Wednesday, September 30, 2015

J/24 East Coasts Announcement

J/24 East Coast Championship (Annapolis, MD)- The J/24 East Coast Championships has traditionally been one of the most competitive J/24 regattas in the world.  With an average of over 35 boats in the past 10 years, competitors have been challenged and excited by the event.  Make sure to join us for the 37th year October 30th to November 1st.  Great Fall Breezes in Annapolis, MD and nice fall temps create an excellent playground for some sharp racing.  Make sure to not miss the average of 8 races over three great days.

Plus, here are the Top 10 Reasons why you shouldn't miss this event:
  1. Excellent Competition; most of the top boats compete in this event.
  2. Join the ranks of America's Cup and J/24 World Champion sailors that have competed in this event- like Terry Hutchinson, Brad Read, Tim Healy, Will Welles, Dave Curtis and Jim Brady.
  3. Easy In & Out - with multiple hoists you are sure to get in and out of the water fast!
  4. Extend your season. If you are from the Northeast, its starting to get cold. Come down a few hours south and get in on more super-hot J/24 sailing.
  5. Adult Halloween in Annapolis- its FUN, maybe even insane!
  6. Free hosted Housing- we can make this event inexpensive for you- just ask (see below)
  7. Great Value- Early Entry fee is just $150 and includes sailing, beer, drinks, food and more.
  8. Experience Annapolis- home of the Naval Academy, National Sailing Hall of Fame, great food and nightly entertainment
  9. Expert Race Management by the team from Severn Sailing Association.
  10. Its FUN!
For more J/24 East Coast Championship sailing information, housing reservations, entertainment guide, click here!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

JOSE CUERVO Blitzes J/105 NAs!

J/105 sailing on San Francisco Bay
(San Francisco, CA)- No, the crew on JOSE CUERVO may not have been totally blitzed after the regatta.  But, they sure did blitzkrieg their J/105 comrades in what may have been one of the most dominating performances ever in a J/105 NAs.  Counting four bullets straight Shawn Bennett and crew on JOSE CUERVO threw down a 4 of hearts on the table for their opening gambit then simply aced the rest, much to the chagrin of their buddies on San Francisco Bay.

As the largest fleet of boats in the Rolex Big Boat Series, 27 in all, Bennett walked off with his first Rolex Submariner stainless steel chronometer in his life.  He was a happy camper.

J/105s sailing past Alcatraz Island on San Francisco BayThe first day of racing was somewhat prophetic in terms of who was going to rise to the top after some early tough going.  On Thursday, the unthinkable happened, when the club’s race committee – known for expertly conducting more than its fair share of regattas thanks to San Francisco’s ideal winds (consistently strong), challenging conditions (currents aplenty) and superior setting (stadium sailing at its best) – had to postpone the morning race for all classes by two hours, due to lack of breeze. It left the J/105 sailors champing at the bit, but in the end nothing was missed when both of the day’s scheduled races were completed in 15-plus knots of westerly breeze.

As all classes in the RBBS must do, the J/105s rotate from the “Treasure Island” circle to the “Alcatraz” circle (named for the famous island that sits precariously in the middle of the Bay) during the day. On Thursday, the J/105s started with Treasure Island, sailing a 10.9 mile race that Ryan Simmons' BLACKHAWK won in a photo finish with Shannon Ryan and Rolf Kaiser’s DONKEY JACK, which had led over much of the distance.

“Our original plan was to play the ‘cone’ (an area east of Alcatraz Island that shelters from the current), but we changed our mind mid-leg and decided to go to the city front,” said Simmons. “We came out well, but it was a very long beat: all the way from Treasure Island to the Golden Gate Bridge in a flood tide.”

J/105 Blackhawk sailing San Francisco BayBLACKHAWK finished fourth in its second race, an 11 miler, held on the Alcatraz circle; Simmons was happy about that, since it involved a mediocre start and a “super high powered boats-wiping-out-everywhere reaching leg” where the wind indicator showed 18-20 knots. The performance put him at the top of the scoreboard, tied on points with Shawn Bennett’s JOSE CUERVO and one point ahead of Jeff Litfin’s Mojo.

“Everyone gears up for this regatta,” said Simmons, who sailed the J/105 North Americans once before when it was part of the Rolex Big Boat Series in 2009 and skippered to second in last year’s Rolex Big Boat Series after having crewed for his father, two-time winner Scooter Simmons, 15 times in the event. “Our goal going into this season has been to win this regatta, the North Americans, and get that Rolex.” (Rolex timepieces accompany St. Francis Yacht Club perpetual trophies as prizes in six of the 11 classes here.)

After two more days of racing, the cat was out of the bag.  After racing J/22s for much of the season in the match-racing world, Bennett’s crew were simply unassailable in the tricky SF Bay conditions- demonstrating a mastery that was far, far beyond their wise years.

“Winning means a lot to us, because we’ve tried a few times at the North Americans and have fallen short of winning a few times at the Rolex Big Boat Series,” said Bennett. “It’s two things in one: checking boxes that we weren’t successful at checking in the past.”   As for winning a Rolex timepiece for his efforts, he added, “Hands down, it’s the nicest trophy I’ve ever won.”

J/105s sailing under Golden Gate Bridge- San Francisco BayWith the top of the podium pretty much determined by day two, the fight for the balance of the top five spots was typically worse than a sorority pillow fight- can’t see anything until the feathers clear!  In other words, no obvious winners at all until the very last leg of the very last race.  Roller coaster rides everywhere when everyone seeks the ultimate goal of just plain, simple, consistency on the Bay.

