Wednesday, March 29, 2017

J/Crews Sweep Double Farallones Classes!

J/111 Aeolus sailing Double Farallones race (San Francisco, CA)- For Saturday’s revamped BAMA Double Handed Farallones race, the lightish winds, flat seas, and changing tides meant the starting line could only be described as chaos.  For the 0800 hrs start, there was an unexpectedly strong flood right along the shoreline.  So, the BAMA RC officials postponed the original start, hoping for increased breeze to get the fleet off the line.  To make matters worse, the RC were forced to delay starting sequences again after a snafu with the Class C start.  Starting slower boats first can present additional problems if the smaller boats cannot make headway across the line in adverse currents; especially when starting faster boats later in the sequence! Hence the chaotic scenario just off the Golden Gate YC waterfront starting area.

The top boats were lucky to escape the clutches of the tricky start line.  The key for the start was to flop onto port tack right away, separate from the mayhem, and head for the remnants of strong ebb flowing West towards the bridge in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

J/125 sailing Double Farallones raceOnce into the remnants of the ebb, it was like you’d been shot from a cannon and past the Golden Gate Bridge.  From there, it was pretty much a rhumb line course to the first turning point on the northern side of the Farallones Rocks, first close hauled and then a close reach when the wind backed southeast. Some boats reported averaging over 10kts SOG for 1.5+ hours once past the bridge!

The Class 10- DHF UBLD Farallones course- was one of the most difficult to gauge competitively since there were such a mix of super lightweight “classic” west coast ULDB’s up against a J/105 (not exactly a ULBD) and a J/88.  In the end, Bill Woodruff & Mike Weinman’s J/1005 RUSSIAN ROULETTE took 5th place followed by Jim Hopp & Ben Burbridge’s J/88 WHITE SHADOW.

Taking the silver in the Class 12- DHG7 Weather Buoy course- was Steve & Zach Gordon’s J/88 INCONCEIVABLE.

J/120 sailing Double Farallones raceThe biggest and most competitive class in the entire race was Class 14- DHF ULDB Farallones Rocks course.  Despite the strong turnout and experienced crews, the class saw a clean sweep of the top four and five of the top six places occupied by doublehanded J/teams!  Winning was Mike O’Callaghan & John Verdois’ J/120 PEREGRINE from St Francis YC.  Taking second was Rob Theis & Jennifer Cannestra’s J/111 AEOLOUS from Santa Barbara YC, third was Sean & Jeff Mulvihill’s J/120 JAMANI from San Francisco YC, fourth was Reuben Rocci & Nesrin Basoz’s J/111 SWIFT NESS from Richmond YC and sixth place was Rich Pipkin & Mary McGrath’s J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS.  Most all of these top J/crews completed the 58.0nm course in just under 8 hours- a 7.25 kts average- not bad considering the ebb and the flow of the tides underneath the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge!

Peter Jermyn’s J/30 IONE took class honors sailing Class 5- DHG7 Weather Buoy course.

J/88 sailing Farallones raceOverall on the classic Farallones Rocks course of 58nm, the double-handed J/Crews did great!  First J/team home boat-for-boat was the J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS sailed by Rich Pipkin and Mary McGrath, finishing in the elapsed time of 7hrs 43min 51sec; they also won First in Fleet honors (for keelboats, of course)!  On a corrected time basis, four J’s finished in the top six, with the team of O’Callaghan/ Verdois taking 3rd on their J/120 PEREGRINE.  In fourth was Theis/ Cannestra’s J/111 AEOLUS, fifth was the Mulvhill’s J/120 JAMANI and sixth place was Rocci/ Basoz’s J/111 SWIFT NESS.  It was a great showing across the board for these intrepid duos!

Afterwards, Chris Ray from Pressure-Drop.US caught up with Rob Theis who spent the day double handing his J/111 AEOLUS with Jennifer Canestra, teaming up for the first time together for a blast around the smelly rocks (world’s best fertilizer- guano!)- -

J/111 woman skipper in Double Farallones Race"We spent the pre-start time sailing up to the remaining ebb to measure wind and relief and made the decision to come in hot from the pin-end and then button hook the pin and the sail right back to the current,” commented Rob. "The wind was a bit better and there was still a knot or so of ebb working mid-bay, not a real wide ribbon but once you were in it, the relief was substantial!”

"The ebb carried us out the gate in amazingly flat, calm water with enough pressure from the south for a steady, smooth tight reach out to the islands! We prepared for a set, but the wind stayed too SSE to launch until a few miles of tight reaching back towards the gate. Really pleasant sailing conditions in the 10-15 knot range,” said Rob. Unlike last year, when the humpbacks were seemingly everywhere, breach and tail slapping, marine life was described to be on the quiet side.

J/111 sailing Double Farallones raceRob and Jennifer worked their way along the southern side of the Golden Gate Strait, riding a 0.9 knot flood and worked their way around the South Tower expecting a nice slap down by the South Tower Demon. “I was very surprised when we sailed passed and gybed around the south tower with no repercussions,” he noted.  “After the bridge, the wind got really westerly, as usual, but the water stayed flat. We gybed over toward Crissy Field along the beach, with just Class 40 CONDOR and the J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS ahead of us by a few minutes.  We crossed the line at 17:33:20s flying the kite all the way towards Alcatraz, gybed, and enjoyed a really nice reach along the City Front, as an early evening pulse of breeze pushed through propelling us towards the barn in fine fashion. It was a really great day with a mix of clouds and sun, smooth seas and fun sailing, good times!”

Here is the story from Mike and John’s ride on the mighty J/120 PEREGRINE:

J/120 sailing Double Farallones race“It was a glorious day with a soft southerly breeze and flat water all the way out and back – absolutely the most civilized DH Farallones Mike and I have ever sailed. If it was like this each year there would be 200 entrants instead of the 80 or so who showed up at the start. After a brief postponement in the starting sequence, we had a great start and got off the line and headed out to the ebb in the center bay – and then we were off sailing directly for the islands on a port tack. About three miles outside the Gate we switched from the 155 to our jib top – which we sailed with all the way to the rocks. Zero tacks, just a mild close reach powered up nicely and essentially on cruise control – trying to eek out as much speed as we could.

