Friday, November 30, 2012

Montego Bay 75th Commodore's Ball

J/22 sailing Jamaica, Montego Bay (Montego Bay, Jamaica)-  The growth of the Jamaica J/22 fleet based out of Montego Bay YC has generated enormous enthusiasm for sailors in the Montego area.  The combination of kids, Moms, Dads and lots of friends who have been looking to sail with "no dramas, mon" has generated a huge out-pouring of fun and games amongst the members.  Easy access, a fun-to-sail philosophy and an "all-inclusive" approach to anyone who walks down the beach wishing to go sailing can only mean one thing-- a good old-fashioned "jump up" to some awesome reggae!  And so it was.

J/22 sailing- Montego Bay, Jamaica- Commodores BallThe J/22 Montego Bay fleet helped to celebrate en-masse their MBYC's 75th Commodore's Ball with a "jump up" to end all "jump ups".  See the YouTube video here.

As they continue this celebration, as often these celebrations can happen for weeks or months, the Montego J/22 fleet has decided to host their JAMIN' INVITATIONAL CUP REGATTA from December 6th to 8th.  Come one, come all.  Everyone is welcome.  Just let us know, we take care of you!  We love you all, J sailors around'd'world.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you in these parts and join us!  If you know how to sail, we know how to have fun!  For more Mo'Bay Yacht Club & J/22 Fleet Sailing information

J/24 "Superman" Experiences Heavy Weather Sailing

J/24 sailing off Australia(Sydney, Australia)-  Simon Grain and crew Down Under are rarely short on great stories and fun & games sailing their J/24s.  Recently, Simon had this commentary from Chris Furey (in the YC bar or pub?). Simon said that Chris is an ex-J sailor and a great J friend from Sandringham.  Said Simon, "he shot this pic and info to me this afternoon, thought you might like to see it. Taken by Chris off Williamstown in the early 80’s, this is Athol Lidgett’s J/24 JAILBREAK seen here on the burst in classic J style."  Chris says, “It was during a JOG regatta out of RYCV when the race officials decided it was far too windy to race, so several of us J sailors decided we would go for a blast anyway. The guy on the deck in the blue jacket is John Hooper, the sail maker. John and his brother, Olympic Coach Buster, both sailed on the boat.

JAILBREAK met an unfortunate end when sailing back from a Mornington race into a strong  northerly that built to well over 35 knots. Athol decided they had taken enough punishment in the strong wind and seas and reached off into the lee of Rickets Point where they picked up a mooring just off the old Keefer’s Boatshed near Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron.  The crew were picked up and taken ashore but that night the wind suddenly switched to an equally hard south westerly with enormous seas. The boat was torn from its mooring and smashed to unrecognizable pieces on the rocky Beaumaris shore just below the Beauy Pub. Somewhere on the rocks not far offshore  there is a J/24 lead keel!”

Sad, but entertaining story, nevertheless.  We can only hope the boys Down Under continue to have fun sailing their J/24s!   For more J/24 Australia sailing information

Thursday, November 29, 2012

JOIE DE VIVRE Sails Perfect Benelux Championship

J/80 Benelux sailors- Laura Vroon and team sailing to win! (Gravelines, Belgium)- This year's Open Benelux J/80 Championship saw a champion crowned with an unprecedented series- 7 1sts in seven races.  Laura Vroon and crew sailed their hearts out and simply established themselves at the front of the fleet like no one could ever imagine.  Girls Rule!!

It was a beautiful battlefield with hard, stormy winds, perfect race committee work, good organization, excellent sportsmanship and fair play at a very competitive level for the entire field of sailors. Participants spoke of the best regatta ever. The Regatta Jury had no objection to being needed as there were no protests lodged whatsoever-- everything on the water was handled by self-imposed "criminal circles", as all competitors seemed to judge by one another fairly.  The fair play award went to Henk Everwijn, who after a port/ starboard situation at the finish, withdrew without a protest.

The "fair play" amongst the fleet is even more remarkable given the compactness of the field.  A single error immediately took many places, tactical situations were the norm, and this meant the difference between position 2 and 6.  This was not the case for JOIE DE VIVRE Team, their first place was a serene one without one challenger. JDV took every race from the start line. Sailing fast and high with superb boat-handling and superb sail-trim, JDV was first at the upwind mark virtually every time.  After which their lead steadily extended every time, so they cashed-in after the seven races for the gold.  An amazing performance for Laura Vroon and crew!

Just behind them was quite a battle for second in this epic regatta.  JUUL's Bernard Holsboer, who sustained some damage in the stormy 32 kts winds on the first day were pleased with their performance, despite dropping from 2nd to 3rd overall. Dueling it out for the balance of the podium were the defending champion JALAPENO- Erik Scheeren and JUUL.  After a storm-tossed first day and a match-race for second, it was JALAPENO that took the lead to take second overall. JUUL was third.  NJOY's Coen van Veen sailed well to take fourth and fifth was MENTAQUILIBRIUM's Christopher Savoy.

Of note, it was nice to see a new J/80 sailor learning the ropes and improving race-to-race over the course of the season.  The "Rookie of the Year" had to be Eric Hogervorst sailing QUICK & DIRTY, displaying a remarkable increase in his speed boat and tactics, taking 8th in the regatta.  More next year, we promise!  For more J/22 Netherlands/ Benelux sailing information.

J/92 Sailing Dubai-Muscat Race

J/92 sailing off Dubai, UAE (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)- This year's 21st edition of the RORC Dubai to Muscat Race got off to a fantastic start on Saturday 17th November 2012 with the Rally Class first to go and enjoying near perfect sailing conditions with blazing sunshine, good breeze and flat blue water. Competitors relished 12 knots of wind from the northwest providing a fast reaching start along the glittering shoreline of Dubai. The wind held through the night and by dawn on the second day, the leading yachts had safely sailed through the Arabian Gulf and The Straits of Hormuz.

Dubai offshore sailing club and dhows racing on GulfThe IRC Racing division started on Sunday 18th November. An international fleet of performance cruisers set off from Dubai for the 360 nautical mile race to Muscat. By dawn on Monday 19th November, the IRC Racing Division was approaching one of the trickiest parts of the course; the complex tides of The Straits of Hormuz.  On Monday night, the IRC fleet was experiencing solid pressure of over 20 knots with thunderstorms and squalls charging up the night sky as they past the islands that form the northern part of Dubai in the Straits of Hormuz before the fleet turns right and heads SSE down the Gulf of Oman towards the harbor of Muscat.

At this stage of the game, Matt Britton and his merry bandits from the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club are leading the overall IRC Division 2 prize in the 360 nautical mile Dubai to Muscat Offshore Race.   Sailing PRIVATEER, "the old bird of the J/92 fleet", as Matt describes her, they hope to remain in contention to the finish.

The international fleet of sailors from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa are expected to arrive in Muscat to participate in the Muscat Regatta. Two days of inshore racing are scheduled involving well over 100 dinghies and keelboats. Followed by the grand finale where 15 yachts are expected to take part in the Bank of Beirut Chairman's Cup with a $50,000 cash prize fund.
For more Dubai to Muscat Race sailing information     Dubai Offshore Sailing Club has a great Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Swedish Report on French J/80 Nationals

J/80s sailing off France on Bay of Biscay (Marstrand, Sweden)- The forecast before departure from Sweden did say the weather was going to be quite challenging- wave height of 5 meters and winds from the west over 17-20 m/s. It was admittedly a little nervous situation, we would drive 250 miles just to sit on the bridge and look out on a raging sea?  But it is an outdoor sport and weather is beyond our control.  If no sailing, we know the oysters will be excellent and we could get in a bit of sightseeing in the worst case.