When the feathers & down settled from the fields of battle, it was Jeff Litfin’s MOJO that succeeded in nearly the same degree of proficiency as Bennett’s crew, pulling together a 3-3-2-4-5 for 17 pts to secure second.  Behind them, and just staying free of the dust-up, was Jason Woodley & Scott Whitney’s RISK with another all top 10 tally of 8-9-3-2-3 for 25 pts.  Perhaps the biggest disappointment may have been felt by past J/105 NA Champion and RBBS Champion, Bruce Stone on ARBITRAGE; a last race 12th torpedoed their chances at a silver on the podium, instead settling for 4th place with 26 pts.  In 5th place was early regatta leader Simmons on BLACKHAWK only 1 pt back.  Exciting racing for all! Kudos to Regatta Chairman Bruce Stone and Fleet #1 Captain (Shannon Ryan) for wearing about 12 hats to help pull off this exciting regatta with a host of sponsors and volunteers far too numerous to mention here!   Watch J/105 NAs sailing video summary.   For more J/105 North American Championship sailing information

Monday, September 28, 2015

Royal Norwegian YC Is Best Sailing Club in Europe!

J/70 Sailing Champions- Royal Norwegian YC (Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy)- Royal Norwegian YC (Kongelig Norsk Seilforening- KNS) wins SAILING Champions League 2015 and claims title of “Best Sailing Club” ahead of hosts YC Costa Smeralda of Italy and, the most surprisingly fast team at the event, YC Navigator from Moscow, Russia.  A fleet of 30 club teams from 14 nations participated in the regatta with the top sailing clubs from all across Europe.

The second SAILING Champions League finished Sunday after three days of thrilling racing, a range of challenging sailing conditions during the last three days, ranging from lots of wind the first day, where races were sailed without spinnaker, to relatively light and shifty winds on the last day.

The final day of racing brought a change from the strong mistral breeze that teams had faced over the previous two days. As the wind moved to a more northerly direction and turned lighter and more shifty those competitors who thrive in light airs had a chance to shine in today’s 12 races. There was little hope, however, of ousting the reigning KNS team of Kristoffer Spone, Christen Horn Johannessen, Sigurd Paulsen and Erik Kongshaug who deservedly held on to first place thanks to seven victories and two second places out of 10 flights raced.

“We were a bit excited today, because we didn't know how it would go,” commented Royal Norwegian skipper Kristoffer Spone, “but now we have the trophy, we are very happy. The level of competition at the SAILING Champions League was very high, so it’s a very good feeling having won against the best clubs in Europe. It has been a terrific event here in Porto Cervo.”

J/70 Sailing Champions- YC Costa SmeraldaSecond-placed YC Costa Smeralda (with a superstar team of Flavio Favini, Branko Brcin, Filippo Molinari & Federico Michetti) flew the home flag high by chalking up six victories over the weekend.  Meanwhile, Yacht Club Navigator of Moscow (Igor Rytov, Anton Sergeev, Konstantin Besputin, & Nikolay Kornev) claimed five wins to take third place overall.

YCCS team captain Federico Michetti commented on the club-centered ethos that is at the heart of the Sailing Champions League concept: “It was an honor to compete here for my club together with the team. These were great races with a superb organization behind them. It’s a format where you can really feel how everyone is fighting for their Club and I think that is important.”

“As always our thanks go to everyone who made this event possible: the race committee, jury, umpires and the sponsor Audi as well as all of the teams who travelled from across Europe to participate in this first event in our waters,” commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo, during the afternoon’s prize giving ceremony.

In addition to the Robbe & Berking Trophy for the winning Club, trophies were awarded to the second and third-placed yacht clubs. Special prizes were also awarded to the Royal Malta YC, whose team was entirely composed of members of the Ripard family (Sebastian, John, Thomas & Julia) and the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) that fielded an all-female team- Lotte Meldgaard, Tina Gramkov, Helle Ørum, and Anne Sofie Munk.

Coming just a year after the premiere of the new, international club competition, the SAILING Champions League, this is the second showdown of the best sailing clubs from Europe. The 30 clubs have travelled from all directions to Sardinia, from Finland in the North and from Italy in the South, Great Britain in the West and Russia in the East, to fight for the title currently held by the Royal Danish Yacht Club.

J/70 Sailing Champions- Royal Danish YCThe only all female crew on the starting line was the title defender from Copenhagen. Skipper Lotte Meldgaard and her crew were the reigning World and European Champions and have a great deal of experience in match racing. However, they were looking forward to the challenge of competing in fleet races at the event. “We always want to be at the top of the ranking, whenever we are sailing – also at the Champions League, of course. At the Danish league events that we sailed for the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) this year and in the previous year, we were always on the podium. This is what we want to achieve here in Porto Cervo as well,” explained Meldgaard.

Being the strongest nations as regards the number of league clubs, the Danish Sailing League and the German Sailing League each had four participating clubs each. The Austrian Sailing League, the Italian Sailing League and the Swedish Sailing League sent three clubs. Two clubs came from Poland, Switzerland, Russia and Norway. The Netherlands, France, Malta, Great Britain and Finland were all represented by one club each.

During the training session, Porto Cervo offered perfect sailing conditions, with wonderful late summer weather and great breeze. The weather forecast for the three racing days promised sailing action at its best for sailors and spectators.

J/70s - Sailing Champions League- YC Costa Smeralda, ItalyDay 1- Windy Start
The first day of racing was spectacular, with racing in survival mode with seven races completed. The sailors were facing a typically brisk Sardinian mistral breeze.  After 7 races were completed, the wind reached 25 knots and a postponement was called for the day.

Promising early performances were put in by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) of Hamburg who chalked up victories in both of their races today. Norway’s Kongelig Norsk Seilforening (KNS) also performed well, claiming a first and a second place. The Russian Team of Yacht Club Navigator (YCN), took a third and first place while the young crew representing the Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club (DTYC) who boast an average age of just 23 years – won their first race and came third in their second. With a possible 41 races left to run the games have only just begun however and the leaderboard tomorrow could well tell a different story.

