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

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.

Friday, July 13, 2018

J/80 World Champs Update

J/80s sailing World ChampionshipSpanish Dominate Podium So Far
(Les Sables d’Olonne, France)- The Sports Nautiques Sablais YC is hosting the J/80 World Championship from the 9th to the 13th July.  So far, they’ve been blessed with good sailing conditions on the bay for the seventy-boat fleet.

As anticipated, the J/80 World Championship has turned into a full-on battle between the top French and Spanish teams at the top of the leaderboard.

Women J/80 sailors at WorldsAfter three days of sailing with eight races completed, occupying the top three spots on the podium are Spanish teams- Iker Almondoz’s GARATU, Rayco Tabares’ HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA, and Juan Luis Paez’s PUENTE ROMANO MARBELLA.  The top French teams are sitting in 4th- Simon Moriceau’s ARMEN HABITAT, 6th- Sylvain Pellisier’s INTUITIVE SAILS, 7th- Vianney Guilbaud’s AG+ SPARS, and 9th- Gwendal Nael’s EJP 10.  The top Russian team is Alexei Semenov’s NEW TERRITORIES in 5th place.  Patrick O’Neill’s Irish crew on MOJO are 8th.  And, rounding out the top ten is the Spanish crew of Javier Chacartegui’s IBO.ES.  The top British boat is Jon Powell’s BETTY in 11th position.

Two French women skippers are in the top 15- Anne Phelipon’s NAVIGATLANTQUE in 12th and Maxime Rousseaux’s CN ST CAST GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES in 13th- just three points separate them.   Follow the J/80 World Championships on Facebook here.   For more J/80 World Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

APCC Voiles Sportive Top French J/80 Sailing League

French J/80 National Sailing LeagueMoriceau’s Team The Best in Brest Big Time!
(Brest, France)- Eighteen sailing club teams from across France participated in the first of three events in the 2018 French National Sailing League, supported by the F.I.V. (French National Sailing Federation).  The first regatta was hosted by USAM Brest, the next in La Rochelle by Societe Regate La Rochelle, and the third the SAILING Champions League qualifier in St. Petersburg, Russia from August 3rd to 6th.

Of the eighteen sailing clubs from across France, the three principal Brest clubs were participating- Societe Regate Brest, Crocs L'Elorn and USAM Brest.  Five teams were from Normandy- Club Voiles Saint Aubin- Elbeuf, YC Granville, YC Cherbourg, and the two Le Havre clubs- Societe Regate Le Havre and the Societe Nautique Pointe Le Havre.  Interestingly, five of the clubs are from the inland lakes, such as Club Voiles Saint Aubin-Elbeuf.

Day 1- Friday
It was around 12:30pm that the first race was launched under the beautiful sun off Brest. Picture perfect conditions awaited the eighteen crews in the northeasterly winds of more than 10 knots.

With a great big blue sky, the theme for the day could have been “Tropical Brest sailing” for the entire day. Twelve races were sailed, divided into four “flights”, each of the crews sailed four races.

French woman skipper at J/80 Sailing LeagueLast year, both sailing clubs from Le Havre (SNPH and the SRH) ended up tied at the end of the sailing league series, with NHP finishing in fourth place ahead of their rival club. This year, nothing has changed except the regatta location! Even far from their homeport, the two Le Havre clubs put on a good show and this time it was the crew of the SRH that took the lead with an amazing 1-2-1-2! Incredibly, behind them it was three-way tie on 7 pts each for second place between APCC Voiles Sportive Nantes (1-1-2-3), CV St Aubin- Elbeuf (2-2-1-2), and SNP Le Havre (1-1-3-2).

The Daily ”SAP" Statistic
121 meters. That was the distance where APCC Voile Sportive- Nantes team beat their closest opponent to the finish of the second flight of Flight 1. A considerable difference, when we know that the courses are rather short! Clearly, the people of Nantes are in Brest to get the win!

The Tactical Maneuver of the Day
That award goes to the young crew of YC Mauguio Carnon. Despite their fatigue, they arrived at 5am in Brest after more than 10 hours of driving on Friday to get to Brest! And, lack of experience in the J/80, the southerners made their talent speak for themselves, especially during a very nice maneuver during the 2nd race of the 1st Flight.

5th at the 1st mark, the crew of YC Mauguio Carnon managed to "slip under the buoy" to take the inside and pass three competitors. Then, by managing to slide below them on the starboard gybe, they managed to prevent them from being able to gybe as leeward boat. Holding them past the layline to the leeward mark gates, they gybed first and forced their opponents to gybe after them and, thus, to line up behind them. As a result, they took 2nd in the race!

Dolphin checking out J/80 sailing off Brest, FranceDay 2- Saturday
After an idyllic first day with perfect conditions in the Brest Bay, the 18 teams were back on the race track for another day of near perfect sailing conditions.  The goal was six races for each team!

At the end of the day, a big sun and a gorgeous northeasterly wind between 10 and 15 knots permitted the six races per team and a total of 18 races!

In the lead after the first day, the SRH's Le Havre fell behind on the rankings. On the contrary, their rivals at CV Saint-Aubin Elbeuf had a hot start with three bullets in three races!

