Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why J/105s Are San Francisco's Favorite Sailboat?

J/105s in Latitude 38(San Francisco, CA)- An Enduring Favorite on San Francisco Bay: the J/105.  The Biggest Fleet on the Bay: J/105 Fleet 1 San Francisco.  An Enduring Model for J/Boats: Fleet 1 and the J/105.  Learn more from this article written by Martha Blanchfield,, as appeared in the February Latitude 38.

Within the U.S., the J/105 remains one of the most successful one-design keelboat classes in the over 30-foot range, with major fleets located in Chicago, Annapolis, San Diego, Houston, Marblehead, Cleveland, Seattle and San Francisco. There are two international fleets: J/105 Canada class in Toronto, ONT, and the J/105 Chile Class. Shares J/Newsletter publisher, Stuart Johnstone, "J/Boats also ‘technically’ has fleets on the Solent in the U.K. and the Netherlands, but rarely more than five to six boats show up for events.”

San Francisco J/105 Fleet 1 lists 73 member boats, which makes it the largest and likely most active, one-design on the Bay. What’s the recipe for success? Much of it starts with an invention in 1991.

J/105 sailing San Francisco BayA Design For Success
In the late 1980’s/early 90s, having routinely participated in the Ultimate Yacht Race series for Ultimate 30s and One-Design 14s, Rhode Island brothers Stuart and Peter Johnstone got an idea to create a keelboat that relied on the same simple sprit + asym combo of these two boats. Not an outlandish notion—being members of the J/Boats legacy known for their top selling models J/24 (introduced in 1977) and J/22 (introduced in 1983).

In 1990, the duo was discussing the idea of an asymmetric spinnaker keelboat design with their 63-year-old father. Shares Johnstone, "Fast is fun when it's easy! So, our next design was either going to be a 23-foot J/70 or the 34.5 foot J/105. My Dad (Bob) won that debate since he wanted to sail in comfort both offshore and around the buoys. Uncle Rod (Rodney Johnstone- the designer) initiated the design on the J/105 (LOA 34.50 foot) in 1990 and launched it in 1991.” An interesting tidbit— the J/105 design was also based on input from the late Sir Peter Blake. Adds Johnstone, “We were engaged in working on a J/65 offshore racer for the Whitbread Race (Volvo Ocean Race). Every time we ran the J/65 design through Peter's global weather model it got faster. In other words, the design got beamier and flatter aft.” Requirements for that J/65’s offshore, fast-reaching machine ended up shaping parameters for the J/105, as well as an eventual J/65 offshore cruiser, a limited production custom build model.

J/105s starting on San Francisco BayTwenty-five years later and the J/105 remains incredibly popular, surpassed in annual sales only within the last three years (35 to 37 foot marketplace) by the J/111 model. Globally, more than 680 J/105 boats can be counted. What started off as a vision to be a fun offshore PHRF boat easily handled by five or six crew, has become a one-design class with longevity. Johnstone says, “We see strong on-going demand for its purchase as a used boat, and the investment is not only affordable, but preserves its value. In Europe, it has become a de facto single or double-handed boat in IRC/ORC events in the RORC and European offshore circuit. The J/105 has won the Fastnet Race in the 2H class three times, plus several RORC Channel races. Crews have campaigned J/105s to wins in the Transpac Race in the double-handed, as well as full crew, divisions on more than one occasion. And, today, a huge 105 fleet has developed down in Chile, with fleets in Algarrobo and Puerto Montt- fleet popularity continues to grow down there since they modified the rules to be family-friendly; a mandatory steering wheel (so kids can drive) and unlimited crew (within the weight limit, so lots of kids can sail)- a brilliant idea the American fleet should adopt!”

J/105 sailing past Rolex markLore and Legacy of a First: Fleet 1
Fleet 1 was formed in 1994 by Don Trask, the J/Boats dealer in Alameda, plus Art Ball and Chris Corlett who sold and promoted the boat. Today, the group is very active in local racing, and major regattas can draw 25 or more boats to the start line. Crews race year round with tier A and B events. A events require the boat must be weighed by the fleet measurer. A events stipulate a total crew weight limit of 1,044 pounds, and there is a new sail limit of no more than two or three per year, alternating. Additionally, the skipper must be an owner (with some rare exceptions). The class permits only Category 1 sailors (non-professionals), although a full owner may be Category 3 sailor (professional). B events are not governed by requirements of A.

One veteran skipper/owner is Theresa Brandner, owner of Walloping Swede. A dedicated A series racer, Brandner has competed right up to 8.5 months into a pregnancy. And once her daughter was born, she joined after only two months. Tucked safely below within line of sight, she always responded with a squeal of happiness when mom talked to her from the above cockpit during the time that the boat was being delivered to and from the races. Another fun fact about Brandner: a vendor is marketing her t-shirt design that says “I used to chase the boys, now I pass them,” accompanied by the Lima, AKA “Follow me,” flag.

This group has personality. Names such as Natural Blonde, Hazardous Waste and We Be Jammin' can be seen. One competitor reveals there’s a skipper who knows, and apparently sings, every word of T-Pain’s “I’m on a boat.”

Brandner adds, “During the dotcom boom everyone wanted a J/105, including people who hadn't really raced before. We saw more than 33 boats on the start, so chaos was expected. There were a lot of collisions, protests, drama, and the fleet developed a very bad reputation.” Around 2004 an annual mandatory rules/tactics seminar, with a penalty on an owner’s season score if the boat did not show up, was established. “That helped. Collisions and protests are far more scarce now.”

J/105 sailing down San Francisco BayGunning It at ROLEX Big Boats
Bowman Tone Chin is a regular Fleet 1 racer. Just before the 2016 ROLEX Big Boats Series in San Francisco he quietly asserted- watch Godot! We’ve got a shot at winning it.” Chin, one of three recent crew pick-ups last season, was all grins at the St. Francis Yacht Club day three of competition. After a rough start (15–3–7 finishes in a division with 26 boats), the crew pulled together on the remaining race days to strike a 1-1-1-2 tally.  As a result, they just edged past Blackhawk for the Rolex win. Owner and skipper Phillip Laby wrapped the season with not only a 2016 Big Boats success, but also recognition for being overall best of the fleet for the year.

