Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Key West Shines on J Sailors

With only three races in, two days cancelled, and the fleet in a 3 hour postponement, it wasn’t looking pretty 11am Thursday during Acura Key West Race Week. But then the ON switch was activated, and Peter Craig’s expert race management team ran off five races in the last day and a half, to ensure another successful week at Key West. Incredible results were turned in by the J fleet, in both one-design and handicap classes.

In one-design action, Tom Coates and his team from San Francisco aboard MASQUERADE, won their 4th J/105 Midwinter title in champion fashion by 42 points over Damian Emery on ECLIPSE, Joerg Esdorn on KINSCEM and the rest of the 34 boat fleet. John Storck of Huntington, NY aboard RUMOR captured the J/80 Midwinters over perennial champion Kerry Klingler and Magnus Tyreman from Sweden. Storck, with son Eric driving and daughter Katie trimming, managed an impressive 6 bullets in 8 races. The J/109 Midwinter title came down to the final race, with Don Filippelli (NY) on CAMINOS edging out Bill Sweetser (Annapolis) on RUSH, and Jim Powers (TX) on SEATRIAL. Three points separated the top 3 boats.

Of the six handicap divisions that included at least one J Boat (5 PHRF divisions and 1 IRC division), J owners dominated the leader board, winning 44% of the top three class trophies. Jim Madden (Newport Beach, CA) on his J/125 STARK RAVING MAD won the PHRF-1 performance sport boat class. Will Hanckel (Charleston, SC) dominated PHRF-2 in his J/120 EMOCEAN. And Robert Armstrong of St. Croix, USVI commissioned his new, red J/100 BAD GIRL in time to take PHRF-4.

In the closely contested IRC-2 class, racing came down to the wire, with Jim Bishop’s J/44 GOLDDIGGER making the most of the final day’s windy conditions to edge out Andrew Weiss’ J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON and Robin Team’s TEAMWORK for 2nd. Both J/122s won the prior day of racing and TEAMWORK was awarded the Boat of the Day by Premiere Racing. The top two boats were the Swan 45 and J/44, with the J/122’s leading the rest of the fleet of 37-41 footers. Results here

Friday, January 4, 2008

J/42 Completes Transat Passage

Returning from the latest family cruising excursions in Europe, Peter Willauer and crew officially went “Off Watch” upon arrival to Nelson’s Dockyard at English Harbor, Antigua… a relatively short 70nm sail from their destination of Nevis in the Caribbean. This passage which took place between Nov. 28 through Dec. 15th was a bit more challenging than most with high winds, high seas and excitement. The crew completed the 2,863 nm TransAtlantic crossing in just 16 days, 23hrs and 40min, averaging 7kts... which must be a new J/42 record… Peter & Carol Willauer’s J/42 Eight Bells has easily logged more ocean going miles than most J/s over the past 6 or 7 years with the boat serving as home away from home. Peter reflects on this most recent and memorable voyage. Learn more about Eight Bells at their site www.eightbells.org

Cruising J/46 to the Remote Arctic

Experienced offshore sailor Ned Cabot recently published a story of the latest adventure aboard his J/46 ‘Cielita’ in Ocean Navigator magazine (Jan/Feb ’08 issue). This is a must read for J/Cruising enthusiasts. Since 2003 Ned and some well seasoned crew mates have explored many areas in the northern latitudes visiting Labrador, Greenland, Scotland, Iceland, Ireland and most recently Norway, sailing through the Norwegian Sea and touching on the Arctic Ocean within 600nm of the North Pole... that’s about as far north as one can sail on earth! An abridged picture-less version of his 2007 cruise is available at Ocean Navigator Online here. To see some great pics, go out and get a copy of Ocean Navigator at the newsstand, it’s on page 32. Also there are some neat photos and more info on past voyages at the Cielita sailing blog.