Thursday, June 25, 2009

J/97 'Jenga' Finishes 2nd in Debut race

The annual JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organized by the Island Sailing Club, is one of the most popular fixtures on the Solent racing calendar. Competitors come from Europe and the USA, as well as all over the UK, to race the 50 mile course round the Isle of Wight. This year the event attracted 1779 entrants (and no that's not a typo!) with J/80, J/105 & J/109 classes and many larger J's. The team from J/UK brought out the new J/97 'Jenga' for her debut regatta in the 55 boat IRC Division 3A. By race end, the J/97 had finished second on elapsed and corrected time in class and was the top J/Boat overall on IRC corrected time. Complete Report

Thursday, June 18, 2009

J/95 BANJO Wins Off-Soundings

Shoal-draft Speedster dominates Around Block Is Race/ Regatta

(Stonington, CT- June 13-14th)- Rod J and a family crew sailed the J/95 BANJO to victory in the Sprit Boat Class C-3. A class, by the way, that included three J/105s; three J/109s; and a J/92. The event starts in Watch Hill, RI then sails direct to the Great Salt Pond Harbor on Block Island. Then, on Saturday is the traditional, famous Around Block Island Race.

As Rodney reports- "Friday was a real drag race – a 12 mile beam reach from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Block Island to a set mark just North of the entrance to New Harbor followed by a 3 mile run to Buoy 1 BI North of the Island and a 3.5 mile beat to the finish at the Harbor entrance. BANJO nailed the jib reaching start. At 1BI we were ahead of everyone except the J/105 DRAGONFLY who rounded just ahead of us and finished first. We were second and third boat-for boat behind us was Hugh McLean’s J/109 SHEARWATER.

Saturday’s race was counter-clockwise around Block Island. We sailed the long course with the larger, faster classes which meant we had to go out to the Southwest Ledge Whistle buoy about three miles SW of the island, then East to Southeast Point, then NNE to the NE Whistle buoy a mile off Clay Head, then to the NW to 1BI, then finish off the harbor entrance. The wind was light NE at the start with the flood current starting. It was a set-up for us to showcase our shallow draft all the way down the island –in the breeze and out of the foul current- and kick some serious butt.

We started, then skimmed past the end of the breakwater by a boathook length in about 4-5’ of water and kept going. Needless to say the J/105 and J109 right on our tail had to jibe back out into the murky calm for a few boatlengths in order to avoid running aground. We rounded SW Ledge Whistle a quarter mile ahead of the next boat. The next leg to the NE Whistle Buoy was a light, tight spinnaker reach and lost ground (again) to everyone ahead of us. The leg from the NE Whistle to 1BI was a light air run at the very end of the flood current. We gained back all of what we had lost on the boats ahead of us on the previous leg – maybe three or four minutes. We could sail lower than everyone if not faster. The final beat was a port tack fetch to the finish in about 10-12 knots of wind. The J/109 SHEARWATER was first over the line, but we corrected out to first place on time, winning both days and won the series with 2 points.

All in all, Banjo is fun and easy to sail. Now we know it is fast, too. Oh yes, and we could park it in among the powerboats close to shore at the Oar Restaurant."

2009 OSTAR- J/122 Wins Class!

Plymouth to Newport Classic Finishes with J/122 2nd Overall, Wins IRC-1 Class!

(Newport, RI- June 17)- For starters, congratulations to Oscar Mead for being the youngest OSTAR finisher ever at the ripe old age of 18 years old racing his J/105 KING OF SHAVES. Furthermore, he was 2nd overall in Gypsy Moth Class and 7th overall on IRC corrected times.

Kudos must also go for an epic journey and very strong showing by Rob Craigie to finish 2nd overall boat-for-boat and 3rd corrected overall on his J/122 J-BELLINO. Rob in fact won IRC-1 Class on corrected time, too!

After 21 days of racing Oscar, aboard his J/105 KING OF SHAVES, has just completed the race goal and set a record as the youngest ever finisher in the Original Singlehanded Transatlantic race. He sailed closest to the rhumb line of all competitors, battling through the ice fields of Newfoundland and led the Gypsy Moth class for most of the race. In a titanic struggle with Irishman Barry Hurley, he just lost out by 2.5 hours on the water and by just 30 minutes on handicap.

Oscar has been sailing since he was 8, he grew up in Hong Kong but sailing videos of Ellen Macarthur going round the world, combined with his innate desire to tinker led him to building models of what "his" Open 60 would look like.

From there it was a one way trip towards bigger boats and longer courses. His lucky break was a chance to sail the China Sea Race with Hong Kong sailor, Frank Pong, on Pong's RP76 "Jelik". Oscar ended up doing the 600 mile China Sea Race and the follow up inshore series on with "Jelik", which by his own admission was a great introduction to big boat racing, As Oscar said "what's not to like about sailing at 20 knots with the spinnaker up on a 76 footer in the sunshine!"

Oscar then managed to persuade his father that they ought to try 2-handed racing together and a J/105 was acquired in early 2008. The two Mead's then sailed the Royal Southampton 2-handed series, winning 5 of 7 starts over the season and totally dominating Class 1.

By mid summer Oscar was desperate to go singlehanded so he entered the Petite Bateau Channel Week, 7 days of racing across the Chanel and back in which he was "Top Rookie". He only turned 18 the week before the series started to even be eligible to enter. After that he set his goal of sailing the OSTAR and did his 500 mile solo qualifier in late summer 2008.

J/122 J-Bellino racing in the OSTAR 2009As for Rob Craigie aboard his J/122 J-BELLINO he narrowly missed winning the entire event overall on corrected time for IRC handicap. Rob was beaten on IRC corrected time by two much smaller boats that finished 3 days 5 hours behind (Tamarind) and 4 days 1 hour behind (Elmarleen). Neverthless, Rob only was 3 minutes 33 seconds behind second place and just 45 minutes behind the corrected time winner Elmarleen. Considering the fact Rob blew out his main spinnaker and destroyed part of his jib (e.g. sailing under a severe handicap in terms of the J/122s normal performance) it's amazing he achieved the feat he did to finish 2nd overall and 3rd on corrected. For more info.

ROLEX NYYC 155th Annual Regatta

Keane's J/105 SAVASANA and Weiss's J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON Win Strong Classes

(Newport, RI- June 12-14,) – The three-day regatta, the longest running in America's history, attracted a record turnout of 105 boats. The event served up weather challenges that, while perhaps disappointing to beach-goers, delighted the 1000 plus sailors competing on Rhode Island Sound over three days.

With fog shrouding the first part of Friday’s 19-mile Around Jamestown Island Race, crews had to navigate with their instruments and keep themselves out of trouble from the capricious currents and wind eddies that swirl around the Island. Amongst the J/122s racing this legendary race, it was Mike Bruno and team aboard WINGS that won the race.

For the weekend racing offshore in Rhode Island Sound for Saturday and Sunday it was classic June conditions for Newport. With a combination of weather systems and the ubiquitous thermal engine trying to kick into higher gear, the tacticians had their crystal balls going full tilt trying to divine the next wind shift to streak to victory over their erstwhile rivals.

For the J/122 class, it was their inaugural event to race as a one-design class in the NYYC Annual Regatta. A ten boat turn-out saw some incredibly tight racing with tremendous changes amongst the leaders for every race. After the three races Saturday, five boats were within five points of eachother. However, it was Andrew Weiss on-board CHRISTOPHER DRAGON from Mamaroneck, NY that sailed consistently well in the three races on Sunday to stretch out their lead to win by four points over Doug Shaffer's GAMBLER from Bayview, TX and David Askew's Annapolis-Newport winner FLYING JENNY VI.

J/105s racing at New York YC RegattaIn the J/105 class, Brian Keane from Boston, MA continued his command over the J/105s to take his SAVASANA to first by four points over Wilson Pollock's SEA SHADOW from Bonita Springs, FL. In third was Dennis Seyhaeve racing his MOPELIA from Annapolis, MD.

Over on the IRC-5 course the J/109s simply dominated their class, going 1-2-3. Leading the charge was Bill Sweetser's RUSH from Annapolis, MD. Only one point back was Ted Herlihy's GUT FEELING from S. Dartmouth, MA. In third was STORM being sailed by Rick Lyall from Wilton, CT.

Of note was Jim Bishop's perennial champion J/44 GOLD DIGGER giving fits to the large IRC-3 class. Jim and crew finished a highly commendable second in class! For more info.

