Tuesday, February 28, 2017

25th Anniversary Banderas Bay Regatta Preview

Banderas Bay Regatta logo (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- Who would've thought that when a few yachtsmen got together in 1992 to have a little fun regatta, that 25 years later the event would be going strong, and one of the largest and most popular cruisers' events on the west coast?

This year, BBR will celebrate 25 years, and the organizers intend to make it something special! There will be an event that celebrates some of the past regattas, and helps everyone to remember all the great sailors that have come before!

This year's event will be from February 28 to March 4, 2017. The regatta starts off with the famous kick-off party at the Vallarta Yacht Club, and ends with the legendary BBR beach party. In between, expect a little old, a little new and all fun!!

Remember, when you participate in the Banderas Bay Regatta, here is what you get:
  • Two Banderas Bay Regatta shirts!
  • Two Banderas Bay Regatta hats!
  • Two Tickets for dinner opening night (can be used for any of the VYC dinners during the event)
  • A BBR 25 burgee to fly with pride, making your boat the envy of the anchorage where ever you go! This is a special edition and only competitors will get them!
  • Two tickets to the most kickin’ ass beach party of the season!
J/105 sailing Banderas Bay regattaTerry O'Rourke, founder of the Banderas Bay Regatta, loves to tell the story of the boat that was finishing the regatta in first place, calling the race committee to tell them he was dropping out of the race because he caught a fish.

To celebrate 25 years of cruiser racing in Banderas Bay, let's go fishing!  The second day of racing for Banderas Bay Regatta XXV will include a fishing tournament. The tournament is open to all boats, pangas, dinghies, sailboats, paddle boards, kayaks and inner tubes! No handicaps, just fish inside the bay. If you are not already registered in BBR XXV, just pay the registration fee for the fishing tournament.

Fishin’ starts at 7am and finishes at 12pm.  At 1 pm, races will begin.  At around 5pm, we'll have a fish weigh-in on the Paradise Village Marina docks, then we'll head to Vallarta Yacht Club for a fish BBQ to share the bounty of beautiful Banderas Bay!!  Fresh sushi?? Or, will it be awesome ceviche with lime and tequila!  Nevertheless,  awards will be presented by Harbormaster Dick Markie for best and worst fishermen.

Have fun, eat, dance and celebrate 25 years of Banderas Bay cruiser racing!  Joining the fun so far are pioneering J/sailors.  For starters, there is the J/105 SINFONIA NAUTICA skippered by Bart Smit.  Bart’s crew of intrepid adventurers includes the following rockstars:
  • Eugenie Russell- Puerto Vallarta- nobody knows what planet she is from, but great sailor
  • Pascal Desrosiers- owner with Bart from ABYC Toronto- Just sexy anywhere
  • Gitte Frederiksen- ABYC Toronto member- Danish sailor and Sailing Goddess
  • Kyle Harvey- ABYC Toronto- Hercules, single and looking
  • Nicholas Bolden- ABYC Toronto- The professor (we think)
  • Monique Lafleur- SDYC- San Diego- Tactician & Bow Goddess
Then, if the J/105 crew is leading the J/fleet home each day, not far off their transom should be the local J/80 crew- skippered by Rush Faville from Vallarta YC in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.  More good times to be had by these crews and, surely, some great reports about fresh sushi and ceviche with cervezas on the docks!  YUM YUM!!  For more Banderas Bay Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, February 27, 2017

J/Crews Loved Sunny St Pete NOOD

J/24s sailing St Pete NOOD (St Petersburg, FL)- The first of the many Sailing World NOOD Regattas took place this past weekend in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by the St Petersburg YC.  A record fleet turned out for the event, fueled in part by the huge J/70 class.  Racing took place from Friday, February 17th to Sunday, February 17th on Tampa Bay.  The weather forecast looked promising, and in the end Tampa Bay lived up to its classic scenario of light to moderate winds- from every direction.

