Friday, January 20, 2017

Kirkjian Crowned Australian J/24 Champion

J/24 Australia sailing off Sydney (Sydney, Australia)- Sean Kirkjian’s Pacific Sailing School team admirably aided by the inimitable ‘AJ’ Tony Reynolds and the school graduates in ‘Sailpac’ have taken out the 2017 nationals with a solid and consistent result over Shane Guanaria, helming class stalwart Arthur Crother’s ‘Kaotic’ by 4 points. Brendan Lee sailing ‘By the Lee’ from Melbourne was third by another 7 points.

A recent record fleet of 25 boats competed in the nationals hosted by the Cronulla Sailing Club, located in Port Hacking on the southern edge of Sydney. Many competitors were visiting Cronulla for the first time and have come away with great memories and glowing opinions of the regatta. Cronulla Sailing Club ironed out all the bugs identified in the NSW States held in early November and ran a faultless regatta. From the brilliant sailing waters on the ocean side to the picturesque Gunnamatta Bay where the club is located (5 min walk to the surf beach on the other side of the small Cronulla peninsula) and the friendly, helpful and happy club volunteers serving us dinner every night off the BBQ, I didn’t hear one grumble about the running and management of the regatta. I am confident in saying there are many looking forward to another in the future – even those from the harbour loved it!

Out on the racetrack the competition was fierce, with black flags and consequent DSQs happening after each general recall, PRO Dave McLachlan ran a near faultless series, a couple of major wind changes right on the starting signal being the only difficulty encountered. The usual gladiators took out the top end of the results with the exception of Brendan Lee who is a rising star from the Sandringham fleet in Melbourne. Brendan has been putting in a major effort in both club and regatta racing and his 3rd place reflects this. Stephen Girdis sailing ‘Convicts’ took out 4th with Dave West’s ‘Ace’ being sailed by SA blow in crew Doug ‘El Fideldo’ Watson due to Dave’s wife’s medical emergency. Another great performance at the last minute by Doug.

‘Mr J24′ Hugo Ottaway, sailing Bruschetta IV, and NSW Class president John Crawford, took the next two from Steve O’Rourke, Simon Grain and Janette Syme rounding out the top ten.

Australian J/24s off Cronulla Sailing Club, SydneyRacing was generally light to medium in SE to NE breezes with most boats never pulling out jibs for the whole regatta. An 18 – 20 knot NE breeze tested some of the boats on the last day but not really causing any real trouble. Generally going left paid but not always and sometimes it was possible to find a wind bend on the right hand corner that gave you a few places. Racing was tight around the corners and the otherwise well behaved fleet experienced very little shouting!

Handicap results went much the same way as the OD results although with a reversal in order at the top. Winning with 51 points was Brendan Lee from Sean Kirkjian on 52 and Stephen Girdis on 53, so a close finish there. Fourth was Shane Guanaria on 66 from Simon Grain on 67.

Seven boats made the trip up from Melbourne and two (Robyn and Jim Townsend plus son Andrew) from South Australia (a substantial trip by any measure) – ten Cronulla boats and the rest from the harbour. All in all, a good spread from around the country.

The Cronulla Club and its volunteers did a fantastic job in making us feel very welcome and efficiently ran the on-shore and on-water parts of the regatta. The success of the regatta is in no small way a result of work done over a long period of time by the enthusiastic Mick Reynolds (sadly being away during the regatta) and others in helping to build the Cronulla fleet. Running up to and during the regatta, Fiona Campbell, Bronwyn Elford, Rhonda Wodzinski and the team of volunteers serving up the BBQ dinner everyday, looking after launching and retrieving on the hardstand, the teams out on the water all did a fantastic job and on behalf of all the competitors and associations involved, we thank you for your magnificent efforts. A big thank you to Quantum Sails and our other sponsors- Spot-A-Yacht.com (Brian Williams), Afloat Magazine, Wet Tech, Aussea, SAILOR SUNSCREEN, CBON, and Explore Sailing.

Onward and upward – you might like to plan for the annual Cronulla SC Queens Birthday Short Course regatta in June this year. The SA States are mid March and the Vic States are mid April. The NSW States are around the first weekend in November (likely to be back in the harbour) and of course the next Nationals are to be at the CYCSA in Adelaide in early Jan 2018 – see the regatta page in the near future for more details and dates.  Thanks to Simon Grain for this contribution.  For more Australian J/24 Class sailing information

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Record Lauderdale to Key West Race

J/111 Heat Wave sailing Lauderdale Key West RaceJ/44 KENAI Wins Class, J/111 HEAT WAVE Second!
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)- The 41st Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club, started at noon on Wednesday under absolutely perfect conditions- winds from the ENE blowing 15-20 kts with boats setting Code Zero’s and asymmetrics once they approached Rebecca Shoals, the first primary turning point to the WSW towards Key West.  Records were broken for both monohulls and multihulls.  And, the J/crews reveled in the conditions.

