Saturday, July 30, 2011

J/111s Sweep Bayview-Mackinac

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing the start of Bayview Mackinac Race J/105s Sweep PHRF C Class!
(Mackinac Island, MI)- It was a fantastic tour'de'force for the 35 foot J designs in this year's Bell's Beer Bayview-Mackinac Island race.  Winds for the 221 boat fleet were as predicted for the 87th sailing of the Bell's Beer Bayview Race to Mackinac. They were light to non-existent at the starts, causing three delays in getting the boats off. Racers out on the race course reported  there was little or no wind, especially for the boats with earlier starts.  Most people were hoping that thunderstorms predicted for later tonight and Sunday night would bring more wind. Getting wet isn't a problem; they expect to get wet at some point during this race. But they also want some wind to help make the race more fun.  Earlier, it was a warm and overcast morning when the boats were leaving Port Huron's Black River for the annual Bells Beer Bayview Mackinac Race.  An announcer called out each boat as they passed on their way out to the race course on Lake Huron. A bagpipe band on the balcony of the Port Huron Yacht Club piped the sailors out on their voyage.

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing start of Bayview Mackinac RaceAfter their terrific performance in the Chicago-Mackinac Race (3rd in class), Harbor Springs, MI native Dave Irish and his team also sailed their J/111 NO SURPRISE in this year's Bayview-Mac.  Said Dave, "After a slow start, boats enjoyed much better conditions for sailing in the early hours Sunday. Some thunderstorms did materialize late Saturday near the tip of the Thumb area (SW part of Lake Huron) but missed the vast majority of the boats headed northeast up the track.  But the storms did bring some much needed wind, which was welcome after an agonizingly still race day on Saturday.  Winds approached 15-25 knots for most of the day Sunday, from the east, which helped boats considerably.  We spent a whole lot of time in the light running on Saturday, mostly on starboard.  I don't recall that we saw SW, maybe during the night, but most of that was done with the wind backed into the Easterly Quadrant, which became brisk with jib reaching/fetching in a strong easterly breeze.  After the Cove Island buoy up near the Canadian Manitoulin Islands, we ran west towards Mackinac Island with fresh NE wind using our North 2A "middle chute" (the big one).  From there, with the wind shutting down gradually to a light NE, then light NW, then at dawn the Westerly filled for a two-sided beat into the finish line for us."

J/120 sailboat- from Canada racing Bayview Mackinac RaceOverall, J's did incredibly well, taking into account the fact that all boats had to sail in the variable winds beating, reaching and running-- the strong suit of good all-round designs. Leading the pack into Mackinac was the J/145  VORTICES sailed by Chris Saxton and crew, getting second in IRC B class and 5th overall IRC, covering the long Cove Island course in 37:49:17.  Not too far behind VORTICES were a trio of J/111s sailing in IRC C Class.  Remarkably, the J/111s swept IRC C class taking 1-2-3 on the podium and were led home by Dave Irish's NO SURPRISE in first (14th Overall IRC), followed by Steve Dabrowski's NIGHT HAWK in second and Tim Clayson's UNPLUGGED in third.  In IRC D Class, Jimmy Mitchell's crew on the J/109 VANDA III simply crushed their class, winning by a corrected time of 6:35:49 and finishing 16th overall behind the J/111 NO SURPRISE.

J/29 sailing doublehanded in Bayview Mackinac RaceIn the PHRF Doublehanded Class, J/105s proved yet again they're a wonderfully easy boat to sail in all-round conditions.  Finishing second in class was the J/105 PIRANA sailed by CJ Ruffing and Chris Ongena.  Third was the J/29 PATRIOT sailed by David and Lyndon Lattie.

In the one-design world, the J/120 class had a tough fight for first in class with Bob Kirkman's HOT TICKET taking line and class honors by just ten minutes over Bill Bresser's FLYIN IRISH.  Third was Commodore Frank Kern's CARINTHIA.

Like their other 35 foot J stablemates, the J/111's, the J/105s sailed as a sub-class in PHRF C and swept the top three places!  The J/105s were led home by Mark Symond's PTERODACTYL, winning class by nearly an hour!  Dean and Lana Walsh's GOOD LOOKIN finished second, just beating Larry & Brian Smith's SORCERY by four minutes.

In the Level 35 Class, it's about as competitive as it gets with a fleet of incredibly well-sailed J/35s.  Unsurprisingly, considering the level of experience on most J/35s, they nearly ran the podium like their stablemates the J/111s.  The winner this year was past J/35 North American Champion FALCON sailed by a family team.  FALCON is owned by Ed (42 PH Macs)and John Bayer (36 PH Macs) and brother-in-law Jim Barnes. All 4 Bayer children are involved. Mary Allen, the main trimmer, is Ed and John's sister and their other sister, Linda Barnes, is the wife of Jim Barnes, a co-owner and active participant. They dedicate this and all future races to their father Edwin Bayer Jr who recently passed away at the age of 85.  There is also another family tradition on the crew - brothers Rich and Ron Rossio (25 PH Macs) are racing together on the boat and who together have over 40 Bayview Mac's to their credit. Finishing third in class was MR BILL's WILD RIDE, also a past J/35 North American Champion and a family crewed boat- having four Wildner's aboard!

