Monday, July 28, 2008

Herlihy wins J/109 NA’s at NYYC Rolex

It would be hard to find a tougher test of racing skill than at the 2008 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. 120 boats competed across 6 classes in this four day event that featured the J/109 North American Championship and both the J/122 and J/105 East Coast Championship. Thursday’s racing was wet and woolly with all fleets having to race inside the Bay due to the severe conditions. Friday and Saturday conditions eased enough to sail outside but with very lumpy seas. Then the T-Storms returned on Sunday with winds hitting 50 knots to shorten the day’s racing.

In J/109 action, Ted Herlihy (South Dartmouth, MA) and his mostly family crew aboard GUT FEELING sailed an impressive nine-race series to narrowly beat out GOSSIP (Steve Kenny & Greg Ames, Wainscott, NY), and CAMINOS (Donald Filippelli, Amagansett, NY) for the North American title. “Five of our eight crew are family,”said Herlihy, who came close to winning the North Americans two years ago. "We thought we'd do well but this feels great," he said about his victory.

"You know it's windy when everything is going sideways -- the wind, the rain, the boat," said Damian Emery on ECLIPSE (Shoreham, N.Y.), who won the J/105 East Coast Championship. Starting out with two bullets, Emery was able to hold off a strong charge by Brian Keane's SAVASANA. "Today we were definitely sailing against each other," said Emery, who finished second to Keane's fifth in what was to be the final race before a rapidly moving line of thunderstorms forced cancellation of the final race.

In the J/122 class, Andrew Weiss (Rye, N.Y.) on CHRISTOPHER DRAGON opened the series with 6 straight bullets, before being really tested by both FLYING JENNY VI (David Askew, Annapolis, MD) and GAMBLER (Doug Shaffer, Houston, TX). The J/122s raced around the Island on Sunday, and with a 3rd place finish (behind FLYING JENNY and GAMBLER), Weiss locked up the J/122 East Coast Championship by two points over FLYING JENNY VI and 10 points over GAMBLER. Event website

Friday, July 25, 2008

J/122 SKYE Wins in Mac Race Debut

Some call the Chicago-Mackinac Race one of the most difficult distance races to win. It’s a 333 mile sprint from the southern end to northern end of Lake Michigan and the rule of thumb is that no lead is a safe lead. Many a boat can claim to have been winning the Mac only to park in the final few miles and watch the rest of the fleet catch up. 2008 marked the 100th running of this Great Lakes classic, and J owners celebrated with some great performances.

In one-design action, the MVP award goes to Peter Fray’s PRONTO II who topped a record sized J/105 division (27 boats) which included many Mac Race veterans. Pre-race J/109 favorite Rob Zerban on ZEITGEIST continued his hot streak by winning the 14 boat J/109 division AND finishing 3rd overall for the Mackinac Cup behind two 70 footers! Frank Kern and his J/120 CARINTHIA have been one of the most traveled and successful J/120 programs of the past two years. This time the CARINTHIA team could enjoy a victory closer to home, as they narrowly beat Matthew Songer’s PERSEVERANCE by two minutes to win the 12 boat J/120 division

Bill Zeiler and his new J/122 SKYE have been on a tear since arriving in Lake Michigan earlier this year. Their 22 boat Section 3 division included a wide mix of performance boats (1D35 Heartbreaker, CM1200s, Sydney 41, GS 44, etc) as well as the J/124 SUFFICIENT REASON and the J/130 EDGE. SKYE and SUFFICIENT REASON outpaced their class to cross the line 1-2 with SUFFICIENT REASON winning the elapsed time battle by 3 minutes and SKYE correcting out under ORR handicap to secure the class win.

Other handicap highlights include the J/133's RENEGADE and HOT WATER sailing to a 2nd and 3rd place in the 25 boat Section 2 division; and a clean J/35 sweep of Section 6 with Bob Pethick’s BRETWALDA coming out on top. In the cruising divisions, former J/24 Class president Glenn Gustafason and his wife Elsa, aboard their J/46 WINDARA, showed just how well they’ve adapted to the cruising lifestyle by taking 2nd Overall in the Cruising Division. Event Website

Friday, July 18, 2008

100th Chicago-Mac Race Preview

On the eve of the 100th Chicago-Mac Race, a record size 439 boat fleet is preparing for the 333 mile classic. J/109 owner Rob Zerban of Kenosha, WI will be one of the favorites to watch. Zerban, aboard his J/109 ZEITGEIST finished 2nd overall in the 2007 Chicago-Mac Race and is on a hot streak so far in 2008. He single-handed ZEITGEIST to a 2nd place class finish in the 287 mile Chicago-Mac Solo Challenge despite not having a working auto-pilot for most of the race. Then in round the buoys action, ZEITGEIST paced the J/109 class on all three days of the 2008 Chicago NOOD Regatta and earned both class and Overall Winner recognition for his team’s efforts.