Laby, a Southern California native who grew up racing Lasers and similar small boats, has been active in Fleet 1 competition for several years.  Following a move to San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, plus a 20-year sailing hiatus, he re-engaged with the sport, spending time with various local fleets. “I came to favor being aboard the J/105,” he exclaims. “The San Francisco Fleet 1 is large and competitive—both attractions for me.” Within a year he and boat partners Rich and Mary Pipkins had acquired hull 375- Racer X. Says Laby, “We had a lot to learn and climbed a steep curve. The first year saw too many shrimps, fouled maneuvers, third row starts and lots of upwind speed, but no point. In 2008 we finished 8th overall, the following year 7th, and broke the top five with a 5th in 2010.”

They raced together for approximately three years prior to an amicable parting in 2011 (the Pipkins now campaign Racer X in single-handed events) when Laby came upon hull number 44 Orion. When hunting to purchase, he opted for models built in the early nineties. “The newer boats came with more bells, whistles and inventories, but I sail with a minimum of instrumentation. The older boats were less expensive, and since I was moving from a partnership to a solo program I favored the cost savings.” Renaming the boat to Godot has a story, “I reference the 1950’s play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, in which the main characters wait endlessly for the arrival of the infamous Godot. In the meantime, the audience experiences the characters’ friendships and how their shared vision binds them together. Pursuing a vision connects us to our passions and those with shared interests. Naming my boat Godot helps remind me it’s all about the journey.”

He immediately set to building a team. “There is plenty of talent in the Bay Area, but once a crew is assembled systems need to be worked out. A primary challenge was learning what to focus on and when to trust. This became easier as my roster filled with more skilled crew.” Second, Laby had to figure out how the boat responds. “Knowing when to press on the gas, or pull-in the sails is critical. Being in sync with the crew and knowing how quickly each can respond has a big impact on execution--especially critical at the starts, but also at any crossing or rounding. In the beginning I used to count and time much more than I do now; today it’s more instinctual,” he smiles.

On San Francisco Bay learning is that much more challenging for each execution. Not as familiar with the local conditions as his peers, he used to follow the leaders. “I had no idea where I should be going! Sometimes they lead us to success, other times not so much. The last couple of years I have gained confidence in my own knowledge. In 2016, I started discussing strategy with the crew. We now have the confidence to follow our convictions. And, as a result, we now tend to lead to the favored places, as opposed to follow; this has elevated our sailing to a new height.”

In 2014, ‘15 and ‘16 Godot earned a Fleet 1 ranking within the top three spots. A note about this skipper—he’s also the mainsheet trimmer—a rarity when racing in Fleet 1. In 2017, Godot will complete the full Fleet 1 schedule. Laby may also head to the 2017 J/105 North American Championship at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas, in October. Obviously, that would be a time and cost commitment--as a father and tech start-up executive, his schedule is already full. “All told, we’ll be on the water at least 30 days for competition, plus days for practice.”

Enduring Fleet and Design Success
Success of Fleet 1 is tied to popularity of the J/105, a boat that is called “ideal” for Bay conditions. She is able to withstand strong and unpredictable winds. She is quickly rigged and the asymmetric spinnaker on bowsprit streamlines operations. There’s ample cockpit space, plus a fair amount of room below. And, the J/105 has been deemed a great value. When it comes to racing, the playing field is fairly level for this class, as rules dictate an owner-driver rule, tight restrictions on Category 3 professionals and annual sail purchase restrictions that keep racing affordable and as Corinthian as one-design can be.

For J/Boats, the J/105 has been so successful that it ultimately influenced the design for all future models: successive boats always incorporate the sprit + asym configuration. Shares Johnstone, “As a matter of fact, J/Boats was the first company in the world to mass produce asymmetric spinnaker keelboats starting in 1991. The only precursors were primarily dinghies--International 14s (U.K.), International 12s (New Zealand) and Aussie 18s (Sydney, Australia). The Ultimate 30s were all custom boats with lightweight keels, but followed the same basic idea. The world followed J/Boats' innovation.”

For would-be J/105 crew candidates, there are ways to get the attention of owners. Laby suggests visiting the Crew List page on the fleet site, His bowman Chin maintains an active Facebook page where calls for crews and requests to crew are posted occasionally- Foredeck Union,

Saturday, February 18, 2017

J/122 Stars in Conch Republic Cup!

J/122 Second Star off Key West (Key West, FL)- This year’s version of the Conch Republic Cup regatta, hosted by the Key West Community Sailing Center and the Club Nautico Internacional Hemingway, was a bit of an anti-climactic event and might have been termed “the three leg fiasco”.  The weather Godz simply would not cooperate for the fleet of 20+ boats.  In fact, the weather was extreme, with light airs predominating for the first leg across the Gulf Stream from the start at Key West, FL to Varadero, Cuba along the northeastern shoreline of the island.  Then, the next leg westward down the Cuban coastline from Varadero to Havana was blown out due to a massive cold front sweeping across the Gulf Stream.  The in-port race in Havana was also canceled, this time due to no wind.  So, the regatta organizers decided to do a mash-up of trophies and honors using the final leg from Havana back across the Stream to Key West!!