J/120 sailing Double Farallones raceWe tacked only once on the back side of the islands and set off back to the Gate – we were with a group of eight or so boats. Fairly soon, we set the A3 and not long after switched to the A2 which we carried all the way to the finish line, with maybe five jibes to plug into favorable current off Baker Beach and get around the South Tower. In retrospect, we should have brought the big class kite – but prudence and previous experience suggested that the class kite would be too much to handle doublehanded, but it would have been faster.

Compared to last year's rounding the islands in 30+ knots of breeze - this weekend's race was more like going to a day spa. It was awesome to have a non life-threatening or nail biting Farallones experience – and great to sail the route with Mike again. I have lost count of how many times we have done this race, but I hope to continue the tradition in our geezerish years. All I know is that the best way to stay young is to ignore the birthdays and just keep doing it!”

Here is a short video of the J/120 JAMANI sailing across the finish line at 17:46:35.   Story and sailing photo credits from Chris Ray/ Presssure-drop.us   For more SF BAMA Doublehanded Farallones Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Landsail Tyres J-Cup Announcement!

J/111 sailing JCup UK (Torquay, United Kingdom)- Key Yachting Ltd. and the Royal Torbay Yacht Club are thrilled to announce that entry is open for the Landsail Tyres J-Cup 2017 in Partnership with B&G Electronics!  The event takes place from the 17th to 19th of August, 2017.

Incorporating the National Championships for the J/88, J/97 and J/109, the J-Cup is quite simply three days of serious competition coupled with not-so-serious shoreside entertainment, with one design racing for almost everyone. If you have a J/Boat, you're invited!

The J-Cup returns to glorious Torbay for the first time since 2009. Gemma Dunn from Key Yachting commented, “When Torbay was announced as the 2017 venue, more teams pre-registered than ever before, demonstrating the love our sailors have for the West Country. The J-Cup falls in-between the Fastnet Race and the Torbay and Dartmouth regattas, so there’s potentially a full programme on offer before the return to work and school in September.”

J-Cup UK sailingUp to eight races will be sailed, with daily prize-givings and “themed” dinners every evening, and, of course, the notorious prize-giving party on the final night- with local favourites “Joey-The-Lips” providing the amazing, tub-thumping, slam-dancing, disco-madness soundtrack!

Bob Penfold, Commodore of the club said, “The club is looking forward to welcoming the J-Cup fleet to Torquay and to the fine sailing waters of Torbay.  Truly, the world's best sailing for our friends sailing on a variety of J/Boats in every class!”

For any questions regards the event, please contact Gemma Dunn at Key Yachting Ltd- phone- +44- 2380-455669 or email- gemma@keyyachting.com.  To enter the J-Cup, or for more information about the event click here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

J/97 Takes Silver @ Sydney Harbour Regatta

J/97E sailing Sydney Harbour Regatta (Sydney, Australia)- The Sydney Harbour Regatta was this year run on 4th and 5th March. The SHR is an annual event organized by the Middle Harbour Yacht Club. It is a cooperative event and most of the major clubs in the Harbour region participate in the running of the racing, with fleets ranging from historic 18ft skiffs to ocean racers. Racing is conducted all over the harbour as well as offshore.

The Super 30 division’s racing was conducted by the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club. The usual SASC Super 30 fleet was bolstered by other entries and this year had 21 starters in the SHR fleet. The fleet included an MC 31, a C&C 30, several Flying Tiger 30s, and a Mumm 30 along with some other lightweight flyers.  Up against this formidable group was the J/97E KNOCKABOUT, skippered by Jim Chambers and his trusty crew from Sydney.  Here is Jim's report:

"The weekend did not provide the usual, sparkling weather we would normally expect on an early Autumn day in Sydney. Instead, a deep low had developed nearby in the Tasman Sea and the harbour was raked by gusty southerly winds pushing a steady procession of rain squalls across the city.

The Saturday racing consisted of two windward/leeward courses, each of three times around a quite tight course. The first race saw winds of 15-20 knots and most yachts were well rigged for the conditions. With 21 boats in the Super 30 Division, along with another, slower division sailing the same course, the main objective was to keep out of trouble and try to sail one’s own race. An interesting challenge presented itself at the last windward mark when the mark became quite mobile due to having a 30ft yacht attached to it. Fortunately, the situation sorted itself out without creating any further, major incident. Apart from getting buried at the start, Knockabout managed to keep clear of traffic for most of the race and we were pleased with how we went.

Half way through the second race the wind suddenly surged to 25+ knots. With the fleet rigged for much lower winds, and such short legs, things started to get a little hairy. There was no time to make sail changes and so on Knockabout we took the option to nurse the boat around the course and preserve it for the next day’s racing.

The Sunday racing was two, short, harbour courses. The rain had eased slightly but the wind was highly variable in both strength and direction. The wind was gusting anywhere between 10-20 knots. Based on experience from the first day Knockabout opted for conservative starts. This proved to be wise as the first start saw aggressive luffing at the line that lead to a four boat raft up right beside the committee boat. An added challenge with the course of the day was that the start/finish line was to the west of the main racing area. In both races, on approaching the finish, the strong southerly suddenly gave way to a weak westerly, turning the two sail blast reach into a slow beat! Just to add some interest to the situation, the southerly would send an occasional surge into this area, to the benefit of the boats crossing it at the time. Knockabout was fortunate to benefit from such a surge in the last race.

The J/97 was a pleasure to sail under these conditions, although maybe her crew was not always up to the tough conditions! Overall, Knockabout had two good and two not-so-good races. It is perhaps a testament to how difficult the conditions were that her scorecard of 2-9-11-3, with no drops, earned her second overall in the regatta!"  For more J/97E sport cruiser sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

BVI Spring Regatta Preview

J/111 sailing Caribbean (Roadtown, Tortola, British Virgin Islands)- The 2017 BVI Spring Regatta is shaping up to be nicely attended event, particularly with the enormous one-design fleets of charter boats from the various charter companies that operate in that part of the Virgin Islands archipelago.  The regatta also benefits from being the second event in the Virgin Islands after S.T.I.R. in St Thomas.