J/80s sailing under spinnaker off FranceOur team has not sailed together before, but we have sailed against each other many times across the race track.  This is a bit unusual for me, but it will be fun to do something else (tactics) while Lasse steers, Gitte trims and Pelle does strategy.

Douarnenez in Brittany is probably the nicest place we have sailed in, says everyone when we all arrive. After a great dinner, we look forward to the first race, but it does seem a bit windy.

At dawn on Thursday it was blowing about 15 kts, but gusting much higher, perhaps 30 kts.  It was even windier in the villages, it was raining too, so today's race is canceled. The French sailors are very unhappy, of course, even though the organizers say they must prioritize safety. A sensible decision, we think, although we would happily had sailed out of the protected harbor and into the Atlantic to give it a test.

J/80s sailing off French coastlineOn Friday, the wind has died down somewhat, so we get out and practice a little before the first start. After the start, we get going good. Up at the first rounding we're 7th with 73 boats behind.  Fun! But, the wind changes 30 degrees and those located on the other side get level or ahead of us while we get into the basement of the fleet! Ugh! But when you go planing along at 15.6 knots, it's hard to not smile!  So, for the next start, we are greatly stoked!

However, it was a tight start and when we dodge a boat before the start we collide with another boat!  Ouch! At the same time we smoke our forestay- gone!  So, when the wind is more than 10 m/s in the Atlantic we can't sail. I jump up and sit forward in the bow, holding the forestay while I get soaked to the skin-- ultimately we get towed into the harbor.

The rest of the day, evening and following morning are devoted to locate spare parts. The French are incredibly friendly and very helpful.  About 7 different sailors from other boats stay around and help us.  Finally, we find what we need in a small village about 1 hour away. By early morning the next day, everything is repaired-- thanks to our dear French friends.

J/80s sailing around windward mark off FranceNext race, we are well placed for the first beat, but a big left shift sends us down into the basement again. I have not seen such big wind shifts in the Atlantic before. And 20-30 degree shifts seem to be common here.  This place is worse than Ram in Sweden, but with fast-moving 3 meter waves!  We have some other top boats around us, there are several who have missed the big shift.  But soon, we draw level with the top boats and get a good race finish-- so it's still smiles all the way to the finish.

Today's last race would also be the last of the regatta.  On Sunday it "blew dogs off chains" and then some, so there was no sailing at all.

It is incredibly fun to sail in large fields and, although we were unlucky with the collision and weather, it is still worth the effort to get here and sail. It extends our short season and get a great sailing experience to think back to the dark winter months. The cost is not particularly high, rental boat € 1800, entry fee € 250, accommodation sleeps 4 (with breakfast) € 600 + travel. That is, about 8,000 SKR-- not bad for the experience, really!  Plus, the food and drink and friends were fantastic-- the best!  Until next time, friends!  Sailing photo credits- Jacques Vapillon

Loos Wins Cooling Down Regatta

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing Benelux regattaJAMAICAS KRONJUWEL Wins J/22 Euro-League
(Braassermermeer, Netherlands)- Fourteen teams gathered for the weekend of sailing that constitutes one of the end of the season regattas for the Benelux J/22 sailing circuit.

The fleet was greeted on Saturday with 2-4 m/sec winds and, somewhat prophetically, it started to rain at the start line on the Braassemermeer. On Saturday the wind was moderate and very shifty.  Sunday dawned no better.  Sunday it was pretty uncomfortable outside. Said Thomas Hanf, "instead of using the alarm, we were awakened by pounding rain on the roof of our VW bus."  Such was the weekend for the real "Cooling Down Regatta".

After eight races in total, the final victory went to the VERFPAGINA.NL Team led by Gaston Loos and his team with an amazing tally of two 4ths and six consecutive 1sts for total of 14 pts.  A dominating performance it was. However, the battle for the balance of the podium was anything but simple exercise of sailing around the course.  The next three boats were all essentially tied going into the last race!  For each start, for every mark-rounding, for every tack, set and gybe, the three teams all fought "tooth & nail" to scratch-out the best possible finish every race.  In the end, second was the team of Reinhold Gross with his German team aboard JAMAICAS KRONJUWEL with a steady scoreline of 7-7-3-3-2-3-4-3 for 32 points, just one point ahead of his rivals.  Third and fourth were determined on a tie-breaker by two Benelux teams.  Taking third place was Jean-Michel Lautier and his team with a 1-3-2-4-5-8-2-8 for 33 pts.  At the short-end of that stick was Ivo Jeukens taking fourth with a 2-1-5-2-6-5-8-4 for 33 pts.  Rounding out the top five was Haka with 46 pts.

As a result of this regatta, perhaps the most significant victory went to Reinhold Gross and crew on JAMAICAS KRONJUWEL, taking the overall 2012 Euro-League for the J/22s in Europe.  Congratulations to the Jamaica-loving crew led by Reinhold!  Perhaps an invitation to the "real" Jamaica to sail off Montego Bay is on order for this crew!  For more J/22 Cooling Down and Euro-League sailing information

Mike Holme Crowned "Champion of Champions"

J/97 JIKA JIKA sailed by Holmes family winning(Southampton, England)- In a new initiative launched in this 175th Anniversary year of the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Hamble-based Club have co-operated to offer the owner of the most consistent and successful yacht in the Club's four Summer Series Regattas, a prize trip to view the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race on 21st January 2013.

The winner and "victor ludorum" is Mike Holmes from Bath, Avon, who has sailed his J/97 JIKA-JIKA (which means "twist & turn" in Swahili) with his son Jamie to a resounding series of 13 wins and two 2nd place finishes out of 15 races, in the highly competitive IRC 3 class.

A member of the Royal Naval Sailing Association and Royal Yacht Squadron, Mike is an ex-submariner who started sailing in 1958, competing mainly offshore throughout the 1970s and 1980s in many RORC events and several Fastnet Races (including the fateful 1979 edition). He took part in the 1977 World 3/4 Ton Cup in La Rochelle and placed 4th in the 1978 World 1/4 Ton Cup in Japan. He also competed in the inaugural double-handed 1981 Transat, taking 1st in class in his 30ft trimaran and was part of the winning crew in the 1988 and 1989 Three Peaks Race (a brutal, endless, 24 hour competition that takes place for days and includes running, rowing your sailboat and sailing to the famous "three peaks" in Scotland).

