Monday, May 29, 2017

J/24 40th Anniversary Around Island Race Announcement!

J/24 40th Round Island Race (Newport, RI)- Mark your calendars now.  This could be an epic event.  There’s no more iconic a race course in J/24 class history than the 21nm track around Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay that helped decide the outcome of the first J/24 North Americans in 1978, and then the first J/24 World Championship in 1979 (remember- we got hit by the famous Fastnet Race storm in Newport!).  It would be impossible to count how many times J/24s have circumnavigated Conanicut Island since, but it would be safe to say the “Around the Island Race” is the all-time favorite for generations of J/24 Fleet 50 sailors, not to mention a big income generator for local boat repair shops.  If you have never raced along a rocky coastline interspersed with beautiful beaches, a cool summer sea breeze and lots of current, then this is the race for you!

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the J/24 Class, J/Fest New England and Sail Newport invite all J/24 sailors, past and present, to enter the Around the Island Race with the first gun at 1300 hrs on Friday August 11th.  To make a whole weekend of it, there’s W/L buoy racing Saturday and Sunday as part of J/Fest New England.  For more J/Fest New England and Around Island Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/22 World Championship Preview

J/22 Worlds Netherlands(Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- This coming week, the J/22 World Championship will be taking place as part of the world-famous North Sea Week, hosted in Scheveningen, The Netherlands.  The 2017 edition will include a very competitive fleet of J/22 sailors from Canada, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, and The Netherlands.  The fleet can count on professional race management and extensive social activities on shore as part of the North Sea Week experience, one of the world’s (and Europe’s) best summer-time mega-sailing events.

What is the form for this fleet of thirty-nine boats?  Ironically, the top billing must go to the top two visiting teams- one is a J/22 Worlds Vice—Champion- Mike Farrington’s 7-SITZER/ EX-ISLES from the Cayman Islands and the other is Canadian skipper Johan Koppernaes on RAISED J that has North Sails’ top specialist Mike Marshall as trim/ tactician.

As for the continental European triangle of the German/ Dutch/ French teams, the leading crews on the leaderboard could be Fabien Toureaux’s BEASTIE BOYS, Reiner Brockerhoff’s JAZZY, Patrick Huet’s EUROPEAN HOMES, Svend Hartog’s MOJO4ROOKIES, Tom Losch’s JOUJOU3, Nienke Reina Jorna’s JAM SESSION, Jean-Michel Lautier’s FRAPORITA, Dirk Jan Verdoorn’s JUT EN JUL, Kim Bos’ DJINN, Lisanne Nijdam’s TU DELFT/BROACH/1365, Jochem GrootJen’s SLAM, and Nic Bol’s QUANTUM HOLLAND.  For more J/22 Worlds sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

More Awesome J/125 Warrior Sailing Videos!

J/125 Tower Race- Santa Barbara, CA(Santa Barbara, CA)- The J/125 WARRIOR has been having a lot of fun sailing off windy, sunny Santa Barbara on some spectacular sailing days this spring, enjoying the nuking conditions that often sweep around Point Conception to the north and blast the fleet with 20-35 kts winds on a clear day!

On April 8th weekend was the famous Race to the Tower and back.  Basically, a wind sprint on starboard gybe from the starting line set just off the famous pier at the southeastern part of the harbor- Stearns Wharf- then off to one of the big oil rigs offshore in the Santa Barbara Channel and return to the finish.  In that race, the J/125 WARRIOR simply lit it up, sent it down to the rig at speeds up to 23 kts and won the fleet overall by three minutes.  Here is the YouTube video of the experience by Paul Harteck, the son of the skipper Larry Harteck in the video.

More J/125 Warrior sailing videoThen, as if they did not have enough fun on the April 8th Tower Race, then WARRIOR’s owner, Dr Laura Schlessinger, got in on the act for their May 4th extremely windy “Wet Wednesday Night” series race.  Again, it was blowing up to 25 kts and the mighty WARRIOR took off again!  With Dr Laura on the helm, they easily hit 21 kts of boat speed- “girl power on steroids!!”  The crew included Sam Solhaug, Larry Harteck, Bill Daffron, Dean Duesette, Xander, Brett Decampos, Colin Campbell, and Steve Goularte.  Watch the J/125 sailing video here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/120 Sail-training Tips for Marblehead-Halifax Race

J/120 sailing Halifax race(Halifax, Nova Scotia)- For the J/120 DEVIATION- practice, practice, practice- that is how it’s done to win the Marblehead to Halifax Race! Thanks for this story from Kathy Large/ Sailing photos by Tim Wilkes.com.

Stuart McCrea and his crew on the J/120 DEVIATION had a big year in 2016. And, there is a lot of hardware to show for their efforts. The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron team won the trophy for the best results for a Canadian boat in the Newport-Bermuda Race, also winning the first ever J/120 class at Chester Race Week and the Prince of Wales trophy at RNSYS. And, Stuart was recognized by both Sail Nova Scotia and Sail Canada as Canada’s “2016 Offshore Sailor of the Year.”

So, that will be a hard act to follow. But McCrea is taking the same approach as he did last year– getting his boat and his crew ready by focusing on preparation. “Your best performance is directly linked to the preparation of the yacht and its crew,” according to McCrea. “This is one aspect of our sport that is most taken for granted, as some boats and their crews believe just showing up will mean success.”

“Like the NHL, NBA, and other sports, time is spent practicing plays, scenarios, and strengthening team work to improve a team’s success. And while most of the time, our sport has us sailing during the day, hopefully under a nice sea breeze and sunshine, ocean racing adds the complexities of sailing at night and or sailing in weather most wouldn’t leave the dock for.”