The event attracted a cross-section of sailors in both one-design fleets as well as PHRF fleets.  The J/70 class was out in strength, again, after just completing their Quantum Winter Series last week at Davis Island YC on Tampa Bay.  Thirty-four teams were headed for the starting line that included a number of top teams that had sailed in the Quantum Key West Race Week and were gunning for the J/70 Midwinters the following weekend, as well as the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week later in March.

In the J/70 class, first place winner Peter Bowe, of Baltimore, Md., echoed remarks about the importance of aggressive gear shifting in the shifty weather. The TEA DANCE SNAKE skipper typically competes in the Corinthian (non-professional) level, but with some of his team missing this week, he opted to learn a few new tricks from a hired coach, Jackson Benvenutti.  “He obviously upped our game,” Bowe said, laughing. “We’ve been sailing a long time, but this time we were faster and had better starts. This was our best performance in a major regatta!”

J/70 sailing ST Pete NOODTied with Bowe’s team for the overall lead was Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly YC in Buzzards Bay, MA.  Keane’s team posted the most consistent scores in the event with a 3-2-2-6 for 13 pts, but not good enough to take the overall win.  Behind them it was an enormous battle between six boats for the final position on the podium!  Just four points separted 3rd from 10th place!  Ultimately, winning that fight was Peter Cunningham from the Cayman Islands Sailing Club in Grand Cayman, posting an 11-4-14-3 for 32 points.  Peter was the “de facto” Masters Champion for the regatta and this was his first top three finish in a major J/70 regatta.  Behind them were Will Welle’s RASCAL in 4th place from Newport, RI.  Then, in a first ever scenario for J/70 class racing, three women skippers occupied the next three slots!  Pam Rose sailed her ROSEBUD into fifth, with Madelyn Ploch’s USA 88 in sixth position and Darby Smith’s AFRICA in the seventh spot!

The J/24 class had five boats participating on Course B near the St Petersburg waterfront.  Winning that class was not easy either.  Just like the J/70s, the winner was determined on a tie-breaker!  In this case, both boats had 10 point each, with local J/24 guru Jim Lindsay on SIGHT SEEING taking the win with a 1-5-1-1-2 over Seth Rosenthal’s SHOCK WAVE from Crystal Beach, FL, who posted a 2-1-2-2-2-3!  Tight stuff!  Sitting in the bleacher seats watching the fight in front of him was Nathan Bresett’s WOODICHUCK from Belleville, Ontario, Canada; their record of 4-3-3-3-1 for 14 points was good enough for the bronze.

The world of handicap racing on Course D took place off to the southwest near the enormously long Bay Bridge.  For the first time, the NOOD regatta offered both PHRF and ORC handicap scoring for the entire fleet.  It produced interesting results, in particular because it offered perspectives on how much an “objective” rule (ORC) compared to a highly “subjective” rule (PHRF) can differ with regards to rating boats.  Winning the ORC Class of ten boats was Iris Vogel’s J/88 DEVIATION from Long Island Sound, New York.  She was the top women skipper in the entire NOOD Regatta!  Third in class was Ray Mannix’s J/29 SEMPER FI.  In the PHRF 1 Class of 11 boats, Vogel’s J/88 finished third behind two known PHRF “rule beaters” (e.g. boats that rate unlike any other boats in the PHRF rating spectrum).

In the PHRF 2 Class of nine boats, it was Mannix’s J/29 SEMPER FI from Largo, Florida that took the class win.  For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

A Short-handed Sailing Machine Evolves- the J/121

J/121 cockpit deck mockup  
(Bristol, RI)- Step-by-step, the J/121 offshore speedster is evolving at the CCF Composites facility in Bristol, RI; a city famous for its seafaring heritage that includes such notable sailing families as the Herreshoff’s.  Today, it is home to the next generation of offshore sailing design.  Evolving in the shadows of those fabled boat sheds on the Bristol shoreline is the new J/121, an offshore sailing machine designed to be sailed with five or fewer crew.

