Wednesday, November 13, 2013

J/70 World Class Developments

J/70s sailing on San Francisco Bay (Newport, RI)- As the J/70 class continues to expand worldwide at a frenetic pace, easily the fastest growing sportboat ever, there are even more exciting developments to look forward to headed into 2014.

So far, American J/70 sailors have established nineteen fleets spread across the country, with representation in virtually every major sailing center.  The likelihood of fleets developing in places like Edgartown YC in Martha’s Vineyard and in Stonington/New London, CT with US Coast Guard Academy sailors participating is quite certain; pushing the total fleets over 20+ for 2014.  More news on these fleets and others as they develop.  The larger fleets so far happen to be on Chesapeake Bay (Annapolis, Richmond and Fishing Bay- over 50 boats); in the Great Lakes (Chicago, Rocky River, Canandaigua, Erie, Youngstown & Rochester- over 50 boats); on the Pacific Coast (Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego- over 40 boats); and in the Northeast (Marblehead, Edgartown, Fishers Island, Ridgewood, Southampton and Newport- over 50 boats).  Southwestern USA is growing fast with fleets established in Forth Worth and Houston, Texas— nearly two dozen boats!

The European scene is catching up quickly with fleet development already taking place in virtually all major sailing centers across the UK and continental Europe.  While the strongest fleet so far has been the Solent-based J/70 sailors in the UK, their cross-Channel colleagues are creating enormous momentum.  J/70s enjoyed excellent fleet growth in Italy, hosting the first EuroCup on Lago di Garda for sailing teams from Germany, UK, Monaco, Netherlands, France and Russia.  Expect to see fleets growing in the Benelux/ Netherlands region, France, Germany, Monaco, Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) and Russia.  The German J/70 fleet has generated significant interest due to their Deutsche Sailing Bundesliga (watch real-time Berliner finals this weekend here).  Perhaps the most exciting development may be taking place on Lake Constance (the Bodensee).  There, fifty-five sailing clubs that border it’s picturesque shoreline (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) have agreed, as part of the Lake Constance Sailing Association, to grow the J/70 one-design class on the lake— more news on this exciting development soon!

Looking out further across the world of J/70 sailing, a number of J/70s are already sailing in South America (Peru, Chile, Brazil) and Australia (Sydney).  Perhaps the most exciting developments are taking place on the Asia/ Pacific Rim; it appears that multiple fleets with dozens of boats are organizing in China, spearheaded by their provincial Ministers of Sport & Tourism to help catalyze the lifelong sport/ recreation of sailing across Asia!  More news soon!

J/70s rounding leeward markJ/70 sailors themselves have been documenting the extraordinary amounts of fun they’re having with their boats.  Perhaps one of the coolest 70 sailing videos to date comes from Annapolis photographer Sara Proctor, practicing her skills as a videographer at the monstrous J/70 North Americans recently held on the Chesapeake Bay with nearly 90 boats!  Sara’s “music sailing video” includes nice choreography with ALT-J’s popular BREEZEBLOCKS tune (the Leeds, England–based trio that fittingly has a new album called “AN AWESOME WAVE”- postmodern pop that mines the best elements from folk-rock, garage rock, dub-pop, indie rock, vintage cinema scores, and a-cappella harmony before constructing layered, angular arrangements with sonic overtones). Sweet!!  Watch Sara Proctor’s sailing video tour’de’force here.

There are several other J/70 sailing videos for your couch-potato viewing pleasure, including:

- Team JUGADOR Sailing the British J/70 Nationals- just your basic 12-15 kts of sailing on “cruise-control” with bursts to 17-18 kts plus!

- A J/70 sailing San Francisco Bay- extreme upwind sailing in 25+ kts of breeze.

- Matt Romberg’s J/70 speed-sailing trials on a beautiful, windy day on Lake Travis- sailing with his Dad and Jon Baker and featuring a nice wipe out in the middle of the segment.

- Peter Winkelstein recently sailing on the Niagara River on a beautiful fall day in October.  It’s on-board video of the J/70 EOWYN approaching the mouth of the Niagara River during a beautiful Fall race.

- Alex Watters sailing a J/70 in the Bras d’Or Narrows- a 15 mile northwest arm of the lakes- it was very shifty with huge puffs. Says Alex, “We need to get to the left side of the narrows to honor a navigation mark, all the while being swept straight seaward by a 3-4 knot current (meanwhile, we’re flying the Code 0). At exactly the wrong time we get slammed by a huge blast, which was also a knock, making this one of the messiest roundings ever...but we made it!!  Yeah, mon!! Our class was the last start, like 30 min after the first class, and we are leading the 40 boat fleet at this point as the smallest boat in the race (biggest was a Swan 48)!!.”  Pretty amusing video seen here!  Sailing photo credits- Erik Simonson/