J/22 World Championship

Netherlanders Crush the Competition

(Riva del Garda, Lago di Garda, Italy- June 10-14)- Joe McCorkell on USA 1577 offers his report from the J/22 World Championship in Italy: Tuesday was the first day of the J/22 World Championship. The boats struggled out of the harbor as the shore and sea breeze fought, then like a brick wall we were hit with 15-20 knots, and we are off! There are 36 boats, with the largest fleet coming from The Netherlands. The Netherlands teams showed their skills in heavy air today with all top 10 boats coming from there. Marvin Beckman's team and ours struggled from time to time downwind in the 25-30 knot breeze with both teams wiping out at least once and looking at their keels. Every day there are different morning conditions, and we think, "hey maybe there will be no breeze today. At noon, we are proven wrong every day as the switch is flipped, and 15-20 knots are piping down the lake. These are definitely some tough conditions, but for the most part, we (the 2 American teams) have switched to European driving mode and ride high and plane all the way down, as opposed to the low and soak mode we are used to back in the States

Predictions regarding Gaston Loos winning would definitely come true! Hailing from the strongly competitive contingent from the Netherlands, Loos won followed by fellow countrymen Kasper Kieft in second and Ronald Veraar in third. Meanwhile, Jeroen Den Boer, the 2006 World Champion, finished in fourth position. The American teams could fair no better than tenth for Marvin Beckman and twelfth for Joey McCorkell. For more info.

J/122 Cruises from Auckland to Sydney!

Sandra and Ray Entwistle, our J/Boat dealers from Australia, had friends sail their J/122 LITHIUM from Auckland, NZ to Sydney, Australia, a distance of 1,350 nautical miles. Here's their story of crossing the Kiwi/Oz version of the English Channel-- "The Ditch" as it's also known is a brief chronicle of the delivery across the Tasman Sea from Auckland to Sydney.
“….as for the J/122, she performed like a sailing thoroughbred, clearing every hurdle presented. A long distance voyage like this with wind and sea conditions varying so much would have shown any vices - this flyer is free of vices. She tracked well in all conditions and went as magnificently in 35 knots in a boiling sea, as she did in near dead calm, it is a wonderful boat. The cabin and accoutrements made a very comfortable temporary home that helped provide the author with some regret that this adventure had drawn to a close. Do it again? Yes, on the J/122.
Just as we were about to depart on the crossing the weather forecast was both exciting and daunting - a storm was brewing in the vicinity of Lord Howe Island and was making its way across the Tasman Sea to Auckland. On Sunday 19th April 2009 the strong winds were already apparent, so we left Auckland harbour with a small jib and two reefs.
We made good time to Tutakaka (about 90nm) and entered the harbour at about 21:30 hrs in dark and rough sea conditions. The following day we sailed to and anchored at the charming town of Russell in the Bay of Islands, a fisherman’s and sailor’s paradise and truly a lovely place.
Stewart and Bev from Russell Radio (the local marine rescue and forecast station) were excellent and became our personal weather service. The forecast was shocking – very intense lows in the Tasman with 40-55 knot winds forecast, it looked like we would be moored up for at least 4 days. There were reports of boats in trouble, one ketch on the way to Tonga turned back with shredded sails, motor failed, rolled twice and was now under tow. Another en route from Brisbane was in trouble with rig down and eventually abandoned. Lord Howe Island had been battered, the runway washed out and SES to the rescue.
The conditions eventually abated, and after 5 days of waiting we said farewell to Russell on Saturday 25th April. The first afternoon saw strong and gusty 35 knot winds in sloppy coastal seas with No4 jib and double reefed main. We hit our max speed of 12.4 knots surfing with the boat tracking splendidly.
Once through that melee we found ourselves between two weather systems and becalmed, the sea was now smooth and glassy, such a contrast. We motored for a day before we got back into some moderate breezes, then we had a series of sail changes as the wind direction and strength varied and we steadily made our way across a tempestuous ocean. During the journey we had the usual mix of calm through to stormy weather and generally speaking, although at times the conditions were uncomfortable, good progress was made. One day we achieved 200nm, with the wind favourable around 15 to 20 knots from the SE putting us on a broad reach.
The asymmetric kite was a joy to use, adding those couple of extra knots of boat speed to make the journey quicker.
At first we counted down the miles by hundreds, then fifties, then finally by 10’s. You are on your own out there, we only saw 3 vessels (no yachts) in 1,350 nm.
Our last night at sea saw a storm and lightening in the west (over Sydney), we motor sailed through the electrical storms, sheltering under the dodger because of the cold and rain. Sunday 3rd May, arrival in Sydney was fittingly at dawn. It was very quiet and dark coming in through the heads, but great to see the lights of Sydney after 8 days crossing the Tasman. While it was good to be home, we enjoyed the camaraderie and the feeling of ‘we made and made it well.’

J/109 GAIA Takes World Tour!

Bob Riggle and his wife Phylis are members of J/109 Fleet 1 (Pacific Northwest), and is a former fleet champion. The Riggles decided to take an around the world tour at the Equator aboard their J/109 GAIA. Well, it appears they've had an extraordinary cruise "off the beaten track", so to speak, and experiences to last anyone several lifetimes. Read on about their encounters with storms, the sea, animals, sea mammals, people, cultures, racing dhows, pirates and the sort. Anything we write here could not do justice to the blog and the descriptions of their very thoroughly documented experiences traveling the world around the Equator aboard their J/109 GAIA. Please be sure to take some time to read through their chronicles on their website link below-- simply extraordinary!! Totally cool as far as we're concerned. Do yourself a favor, do some armchair cruising and read this lengthy blog with lots of fascinating pictures. For more info

RORC IRC National Championship

Gales, Sun, Chop Don't Diminish the Good Spirits

(Cowes, IOW, England)- It was blowing half a gale overnight, but by dawn the skies had cleared to provide sparkling conditions for the competitors in the RORC IRC National Championship. Before the end of play, the weather closed in once more to give a variety of conditions for the crews in the eastern Solent, including a 60 degree wind shift on the last beat of the championship.
There were 60-odd boats competing in the IRC Nationals, a reasonable showing considering other conflicts on the schedule. In IRC Class One John Patterson's J/122 PANACEA took third overall. In IRC Class Two, the venerable SLEEPER, a J/39 sailed by Jonty Layfield finished second against significantly more advanced IRC designs. For more info Photo credits- Paul Wyeth

2009 OSTAR

Plymouth to Newport Classic Currently Led by J/105 and J/122

(Plymouth, England- May 25 start)- The Race is now in its 15th day as the main part of the fleet, having sailed North along the Great Circle Route staying out of the Gulf Stream, now heads South around the limit of expected ice drifting down from the Labrador Sea. As the cold water current meets the warmer Gulf Stream off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland dense fog occurs. The thirty one remaining competitors have faced the full cocktail of these adverse conditions on which they were fully briefed prior to leaving Plymouth. Added to this was the severe gale with 35-40 knot winds which occurred overnight on 7/8 June. Some of the racing boats are very small.18 year old Oscar Mead onboard his J/105 KING OF SHAVES in one of them described surfing down the largest wave he has ever seen at 20 knots trying to steer straight down it as his boat is slewed 45 degrees off course. Those who are not out there can only imagine what these intrepid sailors are experiencing.
After two weeks at sea many skippers are suffering from boat or equipment defects such as torn sails or damaged rigging. Electrical problems and battery charging difficulties are high on the list of concerns as ever. Anything can go wrong and in isolation the skippers have no one to turn to for assistance. Only they can resolve their problems and keep going although damp, cold and tired. The trackers aboard Oscar Mead’s KING OF SHAVES are not reporting every four hours as they should. However, both boats are giving regular position reports by other means. All boats send their position as at Noon UT each day by satellite telephone text to Race HQ as a back up safety measure.
The leading boat LA PROMESSE, sailed by Dutchman JanKees Lampe, is now less than four hundred miles from the finish line at Newport, Rhode Island. He is expected to arrive late on Thursday 11th June. Just two hundred miles in arrears is Roger Craigie onboard his J/122 J-BELLINO and somewhere lurking in the shadows is Oscar on the J/105 KING OF SHAVES. For more info.