Critical to this design mandate is the careful engineering of critical boat-handling elements and deck/cockpit ergonomics, where even millimeters can make a difference.  Wheel diameters, pedestal heights and placement, foot rest locations, skipper and crew sight-lines as well as trimming locations all add up to sailing faster and more safely with friends and family.

Full-scale prototyping with actual sailors in the cockpit is the best way to validate and optimize the computer rendering. The J/121 cockpit offers tremendous elbow-room across her expansive decks aft.  The twin 36” wheels (mocked up in plywood in this picture) afford the skipper unprecedented views of the jib telltales and the ability to pick a faster track through steep seas approaching the bow, or diving for deeper troughs to surf and plane faster in following seas.

Today, the J/121’s ultra-fair CNC machined hull plug (by Symmetrix Composite Tooling) has produced gleaming hull molds, with the first hull due to be vacuum-bag formed in the next week.  More news to follow on this game-changing offshore sailing machine!  For more J/121 sailing information

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Another awesome KNEE DEEP sailing video!

J/34 family sailing on Lake Erie(Cleveland, OH)- Here is yet another nicely produced summary of sailing experiences over their 2016 sailing season from Brett Langolf and crew that race on Lake Erie out of Cleveland.


Knee Deep Sailing is a team of family and friends that race hard across The Great Lakes and also know how to slow it down with cold ones. Cheers to sailing!!   Learn more about the KNEE DEEP sailing team here Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Winger Awarded US Sailing honors for J/24 Class service

US Sailing winners(Austin, TX)- A remarkable list of sailing’s most accomplished contributors received high honors during Wednesday night’s US Sailing Awards Dinner at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Austin, Texas. US Sailing recognized these esteemed award winners for their extraordinary achievements in support of sailing in the United States. The awards dinner is a featured event at US Sailing’s 2017 National Conference.

Tim Winger (Lancaster, Pa.) was awarded the Harman Hawkins Trophy for his contributions to race administration as a measurer and equipment inspector. Winger sustained a passion for the J/24 the first time he saw one, and he has been sailing and working on J/24s ever since. He has exerted a major influence on the class for over 30 years.

Winger has held numerous positions related to J/24 sailing, including event measurer at seven of the 20 J/24 World Championships he has attended, district governor for the J/24 USA Class Association, and member of the executive committee of the International J/24 Class Association, where he currently serves as chair of the technical committee. Perhaps his most significant achievement was the effort he led to rewrite the class rules and the modifications required to gain World Sailing’s approval – a project that ultimately took over three years.

“The people behind the scenes make it possible for us to control the equipment and develop the tools and procedures for enforcement of the rules,” said Winger. “Thank you to US Sailing for supporting the sport we all love.”

An International Measurer (IM) since 2008, Winger has measured hundreds of boats at venues all over the world. His wife, Marie, often travels with him and shares in the measurement work.

“Between us we’ve seen the bottoms of more J/24s than anyone in the word,” added Winger.

Alex Finsterbusch, an IM from Argentina, said, “One of his many abilities is to recognize what your strengths are as an inspector. He always had the right guy in the right position. He is always calm, never loses his cool and is polite to sailors, coaches and everybody involved in the regatta.”   Learn more here about the US Sailing Awards. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 Midwinters Preview

J/70s sailing off Florida (St Petersburg, FL)- The 2017 J/70 Midwinters will be hosted by the award-winning regatta management crew at St Petersburg Yacht Club in St Petersburg, FL.  With fifty-four hungry teams on the line, regatta PRO Todd Fedyszyn will have his hands full keeping the hard-charging crews at bay for three days of racing that commences on Friday, February 24th and concludes on Sunday, February 26th.  It also marks another “first” milestone in the evolution of the J/70 class; it’s the first time the USA J/70 class association has experimented in a major “open” class championship with limiting professional sailors to just one per boat, including the owner or skipper.  Post regatta scuttlebutt will be interesting; the jury will be out on whether this is a welcome development, or not.

