Monday, July 29, 2019

J/121 Offshore Speedster Winning Silverware Worldwide!

J/121 downwind
(Newport, RI)- The 2019 offshore racing season continues to see J/121 teams developing their knowledge regards sailing techniques for maximizing their offshore speed potential in a variety of conditions across the Pacific Ocean, the Bass Strait/ Tasman Sea, the Great Lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean. That knowledge has been leading many J/121 owners to several amazing trophy-winning performances across the world.

Most recently, Scott Grealish’s team from Portland, Oregon sailed BLUE FLASH to 1st Division 6 in the 50th Transpac Race and earned the prestigious Navigator’s Trophy. BLUE FLASH took off in the first flight of starters from Los Angeles, California to Honolulu, Hawaii and won their class outright by over 2 1/2 hours corrected time, racing under the ORR handicap system. Winds ranged from 10 to 20 kts from the NE to ESE under the Pacific High as they raced across the 2,225.0nm race track at speeds up to 22.5 kts! Scott reported the boat had plenty of “grip” and felt in full control flying down the huge Pacific swells.

In much flatter, choppier waters on the Great Lakes, the newly launched J/121 LOKI from Charlevoix, Michigan sailed both “Mac Races”- the famous Chicago-Mackinac and the Bayview-Mackinac- and collected a gold and bronze medal for their efforts! The two races could not have been any more different; Chicago was 85% 0-10 kts (upwind & downwind) and 15% 15-25 kts (reaching), while Bayview was the converse with 80% 15-25 kts (upwind) and 20% 6-12 kts (reaching/ downwind).

In the Chicago-Mackinac Race, LOKI had set a furious pace in the constantly changing winds from their start on Saturday afternoon until Sunday midday. The winds started SW, shifted NE, then NW, back to SE and dying. 24 hours into the race, LOKI was leading class and overall until around noon Sunday. At that point, LOKI “parked” for nearly five hours, going just a few miles. Behind them, mid-fleeters and tail-enders did an “end around”. The most extreme examples saw smaller J’s leading the much faster, more powerful J/121 LOKI into the Manitous by midnight Sunday (165.0nm into the race)- a J/105, J/111, and J/109! How bizarre is that? In the end, LOKI scrambled their way back to a 3rd in class!

Segue to the Bayview Mac one weekend later. On the redemption path, LOKI was determined to bury their top competitors, including the Chicago-Mackinac Overall winner- the 1D35 Turbo Chico 2. That movie did not take long to unfold. Fresh off their start, LOKI simply took off on port tack headed for the first mark off Cove Island; reaching the turning point over 5.0nm in front of their class. Not soon after heading for the Mac finish line, the front rolled in from the WNW and LOKI proceeded to tack on the shifts in 20-25 kts TWS, steadily opening up their lead. By the finish, LOKI opened up a 12.0nm lead on Chico 2 and the rest of the fleet, winning class comfortably with a 2 hour margin over the next boat.
J/121 sailing off Seattle, WA
Scott Campbell’s J/121 RIVA raced two huge offshore events in the Pacific Northwest and collected silverware in both. Sailing conditions ranged from drifting to 40 kts plus.  RIVA won the 193.0nm Oregon Offshore Race from Astoria, OR (opening of the notoriously dangerous Columbia River) to Victoria, BC, Canada. Then, RIVA sailed the 487.0nm Van Isle 360 Race- a 10-day, nine-leg, event- that circumnavigates the spectacular Vancouver Island in some of the most treacherous waters in the world- that effort earned them the silver medal!

In addition to the Transpac Race, Grealish’s BLUE FLASH sailed both the Ensenada Race and the Cabo San Lucas Race. Their inaugural race was the 800.nm Cabo Race- going from Newport Beach, CA to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (the tip of the Baja Peninsula). That was quite a “shake-down cruise”, certainly not for the faint of heart! Sail-testing and boatspeed analysis was the order of the day. After two days, they were dueling with the J/125 for the class and overall lead. However, the wind went flat, disappeared, and BLUE FLASH was too far outside, dropping to 5th ORR 3 Class in the end. For the 125.0nm Ensenada Race- from Newport Beach to Ensenada, Mexico- BLUE FLASH sailed in light 0-10.0 kts TWS and all Code Zero/ A1 spinnaker sailing conditions for the entire race, ultimately taking 2nd in ULDB B Class- a great test of the J/121’s light air performance.

In February, a new J/121 sailed her inaugural event in the Geelong Festival of Sails, off Geelong/ Melbourne, Australia. Mark Nicholson’s J/121 JAVELIN sailed in the offshore AMS Cruising Division. Three races and over 100.0nm of sailing later offshore, JAVELIN won her first major offshore event in winds ranging from 6 to 20 kts!  Earlier, JAVELIN won the 2018 Offshore Winter Series hosted by the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria, Australia. The ORCV Winter Series is a series of 5 passage races of varying distances, from medium distance races around fixed marks at the top end of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne to several longer distance passage races to popular destinations- such as Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron (BYS), Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC), and Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club (HBYC).
J/121 sailing upwind
Sailing double-handed, David Southwell’s J/121 ALCHEMY won the 100.0nm Ida Lewis Distance Race PHRF Doublehanded Class, starting/ finishing off Newport, RI and sailing around an ocean triangle in Rhode Island Sound; winds were mostly SE to SW in the 6 to 15 kts range, sailing a balanced beat/ reach/ run with just about “all the laundry” the duo could hoist- J2, J4, Code Zero, A1, A2!

If J/News readers recall, Don Nicholson’s J/121 APOLLO first major ocean race was the famous 635.0nm Newport to Bermuda Race. Blessed with good fortune, solid navigation and well-executed strategy, they managed to win their Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division class and finish 6th overall.  An amazing performance considering the magnitude of variables and weather decisions necessary to stand atop the podium in the professional Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division! The first two days of the race were light, drifting conditions. Then, for the last 24 hours, APOLLO set their Code Zero and J4 jib as a staysail and sailed away from their competition, winning the race, literally, in one day and just over 160.0nm of sailing in the slowly building WSW breeze of 5 to 14 kts TWS.

Are you ready to have fun offshore? Ready to race an amazingly easy-to-sail offshore 41-footer?! Give one a try today and go for a test sail!  For more J/121 Offshore speedster sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.