Tuesday, October 30, 2007

J/105 Class Draws Record Fleet

Annapolis, MD -- When the entry period officially closed on Wednesday, October 17, a record fleet of 69 J/105s from across North America were in the mix for the upcoming J/105 North American Championship, set for Thursday-Sunday, November 1-4. Among the entries are 40 boats that will be traveling from outside the Chesapeake Bay. Defending North American Champion Thomas Coates from San Francisco, CA, will be on hand with his Masquerade team, hoping to repeat his 2006 win. In addition, Steve Phillips of Arnold, MD, who earned the championship title in 2000 and again in 2002, will be among the 27 representatives of Annapolis’ Fleet 3, sailing Le Renard.

The lineup of competitors is not only challenging, but also diverse. Along with past champions and consistently strong performers from 15 J/105 fleets in North America, two teams of Naval Academy midshipmen also will compete. These collegians are not the youngest participants, however; that honor goes to the Storm Trysail Club’s Chessie Team, made up of five junior sailors and their coach. -- Full report

Burkhalter Finishes 12th in Transat 6.5

Congratulations to Clay Burkhalter of Stonington, CT who recently completed the grueling 4,200nm Atlantic crossing in the Transat 6.5 race (formerly the Mini Transat) in his Rod Johnstone designed 21 foot "mini" Acadia. By crossing the finish line at Salvador Bahia, Brazil on Oct. 25, Clay realized his goal to complete the race and placed a respectable 12th overall out of 86 boats and among the elite tier of European mini specialists... Here are a few bullets from his experience.

• Fastest speed: 17.5 knots in the first few days – during the first several days of the race when in squalls the wind would increase to as much as 50 knots.

• Scariest moments: Climbing the mast twice to untangle halyards. And, a few days into the race, when one of many squalls hit and Clay found himself moving so fast downwind that, as he put it, “All I could do was kneel in the cockpit, struggle to keep control of the rudders and hope it would pass before things started breaking all over the place.”

• During this year’s Transat 650, Acadia did not suffer a single crucial equipment failure that Clay was unable to fix enroute. His sails are intact, but for a small rip in one. However, plenty of hardware broke – from turnbuckles and blocks to a spinnaker pole, and by the end of the race, Clay was substituting hardware from one part of the boat to another. For more info, links to interviews and video clips please visit the Team Acadia web site.

Tedeschi’s Top J/109 NA Champs

LONG BEACH, Calif.---“We plan to keep sailing consistently. That is how we win regattas.” Those words as spoken by Stephen Tedeschi on Saturday now seem prophetic as he and co-skipper/father Brian did just that Sunday, sailing their boat Tastes Like Chicken, Newport, R.I., to win the second annual J/109 North American Championships in the waters off Long Beach.

Going into the day, Tedeschi knew there were only two or three boats they had to watch: Gary Mozer’s Current Obsession, Long Beach, John Shulze’s Linstar, Newport Beach, and Tony Wetherbee’s Commotion, Dana Point. In heavy winds of 14-16 knots, some boats had miscues and Current Obsession tore its jib. But the Tedeschi crew of Tony Tedeschi, Mark Ploch, Mark “Gonzo” Gonzales, Alex Millet, Melody Schleusner, and Peter Hamm persevered with fifth- and second-place finishes Sunday to clinch the crown for the championship. results

J/122 Wins Manhasset Fall Series 2007

Andrew Weiss and crew aboard J/122 Christopher Dragon recently capped off a great season on their new boat with another IRC win, this time at the Manhasset Bay YC Fall Series on Long Island Sound. Andrew reports:

“The Fall Series this year had conditions ranging from 5 to 23 Knots. Competition in the class included Tom Carroll’s J/133, an IMX45, two Farr 395s, a Ker 11.3 and a modified Beneteau 40.7. The first race was in very shifty westerly winds where we missed a shift and ended up in 6th place. Ultimately this would be our throw out race for the series. As the wind increased over the first weekend we were very fast upwind passing larger boats on the beats. Downwind we had little to no trouble with boat handling as many of the boats were wiping out.

