Monday, January 21, 2019

Get Ready for Boot Dusseldorf!

J/99 offshore doublehanded speedster
The massive, world-famous, Dusseldorf Boot Boat Show is taking place from January 19th to 27th in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Renowned as one of the major “arts” centers in Europe, Dusseldorf is both a cultural attraction along the gorgeous Rhine River as well as an amazing boat show to attend- the world’s largest by far!

On-site in Hall 15/ Booth B21 will be J/Composites and the European J/Boats team, presenting the latest J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster, the world champion J/112E sports cruiser, and the world’s most successful sportsboat- the International J/70.  For more 2019 Boot Dusseldorf boat show information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Storm Trysail Ft Lauderdale- Key West Race Update

Lauderdale Key West Race tracker (Fort Lauderdale, FL)- The infamous Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race started today at 1000 hours in a light east/northeasterly breeze of 4-7 kts.  The fleet took off on port tack, with most of the big boats sporting either Code Zero’s or A1 spinnakers. The beginning of this a 160.0nm dash down the eastern Florida coastline, bound by the Florida Keys reefs to starboard and the swift-moving 4-6 kt Gulf Stream off to port, does not look like it will set any records of any kind.  However, with the ECMWF Euro forecast showing a steadily increasing breeze clocking into the east/southeast overnight and strengthening to 10-15 kts by Friday evening, it should be a beautiful race!

At this time on Thursday afternoon, leading the J/Fleet is Chris Lewis’ J/44 KENAI from Lakewood YC in Seabrook, TX. They are followed boat-for-boat by Andy Wescoat’s J/109 HARM’S WAY from Galveston Bay Cruising Association in Spring, TX; then Matt Self’s J/105 RUCKUS from Charleston YC in Daniel Island, SC; then Brad Stowers’ J/92 HILLBILLY from Melbourne YC in Melbourne, FL.

If the reaching conditions persist for the next 24 hours (perfect for the asymmetric configured J/Teams- including the J/44 KENAI), don’t be surprised if they all win class and overall!  Follow the fleet on the Kattack Tracker here  Follow the SORC Series on Facebook here  For more SORC Key West Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Local J/24 Knowledge Pays Dividends in Mexico’s Yucatan!

J/24 Yucatan, Mexico sailors (Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico)- “Until the 1950’s and 60’s when Yucatán was linked by rail and road, respectively, with the rest of Mexico, it traded by sea more with the USA, Cuba, Caribbean, and even Europe. It is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico, the Mayan people. Mérida is its capital city, and it is part of the Yucatán peninsula. This is all to say yes, Yucatán is part of Mexico, but it is a world unto its own.

I made my way back to Yucatán Friday for my second year documenting (and sailing with) this enthusiastic new fleet which began just a few years ago, when El Capitan Jorge Ojeda convinced his friends to start racing one-design. They have captured my imagination for their casual determination to grow a fleet without scholastic programming or access to competitors. New to the fleet this year was Janko, a club boat named in memory of Jacobo Sosa, an active fleet member who died this spring. She was crewed by school-aged kids representing the youngest group of Yucatán sailors. The fleet is looking to add another club boat in 2019.

Current J/24 US class president Chip Till flew in to lead a rules and tuning clinic preceding the regatta. In its second year, the format consists of a clinic on Saturday, a Christmas boat parade of lights, and the regatta on Sunday.

With average December temperatures of 82°/ 69° F, it makes for a very good J/24 winter weekend. While Till stayed closer to the front of the pack and one of the fleets leaders Tomás Dutton, I sailed with the crew of X’kau (Mayan for blackbird), who kept yelling “perro” to my confusion as I connected the associated following action.

They later explained they took this term from the Hobie class that once thrived there, who used it because a cam cleat “bites” like a dog. Applied linguistics will never stop being the most fun part of intercultural sailing to me. When he wasn’t expertly trimming, Till had fun with it, too.

My other favorite part outside of the sailing is the food.

Homemade horchata is one of the million gastronomic perks of Yucatan casual dining. No better way to put back a fresh cochinita roll for a pre-regatta breakfast of champions. I also ate grasshopper doused in hot sauce and lime from a beach vendor bought by one of our hosts- Ignacio “Nacho” Ponce Manzanilla, the man behind Yucatán’s yachting growth, although Nacho said grasshopper wasn’t local. On a weekend with shifty, often low, and challenging winds, it was great to enjoy the delicious local cuisine.

Sailing took place off Progreso, a port originally planned for fishing and tourism and now the largest exporter of octopus and scaled fish in Mexico.  As a result, the J/24 Yucatán class is geographically isolated from the nation’s only other J/24 fleet, the established and skilled sailors in Valle de Bravo. The J/24 sailors of Yucatán could just as easily reach Miami to compete, which is to say they can’t reach either place easily. This creates national level friction as they work to create competitive opportunities outside themselves. J/24 Yucatán cannot easily come to its competitors, but urge its competitors to come enjoy racing in Yucatán.