Cuba ChevyDespite the somewhat catastrophic weather forecast, JD Hill’s beautiful navy blue J/122 SECOND STAR from Dallas, Texas, fresh off a Quantum Key West Race Week class win, elected to start the regatta.  As a result, those Texas storm troopers took off on Sunday afternoon after Race Week hangover and headed out across the Gulf Stream in the Key West to Varadero Race for the Michele Geslin Memorial Cup.  In the end, Hill’s SECOND STAR crushed the 8-boat PHRF fleet to win the trophy, celebrating their good fortune with loads of delicious Cuban mojito’s and plenty of awesome Cuban cigars.  However, by the next day, it was clear Mother Nature was not cooperating for the rest of the week, so the Texas crew elected to head home early.  Sailing photo credits- Alan Clark/  For more Conch Republic Cup sailing information

Friday, February 17, 2017

Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race Update

Marblehead to Halifax Top J/Boat Team Wins Balthazar of Champagne!
(Marblehead, MA)- Registration is open for the biennial Marblehead to Halifax Ocean race that starts off Marblehead Neck on July 9th.  The 363-nautical mile Marblehead to Halifax is one of the oldest races on the eastern seaboard, beginning in 1905.  It's co-sponsored by the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax.

The race has been a popular one for J/sailors across the northeastern seaboard, with class and overall wins taken by J/Teams over the course of time- J/35s, J/40s, J/44s, J/120s, J/111s all have garnered silverware in this famous race.

Marblehead champagne awardsWhat is the latest, exciting news!?  Jennie Aspinall, Vice Commodore of the Boston Yacht Club and Chair of the 2017 event, has a challenge for J/Boat sailors, “We are looking forward to a full fleet of competitors at the starting line in July.  If there are eighteen (18) or more J/Teams sailing in this year’s race, we will offer the winning J/Team a Balthazar of champagne (worth 16 bottles), plus second place a Salmanazar (worth 12 bottles) and third place a Methuselah (8 bottles worth)!”  Time to get motivated to win a prize that not even any America’s Cup winners enjoyed in their last champagne bath in San Francisco!!  Just one of those bottles can start a party!   For more Marblehead Halifax Race registration and sailing information

Thursday, February 16, 2017

New York YC 163rd Annual Regatta Announcement

J/35 Leading Edge sailing Newport Large Contingent of J/Teams Plan Participation
(Newport, RI)- The oldest regatta, hottest new (and classic) boats, best sailors, fabulous sailing conditions, and unmatched shoreside amenities and hospitality (massive cocktail parties) that only the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court and Newport, R.I., can offer. All these things and more make the 163rd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, June 9 to 11, the event to attend this coming summer.

The format is familiar to any repeat participants: Three days of racing, including Friday’s Around-the-Island Race, a rockin’ regatta banquet on Saturday night, and post-racing socials on the other two evenings. The list of invited yachts includes IRC racers and One-Designs. PHRF Navigator racing will be available for those who prefer a more casual brand of competition sailing random-leg events in Narragansett Bay.

As in years past, one-design classes are anticipated for J/88’s, J/105’s and J/109s.  Multiple J/teams will be participating in the IRC and PHRF categories, including J/35s, J/109s, J/120s, J/122s, J/111s, J/44s and others.  Remember, last year’s crazy Around the Island Race??  A J/35 from Houston, Texas won the overall trophy and the Rolex Submariner watch!!  Good times were certainly had by that happy crew on LEADING EDGE!  Sailing photo credits- ROLEX/ Daniel Forster   Block off your calendar now and start making plans to be on the starting line. NOR and entry forms available here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another Glorious 3 Bridge Fiasco

Three Bridge Fiasco start fiasco
J/Crews Collecting More Pickle Dishes!
(San Francisco, CA)- The 362 entries in the Singlehanded Sailing Society's 2017 edition of the Three Bridge Fiasco had more wind than predicted; except when they had none at all. One of the factors that makes the race a real “fiasco” is that the crews, all singlehanded and doublehanded, must choose which way to start and finish and which direction to sail around the three marks: Blackaller Buoy near the Golden Gate Bridge, Red Rock just south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and Yerba Buena Island in the middle of the Bay Bridge.

The clockwise pack had a restart when the wind died north of Treasure Island.  Fortunately, the current on this patch of water was mellow, though at least one boat dropped an anchor.

Kame Richards, a local sailmaker and highly successful racer, offered some advice about strategy at the skippers' meeting on Wednesday. "If you go clockwise you're statistically in an okay group," he commented. Probably 95% of the racers went clockwise on Saturday, but this year it was the contrarians who finished first. "The tidebooks are going to be wrong," stated Richards. "The tides will not be normal.” He was right on that score. It wasn't so simple as flood turning to ebb. Rip currents abounded. The velocity of rushing water in some places was unusual on the Bay. Patches of meringue and weird whirlpools popped up in seemingly random places, all adding to the day's challenges.

With so little breeze and such strong currents, the starboard rounding of Yerba Buena was far trickier than the much earlier port rounding of it by the CCW boats had been. Some boats were dragged into the island and ran aground, others piled up into a buoy tender docked at the Coast Guard station there.

Some of the clockwise crews had fretted about typically light air at Red Rock and the flood turning to ebb, so they went straight to Red Rock after the start, leaving Blackaller Buoy for last. (As it turned out, there was plenty of breeze at Red Rock, though the ebb did start early there).   In the late afternoon, this group shot toward the Golden Gate Bridge on a river of 4- to 5-knot ebb. Turning toward shore, they found an equivalent back eddy of flood surrounding their last mark. As Kame explained: "When it's ebbing very hard, all the water can't fit under the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of it hits Fort Point and gets bounced back along the City-front." (Thanks to LATITUDE 38 for intro).

Despite the often-challenging conditions, it was Tony Castruccio’s J/30 WIND SPEED that won Class 1- Singlehanded Monohull overall, plus winning class!  Just behind him, finishing 5th overall in class was the J/24 IRISH BLESSING sailed by Chad Peddy!  In the Class 2 Singlehanded Spin division, the J/88 WHITE SHADOW sailed by Jim Hopp took home the silver, followed by Todd Olsen’s J/92S WINDTRIP INFINITY in third.

In the Doublehanded world, there were several notable performances.  In Class 10 Double Non-Spin, the J/124 SPIRIT OF FREEDOM sailed by Bill Mohr & Reid Rankin placed 4th, while another stablemate, the J/88 INCONCEIVABLE sailed by Steven & Zach Gordon took fifth position.