The event will be hosted by the Royal BVI Yacht Club with boats based in Nanny Cay Marina in Road Town, Tortola.  Racing takes place from March 28th to April 3rd in Virgin Gorda Sound.  If the “racer’s regatta” is STIR in St Thomas, then the BVI Spring is definitely the “cruiser’s regatta”.  BVI is decidedly more laid back and easy-going.  There are plenty of reaching races and not a lot of hard work beating upwind.

J/122 Liquid sailing CaribbeanThere is a nice turnout for the CSA Racing Class, twenty-one boats will be going at it hammer & tong to determine who knows how to “reach through life”!!  Many of the same players in STIR will also be participating in BVI along with a few more add-ons.  Again, you will see the J/88 TOUCH 2 PLAY RACING on the line, along with the J/122 EL OCASO (this time chartered by the UK family crew led by Chris Body).  Additional J/crews will include the J/122 LIQUID skippered/owned by Pamala Baldwin from Antigua; the J/111 SPIKE sailed by Sam Talbot from the local Royal BVI YC; the J/105 VUJA DE skippered by Remco Van Dortmondt from Kralendjik, Bonaire; and the J/120 SUNSET chartered by Andy Middleton from Cowes, United Kingdom.  Hopefully, the weather will have improved from the St Thomas event and the giant long wave trough from the weekend will have dissipated and moved on so the classic sunny, windy trade winds kick back in!!  One can only hope, otherwise the fashion show mid-week may become a wet t-shirt fiasco for everyone!  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ PWPictures.com.  For more BVI Spring Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Smashing San Diego NOOD Regatta!

J/70s sailing San Diego NOODSanta Barbara YC Qualifies for US J/70 Youths!
(San Diego, CA)- The masses attending this year’s Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta were not disappointed!  As they have managed to accomplish in the past, the San Diego YC hosted another great event for the 500+ sailors that were participating in their annual spring bash on the San Diego Harbor and offshore of Point Loma.

The weekend marked the second major event in the Helly Hansen Sailing World NOOD events for the summer of 2017.  Three large one-design fleets of J’s were sailing- J/70, J/105 & J/120.

J/70s sailing San Diego NOODThe nineteen J/70s enjoyed great sailing, with ten races completed over the three-day weekend.  Taking class honors was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT; but it was not without some drama.  Jeff couldn’t sail the first day due to business commitments, so he had his 14 year old son steer the first day- to lead the regatta with a 2-1-3 record! Then, as the weekend progressed, they maintained a consistently high score until they posted two uncharacteristically high scores- a 15th and 12th in the 8th and 9th races.  However, by closing with a 1st in the last race, they sealed the deal to win class overall.

Second in J/70s and also Top Corinthians crew was none other than Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS of J/24 North American Championship fame from the talented Santa Barbara YC group of sailors.  The Big Doggers sailed their best series to date in J/70s and are sure to be a contender in future major events.  Just four points off the pace behind them was Jim Murrell’s HUCKLEBERRY.  Rounding out the top five were Bruce Cooper’s USA 32 in 4th place and Dave Hochart’s USA 540 (also 2nd Corinthians).  Of note, third Corinthians was Craig Tallman’s JAVA.

J/70 Santa Barbara Youth teamThis event also marked the third regatta for US J/70 Youth Championship teams to qualify.  In this event, there were three teams from across the spectrum of youth programs in Southern California.  They included the HELLY HANSEN JUNIOR CREW skippered by Jack Reiter representing the host SDYC; Luke Pierce sailing CAKE, representing Santa Barbara YC; and Robert Garret skippering SLOOP JOHN B, representing Newport Harbor YC.  For these three crews, it was a nip and tuck battle all weekend long.  In the end, it was the Santa Barbara YC/ SB Youth Foundation crew of high-school kids on CAKE (Lucas Pierce (skipper), Ryan Eastwood (Tactician), Chris Kayda, Kris Ozolins, and Payne Donaldson) that qualified as the top youth team from the regatta for the US J/70 Youth Championship in Newport, RI this coming August. The SBYC/SBYF team has been supported by CAKE’s owner, Scott Deardorff- also the Rear Commodore of Santa Barbara YC. Here is Lucas’ commentary:

“A couple of months ago, I was approached by Mr. Deardorff, to see if I had any interest in putting together a team to try to qualify for the J/70 Youth Championship.  He offered to let us use his J/70.  None of us have very much keelboat experience, but we were really excited to give it a shot!

J/70 youth sailors chillin'We set up a practice schedule and worked mostly on our boat-handling.  We were able to do one local regatta in really light air. But, other than that, we didn’t have any regatta experience in the J/70.

Our plan was to try to qualify for the J/70 Youth Nationals this summer at the San Diego NOOD regatta, March 17-19.

We really enjoyed sailing against the high level of competition at this regatta and the two other junior teams.  We know almost all of the kids on the other teams and we’re all good friends.  We learned a lot over the weekend.  Our starts improved a lot as we got a feel for when to unfurl the jib and how to set up.  We felt really fast downwind the whole time, but learned a lot about how to sail faster upwind, like how to flatten the sails, the boat, and how to use the backstay.

We’re looking forward to practicing some more and seeing a lot of our old Opti, Laser and 29er friends in Newport this summer!”

J/105 sailing San Diego NOODThe eleven J/105s had their dose of sanity fed to them from one of the West Coast’s top J/105 crews.  There was no question the regatta was going to come down to the top three teams that have been leading the class the past few years- Rick Goebel’s SANITY, Dennis Case’s WINGS and Tom Hurlburt/ Chuck Driscoll’s JUICED.  In the end, it was the SANITY crew skippered by Rick Goebel that walked off with class honors with an undeniably powerful, ego-crushing scoreline of all top three finishes- a 2-2-1-3-1-3 tally for just 12 pts total.  Their compatriots in crime at the top of the leaderboard, nevertheless, made it a struggle for both Goebel but as well as themselves.  WINGS won that battle by a whisker in the last race, hanging onto a 7th to secure second by one point over the jazzed-up JUICED crew!  Rounding out the top five were Scott McDaniel’s OFF THE PORCH (happy to win the last race) to secure 4th place, and Stew Cannon’s J-OK in fifth (happy to win the first race!).

