Monday, November 18, 2019

Awesome Vaeterchen Frost Regatta

J22 netherlands (Hamburg, Germany)- Over a three-day weekend, the Hamburger Segel Club in Hamburg, Germany hosted their annual fall extravaganza on the famously beautiful and quaint Alster Lake. With flat water, shifty breezes, and streaky puffs, it is a tactical nightmare for some and an amazingly entertaining, fun, challenge for others that revel in the wildly erratic sailing conditions.

The 2019 edition had near record entries for this late fall regatta for one-design fleets of J/22s, J/24s, and J/70s. The racing was hot, fast, and furious and extremely competitive. No one dominated any of the classes, as each winning team had roller-coaster finishes in the light and fickle winds; only four races were sailed over the two days.

Winning the seventeen-boat J/70 fleet was Gordon Nickel's GER 3 team, posting a 4-1-2-1 for 4 pts net.  Carsten Kemmling's GER 928 managed to overcome an OCS in race 2 to finish with net scores of 2-1-4 for 7 pts net. Then, rounding out the podium was top woman skipper from the host HSC club, Christina Schober's GER 978 with a strong tally of 1-2-7-6 for 9 pts net.  The balance of the top five included Ulf Plessmann's GER 966 with 10 pts in fourth and another top woman skipper from Flensburger Segel Club, Tania Tammling on GER 1416 placed fifth with 12 pts.

In the seventeen-boat J/24 class, it was Jan Kaehler's GER 5281 that took a tie-breaker at 7 pts each over Hauke Kruess's GER 5073. Ascending to the third step on the podium after starting out with a devastating Black Flag in race one was Fabian Damm's GER 5316 with 9 pts, winning two of the races!  The rest of the top five included top woman skipper Lynn Wolgast (Muehlenberger Segel Club) on GER 5266 in fourth place with 13 pts. Then, fifth position went to Stefan Karsunke's (Bayerischer Segel Club) GER 5381 with 17 pts.

The winner of the J/22 class was also determined by a tie-breaker at 7 pts each. Taking the countback win was Andreas Dillmann's GER 1141 with a 1-OCS-1-5 scoreline for 7 pts net. Second was Dagmar Hilcken's GER 1445 that sailed to a 6-3-3-1 score, also for 7 pts. The bronze was also determined by a tie-breaker! That countback went to Tom Loesch's GER 1640 that had a 5-1-6-2 for 8 pts; having to settle for fourth was Tom Lau's GER 1541 with a 3-2-4-3 tally.  Fifth place was taken by Christian Greving's GER 1343 with a 4-6-2-7 scoreline for 12 pts. For more Vaeterchen Frost Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/Sailors Love San Diego YC Hot Rum Series I

J/105 off San Diego(San Diego, CA)- The San Diego Yacht Club's incredibly popular Hot Rum Series started this past weekend for the 133 entries, proving that the event is as popular as ever for southern Californians. Starting and finishing just off the western end of Shelter Island, the fleet heads out en-masse through the Point Loma passage to two buoys offshore and return to the same start line to finish the race. Since it is consistently one of the world's largest PHRF "pursuit races", the little boats know they almost always have no chance of winning overall and simply enjoy the parade of beautiful large sailing yachts gliding past them in all their glory. The smallest, slowest boats (J/22s & J/24s) start well over an hour before the biggest boats- the J/145s and J/160s, for example. 

For the first time in a while, several J/Crews cracked the top five overall, an amazing feat for them! Rick Goebel's J/105 SANITY took second place, while Nico Landuer's J/34 MARLEN took fourth (a beautifully refurbished J/34 IOR boat that is all white and seriously fast in the lighter airs).

In the PHRF 1 class, Rudy Hasl's J/145 PALAEMON placed sixth, while Standish Fleming's J/125 TIMESHAVER settled for seventh. Yet another J/145, Robert Pace's ANDIAMO 2 placed ninth. All boats that placed ahead of these J's were all highly customized boats in the 44 to 60-foot range.

Then, in PHRF 4 class, Rick Goebel's J/105 SANITY won class (garnering his second trophy for the day!), with Nico Lindauer’s J/34 MARLEN in third.  Sixth to eleventh was all J/crews, including Steve & Lucy Howell's BLINK! in sixth, Ryan McCrillis' J/80 HAKA in seventh, Tom Garrett's J/70 SLOOP JOHN B in eighth, Chuck Bowers' J/29 RHUMB RUNNER in ninth, Jeff Brown's J/105 SWEET KAREN in tenth, and Dennis Case's J/105 J-OK in eleventh.

Finally, in PHRF 5 class, Tim Lynch's J/30 RUFFIAN took home the bronze for the day. Similarly, in PHRF 6 Cruising class (white sails only), Bill Engle's J/160 LIBRA pulled off the bronze, too. For more San Diego YC Hot Rum Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Hong Kong Round Island Race Preview

Hong Kong Round Island start (Hong Kong, China)- The annual Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Around the Island Race is one of the biggest inshore events in Hong Kong. It is a 26.0nm race around Hong Kong Island involving Big Boats, One-Design Classes, Dinghies and even Beach cats!  It is a complete free-for-all as the start takes place off the RHKYC starting line in front of the magnificent, skyscraper laced, Hong Kong city waterfront. The average entry list is 200+ boat entries, with more than 1,500 participants.