Deauville International Race Week

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

(Deauville, France- June5-7)- Deauville is the ideal place to go for a change of air, a change of scenery, a change of atmosphere... A prestigious resort combining the undertones of French elegance and American pizzazz.
Nestled on the 'Cote Fleurie' just 2 hrs from Paris, the resort is the gateway to the Pays d'Auge area of Normandy and amazingly has managed to preserve its early twentieth century feel with its typical Norman timber-frame houses, flanked by fine sandy beaches. Providing superb entertainment from season to season, Deauville combines traditional charm with the luxury, comfort and pace of modern-day life.
Deauville International Week was certainly born under a lucky star: four days, four forecasts with wind, four forecasts with sun and four sessions of top quality competition.
For the final day of racing, conditions were ideal once again: 20 knots of SSW breeze to delight competitors. “It’s the first time I’ve raced in Deauville and it’s been excellent, so I’ll be back!” said Bruno Staub, tactician aboard the J/80 VOG.J/80s at Deauville, France Raceweek Just minutes away from the prize-giving, the time for compliments and thanks had come". And, "...bravo to the race committee. Given the conditions we encountered, it was very good! The wind shifted every which way and the anemometer was up and down, but we still competed in 11 races that were always well marked out, which was terrific!” said an enthusiastic Philippe Szellos, skipper of the winning J/80 VOG.
In the J/80 class, local favourite of Deauville YC, Phillipe Szellos won aboard VOG and was followed by Gilles Drouet on MARINE CHERBOURG CCVS and in third was Marie Corson in JAWS!! Yikes, sounds scary!
In IRC1, Dave and Kirsty Apthorp from the RAF SC took their J/109 J-DREAM across the Channel to sail this fun series to get a fourth and immediately behind them in fifth were friends from the Royal Southern YC, Bill Blain onboard the J/133 BATFISH III. For more info Photo credits: Jean-Marie Liot

J/80 Spanish Championships

Morales Wins, Bodes Well for J/80 Worlds

(Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Spain- June 5-7)- 26 J/80s participated in this year's Spanish Championships hosted by the beautiful club at Puerto Calero in the Lanzarote region of Spain. The regatta was largely seen as a prelude and warm up for the J/80 World Championships that will take place shortly at Porto Santander, Spain with 130 J/80s on the line.
Sailing as TEAM GANADOR with his two kids aboard, Alfredo Morales and family won the J/80 Spanish Championships over a three day of incredibly variable winds and sea conditions- from flat and light air to lumpy and blowing 18 knots. In second was Rayco Tabares sailing his J/80 HOTEL PRINCESA YAIZA. Finishing just off the pace was Pichu Torcida sailing his ECC VIVIENDAS to third overall. For more info Photo credits- Maria Muina

Slow Annapolis to Newport Race

David Askew's J/122 FLYING JENNY VI Wins IRC II

(Newport, RI- June 8th)- The Annapolis to Newport race is one of the most historic and well-known of the US East Coast blue water races. Linking two seaports dating from our nation's birth, Annapolis and Newport, the race provides an enormous contrast between the country's largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, and the stormy, brooding Atlantic Ocean. The course heads south for 120 miles from Annapolis to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, then east to the Chesapeake Light and hence northeast to Newport. After navigating the shallows and currents of the Bay, navigators have to decide if they want to sail the rhumbline to Newport, go in towards the shore or head further into the Ocean.
The J's had a good showing in this year's event with David Askew leading the pack on-board his J/122 FLYING JENNY VI, taking 1st over strong, experienced offshore competitors in IRC2 like the two J/44s- Leonard Sitar's VAMP and Jack Neades' GLORY. Not to be outdone by the perseverance of their stablemates, Tom Carroll and crew onboard their J/133 SIREN SONG sailed hard to get second in IRC1-- basically the Grand Prix Big Boat Class led by a little 90 foot sled called RAMBLER (ex-J/24 sailor George David) and bringing up the rear in third was Mike Brennan's custom "mini-TP52" SJAMBOK. J/46 at start of Annapolis Newport RaceIn PHRF2, it was pretty clear the J/120 contingent led by Greg Leonard's HERON were going to be a tough bunch to deal with over the 72 hour sprint to Newport. Basically, J's dominated this class, with Heron first, Richard Born's J/120 WINDBORN in second and Jim Praley's J/120 SHINNECOCK in third. Perhaps the "Old Man of the Sea Superman Award" goes to Henry Morgan-- gosh, only a sprightly 85 years old and past winner of the race sailed his J/42 DOLPHIN to 5th in this highly competitive class. Oh well, Henry, in our book you won in life-- we can only follow you and hope the salt in our veins runs as thick and healthy as yours! With Henry leading by example for all of us sailors, fellow J/42 sailors on SCHEMATIC led by Bob Fox finished 4th in PHRF3. The tough guys sailed in the Double-handed Division and in keeping with a long-standing tradition of offshore J/35 sailors, Jason Richter's PALADIN finished 2nd.
The Yacht Club Challenge was won by the Annapolis Yacht Club with an entire J/Team comprised of FLYING JENNY VI (J/122), DOLPHIN (J/42) and WINDBORN (J/120). Photo credit- Don Dement. For more info

J/Cup Mediterranee France

Perfect Weather, Perfect Racing, Fun For All

(Isle de Porquerolles, France)- The island of Porquerolles was dressed in his finery to host the third edition of the J-Cup Mediterranee. The 25 participants enjoyed a beautiful blue sky and a gorgeous, sustained wind between 15 to 20 knots from the West for the two days of racing. 
Against all odds the J/24 TOPO TOO from Monaco steered by the Rodelato brothers won the regatta narrowly over the magnificent J/122 KAYA, who could not do anything to prevent it. 
The J/24 continues to demonstrate its effectiveness when it is well sailed around-the-buoys or on coastal races like the Around Porquerolles Island where TOPO TOO arrived only 20 minutes behind in real-time to the J/122 KAYA.
Completing the podium, finishing third was the J/109 MAJOR TOM from Marseille completing its second consecutive win in the highly contested class of a dozen J/109s. For more info.

J/95 Sunday Afternoon Cruise

A fly-by of Fisher's Island Sound proves this boat rides on rails and flies!

(Stonington, CT- June 7th)- No question that Rodney's latest creation is a winner from any perspective. From the ability to back down out of a slip and literally turn 90 degrees in a half boat length (e.g. keeps you out of trouble) to the extraordinary capability to just about stop in less than a boat length by doing a quick "bat turn left" and a "bat turn right" only begins to describe the amazing aspects of the new J/95 shoal-draft performance daysailer.
Leaving the docks at 3:00 pm in Stonington, we proceeded to sail out of the harbor on starboard tack in a light WSW building breeze. After taking one tack onto port, we proceeded to sail up Fisher's Island Sound against a full ebb current flowing at up to 3 knots in places. Upwind we averaged over 6.5 knots through the water until we reached Flat Hammock Island just shy of South Dumplings. We turned around and set the masthead asymmetric kite heading back to Stonington on starboard tack. In the 8 to 14 knot breeze we managed to hit 8+ knots on a 110 degree apparent wind angle, board up, no hands on the wheel, tracking straight down the Sound planing with a flat wake--- wow, what a fun, easy boat to sail. It will totally change your perspective for the coolest picnic sailboat you've ever jumped aboard in your life. Careful, a demo sail on the new J/95 is much fun, lotsa room in the cockpit for friends and family-- you won't stop loving it. I promise (says long-time racer and expert daysailer- Stuart Johnstone )