The weather forecast will certainly challenge the crews that range in age and experience; from 14 year old Madelyn Ploch on USA 88 to Masters Champions like John Brim on his famous RIMETTE.  Currently, NOAA forecasts moderate northeasterlies on Friday followed by blustery, puffy northwesterlies on Saturday, followed up again, after a frontal passage, by a persistently shifting northeasterly on Sunday veering east over the course of the day.

There are many top teams that are participating that include Olympic Gold Medallists, to World Champions, to local PHRF beer-can Wonder-Women!  Amongst those that should make appearances at the top of the leaderboard are Allen Terhune’s CITY WOK from Annapolis YC (J/22 World Champion); Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth Boat Club (a J/105 and J/80 North American Champion with Olympic Gold Medallist Jonathan McKee on tactics); David Mendelblatt on USA 839 from St Petersburg YC (a multiple College All-American like his brother Mark at Tufts University); Tim Healy’s NEW ENGLAND ROPES from Newport, RI (J/70 & J/24 World and Midwinter Champion); Henry Brauer’s RASCAL from Eastern YC (J/105 North American Champion and J/111 NYYC Annual Regatta and Chicago Verve Cup Champion); Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly YC (J/105 Key West Champion and J/80 World Champion); Will Welles’ SCAMP from Mount Desert Island Sailing Club (J/24 World Champion); and John & Molly Baxter’s VINEYARD VINES from Riverside YC (2016 Quantum J/70 Winter Series Champions).

Notably, SEVEN top women sailors will be participating, including Darby Smith’s AFRICA from Eastern YC; Sarah Renz’s BERTEAU GROUP from Chicago, IL; Danette Szakaly’s D2 RACING from St Petersburg YC; Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD from Coral Reef YC, Blaire McCarthy’s SPYC JUNIOR SAILING TEAM from St Petersburg YC; Madelyn Ploch’s USA 88 from American YC; and Kristen Robinson’s ZOMBIE from Annapolis YC.

The foreign contingent includes two Canadian crews, Stu McCrea’s CAN 550 from Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Scott Weakley’s REX from Port Credit YC in Port Credit (Toronto).  In addition, is the Mexican crew from Puerto Vallarta YC, Ignacio Perez’s ZAQUERO from Guadalajara.

The Corinthian crews should expect strong competition all weekend long from past leaders, like Rob Britts’ HOT MESS from Davis Island YC;  Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from American YC; Al Poindexter’s USA 241 from Lakewood YC in Houston, TX; and Frank McNamara’s CHINOOK from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA.  For more J/70 Midwinters sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, February 24, 2017

RORC Caribbean 600 Race Update

J/122 sailing RORC 600 (English Harbour, Antigua)- It was an awe-inspiring start for the ninth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.  The fleet started in magnificent conditions with the largest ever offshore fleet assembled in the Caribbean enjoying sparkling conditions. A southeasterly breeze, occasionally gusting up to 15 knots and a relatively calm sea state provided conditions for the perfect start with some close battles on the water.

"This fleet is awe-inspiring because of the quality of the boats and you can see that by the competition at the start to get close to the cliffs. From the first gun, people were pushing hard to win the race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has grown, year after year and we just love it, it is the perfect playground for offshore racing," commented Eddie Warden Owen, RORC Chief Executive.

J/122 Redshift race trackingRORC Commodore Michael Boyd commented, "It was almost as nerve racking to be up at Fort Charlotte as on the water, and, of course, we are all hurlers from the ditch telling them to get closer to the cliffs. It was a fascinating start from an amazing and historic vantage point to see these wonderful boats take off. Everything went very smoothly, which is a great tribute to our professional race management team and our volunteers. This was quite an emotional moment for me and we will of course be wishing them all well for the next few days and a safe return."