J/120 CAPER sailing San Diego NOODThe J/120 class was probably grateful they were not white-washed by the insanely smart or fast (or both) crew on board John Laun’s CAPER.  While they started off with a “less than zero” tally in their first race, a negative 6 pts, the caped crusaders on CAPER just put it all together and sailed away with a 1-3-1-1 tally for the gold!  What was cooler than that performance? A new face in the crowd- the proverbial “new kids on the block”!  A bunch of MAD MEN, no less.  It was Ernie Pennell’s crew on MAD MEN that sailed an amazing regatta to get the silver by one point!  Shockingly, it was Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY team that was on the short-end of that stick, settling for the bronze behind “the new kids”. Rounding out the top five was another surprise, Tim Hogan’s almighty lucky SHAMROCK was just one point back in 4th place and past multiple regatta champion, Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER, had to settle for 5th place. Amazing how times are a-changin’ in the SD 120 world.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images  For more Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, March 27, 2017

J/70 Stadium Sailing Hits Detroit Race Track!

J/70 sailing league- stadium styleFour Sailing League Events @ Grosse Pointe YC
(Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)– For this summer, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Michigan has organized a series of three stadium-style regattas – scheduled May 20, June 23 and September 16 – and will host the Premiere Sailing League USA’s Freshwater Cup/ Great Lakes Challenge on August 12. All four competitions will be sailed in one-design J/70s, with the May 20 event promising “adrenalin-fueled action” at the club’s Great Lakes Boating Festival.

“The May event, like the others, is free, open to the public, and designed to capitalize on fast-paced sailing in close quarters that is thrilling for both competitors and spectators,” said Grosse Pointe Yacht Club Sailing Director Wally Cross, explaining that in a timeframe of four hours, 18 races will be sailed.  Each race will have four legs and last between two and three minutes. Skippers and crews “sail nine, watch nine,” giving them an opportunity to interact with the shore-side crowds. “It’s based on the concept introduced by Premier Sailing League USA and tested with great success last Fall here at this club. Because of the fun factor, word has already spread and people are excited to get involved.”

There are approximately 20 J/70s that regularly sail in the Michigan area, and Cross says the club’s three-race series is open to anyone who owns or can get their hands on a J/70. Points will be cumulative, with the series winner determined at the final event in September. The Premier Sailing League USA event will be separately scored and slightly different. It will be a yacht club challenge open to all clubs on the Great Lakes, and each club (as many as 30 are expected) will be allowed to sail one J/70 in the one-day event. It also guarantees exciting action close to shore, with as many as 20 short windward/leeward races

J/70 stadium sailing“When the action is literally right out in front of the dock, where the dock is part of the course (meaning you tack to avoid it), people standing there really get a feel for it,” said Cross. “The J/70 is the perfect boat; it’s sporty but manageable and really fun to sail.”

Because of the need for three marks to be constantly moving due to changing wind direction and length of course desired, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club and the Premiere Sailing League USA plan to test a new remote-controlled buoy system for the races.

“There are so many elements that make all this truly exciting, but the key thing is that it starts at one time and finishes at another, just like a basketball game,” said Cross. “Life today is all about justifying your free time, and if you can clearly say that from beginning to end something will last four hours, that our families can join in, and we’re going to have a lot of fun, it’s going to change the way people view the sport of sailing.”

Please contact Grosse Pointe YC Sailing Director Wally Cross for more information regards GPYC’s stadium sailing project- cell# 586-596-8854 or email- wcross@gpyc.org   For more information about Premiere Sailing League USA  For more information about the Great Lakes Boating Festival Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/121 Offshore Speedster Update

J/121 hull molds (Newport, RI)- We are pleased to share several updates as the J/121 project transitions from the tooling-only phase into the initial production of hull #1.

Tooling/Production Update
The hull mold was vacuum tested last week to ensure an air-tight fit - a critical component in the resin infusion molding process. The hull mold surfaces were then waxed in final preparation for the molding of the first hull. The boot stripes and flanges are shown being taped off in this photo earlier this week.

And presto, hull #1 begins molding! The light grey boot stripes were applied first, and then the white gelcoat sprayed into the hull molds. The two molds will be joined before the laminate and core is placed and the hull infused.

J/121 deck moldOnce the hull is molded (upon “de-molding”), it will be placed into a special hull jig for the installation of the structural bulkheads. The “green jig” was recently built using the master hull plug seen in the background. This picture nicely shows off the J/121’s planing hull shape.

Meanwhile, back in the prototype shop, the nonskid surface was applied to the deck plug. The finish is “sand-style” which will yield excellent traction on the final molded deck.

J/121 Southern Spars supplierSouthern Spars named J/121 Spar Supplier
We’re pleased to confirm that Southern Spars has been named the official J/121 spar package supplier. We’ve been impressed with the level of detail and expertise the Southern design and engineering team has brought to the initial phase of the project and are very excited to have them onboard. BSI Global Rigging of Portsmouth, RI will be providing the standing rigging package.

One-Design Sail Package
Our team has been working with sail designers at leading sailmakers to develop the “J/121 Class inventory”- similar to the process we followed developing the J/70 sail program. The objective of the J/121 Class inventory is to:
  1. identify the core inventory of sails that every J/121 team will want no matter the kind of racing
  2. to meet the J/121 design mandate of creating a high performance, offshore-capable 40 footer that can be handled by 5 or fewer crew
  3. have all the J/121 programs start with the same core inventory so that owner/class events can quickly develop.
The five sail inventory is comprised of: Mainsail with two reefs, #1 Furling Jib, #4 Inner Jib, Code 0 spinnaker, and A2 spinnaker. For class events the jibs and the Code 0 must be furlable and the A2 either snuffable or furlable. Based on our own testing and sailmaker input, for hull #1, we are planning to go with a top-down furler for the Code 0, bottom up furlers for the two jibs, and a snuffer for the A2.

