Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Navy J/105 Wins Ft. Lauderdale Race

J/105 Dreadnaught, with a crew of Midshipmen, sailed to an overall victory against a fleet of 60 boats in the 2007 Ft Lauderdale to Key West Ocean Race. The 160nm mile race started on Jan 10 in the Atlantic Ocean under ideal racing conditions with 25 plus knots of northeasterly wind and 6 - 8 foot waves. It was perfect planning conditions for the J/105 and the Midshipmen regularly hit speeds in the mid teens as they sprinted down the Florida coast toward Key West. At the prize giving, MIDN 1/C Tim Burchett and Dreadnaught crew were awarded first place in class, the Navigator's Trophy for first place in fleet, and the Sponsors Trophy for best overall performance, an incredibly impressive haul for their efforts. complete story & photos.

J Boats Shine at 20th Key West

The reputation and allure of Acura Key West Race Week is second to none, and if the 20th running of this annual mid-winter event was any indication, sailors should already be booking flights for 2008. The weather was brochure-like, and while winds were a little light (8-12) they were never threatening the aggressive nine race schedule set out by the event organizer, Premiere-Racing. J Boat owners came in force, representing a whopping 30% of all the participants. J Boats hosted nightly parties with video action from the J/80, J/105, J/109, J/120 and J/92s fleets. By week’s end, several new midwinter champions were crowned. Complete write-up here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bow Sprits Dominate

Who would have guessed that the retractable bow sprit with asymmetrical spinnaker concept, pioneered in keelboats by J/Boats with the introduction in 1991 of the J/105 (and J/130 and J/92 a year later), would be used by nearly 60% of all boats competing in the 2007 Acura Key West Raceweek.

Appearing at first as an oddity to many, each of the 16 years since has seen more designs follow suit, starting with the Melges 24 and now most recently with the Frers designed New York Yacht Club(or Club Swan)42.

Crew intensive symmetrical spinnakers, unwieldy poles and dip pole jibes are on the way out. They will not be missed. The new system is more stable, efficient and, best of all, operable by one or two people.

J/Boats continues to introduce popular new models like the J/109, J/122 & J/133 that benefit from the simplicity of this great system. While possibly wondering why it took the rest of the world so long to figure it out, J Boat sailors may derive some satisfaction knowing they played a major role in dramatically changing the face of the sport.

J/Cruising & Offshore Adventures

The dream of many cruising sailors is to explore distance shores, meet new people, discover new lands and perhaps one day sail around the world. Several J/Boat owners realize part or all of this dream each year. J/40 owners Paul and Debbie DeFreitas, of Ventura CA are among this group and are currently sailing their boat 'Flame' south along the coast of Mexico and documenting their adventures via online blog. Two months ahead of them are Ed & Cindy Huckins (and Ashes the cat), from San Diego on their J/40 'Mal de Mer III' sailing the Baja HaHa...see the J/40 Owner site...for more on their journey. Joining the Huckins' on the HaHa are also two J/120s, Tom Cullen of Santa Barbara aboard 'Bluebird' and Wayne Zittle of Almeda aboard 'J/World'.

Thinking Ahead to Block Island

If you plan to race at the Rolex Storm Trysail Block Island Race Week (June 18-22) now is a great time to start thinking about organizing your housing, dock or mooring space, ferry reservations and crew. We expect class racing for J/105, J/109, J/120 and J/44 owners plus several new J/122's racing IRC and many more J/Boats of all sizes competing in the event. Go to the event web site and click on the 'Block Island Info' link for info and contacts.

Large J/80 Fleet for Spi Ouest

The annual Easter weekend regatta based in La Trinite, France is the highlight sailing event of the year for most French sailors. The International J/80 class participation has grown each year and in 2006 was the largest class of the regatta with over 50 boats. This year promises to be even larger with over 60 boats (30 of which have already entered) in the first event of the 2007 French J/80 Annual Circuit. In early July, La Trinite will also host the 2007 J/80 World Championship where over 70 boats are expected to attend. J/80 sailors who wish to charter a boat for the worlds are encouraged to contact J/Europe directly in order to make arrangements to reserve a boat.

J/46 Circumnavigation Completed

"On 7 December 2006, ARAGORN crosses her outward bound track laid down on 2 January 2004, just south of Falmouth Harbor, Antigua. In circling the world, we sailed over 32,000 miles, crossed three oceans and have sailed in twenty seas. In addition to Dick and Leslie, ARAGORN was manned (or womaned) by sixteen others onboard from time to time, to whom we are very grateful. And, after more than 50,000 miles of total sailing on ARAGORN, we still love the boat!" CURRENT LOCATION: In Antigua. Planning to cruise in the Windward and Leeward Islands for the winter of 2006-07. See the web site for more details:

Thursday, January 4, 2007

JBoats are 31% of Key West Fleet

80 of the 260 boats registered for the upcoming Acura Key West Race Week, or 31% of the fleet, are J’s, the highest percentage any brand has seen in the 20 year event history.

The J/105 fleet leads the way with 33 boats including five from California and two from Bermuda. Tom Coates and team Masquerade will be defending their 2006 Midwinter title. Also back is a 17 boat strong J/80 fleet led by pre-regatta favorites Kerry Klingler and John Storck. The J/109s enjoy their second consecutive class start with Anthony O’Leary of Ireland and current North American champion Jon Halbert from Dallas, TX attending. Last year’s Boat-of-the-Week and Sailing World cover girl, J/120 EL OCASO and Rick Wesslund returns to headline the J/120 midwinter fleet and four new J/92S’ will be making their Key West debut. Add to this the J/133 and J/44 in IRC and several other Js in PHRF and it promises to be a great event.