Sunday, March 31, 2013

J/109 Sailing San Fernando Race

A Magnificent Charity Race for Children in the Phillipines
(Hong Kong, China)- From its inauguration in 1977, when a group of sailing enthusiasts from Royal Hong Kong YC cruised down to San Fernando and raced back, this event has had a special place in the hearts of those who have taken part, not only for challenge of the offshore race itself but because they have enjoyed the warmth and camaraderie that surrounds it. It has also, through the support of the children’s home in San Fernando, been more than just a race; the San Fernando Charity Dinner being held on 15 March is a "must attend" event with "red carpet" treatment for the sailors in a spectacular location over-looking the harbor.  In other words, it really is a "race to the party" that you simply do not want to miss-- it's for the kids, after all.

As a result, the race itself is a journey and the "means to the worthy ending"!  And, it has seen everything the weather Gods could possibly throw at a fleet of sailboats offshore.  Once the fleet escapes the warm and friendly confines of Hong Kong's famously busy, choppy harbor waters, the fleet sets off on a 480nm Category 1 Offshore Race from Hong Kong, China to San Fernando, Philippines.  The weather can be especially capricious, from warm, sunny, spectacular northerlies pushing the fleet fast under spinnakers in benign "South Pacific" weather to epic monsoon-style storms with fresh to frightening breezes and steep, breaking waves kicked up by the currents.

The lone J/Team sailing this year is WHISKEY JACK, a J/109 J/109 sailing Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club San Fernando Raceowned by Nick Southward. The six crew includes three managing directors of local companies and this year, for the first time, only one lawyer.  “Unfortunately we have made a serious tactical error and this year we have no young whipper-snapper, who would otherwise be changing sails as required throughout the race.  This means that some of the more statesmen-like members of our crew will have to go forward of the cockpit, something that is unusual to say the least,” says Nick who has one San Fernando under his belt.  “Last time, we had 30kts for two days and a steering gear failure which meant spending three hours upside down in the bowels of the boat trying to fix the relevant parts,” he recalls.

WHISKEY JACK has entered the San Fernando “for the pleasure and fun of offshore racing, combined with a decent excuse to get “off the grid” for a few days where there is no email or mobile phone coverage,” says Nick and adds that he’s looking forward to “the first night, which will blow out the cobwebs, and then two more days of spectacular sailing including a visit from the dolphins, when we get closer to the Philippines, tuna sushi (the weight watchers have allowed a special dispensation of fishing gear) and the party on the Sunday night, and we do hope we will get there in time!”

WHISKEY JACK's previous results in offshore races include 2nd IRC Div 2 in the 2012 Rolex China Sea Race, 2nd in IRC in the 2011 Taiwan Straits Race and 4th IRC Div 4 in the 2010 Rolex China Sea Race.  We wish them all well, fair winds and fast sailing!  For more Royal Hong Kong YC San Fernando Race sailing information

Russian Sailing Federation Championships

J/80 sailing Russian Federation Cup Sailing regatta(Palma Mallorca, Spain)- After three wildly successful events the last few years hosting the "Federation Cup" for the Russian Sailing Federation in J/80s in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, the leadership of Russian sailing have decided to stay with the Spanish J/80 sailing theme and sail two regattas in 2013- one in the spring in the Med and the traditional Federation Cup championship in November in Lanzarote.

J/80 Russian championship- sailing upwind off Palma Mallorca, SpainThe first event was hosted by the local J/80 fleet in Palma Mallorca.  Seven teams showed up for this first edition and all sailing teams had a fantastic time.  This "spring regatta" was called the "Cup of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Sailing Federation". The participants were all members of the Federation's Board which guide and help manage the Federation for all Russian sailors.

The second event, the Federation Cup will again be sailed in Lanzarote, using the large fleet of J/80s that have produced J/80 World Champions like Rayco Tabares sailing his famous Princess Yaiza Hotel in regattas throughout Europe and America.  The event organizers expect to have nearly twenty J/80s racing for the honor of being the top Russian yachtsmen for 2013 and, perhaps bragging rights for being one of the best Russian sailors in the world!   Sailing photo credits- Jesus Renedo   For more Russian Sailing Federation Championship information, please contact Serge Kotsiouba (serge@ut-yachting.com) at UT Yachting in Port Grimaud, France.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

CARRER Takes J/24 Cordoba Championship

J/24s sailing Cordoba, Argentina 
(Villa Carlos Pax, Cordoba, Argentina)- As they have for years, the "400 Club" as it's known amongst the J/24 sailors that go sailing in Argentina's Andes Mountain range hosted yet another fantastic regatta, weather be damned.  Located not far from its famous vineyards for making the delicious red Malbec's and for snow-skiing in yet another direction (like at the top of the lake!) the J/24 sailors made the most of what can be some of the world's most spectacular sailing conditions as well as it's craziest.  Think of sailing on any Swiss Lake, Lake Dillon in Colorado or Nevada's famous Lake Tahoe; micro-bursts are normal and boats sailing at one another with spinnakers on opposite legs are simply part of the game.

