Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race Preview

Fastnet Rock (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is set to start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at noon on Sunday 12th August, directly after Lendy Cowes Week. The 1,805 nautical mile race around Britain and Ireland is organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club every four years and is considered to be one of the toughest challenges in the sport of yacht racing.

For the 2018 race, 31 teams with close to 200 professional and corinthian sailors will be competing. For the past two editions, the weather has been so rough that the RORC has reversed the route to protect the fleet from a potential battering.

J/122s sailing Round Britain Ireland RaceAfter a momentous start at the Royal Yacht Squadron line, the fleet will race through the Solent then past the famous headlands of the South West of England. The epic adventure continues into the Celtic Sea, past the Fastnet Rock and Mizzen Head onto the wild west coast of Ireland. The Atlantic racing continues past St Kilda, up to the most northerly point of the course, Muckle Flugga on the 61st parallel. Then, turning south through the infamous North Sea, the fleet will have turned their bows for home. The English Channel and Solent form the final stages of the marathon race.

Solent to Land's End- Approx. 180 nm
Getting a good start will depend upon using the best of the wind and tides to exit the Solent. The race starts to the east leaving the Isle of Wight to starboard. There are four major headlands which form tidal gates along the South Coast of England; Portland Bill, Start Point, The Lizard and Land's End. Deciding whether to go inshore or offshore at each of these headlands will depend on the wind speed, the direction and the tidal flow.

J/122 sailing offshoreLand's End to Mizzen Head- Approx. 210 nm
 The Celtic Sea forms part of the North Atlantic Ocean and the seabed is part of the Continental Shelf of Europe, which is relatively shallow at 100 metres. The fleet will get a real taste of Atlantic weather that can produce a significant and confused sea state as the ocean waves rear up in the shallows. The boats will pass the famous Fastnet Lighthouse along the way, but the significant waypoint is nine miles further west at Mizzen Head when the fleet will turn north to race along the wild West Coast of Ireland.

Mizzen Head to Black Rock- Approx. 170 nm
 Bull Rock, Great Skelling and Tearaght Island must be rounded to starboard, but it is highly likely that the fleet will give them a good offing, as there are outlying rocks that should be avoided. The coastline features bold mountainous peninsulas with deeply indented bays. Taking the full violence of the North Atlantic's prevailing gales it is subject to heavy seas and swell.

Black Rock to Muckle Flugga- Approx. 530 nm
 Having rounded Black Rock, it is unlikely that the fleet will see land again for over 200 miles of Atlantic Ocean Racing. As the fleet head further north, the air and sea temperature will begin to fall. The fleet will round St Kilda, which is an archipelago of islands in the Outer Hebrides. Hirta is the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago with cliffs rising 430 metres sheer out of deep water. On to Sula Sgeir, that is a small, uninhabited island 40 miles into the North Atlantic from mainland Scotland. Muckle Flugga, Shetland Islands is the most northerly part of the course on the 61st parallel. The J/122 Round Britain Ireland racefleet will be as far north as Alaska, which will deliver cold conditions, even in August. The teams will have now travelled over 1,000 nautical miles and over the halfway point in the race as they turn their bows south towards the finish.

Muckle Flugga to Ramsgate- Approx. 580 nm
 The fleet may be heading south and away from the effects of the Atlantic Ocean, but the North Sea can be just as difficult to navigate and to avoid hazards. The North Sea is one of the world's most important shipping lanes as well as a major fishery, and in recent years has seen the developments of wind and wave farms. The approach to Felixstowe is also complicated by a myriad of sandbanks and tidal rips are notorious.

Ramsgate to Finish- Approx. 130 nm
 The English Channel with its busy shipping routes and tidal streams forms the last open water leg of the marathon before the teams enter the Solent to finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. For many teams they will have been at sea for up to 14 days, catching a few hours of sleep and dining on snacks and freeze-dried fare. The Royal Ocean Racing Club will welcome each team after they cross the finish line with a warm handshake and cold beer.

Two J/Teams are taking on the challenge. Racing in the IRC 2 Class are two J/122s.  Sailing with a full crew is Andy Theobald’s R&W from the United Kingdom.  Then, the Dutch duo on JUNIQUE RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM (Chris Revelman & Pascal Bakker) will be scored in both IRC 2 as well as IRC Doublehanded Class!   For more Round Britain & Ireland Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, August 13, 2018

J/99 Short-handed Offshore Speedster Hatched!

New J/99 hull flying out of new molds in Les Sables d'Olonne, France
(Les Sables d'Olonne, France)- Fresh out of the box! The first J/99 offshore speedster is well on its way for future offshore stardom and is getting ready to fly across oceans and Great Lakes!

As the newest addition to the J/Sport range, the J/99 features powerful righting moment and the proven streamlined reaching shape that will enable her to surf and plane offshore in reaching/ broad reaching conditions like her offshore speedster sisterships- the J/88, J/111, and J/121.  And, when the winds go forward of the beam, the J/99 has the power and pointing ability to decimate the competition.

Now more than ever, sailors are attracted to adventure-filled, signature events (Fastnet, Middle Sea, Chicago-Mac, etc.) where straight-line speed, sail handling, strategy and weather routing are all equally put to the test. The J/99 is designed to excel in these events (both fully crewed and short-handed) while delivering the exhilarating, family-friendly experience the J/Sport range is known for.  For more J/99 Shorthanded Offshore Speedster sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

40th J/24 Canadian Nationals Preview

J/24s sailing race (Kingston, ONT, Canada)- The 2018 Canadian J/24 Nationals are being held in conjunction with CORK/ Sail Kingston Regatta in that famously windy (mostly) location at the far eastern end of Lake Ontario.  Since 1979, the J/24s have been sailing on Lake Ontario and across all parts of Canada for over 40 years, this year marking the 40th time Canadians have sailed their National Championship in J/24s!  The lake is a perfect venue for the event, as the classic seabreezes start out light in the mornings from the SSW, then slowly build from 6-10 kts into the 12-18 kts range by late afternoon.

The thirteen boats sailing in this year’s event has a dozen Canadian teams and one American (a woman skipper- Kira Munger from Fair Haven, New York sailing USA 423).  The Montreal crews include Stephan Blais CAN 3366, Fred Deom CAN 4019, & Brian Morris CAN 3782.    The Ottawa fleet (the Canadian capitol) sailors include Jean Levac CAN 5254 and Richard Tanguay CAN 2594. The Toronto crews include Dave Ogden’s CAN 5235 and Ed Rees’ CAN 3729.  For more Canadian J/24 Nationals sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Verve Cup Offshore Regatta Preview

J/111 sailing offshore 
J/111 Great Lakes Championship Preview
(Chicago, IL)- From Friday, August 10, through Sunday, August 12, 2018, the Chicago Yacht Club will host the 27th annual Verve Cup Offshore Regatta. This event will feature three days of offshore buoy racing and a separate one-day distance race. Annually, this event hosts over 100 yachts ranging in size from 25 to 70 feet, and carry crews from 4 to 20 racers. During this regatta, the Chicago Yacht Club looks forward to welcoming more than 2,000 racers, family members and friends to its award-winning lakefront Monroe Station Clubhouse.