We are organizing a “turn-key” J/121 “class package” to be offered as a J/Boats option- to include the standard J/121 with the 5-sail class inventory, a Code 0 furler, an Inner jib furler, an A2 snuffer, a wet-sanded racing bottom job, an instrument prep package (pre-wire mast, install two thru-hulls and installed Jefa auto-pilot radial drive), and a starter docking/safety package.  For more J/121 Offshore speedster sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Perfect Junior Offshore Big Boat Trainer??

J/105 Young American- youth sailing team (Rye, New York)-  Peter Becker, head coach of the Young American Junior Big Boat Team at American Yacht Club in Rye, New York, reports how the success of their program begins with their J/105.

“American YC has had an active junior big boat program for generations which traditionally overlapped with the eight-week-long junior dinghy program. However, in 2013, Rob Alexander and myself teamed up to supersize the program by expanding the junior’s racing season from spring to fall, setting the juniors up to race against the adult-sailed boats.

The philosophy was to do as much distance racing as possible and to “hand the juniors the keys to the boat,” thus giving the juniors full command (within reason). Peter and I figured that a J/105 was the perfect trainer for the juniors, and Joerg Esdorn’s J/105 Kincsem was available. The boat was purchased by a syndicate of members with the specific intent to be exclusively used by the junior big boat team. Young American became the boat’s new name.

The Young American Jr. Big Boat Team has 30-35 enrolled junior sailors between the ages of 13-18. The team competes from spring to fall in every race possible: distance races, one-design races, and club evening non-spinnaker races. The boat is also sailed by the juniors in the annual club’s weeklong cruise. Over the course of the summer, Young American has been typically sailed in 50-70 race days, providing in excess of 300-person days of sailing.

J/105 Young American sailing teamSome of the great successes the junior team has had with Young American is with distance racing. Over the last four years, Young American has been a multiple winner of all of the various Stratford Shoal races. For distance races, the boat is equipped with an A3 spinnaker and a second spinnaker halyard. In 2015, Young American had a banner year, not only winning the Block Island Race overall (PHRF) but also winning the prestigious New England Lighthouse Series Trophy which is the culmination of the scores from the Vineyard Race (1st class), Around Long Island Race (1st class, 2nd overall) and the Block Island Race (1st class, 1st overall).

The one-design racing has been the most difficult for the junior team to master. Since we are rarely sailing with the same crew members with the same lineup, each race day often presents a new set of training opportunities and challenges. While this is perfect for creating high-level training, it makes it very difficult to sail a series with consistent finishes. To date, Young American’s best one-design placing has been third place, which she has scored now in multiple series. The junior team had a fantastic time participating in the 2016 J/105 North American Championship held at Larchmont Yacht Club in an incredibly windy regatta.

The Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound holds two big boat races that are an all-junior event: the Dorade Race and the Beach Point Overnight. The J/105 has become the standard-bearer and the go-to boat for most of the junior programs so much so that despite the fact that the Dorade Race is a PHRF event, the J/105s compete as a one-design fleet.

J/105 Young American youth sailing team take down chuteFollowing are comments and stories from some of the juniors who have participated in the program (who are now graduated), and Carina and Collin who are instructing junior big boat sailing at other clubs. Richard is hoping to head to Navy sailing. The J/105 training prepared all who participated in the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race as a predominantly junior crew sailing High Noon, winning line-honors (1st in class and 3rd overall).”

Carina Becker, 2016 Graduate of the Young American Jr. Big Boat Team:
“My first time sailing a J/105 was around the buoys, competing against our local J/105 fleet of almost 10 boats. This fleet is one of the strongest fleets on Long Island Sound, and the fleet never passes up the opportunity to race hard. Through the years, I have gotten to know many of our fellow J/105 sailors. In particular, Paul Beaudin, our J/105 Fleet Captain, has always been supportive of our junior team and of Fleet #6.

In 2015, Paul put together a crew made up from our local fleet to compete in the J/105 North Americans in San Francisco. Being part of this crew, racing with (not against) some of Young American’s biggest home competitors was an amazing experience. While the North American racing was cutthroat with almost 30 boats on the line, the way “Team New York” came together to represent our home fleet shows the camaraderie the J/105 community holds.

Having such an amazing group of sailors to race against has made my experience in the J/105 outstanding. These boats, when used for junior programs like Young American, produce sailors who love the sport for what it is and what they want to make of it. I hope that more people (and juniors) will join in with the opportunities and friendships associated with a J/105 fleet.”

Richard O’Leary, 2016 Graduate of the Young American Jr. Big Boat Team:
“The J/105 acts as the foundation of the American Yacht Club Jr. Big Boat Team. Most of what I know about big boat racing is attributed to my first summers spent racing on Young American. The J/105 makes it possible for a crew of predominantly 14- to 16-year-old kids to race competitively against juniors and adults alike. The fact that Young American has a tiller makes the boat more approachable for those of us used to dinghy sailing.

J/105 Young American planing downwindSummer racing means the boat sees plenty of use from the junior sailors, with Can One Evening races every Thursday night and the Sunset Series on Fridays, in addition to the many other races throughout the season. I even had the opportunity to act as “owner’s rep” for the Boston University Sailing Team on their training day for the Storm Trysail Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta a few years ago. A 15-year-old teaching college students about the J/105 was an experience that was bizarre but rewarding nonetheless.

Whether two or twelve juniors show up to sail on a given day, and the J/105 somehow manages to stay the perfect educational platform and a really fun boat to sail.”

Collin Alexander, 2015 Graduate of the Young American Jr. Big Boat Team:
“The J/105 is an all-around perfect boat for juniors to learn how to sail big boats and for junior programs in general. My experience with J/105s goes back before my time sailing on Young American, where an AYC member loaned his J/105 War Horse to the junior program. Today I think so highly of the design of the boat that I recommended it to the Riverside Yacht Club’s big boat program where I now am an instructor. I am glad to say that they hooked one up for this upcoming summer.