Last night's arrival of Pauline Courtois, just off her podium at the Finnish WIM Series stage, was good for the CVSAE crew! But, despite this perfect morning, the CVSAE has the same number of points as APCC Voile Sportive.

Total suspense at the top of the rankings! The SNPH from Le Havre just one small point behind the leading duo, and just two points ahead of the crew from CV Saint-Quentin.

The Daily ”SAP" Statistic
31 seconds. During Flight 8 Race 2 was particularly tight. The 6 boats arrived almost at the same time and only 31 seconds separated the winner, the APCC Voile Sportive de Nantes, the 6th, USAM Brest. For comparison, during the same Flight, in the other 2 races, the gaps between the 1st and the 2nd were 51 and 52 seconds!

J/80 sailing league- Brest, FranceThe Tactical Maneuver of the Day
Flight 5, race 1. In regattas, it is often said that a good start is 50% of the job done.

The crew of CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf was able to prove it in the first race of the day. At 50 seconds before the start, the positioning of the boats suggested that the line was favorable to the right. At 30 seconds from the start, the CVSAE luffs to slow down, and not to arrive too early on the line. This maneuver forces the boat of the CV Saint-Quentin to luff too to not be penalized (the leeward boat being a priority over the windward one).

By a sort of "domino effect”, the crew of SR Brest is obliged to luff, too, and must wait for the boats to sink downwind. Priority, is therefore, the CVSAE that can afford to "trigger" its maneuver at the appropriate time. This is what the crew does 5 seconds before the start. They leave with more speed than the others and with two competitors in their backwind. A high-class departure!

J/80 sailing off Brest, FranceDay 3- Sunday
The third and final day of competition started off with a postponement on another beautiful day, but no wind!

Sitting ashore, here was an interview with regatta leaders- Edouard Champault (APCC Voile Sportive - Nantes):

What was your feeling about yesterday's conditions?

EC: Good races yesterday with still very good conditions. A little less wind than the first day, but the sun and no rain was great. It is very satisfying for us to be in the lead overall. The wind was there, too, so it was perfect!

How do you approach the last day of racing today?

EC: Today, it's much softer in the wind, so we'll see. Otherwise, no particular strategies.  The goal being to finish in front of as much as possible and look for the points!

J/80 woman crew hiking hard- Brest, FranceLike the previous two days, the sun showed brightly in the morning. But, the wind was again a “no show”- a complete “glass out” across the bay.

However, by 12:15pm a light breeze blew into the Brest Bay and allowed the Race Committee to launch two more flights and a total of six races.

In the light airs, the Nantais team from APCC Voile Sportive, led by Simon Moriceau and Pierre-Loïc Berthet, worked miracles and benefited from a poor performance by the crew of the CVSAE during Flight 11 (3rd place) to take the lead in the overall standings before the last race of the weekend.

It was a happy coincidence that both boats were in the same race during the 12th and final flight, which obviously gave a superb show on the water!

The Normans tried "to get" their rivals in the starting procedure (see "The Maneuver of the Day below), but the Nantes managed to get off the start, win the last race and first place overall!

French J/80 National Sailing League winnersAs a result of this regatta, APCC Voile Sportive Nantes and CV St Aubin-Eleuf have qualified for the SAILING Champions League Finale in in St. Moritz, Switzerland. In addition, SNPH (Le Havre) and the CVSQ (Saint-Quentin en Yvelines) have qualified for the second semifinal of the SAILING Champions League, scheduled from 3 to 6 August in St. Petersburg, Russia.  If these two teams finish 1st and 2nd, they also qualify to go sail the SCL Championship in St. Moritz, Switzerland!  “Vive La France”!

The Tactical Maneuver of the Day
Last Flight, Race 1. The most anticipated race of the weekend. One of the few battles between the two regatta leaders and, most importantly, making for a dramatic finish to the regatta!

Sitting just two points back in second place, the Normans of the CVSAE knew they had to put one or two boats between them and their rivals- the Nantais of APCC Voile Sportive.

Their goal was to “destroy” the start of their opponents. At 1:30 from the start, the CVSAE were “hunting” the APCC and made a 180 turn to put themselves in front of their bow. Cédric Château, the CVSAE helmsman, then managed to pass under his opponent, who then found himself in a delicate position, because the Normans then have the opportunity to “close the door” by putting their bow next to the stern of the RC boat. The APCC must wait until the Normans bear-off to start their race. But, just as Cédric Château turns to cut speed and cut-off APCC at the line, two other boats are battling in the immediate vicinity of the RC boat! He found himself obliged to pass under these boats. The APCC used that opportunity to slip through a mouse hole near the RC boat and to jump across the starting line at the gun and enjoyed a clear air start!  Luck?  Skill?  Perhaps.   At the first crossing between the two boats, it was the Nantes APCC team that had the advantage and who, in turn, "scored” a direct attack on their opponent, tacking on top of them with no escape! Real match-racing!

Not surprisingly, the winning team included a French J/80 Champion sailor as its skipper- Simon Moriceau.  His team members for APCC Voile Sportive were Simon Bertheau, Paul Medinger, and Pierre-loic Berthet.   Watch the French J/80 Sailing League video highlights on Facebook here.   Follow the French J/80 Sailing League on Facebook here.   For more French J/80 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.