“It was a pretty good day for us,” confirmed NRV helmsman Carsten Kemmling. “Our first race was dramatic because it was more survival mode in these conditions. It was a tough fight and a photo finish with the club from Geneva. In the second race we sailed without the gennaker so the boat handling was more important than tactics.”

The crew representing host club the YCCS also got off to a good start as they took victory in the first race of the event. “It was a good feeling,” commented team member Filippo Maria Molinari, “the team has trained well and we won with a good lead which is very encouraging even though we have only completed one race so far.

J/70s starting- Sailing Champions LeagueDay 2- More Mistrals!
The second day was an intense one for the teams. A lively Mistral wind once again put teams to the test over the course of 21 fleet races, bringing the total number of flights completed to 7.

The provisional rankings at the conclusion of racing saw Norway’s Kongelig Norsk Seilforening (KNS) heading the fleet of clubs from across Europe with five victories and two wins in the seven races run. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda team followed hot on their heels with four wins. The Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club (DTYC), one of four German teams present, continued took look strong despite a sixth place in one of today’s races, as does Switzerland’s Société Nautique de Genève (SNG).

“It was a terrific day on the water,” commented Kristoffer Spone, skipper of Kongelig Norsk Seilforening. “My guys did a great job. Maybe from outside it looks perfect but we made a lot of mistakes. Normally, we are better in light winds, so we’re excited for tomorrow. This format of league sailing is what we want to do.”

Julian Stückl, skipper of DTYC was also pleased: “It was a great day for us but tricky, as well. On the top it is very tough sailing. We know the guys from other regattas. In the league sailing it is more about maneuvers than speed. Tomorrow we want to have fun again and do our best and try not to be too nervous.”

J/70 Sailing Champions League teamsDay 3- No More Drama
After the conclusion of racing on Sunday, it was clear the Norwegian team was not going to be displaced from the top of the podium.  By closing out the last three races of the regatta with a 3-1-1, Norway’s KNS team won by over 8 pts- a landslide in this extremely talented fleet.  Proof of their steep learning curve, the host club’s YCCS team won three of their last four races, but a last race 7th hurt their chances to stand atop the podium in their first major sailing league finale.  In the end, the Italian YCCS team was extremely happy with their results, happily taking home the silver.  Third was the remarkable YC Navigator Team from Moscow, Russia, talk about a fast ascent up the leader board!  They also closed with a 1-1-3 to take the bronze overall.  The balance of the top five included the Societe Nautique de Geneve (the former America’s Cup winner) in fourth place and in 5th was Deutscher Touring YC- the top German team at the event.  Sailing photo credits- SCL/YCCS/Francesco Nonnoi   Facebook/SailingSCL-

J/70 sailing video- Sailing Champions LeagueSAILING Champions League sailing video summaries:
Day 2- Highlights-
Day 2- Replay-
Day 3- Replay-
Regatta Summary-

For more SAILING Champions League information

Sunday, September 27, 2015

J/105s Sailing off Manhattan

J/105s sailing off New York City(New York, NY)- Over the course of the year, we often get some amusing anecdotes and photos from friends of the J sailing world.  Recently, the President/ CEO of Treasure Chest- The World’s Greatest Vacations- Richard Shane, was out on the water off downtown New York City on the Hudson River.  The weather was gorgeous.  The city looked spectacular.  And, a fleet of J/105s was sailing on the Hudson River in a fresh, invigorating, smog-free southeast breeze with lower Manhattan as the canvas in the background.  Enjoy the photos and meanwhile learn more about Richard’s endeavors here.

Improve Sailing Performance Through Team Function!

(Newport, RI)- Geoff Becker has been riding the J/70 wave since the class was launched, teaming with Tim Healy as they won the 2014 Worlds and finishing third in 2015. Here Geoff comments on how team function impacts performance.

“While I am a skipper at heart, the more I sail as a tactician or trimmer, the more I appreciate the functions of the crew when I do skipper. Each person on the boat is contributing to the performance of the team, and when everyone has that outlook, the function of the team improves.

While sailing with Tim and our core team, I have learned how important the interaction between crew members can be to a boat’s overall performance. The amount of information that needs to be filtered on the racecourse in order to make educated decisions, is immense and has made me fully appreciate the trust required on a boat and among the crew members.

We have all been in a situation where the other guy isn’t pulling his weight and you or someone else needs to pick up the slack. Less apparent at the time is what is being missed when crew members compensate and have their attention divided. With so much going on during any given race, having each sailor on board pulling their weight allows everyone the opportunity to really excel.

Our team, having sailed together for such a long time, has developed a strong sense of trust in each member to do his job on the boat. For example, I don’t tune the rig on the J/70 when sailing with Tim. It’s not that I can’t do that job; the reality is that on our J/70 team, the rig isn’t one of my responsibilities and I have complete trust that those responsible for the rig tune will do the job properly.

That level of trust has other pretty cool effects, too.

First, each of us has a smaller amount of stresses because we know all the jobs are covered. Less stress then enables each of us to do our jobs at a much higher level. Also, when someone has a problem and the performance suffers, we are able to fall back on our trust in each other to know that even though a mistake has been made, it will be quickly fixed and unlikely to happen the next time.

All aspects of the competition are made less stressful since no one is worried about making a mistake knowing our teammates are there for support. As a result, we win as a team and when we don’t, there is no blame, only a discussion of how to improve for next time.”  Thanks for the contribution for Geoff B @ North Sails and Scuttlebutt News

J/92 THIN MAN- Sailing Vineyard Race

J/92 Thin Man crew(Larchmont, NY)- Todd Aven’s J/92 THIN MAN has raced in Long Island Sound regattas and offshore races for quite some time now.  Todd’s team has either been double-handed racing or fully-crewed in major events, winning some, enjoying some, and along the way collecting some silverware or pickle-dishes for friends and family.