The J/105 has a nice balance of sport and safety. You can get one of those bad boys planing in enough breeze at the right angle. They are super fun boats to race, and they are certainly not the “slow beasts” that those that do not know sometimes make J/105s out to be. They have a fair PHRF rating, and I can remember pushing ourselves to our limits while we were distance racing, sometimes a hundred miles behind, knowing our efforts would pay off. Not many ratings are like that.

On the flip side, I have witnessed a J/105 heel so far over that the mast touched the water, only to right itself and keep on going. Our team on occasion has been thrown breakdown after breakdown, only for us to bounce back. One time, our main halyard broke mid-race on an upwind leg. We sent our guy up there and managed to fix it with a temporary halyard, and we finished the race with boats behind us. J/105s are seaworthy, and I would be comfortable taking one the distance offshore. They are solid boats and can be distance-raced, something that I found to be very valuable for our team.

J/105 Young American team relaxingIn Long Island Sound, there are so many that one-design racing is popular and super fun. I remember learning to get competitive and stripping off all the extra gear and stuff from the boat, right down to the minimum required by Class Rules. In a super competitive fleet, we still needed more speed, but it gave our team a taste of what great one-design sailing is really like.

It is small and simple enough that our team has been entrusted with taking care of and maintaining Young American. I remember long and hot afternoons out on the mooring with Capt. Becker fixing stanchions and trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with our engine. We repaired the boom on one occasion when it just gave out on us one day on the water.

I am not trying to say that J/105s are unreliable…it is the opposite. Young American is old, and boats break. Maintaining Young American taught our team what owning a boat entailed and gave us valuable experience with repairs. J/105s are an all-around type of boat. They are good for buoy racing, distance racing, cruising and educating.

J/105s are also excellent cruising boats. Many of the memories I made with my teammates were not in competition but on the Junior American Yacht Club (JAYC) cruises that we went on. A bunch of us juniors sailed the American Yacht Club cruise, which is a weeklong cruise, on Young American.

We had lots of fun challenges that week which included not having an engine for most of the cruise. We sailed from port to port making it all the way to Newport, RI and back to AYC in Rye, NY. I was only 16, and my parents trusted me with unsupervised overnights on the J/105, and those were perhaps the most fun and educational sails of my life. Imagine that, four boys cruising a J/105 down Long Island Sound with NO ADULTS.

We were in heaven and having a blast of a time. This would not have been appropriate on any other boat; but we knew Young American like the back of our hands, and it was not the most delicate and expensive boat out there either.

In regard to the Jr. American Yacht Club Big Boat Program, we had a blast. It was led by my father, Robert Alexander, and Peter Becker. Other adults definitely helped along the way. Doug McKeige, Mark Ploch and basically every parent contributed. Those four were the guys who went on the races with us kids. Each taught me to be a proper helmsman and competent in every position. I would like to thank those adults and especially my father; without him, our program would not have been successful. These guys are some talented sailors.

You have to have some guts to head into certain danger with a bunch of kids. I think of one windy overnight race when the junior team sailed a New York 42. It was a crazy adventure but in retrospect, I can only think of the adults who were willing to be responsible when things went wrong. They must have had serious confidence in their abilities and in our abilities as junior sailors.

The success of our team reflects Rob and Peter’s own seamanship. They have taught us everything from navigation to spinnaker trimming. The secret to our team was that we went out and actually did it, by ourselves and frequently. It starts and ends with the J/105 Young American— she taught us everything a junior needs know about big boat sailing.” Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

J/Team Top Cheseapeake Bay High Points Season

J/111 Velocity sailing Chesapeake Bay- Annapolis (Annapolis, MD)- Capital Gazette’s Nancy Noyes reported on the recent Chesapeake Bay High Point Honors winners for 2016 that notably had J/Team winners in several categories:

“Racing sailors from the length of the Chesapeake Bay convened at the Gibson Island Club on Saturday for the presentation of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association's annual High Point Awards.

High Point honors recognize top performances over the 2016 racing season in Cruising One Design and Handicap division classes including PHRF, Multihull, and the new Chesapeake Racer Cruiser Association and Chesapeake Shorthanded Sailing Society classes.

High Point awards are determined using a mathematical formula in which a qualifying sailor's actual score in the races in which he or she competed is divided by the score that sailor would have earned had he or she won each of the relevant races.

A minimum number of races must be sailed in order to qualify, and, if more races than the minimum are completed, some of the worst performances may be thrown out.

In addition to the High Point trophies, several prestigious overall awards also were announced, including divisional championships.

Taking top honors for best performance in the Handicap Division with the Labrot Trophy was Marty Roesch, an Annapolis Yacht Club member. Roesch and his team sailed his J/111 VELOCITY to the top spot in PHRF A1 in Region 3AW (Annapolis/Western Shore). Since worst-race throw-outs aren't part of the calculation for determining the LaBrot winner, it always signifies a consistently strong performance over the year.

Roesch's counterparts in the Cruising One Design division, winners of the J.F. Healy Memorial Trophy, were Jim Sagerholm and Jerry Christofel, leaders of the AUNT JEAN in the J/35 class.

Regional honors also were presented, including the Lady Anne Arundel Trophy for the 2016 highest scoring Anne Arundel County skipper and the Decker Memorial award for best performance in PHRF in Region 2.

No stranger to recognition for strong performance, John White was the recipient of the Lady Anne Arundel Trophy. While the numbers of qualifying sailors and starting line totals may be lower over the last several years than they once were, White not only won the highly competitive J/105 Class (a fleet still thriving with strong numbers of qualifiers and competitors in any given event).  He also sailed enough races in the J/80 class to qualify and finish second in that class as well!