J/120 sailing HalifaxMcCrea’s own preparation includes years of training and competing, starting when he joined the Squadron as a ten year old. He graduated from dinghies after competing in provincial and North American championships. His experience in keelboats includes at least a dozen Marblehead to Halifax races. This will be the second as a boat owner.

Starting at the end of April, he gets the boat out and the crew together, and they spend time practicing tactics. Like the old chestnut about how a musician can get to Carnegie Hall, winning at sailing for McCrea means practice, practice and more practices. He will plan for 30-mile stints, using the time to test sails to find out which works best in which condition. Man overboard drills are also important to McCrea. “I don’t take it lightly. Everyone needs to practice this. Just think about trying to find a crew member in the dark when the boat is going 10 or 12 knots. It would be very hard.”

His regular crew includes Mathew Christie as tactician, Jason and India White, Geoff Dalzell, Robert Maclean, Cameron Fraser and Dr. Sean Christie. Others who regularly take part, depending on the race are Giles Oland, Jonathan Ladha, and Stuart MacIntosh.

McCrea is not shy to look for expert help, either. “Last year we were able to have Andreas Josenhans and Sandy MacMillan on board for a day.” Josenhans and MacMillan are decorated Nova Scotia sailors who are world champions and Olympians who both work in different roles with North Sails.

“We were learning to understand what the boat is capable of and how to shift gears,” McCrea said. “Things happen very quickly when you are racing. If you don’t practice ahead of time, you won’t be ready to handle the circumstances when they come up. Doing these drills well in advance of the race is simply good seamanship, providing an advantage over other boats that aren’t prepared. I mean the last thing you want to do is be searching around below for a needed part as a fast approaching squall hits, or worst case trying to find the ditch bag as you and the boat are being tossed around,” says McCrea.

McCrea does focus on the safety requirements for ocean racing and makes a careful inventory and assessment of the gear needed to make sure the boat is safe. Plus he says it is crucial to review the rules and regulations of your rating organization. “Navigation and tactics come a bit later, when all the other things are tuned up.”

J/120 sailing crewAs the shakedown practices continue, McCrea starts thinking forward to the race and the tactics needed to win. “There is a large debate about whether you should go inshore at night, stay east or west of the rhumb line or try to grab the thermolift along the coast of Nova Scotia. Most of my success has come from staying close to the rhumb line. We have also noticed out in the Gulf of Maine there is a pushing and settling of the current that can cause some trouble.”

DEVIATION has all the latest equipment to help make those tactical decisions – satellite phone, a weather service that provides faxes and grib files plus the software that helps choose the optimum routing.

McCrea breaks the Marblehead to Halifax race into three important segments. "The first one is how to handle the start in Marblehead, offshore or inshore route, which will depend on the conditions of the day."

Then he says the next big strategy decision involves Brazil Rock (the shoal that sits off the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia). “I have never gone inside the Rock but I have heard lots of stories of people doing this. Your arrival time at Brazil Rock will make or break your race. I am afraid a lot of people don’t understand the Bay of Fundy tides. They are a lot bigger than what you have experienced anywhere else. It all comes down to timing.”

J/120 crew offshoreThe Bay of Fundy tides are generally recognized as the most extreme in the world. In Southwestern Nova Scotia, the height of the tide is 3.5 metres (11 ft). Depending on the wind conditions, when the tide is flooding into the Bay, a boat can be sucked north or west towards the Bay of Fundy. Especially if there is little to no wind to power the boat, the crew will have no choice but to sit and wait for the tide to turn to get back into the race.

“There is one last part of the race that I have found can be decisive,” says McCrea. “There’s a transition zone just inside Chebucto Head as you are approaching Halifax Harbour. I have seen the race won and lost there a number of times. Back in 2015, we came in on a tight close-hauled course running 12-14 knots with 20 knots of apparent wind. Then we gybed at Halifax Bravo (a light buoy). And then we spent several hours and five separate sail changes trying to coax the boat in by Chebucto Head. When we finally got moving, we managed to overtake a couple of boats but we felt like we had lost our advantage. In the end, DEVIATION was 12th in line honours and if you look at the results, a large number of boats came in after us in the next three hours, so quite a few others went through that same scenario.”

Apart from race tactics, McCrea also emphasizes to be prepared for all kinds of possible weather conditions and temperatures. Most people expect cool temperatures and fog along the coast of Nova Scotia. But McCrea also recalls a period of hours that Deviation and many other boats were becalmed on a sunny day in the Gulf of Maine during the last race. “There was no way to escape the sun on a day like that.” He also gives priority to planning for quality food and lots of smaller meals plus drinking lots of water. "I have found it very important to have smaller and more frequent meals to help people deal with the mental fatigue that comes during a long race."

A couple of other quick tips from McCrea:

  • Watch out for fishing boats while you are in the Yarmouth and south shore area. AIS is very important because there is a lot of commercial traffic in these waters and they don’t always follow the rules – gross tonnage is the rule they use!
  • Rest is paramount for the crew before the race. “I have a curfew on Saturday in Marblehead…the party is always great but I aim for me and my crew to be in bed by 10 pm. Especially if the weather gets bumpy, everyone needs that extra sleep.”
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Marblehead to Halifax Race Announcement

Marblehad Halifax race (Marblehead, MA)- A competitive international fleet of boats will be at the starting line July 9 to begin the Marblehead to Halifax ocean race. The 363-mile race, which dates back to 1905, is billed as the “granddaddy of ocean races.”