Ed Fishwick's J/122 REDSHIFT ON EL OCASO nailed the pin end at the first start which saw the combined IRC 2 & IRC 3 classes away clear. This year with softer winds predicted, perhaps one of these yachts will win the overall prize of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. REDSHIFT ON EL OCASEO was leading on the water at Green Island but two hours into the race.  As of Thursday at 0900 hours, with just over 145nm left to go, the J/122 REDSHIFT ON EL OCASO is 1st in IRC 2 Class and 1st in CSA 2 Class, and they have a shot at overall honors, too!

The RORC Caribbean 600 has quickly become an important event in ocean racing circles in the course of its short history and a 'must do' race on the calendar of those who take their ocean racing seriously. The RORC Caribbean 600 circumnavigates 11 of the Leeward Islands, starting and finishing in Antigua, going as far north as St. Maarten and as far south as Guadeloupe. The race has grown steadily in its nine-year history and the 2017 edition has a new record entry of over 70 boats.  For more RORC Caribbean 600 Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Islands Race Preview

Islands Race course (Newport Beach, CA)- Sailors from all over the Pacific Coast are eagerly preparing for one of San Diego Yacht Club’s signature offshore races. The 130nm Islands Race begins on February 24, and is San Diego YC’s first offshore race of 2017. Following the Islands Race is the SoCal 300, the final event of California Offshore Race Week, in May and the Rum Runner Race in October.

For the eighth year, San Diego Yacht Club will partner with Newport Harbor Yacht Club for the Islands Race. The popular course features genuine sea breezes and deep blue ocean swells. Competitors will depart from the Long Beach Harbor and head west of the Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands for some of Southern California’s best sailing before they finish the regatta in San Diego’s Point Loma.

Over 30 boats are expected to compete, ranging from 33 to 70 feet in length.  Skipper Tim Fuller from San Diego Yacht Club has participated in the Islands Race numerous times on his J/125 RESOLUTE. Fuller plans to use the complexities of the Islands Race to prepare for the Transpac Race in July (a 2,225nm adventure).  Comments Fuller, "The Islands Race does have its challenges. First, is lane positioning on the long drag race from LA around the west end of Catalina Island in a typical westerly breeze. Second, is navigating the exclusion zones outside of San Clemente Island, and third, is tactically anticipating the wind fill and direction on the last leg to Point Loma.”  After narrowly missing the overall title last year by a margin of just one minute, Fuller has his eyes set on the overall title for 2017.

J/crew sailing Islands RaceWayne Terry, SDYC Staff Commodore, is once again Co-Chairing the race, along with Daniel Geissmann from Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Terry is ready to host another iconic offshore race with a celebration for competitors after finishing the race.  "The annual Islands Race, now in its 8th year, is a normally well-attended event, co-sponsored by the San Diego and Newport Harbor Yacht Clubs. As of this writing, the fleet numbers 25 competitors in what should be another fun and challenging event, and a tune-up precursor to this year’s Cabo and Transpac Races. While the 2016 Island’s Race experienced somewhat of a weather anomaly, which drove an early morning race day decision to sail the inside course, we hope 2016 was just that – an anomaly. The Island’s Race is one of those events where the sailing offices at the respective clubs deserve all the kudos- they do the heavy lifting. On behalf of the organizing authorities, we hope everyone participating in this year’s event enjoys a fun, fast and most importantly, safe race."

There are seven J/Teams that are participating in the 2017 edition of the Islands Race, nearly 25% of the fleet! In addition to Tim Fuller’s J/125 RESOLUTE, there are two other J/125 stablemates joining them, Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE from Coronado YC and Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER from Dana Point YC.

Besides the three J/125’s, there are four other J/Crews on the race track that have a great shot at class, as well as overall honors.  Those teams include Ed Sanford’s J/105 CREATIVE from San Diego YC; Doug & Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA from Los Angeles YC; Seth Hall’s gorgeous navy blue J/124 MARISOL from Cortez Racing Association; and Paul Stemler’s elegant J/44 PATRIOT from Newport Harbor YC.