The Barbados Tourism Authority, Mount Gay Rum (The Rum that Invented Rum) and the Barbados Cruising Club are co-sponsors of the annual Round Barbados Race and are partnered in this superb prize trip by British Airways and the Mango Bay hotel group.  Congratulations to Mike and Jamie Holmes, we wish them well and "God Speed" in adventures in the Caribbean.  Thanks for this contribution from Peta Stuart-Hunt.  Sailing Photo Credit- Paul Wyeth-
For more Royal Southern YC Champion of Champions information

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

J/109 Sailing Experience in China Cup Regatta

J/109 Whiskey Jack- sailing Hong Kong, China(Hong Kong, China)- Recently, Nick Southward, owner of the J/109 WHISKEY JACK sailing out of Hong Kong, China caught up with us and had this to say about his J/109 sailing adventures off Hong Kong's islands- "Below you will find some excellent stories written by Guy Nowell (with on our adventures in the China Cup International Regatta held in Daya Bay, China."  Guy's commentary follows:

"Day 1- Not a bad day.

IRC combined divisions rolled into the start area in a good 2m swell-and-chop, and with just 14sec to go before the P down, instead it was Class down and AP up as the pin dragged off downwind at a rate of knots. By the time the buoy had been reset and the scattered sheep rounded up and pointed in the right direction, it was 25min later, meaning that the IRC boats had some catching up to do with the regatta’s Glamour Division (Beneteau 40.7OD) and the HKPN fleet.

Whiskey Jack came off mid-line with the height and pace of an electric giraffe on a skateboard, and was delighted to be keeping company with Jamie McWilliam’s rather more powerful Ker 40, Peninsula Signal 8. It felt good while it lasted. The trip from Hong Kong to Longcheer is a straight-line coaster, with one corner near the end. Breeze for most of the trip was steady in strength, and the main decision was to ‘go in’ or ‘stay out’. Staying out at sea for an anticipated lift at the top of the track certainly paid, but not for the reason expected – in fact the breeze was all over the compass, starting at 090 wandering back and forth between 060 and 070.

But at the left-hand headland just six miles from the finish line, it collapsed into puffy, shifty stiff from all directions – on the finish line it was 270 - and overlaying a big ocean swell pushing into Daya Bay, good for surfing had been any more wind! Surfdude did some very entertaining 360 turns trying to get to the last patch of puff in order to finish.

So Whiskey Jack was happily surprised to find herself only third IRC boat into the marina, and happily spent an hour tidying up after the energetic 35nm beat. Crew hit the Quarantine queue at 1705h, and were dismayed to find that this was just the queue for the next queue – Immigration. Quarantine declarations ('no, I do not have bird flu') were meticulously checked letter by letter and digit by digit against passports. And then on to Immigration. One crewmember’s Arrival Card was rejected because it was completed in blue biro instead of something black (although nowhere on the form is this specified, and blue ink works perfectly well at every other entry point to China). Darkness fell. And then, almost 2 hrs after starting to queue, down came the rain. Officials rushed to provide flimsy plastic ‘emergency’ ponchos (queueing in a tent would have been a better idea) and a great many grumpy voices began to make themselves heard. 'Don’t exactly make you feel welcome here, do they?'

Day 2. The view from the rail of Whiskey Jack (again).

If this report seems a little WJ-centric, we do not apologise. Diametrically opposite to the way that China Cup reports itself as a whole collection of events with a regatta thrown in, these reports are written from the point of a competitor on the racecourse and with the same collection of events thrown in and ignored. Please draw your own conclusions.

Moving swiftly on from the monochrome breakfast at the Pattaya Hotel, and after a pleasant 45-minute doze on the bus en route to Longcheer, sailors were greeted by flapping flags, clattering halyards and 15kts of breeze in the marina. Time to go sailing.

Two sausages (course 6) for everyone except IRC 1 (an extra sausage). The Beneteau 40.7 division started first with 20 of the 26 boats trying to fit into the ten yards of the start line closest to the Committee Boat – probably the best place to be at that point was on the top deck of Kellett VI, watching the drama unfold mere feet away and listening to happy exchange of words between crews. A couple of hundred yards away on Whiskey Jack we could hear it all, and although Cantonese and Mandarin are not the first language of any of the crew we could still recognise some hard words in the hubbub.

Four minutes later, approaching the line with under a minute to go, we were surprised to be rolled by a Swan 83 that arrived on our starboard quarter with pace, failed to respond to luffing calls of ‘Up! Up!’, rolled straight through and across in front of us and steamed off down the line. Maybe that rattled the Whiskey Jacks – instead of sticking to the carefully planned ‘go right’ protocol, we went left and lost out badly. Catching up with the back markers of the 40.7OD fleet made for an altogether too exciting leeward rounding in traffic that looked like Hong Kong Central in rush hour, organised by Hong Kong minibus drivers about to go off shift. Preferably something never to be repeated in this lifetime.

With the breeze swinging hard right and a sea breeze building past 12kts, the RO called another course 6 and off we went again. This time a planned boat end start began perfectly but went badly awry when the big Swan appeared (again) from the back row, barged through the fleet of smaller boats that had just crossed the line, and thundered away leaving in her wake some shaking knees and more than one skipper wondering if the value of his boat might not have suddenly increased in value by the addition of a few microns of Swan gelcoat to the topsides. It was, in truth, a scary experience. Once again, the right side of the course paid and the breeze held. And lo and behold out came the sun. Top mark for IRC 1 and the 40.7s was set at 1nm, and 0.8nm for everyone else, making for another short sharp race (40mins) with little or no chance to recover from any mistakes – it was good short-course racing in good conditions. In fact, just about as good as it gets, anywhere.

Third race, course 6 again, and Whiskey Jack’s principal start plan was to stay as far away as possible from any large Swans in the general vicinity – a simple strategy that worked well and produced a stress-free start, a sparkling first beat, a dancing run and a nail-biting close quarters leeward rounding that worked nicely when A35 Andiamo left the door open just a couple of inches (but it could easily have been a different story!), and then a second lap with more of the same for a third place on the water and second on handicap.

Day 3 – A Grand Day Out

Some of the Whiskey Jacks were looking a little dusty this morning. Nothing to do with last night’s prize-giving followed by a sojourn in a karaoke bar accompanied by a bottle of whisky. Nothing at all.

Out on the water at 1000hrs for an 1100hrs start, 5kts on the windward mark swinging between 30 and 80?, and we were slacking off the rig. But after the trip back down to the starting area it was 18-20kts from 100? and we were tightening the rig with just 9 minutes to go before the start. Never mind, it was a good clean start with no Swans in sight, and a punchy beat to follow. The hoist was good too, but the gybe wasn’t. In fact, the wrap was still firmly in place as we rounded the bottom mark.

The hoist for the second run was a bit substandard too, with the kite wrapping itself as it went up, and the net result was a finish under jib at the very back of the division. All of a sudden, yesterday’s fifth place didn’t look like a discard any longer. An even worse morning for Yomovo when a D1 gave way and dropped the rig, and Surfdude who had an unscheduled meeting with a port-tack Beneteau 40.7 and lost her mast as well. There was also news of a FarEast 26 and the boom of a big Swan, but this is strictly unconfirmed at press time.

Race 6, Islands Course 3. ‘Islands race can be considered as a special harbour race, replacing the buoys with islands, reefs or lighthouses. Participating sailboats are required to circle such fixed marks.’ (Extract from the CCIR Service Manual – A Treat for Charms of Sailing’). While we anxiously waited for the Race Committee to replace the buoys with islands (or reefs, or lighthouses) we disentangled the spin halyard from the forestay, tidied up, and had another Red Bull.