The annual race sends sailors on a 160 nm sprint down along the curve of the Florida Keys, to the Key West Sea Buoy, where they make the hard turn onto the final leg up the channel to the finish off Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.  The record was basically 10 hours flat for both the Gunboat 60 ELVIS and the RP74 WIZARD- 16 kts average!  Even more remarkable?? Two J/24 World Champions were the tacticians on each boat- Anthony Kotoun on ELVIS and Chris Larson on WIZARD.

Lauderdale  Key West courseThe competitors enjoyed classic Lauderdale to Key West Race conditions this year. David Cannon, Director of Yacht Ops and Meteorologist for Weather Routing, Inc., Official Weather Provider for the Race, forecasted “for Wednesday and Thursday, high pressure and Easterly winds will be the rule throughout the area, with wind speeds averaging near 20 kts. Higher wind gusts (to 23-24kts) are likely in any local NE winds downwind of any ‘channeling’ areas between the Florida Keys. Short and choppy seas will be from the east as well, generally from 4-6 feet, though within the Gulfstream waters south of the Keys, seas will tend to be near the high end of this range.”

Race veterans will attest that these are the conditions that bring them back to do the race again and again. South Floridian Dave Woolsey, a three-time race winner, recalls similar sleigh-ride conditions for the 1980 race, won on a hot pink Santa Cruz 27 named Inspector Clouseau. Among the motivations for the youngsters doing the race in those days were honing important offshore (and onshore) skills against the world’s best (not to mention the motivation for someone on a Santa Cruz 27 to be someplace warm and dry in January).

Speaking of the world’s best, none other than Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup Skipper (and 5x J/24 World Champion) Ken Read is a long time competitor in the event, and used to hold the monohull race record as a member of the crew of Joe Dockery’s 81 footer Carrera in 2005. Kenny commented about the experience of the race and the record,

J/122 sailing Lauderdale Key West race“The Fort Lauderdale to Key West race is one of the first "Distance" races I remember doing. It was Christmas break and I was at Boston University ...early 1981. There was no Key West Race Week back then. It was simply the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. I remember the amazing party at the end of it and this crazy group of guys on a boat called Puff owned by Wilkie Gilbert.  I remember that the whole crew was nuts and I loved it. And my friend Tom Lihan was the person that got me on board. No shock that Tom was onboard and we won our class. Snapshot forward to 2005 when I sailed aboard Carrera and we broke the record. It was a great forecast of reaching and running on an 80 foot Reichel Pugh sled. Amazing crew. Great owner, a guy named Joe Dockery. We had a phenomenal easy fun trip down, only to load the boat up a little too much about 5 miles before the right hand turn to go into the cut at Key West. That's when we did a little spin out with the A4 up and heard a big bang only to find three quarters of the rudder gone. But nobody wanted to stop so after about 15 to 20 minutes we got the boat back under control, bore off without hitting the reef and got up a number 4 jib and put a reef in the main. That was when as a crew we learned how to sail the boat with about a 2-foot stub of a rudder and easing and trimming the Jib and Mainsail in order to keep the boat going straight. The windy jibe at the final mark to head for shore was very tricky if I remember correctly. But we finished without crashing into anything and probably would've done the race about a half an hour faster if it weren't for a broken rudder. Every year since then a group of us who were all on board including the owner and the project manager Simon Davidson and Chris Larson and others get in touch and watch the race to determine whether our record is still safe. Well I can tell you this year based on some early prognosis it looks like it could be another ripper of the year. With great boats like Wizard and Prospector doing the race I certainly wouldn't be shocked if the record was in jeopardy.”

As it turns out, he was right! David and Peter Askew (former J/122 owners) sailed their 74 foot WIZARD (the old BELLA MENTE), with a who’s-who of offshore talent, several of whom sailed Alvimedica in the last Volvo World Race, including Alvimedica co-Skippers Charlie Enright and Mark Towill and the aforementioned Chris Larson.  Yet again, two J/24 World Champions on the same boat calling tactics and strategy- Charlie Enright from Bristol, RI and Chris Larson from Annapolis, MD.

Enright had his eye on the forecast, noting that it “looked like a great forecast. 20 knots from the ENE going ESE will make for a fast trip down to Key West. Exactly how fast will depend on how much the breeze shifts with us as we free up. The more we have to VMG run the longer it will take, by virtue of having to sail more distance. The Gulfstream can compound this, if it doesn't head and you end up lifting offshore, you expose yourself to more adverse current, too.”  It clearly all worked out for them in the end.  And, it was also ideal conditions for the top J/sailors in the race.

J/44 Kenia sailing offshoreThis year, the ORC Class has an enormous range of boats from 40 to 52 feet and it was Chris & Karen Lewis’ J/44 KENAI from Lakewood YC in Houston, TX that ran away with their class win by 27 minutes corrected- a virtual landslide victory in such a fast race!  KENAI covered the race track in 16 hrs 56 min, about a 9.4 kts average, not bad for an 22,000 lb boat on a 40 ft waterline (8.47 kts hull speed)!