SDYC will host the award ceremony on the clubhouse main deck at 3pm on Saturday, February 25 with food and drinks for competitors starting at 1400 hrs.  Friends, family, and the sailing community can follow the race by tuning in to the Yellow Brick Tracking website at http://yb.tl/islandsrace2016.
For more Islands Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 San Francisco Fleet Update

(San Francisco, CA)- Want to go sailing and have a fun time sailing J/70s on the fabulous San Francisco Bay??  Look no further!  Click on this link and join in on the fun with the J/70 San Francisco fleet this summer!
J/70 San Francisco Bay
For more J/70 San Francisco fleet sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

J/22 San Francisco Chalk Talk For Women Sailors!

J/22 sailing expert- Nicole Breault (San Francisco, CA)- This spring, St Francis YC member Nicole Breault will be teaching a seven-week Learn to Race Course for the yacht club’s female members. Course participants will train every Tuesday on the Club's J/22s, then put their skills to work while racing in the Wednesday Night J/22 Spring Series. The Sailing Course was opened to the Women's Committee on Friday afternoon and sold out within 24 hours. Commodore and Mrs. Kiriakis are thrilled to see this kind of enthusiasm from the members in regards to getting women out on the water, and they hope it's the start of many on-water activities to come.

To kick off the sailing course, Nicole is offering a Chalk Talk for Women on March 7 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.  All women sailors from the Bay area and beyond are welcome!  In this talk, Nicole will discuss the basics of sailing and fleet racing and will provide an orientation of the J/22. Refreshments included.  Please go to http://wwww.Stfsf.org or call 415-563-6363. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

USF Wins Southern Collegiate Offshore Regatta

J/105 Univ South Florida Southern College big Boat winners (Charleston, SC)- Nine universities from across the U.S. competed in the Southern Collegiate Offshore Regatta, held February 11-12 in Charleston, SC. Held in keelboats using PHRF, the 7-race series was won by University of South Florida. The competition was staged in a fleet of donated boats randomly assigned to the nine teams with racing inside Charleston Harbor on medium-distance courses.

The University of South Florida team won on the J/105 JOYRIDE with an amazing record of 5-1-2-1-4-1-2 for just 16 pts total.  Not far off the pace in third place were the College of Charleston racing the J/120 ILLYRIA with an extremely consistent scoreline of 3-2-3-2-2-2 for 24 pts total, losing a tie-breaker for the silver based on 1st’s against another team. Securing 5th position on the J/105 SKIMMER was the Vanderbilt University team with a total of 43 pts. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RORC Caribbean 600 Race Preview

RORC 600 course (English Harbour, Antigua)- The RORC Caribbean 600 has quickly become an important event in ocean racing circles in the course of its short history and a 'must do' race on the calendar of those who take their ocean racing seriously. The RORC Caribbean 600 circumnavigates 11 of the Leeward Islands, starting and finishing in Antigua, going as far north as St. Maarten and as far south as Guadeloupe. The race has grown steadily in its nine-year history and the 2017 edition is due to have a new record entry of over 70 boats.

J/122 El Ocaso sailing CaribbeanCommodore of RORC, Michael Boyd is delighted at the rapid development of the RORC Caribbean 600, “this is the tenth anniversary of the RORC Caribbean 600 and with Rolex's support we fully expect to see up to 100 boats competing. This event is quickly becoming a priority on the international racing circuit and we look forward to its continued success for many years to come.”