Recently, in the Vineyard Race, Todd's friends discovered there was a discrepancy in the rating of the boat that was scored as beating them.  Naturally, this led to some “interesting discussions”.

According to Todd, “after my friend alerted us to the issue, the Stamford YC Race Committee promptly investigated the issue and adjusted the scores based on the correct ratings.

Looking at both PHRF 4 and 5 combined, we had the 5th fastest corrected time to Seaflower Reef, 2nd fastest time on the return leg, ending up 1st in class and 3rd overall.

It was a particularly hard upwind as we had a very seasick crew member laid out at the stern and frequent visits by others to provide attention and fluids. Needless to say, not optimal crew position for the 3-6 foot seas brought up by the easterly 15-25kt breeze.

I slept for about 1.5 hours out of the total 25 hours, on the helm most of the 15 hours upwind.

J/92 Thin Man winnersIt was wet and nasty and rough upwind all the way to Seaflower Reef Light (15 hours), and correspondingly, it was a blissful downwind sleigh ride home with the spinnaker (10 hours). The breeze was generally easterly and moderate to strong, with a brief light spot for the last hour upwind to Seaflower.  All the boats we were racing against were bigger and heavier and had less trouble punching through the seas upwind. We made up lots of time on the downwind return, just enough, as it turns out, for that 1st place spot!”

J/Fest San Diego Preview

J/120 colorful spinnakers sailing offshore (San Diego, CA)- The San Diego YC is proud to host the 20th Anniversary of the J/Fest regatta in Southern California! One design fleets included in the event are J/105s and J/120s.  The racing consists of a Fun Bay Pursuit race on Friday afternoon and windward/leeward courses in the Coronado Roads on Saturday and Sunday.

This year J/Fest San Diego will coincide with the J/70 North American Championship. The social events will be fabulous- a Beer/Food pairing party on Friday evening, a Mexican Fiesta with musical J/105 Wings sailing off San Diegoentertainment on Saturday night, and the awards party on Sunday after racing.  JK3 Yachts is proud to sponsor not only the J/70 NAs, but the 20th Anniversary of J/Fest!

Joining the festivities in the J/105 class are Steve Howell’s BLINK!, Dennis Case’s WINGS, the Hurlburt/Driscoll duo on JUICED and Stew Cannon’s J-OK.  The J/120s are out in force, with Ernie Pennell’s MADMEN, Rudy Hasl’s HASL FREE and Peter Zarcades’ MELTEMI hoping to overcome the historical dominance of Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY and Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER.  For more J/Fest San Diego sailing information.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

J/30 North Americans Preview

J/30 cruiser racer family sailboat (Marion, MA)- One of America’s oldest and most prestigious yachting clubs, the Beverly YC of Marion, MA, will be hosting the 2015 J/30 North Americans on the waters of the notorious Buzzards Bay this coming weekend.  If there’s one thing the J/30 sailors can count on, it’s that no matter what wild and crazy conditions are thrown at them by the weather Godz this coming week, the BYC team will ensure the nine J/30 teams assembled from across the northeastern seaboard will have fun and get in some good racing.

With so many fresh faces appearing in this year’s edition, it’s difficult to determine some of leading teams.  Nevertheless, based on their reputations in other classes, watch out for one of the true “hot shot” locals, Bill Saltonstall on ARBELLA.  Then a “foreigner” in these parts of New England is the Dan Mather/ Dave Irwin team from Oswego YC on the crusading CRUSADER.  Based on previous J/30 NA’s, you can count on Charlie Stoddard’s FALCON from Barrington YC in Rhode Island and also John McArthur’s SMILES from Cedar Point YC to be a factor on the leaderboard.

Based on the upcoming weather forecast this weekend, on Friday the J/30s will face stronger ENE/Easterlys building during the day. Those ENE winds fade a notch Saturday before refreshing and veering further Easterly on Sunday.  High pressure remains in control through the extended period as it slowly slides E from Canada, causing NE'rly winds to veer more ENE Friday through Sunday. Sunday is now looking to show strongest values as High pressure slides offshore, wedging a trough from the S into the coast.  Should be fun, very very shifty racing with lots of puffs and streaks sliding down Buzzards Bay!
For more J/30 North American Championship sailing information

Australian J/24 Sailing Video Promo!

J/24 sailing(Sydney, Australia)- Australian J/24 sailors are on their game. According to Simon Grain (cheerleader in chief of all things J/24 in the land of wallabee’s, dodo-birds, lizard-eating koala’s, highway-leaping roo’s, Ayer’s Rock aliens, Great Barrier Reef giant bug-eyed squids and more), “Australia is alive and well and coming into summer - looking forward to that! We have produced a new J/24 sailing/ promo video that is online on YouTube.  If you haven't seen it go here:”

J/111 BLUR Sailing Video- Rolex Fastnet Race

J/111 Blur Fastnet sailing video(Stockholm, Sweden)- As many J sailors know, Peter Gustafsson and his Viking friends in the “friendly confines” of the cool northern Scandinavian summer always look forward to heading “south” (e.g. below the Arctic Circle, so to speak) and invading (a.k.a. joining) their warm-blooded friends in the southern parts of the North Sea and the even warmer English Channel and Irish Sea (someone once told the Vikings the beer is way better down in Ireland!).

Perhaps one of the most difficult and mind-numbing races ever in Fastnet Race history was this year’s edition; with some teams quitting and most staying the course to finish after nearly five days of racing the 600+nm course.  Enjoy Peter’s compendium of photos and video they compiled during the race here (we are sure you will find it quite amusing, entertaining at the very least and, in many respects, eye-opening!):

J/70 North Americans Preview

J/70s sailing fast down reach(San Diego, CA)- The fast-growing J/70 class is holding its first major championship on the Pacific Ocean this week. With fifty boats participating, the San Diego YC will be hosting one of the more competitive fleets the J/70 class has seen to date.