The PHRF A class had Gary Weisberg’s J/111 HEAT WAVE from Jubilee YC in Gloucester, MA up against a J/88, M32, Farr 395 and a Class 40!  In the end, the HEAT WAVE gang took the silver and Kristen Berry’s J/88 M.I.2 took 4th place.  At just over 17 hours to cover 160nm, that’s a 9.38 kts average.  In other words, “planing mode” for the entire race given that hull speed on the 35.5 ft J/111 is around 8.04 kts!  For more Storm Trysail & Lauderdale YC Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race sailing information

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

J/111 Benelux Series Announcement

J/111 sailing off Benelux (Dordrecht, The Netherlands)- 2017 will see the sequel of last year, regarding J/111 One Design Racing in Benelux. Again, three events are selected to host the growing class and it is hot racing:
  • 22-23 April: Van Uden Reco Regatta, Stellendam
  • 02-04 June: North Sea Regatta, Scheveningen (Open Benelux Class Championship)
  • 25-27 August: Breskens Sailing Weekend, Breskens
Before and between these events, there are special dedicated J/111 training programs scheduled, as well as regattas in the Solent off Cowes, United Kingdom.

“After a very successful 2016 season of great One-Design racing, all Benelux-owners agreed to continue One-Design Racing and getting the J/111 Benelux Class in a bigger and better shape.  Stay tuned,” commented J/111 sailor Paul Gladdines!   Follow the J/111 Benelux class here on FacebookLearn more about J/111 here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

STAMPEDE @ Quantum J/70 Winter Series II!

J/70 planing on Tampa Bay at Quantum J/70 Winter Series (Tampa, FL)- The scene might have been right out of a Caesarean drama!  As Julia Caesar once commented after quickly conquering yet more lands, “vene vidi vici”, and that’s the way it was for the Fort Worth, Texas based team on the mighty STAMPEDE. Led by owner Bruno Pasquinelli, the STAMPEDE crew that included Jamie Wilmot and Willem van Waay simply smoked the fleet, winning the first five races and sailing home after race six to let the others fight for the leftovers.

J/70s sailing upwind on Tampa BaySuch a thorough spanking of the fleet was not what anyone anticipated, nor expected, in the highly talented fleet of forty-eight J/70 teams that traveled to Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida for the middle weekend of the 2016-2017 Quantum J/70 Winter Series. Conditions ranged from wet and wild on Saturday (winds up to 28 knots) to sunny and cool on Sunday (winds 10-18 knots). Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE reveled in the breeze, racking up four consecutive bullets and a second to allow them to sit out the sixth and final race. Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND, that won the first weekend of the Series in December, took second place with 13 points. Allan Terhune’s DAZZLER edged out Darby Smith’s AFRICA (top Woman skipper) for third place (Terhune with 16 points to Smith’s 17). Rounding out the top five was Will Welles’ SCAMP from Newport, RI.

Andrew Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from American YC on Long Island Sound topped the 24-boat Corinthian division; they also placed 6th overall in the Open Division!  The Winner from the last event, Andrew Loe’s DIME PIECE from Seattle YC, continued their good performance by taking 2nd in Corinthians to be leading the series overall.  Third was Dave Kerr’s USA 364, 4th place was Jacob Christy’s PALE HORSE and 5th position was J/70 Class President Henry Brauer sailing his RASCAL to 5th place with his crew from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA.  For more Quantum J/70 Winter Series sailing information

Monday, January 16, 2017

US J/70 Youth Championship Announcement!

US J/70 Youth Championship Win a FREE J/70 for your Sailing Club!
(Newport, RI)- The first annual U.S. J/70 Youth Championship will take place concurrent with the J/FEST New England Regatta from August 11th to 13th, 2017.  The event will be hosted by the famous crew at SAIL NEWPORT, Newport, Rhode Island and hosted at their extraordinary facility at Fort Adams State Park.

The goal of this event is to help develop and build leading-edge junior keelboat sailing programs across America.  The winning club of this event will get ”free” usage of a fully equipped International J/70 one-design class sailboat, with sails and trailer, provided ”free of charge” by J/Boats, to the winning club and its membership for twelve months.

US J/70 Youth ChampionshipThe U.S. J/70 Youth Championship (USJCA) is open to ten  Youth Teams representing US Sailing recognized Sailing Clubs or Organizations.  Sailing clubs may enter more than one youth team per event, but may only qualify one team for the USJCA championship in Newport, RI.

The 10 Youth Teams will compete on ten brand new J/70 Class sailboats with class sails (main, jib, spinnaker) that comply with J/70 Class rules.  The boats will be identically rigged and tuned at “base settings” that are recommended by the sailmaker.  Sailing photo credits- Phil Pape Photography.