Around Island Race courseThe race is popular amongst J/Teams in southeast Asia and amongst the local Hong Kong offshore community.  In the Big Boat Class there is a good turnout of J/Aficionados. At the top of that group is the J/122E JINN skippered by owner Nicolas Cohen-Addad. He is joined by the J/111 JUGGERKNOT (Kanev Pavel), the famous race-winning J/109 WHISKEY JACK (Nick Southward), the J/35 NO ONE ELSE (Wing Hung Ng), and the J/105 LEGENDE (Pascal Martin).

There is a large J/80 one-design class going out for their circumnavigation of Hong Kong, fourteen-boats to be exact. Some of the leading boats could be Henry Wong's FOOTLOOSE, Ben Bulmer's JASMINE, Andrew Blank's JAVELIN, Belinda Ng's JENA PABE, Lonny Chen's MAY 13, and Richard Johnston's UNKNOWN PLEASURES. The lone J/70 sailing the race is Andrew Ellis's DAZIBAO. Good luck to all!  For more Royal Hong Kong YC Around the Island Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Hong Kong Round Island Race Preview

Hong Kong Round Island start (Hong Kong, China)- The annual Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Around the Island Race is one of the biggest inshore events in Hong Kong. It is a 26.0nm race around Hong Kong Island involving Big Boats, One-Design Classes, Dinghies and even Beach cats!  It is a complete free-for-all as the start takes place off the RHKYC starting line in front of the magnificent, skyscraper laced, Hong Kong city waterfront. The average entry list is 200+ boat entries, with more than 1,500 participants.

Around Island Race courseThe race is popular amongst J/Teams in southeast Asia and amongst the local Hong Kong offshore community.  In the Big Boat Class there is a good turnout of J/Aficionados. At the top of that group is the J/122E JINN skippered by owner Nicolas Cohen-Addad. He is joined by the J/111 JUGGERKNOT (Kanev Pavel), the famous race-winning J/109 WHISKEY JACK (Nick Southward), the J/35 NO ONE ELSE (Wing Hung Ng), and the J/105 LEGENDE (Pascal Martin).

There is a large J/80 one-design class going out for their circumnavigation of Hong Kong, fourteen-boats to be exact. Some of the leading boats could be Henry Wong's FOOTLOOSE, Ben Bulmer's JASMINE, Andrew Blank's JAVELIN, Belinda Ng's JENA PABE, Lonny Chen's MAY 13, and Richard Johnston's UNKNOWN PLEASURES. The lone J/70 sailing the race is Andrew Ellis's DAZIBAO. Good luck to all!  For more Royal Hong Kong YC Around the Island Race sailing information
Add to Flipboard Magazine.

MADELAINE Triumphs @ Irish J/24 Westerns

J/24 Irish Westerns podium winners
(Lough Erne, Ireland)- A thirteen-strong fleet defied the aftermath of Hurricane Lorenzo to return Lough Ree for a re-run of the event which was originally blown out in mid-April. The easterly breeze on day one ranged between 10-15 knots with increasingly persistent rain, although the conditions did not dampen the competition with closely fought racing throughout the fleet.

Principal Race Officer David Dickson and team performed with textbook efficiency to deliver four high-quality races in typically shifty lake conditions that ensured there were plenty of snakes and ladders to contend with.

The Gold Fleet became a shoot out between Il Riccio helmed by JP McCaldin from Lough Erne Yacht Club and local boat Headcase helmed by Cillian Dickson. Il Riccio reveled in the shifty conditions to return three bullets, however, a fourth place in Race Three allowed the consistent performance of reigning Irish National Champions Headcase to finish the day within one point of the lead.

A strong performance by Diarmuid O’Donovan’s Yahtzee was marred by retirement in Race Four, however, it remained enough to lead the Silver Fleet overnight and stay in contention for the overall podium places with Mark Usher in Jumpin’ Jive and Flor O’Driscoll in Hard on Port.

A fine dinner provided by Lough Ree Yacht Club and numerous hot whiskies revived cold competitors ashore– at least until the next morning.

Day two provided a spectacular autumnal morning with lighter breeze from the west. A prompt start from David Dickson ensured two tight races to close out the event. The clinical Il Riccio crew only required one race to secure overall victory, a further bullet enough to win with a race to spare from Headcase. Il Riccio had successfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on several previous occasions during the year so this victory in the season finale was greatly welcomed by the crew. The evergreen Flor O’Driscoll and crew completed the Gold Fleet podium placings in third.

The lighter breeze saw new competitors enter the fray with Fergus Kelliher from Tralee Bay SC on Jibe securing their best individual result with a second in Race Five with newly installed Class President Mark Usher’s Jumpin’ Jive narrowly missing on a race win in Race Six.

Diarmuid O’Donovan’s Yachtzee completed a successful weekend for Lough Erne crews by securing Silver Fleet honours with a narrow victory over Conor Haughton’s Jade from Wicklow Sailing Club. Dave Lane’s YaGottaWanna from Royal Cork Yacht Club completed the Silver Fleet podium.