For this three-day regatta, boats will sail either in a handicap section or in a one-design section. Brag flags and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in each section. The overall winner in what is determined to be the most competitive section by formula will be awarded the perpetual Verve Cup Trophy. The Verve Cup trophy dates back to 1893 and is the Chicago Yacht Club’s oldest trophy.

Likewise, for the Saturday, August 11, 2018, Distance Race, brag flags and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in each of the four handicap sections, and the first place winner in the fleet determined by handicap will be awarded the 8 Mile Buoy Trophy.

The nine-boat J/105 class includes most leading local teams, like Clark Pellett’s SEALARK (winner of combined J/105 NAs & J/105 Chicago-Mac Race trophy), Vanessa Gates’ STRIKING, Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM and Gyt Petkus’ VYTIS.

The five-boat J/109 class has Jim Murray’s CALLISTO (Mac Race winner), Peter Priede’s FULL TILT, Bob Evans’ GOAT RODEO (2017 Mac Race winner), and Jack & Jim Tolliver’s VANDA III (also a Mac Race winner); this will be a very tough fleet considering the number of boats racing.

Sailing the 2018 J/111 Great Lakes Championship are eleven boats from across the country.  Current J/111 World Champion- Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY- will be vying for class honors against the top local boats.  The winner of the Ugotta Regatta- KASHMIR- hopes to maintain their winning streak in around-the-cans racing. However, both boats know there are several spoilers in this fast fleet; such as John Kalanik’s PURA VIDA, Rich Witzel’s ROWDY, Dan Kitchens’ SKULL CRACKER, Brad Faber’s UTAH, and Tom Dickson’s WARLOCK.

In the ORR Distance Race division in Saturday, there are two J/crews participating- Frank Giampoli’s J/120 JAHAZI and Rick Stage’s J/35 ALPHA PUPPY. Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images.  For more Verve Cup Offshore sailing information

Families Prepare for J/22 Worlds

J/22 families- race eachother(Youngstown, NY)- Doyle family reunions are often held at major J/22 class events. There have been times, such as last year’s North American Championship, when there have been four different Doyle entries with brothers Chris, Kevin and Peter leading the way. Jake Doyle has joined the fray, competing against his father (Kevin) and uncles.

On those occasions, winning the series is secondary to capturing the competition among family.

“We like to refer to it as the regatta within the regatta. Being the top Doyle is more important than where you finish in the overall standings,” Kevin Doyle said. “There is nothing worse than being the bottom Doyle.”

Three of the Doyle’s – Chris, Kevin and Jake – are entered in the 2018 J/22 World Championships, being held September 9 through 14 on the Chesapeake Bay and hosted by Annapolis Yacht Club in Annapolis, MD.

“My primary goal going into Worlds is to beat my father and uncle,” said Jake, an Annapolis Yacht Club member for the past six years. “It will be very tough to do. They both have great teams and a lot more experience.”

Chris Doyle captured the 2015 J/22 World Championship held in Travemunde, Germany and was runner-up the following year in Kingston, Canada. Kevin Doyle, who has sailed with longtime friend Victor Snyder for more than two decades, has posted a couple Top 10 finishes.

This will be the third J/22 World Championship for Jake Doyle, but his first as a boat owner. Jake will be skippering USA 789 with fellow Annapolis residents Van Walke (bow) and Nick Moreau (middle) as crew.

Jake Doyle made his world championship debut in 2008 as helmsman aboard a boat owned by his older brother Ben. A decade later, Jake bought that same J/22 after Ben pointed out it was for sale by an owner in Canada.

Jake took delivery in early 2017 and posted a pair of impressive results that year – placing third at the Annapolis stop of the National Offshore One-Design series and sixth at the North American Championship in his hometown of Buffalo.

All the Doyle’s cut their teeth as racers in Youngstown, New York, located at the bottom of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario. Jake Doyle learned to sail in a Nutshell before transitioning into the Club 420. He was introduced to big boat racing aboard his grandfather’s C&C 29 and crewed on a J/22 skippered by his father in the Wednesday Night Series out of Youngstown Yacht Club.

Kevin Doyle sailed collegiately at the University of Rhode Island while his son was part of the offshore program at New York Maritime. “We’re a sailing family going back to my great-grandfather,” Jake said.

When Kevin started steering Vic Snyder’s boat, he brought Jake aboard as bowman. He remained part of the crew until departing for college then switched to sailing with his brother.

“I’ve always enjoyed sailing in this class. It’s a fun group of people to compete against, and the J/22 is a great boat to jump into and have fun while enjoying good racing,” Jake said.

Based off recent record, Chris Doyle and his crew aboard The Jug 4.1 are favored in the family competition at the 2018 J/22 World Championship, which is being presented by Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis. Chris is blessed with a top-notch crew consisting of former Old Dominion University All-American Adam Burns as trimmer and tactician and Will Harris as bowman.

“I would say that Chris’s program has been the strongest,” Kevin Doyle admitted. “If I were to choose a single word as to why that is the case I would say dedication. Chris is on his third boat, all of which were new, and invests in sails.”

While the Doyle family will be competing against each other, the Deane family will be racing together. Russ Deane will be reuniting with his sons Rusty and Robbie for the 2018 J/22 World Championship and returning to the city they called home for three decades.

“We lived in Annapolis for a long time and I taught my kids how to sail behind our house on Weems Creek,” Russ said.

The Deane family raced a Cal 25 named Valhalla on the Chesapeake Bay with Russ later owning a J/22, J/24 and Merit 25 named Chardonnay that did quite well in the old MORC class.

Rusty and Robbie developed into outstanding sailors, becoming All-Americans at Boston University. Robbie is the longtime operator of the Baltimore Sailing Center after previously serving as Director of Sailing at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Rusty, who once crewed for Terry Hutchinson in the J/24 World Championship held off Wales, lives in the Cleveland area and recently took over as head of The Foundry Sailing and Rowing Center on Lake Erie.

“Both of my boys are on the water every day and are outstanding sailors,” Russ said.

Back in 1994, Russ had his sons aboard as crew for the last J/22 World Championship held off Annapolis. They could not pass up the opportunity to have a reunion 24 years later in their former hometown, knowing it would be a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane.

“I stopped racing sailboats because it wasn’t the same experience without my sons being involved,” Russ said. “That is why I am so excited about doing Worlds. We’re going to be back together again for the first time since the Leukemia Cup at Cleveland Yacht Club about 12 years ago. We’re all really looking forward to this.”

Russ is now 74-years-old and readily admits he does not get around on a small boat as well as he once did but should have no trouble handling the middle. Rob, 46, will steer while Rusty, 43, will work the bow aboard the entry appropriately named Deaneaphobia. They are sailing a boat being chartered from Annapolis Yacht Club which makes its J/22s available to members and are confident about being competitive.

