and two 2nds in their scoreline to win with just 33 pts overall, ten pts clear of their next competitor.  Behind them it was a good-ole-fashioned rugby sevens match for rest of the top five with teams running up and down the finish ladder like a roller-coaster.  Surviving the scuffle and snagging second overall was Craig Millar's team on JALAPENO, getting "hot" when they had to in the last race to overcome some bungled races earlier in the series (like an 8-7-14) to get the silver.  Third was Ewald Sternagel's funky balsa-finished clear hull called HAKAHANA, really losing out the opportunity to win the regatta after starting so strongly with a 2-1-2-6 to be leading after four races.  Ewald's crew must've blown a gasket towards the end as their accumulated DSQ-6-8-6 in the last four races dropped them out of contention and into third place on the podium.  Rounding out the top five were Richard Weiderhodlt's CELL C in fourth and Rob Wilcox's VOODOO in fifth.   For more J/22 South African Nationals sailing information