J/35 Circumnavigates Atlantic Ocean

J/35 sailor Tom Amory completed his circumnavigation of the northern Atlantic Ocean on May 14, 2009. J/35 Flash of BeautyTom had just arrived in Camden Harbor at 5 AM on his 24-year-old J/35 Flash of Beauty, having tied the knot on his Atlantic Circle voyage of some 13,000 miles, which he completed in 50 weeks. And yes, on the prior abysmal evening, Tom was single-handing the final leg across the Gulf of Maine.
Tom has been characterized by one of his myriad friends as “so tough, he keeps his socks up with thumb tacks.” Indeed, Tom has done the Bermuda One-Two Race twice on the Flash and did his Atlantic Circle with varying crew compliments, ranging from zero to two extra hands on board. His voyage started in Camden, Maine, last June, and after a chilly but quick crossing of the North Atlantic, he made his first landfall in Scotland, followed by Scandinavia, England, Germany, France, Portugal, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Newport and back to Camden to complete the adventure. On various legs, the crew consisted of a variety of friends and family, all richer for the experience.
If you consider Tom to be an intrepid adventurer, his beloved Flash of Beauty has proven herself equally well. How do six trips to Bermuda, four transatlantics, plus one each sortie to Newfoundland and the Caribbean sound? Highest mileage J under 40 feet, ever?Tom Amory- J/35 Sailor from Maine
Specially modified for shorthanded sailing, the Flash is actually 34-1/2 feet long, with her transom having been truncated to fit into a smaller class for the OSTAR race some years ago. Water ballasting was also added and, of course, windvane steering and redundancy all around (three autopilots) are just some of the features of this amazing J/Boat.
What was Tom’s biggest asset on this voyage? Simply put, a supportive and loving family who let him pursue his dream of circumnavigating the Atlantic Ocean, almost guilt free. His wife of 34 years, Mary, and his three daughters—Rachel, Lucy, and Alice—crewed, cooked, cajoled, and gave Tom their unqualified support.
Tom Amory summed it up nicely in his final blog: “Home looks great, and Mary, [my] wife, looks even better. The Flash and I sailed for two weeks short of a year and 200 miles short of 13,000. She is still my favorite boat, but not my favorite girl.” Read Tom's blogsite.

BoatUS Santa Maria Cup

Top International Women Match Race on J/22s in Annapolis

(Annapolis, MD -May 27-30) - Enduring a week of brutally light and fickle winds, the women’s world top ranked match racing champion Claire Leroy (FRA) conquered the field to win the ISAF Grade 1 BoatUS Santa Maria Cup women’s match race event. Following the first three days, the event had yet to complete a single round robin schedule of nine races. For the fourth and final day on Saturday, the light winds permitted a 9am start to complete the round, but with time now running short, the second round robin series was scratched, and the top four teams advanced to the semi-final round.
By virtue of their round robin scores, the semi-finals saw top-seeded Leroy blank fourth seed Elizabeth Baylis (USA) 2-0, while second seed Genny Tulloch (USA) also dispatched third seed Katie Spithill (AUS) 2-0. It wasn’t until after four o’clock that the Final/Petit-Final Knockout Series commenced with Leroy vs Tulloch in the Finals and Spithill vs Baylis in the Petit match. Leroy cleanly defeated Tulloch in the first match, with Tulloch unable to overcome two penalties in the second. With time running out, Spithill defeated Baylis in the single Petit match to determine the final scores.
Peter Howson commentary: It's been a rough season for marquee sailing events in Annapolis so far this year. It seems the weather has been one week off on the wind every time and the Boat US Santa Maria Cup was no exception. After a spectacular Memorial Day weekend and the cancellation of the pro-am (sponsored by a local lingerie shop: awesome) because of too much wind, the racers have endured several days of barely enough wind to race. Today was another drifter. The press boat left the dock at 11:00 and hit the race course just in time to wait for a good 3 hours before the breeze picked up. J/22 Santa Maria Cup PostponementThree hours of floating around watching boats full of women sunbathe... for once waiting out a calm didn't totally suck. In fact I'm sure once "Mr. Clean" (Sailing Anarchy) sees the photos he'll be putting this regatta on his schedule even if it is in Annapolis again. This is an impressive fleet by any standards. The big guns according to the media guide are Genny Tulloch, #1 match racing skipper on the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics, Liz Baylis and the San Francisco Match Women's Racing Team, Katie Spithill ranked #7 in the world by ISAF, and last but certainly not least, #1 in the world (again, according to ISAF) Claire Leroy of France. There are also 6 other women fielding teams from five different continents, all of whom could knock your ass off the racecourse without breaking a sweat. The day started with Liz Baylis and Claire Leroy tied for first with 6 wins each and Baylis had beaten Leroy in a prior flight. RC finally set a course and they got off a full flight of races. With wind blowing just barely 5 knots most of the time, these races were all won at the start. With a short course it was pretty tight quarters and there were some challenges at the windward mark when some boats misjudged the set of the current and had to tack a couple of extra times putting them smack dab in the middle of the following race. Leroy picked up another win and Baylis dropped one to that Spithill girl so Liz was down one at the end of the day. Genny Tulloch came away with the only US win against Ramires of Portugal.
Regatta Debrief: Genny Tulloch, currently ranked as the top women’s match racing skipper on the US SAILING Team Alphagraphics, provides a recap from last week’s ISAF Grade 1 BoatUS Santa Maria Cup women’s match race event: J/22 match racer Genny Tulloch“The Santa Maria Cup in Annapolis was unfortunately not shined upon by the wind gods, and we had four light air days where the breezes were fighting with each other rather than cooperating on our behalf. Sadly I had caught a pretty bad cold on the flight to Annapolis, so while many of the other teams were sunbathing in bikinis, I was still in a jacket, sneezing anytime a zephyr of 2 knots came through. “We knew the weather was bad when we were told Thursday night (after 2 days) that the Santa Maria Cup had never been this far behind in races before, and then we went out and were only able to get one race the next day. We finally finished the first round robin, racing its final race on Saturday, which left us ranked second on a tie-break, as we had beaten both Katie Spithill (last year’s Match Racing World Champion), and Liz Baylis (last year’s second place in World Champs) in the round robin races. “The breeze then died again and we sat out there for about 6 hours as our Northerly gradient fought the Southerly seabreeze, neither one staying long enough to actually get a start off for our semi-finals, though the other match raced one race with three different 180 degree shifts—kites up on the downwind, then sailing upwind on the downwind leg and kites back up for the upwind leg, etc. We were happy not to have raced in that. They finally moved us straight to the finals matches at four, so we were up against Claire Leroy (currently ISAF ranked #1 Women’s Match Racer) to see who would get the win.” Event website. Further info. Photo credits: Sarah Proctor.

Swiftsure Lightship Classic Race

J's Win, Place and Show Again Across the Fleet

(Victoria, BC- May 29-31)- Just a 139 mile race from Victoria, BC to Swiftsure Bank mark and return. Over 150 boats compete in five race courses. But, it's anything other than an easy race. Rugged, exacting, colourful and international in competition. Or a boring "Driftsure", sometimes accompanied by fog and drizzle. Every year, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race is a major community event - the premiere long distance sailing race in the B.C. and US Pacific Northwest area and a festival on shore. It is a race in which cruising yachts capable of adventure in exposed waters are encouraged to compete and crews to test their skills.
Swiftsure has drawn boats and sailors from California, Hawaii, New Zealand and even Russia. The nature of the course and the potential variety of sailing conditions provide an exacting review of good seamanship. Swiftsure is now actually six different races over four separate courses, plus the unofficial "Sookesure" start. Therefore, it offers wide appeal to the experienced amateur sailor who takes pride in his or her boat, big or small. The skipper and crew must be willing to test their collective knowledge and sailing experience to maximize their overall performance.
The races may look glamorous, especially if there is a downwind spinnaker start, but the Swiftsure International Yacht Race demands a combination of a great deal of hard work, and a bit of luck. One needs endurance but strategy is also a major factor. Yacht racing is not only about going as fast as possible; it also requires much thought about how to take the most advantageous course, given the wind and the tides, and lots of concentration, especially in light airs and at night. The winners in each race are often the skippers who guessed best where to sail in order to pick up the most useful winds.
The roster of J/Boats' owners is legendary that have taken on this classic over the course of time. Nevertheless, J's sailing in the 2009 event included a: J/30, J/32, J/33, J/35, J/105, J/37, J/124, J/125, J/42, J/109, J/122 and J/160. The outcomes were pleasing for most of these owners who prevailed in this northwest classic.
In Class 1B PHRF- John McPhail raced his J/160 JAM to 2nd overall. In Class 3I, Bob Brunius took his J/120 Time Bandit to third overall. In Class 3J PHRF, William Wong won with his J/109 Harwar and just off the pace was Don Leighton in his J/35 Tahlequah. In Class 3K, Mike Pearson sailed his J/105 BiFrost3 to first overall. For More info.

Sailing World Detroit NOOD

Frank Kern Wins J/120 Class!