Greg Koski, a veteran in the J/70 class and owner of Ullman Sails Cleveland, provides his perspective:  “The J/70 class is gearing up for their third North American Championship, this year in sunny San Diego, California. The event, which will take place September 24-27, will be hosted by none other than the prestigious San Diego Yacht Club, which has set the standard in terms of race management and accommodation. The 50-boat fleet is substantial. While it is not the biggest North Americans held by the class to-date, it might well be the most competitive.

The fleet in general has gotten stronger and stronger since the class was founded in 2012, and now any of the top 20 boats has the potential to win. Not only will the event see the 2015 and 2014 J/70 World Champions, Julian Fernandez Neckelman and Tim Healy, in attendance, but they will be pressed hard by others ready to take the title.

On the start line will be Jud Smith (Etchells World Champion), J/70 newcomer Bruce Golison (sailing with five-time Olympian Richard Clarke), Joel Ronning (second place at the 2014 World Championship), Allan Terhune (J/22 World Champion), Brad Boston (two-time Olympian), and Brian Keane (third place at the 2014 J/70 North Americans), etc.. etc. And the list just goes on and on. Brace yourselves for some close racing.

The event’s weather forecast looks pretty much like your typical San Diego forecast with a sea breeze setting in around noon or so, but the system that is currently flowing through Southern California could mix things up. With starts scheduled for 11:30AM the fleet might be waiting on the water for the breeze to fill before they get going.

There are two possible sailing areas, either inside the harbor on the South Bay course or offshore at the Coronado Roads racing area, and am assuming that both venues will be used depending on weather conditions.

The inside course, which can have very tricky winds and currents, could be a little tight for the 50 boat fleet, but would showcase more exciting, close-quarters racing. The good thing about sailing inside is that there is NO kelp!

The outside course offers pretty straight-forward sailing – the challenge is to understand the wind and the tide. That being said, the kelp will be a huge problem. Keep your eyes open and be on the constant lookout. Having your kelp stick ready at all times is a must, as is backing down before every race, no matter if you’re sailing inside or out.  We look forward to some great weather and tight racing.”

The weekend before the NA’s, the SDYC hosted the J/70 Tune Up Regatta.  Many boats participated as it gave teams a chance to test their speed and setup for the conditions many expected to face in the NAs.  The winner was Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT, followed by Brad Rodi’s BLISS and Al Terhune’s DAZZLER, in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.  Other teams that had top five finishes included Chris Snow & Mary Bridgen’s COOL STORY BRO, Brian Keane’s SAVASANA, Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR, Chris RAAB’s SUGOU, Jeff Brown’s J70 (his business JK3 Yachts is a regatta sponsor), Neil Senturia’s CACHONDO and Peter Vessella’s RUNNING WILD.  It will be tight competition for the NA’s!  Thanks for partial contribution from Scuttlebutt News.  For more J/70 North American Championship sailing information

Friday, September 25, 2015

YC Bregenz Wins Austrian Sailing League

J/70 Austrian sailing team winners (Neusiedler See, Austria)- At the finals of the Austrian Sailing League sponsored by SAP at Neusiedler See (21st to 23rd August 2015), the Yacht Club Bregenz won overall and was awarded the Champion’s trophy for the first time. For Burgenland Yacht Club that took second place, it also meant a ticket for the SAILING Champions League in September in Porto Cervo.

Max Trippolti, team manager of YC Bregenz said of the outcome for his winning team, “That’s awesome”!! He said this even after his competitors had tossed him into the water. It’s an old tradition, which came into effect for the first Austrian Champion of the Sailing League sponsored by SAP. “We are extremely satisfied. That’s the outcome of our hard and long-time work. We are a comparatively young team, the cooperation worked extremely well. The team is also excited about the format of the Sailing League and has set its goal to defend the title next year.”

The Burgenland Yacht Club finished the regatta again – just like at Traunsee – in third place.  The local team from Neusiedler See was fighting for victory for quite a long time. In the sixth race, when rounding the mark, the gennaker of the Burgenland team was twisted. Their distance to the competitors increased and they finished last. Even in the last race, they were not any better than fourth place. But, thanks to the good results of the two previous days, they managed to finish on third at Neusiedler See – with the same score as the Union Yacht Club Traunsee – and second in the overall ranking.

Clemens Kruse of Burgenland Yacht Club said, “Fortunately we did start into the weekend successfully with three victories. Our big goal was the participation at the Champions League. And thanks to our second place finish, we made it! In the upcoming year, we want to compete again in the four events and fight for the title.“

Following the sailors from Bregenz, the SCTWV Achensee finished the last event in 2nd place. On the last racing day, the sailors from Tirol even had the chance for victory. But with a 3rd place, they were pushed back in the standings behind YC Bregenz.  Michael Meister from SCTWV Achensee said, “It’s a shame, we could not bring home the victory. The J/70 was completely new to us.  Nevertheless, our performance was very, very good. We are absolutely satisfied with rank three overall.“

Both teams are now sailing in the SAILING Champions League in Porto Cervo, Italy. Max Trippolti and his team had training sessions with their colleagues from Bregenz Sailing Club (BSC). The BSC has its own J/70 boats and is supporting the Austrian Champion during the preparation. Max Trippolti said, “It is a benefit for both of us. Our goal for Porto Cervo is a rank in the top ten.“  Sailing photo credits- SBL/David Pichler.  For more J/70 Austrian Sailing League sailing information

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Flensburger Förde Woche Fun Sailing for 70s & 80s

J70 sailing Germany (Glucksburg, Germany)- The Flensburger Forde Week in Germany has always been a popular end of summer finale on the Baltic Sea.  This year it featured for the first time the J/70 class along with all the others, like the J/80s, ORC and several other one-design classes.  The regatta was sailed from September 12th to 13th.  The J/70s and J/80s each sailed five races; Saturday four races with winds between 12 to 20 kts.  Then, on Sunday only one race because of so very little winds.