In order to qualify for the ten slots, youth teams must qualify for entry by being the top scoring Youth Team in the J/70 Class at one of the following Regattas:
Here is the USJYC Notice of Race.  For more U.S. J/70 Youth Championship information, please contact J/Boats at “info@jboats.com” or refer to the USJCA website.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Quantum Key West Regatta Preview

J/70s sailing Key West Race Week (Key West, FL)- In a fashion befitting a 30th anniversary, the famous Quantum Key West Regatta bristles with a plethora of racing stars from American and ten countries, some of the most technically developed racing boats afloat and one of the largest growing classes in the world- the J/70 speedster!

According to Commanders' Weather, the weather forecast supplier for race week, the first three days of the regatta will offer moderate to strong winds of 10 to 20 knots from the east/east-southeast. A cold front predicted for the second half of the week could lighten the conditions, but Commanders' Weather forecaster Chris Wasserback called the forecast for the first half of the week classic for Key West.

"There's high pressure to the north and it looks like good breeze for Sunday (practice day) and Monday (first race day)," said Commanders' Weather forecaster Chris Wasserback. "The direction stays more easterly thru Tuesday and Wednesday with a fair amount of wind, around 20 knots. The high pressure off the East Coast is the dominant feature and should keep conditions there mostly settled."

Returning competitors from last year's regatta might remember chilly air temperatures. Even that feature will be turned around this year with forecast highs in the mid-to-upper 70s.

J/70 fleet starting off Key West Race Week"The fleet is solid from top to bottom. There's great talent and some very successful race teams. It should be a fantastic week of racing," said event chairman John Fisher, a past commodore of the host Storm Trysail Club. "Quantum Key West Race Week always attracts the top level of the sport, because they know Key West offers great sailing conditions at a time of year where most in the U.S. have shut down their hometown sailing for the winter. There'll be first-rate competition from all over the sailing world, great race conditions coupled with our extremely capable veteran race committee and willing volunteers."

The daily schedule calls for up to three races per day from January 16th to 20th. Registration is set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14-15, and the warning signal for Race 1 is scheduled for 1100 hours on Monday, Jan. 16.

The fleet includes glamour classes like the 52 Super Series, featuring top professional sailors such as Ed Baird, John Kostecki, Terry Hutchinson, all past winners of the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award, and past Italian America's Cup helmsman Vasco Vascotto.  Even more interesting, most “all-star” tacticians in the TP52 fleet are former J/24 World Champions and, most recently, John Kostecki was 2016 J/70 World Champion as tactician on Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT!

"The sailing conditions are fantastic," says John Kostecki (Reno, NV), who'll call tactics on the TP 52 Platoon. "Normally you get the chance of good breeze for a part of the regatta, and each day is a new challenge. It's great winter sailing in the U.S."

"Key West Race Week is truly one of the greatest regattas in the world and to me it's the perfect winter break," said Quantum Racing tactician Terry Hutchinson, who has won Boat of the Week honors twice as a tactician, including last year with Bella Mente. "It has steadily evolved over the years into an extremely high-level event in all respects."

The wildly popular J/70 Class is the largest at the event with 40 of the 23-footers entered this year.  Can Carlo Alberini make it a 3-peat in the J/70's?  For the fifth consecutive year the J/70 is the largest class in the regatta. Among the entrants are Carlo Alberini's CALVI NETWORK from Italy, the two-time defending class champion and 2015 Boat of the Week.

J/70s sailing off start in Key WestA third consecutive title will be hard to come by because other entrants include Tim Healy's USA-2 from Rhode Island, the 2014 Boat of the Week, Joel Ronning's CATAPULT, of Minnesota, the reigning J/70 World Champion with America's Cup veteran Eric Doyle calling tactics, and Peter Duncan's RELATIVE OBSCURITY from New York, which placed second in the class last year (and has rock-star “Moose” McClintock from Newport, RI as tactician!).

The 2003 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Hannah Swett (New York, NY) will lead Sparkle, with 1999 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Dawn Riley (Oyster Bay, NY) counted among her crew and longtime friends Melissa Purdy and Tom Purdy, the sister and brother from Tiburon, Calif. Swett purchased a J/70 last year because of the class's large size and this will be her first major regatta.

"Yeah, I'm a little scared at a 40-boat starting line," said Hannah, who's won the Yngling World Championship and the Fastnet Race in a diverse and varied career. "I really just wanted an opportunity to go sailing with my friends, so I'm totally looking forward to it. I used to teach sailing at J/World in Key West, so I have some great memories from the island. It should be fun."
  