Lough Ree Yacht Club delivered an excellent event with special mention at the prize giving reserved for J24 stalwart and event organizer Finbarr Ryan. The J24 Irish fleet now enter the winter period following an excellent season of racing including a record-breaking entry for the National Championships and a different winner in each of the four events demonstrating the competitiveness within the fleet. 2020 will see the prestigious J24 World Championships hosted in Poole, Dorset; therefore, the Irish circuit will be full of well-primed crews preparing for the challenge.

Away from Lough Ree, Colm O’Flaherty from Sligo Yacht Club represented the fleet at the hotly contested All Ireland Sailing Championship in Dun Laoghaire. The Rosses Point helm won the Repechage before finishing 7th overall. Thanks for the report by Chris Scott.  For more Irish J/24 Westerns sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

KSSS Crowned Nordic J/70 Champions

J/70s sailing off Finland
(Mariehamn, Finland)- After completing the Finnish J/70 Sailing League Championship the previous weekend, the Åländska Segelsällskapet hosted the Nordic Sailing Clubs Championship again in Mariehamn, Åland. Eleven teams from across the Scandinavian peninsula participated in the event, with teams representing Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
J/70 KSSS winners in Finland
After two days of racing and nine races sailed, it was the KSSS (Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet) team of Björn Hansen, Phillip Kai Guhle, Nils Bjerkås and Mathias Bredin that took home the gold medal with 15 pts total.  Second was the host club’s Åländska Segelsällskapet 1 Team with 17 pts total.  Then, taking the bronze was GSF (Grimstad Seilförening) with 19 pts. The KSSS team was pretty dominant overall, winning five of their nine races.  Follow the Finnish J/70 Sailing League on Facebook here  For more Finnish J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, November 15, 2019

WSV Giesbeek Win Dutch J/70 Sailing League

J/70s sailing off The Netherlands
(Muiden, The Netherlands)- In the first weekend of October, Jachtclub Veere and the Royal Dutch Sailing & Rowing Association (KNZ & RV) organized the Eredivisie Sailing 2019. In total, seventeen sailing club teams competed for qualification for the SAILING Champions League 2020 on the Ilsjmeer in front of the port of Muiden!

In three days, 15 flights were run for an amazing 45 short races! Under challenging wind conditions, all races were sailed off the coast of Muiden this weekend. Until the last set of races, there were seven teams that claimed the podium. It was the youth team of WSV Giesbeek that finally won the title. The other tickets for the Sailing Champions League were for Almere Centraal in second, WV de Meeuwen in third and the KNZ & RV in fourth.
J/70s sailing league in The Netherlands
Chairman Michiel Dis about this weekend: “We are very happy that we have been able to host the Eredivisie and that it has been so successful. Strongly changing circumstances made it very tactical for the teams trying to maintain consistent performances. The level of competition was very high and the differences in points were very tight. I think we have demonstrated that we can give the Eredivisie Sailing as associations an excellent follow-up. The continuity of this format therefore appears to be guaranteed. We are most happy with that!”

Hard training pays off
WSV Giesbeek was the team that had by far the most hours training and racing in the J/70; and that effort paid off big time! WSV Giesbeek had a young and very talented team. Last year, they were the 2018 Dutch J/70 National Champions. Now, they can add to their trophy case the Dutch J/70 Sailing League award!
J/70s sailing off Netherlands
Team member Koen Sibbel commented on this weekend, “we sailed extremely hard and well all weekend. The teams are very close together. We have trained a lot in the past year and that paid off. The tactic was to stay out of trouble and to limit the damage with bad starts. We did not have to do any penalty turns the entire weekend and that, of course, made a big difference. At the end, we made it a bit difficult for ourselves by sailing an OCS (too early start, ed.). But, then picked up the pace again and closed with the win. We are very happy that we succeeded!”
J/70s Netherlands league winners
Great fight
The other two teams on the podium also agreed on the fun, the sportiness and the excitement of the competitions.

Gosse de Boer from WV de Meeuwen explained, “what a pleasure to sail such a wonderful event! It was a great battle on the water with strong teams and good organization. We are happy with our qualification for the Champions League and look forward to a continuation of the Eredivisie next year.”  For more Dutch J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

AERONAUTICA MILITARE Win Italian J/70 Sailing League

J/70s sailing off Trieste, Italy
(Portopiccolo, Trieste, Italy)- The finale of the Italian J/70 Sailing League took place in the picturesque port of Portopiccolo in Trieste, Italy on the northeastern shores of the Adriatic Sea. A dozen teams participated in the regatta in very light, very difficult conditions; only three races were sailed for each team over the three-day weekend!