It was a good powerful beat out to sea towards the Daya Bay Needles, and we hung on to the A40, Sea Wolf, all the way. Then a bear away to port onto an A-sail reach, a gybe to port at a navigation mark, and a full-blooded power reach back across the bay to the finish. 9-10kts on the clock felt pretty good until 500 yards before the finish line when the spinnaker suddenly split down the middle and turned into French underwear. All in all, a cracking afternoon’s sailing.

Day 4- A Challenging Day

The brown smog squatting heavily on the hills behind Longcheer didn’t look so good, but the breeze felt fantastic. 20kts and some as we poked our nose out from the marina, and that’s the way it stayed. The RO probably didn’t want another boat-breaker of a day (and probably nor did any of the owners) so where the program said ‘geometric or islands course’, it was geometric.

The starting sequence was changed from Sunday – Beneteau 40.7s away first, then IRC 1 and 2 together, and IRC 3 at the very back of the draw. This was a ploy to keep the sharks out of the paddling pool, or the biggest IRC boats away from the smallest ones. Speaking from experience, it is pretty scary to be rolled over on the start line by a boat more than twice your own length. Actually, we spoke to a crew member from the big boat and suggested politely that on Sunday they had failed to respond to a luffing call (fat chance!). We were quickly told that we had made no luffing movement, and were quickly referred to a Rule number which I now forget.

So, it has to be asked, is it a realistic suggestion that a J/109 should deliberately barge into the side of an 83’ cruiser? – after all, it’s big (the cruiser), it has lots of momentum and it has less maneuverability than the 35-footer. Or might it not have been a more considerate thing for the big boat to have kept clear of the smaller boats in the first place? Buffalo girls, and all that. Of course, rules are rules, and we’re not trying to sidestep them, but where there are big boats and (relatively) little boats starting together, a bit of common sense might sometimes over ride a stand on ‘rights’.

Moving swiftly on – two sausages, and yesterday Whisky Jack blew out her heavier spinnaker, so the choice was between the flimsy stuff and soak down, or Code 0 and go for the angles. The latter seemed to be the better call. Let’s just say that the execution wasn’t bad, but there were some stomach-churning mark roundings with boats in close quarters. In the strong breeze, everyone had their hands full from bow to helm, and knew it. Thankfully, there were no excessively large boats rounding with us.

Second race of the day, triangle and a sausage, better for the code 0 which was pressed into service again. The gybe mark was ‘interesting’ and so was the leeward mark, and different fleets going in opposite directions in the same patch of water all added to the fun. One thing we learned this weekend – when there are an awful lot of boats in a small patch of water, there are no clear lanes in the middle, and banging the corner suddenly becomes a much better idea.

Another thing we learned – in good breeze it’s very hard for a J/109 to hang on to an Archambault 40. Congratulations to Sea Wolf who took out the IRC 3 division with eight bullets form eight races. It was a bit of a mixed bag of results for the rest of us, but Whiskey Jack did indeed come home second overall in her division. Reason to be Cheerful Part 1.

Reason to be Cheerful Part 2 was the ride home to Hong Kong on Monday evening – but first we had to get past the Immigration dept. The desks were still there on the quayside, but they were unmanned. Bits & Pieces and Outrageous presented their passports around midday, and we joined in as soon as racing was finished, but it turned out that there were NO immigration arrangements at the venue, and helpful chaps were rushing backwards and forwards to the nearest immigration office (some 30min away by car) with batches of passports. At least it wasn’t raining.

Eventual departure time – after 1700hrs. A punchy trip to ‘the corner’ under engine and main in 25kts of breeze gave way to a glorious run in the dark with the wind on the port quarter. Novice night sailors were introduced to the joys of identifying navigation lights and trying to work out which way something is going (today we have an Answer Sheet – it’s called AIS). Gradually the sea calmed as we approached Hong Kong, and then it was time to gybe and head up Port Shelter and into Pak Sha Wan. The breeze carried all the way – there was still 18kts blowing us in through the entrance to Hebe Haven at just after 2200hrs. Welcome home to Hong Kong!"  Again, thanks to Guy Nowell, with kind permission of Sail-World Asia.

Mollicone Wins J/24 North Americans

J/24 one-design sailboats- sailing off Jacksonville, FL in North Americans(Jacksonville, FL)- The Florida Yacht Club and J/24 Fleet 55 hosted the 2012 Merrill Lynch–Bank of America J/24 North Americans for the twenty-nine teams from across America.

The event opened up in a swashbuckling fashion as John Mollicone’s 11th Hour Racing and Peter Bream’s Team Tarheel went neck-to-neck against each other over two races and finished the day with four points each to lead the rest of the pack heading into the second day of competition.

Mollicone drew first blood by winning the first race with Bream finishing in second and Robby Brown’s USA 799 taking the third spot. The second race saw Rossi Milev’s Clean Air finishing first with Bream winding up in second again and Mollicone nabbing a point after nabbing third place. Milev currently stands in third in the four-day race off the beautiful coast of Jacksonville, Florida.  Conditions in Jacksonville were cool and overcast, with winds starting at 6-8 knots and a slight chop before dying out for a while in the afternoon. The breeze then filled in for race two at 5-7 knots.

For the second day of racing, Peter Bream on Team Tarheel claimed the lead.  Bream held the advantage over second place John Mollicone on 11th Hour Racing (24 points) and Mike Ingham on 11th Hour Racing in third (36 points). The day began with Bream’s Team Tarheel notching two bullets in races 3 and 4. Travis Odenbach’s Honey Badger crossed the line behind Bream in Friday’s first race, however took an 8 due to a scoring penalty. Mollicone’s 11th Hour Racing was third. In the next contest, another 11th Hour Racing—this time Ingham—placed second, followed by Clark Dennison’s Kobayashi Maru. Then it was Mollicone who grabbed the top spot in Race 5, with Rossi Milev and Robby Brown rounding out the top three. Ingham ended the day with a victory in race 6, trailed by Odenbach and Ron Medlin, Jr.’s Bash.  Conditions in Jacksonville were chilly and overcast with winds at 6-8 knots, building to 10-12 throughout the day.

After the third day of racing, John Mollicone’s 11th Hour Racing team emerged victorious. Comprised of Mollicone, Tim Healy, Collin Leon, Geoff Becker and Gordon Borges, the Newport team credited their consistency and team work during the nine races as the keys to their success.  “We had good starts, and our boat speed was good,” summarized Mollicone. “It’s hard to be in the right place all the time tactically, but our boat speed helped us get out of some tough situations.”

Finishing with 30 points overall, 11th Hour Racing won the regatta’s first race and never finished out of the top 10. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t have any real deep races, especially early on,” shared Healy. “It ended up paying off late in the regatta. We could afford going into the last race knowing we couldn’t get worse than second, so that was a nice place to be.”

Canadian Rossi Milev sailed an impressive regatta on Clean Air, and placed in second overall with 34 points including three bullets. Travis Odenbach’s Honey Badger rounded out the top three.  Conditions in Jacksonville on the last day of the event were the breeziest of the week at 16-18 knots with gusts in the 20s.