Winning Class 11 Double Spin was the J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS sailed by Rich Pipkin & Mary McGrath.  Just off the pace in 6th place was Howard Turner & Jay Crum’s J/111 SYMMETRY.  Also, in the top ten in this class were Doug Bailey & Brian Capehart’s J/105 AKULA in 8th and James Goldberg & Lana Chang’s J/109 JUNKYARD DOG in 10th place.

In the large J/105 Double class, winning was Chris Kim & Mike Lazarro’s VUJA STAR.  Nearly a half hour behind them in 2nd was Adam Spiegel & Chris Tholstrup’s JAM SESSION, with William Woodruff & Mike Weinman’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE in 3rd, John Robison & Simon James’ LIGHTWAVE in 4th and Phil Laby & Matt Skafel’s GODOT in 5th position.

The highly competitive J/22 Double class saw local rock star Russ Silvestri & John Bonds sailing StFYC’s TOM ALLEN to the top of the heap.  Next was Gerard Sheridan & Halsey Richartz’s SAMBA PA TI in 2nd with Mike Menninger & Ben Lezin’s GOOD in 3rd place.

The J/24 Double class saw old rivalries continue, this time with Darren Cumming & Loren Moore’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR winning, followed by Val Lulevich & Mark Humberstone’s SHUT UP & DRIVE.

The Double SF Bay 30 class was one of the closest fought finishes in the entire fleet between three J/32s and two J/30s.  Winning was Luther & Robert Izmirian’s J/32  PARADIGM, just 2:28 ahead of 2nd place finishers, Jenny Thompson & Chris Jensen’s J/30 FRICTION LOSS.  Third was yet another J/30 only 1:18 further back, Peter Jermyn & Curt Brown’s IONE.  Fourth was Lewis Lanier & Galen Loving’s J/32 STRATOCASTER and fifth was John Riley & Larry Weinhoff’s J/32 LA DOLCE VITA.

At the top of the Double J/70 class was Morgan & Jordan Paxhia’s PENNY PINCHER with a narrow 3min lead over Davis King & Tim Anto’s ALLONS-Y.  Taking third was Fabio Maino & Felice Bonardi’s SCILLA and 4th, only 17sec back was Scott Sellers & Geoff McDonald’s 1FA!  Sailing photos- Erik Simonson /  For more Three Bridge Fiasco sailing information

J/88 Razzes Offshore Fleet In Taz!

J/88 sailing off Hobart, Tasmania (Hobart, Tasmania)- Australia’s southern-most J/88 has been competing in the Combined Clubs Long Race series out of Hobart, Tasmania, and has recently claimed its first corrected time victory against much larger boats. The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Bellerive Yacht Club conduct the long race series jointly, with races typically being 30-50 nautical miles in length. There are 28 yachts competing in the mixed fleet, including a Reichel Pugh 66, Marten 49 and Sydney 47.

New J/88 owners Peter and Karen Davis have raced JIYUU in the first 3 races of the season, and have scored results of 9, 3 and 1 on AMS corrected time. The first race down the Dentrecasteaux Channel was a real test for their first outing, with winds reaching 50 knots on the beat back up the river.

“We saw 18 knots on the speedo whilst running down the river under A2,” said Peter, “but unfortunately broached just before the leeward mark which took the edge off the day”.

The second race was a more manageable affair, and a building sea breeze saw the J/88 run up the river under (new) A2 to catch a number of larger boats.

The third race was the highlight, with a lot of spinnaker work, and a delightful sunny day with light winds.

“We found the J/88 kept moving in the lighter breezes, and accelerated rapidly under kite when the breeze came in,” said Peter.  The J/88 finished 12th on line honours, and first overall on corrected time.  For more J/88 sailboat information

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

STAMPEDE Two-Peats Quantum J/70 Series

J/70s sailing Tampa Bay BLACK RIVER RACING Tops QJWS III
(Tampa, FL)- Fifty-six J/70 teams qualified to win the 2016-2017 Quantum J/70 Winter Series at Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida by competing in at least two of the three weekends with the same boat and skipper. Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE placed third overall in Saturday’s three races before the wind died to secure the Series victory (no races were completed Sunday due to lack of breeze). Darby Smith’s AFRICA earned the silver position in the series (and as Top Women’s Skipper), with Doug Strebel and Jay Lutz’s BLACK RIVER RACING in the bronze.

J/70 Stampede wins Quantum seriesThe QUANTUM J/70 Winter Series Corinthian division was won by Andrew Loe’s DIME PIECE, followed by Andrew Fisher’s BUTTON FLY and Mark Allen on MACRO CONNECT.

The popular Series on Tampa Bay spans three weekends of racing between early December and February, allowing participants to store their boats on-site for a reasonable fee. Alex Meleney of TRUCKIN’ US 343, said, “I want the J/70 Class leadership to know how much I enjoy going down to the Davis Island three-weekend Series during the winter. My northern crew likes to come, and it is easy to get local fill-ins. As a Corinthian, the Series is a great learning opportunity.”

How did the final event off Davis Island go that concluded the outcome of the series?  Unsurprisingly, many new faces were in the crowd post Key West Race Week.  It was a record turnout for the event, likely due to the fact that three weeks later is the Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta hosted by the St Petersburg YC and then, just one week later, the J/70 Midwinters hosted by SPYC in the same venue!  Lots of activity on sunny, warm Tampa Bay when all hell is breaking loose weather-wise in the northern parts of the continent.

J/70 Black River Racing wins Tampa 3The regatta weather forecast was variable, at best.  There was promise of at least one good day of racing, followed by scramble by the DIYC PRO and the fleet to get in enough sailing on Sunday.  At the end, there were just three races to determine the winners in the third QJWS event.  Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING from Houston, TX, sailing with the famous PanAm Gold Medal winners Jay and Jody Lutz, stayed out of trouble to win the regatta with a 1-1-12 for 14 pts.  Not far off the pace was Peter Cunningham’s POWEPLAY, sailing a consistent 2-5-8 for 15 pts to take second. Third was Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE, fourth was Robert Willis’ RIP RULLAH from Columbia YC in Chicago, IL and fifth place was taken by Josh Goldman’s BUILDING A from Cedar Point YC in Cedar Point, CT.