“My wife and I just got back from Europe and I’m starting my exercise tomorrow,” said Russ, who now lives in Panama City, Florida. “It’s fairly strenuous activity on these boats.” Thanks for contribution from Annapolis YC and Scuttlebutt. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/88 North American Championship Preview

J/88 sailing fast (Chicago, IL)- The Chicago YC’s fabulous Race Committee is hosting the four-day J/88 North American Championship, in conjunction with the Verve Cup Offshore Regatta, starting on Thursday, August 9th. A fleet of seventeen J/88s from across the eastern half of North America will be vying for the N.A. Championship crown against the best fleet ever assembled for the class. Twelve or more races will ensure the competitors from New York, Ontario (Canada), Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado, North Carolina, and Rhode Island will have plenty of opportunity to determine who is the fairest of them all after thrashing around the cans off the spectacular Chicago waterfront, racing on the pristine waters of Lake Michigan.

J/88 Wings sailing upwindThe top teams from the Northeast include Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, Doug Newhouse’s YONDER (with World Match Racing Champion Taylor Canfield as tactician) and Mike Bruno’s WINGS.  There is a strong contingent from Lake Ontario, including Tim Finkle’s SEAWEED, and Laura Weyler’s HIJINKS (2018 Great Lakes Champion).  Then, the hosts from the Chicago region have several hot teams, like Al Minella’s ALBONDIGAS, Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2, Andy Graff’s EXILE, Richie Stearns’ HOKEY SMOKES, Ben Wilson’s RAMBLER, and Boyd Jarrell’s SLOT MACHINE.

Given the incredibly close competition at the J/88 Midwinters in St Petersburg, FL and at Charleston Race Week, the 2018 edition of the J/88 NA’s should see very competitive sailing throughout the event at the top of the leaderboard. Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images and Chris Howell/ J88 Class.  For more J/88 North American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, August 10, 2018

J/Fun @ Ugotta Regatta

J/70s sailing Ugotta Regatta (Harbor Springs, MI)- As they have done in the past, the Little Traverse YC’s famous “Ugotta Regatta” lived up to its “fun in the sun” promise, giving the sailors all they could have wished for and more over the three day weekend.  Sailed on the pristine Caribbean-blue Little Traverse Bay on the upper northwest part of the Michigan peninsula, the event hosted a big fleet of J/70s, a one-design fleet of J/111s, and a host of larger J’s sailing in the ORR and PHRF offshore classes.

The twenty-one boat J/70 fleet was unusual in that over 95% of the sailors were Corinthian boats.  In fact, Sarah Renz’s BERTEAU GROUP won both the regatta overall and the Corinthians Division, winning with just 15 pts in 8 races sailed!  Second was Jake Christy’s PALE HORSE, also taking second in Corinthians, and closing out the podium was the first pro-team, Bill McKinley’s DENALI 0.5.  The balance of the top five saw Scott Sellers’ TRES BURRITOS in fourth (3rd in Corinthians) and Polk Wagner’s ESCAPE in 5th position.

J/122 vs Windquest 90 footerWinning the J/111s was the triumphant trio on KASHMIR (Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson, Mike Mayer) with four 1sts and a 2nd for just 6 pts total.  Second was Brad Faber’s UTAH mirroring KASHMIR’s finishes for 9 pts total.  Taking the bronze was Carl Hanssen’s VARIANCE with 16 pts.

It was nearly a clean sweep in the nine-boat ORR C fleet for J/crews.  Winning was Matt Songer’s J/122 EVVAI with two bullets, followed by Bob Mampe’s J/122 GOTTA WANTA with a 2-4. Sitting in fourth with 7 pts was Geoff Briede & Jeff Clark’s J/120 SCOUT.

The eleven-boat PHRF B fleet was tough sledding for some of the J/Teams.  The third spot on the podium was determined by a tie-breaker at 8 pts each between two J/88s- Richie Stearns’ HOKEY SMOKE and Andy Graff’s EXILE, with the Smokers winning that countback.  For more LTYC Ugotta Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

WINDMADE Leads Santander Bank J/70 Winter Series

J/70s sailing Bank Santander Winter Series- Chile (Algarrobo, Chile)- This past weekend (July 28-29), Juan Reid and crew onboard J/70 #1 WINDMADE, won the first weekend of the Santander Bank Chilean J/70 Winter Series that is being held in Algarrobo Bay.

With great winter conditions- sunny days, 16 degrees Celsius, 8-12 kts and flat seas- nine boats sacrificed a couple of ski days and got together in Algarrobo for a weekend of sailing. Also, due to the temperature and the wind direction, it was much tighter racing than normal, as the favored lefty wind shifts on the left side of the course never showed up all weekend.

After the first two races on Saturday, the anticipated fight for the lead materialized between WINDMADE and MORENITA. Finally, the Doyle team from MORENITA, with lots of learning after the last Doyle clinic in Marblehead, MA (USA), was leading after the first day of sailing with a great day of good starts, great speed and good tactics!

J/70s sailing off Algarrobo, ChileOn Sunday, WINDMADE started off with two bullets (thanks to half the fleet been over the line at the gun and having to get back to start). As a result, that put MORENITA in a complicated situation, making it harder for them to win the weekend.

In the final race on Sunday, WINDMADE had an average start with MORENITA to leeward, forcing WINDMADE to tack clear. However, WINDMADE found better breeze and clear air in the middle of the course, rapidly closing the distance upwind, then closing to a half-boat length at the leeward gate after a smart downwind run.

On the second beat, WINDMADE passed MORENITA on a wind shift. In the final approach to the windward mark, some boats didn’t notice the change of course, with WINDMADE taking advantage of the situation. In the final approach on the port tack layline, SENSEI overstood, but with full speed, established an inside overlap at the 3-boat length zone over WINDMADE. At the mark, WINDMADE closed the gap too much, forcing SENSEI to touch the mark, so SENSEI screamed “protest”. With MORENITA farther down the standings, the WINDMADE crew made the sensible/ wise decision to “spin” their circles, dropping from 3rd to 6th in the race, just one place behind MORENITA.

J/70s sailing off Algarrobo, ChileWith one final leg to finish the race, WINDMADE managed to sail deeper than MORENITA and, with great tactics from Rodrigo Amunátegui, managed to gybe at the right moment, getting the righty and better breeze on the center right of the course to get back to 3rd at the finish line!  A dramatic comeback for the ecstatic, wildly cheering, WINDMADE crew!

In the final scoring, WINDMADE won the weekend with 9 points; Vernon Robert’s MORENITA was second with 11 pts; and Víctor Lobos’ LEXUS was third with 13 pts.  The balance of the top five included the Doyle Sails team on PELIGRO, skippered by Alejandro Pérez, in fourth place and Marcos Fuentes’ SENSEI in fifth.

In the Corinthians Division, Diego Natho’s TRILOGIA won; truly a family affair, sailing with his Mom, Dad and brother!! Taking second was Cristián Pérez’s ELEANOR RIGBY.

The second date of the Santander Bank J/70 Winter Series will be 25-26 August, hosted by Cofradía Náutica del Pacífico, in Algarrobo. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Fast Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race

J/125 Timeshaver sailing offshore (Santa Barbara, CA)- The prognosis for this year’s Santa Barbara to King Harbor race, hosted by Santa Barbara YC & King Harbor YC, was full of gloom and doom.  NOAA’s weather forecasts were for no wind all day, holes everywhere, but maybe filling in from the south late in the day.  However, as usual, the NOAA models were somehow 100% wrong, again.  The race became a near textbook scenario, a slow build in the morning for sure, but by the time the big boats were rounding Anacapa Island 32nm downstream, the winds were in the northwest 17-19 kts range and by the time the fleet leaders made it across the 10nm dash to Point Dume on the Malibu shoreline, gusts were over 20 kts.  Most fleet leaders then gybed onto starboard tack and headed straight for King Harbor, playing the windshifts towards the end of 45nm section.

J/125 Warrior sailing off Santa BarbaraFor the fastest J’s on the track, the twin J/125s in ULDB C Division, it was a duel to the finish.  Dr Laura Schlessinger’s WARRIOR led at the first turning mark- Anacapa Island- turned left and raced to Point Dume planing most of the way.  Then, gybed onto starboard off that point.  At that stage, Viggo Torbensen’s well-oiled offshore machine- TIMESHAVER- gybed on top of them a few hundred yards to windward, slowly dropped down over WARRIOR, then in front and continued to extend their lead by executing a few slick moves, faster sail changes, and led Dr Laura’s WARRIOR into the finish line. WARRIOR had changed to a Code Zero in the lighter going, but could not change back to the A2 asym fast enough.  As a result, TIMESHAVER crossed the line just 2min 12sec ahead of WARRIOR, taking 2nd and 3rd in class, respectively.  On a PHRF Overall basis, it was so close that TIMESHAVER took 2nd Overall while WARRIOR was 5th Overall.

In the ULDB D Class, Bernie Girod’s J/111 ROCK & ROLL was 2nd (slipping into 4th overall between the J/125s), Kenny Kieding & John Vincent’s J/111 ARGO 3 was third (14th overall), Seth Hall’s J/124 MARISOL was 4th, and Doug & Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA was 5th.

The ULDB E Class saw Dan Murphy’s J/105 CUCHULAINN take 5th place, while Doug Stelck’s J/100 JIB & TONIC was 7th.

PHRF A Class had Scott Torrance’s J/124 FORGIVENESS hold on to 5th and Tom & Terri Manok’s POLE DANCER was sixth. PHRF B Class saw Jack Mayer’s J/109 ZEPHYR take 5th in class.  Finally, in PHRF C Class, Fred & Suzanne Cottrell’s J/33 TIGGER take 2nd, Chuck Spear’s J/105 TWELVE BAR BLUES was 5th place, and Tom Hinkle’s J/40 WHITE LIGHT was 6th.  For more Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

DSP Leading J/70 Grand Slam Series

J/70 DSP leading UK series (Hamble, England)- Five of the nine events for the 2018 J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series have now been completed. The fifth event was the GJW Direct J/70 UK National Championship. Held 20-22 July, the national championship was a non-discardable event for the Grand Slam Series.

The Grand Slam Series was set out to galvanize the J/70 UK Class to promote more teams racing at organized events. Just over half way through the series, a total of forty-one J/70 teams have been racing. The average number of teams on a start line has been twenty-five, and those teams have competed in thirty-seven races.

J/70 sailing on Solent, U.K.Doug Struth's DSP, with Geoff Carveth on the helm, leads the Grand Slam Series with five scoring regattas completed, and was the winner of the Corinthian Class at the GJW Direct J/70 UK National Championship.

“The UK Class still has work to do if we are going to compete with the best teams in the world. However, we are making progress towards our aim of getting UK teams onto the podium for the 2019 J/70 Worlds in Torbay,” said Geoff Carveth from DSP.

In the 2018 J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series, Ian Wilson & Marshall King's SOAK RACING is in second place and is yet to score in five events. Clive Bush's DARCEY & Martin Dent's JELVIS are tied for third, and have yet to score in five events. David McLeman's OFFBEAT has declared five Corinthian events and is in fifth place, just ahead of Tim Collins' Corinthian team racing VELVET ELVIS.

J/70 corinthians leadersCongratulations to Mark Lees and his young team from the Royal Southern YC, who won the GJW Direct Open J/70 UK National Championship in a fleet of 38 teams. Mark Lees' team literally went sailing in their J/70 Serious Fun for the first time, in the first race of the Nationals.

The sixth event of the 2018 J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series will take place 4th to 8th of August as a mini-series during Lendy Cowes Week. There will be one-design racing for the duration of Lendy Cowes Week. The J/70 fleet will form the largest sportsboat fleet at the world famous regatta with 38 teams already entered.

The winners of the Grand Slam Series will be announced at the end of the season with two fabulous trophies for the Open Winner and the Corinthian Winner. The results of the 2018 J/70 UK Grand Slam series will act as qualification for the first 20 UK slots at the 2019 J/70 World Championship, which will be hosted by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth.  For more J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Rolex Big Boat Series Update

J/111s sailing Rolex Big Boat Series- San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)— It’s hard to find a purer form of sailing than a lineup of polished teams on identical platforms, all with an equal shot at race course glory. This is precisely what makes One-Design racing the heart and soul of the St. Francis Yacht Club’s annual Rolex Big Boat Series. From September 12-16, top teams will race in at least seven different One-Design fleets, as well as several highly-competitive handicap fleets, making this the West Coast’s most competitive regatta. J/88s, J/105s, J/111s, and J/120s have all met the NOR requirement of six or more entrants for One-Design class racing!

Held on San Francisco Bay’s beautiful, but always challenging waters, prepared teams who know how to press their boats hard will benefit from the conditions by creating micro-advantages in fleets that define the term “stacked”.

“Two important factors draw sailors to his event,” says StFYC Commodore Theresa Brandner, skipper of J/105 WALLOPING SWEDE (USA 157). “One is the Rolex sponsorship, which the StFYC appreciates immensely. The other is the combination of our unparalleled sailing venue, with extreme winds and variable currents, which presents an unusually challenging scenario for even the most experienced sailors. Add to that the depth of talent on the crews, the large number of fleets, the seasoned rivalries and the adrenaline of the race to the finish, and you have the complete Rolex Big Boat Series package.”

The J/105 class has shown impressive pre-event motivation, with 22 boats currently registered and more expected.

“We love racing in the big fleet— it’s without a doubt one of the most attractive aspects to racing J/105s,” says Ryan Simmons, skipper of BLACKHAWK (USA 40). “It’s our biggest regatta of the year and something we all enjoy being a part of.”

Others agree. “The Rolex Big Boat Series is the pre-eminent regatta on the West Coast and, arguably, in the USA,” says Ian Charles, skipper of the J/105 MAVERICK (USA 385). “The StFYC does a truly exceptional job at producing, hosting and managing, which makes it a ‘must-not-miss’ event if you have the ability and the opportunity to compete in it.”

J/105s sailing Rolex Big Boat Series- San FranciscoCharles should know, having recently returned to the class and the Rolex Big Boat Series after a 12-year hiatus spent competing in Ironman Triathlons. “I bought my [boat] in August last year on the East Coast and had it shipped out to the West Coast in anticipation of the 2018 racing season,” he says, adding that—depending on how MAVERICK’s crew weight pencils-out, he hopes to draft his wife and two sons, aged 13 and 16. “I’ve [finished in] second place at the Rolex Big Boat Series twice in the past, so stepping onto the top of the podium this year is the number-one goal for me and our team.”

While there’s no question that it takes serious talent to be a two-time bridesmaid in the Rolex Big Boat Series’ largest One-Design class, all teams competing in this legendary regatta will face their share of physical and metaphoric starboard-tackers come September’s racing. “The competition is tough, mark roundings are intense and we all want to hear the finish gun first,” says Commodore Brandner. “It’s a regatta sailed by the best and bravest. This year, leading the StFYC fleet as Commodore, combined with racing in the Bay Area’s largest One Design fleet, brings a great deal of pride to me.”

While not all classes can draw the numbers of the J/105 fleet, the J/88 class pulled enough entries to enjoy their inaugural Rolex Big Boat Series as a One-Design class.

“I think it changes our approach preparations in that we need to practice, practice, practice as best we can given the short time remaining,” says Aya Yamanouchi, skipper of the J/88 BENNY (79169). “We're a new boat and new team still gelling… We're presently planning to race in the StFYC’s Aldo Alessio and Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Cup [August 17-19] as a warm-up, and hopefully some of the other J/88s will come out so we can get a 'sneak-preview' of the Rolex Big Boat Series.”

Weather depending, the StFYC aims to score seven races at this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series, with two scheduled races per class per day from Thursday through Saturday, followed by Sunday’s planned “Bay Tour” race. While the StFYC’s Race Committee can’t promise big breeze and blue skies, they can ensure world-class racecourse management, engaging evening entertainment and a great awards ceremony.  For more Rolex Big Boat Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

LENDY Cowes Week Update

J/112E sailing Cowes Week J-DOG Wins J/70 Short Series!
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Cowes Week is one of the UK's longest running and most successful sporting events and is a key highlight of the British sporting summer. It has been held in early August every year since 1826, except during the two world wars.

The event offers a great mix of competitive sailing and social activities. The 8,500 competitors range from Olympic and World-Class professionals to weekend sailors. In excess of 100,000 spectators come to watch the sailing, enjoy the parties and live entertainment, and to experience the unique atmosphere. It is genuinely a one-of-a-kind event.

The 2018 edition of the annual LENDY Cowes Week Regatta started August 4th and ends August 11th. It has been extremely popular for J/Teams across not only from the United Kingdom and Ireland, but from across Europe as well. 

So far, the sailors have enjoyed five good days of sailing.  Here’s the latest on what is happening out on the waters of the ever-challenging Solent.

Royal Yacht Squadron starting line off Cowes, EnglandDay 1- Saturday
The opening day of Lendy Cowes Week delivered a gloriously sunny and tactically challenging day of racing for the 35 classes taking part.

The first start, for the 36-strong J/70 fleet, was on the Royal Yacht Squadron line in a northerly breeze of 10 knots. The fleet bunched towards the favored northerly end of the line for a reaching start heading towards the east.

Simon Childs’ F’IN MAJIC and Tarra Gill-Taylor of the Royal Thames YC Academy led away from the line. However, John and Kate Greenland’s J-DOG and Peter Harrison’s SORCHA-J were first to hoist spinnakers on the short first leg and soon pulled ahead. Once the fleet settled onto their first beat, J-DOG held the advantage over Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT. Greenland was ahead at the finish, with a 48 second advantage on Harrison, while Ali Hall’s SCEPTRE took third place.

The J/70 class is using Lendy Cowes Week as an event in its 2018 Grand Slam series and has three races per day scheduled over the first four days of the regatta. Greenland won the second, held on a windward-leeward course from a committee boat, with Hall second and Harrison third. J-DOG took another win in the third race and now leads the series the Grand Slam series by a commanding margin.

J/111 McFly sailing off Cowes, England“We were absolutely delighted to win all three races in a boat kindly loaned to us by the Royal Thames YC,” says Kate Greenland. “It was really close racing, which made it even more enjoyable. Today was all about good starts and staying in the pressure. To be honest the boys on board made my life as tactician pretty easy today because they all worked really hard in the shifty conditions.”

Black Group
Among the Black Group yachts, IRC Class 4 promises to be very hotly contested. Entries include David Franks’ J/112E LEON, fresh from winning the IRC/ORC Offshore Sailing World Championship in Holland a couple of weeks ago with her previous owner. Another J/112E, Chaz Ivill and Paul Heys’ DAVANTI TYRES also has an enviable record.

Three minutes after their start, heading east from the Bramble line, the J/112E LEON was amongst the leaders with her sistership DAVANTI TYRES a few lengths behind.

By the time they passed south of Lepe Spit, against the tide en route to their first mark off Newtown Creek, the J/112E LEON, sailing lower but faster, had pulled out a lead on their fleet. The J/112E DAVANTI TYRES went on to take line honors in the three-hour race, and retained the lead on corrected time, just 34 seconds ahead of their sistership LEON.

J/112E Leon sailing at Cowes WeekDay 2- Sunday
Family Day at Lendy Cowes Week delivered stunning conditions with unbroken sun and a solid east south-easterly breeze of 9-12 knots. The best winds of the day were predicted to be in the eastern Solent, so all classes started towards the east.

Rob’s Cotterill’s MOJO RISING and Ed Bolton-King’s RED ARROW led the J/109 fleet away from the southern end of the line, with the former accelerating faster and pulling clear ahead and to windward in the first few lengths. Best placed at the northern end were Jamie Sheldon’s BROWN TEAL and the Royal Naval Association’s JOLLY JACK TAR, while Caroline van Beelen and Rutger Krijger’s Dutch JACK RABBIT and Nick Southward, John Scott and Andy Christie’s Team WHISKEY JACK were in the front row more towards the middle of the line. JACK RABBIT finished 29 seconds ahead of Robert Stiles’ DIAMOND JEM, giving the Dutch boat two consecutive race wins. BROWN TEAL took third place, just 10 seconds later.

"It was quite light airs but we made some good tactical calls, which was key today,” says Krijger. “Good crew work and maintaining boat speed was also important; it was very close, and we crossed the finish line just 30 seconds ahead of the next boat."

IRC Class 5 had an even tighter finish – the first three boats crossed the line in just 10 seconds. The fleet started cleanly, but only because a number of premature starters had already turned around before the gun.  In the end, Jack Banks’ J/92 NIGHTJAR took second and Andy and Annie Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II placed third.

J/70 women's sailing teamDay 3- Monday
Competitors enjoyed a fabulous classic sea breeze day, after a long postponement, while race officials waited for the wind to arrive. They were rewarded with a stable 10-15 knot southwesterly breeze on another warm and almost cloudless day.

The bulk of the larger Black Group yachts started on the inshore Royal Yacht Squadron line, short tacking along the shore to the west. The start of IRC Class 1 was a spectacular sight, with the front row yachts perfectly in line when the cannon fired. There was soon much shouting for room to tack before boats grounded, as well as close port/starboard tack incidents.

IRC Class 2 was subject to an individual recall at the start and Chris Jones and Louise Makin’s J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II duly went back to restart correctly.  Tony Mack’s J/111 MCFLY started towards the outer end of the line and was also well placed, sailing at the top of the fleet.  However, in the end, it was Christopher Daniel’s J/122E JUNO that won on corrected time.

J/97s sailing off Cowes, EnglandDay 4- Tuesday
After a relaxed morning waiting for a breeze to build, the teams were thoroughly tested by a series of wild fluctuations in the wind that accompanied short showers that passed over the race area in the afternoon. Lulls saw to wind drop to as low as three knots while some gusts topped 20 knots, while the direction at times swung through 90 degrees.

In IRC Class 5, Andy and Anne Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II got third. Said one sailor, “it was a great race– a good length and very enjoyable– even though the wind was very shifty and up and down from 5 to 21 knots”.

White Group
A small band of rain moved across the start area, then the breeze rapidly built back to 10-12 knots, temporarily shifting right to a more westerly direction. The two cannons for an individual recall were sounded at the start of the J/80 one-design class, but no boats turned back.

J/70 sailing off Cowes, EnglandFiona and Malcolm Thorpe’s J/80 KING LOUIE, and Jon Powell’s J/80 BETTY, were closest to the inshore end of the line. However, Chris Body’s J/80 MOCKINGJAY took an early lead ahead of Ray Mitchell’s CHECKMATE after KING LOUIE grounded on Grantham Rocks, as the fleet short tacked past the Green. BETTY crossed the line first, but had to take a penalty for a rule infringement, which lifted MOCKINGJAY to first place, while CHECKMATE took third.

“Having led the race and maintained the lead when the wind from the north dropped out and the then came in from the south, when we were on a tight spinnaker reach, I managed to hit the mark,” says Powell. “It was quite impressive because the tide was pulling us off– I’m not sure how that happened. I did some turns, but then realized we had to take a penalty so, even though we crossed the line in first place, we ended up second.”

J/70 Short Series results
Tuesday was also the final day of a short series for a number of classes that two or three races per day over the first four days of Lendy Cowes Week. Kate and John Greenland’s J-DOG won the J/70 short series by a nine-point margin ahead of Clive Bush’s DARCEY, with Ali Hall’s SCEPTRE taking third place.

J/70 sailing downwind off Cowes, EnglandDay 5- Wednesday- Youth Day
A change in the weather today gave a cooler and windier, sunny day, with gusts nearing 25 knots in the early afternoon. Thousands of sailors came ashore sporting big grins after an energetic day that saw many thrills and spills on the downwind legs. Wednesday was “Youth Day” at Lendy Cowes week, with the spotlight shining on the numerous young sailors, teams and skippers at the event.

Today 14-year-old Callum Robbins raced on Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II. “It was fantastic, I have never done something like this before,” he says. “It was great fun and something I am going to remember for a long time. I would love to get out racing again!”

The new Double-Handed IRC class, saw Natalie Jobling’s J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS vying for the lead.  The lead pair split gybes in the early stages of their first leg. At this stage, MOSTLY HARMLESS opted for more downwind angles that reduced the distance to sail at the expense of boat speed, ultimately taking 2nd in the race.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth- http://www.pwpictures.com  For more Lendy Cowes Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

MR BILL’s WILD RIDE Indeed! The J/35 N.A. Champion!

J/35s sailing offshore (Cheboygan, MI)- What a year it has been for Bill Wildner.  After re-uniting with his soul in New Zealand, hiking the mountains and fjords of the spectacular South Island to connect with his inner-consciousness, he returns enlightened, to sunny, quaint Detroit and proceeds to sail “lights out” against his many friends in the J/35 class on the Great Lakes.  Not that he hasn’t done it before, but the complete white-washing of the J/35 North Americans will surely stand out in many people’s memories for years to come in the thirteen-boat fleet that experienced a “master-class” in how to win a regatta.

Starting off with two bullets, Bill Wildner’s crew on MR BILL’s WILD RIDE posted a 4th in their third race and damn near had a cardiac arrest. Fourth? OMG. Heresy. So, duly awakened to their potential mortality, Mr Bill and crew simply smoked the fleet and never looked back, posting six straight bullets to simply dominate the 2018 edition of the J/35 North Americans.  They might as well have been walking on water by the end and declared “peace & love” for all.

The North Star Sail Club in Cheboygan, MI was the host for the event on the beautiful northeast shores of Michigan on the verdant green waters of Lake Huron.  Aside from the Wild Riders, the battle for the balance of the podium went down to the last three races. Sitting in second, based on a discard race, Mike Sabinash’s crew on SABOTAGE just had to avoid another deep race to stay in the silver. However, their first race DNF was going to come back and haunt them.  Bill Vogan’s crew on MAJOR DETAIL knew those numbers and their worst race was a 5th going into the last three races.  As a result, a few well-planted tacks pushed their competitor down the ladder, never to recover from them.  Vogan’s MAJOR DETAIL closed with a 2-2-2 to take the silver over Sabinash’s SABOTAGE that closed with a 4-7-4.  Rounding out the top five were Dave Timmer’s HAT TRICK in 4th, just two points ahead of Cheryl Miller’s DEAN’s LIST in 5th place.

J/35 designer, Rod Johnstone, attended the event this year and had an opportunity to sail with BLACKHAWK.  Here are Rod’s comments,

“I have always had a great time whenever I have gone to Michigan. It is because the people there are so welcoming and so much fun, but, also because my visits there have always had something to do with sailing and sailboat racing.

The North Shore Sail Club hosted the event by moving their home base far North from Lake St. Clair near Detroit to Cheboygan, the juncture between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan- an ideal venue for the event. What a great job the NSSC did hosting about 150 sailors, race committee, and families so far from home and running nine races in three days. Hats off to Event Director Dean Fitzpatrick, the race committee and jury for excellent race management. Also his shoreside team for dinners and all evening gatherings that everyone attended at an F.O.E. Hall next to our motel which seemed to be taken over by J/35 sailors for the weekend. The boats all stayed in the same marina on the Cheboygan River a short walking distance away.  Local Cheboygan residents were genuinely glad to welcome J/35 sailors, and would go out of their way to say so. And many thanks to Fran DiPietro for organizing my ride on his seaplane from Traverse City Airport to Cheboygan and back.

My special thanks go to Amy and Tim Ross for having me aboard their BLACKHAWK for Saturday’s racing.  What a kick that was trimming the main sheet for four races with such a jolly crew consisting of Kara Askew, Mark Esch-Williams, Morgan Frakes, Shawn Hughes, Susan Mort, Jenny Robinson. We were no match for the almost flawless team of Bill Wildner and Mr. Bill’s Wild Ride, and the top six teams who had close finishes in almost every race. But, it was fun to race on a boat where everyone was so positive and functioned well as a team.

The Great Lakes J/35 sailors at this event showed a strong community spirit that bodes well for the J/35 Class in the future. It made me even more glad that I am going soon to Nova Scotia to race, once again, with my old J/35 buddies on J’ai Tu at Chester Race Week in Nova Scotia in August.”   Sailing photo credits- Santa Fabio  For more J/35 North American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Round the Island Race/ Round the Sound Fun!

J/29 and J/120 sailing Round Island (Edgartown, MA)- Edgartown Yacht Club’s ‘Round-the-Island Race (’RTI) – one of America’s oldest distance races– took place Saturday around Martha’s Vineyard. The 80-year-old race originated in 1938 and, except for the years of the Second World War, has been an annual event since then.  It is part of the Edgartown Yacht Club’s Edgartown Race Weekend, which includes two days of buoy racing (tomorrow and Friday) and a ‘Round-the-Sound Race that began immediately after the start for the ’RTI.

“The race was first conceptualized to be reminiscent of the race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was the course of the first America’s Cup,” said EYC Big Boat Racing Committee Co-Chair, Hal Findlay. “The distance around Martha’s Vineyard (56 nm) is only a few miles longer; both courses have views of cliffs, headlands, villages and open water; and the tidal currents and wind effects are important in both.”

J/109 sailing Round Island raceStarting at 0800 Saturday morning, the ’RTI fleet (split into classes for Classics; PHRF A, B and C; PHRF Non-Spinnaker and Double-Handed) sailed between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket along the east beach of Chappaquiddick. At midday, the fleet headed into the open Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of the Vineyard.  In the afternoon, after rounding the gorgeous cliffs of Gay Head, the sailors then headed up Vineyard Sound to the finish near Edgartown Harbor. The fleet passed within sight of seven lighthouses: Cape Poge, Gay Head, Tarpaulin Cove, Nobska, West Chop, East Chop and Edgartown.

Douglas Curtiss’s J/111 WICKED 2.0 won PHRF A while Rick Egan’s J/46 WINGS took third place on the podium.

Winning the largest class- PHRF B- and leading a J/Boat sweep of the top five was Ed Dailey’s (Beverly, Mass.) J/109 RAPTOR. “It was a terrific race,” said Dailey, who has competed in the race seven times and has won his class twice now. “It always has so many different conditions, and the Vineyard is a storied place; it’s kind of magical.”  Just behind was an amazing tie for second place between Stephen McManus’ J/120 SAYKADOO and Eliot Shanabrook’s J/109 HAFA ADAI.  Fourth was Stephen Besse’s J/120 APRES’ and fifth place went to Ned Joyce’s J/105 DARK’N’STORMY.

J/70s sailing Round Sound RaceFinishing third in PHRF C class was Ira Perry’s J/29 SEEFEST while Steve Dahill’s J/35C RIVA took 4th in class. Finally, Alan Fougere’s J/160 AVATAR finished 4th in PHRF Non-spinnaker class.

The ‘Round-the-Sound fleet, which started directly after the ’RTI boats, finished midday on Saturday, sailing a course that took them seven miles toward Hyannis then four miles west and six miles back home. Winning the J/70 class was Isabella Giordano’s TONIC, second was Mike Eberstadt’s ARTEMIS, and third was Tim Cohan’s GHOST.  Sailing Photo Credits- Stephen Cloutier  For more Round the Island Race & Sound sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 AFRICA Crowned Marblehead NOOD Overall Champion!

J/70 AFRICA- Jud Smith wins (Marblehead, MA)- The 2018 edition of the Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD Regatta was not without its dramas for the huge 57-boat J/70 class as well as the talent-laden J/24.  Hosted by the triumvirate of clubs in Marblehead (Eastern YC, Corinthian YC, Boston YC), the regatta PRO’s managed to get off six races over the first two days for the J/70s, seven races for the J/24s and eight races for the J/105 classes.

In the end, it was local hero- Jud Smith- and his very talented crew onboard the J/70 AFRICA that not only won their class, but were also awarded the Overall Marblehead NOOD Champion Award for best performance at the regatta.  As it turns out, Jud and crew now have a chance to race a “party catamaran” in the Caribbean for the Overall NOOD Championship from all the other NOOD regattas nationwide. Here is how it all went down over those three days of racing.

J/105s rounding markDay 1- Friday
Spectacular sailing conditions marked the first day; gentle breezes and moderate seas made for a full day of close racing, as crews stayed on the water late in order to fit in the maximum number of races possible- like finishing at 1700 hrs late!

Among the eight classes competing on Friday were the popular J/70s. The pro-laden fleet was the largest of the regatta and, for them, this regatta had an added layer of importance. In addition to vying for the overall prize, teams in this class were training for the World Championship in Marblehead this September.

Local skipper Jud Smith, who led the fleet after three races, said this event was critical for J/70 crews to get a feel for the rest of the fleet and get used to the venue— even local sailors, like himself.

“We’re sailing in an area we don’t normally sail in,” Smith said. “And there’s nothing like sailing in a big fleet. The starting line is especially challenging.”

Smith and his team on AFRICA haven’t been sailing together long and are hoping to continue working out the kinks this weekend as they prepare for the class championship.

J/70s sailing off Marblehead“We’re trying to get better at starting and be more consistent,” he said. “It’s just about getting used to working together and everyone doing their job. We’re happy with how we’re going, and we’re happy with our boat speed, so the biggest thing is to start more consistently.”

Before leading his own crew, Smith served as strategist on the J/70 World Champion team in 2017, alongside skipper Peter Duncan, who currently holds the second spot in the fleet only three points behind team AFRICA.

For Duncan, the Marblehead NOOD is a fun opportunity to go head-to-head with his friend and former teammate, and a can’t-miss opportunity to train for this year’s championship.

“It’s so wonderful to have an event where you can get nearly 60 boats on the starting line in advance of a World Championship in the venue you’re going to be sailing in,” Duncan said. “It’s nice because there are a lot of boats here, a lot of foreign boats and most of the top Americans. That makes for great racing and you get to learn a lot.”

J/24s fighting upwindDay 2- Saturday
For the second day in a row, consistent winds fueled a full day of races on Saturday. With slightly more wind than Friday, plus light waves and current, fleets kept very close for tight racing and crowded mark roundings on the race course.

When winds are moderate and less physically demanding, boatspeed differences tend to be minimal between competitors, which result in close-quarters racing and passing opportunities. In these conditions, however, it’s the best teams that tend to demonstrate their strengths.

Local J/105 skipper Charlie Garrard wasn’t getting comfortable just yet with the weather conditions. He led the fleet by two points and credits his success so far to the help of his kids, who are sailing with him, and a focus on finding clear air on the racecourse.

“A two-point lead isn’t really a lead,” Garrard said. “The way I look at it, there are three boats tied for first right now. So, tomorrow we get out there and try to race our own race. I think it can go any which way.”

J/70s rounding markThe largest of 10 fleets competing in this year’s event, the J/70 class saw extremely close racing again on Saturday, especially during mark roundings.

Former J/70 World Champion Timothy Healy and his crew on USA 2 staged an impressive comeback to move into second place overall after posting uncharacteristically high scores on Friday’s first day of racing.