“This is a challenging place to sail because it’s not only shifty but there are a lot of holes and you have the current factor,” Mollicone said. “Tricky conditions, but the people at Florida Yacht Club are awesome and it was a great regatta.” On Saturday, Milev won race 7, with Greg Griffin’s Majic and Odenbach in the next two slots. David Van Cleef claimed the next victory, trailed by Mollicone and Odenbach. Milev returned to the top in the event’s final bout, and Van Cleef and Griffin followed.

The top ten overall were 1st John Mollicone- 30 pts, 2nd Rossi Milev- 34 pts, 3rd Travis Odenbach- 40 pts, 4th Peter Bream- 41 pts, 5th Mike Ingham- 43 pts, 6th Carter White- 44 pts, 7th David Van Cleef- 45 pts, 8th Greg Griffin- 63 pts, 9th Robby Brown- 65 pts and 10th John Denman- 74 pts.  Thanks for the contribution from Chris Howell.   For more J/24 North Americans sailing information

Monday, November 26, 2012

J/70 One-Design Class Update

J/70 sailing off Marblehead (Newport, RI)- Over the past month the evolution of J/70 one-design class development continues its inexorable fast pace around the world.  While the first J/70s are just beginning to appear in such exotic locations like Santiago, Chile; Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong, China; and Miami, FL, other famous sailing venues are seeing fleets blossom like spring flowers across the sailing landscape.  Europeans are just beginning to get a taste of the J/70 in the Netherlands (Belgium & Holland) as well as in England and France.

In the Americas, the class is developing rapidly.  To date there are over a dozen fleets in development with nine confirmed already.  At this stage, it looks like Annapolis can lay claim to being the J/70 capital of the world with Fleet #1 status, followed closely by their friends in Newport/ Narragansett Bay with Fleet #2.  The Great Lakes are growing fast with Cleveland as Fleet #3, Western Lake Ontario #6, South Shore Lake Ontario #7 and Erie, PA as #8.  Out West, SoCal (Southern California) is Fleet #5 and the California fleets may soon expand to include Santa Barbara, CA as its own fleet along with San Francisco, CA.  Plus, the Cascade Locks, OR and Seattle, WA fleets are not far behind! In the East, Fishing Bay, VA is now Fleet #4 and just recently Marblehead attained Fleet #9 status.  Not far behind are fleets forming in Chicago, IL; Fort Worth, TX; Houston, TX; Lake Dillon, CO; Tampa, FL; and Long Island Sound.

J/70s sail testing Long Island SoundReports from the frontiers of J/70 fleet development are encouraging.  Recently, Jud Smith, a world-renowned sailor (Etchells 22 World Champion, Sonar North American Champion, IOD World Champion and Dennis Conner's mainsail trimmer in the America's Cup), had the following commentary after sailing in Marblehead recently: "I saw the J/70’s sailing in Newport a bunch this summer.  It looked well mannered, without the crew having to fight it to go fast.  I also like the decision to go with dacron race sails for this size one-design.  The ramp-launch trailer, roller furling headsail, carbon rig with adjustable backstay all makes a lot sense.  However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to sail with Peter Duncan this fall in New York that I realized that this boat was going to be a game-changer.  I couldn’t help but think the J/70 class was going to take-off like the J/24 did  years ago.  When I got home I told my wife, Cindy, how impressed I was with the boat and that it was a class we could race together. I was pleased to finally be able to get her out J/70 one-design sailboats- sailing off San Diego YCsailing at the Marblehead Demo day.  When she returned to the dock she insisted I join her for another ride. I wasn’t expecting that! She’s quite excited now for racing the J/70 together. Our two daughters can race it as well, even if I’m away!"

The report from San Diego was similar.  Jeff Brown at JK3 Yachts said: "This past Sunday we had a J/70 Demo Day hosted at San Diego Yacht Club with sailmakers from Ullman, Quantum, and North sails on each boat for people to test. It turned out to be a perfect day with about 30 attendees.  We offered food, beer, and drinks on the dock after and it was a very successful, enjoyable event. We're looking forward to growing our Socal Fleet #5!"  For more J/70 one-design sailing information

Saturday, November 24, 2012

J/80 JASMINE Wins Hong Kong Round Island!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Hong Kong Around Island Race (Hong Kong, China)- It's back! Hong Kong's largest and most inclusive sailing event featured 235 sailing boats, together with outrigger canoes and coastal rowing boats, that battled it out around Hong Kong Island.  It is a capricious 26nm course that would create moments of breath-taking beauty, "shock & awe" and anxiety due to currents, whirlpools and remarkably variable winds-- as any veteran "round islanders" would say, "that's all part of the fun! Makes for great sea stories and camaraderie afterwards!"

It was the proverbial "game of two halves" for the sailors, as 235 boats of all shapes and sizes gathered in Victoria Harbour for the start of this year's Tommy Bahama Around The Island Race. With 7 knots of breeze prevailing for the first starts at 0830hrs, the Pandora and HKPN 1 fleets got clear away, but the breeze then dropped to less than two knots for the later starts, leaving a flotilla of boats drifting gently towards Lei Yue Mun on the tide.

Hong Kong Around Island Race startThankfully the breeze filled in through the morning, giving the fleet a lift through the notorious Lei Yue Mun gap and round through Junk Bay to Shek O and Cape D'Aguilar. The Around The Island Race is highly tactical and a boat's light wind sailing technique possibly influences its result more than any other skill. This was the case again today, however for a change, the sticking point was Bluff Head to Stanley, while the usual parking lot of Cyberport was enjoying 15 to 20 knots of northerly, with good breeze to carry the boats around Green Island and into the western harbour approaches.

Hong Kong Around Island race course chartThe lead boat on the water was, unsurprisingly, Frank Pong's 72' JELIK (notably, an enthusiastic sponsor of several J/80s at Royal Hong Kong YC of the same name), who reached the Green Island Mark around 30 minutes ahead of Sam Chan's TP52 FREEFIRE. Given the conditions for the last 30% of the race, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen made the decision to allow the boats to go "all the way" and JELIK took line honours at RHKYC Kellett Island after 3 hours and 43 minutes, with FREEFIRE following home just under 25 minutes later. In all, 184 boats recorded a finish at Kellett Island before enjoying a well–earned beer on the famous RHKYC decks.

Hong Kong Around Island race fleetThe Around The Island Race isn't only about who has the biggest and fastest boat, and the overall results are calculated on an RHKATI handicap, developed using the data from years of pursuit racing. After time correction, the results for IRC 2 Class saw Nick Southward's J/109 WHISKEY JACK avoid most pitfalls, but not all, to secure a 7th in their class.  On the one-design front, the J/80s showed up in force with thirteen boats participating. Leading them all home was Ben Bulmer's JASMINE winning their class by a rather substantial margin of 6+ minutes!  Second was David Fan's SEA BISCUIT, third was Henry Wong's FOOTLOOSE, fourth was Alex Cheung's FIGURE OF EIGHT and fifth was Karen Lam's MAY 13 (she was also first women skipper to finish).  Thanks for the contribution from Guy Nowell at Asia
For more Tommy Bahama Around the Island Race sailing information

J/80 BlueProject Sailing Italy!