(Detroit, MI May 29-31)- The host Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit, MI had 191 boats competing in 20 classes. Frank Kern's Carinthia, took a seven-boat J//120 class by 3 points over second and six points over third. Five of seven boats won races in the J/120 class, six of seven recorded a top-two finish.
The assessment of the competition for the J/120s at "Day-twaah" was insightful: "In spite of the large spread of the J/120 class IRC ratings, these boats are very close in speed and any one of them can win the NOOD based on tactics and crew ability. Jerry Bresser of Flyin' Irish comes in from his 2008 one-design victory in the Bayview Mackinac. Don Hudak's Capers returns from his overwhelming 2008 victory of the J/120 class in Harbor Springs. Henry Mistile Night Moves will be defending his 2008 NOOD victory, which he won in the last race. Marv Ihnen's Ihnsanity will be returning with his first place success in the DYRA series on Lake St. Clair. Bob Kirkman's Hot Ticket, although he didn't claim any bullets in 2008, will be returning with a veteran J/120 crew and is always in the thick of competition. Frank Kern's Carinthia did not race in last year's NOOD, but will be coming back with a class triumph in the Chicago Race to Mackinac class and winner of the J/120's Great Lakes Trophy. Competition in this class is very competitive and these veterans of the J/120 class should have another close battle for victory." Ultimately, Frank and crew prevailed. For more info.

Vice Admirals Cup

Champagne Sailing for the J/109 Fleet

(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England- May 29-31)- To quote Solent sailing legend Kelvin Rawlings- "On a day like this there's nowhere I'd rather be racing than the Solent" - and for the competitors at this year's Vice Admiral's Cup, hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes from 29-31 May, it was certainly a weekend of champagne sailing.
The four fleets enjoyed three days of hot competition in glorious sunshine and excellent winds under the auspices of Race Officers Bob Milner, running racing for the Classes 0 and 1, and Robert Lamb, running racing for the Quarter Tonners and J109s.
For Class 3 – the J109s – it was confidently won by David & Kirsty Apthorpe’s J-Dream with five firsts, two seconds and a discarded sixth. Speaking after sailing David put their success down to simple time on the water. “Going into the event Zelda and Jambhala looked like our closest competition, but we’ve sailed more than they have recently and put a lot of time in on the water which makes a big difference.” There was some controversy in the class when it was noted that Jambhala, owned by Gill Ross and Richard Sainsbury, had sailed the first day without either owner aboard which contravenes class rules. As soon as Gill and Richard realised their error they immediately did the honourable thing and retired from Friday’s races dropping them from third to tenth overall. Jambhala’s loss was to be Zelda’s gain and Ben Richard and Mike Ewart Smith were delighted to unexpectedly find themselves moving up into third place overall. Second place went to fleet newcomer Martin Miller sailing Jouster/Velvet Elvis who was thrilled to have done so well. For more info.

RORC North Sea Race

Stop and Go Driving For Fleet- J/109s 2nd and 3rd

(Harwichport, England- May 22-24)- Five J/109s participated in the RORC North Sea Race over the Bank Holiday weekend 22/24 May 2009. This race of approximately 210 miles is organised by RORC in association with the Royal Harwich Yacht Club. EAORA, Yacht Club Scheveningen, Royal Maas Yacht Club, Noordzee Club and the Royal Dutch Navy Yacht Club.
The race was started in 12 knots and sunshine before the conditions became more difficult. Gusts in excess of 20 knots were seen, before the first “park-up” occurred about midnight. The wind dropped even further by dawn, resulting in a virtual restart of the event. Light and variable winds through the shipping lanes kept the fleet on their toes. Jaguar of Burnham (Adrian Lower) managed to keep moving (just) and located the new breeze ahead of the fleet to finish in 2nd place whilst the J/109 Yeti (Paul van der Pol/Suzanne Hen) was third. For more info.

SLAM J/24 Italian Nationals

Casale Wins, Followed by American Keith Whittemore

(Riva del Garda, Italy- May 29-June 1)- Steady southerly winds made for great racing during the third day of J/24 Open Italian Championship. The race committee at Fraglia Vela Riva Yacht Club managed to run three great races for the fleet of thirty-two J/24s. Andrea Casale, helmsman of Fiamme Gialle, reigned supreme with 2 first-place finishes and 1 second. Onboard with Casale: Vittorio Rosso as tailer, Ernesto Angeletti as tactician, Fabio Montefusco as bowman and Enzo di Capua on halyard and mast. American Keith Whittemore (USA 5399 - Furio), who won the second race, surpassed the German crew steered by Mares Kai (GER 5420 - Rotoman), to finish second overall. Keith is originally from Seattle, WA having cut his teeth racing against other veterans of the J/24s in the Pacific Northwest like Jonathan and Charlie Mckee and Carl Buchan.
Sponsors of the J 24 OPEN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2009, organized by the Fraglia Vela Riva and the Italian J 24 Class Association, are SLAM and Trentino SpA. For more info.

Pen Azen Wins Trophee Atlantique

The UNCL/ FFV IRC1 French Championship Dominated by J/122s

(Port des Minimes, La Rochelle, France- May 21-23)- The hosts at Société des Régates Rochelaises- Yacht Club Les Minimes put on a splendid regatta for the competitors vying for honors at the SIV Habitables Regatta and for the ultimate honor of winning the UNCL/ FFV Trophee Atlantique- emblematic of the French offshore spring championship series. With eighteen entries in IRC Classes 1, 2 and 3 it was not going to be a walk-over for any of the competing teams at this highly regarded event. Nevertheless, Philippe Delaporte and team on his J/122 Pen Azen again managed to sail a solid series, winning by one point over fellow J/122 Damacle with the world-renowned Christinne Briand as tactician. Both boats easily dispatched two very competitive Archambaut 40s (Batistyl and Stamina3) who finished third and fifth behind them, respectively. For more info:

J/24 Asia - Pacific Championships in Australia

25 boats to race in first AsiaPac regatta

(Adelaide, Australia- June 6-8)- The Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia will host the first J/24 Asia - Pacific Championships. With resurgence worldwide in the J/24 class, Asia is one of the last areas on the globe to have an active international circuit for the class. Five Australian states as well as Singapore and Korea will be represented at the Regatta. This Regatta will have a tremendous depth of talent with multiple Australian Championship winners Sean Kirkjian - NSW and Sean Wallis - West Australia, challenging to take out the first Asia - Pacific title. Hugo Ottoway from Victoria, also a past National Champion, will be joined by David Suda and three other teams from Victoria, with four times SA State Champion Alyn Stevenson heading a strong local contingent, including the much travelled Hi team skippered by Peter Stevens. The Aussies won't have it all their own way as Singapore National Champion Vladimir Borstnar, a specialist light air sailor, is likely to get eight knot breezes in June. The field is completed with Korea fielding a team from different continents, to be skippered by Park Ki-Cheol.
The South Australian fleet has provided eight loaner boats for the event and is hosting five teams. 'It's time to turn the clock back and run low cost regattas' according to regatta Chairman Alyn Stevenson. With the regatta being held off the North Haven Marina in Gulf St Vincent during 6th to 8th June, competitors are likely to encounter 6 to 12 kts during the event. There will 10 races sailed over three days ensuring plenty of tired bodies come Monday. The Cruising Yacht club ran the J24 Nationals in January and should produce another excellent event with Race Officer Stuart Ross at the helm.

J/22 Worlds Sailing on Romantic Lake Garda

44 Entries from Six Countries Will Enjoy Breathtaking Scenery

(Riva di Garda, Lake Garda, Italy)- Not to be outdone by the J/80's in Spain, the J/22's are hosting their World Championships this year on the spectacular location of Lake Garda deep in Italy's famous northern Lakes District. Renowned for gorgeous cobalt blue waters, strong adabatic winds gusting up and down the mountain valleys, enormous rock and mountain formations thrusting skyward precipitously along the lakeshores and simply extraordinary Italian home-style hospitality, it's hard to imagine how anyone of the forty-four boats entered to date are going to have a bad time! Toss in a fair dose of great Italian wine, fresh bread, some extraordinary northern Italian cuisine and you have a recipe for a gastronomic World Championship--- nearly to rival the sailing itself! We wish all competitors fun, fair winds and many a splendid evening along the shores of the sybaritic, romantic waters of Lago di Garda. For more J/22 International Class Info. For more J/22 Worlds Info.

"STOP PRESS! J/80 Worlds 130 Boats!