J/24 (17 participants, 3 qualifiers)
1. USA 4006- Peter Rich 2. Spaceman Spiff- Pete Kassal 3. Rush Hour- Pat Fitzgerald

J/30 (13 participants, 7 qualifiers)
1. Infectious Smile- Tristan and Sheila Keen 2. Bebop- Bob Rutsch / Mike Costello 3. Insatiable- Ron Anderson

J/35 (8 participants, 3 qualifiers)
1. Aunt Jean- Jim Sagerholm and Jerry Christofel 2. T-Bone- Bruce Artman 3. Medicine Man- Chuck Kohlerman

J/80 (30 participants, 5 qualifiers)
1, Vayu- David Andril 2. John White 3. Eleven- Bert Carp

J/105 (28 participants, 15 qualifiers)
1. John White 2. Bat IV- Andrew Kennedy 3. Tenacious- Carl and Scott Gitchell 4. Mirage- Fred Salvesen and Cedric Lewis 5. Jester- Hugh Bethel

Full High Point standings on the CBYRA website.  THANKS to Nancy Noyes for the contribution from Capital Gazette. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/22 Midwinters Preview

J/22s sailing upwind (New Orleans, LA)- The spectacular Southern YC, located on the lovely waters of Lake Ponchartrain just east of New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, will be hosting the 2017 J/22 Midwinter Championship from March 23 to 26th.  Thirty-three boats are registered for the event, hailing from across America and at least nine states from across Middle America to the East Coast.  Many of the top dogs in the class will be on hand for another crack at being declared this year’s Midwinter Champion.

As usual, the posse from New York state are quite intimidating as they field crews that have won just about every major championship in the world of J/22s.  This year’s rag tag gang of pirates intent on looting any silverware not bolted down in New Orleans include Peter Doyle & Jack Huebschmann on ESCAPE, Jessica Oswalt sailing MUSKRAT LOVE, Travis Odenbach’s SEA BAGS SAILNG TEAM, Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1, and Adam Masters’ TRAINWRECK.

The local boys & girls (themselves all likely descendant of real pirates like the Johnstone family’s relative- the notorious Frenchman Jean Lafitte) will be intent on preserving their civic pride and obligations to keep the Midwinter crown (and silver) in NOLA!  That contingent includes Zak Fanberg’s WILD TCHOUPITOULAS, Rick Heausler’s FAST COMPANY, Matt Jordan’s RACINE, Chip Carpenter’s WIZARD, Billy Marchaj’s WHISTLING IN THE WIND III, Chris Wientjes’ USA 754, Louise Bienvenu’s USA 320, Debbie Grimm’s CAYENNE, Tommy Meric’s USA 1024, and Dwight J Leblanc III’s WAVEMAKER (true Naw’leens royalty!).

Not to be outdone by their southern brothers, or northern haymakers, the “they make’em much bigger in Tejas” cast of cowboys will include notable rock stars like Terry Flynn’s TEJAS from League City, Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP from Corpus Christi YC, Keith Zars’ VOODOO BABY from San Antonio, Kevin Orff’s TRES LOCOS from League City, and two more Houstoner’s- Dov Kivlovitz and Anne Lee’s HELMS-A-LEE.

The enormous Annapolis fleet is noticeably absent, with just Zeke Horowitz’s UNCLE FLUFFY making the trip south from sunny Naptown.  And, the same is true for the Lake Minnetonka monster fleet in Minnesota; perhaps they got frozen into a ginormous snow drift. Nevertheless, it looks like four Mini-tonker’s are headed south to enjoy good’ole Southern hospitality, grits, shrimp, cajun and stuff and hopefully, not receiving beaded necklaces for showin’ inappropriate stuff on Bourbon Street!  That quartet includes Cris Cox’s HOT TUNA, Matt Thompson’s UNDERDOG, Mike Schmid’s EN FUEGO, and Kurt Taken-Holtze’s TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!  No doubt, the 30+ crews will find a way to have a fun time downtown, if not on the water this coming weekend!  For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Silvestri Dominates J/22 Cal Dreamin Match!

J/22s sailing match race on San Francisco Bay (San Francisco, CA)- The St Francis Yacht Club hosted the California Dreamin' Match Race Regatta this weekend. Eight teams from across the West Coast got wind in the low double digits, sun, and a fair bit of tide.  The St Francis YC Race Committee managed a full double round robin, plus the championship round starting with quarter-finals and ending with the top two teams in the finale- a good time was had by all!

The 2017 California Dreamin’ Series – match racing at San Diego YC, Long Beach YC, and St. Francis YC – finished this past weekend at the St. Francis under sunny skies and light winds that delayed the starts but then filled in nicely, leading to action-packed, close matches.

J/22 Match Race winners- Russ SilvestriIn the San Francisco finale, the third of the three regattas, it was two St. Francis YC teams, Russ Silvestri and Nicole Breault that finished first and second, with Russ winning all of his matches and Nicole losing only to Russ.  Third place went to Dave Hood of Long Beach YC.

The overall winner of the J/22 California Dreamin' Series was Long Beach YC member Shane Young due to his second place finish at SDYC and his victory at LBYC, the second stop.  Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray  For more J/22 California Dreamin’ Match Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Italian J/24 Series Reports

J/24 sailing Lago Como, Italy (Rome, Italy)- For many of the J/24 fleets across the Italian peninsula, the conclusion of their winter series over the past few weeks has meant just a short breather.  Now, some of the fleets have started up their official 2017 summer series.  Here are the latest reports on that activity.

Marina di Carrara
In the “Gulf of Poets”, as it is referred to, two days of great sailing have taken place.  For the ten teams sailing off the breakwater of the Marina di Carrara, six races were held.  It is pretty clear that one team is dominating the proceedings, with ITA 215 MOLLICONA, sailed by Vincenzo Mercuri and James Del Nero, compiling a 2-1-1-5-2-1 for just 7 pts net.  Despite their excellent record, just two points back is Italian J/24 Class President Pietro Diamanti, sailing ITA 212 JAMAICA to a 1-2-4-1-3-2 tally for 9 pts net.  Sitting in third is IRA 202 TALLY HO, sailed by Roberta Banfo and Luca Macchiarini.

“We had two beautiful days of sailing and sun during which we sailed six good races,” commented Pietro Diamanti. “All crews were very happy. A big thank you to all those who worked on the Race Committee for their most excellent race management."