For the J/70s, their inaugural participation had eight boats sailing, all very good teams.  The field included Bjorn Beilken, a 4th place finisher in the J/80 Worlds.  The racing was very, very close amongst the top five teams.

After five races over the weekend of sailing, it was Christian Soyka’s team (Ole Stucker, Tim Kramer, Moritz Burmester) from SV Itzehoe that won with a steady 2-2-5-1-4 record for a total of 9 pts net to win the cliff-hanging tie-breaker.  Losing that exchange was Gorden Nickel’s crew (Nils-Mathes Fiege, Nils Merten Farber, Nick Sclomka) from Segler-Vereeniging Wister who, unfortunately, took a DNF in the last race.  Taking third place was Erik Schlaaff and crew (Tom Piesker, Steffen Naumann, Robert Kolsch) from YC Berlin Grunau, coming on strong in the end with a 5-3-1-6-1 record for 10 pts net to win the third place tiebreaker!  Losing that match was Bjorn Beilken’s team on GER 862.  Sitting by themselves in 5th position was Marwin Outzen with just 13 pts net from Flensburger SC.  Top women’s skipper was Theresa Blumroth also from FSC in 7th place with her crew of Km Hedffedl, Antonia Hoch-Bauer, Theresa Blumroth and Rebecca Dehler.

Simultaneous, the J/80s were sailing their German Open Nationals with a fleet of seventeen boats.  Again, another highly competitive fleet like their J/70 brothers.  Nevertheless, after sailing the J/22, J/24 and J/80 Worlds, Martin Menzner was quite ready to finally win a regatta.  This time, he succeeded, taking the German Nationals with nearly a race to spare- piling up an impressive scoreline of 1-1-2-1-2-6-1 for 8 pts net.  His crew of Frank Lichte, Mika Rolfs from Sweden’s KSSS and Nils Beltermann were an enormous factor in their dominating performance.

Never able to overcome that hail of bullets was Hauke Kruss (with crew of Ole Sartori, Jens Tschentscher and Mattias Wallentin), having to work hard to remain in the silver on the podium with an erratic, roller-coaster tally of 2-7-3-8-1-1-2 for 16 pts net.  Third position was Martin Christiansen’s team (Henrike Rolf, Andreas Hengstmann, Ullrich Tesch) with 23 pts net.  Fritz Wassner’s crew (Paula Schaelke, Max Kleinsorg, Thore Petersen) took 4th place over the top Danish team of skippered by Johnny Jensen from Sonderborg YC.  Sailing photo credits- Sven Jurgensen   For more Flensburger Forde Woche sailing information

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

J/24s sailing off Portland, MECOUGAR Dominant @ J/24 North Americans
(Portland, Maine)- Home-boy Will Welles’ COUGAR survived a black flag penalty in Sunday’s opening race to become the 2015 J/24 Pape Chevrolet North American Champion.  After a slow start to their regatta, it was a courageous, anxiety-laden, roller-coaster performance by the hometown Downeast hero in J/24 racing circles.  Welles has been on somewhat of a roll in recent J/24 events, having won the J/24 Worlds in Newport, RI last year (yet another home-boy winning performance), placed 2nd as tactician in the 2015 J/24 Worlds in Boltenhagen, Germany sailing with Mike Ingham, now winning the NA’s in the home waters of his youth.

J/24 Fleet 43, Portland YC and the organizing committee of the annual J/24 Downeast Regatta (which was being held simultaneously), conducted a most excellent social experience and regatta for the 50 J/24 teams that came from far and wide to compete in the NA’s from Thursday September 10th to Sunday September 13th.  The daily drama for Welle’s come-from-behind victory started out with a dud in the first race, here is how it all happened over the four days.

J/24 sailing off MaineDay 1
No question, the first day of racing was less than epic.  In fact, for many teams, it was quite frightening.  The day dawned light and very shifty and simply stayed that way all day.  The teams ventured forth into the ozone layer offshore and came back either wide-eyed  or drowning their sorrows in the nearest Schlitz beer they could find.  Nevertheless, it was Christopher Stone’s VELOCIDAD that grabbed the lead on day one by winning the day’s only race. The New Jersey-based team topped competitors from Argentina, Canada, Mexico and the USA by simply not falling into any tactical traps and getting tangled up in the corners of the racetrack.

Dan Busch’s BUSCHWACKER, also from New Jersey, placed second, while local J/24 rock-star, Carter White’s SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM, rounded out the top three.

J/24 sailing off Portland, MaineDay 2
The second day was “legendary”, in more ways than one.  The partly cloudy day and good steady 13-15 kts breeze provided good, close, top-of-the-line racing for the very closely packed fleet.  Top end of the genoa on the J/24 has always separated the “men from the boys” and on this day, that was the case.

The original “legend from Downeast”, and certainly the Portland area, for the J/24 class has to be Tony Parker and his various BANGOR PACKETS.  Tony lived in Maine forever, then moved south to sail out of Annapolis YC in the last few decades.  However, as the saying often goes- “you can’t take the city out of that new country girl”, in Tony’s case it’s the reverse.  For him, it’s all about going back to his roots, despite the efforts of his Washington DC political cronies to “city-fy” him, and revisit fond memories of eviscerating his local fleet as BANGOR PACKET won yet another regatta (maybe that’s why they kicked’em out of Maine and sent him “packing” to DC?).