Winning the regatta was the Italian Aeronautica Militare Team, comprised of Niccolò Bertola (helmsman), Giancarlo Simeoli (tactician), Marco Balbi (bow), and Giovanni Bannetta (trim).
J/70s sailing off Trieste, Italy
Their tactician- Giancarlo Simeoli- had this to say about the regatta: "It was a complicated championship that took place in very light wind conditions, ending with a suspense lasting up to the last minute among the top three teams. We started with some bad races on the first day and, honestly, we knew that it was above all a lack of training in this particular race format, very fast tests and tight maneuvers, fleet crossings and match race duels. Then, with the continuation of the races, we meshed well and re-discovered how to better coordinate our team. Finally, impeccable, as always, the excellent hospitality in Portopiccolo, thanks for its amazing and efficient staff!”
J/70s sailing at mark off Trieste, Italy
The regatta chairman exclaimed, “at the conclusion of this Italian Championship, we would like to express our thanks to all the participants. The victory by the Italian Aeronautica Militare team, followed by the Compagnia della Vela with the multi-champion Tommaso Chieffi aboard, and the third place of the Velica Garda Saló team with the famous Pietro Corbucci at the helm. The level of competition demonstrated the importance that clubs give to the LegaVela Championship. The Italian title won by the Aeronautica Militare is another ribbon that Giancarlo Simeoli and his airmen will be able to pin on their uniforms. Thank you Portopiccolo, for having hosted us in a splendid setting and a special thanks to the Società Velica Barcola and Grignano, the Diporto Nautico Sistiana and the Yacht Club Porto Piccolo for organizing an impeccable Italian Championship worthy of the prestigious title it awards. Finally, special thanks go to President Francesco Ettorre and his entire Federal Council, which always supports LegaVela with particular enthusiasm and confidence.”

Behind the Aeronautica Militare, taking the silver was the Compagnia della Vela from Venezia, and taking the bronze was the Società Canottieri Garda Saló.  Follow the Italian J/70 Sailing League here   For more Italian J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

APCC VOILE SPORTIVE Crowned French J/70 Sailing League Champions

J/70s sailing off Cannes, France
SR ANTIBES Win Finale in Cannes!
(Cannes, France)-The Yacht Club de Cannes in the French Riviera played host for the French J/70 Sailing League Finale on the Mediterranean for fifteen sailing clubs from across France. The three-day event saw incredibly sharp racing amongst the top teams, tightly fought starts, amazing choreography of boat-handling and teamwork in the mark-roundings, and close-racing due to very even boatspeeds amongst the competition. After twelve races for each team (a total of 36 races completed), it was SR ANTIBES that won the regatta winning a remarkable 10 of 12 races sailed, smoking the competition. However, it was not enough to take over the overall French Sailing League series; that title went to the very consistent sailing of APCC VOILE SPORTIVE that won 7 of their 12 races to take second in Cannes and be awarded first overall! Here is how it all went down over the three days of racing.
J/70s sailing off Cannes, France
Day 1- Friday
It was far from the summer time of Cannes, as the teams would have needed the Umbrellas of Cherbourg for this first day of racing! The rain in the Bay of Cannes did not disturb the good progress of the event since three complete flights and nine races were run from 1400 hours and onward. The teams all delivered a good fight in a wavering and oscillating wind and in a constant rain! Yes, it had to be miserable, but there were smiles on the regatta leaders!

The President of the Yacht Club de Cannes- Jean-Pierre Champion- commented that, “this is an emblematic event of the Federation, with a unique format and clubs that compete on the J/70 one-design sailboats that were provided by the Southern Sailing League Association. This is a test that we like, to which we wish our crews bon’chance and we have the opportunity a wonderful host this year! We are unhappy with the weather, of course, but I think that the quality of reception at the Yacht Club of Cannes will delight the crews!"

Leading after the first day was Sofian Bouvet’s team on SR ANTIBES, he is a formidable competitor, having been the French Olympic 470 Sailing Team representative and a Tour de’Voile winner. Three races, three victories for the excited team on the first day!

Sitting in second was Simon Bertheau’s crew on APPC VOILE SPORTIVE with a 1-2-1 tally.  Third was a top French woman skipper- Mathilde de Kérangat- skippering the SR ROCHELAISES team to a 3-1-1 record.

A perfect start that places them temporarily ahead of the overall standings just ahead of the Nantais of the APCC Voile Sportive led by Simon Bertheau who have come close to perfection themselves, with 2 race wins and a 2nd place. At the 3rd step of the podium, the crew of the SR Rochelaises were also part of the club "double winners" with 2 wins and a 3rd place. Tomorrow if the sky should stay cloudy, the wind should climb up a notch and maybe redistribute the cards!
J/70s sailing amongst super yachts off Cannes, France
Day 2- Saturday

After the light winds and relentless rain on Friday, the scenario changed completely on Saturday morning. Clears skies and a fabulous breeze from the south swept the race course with 13 to 18 kts breezes all day. As a result, the strong breezes “redistributed the cards” for the top five teams; some teams excelled in the demanding conditions, some did not.

There was 7 knots of maximum wind yesterday, and 13 knots minimum Saturday! To say that the atmosphere was different on the water would be an understatement! The strong got stronger, that was for sure. Excited about the big waves and planing-mode winds were Bouvet’s SR ANTIBES team, posting four bullets and a third to pull further away from the fleet.

However, also reveling in the conditions were Bertheau’s Nantais crew on APCC VOILE SPORTIVE, winning three of their races and sitting just four points back from SR ANTIBES. The big mover for the day was the CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf team, winning three races and adding two deuces to climb into the bronze position for the regatta.