Taking the honors in the Corinthian fleet of 24 boats was Mark Allen’s MACRO CONNECT from Pontiac YC in Pontiac, MI.  Seattle YC’s Andrew Loe guided DIME PIECE into second, while Jon Pollak’s MONKEY BUSINESS from Severn Sailing Association took the bronze.  For more Quantum J/70 Winter Series sailing information.

Monday, February 13, 2017

U.S. J/70 Youth Champs Update

J/70 Youth sailorsWin 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 on beautiful Narragansett Bay.  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.

Interest has been strong from various youth teams across the country; with crews already gearing up for the J/70 Midwinters in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by St Petersburg YC and also the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta, hosted by San Diego YC in San Diego, CA.

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 sailing club and its membership for twelve months.

The U.S. J/70 Youth Championship (USJYC) is open to eleven (11) 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 USJYC championship in Newport, RI.

The 11 Youth Teams will compete on eleven 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.

In order to qualify for the eleven 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 “” or refer to the website-

Brazilians Samba To PRIMO CUP XXXIII Win!

J/70s sailing off Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- This year’s Primo Cup– Trophée Credit Suisse regatta, hosted by the YC Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco was full of surprises.  For one, no one expected so many shocking performances at the top of the J/70 class leaderboard.  French, Polish, Swiss, Russian, Italian, German, Monaco and Brazilian sailors in the top ten of the J/70 fleet? What?! Is this a “politically correct” United Nations sailing event?  Not! It’s just the natural evolution of the world’s largest and fastest growing sportsboat class; a class that could be defined as one famous British journalist labeled the J/24 class in its infancy in 1978- “the Laser with a lid”!  Everyone and anyone can get up to speed fast!  For the world’s top sailors and tacticians, that’s a scary scenario.  But, also a fun one.  That means top amateur crews can be competitive in a short period of time.  In Europe, that evolution has been turbo-charged by the J/70 sailing leagues pioneered by the Germans and led by SAP Sports and Oliver Schwall’s marketing crew in Hamburg, Germany.

J/70 Manachuva from BrazilIt was time for a “samba pa ti” at YC Monaco for the awards celebration! The hot "Ipanema-like" tempo for this year’s regatta was set on the first day for the fleet of fifty (50) J/70s sailing in the famous Hercules Bay.  From day one, the Brazilian team from YC Rio de Janeiro on MANDACHUVA, skippered by Mario Soerensen Garcia, with Mauricio Santa Cruz calling tactics (a 4x J/24 World Champion), simply smoked the fleet, posting two bullets over the star-struck fleet.  They never looked back, posting two more bullets on the final day to win by a significant margin.  The famous beaches and streets of Rio were celebrating well into the night; Brazil had yet another feather in their cap, besides other sailing and soccer (futbol) World Cups (and Olympic Gold Medals) to their credit!

J/70 sailing off MonacoThe first day produced the best the Monegasque club’s PRO could offer to the incredibly competitive J/70 fleet.  The sailors enjoyed a brisk 20-knot southwesterly with a light chop, giving everyone a chance to prove their tactical prowess.  Of the twelve nations participating, no one expected a bunch of samba-crazed Brazilians to lead the fleet with such a dominating performance.  Hot on their heels, and learning frighteningly fast, were the French team of GIVE ME FIVE from CN Sainte-Maxime, led by Adrien Follin.  The GIVE ME FIVE team posted an equally blistering tally of 3-2 to be within striking distance of the lead. Lying in third after day one was Poland’s EWA, skippered by Krzysztof Krempec from YC Pologne with a 2-4. They were followed in fourth place by a local Monegasque crew, Ludovico Fassitelli’s crew on JUNDA BANCA DEL SEMPIONE with a 4-8 and in fifth was the Swiss Lake Geneva crew of CER APROTEC skippered by Nelson Mettraux from Societe Nautique de Geneve.  Just behind them was the German team of SANNA R skippered by Gerd Knospe from VSaW.

On the final day, rain tried to delay playtime, but it was not enough to cool the ardor of those on the water, delighted to be in the thick of the action. For YC Monaco General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandro, there was satisfaction in the scene unfolding before their magnificent club on the Mediterranean Riviera, “It is always a pleasure to see so many seasoned and amateur sailors racing in the Principality. It was an excellent turnout and we had ideal conditions every day, so I am delighted it has been a success.”

J/70 Primo Cup winnersClean starts, masterful mark roundings, impeccable control on downwind maneuvers, and smiles from ear-to-ear at the finish!  Yes, the Brazilians on MANDACHUVA really enjoyed themselves at this year’s Primo Cup–Trophée Credit Suisse.  “It was a wonderful regatta. The level was high and there was everything to play for,” said helmsman, Mario Soerensen Garcia. The team blew away their rivals on the downwind legs, keeping the boat flat and exploiting the waves for surfing (remember images of those massive waves at the Rio 2016 Olympics sailing venue offshore?  They sail in that stuff for “beer can” races!  No wonder).  By winning every race, they left Frenchman Adrien Follin’s crew on GIVE ME FIVE no chance but 2nd in the final ranking, 9 points adrift.  As for locals, Ludovico Fassitelli’s JUNDA BANCA DEL SEMPIONE, European Vice-Champion and Yacht Club de Monaco member, made a spectacular comeback to clinch 3rd place.

Rounding out the top five were Krempec’s Polish crew on EWA in 4th place and Mettraux’s Swiss crew on CER APROTEC in fifth place.  In fact, there were eight nations represented in the top nine teams!  Sixth place was Knospe’s German team on SANNA R, seventh was Germano Scarpa’s Italian crew on SPORT CUBE from YC Costa Smeralda (host of the 2017 J/70 Worlds), eighth was Alain Stettler’s German contingent on QUARTER 2 ELEVEN from Regatta Club Oberhofen, and ninth was Dmitry Shunin’s Russian crew from Moscow on GOLDEN WINGS, a Konakovo Sailing Club team.