The second Saturday we sailed three races in 17-23 knots placing 1,3,1. In the last race we were first to finish beating all the big boats on elapsed time. As the year has gone on we have been amazed how fast this boat goes upwind in big breeze. The last race on Sunday was a long seven leg race in shifty conditions. With the boat’s ability to tack faster and sail deeper angle's downwind we won both the race and series with finishes of 6,3,1,3,1,1. This regatta topped a year with Christopher Dragon where we finished first in every series entered except one where we finished second to another J/122. We couldn't be happier with the boat.”

complete results.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Venue Change! J/80 NA Championship

Due to the very low water levels in Lake Norman, NC the 2007 J/80 North American Championship regatta has recently been moved to Annapolis, MD. Eastport Yacht Club will now host the event. Dates for the regatta remain the same, Nov. 9-11, and if you have already registered, your registration fee and application will be transferred to the new race organizers. If you have not already registered, please do so now! Annapolis is the Sailing Capitol of the World and promises great race committee, great parties and a great atmosphere. Details, including a new NOR, schedule of events and information on visiting Annapolis, will be posted shortly. Please help Eastport Yacht Club, Fleet 18 and your J80 USA Executive Board in making this a great National Championship! for latest info www.j80.org

J-122 ‘J-DAY’ Wins Antwerp Race

J-122 'J-DAY', skippered by Robin Verhoef of J/Benelux, showed excellent performance at the recently concluded Antwerp Race in Belgium winning the 52 boat IRC class 1/2. This annual event is one of the largest of the year sailed from Breskens to Antwerp on the tidal ‘Westerschelde’. This year the entire 46 nm course was an upwind stretch with winds varying between 6 – 12 knots. The competition was fierce in the IRC 1/2 class including two Swan 45’s, two Club Swan 42s, an X 41, X 46, X 35, Grand Soleil 40 and 43 and a Bashford 36. By the end of the race J-Day corrected to a 6 minute lead over the second place boat. The light winds made it a long and exciting race which was only decided when the harbor of Antwerp was in sight. Once more – and again the J/122 proves to have great upwind speed. Congratulations to Robin and his all amateur crew! event website.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Burkhalter in top 10 in Mini Transat

After 3000 miles of racing, Clay Burkhalter has moved into 10th position in the 2007 Mini Transat Race. The 83 boat fleet is spread over a 400 mile range and is now literally in the middle of the Atlantic midway between Africa and South America. Sailing in his custom Rod Johnstone designed 21 foot "mini," Clay has managed to move steadily closer to the lead pack over the last week and now it's card shuffling time as the fleet crosses the convergence zone and then settles in for the final 1,200 mile "sprint" to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. You can follow Clay's and the rest of the fleet's progress at the Team Acadia website. There are three positional updates daily.

Junior Sailors Thrive on Keelboats

More junior sailors are discovering the thrill of sailing larger keelboats, thanks to a slew of JBBS (Junior Big Boat Sailing) initiatives cropping up around the country. This is no more evident than on Long Island Sound, where young sailors have been competing in the Beach Point Overnight Regatta now for 50 years. For 2007, the event (also known as the Junior Distance Sailing Championship of Long Island Sound) drew 17 boats, ranging from 30 to 45 footers, all sailing the 60 mile course from Mamaroneck, NY to Stratford Shoals and back. Winning the top prize was the junior team from Black Rock Yacht Club (pictured at left), sailing Dave and Mary Ellen Tortorello’s new J/122 Partnership. Black Rock Yacht Club started an innovative JBBS program 7 years ago that now is being modeled elsewhere. US Sailing is also developing curriculum for JBBS, and will soon be providing sailing program directors with the tools needed to start JBBS programs in their communities. Check out some of these other junior keelboat initiatives that are making a difference in the sport - Team Tsunami . . . . . . Storm Trysail Club

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Annapolis is J/105 Crazy for Oct & Nov

Everything starts with the AYC Fall Series where over 30 J/105s will be tuning up for the NA’s later in the month. And it’s shaping up to be a record turnout as over 67 boats have entered for the 2007 North American Championship so far! Both events are hosted by the Annapolis Yacht Club and J/105 Fleet 3 with racing taking place for the NAs on Nov. 1-4. Measurement is by appointment and will take place from Oct 27-31. This will be the highlight regatta of the year for J/105 sailors. More info at the race web site.

Decent Proposals & J/105 Hot Stuff

San Diego J/Owners are always dreaming up fun new ways to spice up life. First, Steve & Lucy Howell, owners of J/105 Blink!, conspired with their son, Matt to expand the family recently. Matt took his girlfriend Liz out to a nice romantic lunch at a local restaurant right on the bay, and the family casually sailed by on Blink! with a special proposal to Liz to join the Howell family… Then, on Friday night before J/Fest, J/105 owners hosted a BBQ to thank their crews for a great season. Complete with personalized costumes, the owners were “on fire” as they grilled up goodies for everyone! BBQ pics here.

PS. She said yes!