(Lavagna, Italy)- Team-building and leadership development on J/80s on the sunny, warm Mediterranean?  Yes, it can be done.  Michele Rayneri at BLUEPROJECT SAILING ITALY has this to offer to fellow J/80 sailors and fellow J sailing enthusiasts in the corporate world:

"Dear J friends and enthusiasts,  warm greetings from Michele Rayneri- At BLUEPROJECT, we are passionate about sailing and we have been in the business of getting people out on the water for many years.  Our fleet is made up of  nine J/80 one-design sailboats and our team is extremely experienced and has gained experience in very important international regattas.

BLUEPROJECT sees sailing as a vital corporate event and provides tailored programs: professional coaching, instruction, and innovative team building, incentive and leadership development programs.

We are dedicated to actively promoting sailing at all levels through clinics, lectures and events and, in particular, improving sailing performance on keelboats by sailing the J/80.

Our team teaches the basics of sailing whilst working as a team including: navigation, sail trimming, boat handling skills, how to work and communicate together whilst also providing team building games. Individually, each team member benefits with improving: decision making, communication, leadership skills, being part of a team, self-confidence the need to build a strong, competitive and winning spirit!

BLUEPROJECT is situated in Port of Lavagna (Genoa), but we can organize events with our J/80s all over the Mediterranean Sea.  Lavagna is an ancient seaside village, a hidden treasure and great destination for everyone enjoying a yacht rental holiday along the Italian Riviera.  Lavagna is situated in the wonderful Gulf of Tigullio, between Portofino and Sestri Levante and not far from Genoa, Montecarlo and France. It is one of the most beautiful gulfs in Italy and offers facilities and situation for excellent sailing.

The coast is a sequence of marvelous villages with their marinas, pastel-coloured houses, first-rate sports facilities and the fashionable atmosphere of "la Dolce Vita".  The beauty of the seascapes, the intense blue of the sea and the green mountains are breathtaking.

In Lavagna there are good sea food restaurants, quality beaches and a medieval, charming town centre.  A yachting vacation to the Italian Riviera can definitely be made much more enjoyable and a lot of fun with BLUEPROJECT.  For more info please visit-   Or, call mobile +39 335 8093904 or email-

Friday, November 23, 2012

J/70 First Sail off Chile!

J/70 numero uno- launches in Chile- Juan Eduardo Reid(Santiago,  Chile)- J/70 South America "Numero Uno" Launches in Chile!  Juan Eduardo Reid reports that J/70 interest in Chile is simply huge!   Juan had the opportunity to assemble their first J/70 in their harbor SW of Santiago, Chile and take it out for a sail in moderate conditions.

He reports there is strong enthusiasm for a boat that can trailered, ramp-launched and sailed in less than 20 minutes in these parts because mooring and dock space are at a significant premium.

The J/70 promises to fill an enormous vacuum in the Chilean sailing marketplace. Watch this space!  Juan is hoping they can create a J/70 South American Championships in the near future and create a series that includes Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil!

Brezellec Wins J/80 Coupe de France

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing Coupe de France (La Trinite sur Mer, France)- With over 190 participants, it can be said the J/80 Coupe de France is by far the most successful sailing circuit for one-design sailboats in the entire world.  Without a doubt, the level of sailing overall in France has improved considerably since the introduction of the J/80 and the development of fleets on all three coastlines (Bay of Biscay to the west, Mediterranean down south and La Manche in the north).  It is not without coincidence that this year's 2012 Coupe de France was taking on special significance since the next J/80 World Championships are being held in 2013 off Marseilles in July-- and the J/80 French Association are expecting well over 130 J/80s to participate.

The Coupe de France consists of seven events that starts with the famous "monster regatta" known as "Le Spi" (a.k.a. SPI OUEST France) that is sailed in April off the quaint seaside village of La Trinite sur Mer and ends with the Atlantic Telegramme Regatta sailed off Lorient.  The series scoring is based on a "high point" basis that counts 4 of 7 events.  Proving yet again they're the team to beat was Eric Brezellec's INTERFACE CONCEPT I, finishing the series with 359 pts and winning by a clear margin, most notably because of their exceptional performance at SPI Ouest.  Fellow colleague Simon Moriceau also proved they're a rapidly improving team that is a force to be reckoned with for next year's Worlds, finishing 2nd overall with 306 pts due in large part to their strong showings at the Grand Prix Crouesty and the Atlantique Telegramme event in Lorient.  Taking third only one point back was Luc Nadal's GAN'JA with 305 total pts.  Fourth was Herve Leduc's J'ILE DE RE with 287 pts and fifth was Martin Le Pape's ARPEGE PROMOTION with 266 pts.   For more J/80 Coupe de France sailing information

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NEXTEL Wins Spanish J/80 Circuito Montanes de Vela

J/80 Nextel sailing in Spanish regattas (Santander, Spain)- The Spanish J/80 sailing circuit this year comprised of three events starting in April and concluding in October-- all competing for top honors in the Circuito Montanes de Vela.  A total of thirty-two J/80 teams sailed over the course of the year starting with the VIII Trofeo Autoridad Portuaria de Santander in April off Santander's gorgeous harbor and waterfront.  During May, the teams sailed the Campeonato de Cantabria de Monotipos and then concluded their racing circuit sailing the VII Trofeo Presidente de Cantabria in October.

The series proved to be a hotly contested affair with the top three not being determined until the last regatta of the series.  After a modest start getting a 5th place in the Autoridad Portuaria regatta, the NEXTEL ENGINEERING team led by Ignacio Camino sailed consistently in the last two events by securing 2nds in both the Campeonato Cantabria and Presidente Cantabria events to win with a series total of 9 pts, winning by four pts over the rest of the World Champion-studded field.  After a strong start and strong finish, Pichu Torcida's ECC VIVIENDAS managed a 1-11-1 over the course of the three events for a total of 13 pts.  Third was Tonio Piris skippering YATES Y COSAS with a 2-4-13 for 19 pts.  Fourth was determined by a tie-breakers with Rafael Pascual Alfonso Esposito's MAQUECHE team winning the draw with a scoreline of 12-6-3 for 21 pts while fifth was Jaime Piris' FONESTAR team with a 11-5-5 also with 21 pts.   For more J/80 Circuito Montanes de Vela sailing information

Swiss Win World Police Sailing Championships

J/80s sailing World Police Sailing Championship in Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)-  Imagine working "the beat" in your local city as a police officer on a daily basis wondering, hoping, wishing that nothing goes wrong so that as one of the chosen few in your police force you can travel half-way around the world to sail in J/80s off the magical island of Hong Kong! Wow, not only would it be a privilege to participate amongst the world's elite in law enforcement, but it would have to be one of the most thrilling experiences of a lifetime to earn your "credits/ stars" (or whatever is required) to be part of the four person team winging across the world's continents and vast expanses of oceans to sail amongst fellow enthusiasts who also love wind and water.  To be sure, target shooting skills were NOT on the agenda, just sailing, fun, beer, cultural activities and a few parties tossed in to keep everything in balance.  Who wouldn't want to participate in this event if you're on any police force anywhere on Planet Earth!?  I guess the Americans didn't heed the call, their loss, as much is to be learned from their contemporaries around the world.  Looks like the Swiss, Austrians, Germans, Dutch, English, Aussies, Irish, and Hong Kongers had a ball!  In fact, the Swiss had so much fun, they decided to win it all, with the Switzerland (St Galler) team and the Switzerland (Lucerne) team taking 1st and 2nd, respectively, on the podium!