Another special feature of the Primo Cup - Trophée Credit Suisse was that all crew members in the first three boats in the J/70 class received clothing from SLAM’s Advanced Technology Sportswear!

The grand finale for the YC Monaco J/70 Winter Sportsboat Series is set for 3-5 March in Monaco!  Perhaps one of those top teams on the podium for the series may be Russia’s top woman sailor, Valerya Kovalenko on Team ARTTUBE from Moscow, Russia.   Watch a nice Primo Cup- Credit Suisse sailing video summary here.   For more J/70 Primo Cup/ Winter Series sailing information

Sunday, February 12, 2017

J/70 Ullman Sails Testing

Ullman Sails testing J/70 sails (Newport Beach, CA)- here are some cool pictures. And, a report from the team:

“My son is doing his senior high school project at Ullman Sails and we have gotten to know Alex Curtiss there who is now head of the one-design program at the local loft. Alex graduated last year from St. Mary’s. He and the owner of the local loft, Bruce Cooper, wanted to sail test their new heavy air and all-purpose jibs as a follow-up to the San Francisco Worlds. Seeing that Friday was going to be windy with a 20 – 25 knot Santa Ana they rigged up to be out on the water early for two boat testing.

In USA 32 (Dave Ullman’s old boat that is now owned by Bruce and Sean Bennett, who won Corinthian at Worlds) was Bruce, Scott Mais (a Newport Harbor High School sailor), Ryan Davidson from Ullman Sails, and David Wood (a Corona del Mar High School sailor that was part of the team with my son in St. Pete for the High School Keelboat Championship).

J/70 sail testing for UllmanOn our boat (USA 70) were Robert (my son), Alex, Dodge Rees (who graduated from College of Charleston last year and is now the head coach at Newport Harbor YC and the coach for Newport Harbor High School) and Justin Law (who is former recent head coach at Newport Harbor YC and coach for Newport Harbor High School).

The wind did not disappoint and the two boats got in a good four hours of testing. A pro photographer friend, Bronny Daniels at (, got the photos from the Ullman RIB with Matt Stevens, the assistant coach for Corona del Mar High School.”  Thanks for the report from Tom Garrett in Newport Beach, California.

J/24 Midwinters Preview

J/24 sailing upwind (Indian Harbour Beach, FL)- Casts of thousands are headed south to the gorgeous, soft shell sand beaches of Florida, all escapees from the nasty northeaster blizzard called “Niko”, a deepening low pressure weather system that underwent "bombogensis" and wrecked havoc on the northeastern parts of the USA.  In that massive migration south, over two dozen J/24 sailors are headed to their 39th annual J/24 Midwinter Championship, hosted by the pretty Eau Gallie Yacht Club located in Indian Harbour Beach, FL.  The regatta is running from February 10th to 12th with up to ten races planned.

Thirty-five J/24s will be launching at their deep-water marina located at the mouth of the “big” Banana River just off the Intra-Coastal waterway on Florida’s east coast.  Immediately north of where the fleet will be sailing is the famous “moon shot” complex, NASA’s Cape Canaveral, home of the famous Space Shuttles and the massive Saturn 1B launch rocket- capable of tossing 21 TONS into orbit! That’s a lot of bananas!

The fleet consists of the usual rogue’s gallery of sailors who will tell you that not one sportsboat sailor on the planet, from any class or brand, can finish in the top three of any major J/24 regatta.  They may have a point there, since most sportboat crews would have no clue what to do with a triangular-shaped piece of nylon flown off a pole that you have to connect to a ring on the mast and, then, be careful not to fall overboard while doing the “watusi” on the foredeck!  That takes talent, for sure!

Leading the charge for the locals might be none other than the first International J/24 Class President, Dick Tillman.  Tillman will be skippering INTRACOASTAL BREWERY from Merritt Island, FL.  Other Melbourne YC members supporting the event are Brad Stowers’ DOUBLE DARE, John Tworkowski’s FINE FINISH, Robert Rastello’s FOSSIL, Paul Anstey’s J-PEAS, and Chris Gates’ FLASHBACK.  Local knowledge is a good thing in them there parts, something about “rednecks” knowing the waters and stuff about ‘gators and chickunz’, all related to tides and currents, of course.

Hoping to overcome the “locals” natural advantage are a heap of World, European, North American, Midwinter Champions from days of glory gone past.  John Mollicone’s HELLY HANSEN from SAIL NEWPORT in Newport, RI may top that list (has a few World Champions on board).  Others hoping to top the leaderboard certainly include Travis Odenbach’s infamous HONEYBADGER from Rochester YC; Todd Fedyszyn’s SPOONY TACTICS from Davis Island YC; Carter White’s Maine-iacs on board SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM from Portland YC; Will Welles’ BOGUS from Mount Desert Island Sailing Club in Newport, RI; Robby Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM crew (not from NY!) from Davis Island YC; Mike Ingham’s TARHEEL from Rochester YC; and Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS FROM Lloyd Harbor YC in New York.  Traveling from north of the border are Evan Petley-Jones from the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax, Nova Scotia (long drive boys!) and Nathan Bresett’s WOODCHUCK from Bay of Quinte YC in Belleville, Ontario.  For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information

Saturday, February 11, 2017

CARISMA Tops J/24 Yucatan “Regata de Amigos”

J/24 sailing off Yucatan, Mexico (Cancun, Mexico)- Jorge Ojeda and friends continue to have a great time sailing in their local fleet of J/24s on that spectacular peninsula in the northeastern part of Mexico- the Yucatan- a region famous for its enormous Mayan cities (ruins), like Chichen Itza and Tulum’s spectacular fortress along the eastern shoreline.  The beaches are fabulously white (made from shells and coral) with baby blue waves crashing on the shoreline, and the waters offshore are just 2-3nm max from the famous cobalt blue Gulf Stream- teeming with wildlife that is beyond belief- like giant bluefin tuna, huge sailfish capable of swimming in 60 kt bursts, monster sunfish 12 ft across, gazillions of flying fish J/24 women crewattempting suicide on various boat decks and, of course, a wide variety of sharks looking to munch on something tasty (hopefully, not your toes while you hike on the weather rail!).