For this year's event, the Campeonato Centro de la Republica Cordoba, it was Pablo Despontin's team on CARRER that managed to win by the narrowest of margins.  With 21 boats on the water of Lago San Roque from Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza and Neuquen the fleet managed to sail three races over the course of three days, such is the case with mountain breezes!

On the first day of sailing, the fleet managed to get in two good races with a reasonable winds.  The second day of racing was difficult and the RC was only able to get in one good race due to highly variable climatic conditions that went from storm to calm and mountain "Borneos" of 180 degrees changes in wind direction, until it settled to about 8 to 10 knots.

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing ArgentinaDespite the weather conditions, there was incredible enthusiasm and very cool racing amongst the J/24 sailors despite the heat of the competition. Not to mention, of course, was the absolutely amazing party in the evening with beautiful people, fine wines & champagne and incredible fireworks magically reflecting off the lake like it was a mirror!

Sadly, there was no racing Monday since there was a complete lack of wind.  As a result, the regatta ended with three races counting with no throw-outs.  True to their tradition for this event, the regatta organizers, 400 YCC, J/24 Cordoba Fleet and others had a fabulous closing ceremony and awards.  To next time, as they say, but this time with more wind!  See J/24 Cordoba photos in Picasa photos.  More J/24 Cordoba pictures on Facebook.

J/120 Detroit Fleet Preparing for Mackinac Raid!


(Detroit, MI)-  Yes.   Are these guys simply fun?  Or, just plain crazy?  Or, what?  In any case, they're "committed" and thank goodness they are.  In the dead of winter, one of the worst in years in Detroit (thanks to global warming, of course), J/120 owner Frank Kern (famously of CARINTHIA fame) recently took some photos of the J/120 teams preparing their berthing area at Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit for summer sailing in 2013.  Please note for all J/Sailors, they are experts (if not, professionals) at having fun!   Cool.  Literally.  Where's the J/120 on "three blades"-- the iceboat version, perhaps?

This year there will be six J/120s there at Bayview YC's "'J/Land" and they HAD to mark the area in the BYC marina for the fleet of J/120s to celebrate!!  Good on ya mates! Standing on frozen ice to commemorate the occasion!!   We love it.  :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

J/70s in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

J/70s sailing off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- One of two fleets of J/70s developing in Mexico is the Puerto Vallarta fleet on the Pacific side (the other is Valle de Bravo Lake west of Mexico City).

The Ignacio Perez family has five brothers that have sailed all of their lives. And all of their kids sail, too! They bought their own fleet of J/70's through J/Boats Southwest and will sail them with their family and friends in Puerto Vallarta.

Said Scott Spurlin from J/Southwest, "we worked with the Puerto Vallarta J/Dealer Wayne Zittel to deliver these total turn key boats to the Perez family. And we made many new friends along the way who are interested in the J/70s! It was a wonderful experience and we hope to support more J/Boats sailing in Mexico."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

J/109 North American's Chicago!

J109s racing sailboats (Chicago, IL)- The fleet captain of the Southern Lake Michigan J/109 fleet (fleet 11), Peter Priede, wants to make sure all J/109 owners are aware that Chicago Yacht Club is hosting the J/109 North Americans from August 9th to 11th, 2013.

The event will be held in conjunction with the CYC's renown Verve Cup Offshore Regatta. As a result, the J/109s will benefit from having a fantastic venue with plenty of great on-the-water racing combined with terrific on-shore festivities and entertainment-- For more J/109 North Americans sailing information

J/Teams Ready For SPI OUEST

J/80 one-design sailboat fleet- sailing SPI Ouest France regatta J/70 Debut & Big J/80 Fleet Training for Worlds
(La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The 35th edition of the SPI OUEST-France Intermarch√© starts on March 28th and goes for four days of racing in the Bay of Quiberon off the famous seaport of La Trinite sur Mer.  SPI OUEST France is one of Europe's largest regattas, and certainly the premiere regatta of the spring sailing season, and over 150 volunteers from the Societe Nautique La Trinit√©-sur-Mer have been preparing for several weeks to host the 423 registered sailing teams and several thousand sailors. And among the skippers, some of the biggest names in French sailing will once again take part in SPI OUEST; including none other than Thomas Coville, Franck Cammas (Volvo Ocean Race winner on GROUPAMA), Vincent Riou, Michel Desjoyeaux, Nicolas Troussel Souben Daniel, Nicolas Lunven, Franck-Yves Escoffier and others.

The weather scenario is a bit uncertain as a huge depression in the North Atlantic is expected to arrive Monday in the late afternoon, but is preceded by a trough carrying winds. The path it will takes varies from hour to hour based on the various weather models.  Explained Christophe Gaumont (renowned meteorologist), "yesterday, we predicted 35 knots Friday and this morning, we did not expect more than 10 kts!  We should have a weekend with a wide range of conditions, sustained wind Friday and Monday and low to moderate Saturday and Sunday. The east, west, south, a little rain, a little sun. In short, an Easter weekend of varied, colorful and variable weather." Now that's a weather forecast all the sailors can rely upon, isn't it?