J/80 World Police Sailing police officers- having fun- winning Swiss crew.The hosts for this year's 12th World Police Sailing Championships was the Hong Kong Police Sailing Club.  The event was held in the waters of Hong Kong Harbour and surrounding areas using the versatile J-80 Sailboats.  The seven-day long event was epic, fun, gorgeous, amazing and the schedule of both sailing events and social entertainment each night ensured the sailors had lots of war stories to tell to their mates later.  While the Hong Kong Police SC were the principal hosts, they could not have pulled it off without the enthusiastic support of the three primary sailing clubs in the area contributing their fleets of J/80s, including Royal Hong Kong YC (and usage of their Middle Island harbour facility), Hebe Haven Boat Club and the Aberdeen Boat Club.

J/80 sailing past massive radar/comms installation in Hong KongThe sailors were treated to an adventurous series of both passage races as well as windward-leeward courses over five days of racing.  Monday saw four W/L's off Royal Hong Kong YC's Middle Island with drinks/dinner at Aberdeen Boat Club.  Tuesday was a passage race from RHKYC to Hebe Haven YC with drinks at Hebe Haven BC and curry buffet dinner at Aberdeen BC on Middle Island.  Wednesday offered the sailors three W/L races off Middle Island with an evening soiree at Hebe Haven BC.  Thursday was Lay Day-- the crews needed it by now-- but the shopping was frenetic!!  Friday saw one W/L race, then a passage race from Hebe Haven YC to Royal Hong Kong YC followed by drinks/ dinner at RHKYC.  On Saturday, the last day saw a classic "Harbour Tour Race" with evening drinks, prize-giving at the Hong Kong Police SC HQ (courtesy of Carlsberg Beers!).

J/80 police sailors- navigating for sailing regatta in Hong KongSo, the natural question to ask is "how is it possible that anyone could combine so much sailing and entertainment in one week"??  Perhaps that question could be answered by veterans of some of the world's more renowned race weeks (like Key West, Cowes Week, SPI Ouest, Block Island, Capri, Newport, Rolex Big Boat, Palma and others).  Nevertheless, some of the world's best police officers managed to sail fast, smart and kept themselves out of trouble (on the water, that is).  Leading the pack home by a "squeaker" was the Switzerland (St Galler) team on the great yacht "JAILBREAKER" (appropriately, enough).  Their team of Geisser, Rieser, Fritsche, and Pasche won by only one point after eleven races, dropping a 14th in the last W/L and a 7th in Race 2 and winning the last race to seal the deal over their countrymen in 2nd place.  Easily sailing the most consistent score in the series was Switzerland (Lucerne) sailing JIVE with the team of Schumacher, Vogel, Koller and Oehen.  Their low point score of 33 was not good enough, since after two drops their 19 pts was just one pt back from the gold.  Third sailing JELIK 6 was the Netherlands (Team Amsterdam) team that consisted of Migchelsen, Sikkens, Derjik and Vanderveen with 23 pts.  Rounding out the top five was the top Hong Kong Team #1 sailing JOSS that had Tait, Leung, Armstrong and Lau sailing aboard in 4th and in 5th was the top German Team #2 sailing JELIK 7 with Uden, Weissenbom, Knospe and Eden as team-mates.

J/80  one-design sailboats- sailing upwind off start in Hong Kong Police Sailing regattaCongratulations to all thirteen teams that participated for making the effort to participate and travel so far to such an extraordinarily fun, exotic sailing adventure! Plus, great appreciation was expressed by all to the three sailing clubs- Royal Hong Kong YC, Hebe Haven BC and Aberdeen BC for graciously supplying their J/80 one-design class sailboats.  Finally, kudos go to the Hong Kong Police SC's band of volunteers that helped organize the event.  Everyone is looking forward to sailing next year, hopefully, with some Americans and South Americans participating, too!   For more World Police Sailing Championship sailing information

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

PACEMAKER Takes J/24 NSW State Championships

J/24s sailing NSW States in Sydney Australia (Sydney Harbour, NSW, Australia)-  The Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club hosted this year's 2012 NSW J/24 State Championships and, again, the club, its volunteers and RC/PRO did an amazing job running another great regatta.  The very light breeze on Saturday slowly built during the day and overnight to a decent 15 kts by the end of Sunday.  Consequently, all the sailors were delighted to get in six good races under gorgeous, clear blue skies and all round great weather! As Simon Grain (owner of CODE VIOLATION) commented, "To All NSW owners, we apologize that the Trophies again went to Victorians, Dave Suda and crew on PACEMAKER are hard to beat, but let's keep trying!"

J/24 women's sailing team in Sydney, Australia"Many Thanks" to Janette Syme, skipper of the totally fab all-girl crew sailing on WHISPER, for contributing her version of events at the NSW J24 Championships.  Here is Janette's awesome commentary:

"Friday – the day before the regatta – boats arrive at RANSA from various points on Sydney Harbour, Victoria and one from South Australia. There is a mixture of crews, skippers, boats (owned, begged, borrowed, stolen – pieced together)!  And, crew all keen– boats sleek, shiny and cleaned. Soon thereafter their launching, they were all ferried around to moorings outside RPEYC.

RPEYC has a magnificent aspect of the harbour at Point Piper. Essentially an historic building, oozing character, it was comfortable and welcoming. We all sat waiting for the wind on Saturday morning, perched on the verandah, or reading books in the lounge or feet up on the lawn (as you do at regattas!).  After a couple of weeks of sea-breeze, southerly busters and generally plentiful wind, there was nothing, and grey clouds (think it must have been the Mexican Margarita's influence)!

J/24s sailing under spinnakers at NSW J/24 States in AustraliaNonetheless off we all went at first puff and bobbed around within a couple of start line shifts until a reasonable Easterly settled in at 5-10 kts. So the first day, we only managed 2 races but it was hotly contested in the light airs.  Dave Suda (Sandringham YC) in PACEMAKER secured a win as did Sean Kirkjian (RPEYC) in SAILPAC. The racing was set around mid harbour– across the channel– all windward/leewards. Sean Wallis (Perth ) sailing KAOTIC was first to the windward mark in race 1 only to hit it– they lost 4 places doing penalty turns.  Creditable sailing from ACE (MHYC), VORTEX (MHYC) , KICKING BOTTOM (Sandringham YC) and EL FIDELO (SA CYC), CODE VIOLATION (Sandringham YC) and BY THE LEE (Sandringham YC) to fill the places.

Sunday started with a 10 kts sea breeze from the NE– sun shining– the harbour littered with the usual power boats, ferries , speed bumps etc. Definite western shore lift and turning tide run out – affecting all boats up and down stream especially races 5 and 6. The wind lifted to 15-20 kts NE, perfect sea-breeze and great sailing.  Downwind legs generally favoured the shoreline and boats mostly headed for the starboard gate. Ferries had a habit of splitting the fleet with many boats gaining or loosing a place because of a ferry or two.  All in all, the series was predominantly clearly contested which is great to see.

So after 6 races I think we could all feel our arms, shoulders and hands and wore a generous amount of sea spray and wind burn. But for the most part everyone was smiling.