Seventy-three boats have already signed up with two months of registration to go. “We are excited about the strength of the entries so far,” said Jennie Aspinall, Vice Commodore of the Boston Yacht Club and co-chair of the race. “Sixteen of the entrants will be defending one of more podium finishes from 2015.”

Several J/teams with impressive records have already signed up; including at least three J/120s- Gardner Grant’s ALIBI, Jim Praley’s SHINNECOCK, and Stu McCrea’s J/120 DEVIATION (read their story on preparation below in J/Community section).  Others are Chris Lewis’ J/44 KENAI from Houston, TX; Brad Willauer’s J/46 BREEZING UP from Scarborough, ME; and Phil Helmes’ J/133 FAST COMPANY III from Marblehead, MA.
J/109 sailing Halifax raceThe event is a cooperative venture of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and the Boston Yacht Club of Marblehead. Title sponsor is the Steele Auto Group of Canada with USA supporting sponsors: Gill, Marblehead Bank, Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty and BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Among the current 73 entries, 34 are first timers, 17 are second timers and there are four entrants who have only missed two races since 1997. Richard Hinterhoeller of RNSYS, Co-Director, says one of those racing has entered every Marblehead to Halifax since 1997. The Marblehead to Halifax race will cap off a week of Fourth of July celebrations in the picturesque ocean side community. The Boston Yacht club will host a round of parties and receptions throughout the event.   Sailing photo credits- Craig Davis  For more Marblehead to Halifax Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Swiftsure International Race Preview

J/122 sailing Swiftsure race(Victoria, BC, Canada)- The “grand daddy of all offshore races” in the Pacific Northwest has to be Royal Victoria YC’s famous Swiftsure International Race.  It is always a challenge no matter what the wind and weather conditions, particularly if fronts are rolling in off the northern Pacific and the Gulf of Alaska with lots of wind, wetness and breeding complete chaos in their wakes.

This year, 176 boats are registered to race in one of the four main races that sail up and down the Strait of Juan de Fuca (so named in 1787 by the maritime fur trader Charles William Barkley, captain of the Imperial Eagle, for Juan de Fuca, the Greek navigator who sailed in a Spanish expedition in 1592 to seek the fabled Strait of Anián. Barkley was the first non-indigenous person to find the strait).

Thirty-five J’s (about 20% of fleet) can’t wait to “beat the Strait” at its own infamous games, including a J/160, J/133, a J/46, a J/42, J/125s (2), J/122s (2), J/120s (4), J/109s (4), J/105s (8), J/30s (3), a J/33, J/92 and J/37.  None of the J/crews are sailing the original race, the so-called Swiftsure Lightship Classic- a 138.2nm jaunt from the start off Victoria’s famous waterfront, out around a mark at Swiftsure Bank and return.

Only two J’s are sailing the next longest option, the Hein Bank Race- 118.1nm to a mark at Neah Bay, a mark offshore on the other shore, and return.  Those two are John McPhail’s gorgeous navy-blue J/160 JAM from Gig Harbor YC and Shawn Dougherty’s J/125 HAMACHI from Sloop Tavern YC.

J/35 sailing off SeattleThe most popular option for thirty-two J/Teams is the Cape Flattery Race- 101.9nm to a mark at Neah Bay and return to Victoria Harbour.  In the PHRF H1 class are three teams, including Ron Mackenzie’s J/37 FUTURE PRIMITIVE, Tom Keffer’s J/42 VELOCITY, and Scott Campbell’s J/46 RIVA.  The PHRF L1 class has four J/120s (Mike Picco’s WILD BLUE, Kirk Palmer’s LIGHT SCOUT, Jim Hinz’s HINZITE, & Chris Johnson’s WITH GRACE), two J/122s (Tom Kelly’s ANAM CARA & Bron Miller’s JOY RIDE), and the J/133 CONSTELLATION helmed by Bron Miller.

The PHRF L2 class is a battle of the 35-footers, virtually all of them are top boats on Puget Sound and many have won events all over the Pacific Northwest.  To say “the form” on this collection of J/35s and J/109 is difficult would be an understatement.  In any event, the four J/109s include Jim Prentice’s DIVA, Adrian King-Harris’ J, Stu Burnell’s TANTIVY, and Tom Sitar’s SERENDIPITY.  The three J/35s are George Leighton’s TAHLEQUAH, Jason Vannice’s ALTAIR and Karl Haflinger’s SHEARWATER.

Not surprisingly, the J/105s have their own class, sailing as one-design for the Cape Flattery Race!  Top boats include recent Oregon Offshore Race class and overall winner FREE BOWL OF SOUP raced by those “wild & crazy guys” from Portland, Oregon and led by their skipper Doug Schenk.  They will be chased hard by top local crews, such as Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO, Chris Phoenix’s JADED and Chuck Stephens’ PANIC.

There is a quartet of J/teams sailing the shortest option, the Juan de Fuca Race- 78.7nm to a mark at Clallam Bay and return to Victoria Harbour.  In that fleet are Phil Wampold’s J/92 ZAFF fighting three J/30s (Colin Bishop’s REDUX, Ulf George Gwildis’ IMPULSIVE, and Theo Singelis’ TAKU.