The “Regatta of Friends 2017”, hosted by the J/24 Yucatan Fleet, was lots and lots of fun.  It was a good weekend for sailing with changing winds and unusual wind directions.  The fleet started off racing with 10 kts of breeze, but soon it grew fast to 20-30 kts.  For the fleet of nine boats, it was extremely exciting racing offshore!

Congratulations to the team of CARISMA, skippered by Tomas Dutton that sailed to a 1-4-1 for 6 pts.  Taking second were their friends on FILIBUSTERO just one point behind them!  Third was the VENDAVAL crew with 12 pts based on a 2-5-5 tally.  For more Yucatan J/24 Fleet sailing information

Friday, February 10, 2017

Edgartown Race Weekend Announcement

J/111 sailing Edgartown Race Weekend (Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA)- Starting to plan for your summer sailing program on Cape Cod and the islands??  Don’t forget the granddaddy of them all- Edgartown Yacht Club's 'Round-the-Island Race and the Edgartown YC Race Weekend!  The regatta takes place from July 20th to 22nd, 2017.

Like 2016, the J/Boats participants in 2017 will all be honored with trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place on corrected time amongst all the J/Boats in all classes!!  Last year, a broad range of J/teams participated, including J/29s, J/35, J/105s, J/109s, J/111s, J/120s, J/122s, J/42s and a J/46.

For more information, please contact Margaret Passafiume/ Race Administrator/ Edgartown Yacht Club/ 508-627-4364/ or go to their website-

Thursday, February 9, 2017

LA SUPERBA Leads Italian J/24 Winter Series

J/24s sailing winter series off Italy (Anzio & Nettuno, Italy)- In the seventh stage of the 42nd Winter Championship, the fleet was able to enjoy two good races in adverse weather and sea conditions.  Leading this particular event, was the J/24 Raggio Verde di Savastano.

"The day started with no wind and an annoying residual air from the South East. The arrival at 1400 hrs of a light breeze from the west that rarely touched 7 knots, allowed the race committee (chaired by Mario de Grenet) to run two good races,” explained Federico Miccio of JUMPING JACK FLASH.

The big story of the regatta was the amazing performance by ITA 191 Raggio Verde di Savastano skippered by Carmelo Savastano with Francesco Linares on tactics.  They were followed by top Hungarian crew HUN 162 JUKE BOXING skippered by Miklos Rauschenberger and in third place by the top Italian Navy crew- Ignazio Bonanno’s LA SUPERBA.  It has been an exciting series since many Hungarian boats are using these events for training for the 2017 European Championships in Hungary on Lake Balaton and the 2018 World Championships taking place on the same lake!

The overall winter championship standings show that Bonanno’s LA SUPERBA (with crew of Simone Scontrino, Alfredo Branciforte, Francesco Picaro and Vincenzo Vano) are still leading the series with just 11 pts.  Sitting in second is ITA 447 PELLE NERO owned by Paul Cecamore and skippered by the 2014 Soling World Champion, the Hungarian Farkas Litkey, with 22 pts total.  In third is PELLE ROSSA owned by Gianni Riccobono and skippered by Sergio Strippoli with 42 pts.  For more Italian J/24 Winter sailing information J/24 Worlds 2017 Announcement

J/24 World Championship in Mississaugua, Canada
(Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)- The International J/24 Class Association and the Port Credit Yacht Club of Mississauga, Canada, will be hosting the 2017 World Championship for J/24 class yachts from September 15th to 23rd, 2017. The J/24 is an international One-Design keelboat class and the most popular racing keelboat in the world with over 5,480 boats being sailed in 165 fleets and 110 countries.

The 2017 J/24 Worlds will be a week long event; competitors arrive for 3-1/2 days of official boat measuring and required safety checks.  Then, after a practice race, there will be five days of racing held on Lake Ontario’s western waterfront. Eighty-five teams, involving at least 400 top racing yachtsmen and yachtswomen, are expected to compete in the challenging ten-race series. Competitors will be provided with meals and entertainment at various events and times.   For J/24 Worlds registration information, please go to the website here.   For more drive.HG J/24 World Championship sailing information

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2nd Women’s Sailing Cup Italia Announcement

J/80 Italia Women's Sailing Cup (Chiavari, Italy)- Blue Project together with Città di Chiavari, Marina di Chiavari, and Lega Navale Italia Sez di Lavagna, are organizing the 2nd Women’s Sailing Cup Italia.  The event is 100% Women, 100% Sport, 100% Solidarity to promote women sailing across Europe and raise funds for the Italian Association for Research on Cancer- all women from around the world are welcome to join us!!

J/80 women sailorsThe regatta will be held on Blue Project’s J/80’s and the dates are 24th to 26th of March 2017.  The 2016 event proved to be an extremely popular program for women’s team from across Europe- Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, France, Netherlands, and Slovenia.

The initial interest for this year’s event is expected to eclipse last year’s program, with crews expressing interest from over a dozen European nations.  Please contact Ivana Quattrini for more information- ph# +39-335-8093904/ email-   Facebook Italia Women’s Cup page.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hardesty Wins San Diego YC Championship!

Bill and Mandi Hardesty win J/22 San Diego (San Diego, CA)- The 2017 sailing season continued this past weekend, January 28 & 29, in La Playa for one of San Diego DYC’s signature events - the 6th annual Club Championships sailed on their fleet of matched J/22 one-design sailboats. As always, competitors brought their energy, talent, and competitive spirit to the race course (and the race dock). The event featured 60 races over two days that were exciting for both participants and spectators.