Ed Russo, President of the LNVoile Commission and the International Sailing League Association, commented that “we had two great firsts this year for the National Sailing League in France. One was sailing on the lake in Léry-Poses. And, the other was sailing on the Mediterranean here in Cannes. The top four places qualify for the 2020 Sailing Champions League."
J/70s sailing off Cannes, France
Day 3- Sunday

On the Sunday finale, the teams were greeted with “fresh to frightening” weather conditions on the Bay of Cannes, big breaking waves and 20-25 kt winds offshore! Taking the big seas, big winds in stride was none other than Bouvet’s SR ANTIBES crew, posting another stunning record of 1-1-3-1 to win the Cannes event with ease for a total of 16 pts. Their nemesis all weekend was out to prove they could hang with the best and posted an even better scoreline of 1-2-1-1 to take second with 19 pts. The bronze went to the very excited CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf team, winning their last race in the big breeze to win a tie-breaker over CV ECOLE NAVALE at 23 pts each!

For the overall French Sailing League series, APCC VOILE SPORTIVE won a tie-breaker over CV SAINT AUBIN ELBEUF. Both had identical scores of 2-3 in both Léry-Poses and Cannes. However, the Nantais on APCC VOILE SPORTIVE won by virtue of a higher score in the final event in Cannes! Thrilled to race up the overall leaderboard from fifth place after Léry-Poses to the bronze on the podium were none other than the elated team from SR ANTIBES!
J/70 France Sailing League champions
Simon BERTHEAU (APCC Nantes) commented, “we were very consistent this weekend, but it was tight until the end. We had a nice day of breezes this Sunday and we sailed well, which allowed us to dig a little bit even if the crew of the SR Antibes was a little stronger on this stage. We are glad to offer this final victory to the club, the first for APCC Nantes! And, we are also happy to qualify for the Sailing Champions League Qualifier!"

Timothée ROSSI (SR Antibes) also commented on their racing; “we brought experience on the boat with Sofian (Bouvet), Julien (Lacaze) and Frédéric (Minucci) who joined us on this stage with my helmsman in 420s- Angel Delerce. We had conditions that were very different from that of Léry-Poses, and we felt more comfortable here at home in the South.  We are really happy with this victory, we thank our sports director who has re-launched the LNVoile project at the club, with a dynamic mix of experience and youth, and it really went very well!"  Sailing photo credits- Arnaud Pilpre/ FFVoile   Follow the French Sailing League on Facebook here   For more French Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Åländska Segelsällskapet Conquer Finnish J/70 Sailing League

J/70s sailing off Finland
(Mariehamn, Finland)- The Finnish Sailing League concluded their 2019 season from the 11th to 13th October in Åland, when the top twelve club sailing teams competed on their fleet of J/70 one-design keelboats for the Finnish Sailing League Championship. The competition took place in the West Harbor of Mariehamn, and a tough battle ensued for the title.

On Sunday, Åländska Segelsällskapet celebrated their third successive club championship in their home waters. The ÅSS 2 Team (Daniel Mattson, Staffan Lindberg, Mathias Dahlman and Jasper Karlsson) took the gold overall. The silver was taken by Nyländska Jaktklubben's number one team (Thomas Hallberg, Juhana Rintala, Robert Nyberg and Christoffer Silén). The bronze was awarded to the Xtra Staerk Ocean Racing Society (Thomas Hacklin, Kim Westman, Aleksi Lehtonen and Mika Malm).
J/70 Finland Sailing League winners
"This win feels particularly good, as the final level was extremely tough thanks to two qualifying teams and a team of skillful sailors," said ÅSS skipper Daniel Mattson.

“We laid the foundation for the first two finals, as we did not sail well in the last three starts. It's hard to say why, but the victory tastes good,” commented ÅSS tactician Staffan Lindberg.

ÅSS will thus be able to hold the handsome Sportklubbens Pokal from 1886 and once again represent Finland in the offshore competition Nord Stream Race. The top four club teams were ÅSS, NJK, XS and fourth-placed Brändö Seglare. In addition, these teams will be looking to participate in the SAILING Champions League qualifying event in 2020.  Sailing Photo Credits- Pepe Korteniemi   For more Finnish J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

MADELAINE Tops U.K. J/24 Autumn Cup

J/24s sailing in the United Kingdom
(Poole, United Kingdom)- After a week of watching every available forecast race officer Steve Thompson made the brave (and as it turned out, correct) decision to go ahead with the J/24 Autumn cup at Poole Yacht Club. A weekend forecast of strong winds fueled the usual debate as teams launched amid the strong winds and rain of Friday afternoon.

Saturday dawned with a strong southwesterly breeze so the decision was made to race within the harbour to shelter from the mid-channel gales. Following the briefing, twenty-two teams went afloat for four races back to back.

Race one started on time at 10:30 with Madelaine helmed by Duncan McCarthy leading from start to finish. A pack of boats followed in close company with Joe Cross in Jambalaya just holding off a late charge from Dave Cooper's Jive to take 2nd followed by Cacoon and National Champions Hustle in 4th & 5th respectively.

A quick turn around and the fleet were away for race 2. Once again, a good start from Madelaine catapulted them into an early lead which they held to the finish, this time Nick Phillips and team on Chaotic recovering from a main halyard issue in race 1 sailed a solid race to finish 2nd ahead of Sam Pearson's Hustle.