Finally, getting out on the water and having fun with his J/105 for a daysail in the Inshore Flying Sales PHRF division will be Tom Kerr on CORVO 105!  For more Swiftsure Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.
J/88 sleighride on San Francisco Bay




















Spinnaker Cup Race Preview
(Belvedere, CA)- Back in 2015, Encinal Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, Santa Barbara Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club joined forces and races to provide sailors with an exceptional Offshore Race Week that will take offshore boats from San Francisco down to San Diego with stops in Monterey and Santa Barbara. It brings the historic Spinnaker Cup and a revamped Coastal Cup together and joining in with the second running of the SoCal 300, racers have options of completing the entire week long event, or they can join in for any of the individual races on their own. The schedule is set up to keep the racing fast and fun and also allow enough shore time for family and friends to meet the racers at stops along the way for a wonderful week long tour of the California Coast.

California Offshore Race Week starts on Saturday, May 27 in San Francisco Bay and sends the racers out under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. From there the fleet will make their way 88nm to the port city of Monterey for a day long layover to get rested and ready for the sled ride to Santa Barbara. Picking up on Monday, May 29, the Coastal Cup starts in Monterey Bay and runs 200nm around Point Conception and into Santa Barbara. A multi-day layover in Santa Barbara will allow racers to experience the local scene and all that this beautiful city has to offer. Santa Barbara Yacht Club will be hosting shore side parties and all the racers are invited to a ‘just for fun’ in-port race on Wednesday afternoon, which will see the offshore crews link up with the local Beercan racers who will also be on the water that day. The final leg starts on Thursday, June 1 with the SoCal 300 sending the fleet through the Channel Islands on their way to San Diego, a total trip of 254nm. The awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 3 at San Diego Yacht Club.

The Spinnaker Cup Race has thirty-nine entries, nine of which are J/teams (nearly 25% of the fleet!).  The smallest boat in the race will be Chris Cartwright’s J/88 VENTUS, fresh off his experience of winning class and nearly the overall trophy in the 2016 Singlehanded Transpac Race!  He will be joined by a number of offshore speedsters, including the classic J/36 DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT skippered by Kevin Mills, the J/105 JAVELIN helmed by Robert Goosey, the J/109 JUNKYARD DOG sailed by Jim Goldberg, two J/111s (Howard Turner’s SYMMETRY and Reuben Rocci’s SWIFT NESS), and three J/120s (Ludovic Milin’s SAETTA, Tracy Rogers’ HOKULANI, and Barry Lewis’ CHANCE).  Sailing photo credits- ROLEX/ Daniel Forster.  For more California Offshore Race Week and Spinnaker Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Storm Trysail Block Island Race Preview

J/44 Vamp sailing Long Island Sound(Larchmont, NY)- A spring classic, this 186nm race from Stamford, CT down Long Island Sound, around Block Island, RI and back to Stamford is an annual rite of passage for many racing yachts.

The Block Island Race was first held in 1946 and is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF), and the Gulf Stream Series (IRC). The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the Caper, Sagola, and Windigo trophies awarded by the YRA of Long Island Sound and the 'Tuna' Trophy for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).

The race is often regarded by the offshore racing community in Long Island Sound as the start of the summer offshore sailing season.  As a result, the race has many sailors who have participated for a few decades, starting as kids and now as adults (owners, crews, skippers)!  For them, it truly is a rite of passage, breathing in all that salt air, getting soaked in salt water by giant chop breaking over the bow in the famous “Race” or “Plum Gut”— it’s all about becoming one with the sea again and feel that salt coursing through your veins and appreciating how small human life is relative to the extraordinary forces of nature.

Answering that siren song to the sea is a very good fleet of offshore teams from across the Northeast.  Sixty-five teams will be on the starting line off Larchmont YC in western Long Island Sound on Friday, March 26th, racing in PHRF, IRC, and Doublehanded divisions; thirteen of them are J/crews (20% of the fleet).

J/120 Alibi sailing Long Island SoundThe remnants of a Low is hovering over the northeast in the Marblehead, MA area, spinning cool temperatures, drizzle, and solid breeze from the WNW at 15-25 kts.  It’s a promising start and the first leg out to Block Island should go fast, in particular for the asymmetric J’s in the fleet.

In the IRC Doublehanded class, Gardner Grant’s famously successful J/120 ALIBI with by vying for class honors.  Doug McKeige’s J/88 JAZZ will be doing the same with a Young American Junior Big Boat Team going for it in the PHRF Doublehanded class!

The eight boat PHRF 3 class has a quartet of J/105s battling with a trio of First 36.7s for class honors.  The J/105 crews re Francis Racioppi’s HOONIGAN, Hobie Ponting’s PRIVATEER-YCC, Frank Conway’s RAPTOR and the famous Young American Junior Big Boat Team sailing their YOUNG AMERICAN-YCC!  As always, the question on everyone’s mind is “can the kids do it again!”  We wish them fair winds and fast sailing!

In the PHRF 4 class, Jim Farrell’s J/35 SAPPHIRE from Black Rock YC will hope to beat out a Tripp 40, a Thomas 35 and a Sou’wester 51!

J/109 sailing fast offshoreThe nine-boat IRC 2 class has a wide range of fast offshore racer-cruisers, including past winner Len Sitar on his mighty J/44 VAMP, Carl Olsson’s champion J/109 MORNING GLORY, and yet another Young American Junior Big Boat Team on the J/120 VAREKAI-VCC!

PHRF 5 class has three J/crews that will particularly like the course layout for the forecasted winds; the two J/111s are John Donovan’s LIBERTAS and Abhijeet Lele’s VARUNA and the J/122 SUMMER GRACE is skippered by Kevin Kelley.

