Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Win a Stormy Fastnet with 2 People?

J owners are known for being on the adventurous side, but when we recently looked back on 2007, a few events really stood out... the 2007 Rolex Fastnet being one of them. Simon Curwen and Paul Peggs won the double-handed division of this challenging race on the J/105 VOADOR, and finished second in Class 2 against eight fully-crewed boats. After a weather-delayed start and 35-40 knots, steep seas, and cold temperatures, only two of the seven double-handed starters completed the race – and both were J/105’s. J Boats checked in with Simon about his experience.

JB: Describe the two days of upwind sailing.
SC: It in no way compares with the 1979 Fastnet when people got caught out in the middle of the Irish Sea. Seas build up from the Atlantic against a shelving coast and conditions there can get very ferocious. This year was just cold and quite windy, and the short sharp typical seas are very unpleasant to sail in, but it wasn’t particularly dangerous.

JB: And after you rounded Fastnet Rock it was downwind?
SC: Dead downwind so no nice screaming reaches! Our closest rival was a class 2 fully-crewed French boat that was 1.5 hours behind around the Rock. So how long to carry the kite was the question.

JB: How fast were you going with the kite in 35 knots, and how did the boat handle?
SC: It’s a good stable boat downwind with perfect handling, an absolute joy to sail. We saw a maximum speed of 18.7 knots, but what was more exciting was sustaining long surfs, over minutes, at fourteen knots and above. We were probably averaging eleven knots, and the boat was very easy to handle. But then the halyard chafed through and we lost the spin overboard. So that lost us a bit of ground.

JB: What kind of speed did you make with just the main?
SC: More like eight knots, with surfs to twelve. But we were able to sail dead downwind, so we didn’t lose as much ground as we expected. In the morning we hoisted the spinnaker again on the jib halyard.

JB: Do you have any tips for sailing short-handed offshore?
SC: There’s very little that needs doing to the boat. Getting a good autopilot is required. We have a Raymarine ST6000, which has worked perfectly for four years And the #4 jib is a great sail; we sailed the whole of the Fastnet with that this year.

JB: Would you do it again?
SC: Oh yes….and in a 105. I don’t think there’s a better boat for doing two-handed campaigns. There were seven two-handed entries for this year’s Fastnet, certainly by far the biggest short-handed division for that race. We have a full circuit that includes singlehanded, doublehanded, and fully crewed events, and we could race every weekend of the year. The boat crosses all those boundaries very well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Zaleski's Win '08 J/24 Midwinters

The J/24 Class turns 30 this year and Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL served host for the first reunion event - the 30th Annual J/24 Midwinter Regatta, presented by Yale Cordage. 42 teams representing the top J/24 sailors in North and South America participated in the tough 11 race, no throw-out series, with brothers Waldek and Chris Zaleski (Noroton, CT) aboard TWINS emerging as the winner. This is the Zaleski’s 6th J/24 regatta victory in a row starting with the 2007 Nationals. The TWINS team also features Randy Perkins,Yahoo Glinski and Maciek Kosciuczuk.

It wasn’t easy. Conditions were shifty and alternatively breezy and light. In the windy 11th race, the Zaleski’s tore their spinnaker while in 2nd place and somehow managed to hang on during the last run, sailing wing-on-wing with genoa to cross the finish line in 12th … only 2 cumulative points ahead of regatta runner-up Mark Hillman of Annapolis, who took 2nd in the same race. Both teams won qualifying berths for the 2009 J/24 Worlds which will be held in Annapolis, MD.

Class veteran Tony Parker of Annapolis, FL sailed his 31 year old BANGOR PACKET to an impressive 3rd, followed by Stuart Challoner of New Jersey on SPOILSPORT. The class now sets its sites on the upcoming National Championship in Staten Island, NY (May 15-18) and the 30th North Americans in Lake Minnetonka, MN (Sept 8-12). Midwinters Results

Thursday, February 7, 2008

US Watercraft is New J/105 Builder

Newport, RI… J Boats announced today that US Watercraft of Portsmouth, RI has been named its new USA builder for the J/105, the prolific 34.5’one-design sprit boat with over 650 boats sailing in 14 countries. Introduced in 1991 as the first modern day keelboat with a retractable bow sprit and asymmetrical spinnaker, the J/105 has grown into one of the most popular offshore one-designs in the world. 69 boats recently competed in the 2007 North Americans in Annapolis, MD and 34 sailed in Key West, Florida for the 2008 Midwinters. The J/105 has also garnered recent praise for its offshore sailing record with double-handed victories in the 2007 Rolex Fastnet and Rolex Middle Sea Races.

“As a licensed builder and service provider of the J/22 and J/24, US Watercraft is ideally positioned to carry the torch forward on the J/105,” said Jeff Johnstone, J Boats’ President. “Randy Borges and his team know one-design perhaps better than anyone. From preparing race-ready winners, to building one-designs within tight tolerances and providing on-site regatta support, US Watercraft provides a great compliment to our long-term one-design program.”

Randy Borges, President of US Watercraft added, "We look forward to providing the J/105 Class and owners with great boats as well as supporting the many local and national events. It’s exciting to see the continued growth and recognition of the J/105 worldwide."

The 2008 model J/105 includes several upgrades such as race-ready keel and rudder, composite tiller, racing mainsheet system, new galley layout and more. Upcoming class events include the 2008 North American Championships to be held in San Francisco Bay, August 20-24 plus class starts at 9 different venues for the Sailing World NOOD Regatta.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2008 J Rendezvous...New England

Pack your sun screen, round up the crew and get your J/Boat ready for some cruising! That’s right, this season the J Rendezvous moves to the water, to historic Camden, Maine, homeport for some of the most picturesque cruising in New England. Join fellow J owners and friends for a weekend of sailing and socializing as we celebrate over 30 years of J sailing.
  • Who: All J Owners from the J/22 up to the J/65
  • Where: Camden, Maine
  • When: August 1-3
  • Why: Great Sailing, Great People and a Great Time!
  • Early Bird docking/mooring bookings:
  • Event Chair Kendra Muenter: