Wednesday, July 18, 2018

J’s Dominate Round the Island Race

J/122E sailing Round Island Race- Cowes, UK(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- As usual, it was another challenging 60nm offshore adventure for the world-famous “Round Island Race” in the United Kingdom, hosted by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Over one thousand boats began starting at 0630 hrs.  First off was the IRC Zero class, followed by over two-dozen more classes sailing across the glorious Royal Yacht Squadron line in the beautiful morning light.  On Saturday, the High pressure system produced a light NE breeze to start, veering SE-SW during J/97 sailing Round Island Racethe afternoon depending where you were. It was a hot & sunny, very tactical, long day of sailing- even the TP52’s took 10-11 hours to complete the course!

The general lack of wind and seabreeze that failed to materialise, left hundreds of teams struggling to reach the Needles before the tidal gate slammed shut in the early part of the race. Those who sneaked through had little option other than to soldier on and endure a slow, challenging, and extremely hot rounding.

Up for that challenge was the J/Navy sailing across the spectrum of classes.  It was a dominating performance for many J/Crews!

J/88 rounding The Needles- Round Island RaceThe highlight was yet another fantastic performance by a J/112E!  This time, it was DAVANTI TYRES (Chaz Ivill & Paul Heys) that won the Owen Parker Memorial Trophy- First Overall in IRC Group 1 and they were also first in IRC 1C Division!

Following them in IRC 1A Class were the following teams: 2nd the J/111 JOURNEYMAKER, 4th the J/120 HANNAM & PARTNERS Team, 5th the J/122 JAHMALI, 6th the J/111 JITTERBUG, 7th the J/122 KAYA, 10th the J/111 KESTREL, and 11th the J/133 ASSARAIN IV.

Sailing in IRC 2A Class were twelve J/109s and, not surprisingly, they led a clean sweep of the podium! First was JUBILEE, second DIAMOND JEM, and third JAGO!

J/109 sailing Round Island RaceThen, in IRC 2B Class were seven J/105s and six J/109s that also dominated, taking six of the top eight places! Winning was the J/105 JOS OF HAMBLE, 4th the J/105 JIN & TONIC, 5th the J/109 JURA, 6th the J/105 TYREFIX UK, 7th the J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS, and 8th the J/105 JIGSAW.

Holding their own in IRC 2C Class was the J/92S UPSTART, taking the third position on the podium.

IRC 2D Class had four J/92’s and five J/97’s, also with an outstanding set of results (five of the top ten).  Winning was the J/97 JAYWALKER, followed in 3rd by the J/97 JET, 5th the J/97 JUMBLESAIL II, 9th the J/97 HIGHJINKS, and 10th the J/92 JABBERWOCK.

Taking half of the top six in IRC 3A Class were the following J/Teams; winning was the J/92 SAMURAI J, 4th the J/92 NIGHTJAR, and 6th the J/97 BLACKJACK.

J/24 sailing 1,000th Round Island RaceIn the world of Island Sailing Club handicap rules (ISC), there were a number of J/crews participating.  The highlights were the J/100 TIDERACE taking 2nd place in 5B Class.  And, last but not least were the venerable J/24s!  In 6C Class taking 2nd was the J/24 J-RIDER and in 6th was J/24 TEAM IMPACT RACING.

In addition to the handicap classes, there are also one-design classes for the Round Island Race!

This year’s J/70 Class was won by MJOLNIR, followed by JENGA 8 in second, and the ROYAL SOUTHERN GBR 101 team in third.

J/88 sailing Round Island RaceIn the J/88s, first across the line was TIGRIS, followed by David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM, and Mister 88’s JONGLEUR in third place.

The J/105 class had quite the battle all the way around the island, which is not unusual for this closely-fought class.  Winning the battle this year was JOS OF HAMBLE, second was JIN TONIC and third TYREFIX UK.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for all the J/sailors was how well the J/109s did as a class as well as overall.  Winning was JUBILEE, followed by DIAMOND JEM taking silver and JAGO the bronze.

J/97 sailing Round Island RaceHowever, when you look at the J/Boats Class Trophy (overall IRC- 56 boats total), here is how the top five panned out:
1st J/109 JUBILEE
2nd J/109 DIAMOND JEM
3rd J/112E DAVANTI TYRES
4th J/109 SAMURAI J
5th J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

VW De Twee Provincien Wins @ Aalsmeer

J/70 woman crew on Dutch sailing league teamWV Almere Centraal Leads Dutch J/70 Sailing League Series
(Aalsmeer, Netherlands)- On the Westeinderplassen in Aalsmeer, the third act of the Eredivisie Sailing (the Dutch J/70 National Sailing League) took place over a gorgeous summer weekend of sailing on the lake for the fifteen teams from across the Netherlands. Mother nature did not make it easy for them; a variable wind forced the Race Committee to change the course in almost every race to make a fair race possible. And, that is how it went for the rest of the weekend.  Light and variable in the morning and hoping the afternoon seabreeze would kick in faster.

J/70 Dutch women sailing league off Aalsmeer, NetherlandsLeading after the first day with three straight bullets was WV Almere Centraal. Willem Jan van Dort, skipper of WV Almere Centraal explains, "These are difficult conditions today, with many unexpected wind shifts on the track. We realize that you could literally win or lose a race in the last few meters before the finish, because of the many williwaws on the track. We made reasonable good starts, but were not always the best. Then, it is a nice battle to continue to sail forward in the field. But, good defense is also important, because today the difference is made on a tactical level. Tomorrow will not be different, as they again predict light weather, so it will be exciting again!"

Day two was set to start on time at 0900 hours, however sailing was postponed due to a lack of wind.  By midday, the breeze filled in and the race committee managed to run twelve more races on Saturday, bringing the total number of races to twenty-one.

It was an exciting day on the water. For a long time WV Almere Centraal seemed to hold their lead firmly in their hands, but in the last race they finished last and eventually fell to second place on the leaderboard. Jachtclub Scheveningen managed to pass the reigning champion with a few victories and a second place.

Women sailing J/70s in The NetherlandsTom Kerkhof from Jachtclub Scheveningen explains their position enthusiastically, "We are happy to be in first place. We had a good start today with two first places. Then, we suddenly finished last, which shows that you should never think you are too confident. Fortunately, we were able to finish with a 2nd place in the last race and, thus, take the lead in the rankings. We look forward to tomorrow!"

Jachtclub Scheveningen battled hard and took over the lead from WV Almere Centraal, sitting atop the leaderboard with 15 points total. Behind them, three teams were tied on 16 pts each- WV Almere Centraal, RR&ZV Maas & Roer (Roermond), and the women’s SHE SAILS team sailing for the International Yacht Club Amsterdam.

The last day was epic, battles all over the race course and it was never clear until the last flight and set of races when the winner was determined.  And, to keep everyone breathless with anticipation until the end, the winners and the balance of the top five were determined on tie-breakers!  Talk about an anxiety-ridden day!  Every tack, every gybe, every spinnaker set and takedown was crucial to extract every millimeter of advantage to get consistent scores.

Women J/70 SHE SAILS sailing teamSunday started just like the previous two days: a weak variable wind that forced the 15 sailing teams to wait for the side. Race leader Alex Hoeve had already put everything in position to be able to sail immediately as soon as the wind allowed. Around 11:30 the first race could be started and it soon became clear that the wind attracted a lot and a sailing spectacle could be expected. Nine races were squeezed out on Sunday, where sailing team VWDTP managed to win three times in a row in their races. The Amsterdam ladies were on the same course, but left precious points in their last race and thus lost the highest step on the podium. Almere Central managed to keep up after a restless Saturday with varying results and eventually became overall third.

Skipper of the winning VWDTP team- Arthur Kluppel- said enthusiastically: "It feels fan-tas-tic to win this event! It has been a real reward for working. Friday we started too cautiously and at that moment were leaving points in the light weather. As a team, we then agreed to take more risks at the start and in the runway. From that moment on, we sailed no fewer than 6 first places! Laying down after a start is disastrous, you will no longer make up for that because of the high level of the sailing teams. In the results, you see that well back, the points are awfully close together. Until the last moment, it was the bottom pinching for us. The Amsterdam ladies could still pass us in the overall ranking if they had finished their last race just a bit better! "

Women sailing J/70s in The NetherlandsThe Groningers and Almere Centraal will sail the 2nd semi-final of the Sailing Champions League from 3 to 6 August against the best international teams from the comparable international competition. "We are curious how we can relate to this force field, we are going to see it! But winning this round of games in Aalsmeer on the way to the semi-finals gives a lot of confidence. We will train for another weekend and then do our utmost in Russia! "

Perhaps the most notable performance of the entire weekend was the women’s SHE SAILS team sailing for International Yacht Club Amsterdam.  The nailed four 1sts in a row and nearly pulled off the overall win, much to the delight of their wildly cheering fans!

J/70 Netherlands winners podium“We were right there! But, it just did not turn out for us at the last minute! But, we finally succeeded in getting onto the podium! We had good boat handling and tactics this weekend and the team also managed to switch well and anticipate the circumstances. At the beginning of the weekend, our results were also somewhat variable, but we started to sail more consistently, with a few nice victories. Unfortunately, we did not cash in on the gold medal during the last race. We were in a huge fight with WV De Meeuwen on the water in the last race. If we had not had this battle, we might have ended up a place higher and won the regatta.  However, we are very happy with our 2nd place,” commented a happy and smiling Fettje Osinga.

Women's SHE SAILS sailing team- 2nd in Aalsmeer, NetherlandsThe women’s SHE SAILS teams ended up tied on points at 21 pts each with VW De Twee Provincien, losing the tie-breaker on the countback based on most 1sts.  Third place went to the defending Dutch J/70 Sailing League champions- WV Almere Centraal with 22 points.  The balance of the top five was also determined on a tie-breaker on 23 pts each, with WV De Meeuwen (Leeuwarden) taking 4th and Jachtclub Scheveningen finishing 5th.

As a result of the Aalsmeer regatta, WV Almere Centraal continues to lead the overall standings after three events with a total of 56 pts (low point scoring, all races count).  Just one point back in 2nd is RR&ZV Maas & Roermond and sitting in 3rd is Jachtclub Scheveningen with 58 pts.  Never has one regatta and the overall standings been so close in the history of the Dutch J/70 Sailing League- it’s exciting, close racing as all the teams have raised their game to a much higher, and more consistent, level.   Watch the interview of the SHE SAILS Women’s team on Facebook here   Sailing photo credits- Jasper van Staveren
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Offshore World Championship Preview

J/112E sailing Offshore Worlds
(The Hague, The Netherlands)- The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship is in final preparation for the fleet of 90 yachts from 15 nations to start the event. The fleet represents a diverse cross section of teams from around the world comprised of seasoned champions, newcomers and older production cruiser/racers, as well as brand new custom racing designs being sailed by professional crews and Corinthian amateurs.

“It’s this rich diversity that makes this a truly World Championship that appeals to all offshore sailors,” said Bruno Finzi, a member of the International Jury for the event and Chairman of the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC). For the first time, both ORC’s rating system and IRC, the system used by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and its French counterpart UNCL, will be used for scoring in this event. As a result, all entries were required to be measured to have certificates from both systems. Use of these systems allows for boats of different types to race against each other under handicap in a week-long format of both offshore and inshore racing.

The first offshore race starts on Sunday, July 15th. The length of this race will vary depending on the weather, but the first teams are expected to finish on Monday 16 July.
J/112e interior
On Tuesday 17 July, either offshore racing will resume, or the start of windward/leeward course racing will begin on two designated course areas off the beach at Scheveningen, with inshore racing to continue daily through Friday 20 July. A total of nine races are scheduled, two offshore and seven inshore. The teams with the lowest combined scores using ORC and IRC ratings in each of three classes (A, B, C) will be crowned the new 2018 World Champions, with prizes also awarded to teams with all Corinthian (amateur) crew.

Sailing in the twenty-seven boat Class B are primarily custom and semi-custom production boats.  Joining that fray will be a standard J/111 RED HERRING, sailed by Gerwin Janssen from The Netherlands- hopefully, his “home field” advantage will helpful through the course of nine races.
Class C has fifty-three boats from twelve nations across Europe; it’s by far the largest class in the event and starting so many big boats on one starting line will prove to be a formidable task! Some speculate the line will be from 1/4 to 1/3 nm in length!  Like the other classes, there are a number of new and current custom boats racing against standard production boats.  Leading the charge for the five J/Teams will be the current IRC European Champion- Fred Bouvier & Didier LeMoal’s J/112E J-LANCE 12.  Also, participating from Ireland is a past United Kingdom IRC Class Champion- the J/35 BENGAL MAGIC sailed by Jim Chalmers.  Finally, there are three J/109s hoping to get their shot at some silver as well; including MAJIC (Arnout Joorritsma), VRIJGEZEILIG (Michel Heidweiller), and JAI ALAI (Alain Bornet).  For more Offshore World Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Societa Canottieri Garda Salò Tops Wins J/70s- Malcesine

J/70 sailing on Lake Garda, Italy(Malcesine, Italy)- The Fraglia Vela Malcesine welcomed the second act of the Italian Sailing League, on the splendid setting of Lake Garda.

“With 18 crews at the start, many of them with great ambitions, we opened the second seasonal selection of LIV tonight,” said Roberto Emanuele de Felice, President of the Italian Sailing League.  “Thanks to the Fraglia Vela of Malcesine for their hospitality and the organization of an event that takes place in an exceptional setting.  The weather conditions of Lake Garda will allow the crews to express themselves at their best. 45 races are expected in three days of racing. We know that the goal is the selection of the top Italian teams for the SAILING Champions League to be held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia later in September."

The first day of racing after eight long hours on the water produced twenty-four races.  The day started at 0800 hrs for the first flight of teams (after the morning briefing at 0700 hrs!) and ended at 1600 hrs. It was only possible to get in so many races because the strong Pelèr breeze was blowing up to 20 knots early in the morning!

J/70s sailing on Lake Garda, ItalyIn fact, the Pelèr winds were way above the average; it blew well beyond midday, making the race course perfect and extremely tactical- lots of puffs and wind streaks roaring down the lake from the Italian Alps!

Then, at 1300 hrs, the Pelèr stopped and, immediately, the Ora came in from the south!  Crazy weather conditions on such a beautiful sunny, clear day! The new race course was so close to land that many swimmers and tourists were intrigued by the tight maneuvering of the boats right along the shoreline!

Winning the day easily was Societa Canottieri Garda Salò six 1sts, a 2nd and 3rd.  Six points behind was Circolo Canottieri Aniene with three 1sts and four 2nds in the scoreline.

Then, tied for third on 20 pts each were three teams- Compagnia Della Vela of Venice, the YC Gaeta and Circolo Della Vela Bellano

J/70 sailing on Lake Garda, ItalyThe secret of success, according to the Società Canottieri Garda Salò, was getting good clean starts.

"These are short races,” explains Enrico Fonda, “our goal in every race was to start fast and lead at the top mark.  However, sometimes it does not always work that way!” (he said laughing).

The Società Canottieri Garda Salò has a team composed of ten sailors that rotate into the various regattas to represent the club.

"We did not train a lot together, but we are all expert sailors and we know the J/70’s well. Plus, Lago di Garda is perfect for racing, and the Pelèr, which is shiftier and puffier, is much more tactical, something I prefer to beat our opponents!”

On the final day, nine more races were sailed to complete the regatta.  In the morning, the Pelèr did not show up! But around midday, the Ora blew in from the south around 10 kts for a fun and exciting finale for the regatta.

Italian J/70 Sailing League- Malcesine, Italy winners podiumThe Società Canottieri Garda Salò team (Pietro Corbucci, Stefano Raggi, Diego Franchini, & Enrico Fonda) won the Act 2 in Malcesine.  Second place was Circolo Canottieri Aniene (Luca Tubaro, Simone Spangaro, Matteo Mason, & Davide Tizzano- who was Olympic Gold for rowing). Third place went to Compagnia Della Vela of Venice (Paolo Acinapura, Salvatore Eulisse, Alessandro Banci, Andrea Tedesco, & Jacopo Paier).

"Our victory”, commented Enrico Fonda, “came thanks to a fantastic and prepared team. We had a goal, to always start well and win, and we were always focused to achieve it, this was the key to guaranteeing the consistency of content necessary to conclude in first place.”

"The second stage of Lega Italiano Vela selection,” commented President Roberto Emanuele de Felice, “goes into the history books after a set of extremely closely fought races, perhaps the hardest battles in the history of LIV. We have experienced challenging conditions, fast racing, and choppy waves- fantastic sailing!”  Follow the Italian J/70 Sailing League on Facebook, watch sailing video highlight here   For more Italian J/70 Sailing League sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/121 Flies Down Baltic Sea: Marstand -> Malmo Delivery

J/121 sailing off Sweden(Gothenburg, Sweden)- “It was a really nice experience sailing her downwind in 17-20 kts of breeze on a 160nm delivery trip from Marstrand to Falsterbo (Malmo). We had Peter Gustafsson of BLUR.SE sailing fame onboard for the first leg down to southern Sweden. There is also a fun video from the downwind ride,” reports Fredrik Rydin, the proud new owner of the J/121 JOLENE.  Here is Peter’s report below.

“I have been intrigued with Fredrik Rydin’s process of bringing his new J/121 up to speed in Marstrand. His focus is on shorthanded racing and the appropriate sail wardrobe, instrumentation and systems to make sailing shorthanded effective- in fact, many of those elements are similar to my J/111 BLUR.SE.

It has been hectic to get everything done, so there was no traditional testing of everything before the delivery from Marstrand to Stockholm.  The plan was for Fredrik and his father Axel to do the delivery/sail to Stockholm and it was possible for me to join them on the first stage. It was especially exciting for me, since the weather forecast for the Marstrand-Malmö route promised a windspeed of 8-10 meters per second (about 16-21 kts).

When I landed in Marstrand, it was still a full-on commissioning process! Sikaflex and cartons everywhere! But, somewhere one has to draw a line, and it felt like order was necessary to get the ball rolling. It is easy under estimating how much work it takes to get a bigger boat commissioned and how many things can go wrong.  So, it felt like Fredrik and Axel were happy to finally get away sailing on their new ocean greyhound!

Morning coffee- flying downwind on J/121!Once out of the pretty harbor of Marstrand, we hoisted the main, then went straight to the A3 asymmetric! But, we soon switched soon to an A2! Bigger, faster! Time to celebrate with morning coffee (see Fredrik here).

Even though the boat is only meter longer than the J/111, it feels like a much bigger boat. For better or worse, everything gets a bit heavier, but the sailing becomes a bit more comfortable.

So, when the wind pressed at 9-11 m/s (~17-22 kts), we completely trucked downwind!  We were doing a steady 12-13-14 kts with tops of 18-19 kts on the knotmeter. The boat has very responsive steering, despite two steering wheels.  And, no trouble placing the boat right where you wanted it in the waves. She also felt stiffer than J/111 and, in places where BLUR probably would broach, one could easily get back to onto course and dive down the next wave.

After sailing both the 88 and 111, and now the 121, I think the VMG downwind planing threshold is moved slightly up the wind scale relative to her smaller sisterships. If the 88 planes at 7-8 m/s (13.5-15.5 kts), Blur at 9-10 m/s (17.5-19.5 kts), you'll really like 10-11 m/s (19-22 kts) on the 121 to make it really fun! But, then it will go really fast, “sending it downhill” so to speak!

There were no good polars yet for the boat (the only one that it had was the ORC polar chart from ORC for the J/121 JACKHAMMER from the United Kingdom, which has a different configuration).  So, we drove using BLUR’s numbers downwind. TWA seemed about right, and in conditions where the 111 was always on a plane, we were steady at 100% planing on the 121. Fun for BLUR ... but, as I said, a little more wind, the 121 will simply fly away- you could tell going down the waves, the 121 is a reaching/ running speedster, hitting 19 kts was not hard for this boat- effortless, in fact. This boat will surprise a lot of sailors at its ability to go fast offshore- a reaching machine that can still go upwind like its legendary predescessors.

J/121 cockpit
The cockpit is incredibly comfortable. Easy to get around and good ergonomics for both skipper and the trimmer, who can sit in front of the steering wheel and have good contact with the skipper without being in the way. All fittings are where they should be, although there are clearly some adjustments needed to be made for how Fredrik wants to sail the boat.

We dropped past Vinga and down towards Nidingen. Perfect conditions and steady 10-13 knots boatspeed (planing mode, obviously) with sporadic bursts of 16-17 kts. The route took us far west, but we chose to drive safe.

J/121 Jolene enjoying sunset sailWe experienced another gorgeous sunset. I estimated that this was the eighth full night sail this year, which feels very good. Swedish summer nights out on the wild blue sea are something special. It is twilight all night long!

The last gasp of breeze was at Gilleleje, before the wind turned southeast and dropped to 2-3 m/s (3.5-5.8 kts) at Höganäs. Pretty much as the weather routing had predicted.

After a little motoring at Helsingør, we could sail on a reach in the light wind down towards Ven. We tested the water ballast (small windward heel effect in the light wind) and compared the performance between jib and J0 (a big jib or small code that is rolled out flying from the top of the mast and end of the sprit pole). Useful data collection, and we were able to work around the sail chart and the experience we have on BLUR.

Here is what the white sail wardrobe looks like: a 104% Jib LM (40 m2), a J0 (JIB ZERO 61 m2) and a heavy air #4 set on its own inside of the foretriangle (30 m2).

Here is what the North Sails sail selection chart looks like for the J/121 JOLENE.
J/121 sail chart selection
So, the sail chart is very close to what we have on BLUR. But, on J/121, you've been thinking right from the start. One big difference is that J0 is placed on the end of the sprit and masthead and stretched tight with a 3:1 ratio; that gives good sail shape and enables 55 TWA sailing upwind in light airs- a big advantage!

The interior has the same layout as the J/109, the "owners cabin" on the port side aft and a giant head and storage locker on the starboard side. There is a great forepeak dedicated to sail handling, but can also accommodate two pipe berths.
J/121 interior
The interior is perfect for single or doublehanded racing.  But, offshore you should not sail more than six to be comfortable in the two main cabin settees and swing up bunks. But, with water ballast it should be just right to sail with six.

Well, it was now time to find the dock in Malmo after the Öresund Bridge. We then started the autopilot, which required a little change of settings and will need adjustments in further "sea trials". Many things to be adjusted on a new boat!
J/121 twin wheels- twin B&G Zeus 3's 
Fredrik has the same setup as BLUR (see here). The only difference is that you have two B&G Zeus 3’s, one for each wheel!

J/121 Jolene at Channel dockWe finally make it to the dock in the Falsterbok channel. Many “thanks” to Fredrik for letting me go. And, congratulations on a beautiful boat!

How does it compare to a J/111? It is the same concept, but with a clearer focus on offshore racing. This boat is best for stretching its legs out at sea. To Bermuda, Hawaii or a quick Gotland Runt Race. It does not feel as sporty (powered up) as a J/111, or even a J/88.  But, in offshore weather and waves like we experienced, you will reel off the miles offshore without getting tired- it is a very comfortable boat! And, with a smaller crew.

Right now Fredrik & Axel are in Kalmarsund. They drove with the A2 asymmetric spinnaker from the canal to the cutout and got the chance to pump in 400 liters of water into the water tanks; they were sailing with a TWA 135 at 7-9 m/s (13.5-17.0 kts). There is no question, the water ballast definitely makes a difference. We wish them a nice trip!”
Fun J/121 downwind sailing video- 13 kts average, burst to 19 kts!
Watch the J/121 downwind sailing video here   Thanks for this contribution from Peter Gustafsson at BLUR.SE Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pacific Cup Starts in Big Breeze

J/35 sailing Pacific Cup (San Francisco, CA)- Fresh winds, reported by weather authorities as sustained in the high 20s on the beam made for a demanding first night for the 29 original starters of the Pacific Cup to Hawaii- a.k.a. the “fun race to Hawaii”! Race veterans compare last night’s conditions to the 2002 and 2016 races that were marked by unusually stiff breezes.

Following the four starts on Tuesday, there are 30 more teams that will get underway during the three more additional start days on July 11th, 12th, and 13th.

J/92 sailing Pacific Cup raceIn the DH2 Mount Gay Rum doublehanded division, Sean and Kim Mulvihill on their J/120 JAMANI are certainly on the right horse for the course in the early stages of this race, with their J/120 effectively leading the doublehanded division. The J/105 ABSTRACT sailed by Doug Pihlaja and Mary Hartel is not that far beyond, loving the heavy reaching conditions as well.

There are J/crews in three more classes that will be starting soon.  PHRF Class B (Weems & Plath) has Karl Haflinger’s J/35 SHEARWATER racing with his crew of Jim Ianelli (Navigator), Stewart Putnam, David Smullin, and Alan Johnson.

PHRF Class C (Alaska Airlines) has Phil Wampold’s J/92 ZAFF racing with his Canadian crew of Kieran Horsburgh (Watch Captain), Ansel Koehn (Foredeck), and Paul Mais (Navigator).

And, ORR Class D (Pasha Hawaiian) has Tracy Rogers’ J/120 HOKULANI sailing with his crew of John Dillow (Navigator), Cris Sena, and Mike Mahoney.   Follow them all on the YB Tracker here  And, follow the news on the Pacific Cup Facebook page here.  For more Pacific Cup Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Vic-Maui Race Underway

J/122E Joyride sailing to HawaiiJ/122E JOYRIDE Amongst The Leaders!
(Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)- The Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race, hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club, got underway July 1st. The 2,308nm course goes from Victoria, British Columbia to Maui, Hawaii.

The lone J/Crew sailing the race is the gorgeous J/122E JOYRIDE from Seattle, WA skippered by her owner- John Murkowski. They are one of the most successful offshore racing teams in the Pacific Northwest. Here are the latest updates below.

Day 5
Day 5 Roll Call finds the boats generally about 550 miles west of the Oregon/California border and the leaders are now about 1500 miles from Hawaii. But the winds are easing. This is definitely the Middle Sea and the most difficult part of the race to figure out. The fleet continues to chase the sweet spot between the Pacific High and Low Pressure trough well west of the Rhumb Line; with most boats 75 miles west of the direct route and Anjo and Serenite another 75 miles west of that.

The wind was generally strong overnight after the trough passed and most boats were beam-reaching speeds of 8 kts or more. But the wind has now abated with most boats seeing wind from the NW about 15 kts, and speeds have slowed accordingly. JOY RIDE is still vying for the lead for line honors, while winning on handicap.

Day 6
Day 6 Roll Call finds the fleet well offshore and now about 750 miles off Cape Mendocino and still sailing west of the direct route to Maui.  But this morning’s Weather Eye lays out the myriad of issues facing the fleet as all boats look to pick the right weather route, with choosing the wrong window likely to be costly.

Boats are reporting sailing in lighter conditions that yesterday. But, more importantly, the “Tuna Challenge” was issued yesterday by Oxomoxo, and it was answered on JOY RIDE within minutes of putting out the lure. No word on how bloody the decks got. Also, reporting tuna on board are Turnagain and Kraken again.

Day 7
This afternoon, the fleet looks to be sailing on starboard tack with W-NW winds in the 7-13 knot range.  Barometric pressures reportedly range from 1022 – 1025, with some dubious outlier readings from boats whose barometer calibrations may have fallen off the pre-start job list.  All the boats appear to be navigating a fine line to avoid light air on their left (to the East) and to stay in pressure either ahead or to their right, on the slope of the High (to the West).

Conditions onboard the boats are reported as warmer and drier, with a more-than-faint whiff of tuna on some boats and gray whales near other boats.  It looks like tomorrow will be the half way mark for a number of boats; traditionally there are some wild and wacky celebrations that are sometimes akin to a sailor’s traditional equatorial crossing.  With the magic of modern wireless communications, photographs, including drone images, and stories have been coming ashore from the boats and appearing on blogs and social media including the Vic-Maui Facebook group at www.facebook.com/vmiyr/

Day 8
Most of the fleet reached the halfway point in last 24 hours, or will shortly. It is certainly a time for celebrations aboard (and perhaps the first shower in a week). But it is also time to contemplate how far the boats are from anything - nearest land is over 1000 miles away. But from now on, the nearest land will be Hawaii – how good is that?

The weather seems to have improved and with boats now at the latitude of Carmel, it is certainly warmer and most boats report that the foulies are finally starting to come off. There are some complaints about the lack of spinnaker sailing (as promised in the brochure) with boats reporting they are close reaching with Code 0 sails in 10-15 kts of wind. And they could use more wind.

The trade winds and the promised spinnaker run to Hawaii are out there, but there is still a zone of changeable winds ahead that needs to be navigated. This race to Maui will be determined by who gets to those trade winds and hoist the spinnaker first.

Day 9
The trade wind run under spinnaker to Hawaii beckons, but more changeable winds are still in the way of the Vic-Maui fleet. The boats are stuck in a form of purgatory close reaching in wind speeds are fluctuating from non-existent to 12 kts – not exactly prime conditions for an ocean race. And the boats are soooo tired of seeing the white sails hoisted on a perpetual starboard tack and are getting frustrated by the time it is taking to make southing to the trade wind latitudes. And they are getting nervous, as everyone has now figured out that the boat that finds the right path to the trades will likely win the race.

And they are now clearly in the North Pacific Gyre (aka the Garbage Patch) with JOY RIDE quite surprised by the amount of plastic garbage floating by. With Salient also report seeing lots of whales, you have to wonder how our leviathan friends are faring in a sea of fish nets, plastic cups and other urban detritus.  And, JOY RIDE is about 923nm away from Hawaii.

Day 10
Day 10 finds the boats doing everything to eek out a mile and get closer to the promised trade winds. At one time this morning, the three leading boats were all pointed to Baja, doing 1 kt with an ETA sometime next year! LOL!

As the Weather Eye said this morning, "the cookie will crumble based on hard work, skill, and luck".   Follow the Vic-Maui Race here on Facebook  Watch “live” real-time YB Tracker of the fleet here   For more Vic-Maui Offshore Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

NYYC Race Week Preview

J/109 sailing off Rhode Island(Newport, RI)- The New York YC Race Week will be taking place from July 16th to 21st, 2018 on the waters of Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound for a fleet of thirty-five modern keelboats, of which eleven (33% of the fleet) are J’s. The J/109s will be sailing as a one-design class and the other J/crews will be participating in the IRC and PHRF Navigator classes.

The half-dozen boat J/109 class includes some of the best East Coast boats on the summer regatta circuits.  Those teams include Albrecht Goethe’s HAMBURG from Lakewood YC, Ted Herlihy’s GUT FEELING from New Bedford YC, Tom Sutton’s LEADING EDGE from Lakewood YC, Bill Sweetser’s RUSH from Annapolis YC, and Bill Kneller’s VOLARE from Coasters Harbor Navy YC.

In the twenty-one boat IRC Class, sailing offshore will be Sedgwick & Andrew Ward’s J/111 BRAVO from Shelter Island YC, Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION, and NYYC Vice Commodore Bill Ketcham’s J/44 MAXINE.

Sailing in the PHRF Navigator class will be Tom Wacker’s J/105 TRADING PLACES from Old Cove YC in Brooklyn, New York.  For more New York YC Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bayview-Mackinac Race Preview

Bayview Mackinac Race (Port Huron, MI)- One hundred ninety teams are confirmed for the 2018 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, scheduled for July 14.  With 93 years of tradition behind it, this unique distance race, with two courses (204 or 259 nm) that start on lower Lake Huron and finish at Mackinac Island, has a knack for bringing back regulars and reeling in newcomers, each year weaving new interesting stories into its tapestry of racing fun.  One of the largest brand contingents happens to be J/sailors from across the Great Lakes- thirty-three crews in total.

Bayview Mackinac coursesDivision I- Cove Island Course
Not surprisingly, one entire class of thirteen-boats is comprised of all J/Teams- Class D that has only J/111s and J/120s.  The four J/111s are CAPERS (Don Hudak), FREEDOM (Jim Cooper), SHMOKIN JOE (Jeff Schaefer), and UNPLUGGED (Tim Clayson).  There are nine J/120s that will be battling for class honors as well; including Charlie Hess’ FUNTECH RACING, Mike & Bob Kirkman’s HOT TICKET, the trio on J-HAWKER (Dave Sandlin, Ken Brown, Mark Pikula), and Henry Mistele’s NIGHT MOVES.

Sailing in the eleven-boat Class E are seven J/Teams, including Matt Schaedler’s J/122 BLITZKRIEG, Jim Murray’s CALLISTO, Bill Hamilton’s J/109 PHOENIX, and four J/105s (Mark Denuyl’s GOOD LOOKIN, Mark Symonds’ PTERODACTYL, Matt Haglund’s RAMPAGE, & Jim Murphy’s WINDSHADOW).

J/111 sailing Bayview Mackinac RaceThe dozen-boat Class G is considered the “Level 35” class with ten J/35s headed to the starting line and their North American Championship two weeks later!  Those teams include Bill Wildner’s MR BILL’S WILD RIDE (of course!), Tim & Amie Ross’ BLACKHAWK, Ed & John Bayer’s FALCON, and Greg Whipple’s WHIPLASH.

The Class I Cruising fleet includes Gary Gonzalez’s J/42 DOS MAS and the J/35 DYNOMYTE skippered by Gary Warner.

Division II- Shore Course
Sailing in the fourteen-boat Class M fleet will be a previous class winner, the infamous J/34 IOR classic called KNEE DEEP and sailed by Brett & Katie Langolf from Deadman’s Flat YC.  For more Belles Beer Bayview Mackinac Race sailing information
Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Women Sailors Empowered Offshore Sailing!

J/34 KNEE DEEP sailing women's team off Cleveland, OH (Cleveland, OH)- Katie Langolf led the effort to assemble an all Mother-Daughter Crew for the Cleveland Race Week Women's Regatta aboard the J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP.

Four Moms, five daughters (ages 8-13), and their coach raced an offshore course with plenty of laughs and maybe a glass of wine after!

Cheers Ladies! Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Dutch J/105 Leads Doublehanded Spanish Race!

J/105 Windshear sailing off Spain(L'Escala, Spain)- Hans Mulder, the Dutch owner of the J/105 WINDSHEAR, recently sailed a 35.0nm doublehanded race in L’Escala Spain. Here is the report from Hans and the Club Nautic L’Escala.

“The J/105 WINDSHEAR from Club de Vela Golfus is the winner of the IX Commodore’s Cup- Jotun Grand Prix, that brought together a total of 20 doublehanded racers to the starting line. The long distance regatta began at 1105 hrs and was the second sporting event in the calendar of activities that the Club Nàutic L'Escala has prepared to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

J/105 Windshear sailing off SpainThe Dutchman sailing the J/105 WINDSHEAR- Hans Peter Mulder- took the absolute class and overall victory after being one of the few boats that managed to finish the race in the established time. The northeast wind, between four and eight knots at the start, began to diminish when the fleet began to reach Messina Island.  As a result, many boats did not finish within the time limit for the race.

WINDSHEAR was also the first boat to arrive at 22:37:36 hours after racing for a total of 11 hours, 32 minutes and 36 seconds to complete the 35.5nm course. With departure from L'Escala, the route made the fleet navigate to a virtual buoy, the Medes Islands, and the island of Messina before returning to the starting point.” Add to Flipboard Magazine.