Finally, watch out in PHRF 6 class, one of the offshore flyers from the J/Design team will be fighting tooth & nail with other fast 40 footers, like Class 40s, custom 40, Farr 40 modified and an IMX 45.  Taking them on and sure to give them all fits will be Brian Prinz’s J/125 SPECTRE from Branford YC.   For more STC Block Island Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/24 North American Championship Preview

J/24 team sailing fast (Houston, Texas)- It has been a busy month for the J/24 class on a worldwide basis.  After hosting the USA Nationals in Seattle, WA the past week, this week there are two events taking place simultaneously; one is the J/24 North American’s in Houston, TX and the other is the Open J/24 Italian Nationals in La Maddalena, Sardinia!  The winner of the USA J/24 Nationals, Keith Whittemore, is sailing in Italy while the 2nd place finisher, Will Welles, is sailing in Houston!  Spoiled for choice, those J/24 sailors are!

From May 25th to 28th, thirty-four J/24 teams are headed down to sail on the choppy waters of Galveston Bay, hosted by the amazing volunteers at the Houston YC.  No question, the J/24 sailors will be spoiled with good’ole fashioned BBQ’s, beer, brats, and lots of involuntary swimming in their giant pool.  On the water, the racing will be tough, with a number of excellent teams that will be fighting for NA title honors.  Chief amongst them will be Will Welles BOGUS, others will be Natalie Harden’s GIGGLES (perhaps the top woman skipper in the class), Chris Holmes’ BAD MOON, Carter White’s SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM, Mike Ingham’s NATALYTICS, Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS, the Japanese crew of Nobuyuki Imai on SIESTA, Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER, and Robby Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM.  For more J/24 North American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Fort-2-Fort Challenge Announcement

J/70 flying off wave (Annapolis, MD)- The Fort 2 Fort Races are comprised of three separate record challenges in Annapolis and Baltimore, linking historical forts of Fort Severn (United States Naval Academy) and Fort McHenry across Chesapeake Bay. The three races are the Fort 2 Fort Race, the R2 Challenge, and the Star Spangled Banner Challenge. Each race is designed to be sailed in either direction to promote the best sailing conditions based on the weather window to set a new record.

The races can be entered between April 1st and November 1st each year.  With each paid entry, your entry gives you the ability to enter all three challenges, a combination of the three, or the same challenge three times. Each entry must be submitted with a valid .gpx file to verify course times.

Eligible classes are Monohull A (15 Ft and below), Monohull B (16 Ft – 30 Ft), Monohull C (30+ FT), Multihull A (20 Ft and below), and Multihull B (21 Ft+).  In addition to these classes, there will be an overall record, and PHRF record.  If there are 5 or more One Design boats entered, than a One Design Class will also be scored.

The Fort 2 Fort Race is between Annapolis (Fort Severn/ Naval Academy) and Baltimore (Fort McHenry). The course is approximately 38 miles starting or finishing depending on the direction of choice from Triton Light at the Naval Academy, to Government Marks off Fort McHenry.

The R2 Challenge is between Triton Light at the Naval Academy and Severn River Marker R2.  The course is approximately 3.8 miles and can be run from either direction.
   
The Star Spangled Banner Challenge is between Government Marks off Fort McHenry, and the Francis Scott Key Buoy near the Patapsco Bridge. Since the buoy is only in the water starting on June first each year, the Government Marks adjacent create a line through the buoy. The course is approximately 3.4 miles and can be run in either direction.

A portion of the entry fees will be donated to area organizations and foundations supporting sailing and the Chesapeake Bay. If you have any questions please email- racedirector@fort2fortrace.com or contact race founder- Drew Beach- drewjbeach@gmail.com.   For further information on the Fort 2 Fort Races, please visit here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/24 Italy Report- Week 19

J/24 sailing off Italy (La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy)- The 37th Italian National Open J/ 24 Championship will be featured on May 23rd to 28th in the enchanting seaside town of La Maddalena.  The countdown to the most anticipated event of the Italian J/24 sailing season sees thirty-five crews already registered to sail in the gorgeous azure blue waters of the Mediterranean off the southeastern coastline of Sardinia.  The bay of Cagliari is famous for its steady, predictable sea breezes that can build out of the southeast from 10 to 18 kts on any sunny day; only the meltemi (sirocco) can overpower it if it blows out of the north from the Italian Alps at 35 to 50 kts!

On Thursday 25th, after the skipper meeting, the races will start (12 o'clock warning signal of the first race), which will continue until Sunday. On Saturday evening the traditional dinner for the crews is planned and the next day the final ceremony will be held

There are twelve races scheduled and there will be no more than three per day. The Championship will be valid with a minimum of four races completed and with five races, the scores will reflect a discard race.

J24 sailing off Sardinia, ItalyMore determined than ever to defend the tricolor title will be last year’s champions- ITA 503 owned by Marco Stefanoni (LNI Mandello) and skippered by Francesco Bertone (CVLa Scuffia).  On a roll this spring and certainly their strongest challengers will be ITA 416 LA SUPERBA, skippered by Italian Navy sailor- Ignatius Bonanno.  A past winner of the “open” division will be attending, the top American J/24 sailor, Keith Whittemore from Seattle, WA, skippering USA 5399 FURIO.

Other top Italian crews that will be a factor on the leaderboard should be ITA 212 JAMAICA skippered by Pietro Diamanti, the young team on ITA 304 FIVE FOR FIGHTING led by Eugenia de Giacomo, the Sardinia leaders on ITA 405 VIGNE SURRAU skippered by Aurelio Bini and ITA 443 ARIA skippered by Marco Frulio.