J/80 sailing team Le Juptiens from Oman Sail of the United Arab EmiratesOf the 423 boats sailing, over 130 alone are J/Teams (31% of the entire fleet) which makes "J" the dominant sailboat brand at the biggest regatta hosted in France!  Amongst those teams will be an all-women OMAN SAIL team sailing their J/80 LES JUPTIENS in the enormously competitive fleet of 108 J/80s.  This team of women came from Oman to rub shoulders and learn from the biggest names in French offshore and one-design sailing.  Joining them are many familiar names at the top of the J/80 Worlds and most all top French teams will be using SPI OUEST as part of their "tune-up" and training efforts for the J/80 Worlds Marseilles down on the Mediterranean later in July. Amongst those teams are familiar French J/80 names like INTERFACE CONCEPT's Eric Brezellec, INTERFACE CONCEPT 2's Simon Moreceau, ATLANTIS's Louis Sambron, GANJA's Luc Nadal and JIBE SET's Herve Leduc.  One of Spain's top teams, GOLD SAILING with M. Jauregui, will be testing the waters on the Baie de Quiberon.  Alongside him will be Italy's Massimo Rama sailing JENIALE!

This event marks the debut of one of the world's fastest growing one-design classes in recent history-- the J/70.  The class was first introduced in America in the spring of 2012 and now one year later sports a one-design fleet in France produced by J/Composites from nearby Les Sables d'Olonne.  With nearly 400 J/70s sold worldwide,  the European circuit is just starting to get off the ground as boats started delivering to continental sailors in late Fall 2012.  The first J/70 European event was the Primo Cup hosted by Yacht Club Monaco about a month ago.  For SPI OUEST, a fleet of nine J/70s will be sailing for French class honours.  Like Key West Race Week in January, it's difficult to predict who may be front runners as all teams sailing are quite competitive.  For example, Philippe Delaporte of J/122 RORC winning fame is now sailing his PEN AZEN with friends and is apparently incredibly excited and enthusiastic for racing in the class.  Fred Bouvier of J/Composites is sailing J BECRE, M Gosset is racing SAILS CONCEPT and M Gellez is sailing ECSAIL DUNKERQUE and finally M Thomas is skippering OEUST GREEMENT.

In the handicap world, SPI OUEST is sailed almost entirely under IRC handicap TCF rating system (as the French UNCL merged with the British CHS to form IRC).  In the "big boat" IRC 1 Class with 24 boats, there are two J/111s raced by top teams, including LE JOUET's Stephen Blanchard and past SPI OUEST winner J LANCE 8's Didier Le Moal.  Making life difficult for the 111's will be the J/122 MADE IN LOVE sailed by Jm. Patier.

The always competitive IRC 2 class has 30 boats and included in the mix are six J/Teams.  The fastest boat around the track should be the J/120 RHAPSODIE V sailed by J. Godet.  Not far off the pace will be a duo of J/109s that include BAITA IV's D. Correze and FRANJPANE's P. Mouert.  Another duo of J/105s looking forward to more reaching courses, will be led by BO GOSS's P. Allain and J-SQUARED's V. Jomier.  Then, not minding what the weather throws at them will be the J/100 TRIFLE helmed by G. Fournier.

The biggest handicap fleet is generally IRC 3, with 53 boats starting.  Hoping to hold their own against this rogue's gallery of 28-33 footers is the J/92 SABOT sailed by M. Demazure.  We wish them well, not easy going solo in that crowd!

With just 18 boats, IRC 4A may well be one of the smaller IRC divisions, but it's incredibly competitive.  And, up to that task is one of the giant-killers in the J stable of IRC weapons, the J/97 MISPICKEL V sailed by B. Fagart.  If you recall, the J/97 won this class going away in previous SPI OUEST's.

Finally, the "little boat" division is IRC 4B with 40 boats thrashing around the race track.  And, none other than the "classic" J/24 is sporting a fleet of six boats to duel it out for J/24 "bragging rights", but also handicap honors.  This group includes JINETTE's C. Gury, J'ADORE's E. Richard, INSULARIS's A. Garcia, MARTA's P. Lemaistre, BOLERO's P. Ravel and EL NINO's B. Le Marec.  For more SPI OUEST France Intermarche sailing information

J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER Wins GrevelingenCup!

J/109 captain jack winning class netherlandsJOI'DE VIVRE Wins J/80 One-Designs
(Grevelingen, The Netherlands)- The Netherlands offshore and one-design sailors, like their friends in Scandinavia, seem to have a habit of sailing all year-round despite the fact that some form of common sense means you should consider a break-- after all, when the mainsheet freezes in the blocks there's not much you can do to ease it out other than breathing on it! Nevertheless, tradition as it is, the winter series called the GrevelingenCup produces terrific competition and may help explain why young children in the Netherlands sailing with parents learn that you can sail in just about anything so long as you're well-prepared for the "elements".