In any event, after four more races were sailed on Friday, lo’n’behold, the new leader of the NA’s was none other than the old home-boy from memories past- Parker’s BANGOR PACKET!  Tallying consistent scores of 5-2-7-7-2, Parker held a two point lead over yet another excommunicated local, Welle’s COUGAR!  Then, another two points back was Argentina’s top J/24 sailor from Buenos Aires, Nicolas Cubria skippering WORKNET.

In the opening contest, Welles took line honors. Parker and Tim Corbett’s Eskimo Sisters followed. John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen, Evan Petley-Jones’ Lifted and Travis Odenbach’s Honey Badger comprised the top trio in Friday’s second race. As the sun began to poke through, the breeze built to 15-20 knots at times with temperatures around 70 degrees. Welles again snagged a bullet in the next contest, with day one leader Christopher Stone’s Velocidad in second and Petley-Jones in third. Closing out the day with a victory was Mollicone, trailed by Parker and Odenbach.

J/24 setting spinnakerDay 3
On the third day sailing, the fleet ventured to the outside course on Casco Bay in winds between 6-10 knots. Odenbach got the day off to a solid start with a victory, while Martin Gallagher’s Shifty and Welles followed. Welles claimed the next win, ahead of John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen and Cubria.

The end of the day brought yet another leader to the top of the scoreboard. Will Welles’ COUGAR secured a 3-1 on Saturday to move into first place with an 11-point advantage over second-place Nicolas Cubria’s WORKNET of Argentina. Now able to drop a 10 from the first race of the Championship, Welles kept a scoring line of 1-9-1-4-3-1 for 19 points heading into the finale. With 31 points, third-place Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER was hot on the heels of Cubria, who had 30 points.

Day 4
Heading into the final day, Welles held an 11-point advantage, but a BFD in race 8 made for an exciting end to the nine-race series. COUGAR nabbed a fourth in the final contest to end with 33 points, five ahead of Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER. Odenbach kept moving up throughout the four-day event, but settled for second place with 38 points. John Mollicone’s HELLY HANSEN took the bronze position with 47 points.

Welles has spent some time sailing in and around Maine (a mild understatement, to say the least), but noted that the conditions this week were not typical. “It was pretty tricky, but having a solid team is the key,” said Welles, whose crew was Chris Morgan, Jeff Linton, Erik Rexford and Monica Morgan. He thanked the local J/24 Fleet 43 and their volunteer base for taking good care of the competitors.

The balance of the top five was rounded out by “the man, the myth, the legend”- Tony Parker’s BANGOR PACKET in 4th only four points back from World Champion Mollicone.  Then, early regatta leader Chris Stone’s VELOCIDAD was yet only one point back from Parker to take fifth.

In Sunday’s two races, Ed Rowe’s FLYING CHICKEN and Evan Petley-Jones’ LIFTED were the race winners in winds of 8-10 knots.

Winning the Women’s J/24 NA Championship was Natalie Penner’s GIGGLES,
followed in 2nd by Gretchen Sullivan’s DRACO, and Erica Spencer & Jess Harris’ SEA BAGS WOMEN’S SAILING TEAM in 3rd.  For more J/24 North American Championship sailing information

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

J/70 sailing ItalyL’ELAGAIN Crowned J/70 EuroCup Champion
(Riva del Garda, Italy)- As expected, the final day of the J/70 Eurocup at Fraglia Vela Riva was a duel to the finish for the top two leaders in the standings of the J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Italian Nationals- CALVI NETWORK (with Carlo Alberini at the helm) and L’ELAGAIN with Franco Solerio skippering.  Their duel was one of the highlights of the three-day series held from September 10th to 13th on the fabulous Lago di Garda, a famous lake in the northeastern part of Italy that is known for very reliable mountain winds and the spectacular scenery.  Against that beautiful backdrop, Solerio’s crew on L’ELAGAIN built upon their experiences in the J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle, France earlier in July and demonstrated they had the speed and “smarts” to win and be considered one of the top teams in the J/70 class.  In fact, they not only won the final regatta on Lago di Garda, they also won the entire J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Championship series!  Here is how it all played out over the three days of racing.

J/70s sailing Lago di Garda, ItalyDay 1
The first day of the final round of the J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Italian Trophy got off to a perfect start. Three races were completed with the usual fantastic “ora” wind that blew from 14-16 knots. A great start for this event which this year has seen an increase in the big names in international sailing on board in a tactical role. Italy looks to be in a good position this year in the J/70 class worldwide. Professionals of the caliber such as Francesco De Angelis, Celon, Cassinari and Fonda, who we are used to being seen in other sportboat and offshore classes are sailing this year on board the J/70s.  It is a similar evolution seen in other parts of Europe and the USA, where World Champions and Olympic medalists in other classes are finding that J/70 class sailing is so simple to sail, the fleet is all going at the same speed. As a result, it makes for exciting sailing when fleets are so tightly packed that small mistakes magnify into big gains or losses, depending on the situation.  In fact, it is quite often that one finds a double Olympic Medallist or 3x World Champion somewhere in the middle of the pack struggling to get back into the top ten!

As for the regatta organization, kudos for Fraglia Vela Riva who three years ago believed in the J/70 class from the very start by offering its experience and management team in promoting the first J/70 Eurocup. The fleet is now starting to get very skilled and numerous (with over thirty boats in competition), and has a decidedly international feel with 8 nations taking part including Sweden, Russia, Monaco, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Malta.

Thanks to the good wind of the first day the event got off to a flying start with a head-to-head between Solerio’s L’ELAGAIN  (with Cassinari as tactician) and Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK. Solerio came out better with two wins and a second that gave him a 7-point lead over Alberini (8-2-1).  Sebastian Ripard of Malta, sailing BETSAFE was in third place after sailing to three 4ths!  Luca Domenici followed on NOTARO TEAM just one point behind. He finished 3rd in the first two races and 7th in the third. Michele Galli (with Francesco De Angelis as tactician) sailed on B2 and was sitting in 12th position with 10-14-17 record.