“The key for us was getting better starts,” Healy said of his crew’s day two success. “We had clean starts and were able to use our boatspeed to get to the front of the pack. The first day our starts weren’t too good, so that was the big difference.”

Team USA 2 had one fifth and two first-place finishes on Saturday. The crew hasn’t sailed together before, so it’s also been important for them to gel and improve communication.

“I can tell that the sail trim and all the little fine-tuning is happening quicker and more effectively now,” Healy said. “Boatspeed comes and tactics get better when the communication is better. So all of it came together today.”

Looking ahead to the final day, Healy said his goal is to keep improving, especially on starts and speed. “That’s the key,” he said, “just keep working and learning and getting better.”

J/24 woman skipper looks for windDay 3- Sunday
Though early morning winds appeared promising, the breeze disappeared and never returned for the final day.

As the winner of the largest, most competitive class in the regatta, J/70 skipper Jud Smith and his crew on Africa earned the coveted Overall Winner prize. In addition to new gear from Helly Hansen, the Swampscott, MA, native and his teammates earned a berth in the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship regatta, hosted by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in October.

The team won by a considerable 14-point lead, but success didn’t come without its challenges. Their big focus this weekend was to start well and consistently – and when that didn’t happen, they had to rely on good communication and teamwork to pull them through.

One particularly bad start on Saturday saw team Africa behind the majority of the 57-boat fleet, but the crew was able to battle back to the weather mark and finish in 13th place.

“In a tough situation, we just kept going and we got to the weather mark in the top 15,” Smith said. “To me, it was the race we sailed the best, because those are the hard races. The easy races are the ones where you have a good start and you get clear and it’s pretty straightforward. The hard races are the ones where you have to overcome adversity, and I thought our team did a really good job.”

Smith has been sailing with Marc Gauthier (bow) and Will Felder (trim) for years; in fact, they won J/70 North Americans together in 2015. But tactician Lucas Calabrese — a 2012 Olympic sailing bronze medalist in the 470 class — is a recent addition to the team, and Smith said Calabrese has helped the crew step up its game.

“Now, everyone in the fleet is going close to the same speed and the top boats are sailing really well, so it all comes down to the team dynamic in the end,” he said. “I thought our team did really well.”

J/70s sailing off MarbleheadTeam Africa also won the 2018 J/70 New England Championship this weekend, which had greater than usual significance for Smith and his crew. After taking the year off from driving in 2017 to sail with Peter Duncan’s team — and winning the J/70 World Championship in Italy along the way — Smith said he was “pretty rusty” when he returned to his boat in February. This win is a symbol of his progress.

“For me, it’s about getting back to the form I was in a few years ago,” he said. “And it was important for us as a team to get to work together better, feel confident about what we’re doing and trust each other.”

As an added layer of importance, the regatta was also the J/70 sailors' opportunity to familiarize them with the venue for the World Championship, which will be held in Marblehead this September. Smith said there was one key element they learned, “there’s more current out there than we were all aware of. People might get the impression that we have some sort of local advantage, but we were just sailing well. That current we were encountering was new to us, too. I’ve never sailed in that section of the water before.”

Behind Smith’s AFRICA and Healy’s USA 2, it was another J/70 World Champion that took third place- Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT from Lake Minnetonka, MN. Rounding out the top five were Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY in 4th (current J/70 World Champion) and Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE from Long Island Sound.

To appreciate the relative “fire power” and depth of talent that some J/70 teams bring to the table in a simple little regatta like the Marblehead NOOD, here are the notable combinations of skippers & pro-sailors on the top teams (note- never in the world of sailing has such an extraordinary amount of sailing talent been amassed in one place and in one class!):
  • 1st- AFRICA- Jud Smith- 3x Etchells 22 World Champion, 2017 J/70 World Champion strategist/ Lucas Calabrese- Olympics 470 Bronze Medallist for Argentina
  • 2nd- Tim Healy’s USA 2- first J/70 World Champion, 3x J/70 Midwinter Champion, 2x J/24 World Champion/ John Mollicone- J/24 Midwinter Champion, Brown University Coach
  • 3rd- Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT- J/70 World Champion, Melges 32 World Champion/ John Kostecki- J/24 World Champion/ Offshore World Champion, America’s Cup Champion
  • 4th- Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY- J/70 World Champion/ Willem van Waay and Victor Diaz de Leon- 2x J/70 World Champion crew
  • 6th- Glenn Darden’s HOSS- J/105 North American Champion, J/80 North American & J/80 World Champion/ Jonathan McKee- Olympic Gold Medallist
  • 7th- Brian Keane’s SAVASANA- 3x College All-American & J/80 North American Champion/ Thomas Barrows was College Sailor of the Year at Yale.
  • 9th- Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS- Etchells 22 World Champion/ J/24 North American Champion
  • 10th- Martie Kullman’s HYDRA- J/22 World Champion
  • 11th- John Brim’s RIMETTE- multiple-trophy winning owner offshore- Farr 60 RIMA/ Taylor Canfield- 3x World Match Racing Champion/ Congressional Cup Champion
  • 12th- Will Welles’ SCAMP- J/24 World Champion/ J/24 North American Champion
  • 13th- Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE- J/70 Midwinter Series Champion/ Charlie McKee- World Champion/ Olympic Coach
  • 15th- Martin Dent’s UK-based JELVIS- J/111 World Champion/ Ruairidh Scott- J/70 UK Champion
  • 17th- Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT- 2x College All-American/ Bill Hardesty- Etchells-22 2x World Champion & J/70 World Champion tactician/ Allen Terhune- J/22 World Champion.
J/70 Jud Smith interviewALL of these teams are sailing the J/70 World Championship.  Then, consider what the European teams are bringing to the table- a few guys with more World Championship credentials on their C.V.’s; such as Paul Goodison (British Olympic Gold Medallist in Lasers and 2x Moth World Champion, Laser World Champion, Melges 32 World Champion- tactician) and Cameron Appleton (Kiwi tactician winning 3x Farr 30 Worlds and 2x Melges 32 Worlds), just to name only a few.  Watch interview of Jud Smith from AFRICA here.

J/70 Jenn Wulff interviewIn the J/70 Corinthians Division, it was yet another win for Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY from Annapolis, MD.  Second was Stein Skaane’s SHRED, a local boat from Marblehead.  And, third was another local team- Daan Goedkoop’s LOCOMOTION.  Watch interview of Jen & Ray Wulff's JOINT CUSTODY here.

In the J/105 class, Charlie Garrard’s MERLIN ultimately took the class after posting a 1-2 in the last two races.  Second was Mark Lindquist’s STERLING and third Jon Samel’s BLOWN AWAY.

The J/24s saw a “foreigner” win the event over the local hotshots.  Winning the event on a tie-breaker at 13 pts each was the appropriately-named HIJACK, skippered by Fred Deom from Montreal, Quebec.  Second on the count-back was Chris Clancy’s LITTLE MARTHA and third was Martin Gallagher’s SHIFTY.  Sailing Photo Credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images  For more Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.