J/122 JAM sailing Grevelingencup 2013 NetherlandsAfter a rainy, autumnal, chilly winter, the sailors always look forward to those bright sunny, almost warm, days that seem to make it all worthwhile. In the end, it was the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER that won the GrevelingenCup ORC 1 Class with Pascal van Doornmalen, Giorgio Etty, Bart van pelt, Bart Van Pelt, Robin Verhoef and Berend-Jan Edens.  They managed to clinch their victory on a near-perfect day, with a nice steady wind of 18 knots and gusts of over 20 that created a procession of about 200 yachts from the start, down around the turning mark with a windward beat/ fetch back to the finish.  Their closest competitor, van der Velden's J/33 QUANTUM RACING could not pull off an upset victory in the end, settling for 2nd overall.  Fourth was Bert Visser's famous J/109 CAPTAIN JACK and 7th was another J/111, H Zwijnburg's SWEENY.  Rounding out the top ten was yet another J/111 with Koen Cleeren's J-BIE in 10th.

J/80 sailors from NetherlandsIn the J/80 one-design class, racing was tight, with lots of crowds at every mark-rounding.  Nevertheless, in the end, it was JOIE DE VIVRE sailed by class leader Laura Vroon that led the last three races to win the overall series title-- crowned as J/80 Queen of Netherlands Sailing!  In second was B Holsboer sailing JUUL and in third was H Everwijn racing ELFJE.  Top Belgium team was T de Jonghe on DJ in 5th, top German team was Chris Savoye on MENTAQUILIBRIUM in 7th and top Spanish team was E Scheeren on JALAPENO.
For more Grevelingencup sailing information   Watch the J/80 Netherlands Grevelingencup 2013 sailing video

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

LA SUPERBA Wins J/24 Anzio-Nettuno Winter Champs

J/24 La Superba wins Italian Winter series
(Anzio-Nettuno, Italy)- This past weekend was the final racing for the Winter J/24 Championship for Anzio-Nettuno for some of the top Italian J/24 teams, including the current J/24 2012 European Champions. After another crazy day of winter sailing when the postponement flag was announced for the imminent arrival of a huge storm, Ignazio Bonanno and his team of Italian Navy crew were, once again, the Winter Champions of Anzio-Nettuno for 2013. In second place was the strong Hungarian crew commanded by Farkas and third was Luigi Ravioli of the Navy League of Anzio.

Said Ignazio of his series win, "my LA SUPERBA crew are fantastic, they are Simone Proof, Francis Linares, Alfredo Branciforte, Massimo Gherarducci. We are pleased with this result but we're already thinking about the next steps of the Circuit J24 Italiano that includes Pasquavela in Porto Santo Stefano, scheduled from March 28 to April 1 and the XXX Naval Academy Trophy & City of Livorno, April 25 to 28.

In second place was the very strong Hungarian crew from BUDAPEST BANK, skippered by Farkas Litkey with 23 points and third was STOCKFISH sailed by Luigi Ravioli (LNI Anzio) with 24 pts.  Rounding out the top five was Fabio Delicate on DIJKE with 28 pts and in 5th was Paolo Rinaldi on AMERICAN PASSAGE with 41 pts.

Paola- J/24 class leader in Italy!The local J/24 Councillor d'Aloisio Mayo said, "Despite the decidedly hostile winter season, the Race Committee was able to sail the 15 races scheduled in three days.  Most importantly, forty-eight new sailors battled for the trophy and, thanks to the commitment, patience and professionalism of the owners we have transformed the occasion into a coaching/ training session for everyone. This trophy was born, in fact, to give the opportunity to many fans to learn the world of racing and the J/24 and the Roman fleet, to grow constantly!  A special thanks goes to all those who participated, to the owners of the Roma J/24 fleet, the Head of J/24 Fleet Paul Rinaldi, the Navy League of Anzio, which organizes the trophy with the support of volunteers, the Race Committee and the Italian Navy Sailing team in Anzio."  Italian Navy News reference the J/24 programs.  Italian Association Class J/24- Paola Zanoni +33-5-5212943 - pzanoni@libero.it  (she's the pretty Italian woman in the photo to the left) For more J/24 Italian Winter Championship sailing information.

J/133 PATRIOT Hanging Ten & Surfing Australia-style!

J/133 Patriot sailing surfing off Sydney, Australia*  Australian Stuart Markwell sent a heart-warming note to J/Chicago dealer Rich Stearns at Stearns Boating.  Stu commented, "We thought you would like to see these photographs of the J/133 PATRIOT's return through the Southport Seaway on Queensland's Gold Coast after the first race in last weekend's IRC State Championship. We hit the entrance at the bottom of the ebb tide which was not really the best time!! The boat tracked beautifully and was doing 22 kts at the time we appeared to be engulfed in white water. To get some idea of scale of the gigantic waves, you can see the height of the helmsman (me) relative to the following broken wave!  Will see you soon in Chicago to share more sea stories!  Regards, Stuart"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

J/70 SoCal Circuit Rolling!

J/70s one-design racing sailboats (San Diego, CA)- The J/70 schedule on the Pacific Coast is beginning to ramp-up with a number of great regattas in Southern California for the fleets that are developing in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Newport Harbor and San Diego.

According to Julie Servais, the 2013 Yachting Cup Chairperson, the J/70s are all invited to participate in the next major event on the West Coast schedule, the Yachting Cup hosted by San Diego Yacht Club from May 4th to 5th!  She reminds everyone there is a reduced entry fee before April 1st 2013.