J/80s Expect Record Fleet For Worlds in Santander, Spain

(Santander, Spain)- Seemingly impervious to the tilting windmills blown over by the winds of economic change, the J/80 International Class seems to be hell-bent on breaking all previous records for attendance of ISAF one-design keelboat class world championships. The average number of attendees for the last three J/80 Worlds has been over 110 boats!! This year promises to be equally as epic an event with multiple World, European and National Champions in attendance. Plus, the weather in Santander ought to make it as challenging as the 2007 Worlds in La Trinite Sur Mer, where 124 boats sailed in nearly a 20 knot average wind speed with large swell and foaming crests on top of huge chop!! More news soon as this is certain to continue being a very significant event on the international racing circuit. For more J/80 info For more J/80 Worlds Info.

J/95 Cruising To Its Own Tune

Three Weeks of Sailing Leads to Sprit Fest Appearance

(Sag Harbor, Long Island, NY)- After sailing around the eastern end of Fisher's Island Sound and the outer reaches of The Race off the end of Long Island Sound for the better part of May, it was time to see how the J/95 matched up with the other thoroughbreds in the J stable. When Rod took his J/95 Banjo up against the benchmark J/105 at the Black Seal Sprit Fest Regatta, it was apparent that his hope for a good "bench test" would be met. Rod's remarks were telling- "in the 10-14 knot conditions it was clear we had very good straight line pace upwind, and on a few occasions were even able to squeeze off boats to windward. We forgot to lower the centerboard on one upwind test and were later surprised at how well we did considering the reduced draft (from 5.5’ to 3’). Off the wind under the asymmetric spinnaker we also had good pace. We’ll have Banjo out at Block Island for Off-Soundings the weekend of June 13-14 where we will have numerous other J’s to sail with. We’ll be docked at the Block Island Boat Basin and look forward to welcoming sailors to look at the boat.” For more info.

FIGAWI Race Fast and Beautiful

The Race to the Ball was Fun for All

(Nantucket Island, MA)- Serious fun, camaraderie, and sailing... that's what Figawi Race Weekend is all about. Over 240 boats and a thousand+ sailors convened for New England's first major regatta to kickoff every summer. The format is unique since it's a pursuit race, with smaller, slower boats starting first and the biggest, baddest, fastest start last.

Over the last twenty years the Figawi Charity Ball has become the largest single night of fund raising for local charities. Today, the event attracts 1,200 zealous and diverse individuals (like the Kennedy family) and is considered to be the premier social event of the season on Nantucket. It is not only famous as a great night out, but thanks to the generosity of sponsors and proceeds from raffles and silent auction, Figawi Charities generates nearly $200,000 each year and has provided over $2.2 million in support to local organizations who would otherwise go without.

As they say, gotta make sure you don't "hoot with the owls too long" otherwise you may not be able to "soar with the eagles" the next day. Keeping things fun and in perspective were a number of J's doing their best to keep the pace with the fleet and fellow J owners. Getting line honors in Division A was Bill Jacobson on-board his J/46 Vanish. In Division D, the J/37 Duck Soup sailed by Stephen Lipman finished 3rd. The "Sprit Boats" Division S was comprised of nine J's sailing against six other boats (unfair maybe?). Taking second and third, respectively, were Nick Judson's J-105 Prima and Bill Mack's J/120 M-Squared. For more info.

Fast Block Island Race For All

Cruising downwind under big a-sailJ/145 Sweet Lorraine Leads All J's with Win, Place or Shows in all Five IRC Classes

(Stamford, CT- May 22-23)- The 186 nautical mile race began May 22 and sent a fleet of 20 J's and 35 other IRC- and PHRF-rated boats off on a course from Stamford, Conn., down Long Island Sound, clockwise around Block Island (R.I.), and back. A Southwest breeze of 8-10 knots got the boats off to a quick downwind start and stayed consistent until the fleet got to Plum Gut.

The Block Island Race – the traditional start to the Long Island Sound summer sailing season, held each Memorial Day Weekend – featured eight classes for IRC and PHRF. A total 55 out of 60 entered boats completed the race, with J's comprising 33% of the fleet! Top dog in IRC 50 class of seven boats was Sweet Lorraine, a J/145 sailed by Mark Hansen from Scarsdale, NY.

The IRC 45 group of eight boats might just as well have been called the "J 44 Foot Class"- for 6 of the 8 boats were J's- J/44s, J/46 and a J/133. Leading the pack was Leonard Sitar's J/44 Vamp followed by Tom Carroll's J/133 Siren Song and Kevin Tongue's J/44 Glory.

In the IRC 40 class of ten boats the J/120s finished 3-4-5, lead by Joe Healey's J/120 Soulmate, then Kirstin Haas's J/120 Richochet and George Petrides J/120 Avra.

The IRC 35 class of eight boats had the lone J/109 racing in the fleet- David Rosow, from Southport, CT sailed Loki to a third in class on corrected. Not to be outdone by his faster stablemates, John Towers took his J/37 Ripple to a second in IRC 30 class.

Perhaps the most interesting fleet entered into this year's race happened to be the growing contingent of double-handed racing. The Double-Handed IRC class had a solid showing of eleven boats, with over 50% of them J's. Represented were a J/100, two J/105s, J/35 and two J/120s. It was a competitive bunch, but getting the awards for 2nd and 3rd, respectively, were Gardner Grant on his J/120 Alibi and Peter Rugg/ Dudley Nostrand on the J/105 Jaded. For more info.

Spinnaker Cup Offshore Race

Slows to a Turtle Pace After Slow Start

(Monterey, CA- May 22)- The San Francisco YC and the Monterey Peninsula YC hosted another successful Spinnaker Cup race this year. It was the twelfth running of an annual 90 mile offshore race from SF Bay to the south end of Monterey Bay. Fifty boats finished in lighter than usual winds. No new race record was set this year on the 90-mile course, but some notable local participants, like Philippe Kahns Pegasus Open 50 entered this race as a tune-up for the upcoming Transpac Race to Hawaii.

J's were well represented with Scott Dickinson from Coyote Point YC racing his J/42 Tiki J to 2nd in PHRF 2A. In PHRF 1F Jim Vickers of host SFYC on board his J/109 Joyride raced to a 2nd and not far behind was Jim Brainerd also from the host club taking his J/35 Brainwaves to 5th in class. Playing amongst the big boys was Point Richmond J/125 owner Andy Costello, managing to hang tough against big fast boats to get 4th in class in PHRF 1A. For more info.

J's Successful in UK's May Bank Holiday

J/109s Out in Force in English Channel

(Solent, England- May 22-24)- After the conclusion of the recent Raymarine Warsash Spring Series, J/109s were racing all over southern England and the English Channel this past weekend. Three J/109's were tempted by the forecast of a favourable North westerly light to moderate breeze and sunshine to join the JOG RS Divers St.Vaast race; four J/109s participated in the RORC Cervantes Trophy to Le Havre and Royal Southampton Yacht Club Weymouth Double saw three J/109s compete in Class 1.

The JOG RS Divers Race started on Friday evening and instead of the forecast, the fleet were unfortunately greeted on the start line off Cowes by overcast Solent skies and wind gusting up to 27 knots. These conditions proved initially ideal for the sole J/105, Only Just (Andy Hill), who revelled in the spinnaker start and fast first leg to the Forts, showing a clean pair of heals to the rest of the fleet, which was led by J/109 J2Eau (Steve & Jody Maine) and closely followed by J/109s Jahmali (Mike & Sarah Wallis) and Just So (David & Mary McGough), together with Swans and Dehlers. Rounding Bembridge Ledge and heading into the Channel, the wind began to moderate, and yachts were able to settle onto a close fetch to the Normandy coast. Good average VMG's were maintained, and loss of concentration in the night was rejuvenated by sizeable pods of dolphins swimming alongside for some distances. As is often the case, the dawn arrival off the French coast was met with decreasing visibility and winds. The three J/109's had maintained a course slightly higher than the layline, taking them close to the Cherbourg peninsula and as the wind veered this allowed them to hoist their asymmetric spinnakers early. With flat water, boat speeds exactly matched wind speeds, and allowed the fleet to slowly ghost their way to the finish. The conditions favoured the J/109's and the overall fleet finishing order of Jahmali, Just So and J2eau was the same on corrected time, despite them opting for different sail plans and consequently IRC handicaps.
As the lock gate opened in the early afternoon, the sun shone, and the RS Divers (who had joined Jahmali for this race) sponsored wine flowed.