Three more races were sailed on the second day under the usual beautiful afternoon conditions on Lake Garda with winds of 12-14 knots from the south. With the discard introduced, Alberini’s crew on CALVI NETWORK went into overdrive and claimed three straight bullets to take the lead in the standings, with a two point lead over Solerio’s L’ELAGAIN. The racing again saw a heated battle between Alberini and Solerio, with L’ELAGAIN sailing to a 3-2-2 score- not quite enough to hold off CALVI NETWORK from taking the lead. A heart-stopping finale was clearly on the cards as only two points separated the two protagonists and with the forecast for the wind to be from the north, gusty and unstable in morning, the situation could very well change.

The bronze medal position was also being hard-fought as Ripard’s TEAM BETSAFE leap-frogged over Domenici NOTARO Team into third place. NOTARO Team was disqualified (which was then discarded), but has no margin of error and is in fourth position three points behind the Maltese boat. Jacopo Carrain’s CARPE DIEM (with Enrico Fonda as tactician) put in a good effort coming within 4 points of a place on the podium and was sitting in 5th overall.

Michele Galli on B2 with a well-known crew of Francesco De Angelis, Paolino Bassani and Flavio Grassi struggled to come through with a better performance and remained in 14th place (as noted earlier, De Angelis was a J/24 World Champion and America’s Cup Champion helmsman).

J70s sailing Lago di GardaDay 3
As was predicted, the final day was a duel to the finish. The fairly light winds in the morning gave different conditions from the previous days where the afternoon winds from the south blew in at 14 knots. The introduction of the lighter winds was an important element for Solerio’s L’ELAGAIN team.  The first two races the morning were balanced with CALVI NETWORK winning the first and L’ELAGAIN the second. It was all down to the third race as tactician Cassinari (L'Elegain), well aware of the hypothetical advantage he had over his opponent, skillfully played it safe to gain position on Alberini and drive them down into the middle of the fleet. As a result, Solerio tossed their last race and counted only races in the top three, including three 1sts and four 2nds! Alberini settled for second place in the regatta and second overall in the J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Italian Championship series (Monaco, San Remo, San Remo, Cervia, Riva del Garda).

Team BETSAFE, with Sebastian Ripard of Malta skippering, held on to take third place while NOTARO Team suffered another OCS false start after a 3rd and 16th, which dropped them into seventh place overall, far from the podium which seemed to be within their grasp during the first days.  To make matters worse, the last race OCS also cost NOTARO 2nd overall in the J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Championship series, losing the tie-breaker to Alberini at 95 pts each to settle for third overall.

J/70 winners Italy Alcatel OneTouch Sailing regattaFifth in the regatta was Pietro Saccomanni’s SPIN ONE team from Venice (they were also 5th overall in the series).  The top Monaco team in 6th place was Carrain’s CARPE DIEM, top German team in 8th position was Moritz Bohnenberger skippering TOURING JUNIOR, top Austrian team in 13th place was Klaus Diem’s PFAENDER, top Swiss team in 15th was Julian Flessati’s BODENSEE, top Swedish crew was Mikael Lindqvist’s ROCAD RACING from the Royal Swedish YC and top Russian crew was Sergei Ezhikov’s OST-WEST JUNO.

There was a great comeback for UJI UJI with Alessio Marinelli and Federica Salvà (who are on course for Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil on the Nacra 17 catamaran for Italy), they finished fourth overall with a good, satisfying win in the last race (as a result they also took 4th overall for the championship series of five regattas).  Then, the other team that showed great improvement was Galli’s B2 (with De Angelis calling the shots), sailing to a 10–7-2 on the last day to jump into 11th overall.  For more J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Italian Championship sailing information

Monday, September 21, 2015

J/105 For Nantucket Community Sailing

(Nantucket, MA)- While Nantucket is a wonderful vacation resort, the families who live on the remote island struggle to make ends meet.   According to Diana Brown, President of Nantucket Community Sailing, “our organization was founded to help island children have access to the water that they would otherwise not be able to afford.  We are honored to serve that mission.  Nantucket Community Sailing has dozens of enrollments in our youth programs each summer, 30% of whom are local island children and we give them scholarships to make it affordable to sail.  A third J/105 would be a huge improvement to our youth sailing programs, and also give more Nantucket kids access to the waters surrounding our beautiful island.”

One of the NCS members, Susan Farm, comments that, “NCS currently has two donated J/105s in our keelboat program. Both boats are used for youth sailing programs and this past summer we experienced demand higher than we could support for the program. We also race the boats in a local PHRF series and travel to local regattas. The kids race one boat, and I  leased the second boat with an all female crew (Diane is on the crew). This summer, the kids program took precedence over our use, and we were out of a boat!  But what a nice problem to have. (The boats are also used to take seniors out for leisurely cruises).”

J/105 for Nantucket Community Sailing
Susan continues to say that, “we had 128 kids enrolled in the one-week J/105 programs on the two NCS J/105s, ranging in age from 9–18.  The programs are at capacity, so the addition of a third boat would allow more children to experience the thrill of big boat sailing. The older children were able to participate in Wednesday night PHRF racing and in three days of PHRF racing during Nantucket Race Week.  The J/105s also compete in the famous FIGAWI Race in the beginning of the summer; they are crewed by members of the Nantucket High School sailing team. Finally, NCS also uses the J/105s for community outreach, specifically with the “Old Salts” program (seniors from the Salt Marsh Center) and the patients and caregivers from PASCON (Palliative and Supportive Care of Nantucket).

Please contact Diana Brown for further information about the Nantucket Community Sailing program- work ph. 508-228-6600 or email-  Learn more here on their NCS website