Pare Valmadrera/ Lario
With three victories in six races, there are no questions that ITA 503 KONG GRIFONE sailed by Marco Stefani has a narrow lead in their series; their tally so far is 1-1-2-1-2-3 for 7 pts!  However, keeping close tabs on them is Roger Spreafico’s ITA 476 DEJA VU, posting scores of 3-2-1-3-1-1 for just 8 pts!  Sitting in third position in the cheap seats is Mauro Benfatto’s ITA 352 with 15 pts.

“It was amazing racing over the two days on the lake water of Parè Valmadrera!  Plus, we had admirable organization by the Circolo Vela Tivano, they deserve a big Thanks from the Fleet,” commented Mauro Benfatto. "The next stage is scheduled for March 25th & 26th at the Navy League of Mandello del Lario. Here we will designate the winner of our series in Lario.”

La Superba J/24 sailing crewAnzio & Nettuno/ Rome
The Roman J/24 fleet concluded their Trofeo Roberto Lozzi series with a flourish; four races were held over the weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Not surprisingly, it was ITA 416 LA SUPERBA that won the series; she was skippered by Ignazio Bonanno and crewed by Simone Tarjeta, Alfredo Branciforte, and Francesco and Vincenzo Picaro.  Sailing faster and smarter all series long was the Hungarian team on HUN 1622 JUKE BOX; their crew was Miklòs Rauschenberger, Balmaz Litkey, Tamas Peter, Akos Pecsvaradi, & Tamas Richter.

"On Saturday we had a nice strong wind of 18 kts,” explained Federico Miccio.  “In fact, by the time we started racing it was gusting up to 25 kts!  Loving the 100% blade jib conditions were the Hungarians on JUKE BOX, they posted a 1-2 on Saturday’s racing.

Then on Sunday, we were presented with totally different conditions.  There was no sirocco wind as forecasted; instead, we had a light breeze of 5-6 kts, true 150% genoa conditions! The conditions were a bit crazy. In fact, on the first race we had a 70-degree shift to the south (from the original easterly direction), so the teams on the right side of the course simply sailed away into the lead!  In particular, ITA 40 ALBA CHIARA, skippered by Stefano Ventures (with crew of Raffaele Venditto, Alessandro de Julio, Luciano Tricarico and Eugenio Aurisicchio) sailed over the horizon to win the race, followed by ITA 447 PELLE NERO (with the Hungarian Farkas Litkey steering) in second and JUKE BOX in third place.

J/24 Juke Box from HungaryWith the wind now positioned at 190 degrees, the RC started the last race of the series.  Winning was ITA 447 PELLE NERO followed by ITA 210 JULIUS CAESAR, then JUKE BOX.

As a result, the final standings for the series was LA SUPERBA first with 21 pts, followed by PELLE NERO in second with 37 pts and JUKE BOX in third with 38 pts.  Rounding out the top five were ITA 428 PELLE ROZ in fourth with 80 pts and JULIUS CAESAR in fifth with 86 pts.

"This year, both the Trofeo Lozzi and the series gave us many surprises,” commented Miccio. “Not only did we have the honor to host the Hungarian crew that won the Trofeo Lozzi, but Farkas Litkey was able to give the crew of LA SUPERBA a hard time for the series.  It was the first time any team had challenged them so hard for the top of the podium! This is a great sign that our fleet is getting more competitive and we hope that will show in the upcoming J/24 European Championship in the home waters for the Hungarians- Lake Balaton.”  For more Italian J/24 fleet sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

St Thomas International Regatta Preview

J/122 sailing St Thomas (St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- For years, the grand-daddy of all Caribbean regattas was “the Rolex” in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, proudly hosted by St Thomas YC in Cowpet Bay on the northeastern shoreline of USVI.  It was not unusual to have fleets of well over 100 keelboats packed into the Bay and competing for that rarest of commodities, a dinghy tie-up at the club.  Since that time, the regatta continues to maintain its strong heritage of hosting world-class sailing on the magnificent aquamarine waters off the eastern end of USVI.  The trade-winds are almost always turned-on and the sailors look forward to a magnificent four days of sailing.  What is fun and challenging about this event is that the StYC provides a range of courses for the fleet, from windward-leewards offshore to random-leg courses around the fabulously beautiful islands and rocks that grace the eastern part of the island chain.

J/105 sailing St ThomasThis weekend, the fleet of forty-seven boats will be competing in one-design as well as IRC and CSA handicap rating rules.  Other than the thirteen teams sailing the IC24s (the modded J/24), the biggest field of J/Crews will be in the CSA Spinnaker class of eleven boats.  Leading charge around the track each day should be the famous J/122 EL OCASO, chartered by Bob Hiller from Lake Geneva YC.  Chasing them hard on handicap will be the J/88 TOUCH 2 PLAY RACING, skippered by Canadian Rob Butler from Collingwood, Ontario; Jordan Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE from Huntington, NY; and Angle Ayala’s J/80 SUNBUM II from Carolina, Puerto Rico.  In the CSA Non-Spinnaker division, Ben Jelic’s J/120 JAGUAR from St Maarten will be vying for class honors with six other teams.

The weather forecast for this year’s regatta remains a bit mixed.  While the sailors remain hopeful, it looks to be overcast to partly cloudy skies with occasional rain and light winds from the southeast from 5-12 kts. This is due to what NOAA describes as the following scenario:

Wednesday to Friday- an upper level ridge southeast of the area will continue to weaken as a trough pattern aloft builds from the west through the end of the week. At low levels, a prefrontal trough is forecast to move over the islands on Friday. As this trough pattern unfolds, moisture will continue to pool across the area and the intensity and coverage of showers and isolated thunderstorms will increase each day.  From Friday to end of racing on Sunday- the Long wave trough across the western Atlantic is still forecast to deepen and extend southwards into the west and central Caribbean through the end of the week. As a result, a moist south to southeasterly flow should persist through Friday and into the weekend. All model guidance supports a very moist and unstable pattern across the region for the next several days with good tropical moisture advection.  Bummer. In short, light winds and wet at times.  For more St Thomas International Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.