The J/105 and J/120 classes are fielding great turnouts with 26 and 12 boats respectively. Bill Zeiler’s new J/122 SKYE will make her Mac Race debut on the heels of notching recent class victories in the Chicago-Waukegan Race and the Olympic Cup, but the competition is tough with Bill Schanen’s J/145 MAIN STREET and eight other large J sprit speedsters (three J/133’s, four J/130s and a J/125) to contend with. Follow your favorites during the race on Chicago Yacht Club’s event website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spaniard Crowned J/80 World Champion

J/80 sailing has exploded in Spain over the last two years, and the Spanish have shown just how quickly they’ve mastered the boat. After a near sweep of the 2007 Worlds in La Trinite, France, the “armada” sailed into Kiel, Germany and captured 1st, 3rd and 6th places at the 2008 Tutima J/80 World Championship. Ignacio Camino Rodriguez with his crew of Alberdo Padron, Gomez Jose Luis and Armando Gutierrez aboard ESP 899 NEXTEL ENGINEERING sailed a nearly flawless series from start to finish to capture the world title. But their task was far from easy. Runner-up Jeff Johnstone, USA, sailing with the all German crew of Henning Mittelmann, Bo Teichmann, and teenagers Stella Mau and Florian Föh, narrowed the gap to only 2 points after winning race #11 while Rodriguez suffered a black flag disqualification, which he was able to discard to preserve the victory.

Sailing conditions were dynamic with winds from 10-25 knots, big shifts, alternating rain and sun on a daily basis, not to mention 64 boats from 12 countries on one starting line with liberal use of the black flag penalty to keep the fleet in check. Rounding out the top five were Carlos Martinez of Spain in 3rd, followed by Patrick Bot of France in 4th and Kevin Sproul of UK in 5th. 6 different countries finished in the top ten, including hosts Peter Hecht and Uli Muenker from Germany aboard NEEDLES and PINS in 9th. Spain will host the 2009 Worlds in Santander June 28th-July 4th. Results.

Friday, July 4, 2008

J/80 Worlds Preview

64 teams from 12 countries will be competing this coming week at the Tutima 2008 J/80 World Championship in Kiel, Germany. Never before have so many countries been represented at this pinnacle J/80 event, now in its 8th year. Kieler Yacht Club and the German J/80 Class Association look forward to welcoming competitors to Kiel for the week long event. Several of the top teams from last year’s worlds will be in attendance including Ignacio Camino (Spain), Uli Muenker (Germany), Kevin Sproul (UK) and Patrick Bot (France). Regatta news and results will be posted here during the week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

J-Racing around the Isle of Wight

On the morning of the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2008, the day dawned with overcast skies and a nice 10-12 kt SW breeze. Carrying fair tide, the 15 mile beat to the Needles, soon passed. As the leading J’s set out on a blast reach towards St Catherine's Point, the sun came out and shone bright for the rest of the day. The sea conditions on the south of the Isle of Wight were variously described as rolling, hairy, wild, lumpy and on the edge! The WSW breeze ranged between 10 and 28 knots, which when combined with a contrary tide, gave everyone some exhilarating sailing!

J/109's were numerically the largest J fleet, with 34 boats battling it out. Taking a break from their one design program, the boats were sailing under various IRC configurations and split between classes 2B and 2C. J/109 victory went to Johnny Blue II helmed by Jeff Dakin, as they made a great start, were always on the right side of the course, and maintained their lead all the way to the finish followed by Offbeat, Jamhali, Zelda and Shiva.

The J/80's this year had the added incentive of racing for a collection of Nautica watches. Past form was upset when Louis Kenna’s new Jirolamo snatched a 10 second victory from Seb Ripards young UKSA crew on Against

IRC-2C saw a close battle at the front of the fleet between the three J/92S's Jack Sparrow, Neilson Redeye and Just in Time. During the second half of the race Jack Sparrow (pictured here doing 19.6 kts) put their new North Code 2 spinnaker to good effect, stretching to a 7 minute victory over Neilson Redeye to take 1st in class.

Class 1A saw a tremendous battle between Stuart Hawthorn's J/133 Jump and Mike Grevill's custom 39 Erivale III with Erivale winning by just 2 minutes, this is the third year in a row that Jump has made the podium. IRC-1C, a 58 boat fleet was won by Cowes based J/39 Jackdaw owned by David Walters. David has owned the boat since she was launched in 1991 and has been a great supporter of this race.

Peter Bainbridge entered his brand new J/122 Sky Hunter II in the ISC division 4. Peter was delighted with the handling and performance of the boat and even more pleased to find he had won his class by a massive 17 minutes!

Top J/105 of the day was the St Malo based Moontiger who took third in IRC-2B behind Full Pelt a modified 1720 Sportsboat and Johnny Blue II the winning J/109.

Top reported speed of the day was Richard Atherton in his brand new J/124 Josephine at 21.4 knots under main and jib!