Race 3 saw the breeze increase, with some particularly strong gusts on the run, resulting in plenty of planing and broaches. Jive stormed into an early lead, which they held until the final run, when the ever-consistent Madelaine powered past to take their 3rd win of the day. Jive took a close 2nd with Hustle once again taking 3rd. The increased breeze saw some spectacular broaches and Chinese gybes (David
Harding of Sailing scenes' pictures available on his website). However, all starters finished safely.

The final race of the day started with 2 boats OCS, but the majority of the fleet starting cleanly for another 3 laps. Once again, Madelaine started well leading around the windward mark and extending away to take a clean sweep for the day followed by Chaotic and Nick Macdonald's Mojos in 3rd.

The fleet returned to Poole YC with smiles on their faces ready for a barbeque laid on by the club straight after racing allowing crews to get together and socialize after an exciting day on the water. Following a few protests the day's results were posted seeing Duncan McCarthy and his team on Madelaine leading the way with 3 points following a very impressive "perfect day". 2nd was Dave Cooper's Jive on 9 points with Joe Cross' Jambalaya 3rd ahead on count back of Sam Pearson's Hustle both on 11 points.

Sunday morning dawned with gusts over 30 knots and a forecast of building breeze during the day. The decision was, therefore, made to abandon the days racing allowing boats to be lifted out before the weather closed in. A slick operation executed by a team of Poole YC members meant that an hour and a half later the 16 visiting boats had been lifted out of the water ready for the prize-giving where Poole YC Commodore (and J/24 sailor) Nye Davies presented Duncan and team Madelaine with the J/24 Autumn Cup. Duncan thanked the team at Poole YC for putting on a good event and getting four good races away in challenging conditions to finish the UK qualifiers for next year's UK J/24 World Championship.  For more J/24 United Kingdom Autumn Cup Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

ZID ART SAILING Win J/70 Sevastopol International Cup

J/70s sailing off Sevastopol, Crimea
(Sevastopol, Crimea)- The inaugural Sevastopol J/70 International Cup was sailed from the 4th to the 6th of October. The regatta was held in conjunction with the Sevastopol Sailing Week festival.

Eighteen teams from Russia, Serbia and Ireland participated in the first open international regatta in Sevastopol.  Some of the leading teams included, B-TEAM (Russia, Artem Basalkin), M-SAILING–CSKA (Russia, Alexandr Bozhko), MATRYOSHKA (Russia, Natalia Kravez), WILD CARD (Ireland, William Twomey), X-Fit (Russia, Vladimir Chaus), ZID ART Sailing team (Serbia, Zoran Paunovic), GALS (Russia, Sergey Dzhienbaev), DOBRYNYA (Russia, Igor Ignatov), ROSMOSPORT (Russia, Anton Timakov), and BLACK SEA NAVAL School (Russia, Petr Gorkunov). Here are the daily reports how the competition unfolded in a unique format.  The first two days were qualifiers for the top 10 teams. Then, on the final day, the “Gold Medal Races” for ten teams would determine the champion in a winner-take-all finale of three races.
J/70s sailing off Sevatopol, Crimea
Day 1
The sailing was good on the first day, with twelve total races run (6 for each team) before the close of racing for the day due to lack of sunlight! Leading after the first day was Artem Basalkin’s B-TEAM from Russia. Leading after the first two races was Alexander Bozhko’s M-SAILING CSKA team from Russia, however, they dropped to second place after posting a fourth place in their last race. Third place was a free-for-all, with four teams tied on 22 pts each after their six races.

Four different teams were claiming the third place. PEK: Sport won two races, Zoran Paunovic’s Serbian team on ZID ART SAILING won one and Sergey Dzhienbaev’s GALS also won one. The fourth crew was a top Russian woman sailor- Natalia Kravez- skippering MATRYOSHKA.
J/70s sailing downwind at Sevastopol, Crimea
Day 2
The second day was full of surprises. The sailors were greeted in the morning with heavy rain that thankfully ended before noon. The Race committee then sent the teams out and ran 10 more races (5 for each team).

M-SAILING- CSKA showed an excellent performance and climbed back into first place back after two victories. B-TEAM has also won two races, but scored 5 extra points and ended the day in second place overall.

ZID ART Sailing team from Serbia beat all rivals after winning three races and ended the day in third place. GALS and X-Fit won one race each and were now fourth and fifth. MATRYOSHKA dropped to sixth place.
J/70 Sevastopol Regatta winners podium
Day 3- Medal Race Finale
The final day of racing saw six qualifying races and three medal races. It was the first time the National Sailing League used this format.

After three days of racing, PEK: SPORT closed the Top-10 with two victories. Bill Twomey’s Irish team on WILD CARD finished 9th. The Saint Petersburg Yacht Club Youth Team was in 8th place. ALGA TATARSTAN from Kazan was in 7th place, winning their last race. MATRYOSHKA was three points behind the Top 5.

The final “Medal Races” were unpredictable and spectacular. The final results were calculated by the following method: your place after qualifying races + the sum of the points gained during medal races.

The top five qualifiers were M-SAILING- CSKA in first, ZID ART SAILING in second, B-TEAM third, GALS fourth, and X-FIT fifth.