"A good thanks to those who are working for the success of this Championship and to make Maddalena stay pleasant and engaging; I especially want to thank Discover Nikola Tesla Elica, Cantine Contini, Moby Line, Delcomar and Tirrenia for their valuable support. At the event, the J/24 Class has entered into an important agreement with Moby Line- Tirrenia for the carriage of boats from the ports of Genoa, Livorno and Civitavecchia to Olbia. Delcomar offered free return to Palau-Maddalena for all competitors. Significant agreements have also been reached with the accommodation facilities,” explained the organizer and former president of the Italian Class J/24- Mariolino Di Fraia- he is sailing his ITA 460 BOTTA DRITTA MAYOR in the regatta. “Furthermore, I am sure, the active collaboration with the Italian Navy for regatta support and management will make for an even more impressive stay in Maddalena!!”  For more Italian J/24 Nationals sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Vashon Island/ Tri-Island Series Report

sailing off Seattle on Puget Sound (Seattle, WA)- Last weekend, Seattle YC continued their popular Tri-Island Series of races, hosting the Vashon Island Race on Puget Sound for a fleet of nearly eighty boats.  The J/teams all faired well on the circuitous course down and around the island chains in the Sound, with some crews advancing their cause and continuing to elevate in the series standings.

In the PHRF 2 Class, Shawn Dogherty & Jason Andrew’s J/125 HAMACHI did not race, but they still sit third in class for the series.  In the PHRF 3 class, Ron Holbrook’s J/133 CONSTELLATION took a 4th in class.

The PHRF 4 class was led by Jim Hinz’s J/120 HINZITE, taking 2nd in the Vashon and sitting in 2nd for the series.  Third was Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHASA (now in 4th for the series) and fourth was Mark Liffring’s J/120 WITH GRACE (now sitting in 3rd for the series).

The large J/105 class is experiencing a bit of a “schooling” on how to sail the tricky “island” series. Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE is on a winning streak, posting another first to easily be leading the series.  Lance Rummel & David Cohen’s INCONCEIVABLE added a 2nd to their scoreline to now sit in 2nd for the series.  Third in Vashon was Chris Phoenix’s JADED (4th in series) and then taking a 4th place and sitting in 3rd for the series is Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO.

In the PHRF 8 class, Leo Morales’ J/27 WIZARD is sailing well and consistently, posting a 3-6 tally in the Protection Island and Vashon Island races to be just 2 pts out of second for the overall.  Finally, in the PHRF 9 class, Bill Boyeson’s classic J/42 JIMINY won the Vashon to be leading the series by a point.  Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson/ Janpix.com.  For more SYC Tri-Island Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Gran Prix Ecole del Navale Preview

J/80 sailing off France (Camaret-sur-Mer, France)- The 16th Grand Prix Ecole del Navale is taking place this weekend in Camaret-sur-Mer with 218 participants.  The three-day event goes from May 25th to 28th and is raced both in the bay and offshore in the Bay of Biscay.  Included in the event is the J/80 class, sailing their second event in the summer-long France J/80 Cup series.

Most of the top J/80 teams from across France are participating in the forty-eight boat class, including Simon Moriceau’s ARMEN HABITAT, Eric Brezellec’s COURRIER JUNIOR, Ludovic Gilet’s NUMERO J, top woman skipper Capucine Vitel on her VITEL SAILING TEAM,  Luc Nadal on the familiar GAN’JA, and another top woman skipper- Maxime Rousseaux on J’RAFON.

The J/80s should have a nice weekend of sailing as the forecasts from the UK MET office and the French MET office indicate good breezes all three days!    For more J/80 GPEN sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Awesome, Fast Oregon Offshore Race

J/105 The Soup winners Oregon OffshoreJ/105 "The Soup" Wins PHRF Overall!
(Victoria, BC, Canada)- The prestigious trophy for winning first Overall in the Oregon Offshore International Yacht Race will have another THREE names emblazoned on it this year - Schenk, Hopper & Davis.  The trio sailed their J/105 FREE BOWL OF SOUP to an overall victory in the 2017 race under blustery conditions. “Congratulations” to the crew! They were not only the PHRF Overall winner, but the J/105 Class winner, too.  In fact, J/Teams in general sailed extremely well; with six J’s in the top eight boats overall.

According to Schenk from “the Soup”, “another epic one is in the books with a Southerly up the coast, and not too dead in the straights for an early finish.  Having a J/105 division was super cool, and J/105’s finished 1st, 3rd, and 8th overall!  Riva (J/46) also had a great race winning their division and 3rd across the line behind Rage and the TP52!”

J/122 Anam Cara at Oregon OffshoreThe Oregon Offshore is one of the toughest races on the entire West Coast and also one that has seen very loyal teams participate year after year; the event is hosted by Corinthian YC of Portland and the Astoria YC in Astoria, OR along the opening of the Columbia River.

Historically, the race acts as a “feeder” for the Swiftsure Race and for the Vic-Maui Race, too.  The race starts off the Columbia River Buoy 2 and goes 193nm north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, leaving Duntze Rock buoy to starboard and finish off the piers at Victoria, British Columbia in Canada on the northern side of the Straits.

Twenty-one teams entered this year and besides the J/105s, other J/Crews gathered their fair share of silverware.

The PHRF A2 Class saw a sweep of the top three positions on the podium, led by Corinthian YC’s Scott Campbell and his team on the pretty blue J/46 RIVA (4th overall).  Second in class was Tom Keffer’s J/42 VELOCITY (5th overall) and third in class was Tom Kelly’s beautiful blue J/122 ANAM CARA (6th overall).