Congratulations to Dave Suda and the Pacemaker crew who deservedly won the NSW title again. To Sean Kirkjian and crew on SAILPAC a fabulous 2nd and Sean Wallis and crew in KAOTIC (Arthur Crothers) that rolled into third.  Handicap winner was JAGGED EDGE (Leon Ratner REPYC), 2nd BY THE LEE (Brendan Lee Sandringham YC) and 3rd WHISPER (Janette Syme with fab all-girl crew from Manly-Man YC).

The NSW Women on Water trophy went to Sophie Kennedy for her continued support of the class, over the years racing on various boats from Sailpac, Kaotic, Wildfire and Whisper.

Many thanks to NSW committee especially Sean Kirkjian for organizing a great regatta – see you next year same time same place! Thanks also to Danny, AJ and James for your help with tenders and photos!"  For more J/24 NSW Championships sailing information

Cal YC Wins J/105 Lipton Cup

J/105 one-design sailboats- sailing Lipton Cup- San Diego (San Diego, CA)- This year's prestigious Sir Thomas Lipton Cup Regatta promised to be one of the most challenging editions ever in the 98 year history of the event. There were two signifiant milestones for the sailors that elevated the game for all competitors from around America. First and foremost, the San Diego YC's remarkable cadre of enthusiastic, supportive sailors decided to invest in twelve identical suits of J/105 sails from their local North Sails Loft (for those history buffs, this is the place where Lowell North, founder of North Sails, started his little business). Secondly, the SDYC Lipton Cup Committee also decided to open up the event from a SoCal "club championship" to one with broader national appeal, inviting three clubs to participate for this year's event- New York YC, St Francis YC and Southern YC.  When the dust cleared from the field of battle on San Diego Bay, the "newcomers" gave it their all and nearly pulled off an upset, but it was California YC's "Peaches" Little and team that were crowned the 2012 Lipton Cup Champions.

J/105 sailing upwind at Lipton Cup- San DiegoThe weather forecasts for the regatta initially looked a bit like the "fresh-to-frightening" variety, with a massive Low spinning out of the Gulf of Alaska and whipping up its fury as it spun towards the California coastline.  One thing's for sure, the surfers were certainly excited about it-- with promise of 10-15 ft surf on their favorite surf breaks offshore.  For the sailors, the prospect of big breeze, leaden grey skies and rain was nothing like what the San Diego Chamber of Commerce promised for "typical" San Diego weather conditions.

J/105 sailboats- sailing downwind at Lipton Cup San DiegoWhile Friday dawned a bit grey, it soon cleared up to a partly cloudy, sunny day with good breeze from the "normal" sea breeze direction of 275-285 at 8-15 kts inside the San Diego Harbor-- amazing, the sailors were blessed beyond belief!  As a result, the 12 boat fleet of J/105s enjoyed most excellent racing in the natural sailing amphitheater of San Diego Bay surrounded by three islands- Coronado Island, Shelter Island and Harbor Island.  There was only one big hiccup to the proceedings on the first day, a significant "bumper car" situation at the first weather mark in the second race ended up having two boats becoming instantly OOC (out of commission).  So, after racing two good races, the fleet was sent home to repair boat wounds and sore muscles.  Tied for the lead after the first day were San Diego YC and St Francis YC with several clubs just behind them, including Coronado YC, Newport Harbor YC and Southwestern YC.

J/105 sailboat fleet sailing upwind in San Diego Lipton CupFor the second day of racing, the Lipton Cup PRO wisely decided to start earlier by one hour due to the amazing forecast for Saturday's racing- 10-15 kts gusting to 20 kts from 275-285 (remember, this is the usual direction).  And so it was.  After five fantastic, incredibly close races, the sailors all returned home a bit worse for wear and tear.  With 10-15 minute boat-swapping turn-arounds between each race that entailed sailing over to the "change-dock", unloading all your personal gear, spinnaker, tools, food/drink, then moving over to the new boat, sailing back to the start, re-attaching the spinnaker, storing all the gear, checking the wind, checking the jib-sheet leads and halyard tension, checking the mainsail setup and ensuring your spinnaker wasn't twisted by hoisting it temporarily, it was understandable that most crews were pretty exhausted by early Saturday evening. At the end of this marathon of four "sausages" (4 windward-leewards) and the one last 3-legger, the crews were quite ready to either sleep or find a massage therapist fast with a good dosage of pain-killing Advil tossed in for good measure.  With seven races under their belts, the standings took a dramatic change as the wind blew hard for at least three races of the five.  Standing out from the crowd with 3 bullets in the first three races was Coronado YC to take over the lead for the regatta.  Another big mover was New York YC with two bullets in the last two races, enough to pull them within striking distance of the lead along with several other clubs, including California YC, San Diego YC, St Francis YC, San Francisco YC and Newport Harbor YC.

J/105 sailboats sailing downwind on San Diego waterfrontThe stage was now set for the third and final day of racing.  The weather forecast could not have been worse.  A weak gradient from the ESE in the early morning hours was supposed to persist until noon, then slowly fill-in for what appeared to be a "drift-a-thon".  Thankfully, the SDYC's PRO was blessed yet again.  Mercifully, the wind died by mid-morning and the rapid heating of the Tijuana mountains to the southeast meant the proverbial NW breeze from 275-285 would develop with a range of 6-12 kts, enough to get in four final races on Sunday! The biggest determinant of performance in the first 2-3 races was how each team factored in the strong ebb current before it finally started to change mid-afternoon into a flood current along the Harbor Island shoreline.  Local knowledge helped to some degree.  But, again, good/bad starts and tactical calls would make enormous differences for each team as they struggled with the breeze lane along the "USS Carl Vincent" (a massive 1,100 ft, 20-story high nuclear carrier parked along the left (south) side of the course and the Harbor Island starboard lifts dropping into the course from the shoreline along the right (north) side of the course.  In the end, it was Cal YC's Bob "Peaches" Little that avoided any big pitfalls race-to-race to win by just 3 pts.  Second was local San Diego YC sailing champion Chuck Driscoll finishing with 49 points.  After a fabulous day of sailing Saturday, the Coronado YC boys had rough going the last day, whatever "lucky charm" they had simply faded away, ending up third for the regatta with 55 pts.  After being in a tie for the lead on the first day, it was yet another tale of "two days" for Russ Silvestri and crew aboard the St Francis YC team, finishing with 57 pts, narrowly missing the podium on the last leg of the last race.  Rounding out the top five was the current J/105 North American Champion, Chris Perkins sailing for San Francisco YC with 66 pts.

The Lipton Cup Regatta marked the end of the remarkable four weekends of J/105 sailing in San Diego.  All four events were managed very well by San Diego YC's band of 100+ volunteers, excellent RC/PRO and it sponsors (including J/Boats dealer Jeff & Karen Brown's JK3 Yachting as both sponsors and Chairs of Committees for the various events).  Kudos to all and a testimonial to what excellent planning and execution can do to make it a memorable series of events for many sailors from across America.  If the chatter on the dock and the deck of San Diego YC was any indication of the fun and camaraderie amongst all the sailors, the future sure looks bright for the J/105 Masters and the Lipton Cup in 2013 and beyond!   Sailing photo credits- Mark Albertazzi (   For more J/105 Lipton Cup sailing information