J/70s sailing Key WestJoining Hannah, Carlo and Joel are several leading crews that are also National, North American and World Champions.  Leading that group is Julian Fernandez’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO crew from Mexico, the 2015 J/70 World Champion in La Rochelle, France.  A past M32 World Champion from Bermuda, Alec Cutler, will be sailing his latest HEDGEHOG with his crew from Royal Bermuda YC.  From way out West, Chris Snow and Mary Brigden, past J/24 North American champions, will be sailing COOL STORY BRO with a St Francis YC team.  Great Lakes champion Trey Sheehan from Put-in-Bay, OH will be racing his HOOLIGAN- FLAT-STANLEY RACING.  Hailing from the famous Forth Worth Boat Club is Glenn Darden’s crew on his latest HOSS; he is a past J/70 Midwinter Champion (with World Champion Jonathan McKee as tactician) and also J/105 North American Champion.  The 2016 J/111 World Champion, Martin Dent, will be racing JELVIS VII with his crew from Cowes, England.  Farr 40 World Champion, America’s Cup sailor, and YC Monaco’s Sailor of the Year, Vincenzo Onorato will be racing with his Italian crew on MASCALZONE LATINO.  Recent Quantum J/70 Winter Series winner, Marty Kullman from St Petersburg YC, is sailing fast on NEW WAVE.  Mexican J/70 National Champion, Gannon Troutman, will be racing with his Dad and Fishing Bay YC crew on PIED PIPER.  Another Quantum J/70 Winter Series winner, Tom Bowen, is sailing REACH AROUND with his Annapolis YC team.  Past J/105 Key West Champion and J/80 World Champion, Brian Keane from Beverly YC, is steering SAVASANA with Olympic 470 sailor Stu McNay as his tactician.  Finally, the world’s top two Masters skippers, John Brim’s RIMETTE from Fishers Island YC and Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY RACING from Cayman Islands Sailing Club will be doing battle again at the top of the fleet!

J/111 Utah sailing Key West Race WeekThe J/70’s larger sibling, the 36-foot J/111, begins a season long march towards the class's J/111 World Championship in September at St Francis YC. Their strong one-design presence will have 10 boats on the start line. The class includes last year's top three finishers - Peter Wagner's (Atherton, CA) SKELETON KEY, which posted a 14.5-point victory in 2016, Rob Ruhlman's SPACEMAN SPIFF (Cleveland, OH) and Bradley Faber's (Owosso, MI) UTAH. Joining the Key West fleet this year is Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY crew from Annapolis YC; they are a perennial top three boat and past Chesapeake Bay champions.  Sailing faster this past summer have been Sedgwick Ward’s BRAVO from Shelter Island YC in New York and also Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE from San Diego YC in California.

J/88 sailing Key West Race WeekWhat is notable is that three large J/classes are sailing on three separate racing areas!  J/111’s with the TP52’s on Division 1 area WSW of the island, J/70’s on Division 2 area just south of the island next to the shipping channel, and J/88’s on Division 3 area east of the J/70’s on the SE end of the island.  The J/88’s have a great turnout for their 2nd Midwinter Championship at Key West!  Seven teams will be vying for class honors with teams from all across America.  From the West, Gary Panariello’s crew from Sausalito, CA will be sailing COURAGEOUS.  From the Midwest is Ryan Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Lakeside YC.  Then, a cadre of top teams that include Key West, Block Island, and New York YC Race Week winners all hail from the Northeast, including the 2016 winner- Mike Bruno’s WINGS.  Also from New York are Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, Joe & Jeff Pawlowski’s EASY EIGHTS, Laura Weyler’s HIJINKS.  Finally, the top Canadian team, Rob Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY RACING from Lake Ontario, will be giving the fleet a big run-for-the-money!

J/122 sailing Key West Race WeekIn addition to the J/88s, two other handicap classes will be participating on the same course.  In Performance Cruising class, Jon Weglarz’s J/105 THE ASYLUM will be up against a smorgasbord of racer/cruisers.  In ORC Class, three J/teams will be taking on their fleet of nine boats.  Chris & Karen Lewis’ J/44 KENAI, class winner in this year’s Lauderdale to Key West Race, hope to repeat that performance with their crew from Lakewood YC in Houston, TX.  Joining them are twin J/122s, including NYYC Race Week and Annapolis-Newport Race winner ORION, skippered by Paul Milo’s crew from New York YC and also JD Hill’s SECOND STAR from Lakewood YC in Texas.

While the racing at the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week will look and feel very similar to the past 29 editions, the shoreside venue will be much different. The Waterfront Brewery in the Key West Historic Seaport and Bight will host all shoreside activities related to Race Week, including daily morning weather briefings, post-race seminars, and the nightly awards party.
  
Post-race debriefs and seminars being organized by Quantum Sails will feature luminaries such Baird, Hutchinson and Kostecki, as well as Ed Adams, Bora Gulari and others offering insights.

"The coaching and education, along with overnight sail repairs, are key deliverables of our sponsorship," said Quantum President Ed Reynolds. "With Ed Adams and Ed Baird heading up the daily debriefs, competitors are guaranteed insights and tips they can put to immediate use on the racecourse."  Sailing photo credits- Max Ranchi, Sarah Proctor, Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing.    For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Monaco J/70 Winter Series- Act III Preview

J/70s sailing off Monte Carlo, Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- Sailing concurrently as Key West Race Week on the lovely, sunny Mediterranean is the European J/70 fleet.  From January 13th to 15th, YC Monaco will be running the third Act of their Monaco J/70 Winter Series for an incredibly competitive, closely-packed fleet of thirty-one boats.