Behind the winners in the J/105 class (the “Soupers” that also won last year’s PHRF A class), it was Doug Pihlaja’s ABSTRACT that took second place (3rd overall) while Dana Sibilla’s ESCAPE ARTIST placed third (8th overall). That is a great showing for the J/105s in general. For the two “newbies” in the race, it was especially gratifying to do so well overall, too!!  For more Oregon Offshore Race sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Edgartown Race Week- The Long & the Short of it

J/120 sailing Edgartown Race Weekend (Edgartown, MA)— Edgartown YC Race Weekend isn’t your typical regatta. For starters, it has two parts: one for the much revered and time-tested (79 years old) distance race around Martha’s Vineyard and another for two days of short-course racing (added in 2012) in Edgartown’s Outer Harbor. And no need to fret if you can’t do it all. Only the ’Round-the-Island Race (‘RTI) on Saturday, July 22 requires an entry fee, and to boot, each day of the ’Round-the-Buoy Races (‘RTB) are scored separately, so if you can make one day and not the other, you can still win silverware in your class!

“Some years I do the buoy racing in addition to the ’Round-the-Island and some years just the ’RTI,” said Stephen Besse (Guilford, Conn.), skipper of the J/120 Après. “I use a lot of family for crew, so it all depends on where my son is, where my daughter is.... For this year, I haven’t yet decided whether to do both or not. The boat serves the family, rather than the other way around.”

Besse has raced in the event on at least five different kinds of boats, and he has done the ‘RTI every year since he has owned the J/120 (2009.) He Lives on Martha’s Vineyard half the year, sails out of Vineyard Haven, and

Besse sailing his J/120Though he considers himself to be “basically a local racer,” Besse broke the pattern last year and competed in the Newport to Bermuda Race. He and his Après team wound up winning the J/120 class.

That bodes well for this year’s ’Round-the-Island Race. Since J/Boat participation in the ‘RTI is typically robust (16 boats in 2016), event organizers have, for a second year, decided to expand the awards to recognize first- through third-place finishers, on corrected time, among all J/Boats in all classes

“I’m fascinated with sailing around the island,” said Besse, who first circumnavigated Martha’s Vineyard in a Rhodes 19 at age 17 (he will be 68 in June). “It’s breathtakingly beautiful, particularly around Squibnocket Point, which you see when you go between Nomans Land, south of the Vineyard, and the Vineyard itself. It’s sand dunes on top of cliffs.”

Besse also appreciates the gentle slopes and beaches of Wasque as well as the iconic rounding at Devils Bridge and Aquinnah. “It’s one of the few races where I don’t have any trouble getting crew,” he said. “In fact, I’m usually oversubscribed for crew when it comes to the ’RTI.”

Regularly attracting entrants from the Eastern Seaboard and beyond, Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend delivers exceptional racing opportunities for boats 28 feet and longer in classes for IRC, ORC, ORR, PHRF (spinnaker and non-spinnaker divisions), Double-Handed, and Classic. A Welcome Reception on Wednesday night (July 19); a Mount Gay-sponsored “jump-up” party on Friday night; and prize givings on both Friday and Sunday (July 23) round out the schedule for competitors who are entered in one or the other, or both, of the racing sessions.

Deadline for entry is Wednesday, July 19 for the ’Round-the-Buoy Races and Friday, July 21 for the ’Round-the- Island Race. For more information, go to http://www.RTIrace.org or contact raceadministrator@edgartownyc.org. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Epic, Windy Edlu Distance Race

J/88s starting Edlu race
AYC Young American J/105 Wins, Again!
(Larchmont, NY)- This year’s 62nd annual Edlu Distance Race, a quick 32nm race from Larchmont breakwater to Eaton’s Neck and back was a bit more of a classic tune-up race than most people expected.  Saturday morning dawned, grey, cold, and quite breezy- in fact, blowing up to 30+ kts.  As a result, there was a bit of carnage on the race course with broaching, torn sails, ripped chutes and bruised egos.  For those that finished the race (about 25% of the fleet DNF’d), it was an epic race to tell tall tales at the LYC party afterwards.

J/105 sailing Edlu RaceThe big winners of the event were, once again, the incredibly talented young sailors from American YC’s Offshore Youth program.  Their J/105 YOUNG AMERICAN won the Edlu Trophy, emblematic of the overall winner and the Wilfred Kluss Trophy for winning PHRF 2 class.  Behind them in second place was another strong J/105 team, Duncan Hennes with Za & Lib Jelliffe on ARETE.  Taking 4th in class was another J/105, Hobie Ponting’s PRIVATEER YCC.

In PHRF 1 class, Bill Ingraham’s J/124 TENEBRAE took 4th in the rough conditions while Cory Eaves’ J/109 FREEDOM was 5th and Greg Slamowitz’s J/111 MANITOU was 7th place.

J/88 Deviation sailing Edlu raceThe five-boat J/88 class became a walk-away for Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION YCC team, as they were the only boat that finished the race!  Needless to say, it was a very rough race for smaller boats, plus quite cold.

The PHRF Doublehanded division, one of the largest in the race with ten boats, was dominated by top-performing J crews taking 4 of the top 6 slots.  Top boat was Peter Hein’s J/120 VAREKAI, taking 2nd.  They were followed by Randy Saunders’ J/100 JACKAL in 3rd, Todd Aven’s J/92 THIN MAN in 4th, Abhijeet Lele’s J/111 VARUNA in 6th.

Finally, the IRC Division saw Len Sitar’s J/44 VAMP from Storm Trysail Club finish in fourth place. Sailing photo credits- Howie McMichael/ McMichaels Yachts.  For more Edlu Distance Race sailing information

USA Adult Sailing Championships @ St Petersburg YC!