After 25 years of a yacht club with no facility, Club de Yates de Yucatán has a home a block from the beach now, surrounded by marinas, and is at work to secure a hoist and ideal water access. The world’s longest pier creates an artificial harbor for their course, buffering prevailing northeast winds to create year round ideal conditions. That’s not to say it never blows from the northwest. Once a month or so, including this weekend for the final in the annual Regata de Amigos series, a “chikinic” (Mayan for “northwestern wind”) blows in and challenges the sailors on the race course.

J/24 Yucatán are organizing a team for 2019 Charleston Race Week, and planning other efforts to connect with the international J/24 community. Proof that being isolated does not have to mean being alone.” Thanks for contribution from SailingAnarchy.com- Anarchist Heather.  Learn more about J/24 Yucatan here Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, January 18, 2019

J/70 Bacardi Miami Winter Series Act II Preview

J/70s sailing Bacardi Miami Winter series (Miami, FL)- The first Bacardi Invitational Winter Series took place December 1-2, 2018, on the sparkling aqua-blue waters of Biscayne Bay. A talented fleet of eighteen boats raced the first of the major J/70 Winter Series down in Florida. For Act II of the Bacardi Winter Series, sailing from January 19th to 20th, a slightly larger fleet will be assembled on the Bay, twenty-two boats from across the USA, Great Britain, Cayman Islands, Monaco, Canada, Netherlands, and Italy will be participating in this international regatta.

Leading contenders for this event will be teams like Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT (1st 2016 J/70 Worlds San Francisco), Henry Brauer’s RASCAL, Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD, Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY (1st 2017 J/70 Worlds Sardinia), Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY from the Cayman Islands, Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS from California, Martin Dent’s JELVIS from the United Kingdom, Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth Boat Club in Texas, and Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio’s G-SPOTTINO from YC Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com.  For more Bacardi Winter Series II sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

J/70 Monaco Winter Series Act III Preview

J/70s sailing Monaco Winter Sportboat series (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- A total of forty-plus teams will be participating in Act III of the J/70 Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, from January 17th to 20th, sailed on Hercules Bay just off the fabulous, majestic, mountainous setting off Monte Carlo. Hosted by the Yacht Club de Monaco, the international contingent of teams from Finland, Denmark, Russia, Brazil, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, Ireland, and France are looking forward to yet another amazing weekend of racing off the famous Principality of Monaco.

Will the all-Monegasque podium hold together like they did in the first two regattas?  Or, will there be more intense battles for the top of the leaderboard? In the previous event, it was an intense battle between Nico Poons’ CHARISMA (winner of Act II in December), Roberto Stefani’s PICCININA and Ludovico Fassitelli’s JUNDA (winner of Act 1 in November). Perhaps there will be other protagonists that step into the field of battle to tip the results in another direction?!

In the all-amateur Corinthian J/70 class, it was Swiss sailor Bruno Zeltner’s QUARTER2ELEVEN, a regular at the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, that pipped Monegasque Cesare Gabasio’s TINN J70 for the win.  Can the Swiss sailors do it again after a massive New Year’s Celebration and skiing with too much kirsch and delicious cheese fondue in the Swiss Alps?  Time will tell.

The next events in the five Act J/70 Winter Sportboat Series are:
  • Feb 7-10- Act IV PRIMO Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse XXXV
  • Mar 14-17- Act V Finale
For more J/70 Monaco Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ft Lauderdale- Key West Race Preview

J/44 Kenai sailing fast with spinnaker (Fort Lauderdale, FL)- The third week of January has traditionally marked the start of the American offshore sailing season. That event is the infamous Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, a 160.0nm dash down the eastern Florida coastline, bound by the Florida Keys reefs to starboard and the swift-moving 4-6 kt Gulf Stream off to port. The Storm Trysail Club and Fort Lauderdale YC host the event. The fleet will start on Thursday, January 17th, at 1000 hrs.

It is always a challenging race in light or strong breezes as teams are forced to sail in a narrow band of water to avoid the adverse, northerly-flowing, Gulf Stream currents and the precipitous walls of coral on the northern side of the course that are the Florida Keys.

Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race courseThe race track is simple enough, start off the Ft Lauderdale inlet, then head south to several key turning marks to be left to starboard- 68.0nm to Elbow Key Light, 12.0nm more to Molasses Reef Light, 53.0nm more to Sombrero Key Light, 45.0nm more to Key West Channel buoy #2, then a short 6.0nm sprint north up the channel to the finish off Truman Annex Navy base.  Because of the current off Key West (a channel that seemingly has half the Gulf of Mexico empty through it), the last 6.0nm can often be the most frustrating in the race in an ebb tide and light winds!