The 9th edition of the race starts in Antigua on 20th February 2017 at 1100.  Vying for class honors will be a number of veteran offshore J/Crews from both Europe and the Americas. In Class 1 will be David Ballantyne’s J/133 WINGS from the United Kingdom.  Then, in the large 27-boat Division C will be Robert Hiller’s J/122 EL OCASO from the USA, Henry Van Melle’s J/46 JENT from the Netherlands, Kevin McLaughlin’s J/44 SPICE from the USA and Andy Middleton’s J/120 SUNSET.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ PWPictures.com.  For more RORC Caribbean 600 Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ingham Crowned J/24 Midwinter Champion

J24 Midwinter Champions (Indian Harbour Beach, FL)- Just a few days after being named US Sailing’s 2016 National Coach of the Year, Mike Ingham earned his first J/24 Midwinter Championship, helming TARHEEL. The Rochester, NY-based skipper accumulated just 23 points over eight races at Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, FL to dominate the 31-boat fleet. Here is how it all went down just south of “moon shot” town- NASA’s Cape Canaveral.

On the first day of racing, the sailors enjoyed clear blue skies with breeze and between 10-15 knots of breeze over four races. Keeping all his scores in the top six (6,5,2,4) put Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team at the top of fleet. Mike Ingham’s Tarheel won two races, but added a 16 to give him 21 overall points for second place. Will Welles’ Bogus was two notches farther back in third.

Ingham opened the day with his first victory, ahead of Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger and Daniel Borrer’s Jesus Lizard. Odenbach snared the next win, with Welles and Ingham completing the top trio. White and Todd Fedyszyn’s Spoony Tactics watched Welles cross the finish line first in race three, before Ingham succeeded in the day’s final battle (followed by John Poulson’s Long Shot and Andrew Carey’s Mr. Hankey).

J/24 sailing MidwintersOn the second day, another four races were completed Saturday. With eight races now in the books, Mike Ingham’s Tarheel and Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger were tied on points at 23 going into the final day of racing on Sunday. Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team sat in third place with 29 points.

In winds between 6-8 knots following a brief onshore postponement, John Poulson’s Long Shot began the day with his first of two bullets, trailed by Ingham and White. John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen earned line honors in race 6, as Ingham took another second and Even Petley-Jones’ Lifted placed third. With a victory in the next battle, Odenbach made a move up the leaderboard (Aidan Glackin’s Mental Floss and Mollicone rounded out the top group) before Poulson ended the day the way he started it (Will Welles’ Bogus and White followed).

J/24 crew sailing MidwintersThe third day dawned with a virtual mill pond, a condition sailors often describe as a “glass-out”- flat water and the sky being reflected on the surface.  With no promise of wind in sight, despite everyone’s best efforts, all races were cancelled on Sunday due to the lack of breeze.  As a result, Ingham was declared the 2017 J/24 Midwinter Champion. Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger was initially tied on points with Ingham after Saturday’s races, but a scoring penalty was later posted, leaving Odenbach with 29 points and second place, which is where he ended up after no races were completed Sunday due to lack of breeze. Both John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen and Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team also tallied 29 points, with Mollicone clearing the tie-breaker for third place. Will Welles’ Bogus captured the fifth position with 41 points. “It was really hard to be consistent,” shared Ingham. “It was too shifty. If you got out of phase, it was really hard to get back.”

Sailing with Tucker Gilliam (bow), Scott Smith (mast), Scott Griffin (tactics) and Paul Abdullah (trimmer), Ingham now proudly holds The Lambert Lai Trophy, named in honor of the previous USJCA President who passed away in 2014 and also raced in the Rochester, NY fleet. Team Tarheel was previously led by Peter Bream, who died last October. Ingham has sailed the boat for the last two regattas. “The fun thing about this is it’s the Tarheel team, which was really Peter getting these guys sailing when they were younger,” explained Ingham. “I had this feeling that I needed to do him proud. And I don’t mean winning. I mean just being a sportsman because that’s the way he was.”  For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

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, RenegadeSailing.com, 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, www.sfj105.org. His bowman Chin maintains an active Facebook page where calls for crews and requests to crew are posted occasionally- Foredeck Union, https://www.facebook.com/groups/169458786505807/

Saturday, February 18, 2017

HELLY HANSEN St Pete NOOD Regatta Preview

J70s rounding mark in St Petersburg NOOD (St Petersburg, FL)- The first of the many Sailing World NOOD Regattas will be starting this weekend in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by the St Petersburg YC.  A record fleet has turned out for the event, fueled in part by the huge J/70 class.  Racing will be taking place from Friday, February 17th to Sunday, February 19th on Tampa Bay.  The weather forecast looks promising, with light easterlies on Friday, followed by moderate norwesterlies on Saturday and more lightish southerlies on Sunday.