J/70s sailing at St Petersburg YC (St Petersburg, FL)- The 2017 edition of the US Sailing Adult Championship will be hosted by St Petersburg YC in St Petersburg, FL from November 9th to 12th.  The qualifiers from the various US Sailing regional sailing associations will be racing in StPYC’s new fleet of matched J/70 class sailboats!  The competitors will be in for a real thrill, racing a short course format, all hoping to win the coveted Clifford D Mallory Trophy.  In addition, the winner will be the USA representative racing J/70’s at the Sailing Champions League World qualifier, the principal event that all fourteen European national sailing leagues participate in as well to determine the world’s best sailing club!  The Notice of Race is here.

How do you qualify?  Here is what you will need to do for each individual Regional Sailing Association (RSA):
  • Each Regional Sailing Association (RSA) will select the team they submit. These determinations can include qualification or resume submission to the RSA representative of US Sailing
  • Teams must be made up of sailors from the RSAs they are representing and members of sailing organizations that are members of that RSA.
  • Team members must be current members of US Sailing
  • Sailing organizations must be current members of US Sailing
  • The event will be sailed in J/70s using the league sailing format
  • The minimum number of crew for the event shall be four including the helmsperson.
For more information on how your RSA will select a team, contact them here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jachtclub Scheveningen Leads Netherlands J/70 Sailing League

Netherlands J/70 sailing league spinnakers (Almere, The Netherlands)- The first act of the Netherlands J/70 Sailing League started this past weekend on the Weerwater in Almere. Eighteen well-prepared sailing clubs will be competing in five rounds for the 2017 season championship. The national champion will automatically end up in Champions League Sailing in 2018.

The big question was how the various teams would evolve after a long winter? WSV Almere Centraal, the 2016 champion, is hoping their home field advantage might help them during the season opener. In addition to Almere Centraal, KWS Sneek, Jachtclub Scheveningen, VWDTP Groningen, WSV Giebeek, RR & ZV Maas and Roer from Roermond and WV Brassermermeer would also be great contenders, at least on paper.

women's J/70 Netherlands teamThe International Yacht Club Amsterdam (IYCA), an all women’s team, was one of the two debutants this season. Fettje Osinga- team captain of IYCA commented, "The IYCA has only existed for two years. For us, it is great to be able to compete in the league. As a women’s team, we believe that you should always participate in winning. We are all bloodthirsty and ready to take on everyone! But, we know this is our first event, so we do not have high expectations to win. The league events are fun to bring friends and family together; that is something that cannot really be done at regular sailing matches."

The opening day was characterized by little wind. In the morning, a 5-6 knot wind (2 beaufort) enabled some races to be held.  But, in the afternoon, the breezes left and it was perfectly flat across the water.  As a result, it was test of light air sailing skills.  The initial leader of the regatta was a result of the good performance put in by the Groningen crew at the VWDTP sailing club.  Wouter Westerhof, team member of VWDTP, commented, "Yes, we have started to work hard and the results have paid off. Last winter we chartered two boats in Monnickendam at Waterland and sailed every two weeks, and we have been able to grow our team to about ten sailors."

Coach Frans Robertus explained the VWDTP selection process, "We started by making everybody try out the different positions on the boat. As we get closer to the start of the season, we focused crewmembers on specific positions to improve their performance. And, we then combined the two best crew from each boat. So, that is how we created crew.  Ironically, it was the same four crew as in 2016! But, they now sail on different positions this year!”

J/70 Netherlands sailing leagueAfter two days of sailing, SZ & WV Uitdam was sailing fast and was leading the standings. VWDTP from Groningen fell to third place and Jachtclub Scheveningen was second.  What was most striking was the comeback of the KWS Sneek team, who, after the disappointing performance on Friday, was able to dramatically leap up the leaderboard after winning four races.  Amazingly, the WSV Almere Centraal team, international champions 2016, ended up fourth in the ranking and cannot even score a victory on the water! In other words, the fleet is quite deep in talent and the top is getting wider!

Wietze Zetzema, crew on SZ & WV Uitdam was very pleased with their results. He commented, "We are very happy. Well, that is the result of a combination of factors. We are growing better at this game. We know when we have a bad start. We are better aware of how we can prevent problems and penalties. We found a mode to stay out of trouble. In short, we are growing better and better in our league sailing competitiveness!  We joined the league as a sailing club, so we have 15 people on our team, young, old, women and men- all very good sailors!  The sailing is really exciting and so close together!  The difference between us and number seven in the rankings is less than six points. Six points can be gained or lost in one race!”

After the smoke cleared on the race course after Sunday’s racing, it was the Jachtclub Scheveningen sailors that scored seven wins over fourteen races in three days to win the first act. In total, there were 42 races sailed on the Weerwater in Almere in beautiful and challenging circumstances.

Evert Jansen talks about the success of Scheveningen, the club that finished third in 2016. "Our secret? Consistent sailing, keep calm and keep the same team of 2016 together. We have also received no penalties, as far as I know. So go well, stay calm and stay out of trouble. That certainly matters."

In the “time to eat humble pie category” were the big winners in 2016, WSV Almere Centraal.  They had a wildly fluctuating scoreline all weekend long, but managed to get it all together to win the last three races and secure third overall.  SZ & WV Uitdam was second.  Taking fourth place was WSV Giesbeek and in fifth place was the original regatta leader- VWDTP sailing club.  Meanwhile, after a brilliant second day where they could do no wrong, KWS Sneek fell off their shopping trolley into 7th place; it was easy to fall down the slippery slope with such close competition!   Follow the Dutch J/70 Sailing league on Facebook here.   For more Netherlands J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.