Friday, January 30, 2009

Inside the Storck Family's J/80 Success

Stuart Streuli of Sailing World magazine caught up with Kaity Storck at Acura Key West Race Week last week to learn more about the family's successful defense of the J/80 Midwinters aboard RUMOR, which also won Boat of the Day honors on Friday.

What's your job on the boat? We actually have a really cool thing. I sail with my dad (John, pictured with Kaity) and usually my two older brothers. We all sort of rotate through positions. This week I am the second most forward person and I'm pulling the spinnaker up, taking the spinnaker down, and helping call tactics. I'm also calling waves and puffs as we go upwind.

Give us the history of this team? My dad has sailed Key West I think probably six times in the J/80, maybe seven times. This is my fourth year in the J/80. We basically started sailing together as a family four years ago. My dad was sailing a PHRF boat, and then he realized that if he got a one-design boat, we would actually sail with him. So he did, and then we did. I also have a younger brother and we've sailed with all five of us once, and that was at Block Island Race Week two years ago and that was cool because I got to drive.

The J/80 is a tight one-design boat, but is there any one piece of equipment that is particularly valuable? Our personnel is our key tool. We have a new jib that seems to be working pretty well. We've had UK Halsey sails since we've gotten into the boat and they've always done really well. This one seems to have a little more shape at the bottom than our older jibs. This is our first time sailing with it, so we're just figuring it out.

Who would be the MVP of the team today? The one thing our team has always done really well, is that everyone focuses on doing their own job and just their job. I think that's a problem that a lot of boats have difficulty with, especially when you have a lot of really good sailors together. It's hard for everyone to focus on doing just their job. More often than not, it's not that you run into problems with people messing up their job, but people sort of overstepping boundaries. So everyone always does a really good job on our boat. But probably with the conditions being so shifty and up and down , we were seeing easily 10 knot ranges and the really big shifts, I think John, my brother, who was driving the boat, probably gets the MVP for keeping the boat moving.

What sort of advice would you give to another J/80 sailor looking to sail at Key West Race Week for the first time? Try to put together a team that has sailed together before so you can be really focus on going fast for the regatta, and everybody knows what they're doing. I will not hesitate to say our strongest point is our speed. If you have a good mix of all-stars and people who have sailed the boat before that's definitely better than all all-stars that maybe have never sailed before because things can get done a lot better. Like I said before, the most important thing on a boat is everybody doing their job. They've got to be good at their job, so they've got to be an all-star at that. But, yeah, speed is really important down here.

Sailing World KW Blog

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Key West Shines in 2009

Key West's famous sailing conditions returned to form last week as sailors from across the planet congregated for the annual battle of the high seas at Acura Key West Race Week. Premiere Racing and their crack race committee teams ran the full compliment of 10 races over 5 days on three racing circles with seven one design classes and several IRC and PHRF classes participating. Racing conditions were as dynamic as ever with winds generally northerly, moderate (12-20) and shifty. Wind readings at the windward mark for Division 2 (J/105s) on Thursday ranged 70 degrees during the day's racing.

In one-design action, the J/80 fleet saw some great racing with John Storck Jr. and family (John III and Katie) aboard RUMOR repeating as Midwinter champions, and earning the Lewmar Boat of the Day on Thursday for the top performance in the most competitive class. RUMOR finished with 16 points followed by Bill Rose (League City, TX) on KICKS with 26 and Kristen Robinson (Annapolis, MD) on ANGRY CHAMELEON with 47 points. The J/80 Class sponsored KATTACK GPS tracking coverage during the event and competitors enjoyed nightly replays under the J Boats hospitality tent.

The J/105 Midwinters saw more lead changes than a NASCAR race with an incredibly tight battle down the stretch between Brian Keane's SAVASANA (Marion, MA), Damian Emery's ECLIPSE (Mount Sinai, NY), and Gerrit Schulze's MAX POWER (Cape May, NJ). Separated by one point after six races, ECLIPSE and SAVASANA proceeded to leapfrog each other nearly every race, with MAX POWER staying close enough to make it anyone’s series going into race 10. SAVASANA (seen at left) prevailed in the end, followed closely by ECLIPSE, MAX POWER and Pat Eudy’s BIG BOOTY (Charleston, SC) who came on strong over the last four races to secure 4th place and win Acura’s Boat of the Day on Friday for top performance in the most tightly contested class.

In handicap action, Robert Armstrong and his beautiful red J/100 GOOD GIRL (shown nailing yet another start) sailed a nearly flawless series to win PHRF B over the J/109 RUSH and the J/35 MAN-O-WAR. For Armstrong, along with J/24 World Champion Jens Hookansen as helmsman, and their seasoned Virgin Islands crew, it was a second Key West PHRF title in as many years.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Key West 2009 Preview

With most of the country in a deep freeze, J sailors are trekking south for next week's Acura Key West Race Week hosted by Premiere Racing. J Boats represents 27% of the total fleet. Among the one-designs, the J/105 and J/80 classes will be hosting their annual Midwinter Championships. Each J/80 will be fitted with Kattack GPS transponders for the week, with all the racing able to be tracked (played and replayed) by folks back home on the Kattack website. Robin Team's J/122 TEAMWORK and Jim Bishop's J/44 GOLD DIGGER are back to compete for IRC honors, and the PHRF competition looks very strong with two of the top J/120s in the country (EMOCEAN and EL OCASO) , Bill Sweetser's J/109 RUSH and Robert Armstrong's J/100 GOOD GIRL, all seen as pre-event favorites. J Boats will be hosting evening gatherings for the owners with video action and Kattack coverage of the J/80 fleet. Event site

Monday, January 5, 2009

J’s on Display in January

If your New Year's resolution includes spending more quality time with family and friends, there's no better place to start than by sailing a J in 2009. J Sailing delivers max performance with minimal effort in models from 22 to 65 ft to fit all sailing styles and budgets. Check out J's on display at the upcoming January boatshows including the J/122 at the San Diego Show (Jan 8-11); the J/109 and J/97 at the London Boat Show (Jan 9-18); the J/105 at the Toronto Boat Show (Jan 10-18), the J109 at the Seattle Boat Show (Jan 23-Feb 1), and the J/100, J/105 and J/109 at Strictly Sail Chicago (Jan 29-Feb 1).