The event attracts a broad cross-section of sailors in both one-design fleets as well as PHRF fleets.  The event is dominated by J/crews from across America, with strong fleets in the J/24 and J/70 one-design classes, as well as a competitive contingent of J/88s, J/29s, and J/105 in the PHRF buoy racing classes.  In the PHRF random-leg classes that get to roam around Tampa Bay, there will be a rematch of top teams sailing J/40s and J/42s!

J/70 sailing St Pete NOODThe J/70 class is out in strength, again, after just completing their Quantum Winter Series last week at Davis Island YC on Tampa Bay.  Thirty-four teams are headed for the starting line that include a number of top teams that had sailed in the Quantum Key West Race Week and are gunning for the J/70 Midwinters the following weekend, as well as the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week later in March.  At the top of that heap is the 2016 J/70 World Champion, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT crew from Wayzata YC in Minnesota.  They will be hard pressed by a hell’s kitchen of crews that are all capable of being at the top of the leaderboard, including Darby Smith’s AFRICA from Marblehead, MA; Marty Kullman’s NEW WAVE from the host SPYC; Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY RACING from the Cayman Islands; Robert Willis’ RIP RULLAH from Columbia YC; Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly YC in Buzzards Bay, MA; and Rich Lehmann’s WIND CZAR from Little Traverse YC in Harbor Springs, MI.  Of note for the J/70s are the very talented HELLY HANSEN Junior Crew led by Blair McCarthy from St Petersburg YC.

J/88 Wings sailing St Pete NOODIn the PHRF race course, it promises to be a significant “dust-up” between top J/88 crews and J/cruising crews.  In PHRF 1, three J/88s are sailing, all at the top of their game.  Those crews include Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION from Huguenot YC in New Rochelle, NY; Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2 from Milwaukee YC and Northbrook, IL; and Mike Bruno’s WINGS from American YC in Rye, NY.  They will be up against two J/105s, Jody Abrams’ ARIEL from SPYC and George Cussins’ FIRE & ICE from Apollo Beach, FL.  Sailing in PHRF 2 are perhaps two of the fastest PHRF boats on Tampa Bay, Ray Mannix’s J/29  SEMPER FI from Largo, FL and the St Pete Sailing Association and the trio aboard the J/29 MEATIER (Brian Davies, Brian Kennalley, and Ed Mui from Chicago Corinthian YC in Chicago, IL). 

The NORTH SAILS Race Rally fleet sees Jeff Russo’s J/40 INTREPID taking on Roger Gatewood’s J/42 SHAZAAM for class and line honors all weekend long!  Both crews hail from the famous Davis Island YC across Tampa Bay.

St Pete NOOD gutter racerWhile the racing on the water promises to be epic, perhaps the roughest and toughest test of sailing skills make take place ashore!  This year marks the inaugural HELLY HANSEN Gutter Boat Regatta at the NOOD.  Meet on the race track at 1900 hrs Saturday night at the post-race party to keep the competition alive.

Grab your “gutter boat racing kit” Thursday evening at registration, first come first serve.  Take a few minutes between Registration and Saturday's party to build your winning catamaran! Foilers??  Maybe.  Each kit contains a sail, trimaran frame, two pieces of balsa wood, a mast, and four screws. You may want to bring some more materials to set yours apart from the rest.  The winning boat will go home with a sweet Helly Hansen trolley bag!  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ OutsideImages.com.   For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

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/ Photoboat.com.  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.