In the three Medal Races, B-TEAM won two races and GALS won one race. However, ZID ART SAILING was the most consistent team in terms of results, scoring three seconds! The fate of the Cup was decided during the last medal race. B-TEAM won the race, but ZID ART Sailing team won the first Sevastopol J/70 International Cup.  Follow the Sevastopol J/70 International Cup on Facebook here   For more Sevastopol J/70 International Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

AHKMAT TEAM Win Russian J/70 National Championship!

J/70 sailing off Sochi, Russia
(Sochi, Russia)- Two-dozen teams from across Russia assembled in Sochi, Russia to sail the 2019 Russian J/70 National Championship. The Sochi Grand Marina by Burevestnik Group hosted the three-day event. After a ten race, two discards series; it was Alexander Bozhko and his amazingly fast crew on AKHMAT that were crowned as the Russian J/70 National Champions.  Here is how it all went down on the choppy waters of the Black Sea off the Olympic city of Sochi.
J/70s sailing off Sochi, Russia
Day 1
Included in the 24 teams that started the Russian J/70 Nationals were many of the past few year’s leading teams. Remarkably, there were five women skippers (the most ever in a major Russian sailing event) participating; including DOLCE VITA (steering Inna Balashova); ARTTUBE RUS1 (Valeria Kovalenko); TREM SAILING 1 (Alexandra Peterson); TREM SAILING 2 (Irina Sorokina); and MATRYOSHKA (Natalia Kravets).

The leading men’s crews included X-FIT (Vladimir Silkin); ZID ART SAILING TEAM (Zoran Paunovich); AKHMAT (Alexander Bozhko); and M-SAILING TEAM (Andrey Malygin).

Sochi is one of the favorite sailing areas for Russian sailing events. Nevertheless, this was the first time the J/70 Class held their Russian National Championship in the Olympic capital city.

The first race day turned out to be quite complicated, despite the forecasts foreshadowing the complete absence of wind and heavy rain. Fortunately, neither of them happened. But, unfortunately, a quiet wind set at 50-60 degrees, which twice led to race postponements right after the start. In the end, two races were held in the light northeast winds offshore.

Leading after the first day was Alexander Bozhko’s Chechnyian crew aboard AKHMAT; they had only 4 points in 2 races. The second and third place teams were tied with 7 pts each- the twin teams of M Sailing Team (Andrei Malygin) and M Sailing Team CSKA (Mikhail Poslamovsky). Sitting in fourth place just one point back was top woman helm Natalia Kravets on MATRYOSHKA. Fifth place also had a tie at 9 pts each- Peter Nosov’s CARAMBA and Zoran Paunovich’s ZID art Sailing team.
J/70s starting off Sochi, Russia
Day 2
For the second day of sailing, Sochi weather was again distinguished by its inconsistency. Contrary to expectations, the wind was not stable enough.

The Chief Judge of the regatta- Nikolay Yushkov- commented, “the day started very well. In the first two races, the southeast wind blew a steady 15 knots. We were glad that the races were longer, each taking about an hour. In the middle of the day, the wind changed its direction 180 degrees! Then, we waited a couple of hours for the wind to settle. Amazingly, the wind returned to his original southeast direction, and we were able to run two more races.”

As a result, four more races were added to the results for a total of six races to score. Further increasing their lead was Bozhko’s Chechen Republic team on AKMAT after posting two 1sts and two 2nds! However, close friend and archrival Valeria Kovalenko on ARTTUBE RUS 1 had an amazing day, posting two 1sts and a 3-4 to race up the standings into second place! Rising to third place was Malygin’s M-SAILING team.
J/70 Sochi Russia winners podium
Day 3
The final day of the regatta turned out to be a sight for sore eyes- a stable wind of up to 8 knots made it possible to run four more races, to make it ten races in all. Coincidentally, the teams could now discard their two worst results.

Chief Judge Nikolay Yushkov commented, “we had a great day! The sun, warmth, stable southeast wind- all the components for high-quality sailing! It is a pity that the day was shortened, otherwise they would still be racing, with big smiles on their faces!. Congratulations to the winners and prize winners!”

Crowned as the 2019 Russian J/70 National Champion was the team from the Chechen Republic on AHKMAT. Bozhko’s team sailed a phenomenal regatta, winning with just 17 pts total and not having to sail the last race! Rising to the challenge of maintaining a podium position was Malygin’s M-SAILING Team, taking the silver over Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE RUS 1 Team, who finished with the bronze medal.

Rounding out the top five were Yuri Morozov’s RUSSOTRANS in fourth place and Peter Nosov’s crew on CARAMBA in fifth.  Follow the Russian J/70 Sailing League on Facebook   For more Russian J/70 National Championship sailing information here Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Berlin Wins First German J/70 Sailing League Title

J/70s sailing German Sailing League
(Glucksburg, Germany)- At the end of an outstanding season of sailing, the Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee (VSaW) from Berlin was crowned the German champion of sailing clubs. The runners-up was secured by the Wassersport-Verein Hemelingen (WVH). Then, the defending champion from the Hamburg, the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) was third.
J/70 German sailing team
In the big showdown for the championship, the thirty-six best sailing clubs from all over Germany sailed for three days. With a 15-point lead in the overall championship, the Berlin VSaW started from a very good starting position, securing not only the championship trophy, but also the coveted German starting place for the international offshore regatta 'Nord Stream Race' in 2020.