After the first two races, the Nassau Cup Race (from Miami, FL to Nassau, Bahamas) and the Wirth Munroe Memorial Race (from Miami, FL to Palm Beach, FL), the leaderboard has three J/Teams in the top four! Leading is Chris Lewis’ J/44 KENAI from Lakewood YC in Seabrook, TX. They are followed by the J/92 HILLBILLY in 3rd place, sailed by Brad Stowers from Melbourne YC in Melbourne, FL. And then, lying in fourth position, is the J/109 HARM’S WAY, sailed by Andy Wescoat from Galveston Bay Cruising Association in Spring, TX!

Joining them for the this overnight blast around the Keys will be Matt Schaedler’s J/122 BLITZKRIEG from North Cape YC in Toledo, OH and also Matt Self’s J/105 RUCKUS from Charleston YC in Daniel Island, SC.
Follow the SORC Series on Facebook here  For more SORC Key West Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Announcing The 2020 J/80 World Championship!

2020 J/80 World Championship in Newport, RI (Newport, RI)- The J/80 North American Class Association is pleased to announce that Sail Newport, Newport RI has been selected to host the J/80 2020 World Championships, September 28th to October 3rd, 2020.

The regatta will be the 10th year anniversary of the epic J/80 Worlds that was held in Newport 2010 and almost 20 years since the very first J/80 Worlds that were also hosted in Newport.

Mark your calendars now in what is once again expected to be yet another epic, open, J/80 World Championship! Anyone and everyone are welcome to participate in one of the world’s greatest venues for sailing!  Stay tuned for further details announcements on the J/80 North American Class site Add to Flipboard Magazine.

LA SUPERBA Crowned Winter J/24 Champion

J/24 Italy Winter Series (Anzio & Nettuno (Rome), Italy)- This past weekend, the fiercely competitive J/24 Fleet of Rome had a regatta full of fun and lots of racing (eight races in total!) The fleet of twenty-two boats was sailing in their 44th Winter Championship of Anzio-Nettuno, racing for the Lozzi Trophy.  Winning the regatta was the famous Italian Navy crew on LA SUPERBA, skippered by Ignazio Bonanno with crew of Vincenzo Vano, Francesco Picaro, Alfredo Branciforte, and Francesco Linares; they dominated the regatta with six 1sts and two 4ths.

“On Saturday, a mistral of 22 knots and a flat sea provided the sailors fabulous conditions for racing,” explained Federico Miccio. “The crews did not seem at all intimidated by the strong wind and, indeed, had fun sailing three demanding races on the first day."

J/24 sailing off Anzio & Nettuno, Italy (near Rome)"On the following day, the scenario was decidedly different. The light wind between 4 and 5 knots oscillated between the Levante and the Sirocco, and then stabilized at Ostro. This allowed the Race Committee to start the racing,” explained Miccio. “A large part of the fleet chose the left-hand side, while the wind was shifting to the right, and very spotty along the race course. It was a challenging day for us and the rest of the fleet.”

After eight races and two discards, is was Bonanno’s LA SUPERBA crew that eclipsed the fleet with blistering pace and very sharp tactics and boathandling.  Taking second place was the young crew on J-GIUDITTA, skippered by Riccardo Aleandri, Antimo Bruno on tactics, Fulvio Marchionni on bow, and Fabio Di Bartolomeo, Vito Esposito, & Fabiana Onori in the middle. Closing out the podium was Paolo Cecamore’s PELLE NERA.  Rounding out the top five were Michele Potenza’s ARPION (also top woman helm) in fourth position and Massimo Mariotti’s AVOLTORE in fifth place.  For more Italian J/24 class sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, January 14, 2019

CATAPULT Wins J/70 Davis Island Winter Series II

J/70s sailing Tampa Bay (Tampa, FL)- Fifty-five J/70 teams traveled to Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida for the middle weekend of the 2018-2019 J/70 Winter Series. Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT took the victory with 24 points in five races over the two days.

The weekend started off with great promise from a weather perspective.  Friday was the SAIL22 “Off the Porch Series” that never fully materialized.  An impending frontal system with forecasts for rain, thunder, squalls and gusts to 35 kts did, in fact, roll in around 2:00pm, upsetting the scheduled clinic. Anticipating the storms, many teams opted to get out early to get in some practice.

Saturday dawned with clearing skies and strong, puffy, northwest winds of 12 to 23 kts, just as forecast.  Not wasting any time, the DIYC Race Committee, PRO, and mark boat teams set out to get racing rolling on time at 10:00am.  After a few general recalls, racing commenced for what turned out to be a glorious day of sailing on northern Tampa Bay (a.k.a. Henderson Bay) just south of the pretty skyline of Tampa. The RC/PRO team managed to run four races in very tactically challenging conditions.  With 20-30 degree windshifts on each leg of the course and massive wind holes and wind streaks, it was easy for teams to gain/lose 10-15 boats per leg!