Russian J/70 ARTTUBE.com teamThe fleet is remarkably diverse, with crew coming from ten nations across Europe, including Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden.  While the winner of the last Act is not sailing, Lera Kovalenko, Russia’s top woman sailor, will be back on ARTTUBE to defend her series leading position and, hopefully, post another podium finish.  Chasing her fast crew from Moscow, Russia will be YC Monaco’s own Stefano Roberti on PICCININA, Herve Maiano’s SOPWITH CAMEL, Royal Swedish YC’s Anders Kemmler on DYNAMANT RACING, Andreas Spiegel’s Austrian team on PFANDER, and Stephan Molle’s German crew on GRUN SOFTWWARE AG.  For more YC Monaco J/70 Winter Series sailing information

Friday, January 13, 2017

boot Dusseldorf Boat Show Extravaganza!

J/97E family sports cruiser (Dusseldorf, German)- With over 300 sailboat related exhibitors, there is no question the world’s largest sailboat show in the heart of Europe is an exciting place to visit.  Das boot, the boat show, takes place from January 21st to 29th.

On display in Hall 15/ Booth B21 will be two choices for J/Clan aficionados.  For those into performance, the two little speedsters will be on display- the J/70 and J/88. And, for those into fast, comfortable cruising- the J/97E and the J/112E.

In Germany alone, the most significant impact on sailing has been the evolution of the J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga, with over 80 sailing clubs participating and thousands of sailors across Germany.  Then, across Europe, there are 14 national SAILING Champions League series all hosted with the famous International J/70- the world’s fastest growing sportsboat class- a boat that can be sailed by anyone in the community of sailing- young and old alike, women, children, 8 to 80 yrs old!!

The next-generation sport-cruisers, the “E” series of the J/97 and J/112, are proving to be quite popular in Europe.  At the Paris Boat Show, the J/112E had an enthusiastic reception with sailing families seeking to combine the “joy of sailing” with lots of expansive comfort on deck and down below in the sunny interior.  Learn more about why J/112E was selected as SAILNG WORLD’s Boat of the Year and also EUROPEAN Boat of the Year.  For more Boot Dusseldorf show information

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dutch Double-handed J/Sailors Honored!

Netherlands Two-handed sailors at awards (Nieuwegein, The Netherlands)- The annual awards ceremony of the Dutch Sailing Federation honored the top two-handed sailors in the Dutch offshore circuit.

For the annual Shorthanded Awards, sailors nominate candidates for the Double Handed and Solo Challenge Award, and the committee, consisting of Chairman Sander Bakker Erik van Vuuren, Hans Bourscholte and Luke Schroeder, review the nominations and select and designate a winner.

J/120 sailing double-handed in NetherlandsFor the Double Handed Awards, the jury proposed three nominations:
  • John van der Starre and Robin Verhoef for winning the Two-handed sailing series and prepping their new J/122 AJETO for the best possible performance shorthanded.
  • Yvonne Beusker and Erik van Vuuren for winning the North Sea Race with their J/105 PANTHER and for Yvonne lobbying at the World Sailing Congress in Barcelona to integrate the first Two-handed class in the World Sailing Cup.
  • Chris Schram, Raymond Roesink and Ken Parson. Raymond and Chris were on the podium a whopping nine times during the 2016 Dutch Two-handed circuit.  And, Chris and Ken Parson, also placed in many races in the English RORC circuit.
For the jury, it was not an easy decision and they had to take into account not only the team’s performance, but also their passion and dedication to sailing, both on the water and on shore.

As a result, in the fast-growing doublehanded discipline, Chris Schram's J/120 MAVERICK won the 2016 Dutch Doublehanded Award, for best overall performance during the season (competing with Raymond Roesink) and for their impressive performance in the RORC 2H Series (with Ken Parsons as co-skipper).  For more Dutch Two-handed series sailing information

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

J/24 Italy Winter Series Reports

J24 sailing off Italy (Rome, Italy)- The J/24 class in Italy continues to enjoy their winter series events around the peninsula, particularly in the more southern fleets in the Mediterranean.

MARINA DI CARRARA
The winner for the J/24 Trophy for Best Owner/Skipper and crew for 2016 (based on four of the best scores in the circuit) was Italian J/24 Class President, Pietro Diamante racing his boat ITA 212 JAMAICA.  They were followed in the overall scoring by ITA 400 CAPTAIN NEMO, sailed by Guido Guadagni, in second place and taking the bronze position on the podium was ITA 371 JOC sailed by Fabio Apollonio.  Filling out the top five were ITA 489 VALHALLA skippered by Fabio de Rossi in 4th place and ITA 428 RED LEATHER sailed by Gianni Riccobono.

For the J/24 Trophy for Best Skipper (only) in 2016, it was the Italian Navy’s skipper Ignazio Bonanno that led ITA 416 LA SUPERBA to the top of the standings.  In that classification, ENG 447 PELLE NERO skippered by Hungarian Farkas Litkey were second and third was ITA 215 MOLLICONA skippered by James Black.