"At last! After many years in the Segel-Bundesliga, we managed to get the overall victory. We are overjoyed and look forward to the next season,” rejoiced Tim Elsner, helmsman of the Berlin’s VSaW.

The participants in the SAILING Champions League 2020 were also decided in Glücksburg. In addition to the VSaW, WS Hemelingen, the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and the Bayerischer Yacht Club got a starting place for the upcoming season.  Follow the German Segel-Bundesliga on Facebook here   For more German J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/80 China Cup Challenge Match Report

J/80 China Cup off Xiamen
(Xiamen, China)- After an eleven-race fleet regatta for 38 teams, 10 teams plus the defender and a top women’s team were invited to return Xiamen and participate in the “match racing phase” of the 2019 China Cup Challenge Match on Wu Yuan Bay.

As China’s oldest sailboat regatta, this was the 15th edition of the China Cup Challenge, and as expectations have risen, it was also the largest one-design regatta ever held in China- with thirty-eight J/80 teams!

The format of the event is that the 11 ‘challengers’ fight for the right to compete against the defender from the previous year for the perpetual solid silver trophy in the shape of a clamshell.

The event started with two complete round robins over three days with the defender (the 2018 Champion, Beijing Sailing Centre) part of the round robin 1, but excused from round robin 2. One has to allow the defender some match practice, but not too much knowledge of who will ultimately face them.

Work this math out! Two full round robins equals a total of 120 matches over 44 flights, which makes for long days on the water. Not only for the sailors, but also for the umpire team of John (Chief) NZL, Wayne NZL, Nev AUS and Alistair GBR with a total of 44 flights over the three days.

Conditions ranged from an almost drift off, to enough breeze to light up the J-80s used for the event, making the pre-start very busy at times with some skippers rather fond of the ‘Y’ Flag which, more often than not, drew a ‘Green’ response.
J/80 sailing off Xiamen, China
Not always though, with more than a smattering of blues and yellows, a few reds, one black and a redress request (denied). A few ‘contacts’ but none more than a ‘kiss’ with no hull damage reports required, although one or two spinnakers required some tape assistance along the way.

A few sailors commented on their level of tiredness when they came ashore, but spare a thought for the race committee or the umpires who, rather than being involved for half the flights, were on the water for ALL the races.

Those first three days whittled the fleet down to the top 4 teams for the semi-finals. The semis were first to three, then the wind shutdown bringing a brief respite for all in the hot sun and, literally, cloudless sky before the heating land brought in a healthy double-figures sea breeze.

That meant the first semi-final was a humdinger. At one point, when one team put in a completely unexpected maneuver, the umpire boat had to make a swift exit at high power leaving one umpire flat on his back on the bottom of the RIB with the only evidence of his presence being a blue flag being waved above the console and the loud screech of a whistle signaling the penalty that caused the RIB to move!

SEAWOLF TEAM from Shenzhen eventually ran out the worthy winner 4 points to 2, but it was a hard (and fairly) fought victory where at times the tables could have easily been turned. A real sharpening up process for the eventual winner.

There followed a prize-giving on the dock for what could be called the local equivalent of the Louis Vuitton Cup or Prada Cup, as the job was only half done. The Challenger winner was now determined and now had the right to go up against the Defender.
J/80 sailing off Xiamen, China
Those Defenders, by the way, spent the whole afternoon on the spectator boat moored just off the race track observing the action with more than a little passing interest. They knew they would have to be on their game to defend their title.

The North against South battle in the Challenge match may appear to be one-sided with SEAWOLF taking the title 4-0, but they didn’t have it all their own way in the pre-start. For the SEAWOLF team, the 24 “practice races” leading up to the match had made the Shenzhen team razor-sharp and their superiority in boat speed. Plus, their boat-handling, particularly at the mark roundings, gave little chance to the Beijing-based team to take advantage of their competitors.

As the Chief Umpire, John Rountree explained, “the quality of the match racing across the fleet has risen every year.” He should know, he has been coming to the event for the past six years!

There was one final element to the event that was pioneered two editions ago- the “All-Star Challenge”.
J/80 sailing off China
The new champion would sail in a “Big Money Match” against a team brought together from the teams ranked 2nd to 5th with the best helm, the best mainsheet, etc for a first to 3 winner-takes-all for RMB 250,000; a portion of which would go to the charity of the winner’s choice.

In the past, this has seen some amazing racing. In fact, in one race, there was so much action, it prompted one umpire to claim it was “in the top 10 matches I have even witnessed” and he has umpired at three America’s Cups!

This year SEAWOLF ran away from the competition, winning in a 3-0 rout in convincing fashion; taking home their 250,000 RMB and donating it to a sailing charity for children in China.

Five days of intense racing, a total of 142 races– that’s NOT a typo by the way! The 2019 China Cup Challenge Match once again proving why it is one of the most highly-regarded regattas in the Chinese sailing calendar. Lots of smiles on sailor’s faces (winners and losers), which is what it should all be about – roll on next year! Add to Flipboard Magazine.