The Royal Southampton Yacht Club Double-handed race to Weymouth and back sponsored by McGuigan Wines also commenced on Friday evening. It was definitely a game of two halves – the leg out on Friday night was cold, damp, foggy, upwind and SLOW with a big park up at St Albans Head – the unspoken question was “why do we do it?” All was answered on Sunday on the return leg when in flat seas, a 15 knot north westerly and sunshine the fleet enjoyed a fantastic race back to the Solent. Over the two legs J/109 Zelda (Michael Ewart-Smith/Ben Richards) finished third and first, whilst J/109 Jambhala (Richard Sainsbury/Gillian Ross) was fourth on the way out and J/109 JoJo Gunne (Bill West/Mike Garvey) took fourth on the return leg.

The RORC Cervantes Trophy to Le Havre started on Saturday morning by which time the sun was shining and 108 boats gathered for the start off Cowes. A light westerly breeze greeted the fleet although with the wind exceeding the forecast it was to be a quick race. Three of the J/109s Jibe (Robin Taunt), Aria (Luca Rubinelli) and Jeez Louise (James Arnell) finished 7th, 8th and 9th in IRC2 on corrected time whilst all four J/109s finished in less than 20 minutes despite their variances in sail plan. For more info.

Christie Cancer Care Wins Scottish Series Trophy

J/109 Checkmate Team Wins After Sixth Try!

(Tarbert, Scotland- May 23-26)- After more than 20 years competing on Loch Fyne, Nigel Biggs and the Checkmate Sailing Team (sailing as "Christie Cancer Care") from the North West of England won the overall Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series Trophy, the top award for the annual regatta which finished yesterday off Tarbert and attracted 160 boats racing in 14 different classes.

Sailing a J109 in the highly competitive IRC Class 3, Biggs and crew won with their sponsor-named Christie Cancer Care to publicise the Manchester centre of excellence which cared for Biggs' late father, it was a poignant and appropriate year for the crew to get their hands on the top award. The nine strong team endured a tough final pair of races today when they started prematurely in the final race of the series and were hampered by slower boats in the first race to post a second and third, their weakest scores of the regatta. Conditions for the final day were typical of one of less pleasing faces of Loch Fyne: wet, grey and a mix of light winds peppered with periods of difficult gusty breezes.

Based in Manchester, The Christie Cancer Care centre covers a population of 3.2 million across Greater Manchester & Cheshire, but as a national specialist centre around 15% patients are referred there from other parts of the UK. The Christie is an international leader in research with world first breakthroughs for over 100 years. It runs one of the largest early clinical trial units in Europe with over 300 trials every year, and the centre has been officially ranked the best in the UK.
For more info about Christie Cancer Care Centers. For more info about Checkmate Team.

J/109 Wins Vuurschepen Race

Challenging Crossing With Windy Night

(Scheveningen, Netherlands- May 22)- The J/109s in Europe continue their winning ways. The 110 mile Vuurschepenrace 2009, part of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta, was a relatively calm crossing going from Scheveningen, Netherlands to Harwich port, England. The race started and ended light winds and was mostly close-hauled. In the middle of the night, a number of boats measured up to 25 knots of wind, forcing middle of night, chaotic sail changes. Nevertheless, despite this midnight mayhem, John van der Starre finished first again with his J109 FRD-Xperience in IRC2. For more info.

BoatUS Santa Maria Cup

Top International Women Match Race on J/22s in Annapolis

(Annapolis, MD- May 26-29)- Today also marks the first day of racing at the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup, an international women's match racing regatta held in Annapolis, MD. US Sailing Team members Katy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.) will be among the ten skippers competing in the event alongside other well-known skippers such as 2002 US SAILING Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Liz Baylis (San Rafael, Calif.) and the world's top-ranked women's match racer Claire Leroy of France. For More info.

RORC Myth Of Maltham Trophy

J/133 Batfish III Dominates the Offshore Channel Classic

(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The 230 mile race from Cowes around the Eddystone Lighthouse and back proved to be a very demanding race for the 130 boats competing for the RORC Myth of Malham Trophy. Light airs and strong tides conspired to produce a tactical conundrum that was an ever changing picture.

In IRC Zero there was an outstanding performance by Bill Blain's J/133, Batfish III, winning class by nearly three hours and claiming third in IRC overall and Neil Martin's J/133, Jammy Dodger was third in class. In IRC Class Two, Simon Curwen, sailing two handed, was second in J/105, Voador and Robin Taunt's J/109, Jibe, corrected out to third. There were 24 entries for the Two Handed Class and honours went to Simon Curwen's J/105, Voador. For more info.

Oregon Offshore Race

J's Take Four of Top Five in a Spring NW classic

(Portland, OR- May 15-16)- Every May, the Corinthian Yacht Club of Portland sponsors the Oregon Offshore Yacht Race from Astoria, OR to Victoria, BC. The conditions in the Northwest at this time of year can range from tempestuous to downright placid and billiard table flat. This years edition served up good winds in the first part of the race diminishing towards the end nearly thirty-plus hours later for most boats.

Twenty boats started this years race and it was pretty clear the J's were going to do very well indeed. At the end of it all, Scott Campbell's J/46 Riva was first in class and first overall. She was followed in close succession by the J/122 Anam Cara raced by owner Tom Kelley, getting a second in class and second overall. Just off the pace was Bob and Barb Brunius's J/120 Time Bandit picking off fourth in class and fourth overall. A cruiser/racer classic, Tom Keffer's J/42 Velocity followed her larger, faster stablemates into the finish to get a respectable fifth in class and sixth overall.

In addition to Scott Campbell on the J/46 Riva, the crew included local North Sails Rep Kerry Poe, Steve Ackerman, Davis Moran, Charles Turner, Nelson Rolens, Bob Martin, Dale Diets and Ray McCormack. The J/122 Anam Cara, Gaelic for "Soul Friend", is Tom Kelly's 5th boat in over 30 years of racing. Tom says she is his "dream boat". He is a long-time competitor in the Oregon Offshore and plans to do the Swiftsure Race in 2 weeks and then do the Van Isle Race, a race around Vancouver Island this summer. The crew has been described as "geriatric" by Tom, but it contains a number of excellent sailors with many sea miles. The crew includes John Copper from West Marine, local Portland sailors Brian Marske and Jim Madden. Out of town sailors include Bob Ross, the broker and Manager of Whidby Island Race Week for many years and Scott Boys and Sally Hawkins from Friday Harbor. Other members of the crew are Lane Brown and Patrick Cummings. The J/42 Velocity's skipper is Tom Keffer. Assisting Tom as crew are Bill and Kathy Cuffel, Robert Henry, Gil MacGregor and Carl Hosticka. The J/120 Time Bandit from the Seattle area, carries a crew of 10. Skipper Bob Brunius and his wife Barb, John Sheppard, Tim Cleary, Tom O'Hara, Bob Conrad, Mark Lincoln, Troy Donaldson, Joshua Siegel and James Doane. For more commentary, visit the Oregon Offshore Blog.

Stone Cup Invitational

Competitive J/105 and J/120 One-Design Classes on San Francisco Bay

(San Francisco, CA- May 15-17) The St. Francis Yacht Club again provided solid race management to get off a nice series of races for this annual weekend classic to start off the summer season on the Bay. There were five classes in the event with two of them representing the J/105s (23 boats) and the J/120 (8 boats).

Racing was as competitive as ever in the two J classes. For the J/105s, Scooter Simmons racing Blackhawk took two bullets to win by six points over Rolf Kaiser on Donkey Jack. Bruce Stone sailing Arbirage commented, "the Bay served up its usual heavy tidal conditions and strong afternoon winds. Saturday had a late start with a three hour postponement due to no wind and oppressive heat in the Valley (over 100 degrees). So, all the boats had to contend with a strong ebb changing to the flood late in the day. Conversely, Sunday was a lopsided day of racing with everyone diving off into ebb in deepwater, leaving no lanes or opportunities to pass if you got stuck behind after the start."

The J/120s had some very tight racing at times. But, in the end, it was the team aboard Chance led by the capable Barry Lewis that took two bullets and beat out Steve Madeira's Mister Magoo. More information on StFYC site

Seattle SW NOOD

A bit of a drifter, but the tent party was HOT!