J/24s sailing downwind off ItalyANZIO & NETTUNO
Nothing done for the fifth and final day of the 2016 winter series in Anzio & Nettuno, no races were held due to lack of wind.  As a result, the winner was declared as Ignazio Bonanno’s LA SUPERBA with just 8 pts total over 7 races!  Taking second overall was ITA 447 PELLE NERO sailed by Paul Cecamore and Farkas Litkey.  Third was ITA 428 PELLE ROJO sailed by Gianni Riccobono with tactician Sergio Strippoli.

"The Championship is proving to be very interesting, the fight for the top places in the standings is very close, with several boats within a few points of each other.  The addition of two boats from the top Hungarian J/24 fleet has also added to the overall competitiveness of the fleet,” said the Chairman of the Sailing Club of Rome, Marco Minghetti.

J/24s sailing on reach off ItalyTARANTO
The third weekend of the Taranto winter series saw a light southwest breeze under clear skies and cool temperatures, permitting the PRO to run two good races for the fleet.

After tight racing, it was FIVE FOR FIGHTING that continues to lead the series with JEBEDEE just two points back in second place.  Sitting in third place is still DOCTOR J, followed by Marcello Bellacicca’s MARBEA in 4th and Ferdinand Capobianco’s LITTLE DEVIL in 5th position.

OLBIA SARDINIA
The 2016 Sardinian circuit was won by ITA 405 VIGNE SURRAU skippered by Aurelio Bini from Club Nautico Arzachena.  From second to fifth place, however, only three points separated all four boats!  Sneaking into the silver spot was ITA 431 LNI CARLISLE skippered by David Gorgerino.  Third was ITA 241 LIBARIUM skippered by Roberto Dessy.  The balance of the top five included Antonello Ciabatti’s ITA 420 LIBISSONYS and ITA 443 AIR LNI of Olbia, in 4th and 5th, respectively.  For more Italian J/24 Class sailing information

Europe’s SAILING Championship Series 2017 Program

Sailing Champions League (Hamburg, Germany)- The impact of the sailing league program, originally created in Germany by Oliver Schwall’s Konzeptwerft Group in Hamburg, Germany and their J/Germany partners Mittelmann’s Werft, has simply re-defined “club sailing” in Europe- for thousands of sailors across the continent.

Started in 2013 “on a wing & a prayer”, the dynamic team managed to engage 18 sailing clubs in their first season in 2014 to hatch the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga.  Teams of four sailors from across Germany sailed “college-style” regattas, rotating in each team after sailing short 10-15 minutes races on evenly matched J/70s.  It has proved to be an extremely popular and very successful format.

Sailing Champions League sailorsSince that time, the SAILING Champions League was created to provide an overall European Champion for the fourteen countries participating from Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany (Junior and Open), Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. The 2017 qualification program for the 300+ sailing clubs across Europe includes the following schedule:
  • Act 1: 11-13 August, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Act 2: 1-3 September, Segel-Club St. Moritz, St. Moritz, Switzerland
  • Final: 22-24 September, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, Italy
The extraordinary impact that J/70s and the sailing leagues are having on “grass roots” sailing in Europe is quite astonishing.  Here are the basic numbers (the demographics):
  • 14 National Leagues
  • 24 Sailing Clubs (average)
  • 500 Club Spectators (average)
  • 12 Sailors per club (average)
  • 7 Regattas per league (average)
  • 6 Boats per event
  • 15 Races per weekend for each team
In short, each club sails about 105 sailing league races each season.  Each club has 12 sailors and 500 club members actively engaged for each event (virtually or onsite).  In other words, across 14 European countries, there are more than 172,000 sailing club members actively engaged in their club’s success in each event; 4,032 alone are men, women, youth sailing as crew on the boats.  A total of 1,470 races are scheduled for the 2017 season!   For more SAILING Champions League Sailing information

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lauderdale to Key West Race Preview

J/122 sailing Key West (Fort Lauderdale, FL)- When the cold northerly winds of January blow, where would you rather be, bundled up in the cold white north, or in shorts and a t-shirt in Key West? Would you rather shovel your driveway, or walk Duval Street?  Would you rather sit around waiting for a groundhog to see his shadow or share the streets with roosters and Hemingway’s six-toed cats in front of the Southernmost White House?  No matter the question, Key West is The Answer.

The 41st Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club, kicks off on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, when competitors gather at Lauderdale Yacht Club for the pre-race Mt. Gay Rum Party and Skippers Meeting.  On Wednesday the 11th, the race will get under way for the annual sprint down and around the shoals of the Florida Keys to the Conch Republic.

The race starts at 13:00 off of Port Everglades, for the 160-mile sprint southbound and around the curve of the Florida Keys to Key West, where winter in the tropics awaits. Once in Key West, competitors can enjoy all that the island has to offer, including (but by no means limited to) the SORC Duty Station at the upstairs deck at Turtle Kraals, and the Friday night Awards Party at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar and Grill.