J/70s sailing off start line- Tampa Bay Winter SeriersAt the end of Saturday’s racing, Travis Odenbach’s B-SQUARED team led the fleet with scores of 1-3-1-4 for 9 pts.  Just one point back on the leaderboard were two heavyweight J/70 teams tied at 10 pts each, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT with a 5-2-3-1 record, while Brian Keane’s SAVASANA posted a 3-1-5-2 tally. Interestingly, Ronning fell ill with food poisoning on Saturday morning and did not skipper his boat. Instead, the team scrambled quickly and recruited crewman Chris Stocke’s fiancé from St Petersburg- Wendy Reuss- to step in and skipper the boat for the day; she guided them to a remarkable outcome for someone that had never sailed, much less skippered, a J/70 before!

Sunday dawned light and fluky from the northeast, again as forecast. After several aborted attempts to get a race going, the DIYC RC/PRO team managed to get a race off that will simply go down in the record books as perhaps the worst light air race imaginable. With winds ranging from 0 to 5 kts (e.g. below the J/70 Class minimum recommended wind speed), and shifting 30 to 60 degrees, and very spotty and very streaky (teams were often seen sailing downwind, at the same angle, on opposite gybes); it was not surprising to see dramatic swings in the final race standings.

J/70s sailing on Tampa BayFor the one and only race sailed on Sunday, the runaway winner was Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING, sailing with a star-studded crew of Tim Healy, and brothers Jay & Jody Lutz (all three are World Champions in various classes). They started at the port end of the line, hooked into a private wind streak, and simply sailed away from the fleet to win by a Texas mile! Not far behind them in 2nd place was Kevin Downey’s MR PITIFUL from Seattle, WA- also sailing with a star-studded crew that included World Champion and North American Champions in his crew- Brian Thomas and Willem van Waay.

As a result of the last race, the now happy and healthy Joel Ronning skippered CATAPULT into a “come from behind” victory on the last downwind leg to post a 13th and win the regatta with 24 points.  The final run, with 0-3 kts of wind, was so sketchy, so streaky, so full of holes, that it was anyone’s game to win. Rounding the last mark, Keane’s SAVASANA was at the top of the fleet, winning the regatta, and leading both B-SQUARED and CATAPULT by over 20 boats. However, “lady luck” was not on their side, falling into a giant hole (more like a vacuum), while his erstwhile competitors gybed away in the middle of the course and sailed around them. In the final tally, CATAPULT won, then Odenbach’s B-SQUARED finished 20th to take 2nd with 29 pts, while the hapless crew on SAVASANA posted a gut-wrenching 22nd to drop into 3rd place on the podium with 33 pts total.

J/70s under spinnaker on Tampa BayRounding out the top five were Downey’s MR PITIFUL in 4th place and Greiner Hobbs’ DARK HORSE in 5th place.

In the Corinthians Division, Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY won, followed by Eddie Keller’s and Billy Lynn’s KEY PLAYER in second, and Bob Willis’ RIP RULLAH in third place. Sailing photo credits- Phil Pape Photography
For more J/70 Davis Island Winter Series II sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

St Francis YC "Sailors of the Year"- Two J/105 Sailors!

St Francis YC Yachtsman & Yachtswoman Sailors of the Year- Stone and Breault (San Francisco, CA)- The St. Francis Yacht Club Sailor of the Year is a member who, through dedication and persistence, achieved excellence as an amateur skipper and/or crew in the sport of yacht racing.  For 2018, the award went to Bruce Stone, a past Rolex Big Boat Series winner, Rolex Block Island Race Week winner, and J/105 North American Champion.

In addition to a busy season racking up wins sailing J/105s across the USA, Bruce Stone also chaired the US Match Racing Championship Committee, organized the 2019 Nations Cup Match Racing finals to be held at St Francis YC in April 2019, and continues to chair multiple StFYC regattas. Congratulations Bruce Stone!

Coincidentally, it was Bruce’s crew and wife- Nicole Breault- that was awarded the StFYC Yachtswoman of the Year, recognizing her for a woman member’s contribution to the sport of yachting!

Nicole continues to be an amazing sailor and supporter of the Club, running learn-to-sail and learn-to-match-race clinics that are getting more women out on the water.  In addition to adding to her own podium moments in both match racing and J/105 fleet racing, she’s been an important role model in motivating women to improve their skills and lose their fear of taking responsibility on board. She’s the #1 Woman Match Racer in the USA for the third year in a row, and #6 in the Women’s World Match Racing rankings! She’ll be representing the Club at the 2019 Nations Cup, which will be held at StFYC in April 2019. Congratulations Nicole Breault! Add to Flipboard Magazine.