At this time, the J/70 schedule for California looks like the following:
  • May 4-5     Yachting Cup- San Diego YC- San Diego, CA
  • May 31- Jun 2     Cal Race Week- Cal YC- Marina del Rey, CA
  • Jun 28-3     Long Beach Race Week- Long Beach YC- Long Beach, CA
  • Jul 20-21    Fiesta Cup- Santa Barbara YC- Santa Barbara, CA
  • Sep 27-29    J/Fest- San Diego YC- San Diego, CA
  • Sep 26-29    Big Boat Series- St Francis YC- San Francisco, CA
  • Sep 26-28    J/70 North Americans- Annapolis YC- Annapolis, MD
Specialty Events (ones that J/70s would love to do!):
  • Jun 8         Delta Ditch Run- from Richmond to Stockton up the Delta on the Bay
  • Jul 13-14    High Sierra Regatta- Huntington Lake, CA
For more SDYC Yachting Cup sailing information on Facebook   For more information on the SoCal fleet #4, please contact Karl Pomeroy (karl8144@att.net) or J/Concierge- Joanne O'Dea (joanne@jk3yachts.com) or phone# 619-347-9407.  Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal.com

BVI Spring Regatta Preview

J/120 sailing Caribbean regattas BVI (Tortola, British Virgin Islands)- With less than a week to go until the 42nd edition of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival (March 25-31) at Nanny Cay, a truly international cast is making ready to take centre stage in the beautiful sailing grounds off Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Entries from at least 12 different nations including Australia, Germany, USA, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Luxembourg, Canada, Russia, Switzerland, British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands.

The allure of racing in some of the most scenic, varied and challenging waters on the planet is the reason that most competitors return each year. Uniquely, the BVI Spring Regatta race course takes place in the Atlantic Ocean, the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the Caribbean Sea.

Richard Wesslund's J/120, El Ocaso from Miami Florida (USA) had one of their best Caribbean racing seasons ever in 2012 and are hoping to repeat their class win at this year's BVI Spring regatta. Their highly competitive team get to vote on which regattas they attend each year and are looking forward to coming back to compete at the BVI Spring Regatta once more.  Joining them in CSA Spinnaker Racing will be a slightly different, if not even more competitive crowd than what they face in the Rolex Regatta.  On the same starting line vying for class honors will also be the J/122 LAZY DOG with Sergio Sagramoso skippering from Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club and the J/100 BAD GIRL sailed by Bob Armstrong from St Croix YC.

This regatta has slightly different class "splits" than the Rolex Regatta, so in CSA Racer Cruiser will be yet another J/105, this one in the form of UMAKUA sailed Julio Reguero and friends from Club Nautico Puerto Rico.

Again, the "white sails only" CSA Performance Cruiser division will be tough as nails to handicap as to who will be the winner.  Perhaps the Rolex Regatta will see one of the three J/Teams rising to the top.  The same trio of the J/120 JAGUAR WATERWORLD (Ben Jelic from St Maarten YC); the J/36 PALADIN (Stanford Joines from St Croix YC); and the J/95 SHAMROCK VII (Tom Mullen from Royal British Virgin Islands YC) will be at it again less than 48 hours after they've finished the Rolex Regatta!  Oh my won't that be fun?!  We wonder who's going to be buying drinks for the others in an effort to avoid going for a victory swim!?  Sailing photo Credit- Todd van Sickle   For more BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival information

Monday, March 25, 2013

J/70s & J/80s Training UK

J/70 boats.com sail-training in England (Southampton, England)- This past weekend could be construed as a very valuable weekend for J/80s & J/70's in the United Kingdom.  The weekend of the 9th and 10th of March saw both J/70 and J/80 teams congregate in Hamble for constructive and informative tutorials and sail-training on the water.

On Friday North Sails designer (and the only Brit to have ever taken the J/80 Worlds title) Ruairidh Scott, conducted a clear and concise session on the optimum tuning and rigging settings of these record-breaking performance boats. The session was of great use to many owners who are new to the world of keelboats, as well as those who have had their boats a number of years and were keen to check their settings are right. Ruairidh was also on hand to answer questions from the sailors.

J/80 sail-training in England on Solent off CowesOn Saturday the fleet held their annual pre-season training day for small boats, led by legendary Yorkshireman and Olympic coach Jim Saltonstall. The J/80s made up the bulk of the fleet and included UK Class Chairman Mark Baskerville with his boat MISTRAL.  Light winds were ideal for the three new J/70 owners who braved the cold temperatures in order to get to know their exciting new sportsboat, and to meet other owners within the J fleet.