This year, the IRC Class has an enormous range of boats from 38 to 75 feet, including Chris & Karen Lewis’ J/44 KENIA from Lakewood YC in Houston, TX. ORC Class has a similar scenario, with boats ranging from 34 to 70 feet, including Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION from New York YC and Frank Atkinson’s J/125 RAISIN’ CANE from Coconut Grove Sailing Club.  The PHRF A class has Gary Weisberg’s J/111 HEAT WAVE from Jubilee YC in Gloucester, MA up against an M32, a Farr 395 and Class 40!  Up against some seriously heavy cruising boats in PHRF B class is the J/World Annapolis crew, led by Kristen Berry, on the seriously fast J/88 MI2.  For more Storm Trysail & Lauderdale YC Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race sailing information

Monday, January 9, 2017

J/112E Sailing World Boat of the Year Winner!

J/112E sport cruiser- Sailing World Boat of the Year J/112E sport cruiser- Sailing World Boat of the Year
(Newport, RI)- For J/Boats, it’s simple enough to tack an “E” onto a model and create an entirely new range of boats, especially with its European builder in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, driving the company’s evolution.

J/Boats designer Al Johnstone says the “E” is for “evolution” or “elegance,” but it could be for “Euro,” as that’s the market for which the design was conceived. Europeans, says Johnstone, prefer a slightly more upscale and detailed interior look, more windows, and a boat they’ll race and happily cruise. Read more of Sailing World’s review here.   For more J/112E sport cruiser sailboat information

Sunday, January 8, 2017

J/70 sailor- Vincenzo Onorato- honored @t YC Monaco 2016 Awards

J/70 sailor Vincenzo Onorato with Prince Albert II - YC Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, President of YC Monaco, awarded Vincenzo Onorato the “Trophée Credit Suisse Sailor of the Year” at their gala awards evening in Monte Carlo.  This prestigious trophy is made by vote of the 1,800 Yacht Club members and was based on Onorato’s Italian crew winning the Rolex Middle Sea Race on his TP52 and the M32 European Championship.

“2016 has been an extraordinary year as we achieved all our objectives. I’m looking forward to joining the J/70 fleet, my ambition being to compete at Key West Race Week in Florida, then the J/70 Worlds at YC Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. In total, 18 regattas await us on four different boats all over the world, and it will be an honor to compete under the Yacht Club de Monaco’s flag.”

Proof of how dynamic the Monegasque fleet is, the owner of the prestigious MASCALZONE LATINO stable of offshore racing yachts was competing with other YCM owner/helmsmen who also graced the podiums in 2016. They include Torbjörn Törnqvist, Guido Miani, Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio, Oren Nataf and Stefano Roberti, European J/70 Vice-Champion.  For more YC Monaco Winter Sportsboat Series sailing information

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Quantum J/70 Winter Series II Preview

J/70 sailing off Tampa/ St Petersburg, FL (Tampa, FL)- For the second act of the Quantum J/70 Winter Series, fifty-four J/70 teams are registered to sail off Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida from January 7th to 8th.  The Corinthians fleet is huge, with 26 teams participating.  The sailors are all looking forward to a promising forecast; after an overnight frontal passage on Friday evening, the breezes are forecast to be northerly 15-25 kts on Saturday and shifting northeast on Sunday 15-25 kts with clear, sunny skies!

After the first weekend, it was clear that Tom Bowen/ Marty Kullman on REACH AROUND sailed fast and consistent.  Will they be able to replicate that performance again?  They will be facing several determined crews that will be intent on knocking them off that throne, including Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE crew from Fort Worth, TX that were 2nd overall in the first event and also the top women helm- Darby Smith’s AFRICA from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA, that was third overall.  Jumping into the fray at the top of the leaderboard should include crews like Al Terhune’s DAZZLER from Annapolis, MD (J/22 World Champion), Will Welles’ SCAMP (J/24 World Champion), and Kerry Klingler's MENACE (J/80 World Champion).

The 26-boat Corinthian division saw Andrew Loe’s TBD from Seattle YC win Round 1.  Can they repeat that performance?? Their challengers in the top five included Bryan Cameron’s B-SQUARED from Sayville YC, Rob Britts’ HOT MESS from host Davis Island YC, Andrew Fisher’s BUTTON FLY, and Frank McNamara’s CHINOOK in 5th.   For more Quantum J/70 Winter Series sailing information

London Boat Show Time!

J/88 family speedster sailing on Solent (London, England)- For next week, take the opportunity to swing by the London Boat Show at the EXCEL Center and get a chance to speak to J/UK representatives about the exciting evolution of the J/88 family speedster- the class had wonderful sailing in the Hamble Winter Series in the fall of 2016 and its momentum continues to grow for 2017.

The London Boat Show is open from January 6th to 15th, 2017 and the J/88 will be displayed at Stand F064 at the EXCEL LONDON Pavilion.  For more show information.  For J/88 family speedster sailing information