(Seattle, WA May 15-17) Leave it up to the locals in Seattle to make the most of seemingly nothing. On Puget Sound, when the wind is light and shifty, you don't hear a lot of complaining. Racers are used to variable conditions; with the Olympic Range towering to the west and the entire North American continent to the east, weather systems frequently lock horns over the Sound, resulting in confused wind patterns and Seattle's characteristic lingering rain. The regatta was characterized by light, variable winds. That's not to say the weather wasn't beautiful-- with clear skies and stunning views-- and it's certainly not to say that the racing wasn't tight. There were 17 classes racing, but only 8 classes got enough racing to generate any results- 3 of those fortunately enough were the J Classes- the J/80s, J/105s and J/109s.

The six boat J/109 class was won by Robert Arney on It's Only Rock & Roll with a first and second. The J/105s had Jerry Diercks on Delirium scream around the course to net a first and third to triumph over their nine boat class. And, perhaps the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers, was the incredibly tight racing amongst the six boat J/80 class. There was a three-way tiebreaker with four points a piece that was broken in favor of Dave Schutte on Taj Majal, followed by Chris White on Crazy Ivan and Mike Brewis on Swish.

Gene Brown and Pete Bristow, who crewed aboard Edward Pinkham's J/109 Jeopardy, were pleased with their boathandling. "Any day we don't have trouble with our spinnaker sets and takedowns," said Brown, "that's a good day." Over a plate of tasty, local barbeque, SW columnist spoke with Jack Seznick, who grew up on the bluff behind the Corinthian YC and reckons he's been sailing these waters for thirty years. For the past three years, he's been working with the crew of the J/109 J-Tripper, co-skippered by Dave Dack and Rick Nordquist. Before purchasing their J/109, Dack and Nordquist were only occasional racers. Since Seznick hopped aboard, however, the team has made drastic improvements to their boathandling and their scoreline. Seznick finds the steep part of the learning curve extremely rewarding. "When I joined the team," he says, "I told the guys, 'I want to be a part of this crew, but we've got to keep it fun."

Strategy in the light air was critical and local talent certainly had their advantages. As in other tidal locales, the key to success is often deciding where to position oneself in relation to the fast-moving current in the middle of the Sound. At times, there is a "toilet bowl" effect, as the tide flowing out of Lake Union and through the locks moves through the marinas and swirls out along the shore, providing for a peculiar, near-shore lift. See Sailing World for more info/ results. Photo credits- Tim Wilkes

Elvstrom J/80 Summer Championships

Joystick at Full Throttle for the Summer Season

(Hamble, So'ton, England- May 16-17) The Elvstrom J/80 Summer Championship was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble. This is the sixth year that Elvstrom have sponsored the event, which acts as a warm-up for the UK Nationals.

The fleet woke to howling gales on Saturday unfortunately, and after a postponement ashore, the Race Committee, under the careful guidance of the PRO Tony Lovell, decided that discretion was indeed the better part of valour and racing was cancelled for the day. The J/80 fleet were in agreement; much as the J/80 is a fabulous boat in a blow, no-one much fancied the 40 knot plus gusts which were battering the race area.

With everyone hoping for lighter airs on Sunday, but with forecasts differing in opinion, after an hour’s postponement ashore and once a 50 knot squall had blown past the Royal Southern pontoons and the readying fleet, the class set sail to do battle. Just two races were sailed, or perhaps ‘survived’ by the hardy J/80s, enough to constitute a series, and the eventual winner of the Elvstrom Champs, Rob Larke, who co-owns Joystick with Vicci Gregory. Behind them were Terry Palmer and Caroline Cooper on Just Do It by three points and in third was Andrew Ashworth steering Jammy Dodger. More J/80 regatta news. For more UK/Euro J/News.

Sir Thomas Lipton Cup

On the Wings of Victory, Snatched From Almost Certain Defeat

(San Diego, CA- May 16-17)- . The racing on J/105s off the waters of San Diego for the Lipton Cup was some of the best and most challenging ever; with shifting winds; dead spots to steal victory from some; and defeat from others. It was a nail-biter to the end. The San Diego YC team skippered by Andy Ladow on-board the J/105 Wings looked as if they had bought the farm. But, with a bit of perseverance and luck (e.g. I'd rather be lucky than smart, as they say) Andy and crew managed to overcome the strong performance of Chris Nesbitt sailing Perseverance from Balboa YC. Not far off the pace were Rick Goebel hailing from Coronado on-board Sanity and Kenny Manzoni hailing from Southwestern YC on-board J-OK.

The San Diego Sir Thomas Lipton Cup is steeped in rich tradition. It was created in 1903 and deeded to San Diego Yacht Club in 1913. It has been competed for every year since except for the war years and has become “The Holy Grail” of West Coast Yachting. See San Diego YC or Flickr for more.

J/Mediterranean Cup

Enjoy the best the Med has to offer racing your J

On June 6-7, J/Europe distributor K-Yachting is sponsoring its third annual J/Med Cup event. This regatta has a passionate following amongst those J sailors cruising and racing in the Mediterranean. The locations have been terrific and this year's event promises to be every bit as fun as they have been the past two years. Pierre Duchein at K-Yachting promises that it will another fantastic year. For more details, please visit the K-Yachting website or download the NOR.

J/95 Morning Light & Bluewater Sailor

Dawn Patrol off Sandy Point Shows Shoal-draft Picnic Boat Cruisability

A spectacular morning off Stonington's Sandy Point was the perfect time to shoot the J/95's capabilities to anchor in shallow waters off your favorite beach. Rod and Stu took Banjo for a cruise at dawn Thursday morning to get a few nice shots of the boat for you all to dream about sailing her in the shallow cruising areas around the world. Needles to say, the boat looked stunning and graceful. Please take a look at more of these beautiful photos on the J/95 site.

In addition, please read through Bluewater Sailor's review of the J/95. We hope you enjoy a fresh perspective on why we're so excited about this new shallow draft, performance day sailer. Download the Bluewater Sailor review

For those of you who can't make it to either Sarasota, FL or Stonington, CT for a demo sail, please note the following dealers will take delivery of their boats in June: Bob Sittel at Sittel Marine in Dallas, TX and also Bruce Tait at Bruce Tait & Associates in Sag Harbor, Long Island, NY. Please contact the dealers directly or J/Boats

Monday, June 8, 2009

J/122 Pen Azen Wins Grand Prix du Crouesty

The Grey-blue Rocketship Continues Domination of French '09 IRC Offshore

(Crouesty, France- May 30-June 1)- The third major event of the French UNCL/ FFV offshore sailing season had excellent representation from passionate J owners from France, in particular. The Yacht Club du Crouesty Arzo hosted a wonderful event; the J's represented 50% of the fleet of the Grand Prix du Crouesty where forty one J/80s were present to do battle; not far behind in attendance were the J/22 and J/24 classes.

In the J/80's, Sylvain Pelissier won in a highly competitive fleet. In IRC1, the J/122 Pen Azen again confirmed their supremacy, beating stablemate J/122 Damacle with the renowned Christine Briand on-board as tactician. Also doing well was the J/109 Poulico, 3rd in IRC2 (beating three very competitive Archambaut A35s). For more info.

J/100 One-Design Sailing!

For those J/100 owners who have a penchant for taking a run around the buoys every once in awhile, there are three opportunities in the New England region to get together and share your passion for this unique J design. Henry Brauer of Marblehead and Northeast Harbor has suggested the following events may be of interest to J/100 owners:

* The first is the new Mount Desert Island Summer Series which will be held July 18-19, in Northeast Harbor, ME. Day one is the traditional Maine Hospice Regatta and Day two is a regular MDI series race. They've put the two together to offer a 2 day series with both day trophies and overall regatta trophies. There is a lobster bake on Saturday night in Southwest Harbor and a Raft up Sunday after the racing. We have 4 active J/100's in Northeast and hope to attract some more to have offer a one-design division.

* The second opportunity for J/100 one-design is Downeast Race Week which is scheduled for August 7-9. Again, there already 3 J/100's registered for the event and a chance to attract several more boats will provide some great one-design competition. DERW has a new format this year and will be only 3 days long starting on a Friday and ending on Sunday so it is easy to plan for crew. More information is available on the DERW web site.

* The third opportunity is at the PHRF-New England Championship which is scheduled in Marblehead August 28-30. There are 10 J/100's in Mass Bay and with a commitment of 6 or more boats PHRF will provide a one-design start for the class.
For more insights on J/100 class sailing, please contact Henry Brauer.