After a quick briefing at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Jim's RIB led the troops out into the Solent, where they enjoyed a good few hours of practice starts, boat handling exercises and some racing. Jim spent time with each boat, advising them what they were doing right and (more importantly) what they were doing wrong with regard to every facet of performance, from rig tuning to crew position. Back at the club Jim went through his video footage of the day, which effectively demonstrated the points he had made on the water!  Many thanks to all who attended the sessions and to the Royal Southern, Ruairidh, and Jim.   For more J/80 sail training information

Challenging Start For Warsash Spring Series

J/97 sailing Warsash Spring Series J/70s, J/80s and J/IRC Love Fickle Solent Conditions
(Warsash, England)- The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series got underway on 17th March 2013 with a tough trial for competitors, race officers and especially foul weather gear! It was certainly a cold wet start to spring. In the eastern Solent, the wind, initially at 25 knots, died to 5 knots and moved from easterly through to south then north westerly. In such a changeable situation, it was not an easy day for the course setters; neither did they want to keep crews waiting on a chilly damp day. Nonetheless, most of the day’s program of racing was completed with time for everyone to relax and warm up at Warsash Sailing Club’s Shore House afterwards for results, day prizes and FREE beer for competitors!!

J/80s sailing Warsash spring series, EnglandThe Black Group committee boat, running three classes for IRC handicap and J/109s, anchored near Universal Marina buoy. The tide was east going until 1300 and sea state smooth. Showers affected the breeze and conditions were very localized. Courses were set using South Ryde Middle and then West Ryde Middle as a weather mark. As the breeze shifted around, the planned runs sometimes turned to shy spinnaker reaches, beats to fetches and vice versa, but each leg offered a challenge in finding the best breeze and using or avoiding the tide. After the start of IRC3 the wind started to die on the first beat. Those taking the Brambles route gained an advantage over those heading out towards Ryde Middle. The decision over whether or not to shorten, as the wind diminished and then picked, up left PRO David Greenway and his race team on tenterhooks, but finally the set courses of 12 to 15 miles were allowed to run, with boats in all classes able to finish.

This year several J-Sprit designs are included in IRC3 and the course clearly suited them. The J/97 Jiggery Pokery helmed by Paul Heys took line and handicap honours followed by two more bowsprit boats: Indulgence (J/97) and J’Ronimo (J/92). Skippers in the J/109 one design class may well have listened to the miserable forecast and decided to keep warm at home, as only half the competitors were racing. Runner-up in last year’s event, David McLeman and Offbeat took a clear win over Tigh Soluis II and Jynnan Tonnyx.

J/70 RAF Spitfire- sailing Warsash spring seriesOn Peter Knight’s White Group sportsboat line, close inshore conditions were similarly fickle with the wind varying from 0 to 15 knots, sleet and very occasional sunshine. The RC team was determined to get some racing despite the lack of stable conditions.  Averaging 5 knots the breeze swung from north-east to south, nearly to the west before settling briefly at south-west. The committee boat first set up station at Meon buoy, moved offshore due to a left shift, then back again. The J/80 and new J/70 classes got underway but the wind was beginning to die and many finished close to the hour target time. As the wind died away again, the second race was shortened to a single lap. The light and variable conditions did have the benefit of encouraging no one to be over the line. The J/80 fleet looked close on the water with the bulk rounding marks together. Jon Powell in BETTY came to the fore. In both races Ian Atkins (Boats.com) dominated the newly introduced J/70 fleet.    Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie   For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Sunday, March 24, 2013

J/Teams Sail Frenetic San Diego NOOD!

J/70s sailing off San Diego, California J/70s, J/80s, J/105s and J/120s Challenge Shifty Winds
(San Diego, CA)- The second stop for the eight event Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta circuit was in San Diego, CA on March 15th to 17th weekend. The feast or famine tradition for this event prevailed, where strong conditions in past events were set aside this year for light and spotty winds. Three race courses hosted 101 boats competing in 12 one design classes, with the J/105 leading the way with 14 boats in their fleet. A total of 38 J/Teams participated, accounting for over one-third (37%) of the fleet!

J/70 - Dave Ullman sailing off San Diego, CaliforniaAccording to Benjamin Miller, SailFlow.com Meteorologist, spring in San Diego can be quite dynamic. The passage of winter storm systems continues but these winter storms become less frequent and less potent as the month of March progresses. Meanwhile, the North Pacific High begins to rebuild, resulting in some modest WNW breezes, too. However, despite all great and wonderful prognostications, such was not the case!

On the opening day, the fog lifted to deliver great conditions for racing for the J/Teams for the duration of the afternoon.  But, the light winds and significant shifts tested the patience of sailors in all fleets.  By the end of the regatta, it was self-evident the weather was putting a premium on good starts and conservative strategies.

Emerging from the heat of battle amongst the rock-star laden J/70 fleet was Bennet Greenwald, sailing a consistent series on PERSEVERANCE to win the emerging 10-boat J/70 class, scoring a 2-3-1-4-2-4 for 16 pts.  On-board with Bennet was fellow San Diegan and Star/ Etchells 22 World Champion Vince Brun.  Next in line grabbing an early lead on the first day but succumbing to a deep finish on the second day was champion sailor David Ullman sailing USA 32 to a 1-1-4-7-4-3 tally to snag second by one point!  Recent St Petersburg NOOD winner, Joel Ronning, sailed his brand new midnight blue/black CATAPULT to a great series, improving just about every race to collect a 3-5-5-2-5-1 for 21 points to grab the third spot on the podium.  Aside from the usual sailing rock stars, the NOOD Regatta also attracted a couple other notable celebrities in the field, including national talk radio host and author Dr Laura Schlessinger.  She sailed her new J/70 called VENGEANCE to a credible fourth place for her first outing!  Like Joel, she too improved virtually every race to win the top J/70 scoreline on the last day, counting an 8-4-3-5-3-2 for 25 pts!  You go girl!!  Rounding out the top five was Karl Pomeroy sailing with Scuttlebutt Newsletter editor Craig Leweck on their boat- ZERO TO 60.

J/80 one-design sailing San Diego NOOD regattaHaving sailed in San Diego for years and also winning class several times, it was certain that Curt Johnson sailing his J/80 AVET would be an odds-on favorite to take the gold again.  Sure enough, despite the shifty, challenging weather and some much-improved J/80 teams, Curt managed to overcome a strong bid by Mark Hunter's team on IN-APPROPRIATE to win the J/80 class again!  The AVET team scored a 2-1-3-4-3-1 for 14 pts to win by two points.  Mark's IN-APPROPRIATE gang were, in fact, leading after the second day's racing, but simply "punched out" on the last day, scoring a 4-2-2-1-2-5 for 16 pts to secure second.  Third was Dan Gribble sailing MONKEY SHOULDER to a 3-3-4-2-4-3 record for 19 pts.

J/105 one-design sailboats- San Diego NOOD regattaEvery once in awhile, Gary Mozer and his Long Beach crew on the J/105 CURRENT OBSESSION 2 simply just "get it going" and give heartburn to the local San Diego fleet!  This year's performance in the SD NOOD was one of those regattas for Gary and the gang.  After collecting a 1-2-1-2 for a whopping 6 pts, they never had to worry much about looking over their shoulder in the deeply talented fourteen boat J/105 class.  While having a tough, uncharacteristically deep first race, Chuckie Driscoll and Tom Hurlburt got their train running down the tracks faster and managed to get BLOW BOAT to an 8-1-2-1 score for 12 pts to easily secure second overall.  As has often been the case in this class, a pack of 5-6 boats were dueling for the last spot on the podium.  After the dust settled, it was Rich Bergmann's ZUNI BEAR that scored a 4-9-5-3 for 21 pts that took the bronze position! Rounding out the top five were Steve & Lucy Howell's BLINK! in 4th and Dave Vieregg's TRIPLE PLAY in 5th.

In the "big daddy" J/120 class, there was no question the fleet had by far the deepest spread of talent with the closest scoreline ever in recorded sailing history for a fleet of seven boats!  "Can anyone please pass over the Prozak?! I'm in catatonic shock and having an anxiety-induced ulcer attack just looking at the scoreline, dear!"  Can you imagine, ALL seven boats had a top three finish?  And, six of the seven nearly ended up in a six-way tie-breaker?  Goodness gracious, must've been a lot of prayers and offerings to old man Neptune on those J/120s to bless the tactician with another good call.  After the last race, there may have been an overall winner, but really the "class" was the winner overall.  The SoCal J/120s are simply having a great time racing.  This time around, it was John Laun's CAPER that was declared the overall winner, but it was not easy as evidenced by his 1-7-2-2 score for 12 pts.  For the rest of the fleet, it was a pretty a hairy scary roller-coaster ride, with all six teams within THREE points of each other after the last race!  Basically, it amounted to one giant tie-breaker.  Second and third were determined by a tie-break with Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS pulling it off with a 4-1-7-3 record for 15 pts.  He beat Peter Zarcades' MELTEMI with a score of 2-6-3-4 also for 15 pts!  Then, in fourth one point back was Tom & Terri Mock's POLE DANCER with a 6-2-1-7 for 16 pts.  And fifth was a three-way tie!!  "The Commodore" (Chuck Nichols) and past winner of the event won this cat-fight by winning the last race-- his CC RIDER team managed to get a 7-5-5-1 tally for 18 pts. Getting the short-end of that stick were John Snook's JIM and Mike Hatch's J-ALMIGHTY.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com  For more Sperry Top-Sider San Diego NOOD Regatta sailing information

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rolex St Thomas Regatta Preview

J/120 El Ocaso and Rick Wesslund teamJ/Teams Duel for 40th Anniversary Supremacy
(St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- An impressive fleet of seventy boats will contest three days of racing as part of an event that has graced the international yachting calendar since the 1970s.  From March 21 to 24, hundreds of eager crews from Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom in addition to the usual large contingent from the United States and the Caribbean will again be competing for that Holy Grail of the "Rolex Regatta"- Rolex Submariner watches for the skipper of the winning crew.

Reflecting on the upcoming event, International Rolex Regatta Chairman Bill Canfield remarked: “Reliable winds every day, terrific competition, a challenging mix of courses, and of course plenty of camaraderie, the 40th Anniversary of the International Rolex Regatta will be a regatta to remember!"  Scheduled a week earlier this year to accommodate some holistic changes on the Spring Caribbean regatta schedule, "the Rolex" is etched into every racer’s mind as the "Crown Jewel" of Caribbean racing--where sailors can experience reliable breezes, warm azure waters and world-renowned Island hospitality.