The wind was a little shy at the beginning of the regatta on Saturday, starting off light from the south. The Race Committee optimistically started a race, but it was abandoned when the wind shut off completely. When the breeze picked up out of the south again, racing resumed. Once again, the southerly died after the second start of the first race, but this time the normal westerly had begun to fill and competitors were able to finish the race. The westerly stayed around for the rest of the day and the Race Committee was able to get 28 races in. Sunday’s racing was postponed until just before noon when the wind picked up out of the west. After that, Sunday was a perfect day, with decent wind between 3-8 knots throughout most of the afternoon and temperatures in the mid-70s.

San Diego YC Club Championship sailorsMore than just an excuse to race in SDYC’s J/22 one-design class sailboats, Club Champs is an event inclusive of all members to promote racing among club fleets and families, and to celebrate friendly rivalries around the club. World Champion sailors compete alongside novice racers and SDYC juniors, some as young as 13 years old. Fun and membership camaraderie are main components of the weekend. For those thirsty for more than competitive racing, Bay City Brewing Company was out on the race dock and present at the post racing celebrations with some of their most popular beers on tap for participants of age.

The Catamaran Fleet, skippered by Bill Hardesty with crew Mandi Hardesty and Ty Reed, took the 2017 title after winning 11 of their 15 races. Of course, winning is nothing new for this team - Mandi has been on the winning Club Champs team for the past 3 years, while Bill was the winning skipper in 2015. The Catamaran Fleet actually finished in a tie for first place with the Star Fleet. Race Committee determined The Catamaran Fleet the winner after considering who beat whom in the last race – and therefore, second place went to the Star Fleet, consisting of skipper George Szabo and crew members Craig Moss, Stacey Szabo, and Julie Mitchell. In third place was Team Reynolds with skipper Greg Reynolds, and crew members Matt and Jake Reynolds.

Mandi explained why she keeps racing Club Champs each year. “I've sailed the Club Champs for the past three years because it's such a great event sailed right off the docks allowing for wonderful spectating and camaraderie. My family and friends and especially my son could watch the action close up. And it is exciting - this year the title came down to the last leg of the last race. We were fortunate to come out on top against so many accomplished sailors from one of the most competitive yacht clubs in the world.”

A big “Thank You” to all of the racers, support crew, and spectators who help to make this annual event fun and inclusive to all members, fleets, and families.  Plus, a big “Thank You” to the SDYC staff in the Sailing Office, catering, and the kitchen that work tirelessly and collaborated to help keep events running smoothly.

Many people have volunteered numerous hours of their time to make this another successful Club Championship Regatta including; Regatta Co-Chairs- Joanne O’Dea and Tiffany Billings and Regatta PRO- Susi Graff!   For more J/22 San Diego YC Championship sailing information

Monday, February 6, 2017

CARRERA Crowned J/24 South American Champions

J/24 Carrera sailing Punta del Este, Uruguay (Punta del Este, Uruguay)- The 2017 J/24 South American Championship was hosted by the extraordinary club  members at the Yacht Club Punta del Este on the gorgeous “Latin American Riviera” known simply as “Punta”.  Surrounded by spectacular high-rises, even more spectacular beaches, and an amazing harbor/bay to race around, the eighteen teams from three countries- Argentina (11), Peru (2) and Uruguay (5)- experienced near champagne conditions for the entire regatta.

After ten races, there was no question the class act of the regatta was the Argentinean crew on CARRERA, led by skipper Matias Pereira and crew of A Guerra, J Bellinotto, E Losano and G Bellinito.  Winning 4 of 10 races ultimately led to a winning total of 24 pts.

J/24 sailing with spinnaker off Punta del EsteThe first day of sailing the regatta was epic.  Three races in 18-23 kts of breeze, big waves and lots of sun!  The locals from Uruguay were tough in these conditions.  Local hotshot Pedro Garra and his PANTERA crew (M Garcia, I Guichef, M Leite, A Carlucio) were first with just 4 pts, having posted a 2-1-1 on day one.  They were followed by Matias Pereira on CARRERA with 6 pts and Harry Giura on LUCA (with crew of D Guani, G Arocena, I Arocena, M Pineyro) with a 3-5-4 for 12 pts.  Fourth was the top Peruvian boat, Javier Arribas’ MONARCA (with crew of J Gavino, A Lafosse, M Markovinovic, D Mendoza) with 17 pts.

J/24 sailing upwind at Punta del Este, UruguayThe second day of racing on Friday brought beautiful, electrifying racing.  The breeze subsided to 12-15 kts with much less swell, with all teams returning to using their 150% genoas.  After a one-hour postponement, the racing started in a southerly breeze that slowly shifted left to the southeast.  Three more races were run, with the course clearly favoring going to the coastline off to the left and catching the breeze lines filling in off the beach.  It was a great day of sailing for Sergio Pendola’s crew on CACIQUE (C Dagusti, J Lupo, M Santangelo, L Luzzi), posting a blistering pace of 2-4-1 to surge up into the top of the leaderboard and win “Boat of the Day”.   Overall, Garra’s PANTERA was still winning with Pereira’s CARRERA following closely behind.

J/24s sailing off beach at Punta del Este, UruguayOn Saturday, the third day of racing dawned with a 16 kts wind out of the north that little by little started to weaken and get increasingly shift.  Fortunately, the YCPE PRO Bernie Knuppel managed to knock out another three races, much to the delight of the fleet.  With the ability to apply a discard after six races, the leadership board has changed significantly.  Now, CARRERA was leading followed by Garra’s PANTERA.

For the finale on Sunday, it was a nearly anti-climactic scenario.  By winning the final race, CARRERA walked off with the Championship.  Taking second was Garra’s PANTERA followed by Pendola’s CACIQUE in third.  Rounding out the top five, it was Rodrigo Benedetto’s HAIK- THOMPSON REUTERS team that took 4th place with Marcelo Alzola’s BLUECROSS & BLUESHIELD team placed 5th.

The 2016 South American Champion, Matias Pereira, adds to his laurels that of Pan American Champion and Argentinean Champion 2016!! This result gives Pereira an automatic place to participate in the 2017 J/24 World Championship in Canada.   For more J/24 South American Championship sailing information