J/36 sailing Caribbean regattasCanfield added that the St. Thomas Yacht Club is the Storm Trysail Club's southern station, and its race management team has a stellar reputation. For handicap (IRC and CSA) and One-Design classes, the regatta traditionally offers a variety of courses ideally configured to test a sailor's skills while showcasing the stunning shoreline. Included are the first day's "Harbor Races" from the club to Charlotte Amalie Harbor and back, testing everyone's focus; the second day's "Island Race," testing navigational nerve by sending competitors short tacking the length of St. John's south shore and back; and the final day's "Sound Race," testing one's determination on complex courses around the cays of Pillsbury Sound (and numerous coral reef outcroppings!).

As they did for the Heineken St Maarten Regatta, the "top dogs" for J sailing teams will again be present for the Rolex Regatta.  Leading the way in CSA Racing 1 will be the J/122 LAZY DOG skippered by Sergio Sagramoso from Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club; in the J/120 EL OCASO will be a former Rolex winner, Rick Wesslund from Coral Reef YC; and the sleeper in the bunch may very well be the J/105 DARK STAR sailed by Jonathan Lipuscek and a good crew from Club Nautico Puerto Rico.

The CSA Racing 2 may be in for a bit of a surprise as another past winner of the Rolex has shown up and may very well steal da'watch and win da'party!  Yes, they're at it again!  The J/100 BAD GIRL sailed by Bob Armstrong from St Croix YC will be out to win on the water as well as off the water!  Not too far behind them chasing for class honors will be the J/30 COMFORTABLY NUMB skippered Marston Winkles from the local host St Thomas YC and the J/80 SUNBUM II led by Angel Ayala from Club Nautico Puerto Rico.

While they may be going for "white sails only" racing (some call it "the blender division" for good reason!), the CSA Non-Spinnaker class is going to have a "whale of a time" trying to put odds on which horse is going to win the racing!  At the top of the J/Teams heap is the J/120 JAGUAR WATERWORLD sailed by Ben Jelic from St Maarten YC, it's a highly modded J/120 with a bulb keel!  Then, you have a past multiple Rolex watch winner, the renamed J/36 PALADIN sailed by Stanford Joines from St Croix YC along with a youth crew!  Cool stuff.  Then, you have another thoroughbred in the J stable, the J/39 CRYSTAL with Jerome O'Neill at the helm from Club Nautico Puerto Rico.  And past BVI class winner, the J/95 SHAMROCK VII sailed by Tom Mullen from Royal British Virgin Islands YC is not resting on their laurels either!  Quite a few tough hombres in this class, it may be determined in the last race!  
For an amusing idea on "how to pitch a regatta, party and jump-up", watch this video   For more Rolex Regatta sailing information

J/24 ACE Wins Class In Sydney Harbor Regatta

(Sydney Harbour, Australia)- Hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club, the Sydney Harbour Regatta is one of the largest, competitive keelboat regattas in Australia.  Over the weekend of March 9-10, over 200 keelboats raced in 26 divisions on 10 course areas on Sydney Harbour and Offshore.

For the second year running, the event was blessed with beautiful conditions, both days boasting winds of 8-10 knots early on and reaching 16-17 knots by late afternoon. Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather was a highly competitive J/24 class.  A good fleet of seven boats participated for the two day event.

Starting off by winning the first race, Dave West's team on ACE threw down the gauntlet and never let up on the fleet.  After two days of racing, Team ACE walked off with four 1sts and two 2nds to dominate the J/24 fleet with a total of 8 pts.  Giving them a run for the money by winning at least two races was the Scott and Adam Jamieson family team aboard JSPOT, amassing a 3-3-1-3-2-1 scoreline.  The JSPOT boys were clearly learning how to sail smarter, faster, cooler, more awesomely every race, as evidenced by their 1st in the last race.  Brett Hudson's WILDFIRE was hoping they would be "on fire", but a last race OCS was not helpful to their overall performance-- perhaps a bit too eager to put the spot on JSPOT for the last race!

The Sydney Harbour Regatta was sponsored by leading water sports and technical apparel supplier, HELLY HANSEN and supported by Sydney Ports, Robert Oatley Vineyards and Sydney City Marine.  Pictured here is a highly modified J/24 dinghy prototype sans keel, made of wood with Gougeon epoxy, with the J/Sprit concept employed circa 1926. Yes, the J/24 was waaaay ahead of its time. :)   For more Sydney Harbour Regatta sailing information

Friday, March 22, 2013

J/70 Demo Sails @ Southwestern Boat Show

J70s sailing Key West(Houston, TX)- Come join us in Texas on land or in the water!  The J/Boats Southwest team will be at the Southwestern Boat Show in Houston, Texas located at the South Shore Harbour Marina- March 21 to 24!  They have a booth next to Discover Sailing in the on-the-water boating area. They look forward to discussing all things J/Boats, the southern circuits for each of the one-design fleets (J/22, J/24, J/70 and J/80) and, of course, the new J/88 family friendly speedster!

For the on-the-water programs, J/Boats Southwest is providing a J/70 for Discover Sailing! If you or your family and friends want to go for a demo sail around the lake on the new hot J/70, be sure to head over to Discover Sailing and sign up immediately after you enter the show!  Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal.com   For more Southwest In The Water Boat Show information