J/34 IOR sailing boat- starting Bayview Mackinac raceYet another 35 foot J, the J/34 IOR light air flyer, SEA FEVER finished fourth this year in PHRF E Class.  SEA FEVER is owned by Commodore Dean Balcirak and Tom Burleson. It was Commodore Balcirak's 48th Mackinac and Tom's 35nd. SEA FEVER is sailed by a family crew and friends. Their Mackinac Race highlight was a clean sweep in 2004 when they won their class, overall, and the Yacht Club Challenge Trophies!  As one might have guessed by now, the Mackinac Races are steeped in tradition with many family crews participating for over four to five decades!  Cool.  Wonderful traditions to look forward to every year.
Sailing photo credits- Martin Chumiecki   For more Bayview-Mackinac Race sailing information

Friday, July 29, 2011

Santa Barbara-King Harbor Race Preview

Old Spanish Days Fiesta Cup Race Week (Santa Barbara, CA)- This distance race spanning 81 nautical miles has been a tradition for Santa Barbara and King Harbor for nearly 40 years.  A fixture of SoCal racing that continues to enjoy increasing popularity in the July SoCal sailing schedule is the combination of sailing in Santa Barbara YC's Fiesta Cup (coinciding with some great Cal/Mex yummy food and drinks and Spanish heritage in the region) and the blast around the islands offshore down to King Harbor.  Never an easy race, could be fast, could be slow.  This year 86 boats are sailing, of which they're 20 J's sailing, nearly 25% of the entire fleet!

This year, there's a bevy of J's sailing that include a fleet of one-design J/105s looking forward to take a fast slide (hopefully) south including Santa Barbara YC's Mark Noble sailing ESCAPADE, Dan McGanty's AQUABELLA from Cal YC, Tom Bollay's ARMIDA from Santa Barbara YC, Chuck Spear's TWELVE BAR BLUES and Juan Lois's ROCINANTE.

J/29 sailing downwind- off Santa Barbara, CAIn the PHRF B Class will be Dr. Laura Schlessinger's beautiful J/100 PERFECT (Transpac wasn't enough for this girl, time for some local buoys wind-sprint stuff!), Eric McClure on the J/35 MACS from Alamitos Bay YC, Bill Webster on the J/37 SIDEKICK from Kings Harbor YC and Fred and Ann Cottrell on the J/33 TIGGER from Kings Harbor YC.

In PHRF C Class will be the champion J/29 RUSH STREET sailed by Larry Leveille from Santa Barbara YC.  Come hell or high water, it's hard to imagine how Larry and crew will simply "punt" and throw away this pickle dish for their living room shelves!

Sailing the Sprit PHRF Class is the J/122 SUNDAY TICKET sailed by Dan Scouler from Cal YC plus two fast J/124s, Seth Hall's MARISOL and Joe Simpkin's FORGIVENESS from Cal YC. Also sailing are three J/120s, Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS from Coronado Bay YC, Tom Cullen's BLUEBIRD from Santa Barbara YC and Peter Bretschger's ADIOS from Balboa YC.  Included in the mix are a tough trio of J/109s that include Tom Brott's ELECTRA from Seal Beach YC, Bryce Benjamin's PERSISTENCE from Cal YC and John Shulze's LINSTAR from Balboa YC.  Finally, the J/125 TIMESHAVER sailed by Viggo Torbenson from Dana Point YC will be pushing line honors and overall handicap in Sprit ULDB Class.    For more Santa Barbara-King Harbor Race sailing information

Marblehead NOOD Mecca for J/Sailors

J/105 class preparing for J/105 North Americans Huge J/105, J/24, J/30 Fleet Turnouts
(Marblehead, MA)- With the Sperry Top-Sider Marblehead NOOD Regatta kicking off on Thursday and the J/105 North Americans coming in August, the racing scene on Boston's North Shore is heating up this summer.  By Sunday afternoon, the overall winner of the Marblehead NOOD gets the final invitation to November's Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship, during which the overall winners from all eight NOOD locations will race comfy, slow charter-boats equipped with monster blenders and ice-makers in the British Virgin Islands-- pre-equipped with recipes for "painkillers" and "mudslides"?

For many J/105 sailors, the Marblehead NOOD will serve as a tune up for the class's North American championship, which takes place at Eastern YC from August 10 to 14. "Our local fleet of 17 regular competitors will grow to 30 boats," says class representative Jack Attridge. "They're coming from as far away as California, Texas, and Canada.  The local J-105 fleet has attracted about 20 boats on a regular basis for recent NOOD regattas," continues Attridge. "It's a very competitive, owner-driver friendly fleet. The J/105 North American's committee, headed by Doug Morgan of STEEL AWAY III, has been very busy putting together a first-class event and the week promises to be fun and very competitive."

Doug Morgan and his father, Peter, are stalwarts of Marblehead's J/105 fleet. "For years, the J/105 fleet has been growing and attracting some of the best one-design sailors in this area," says the elder Morgan. "It's likely that the J/105 fleet will be the largest in the NOODS this year and probably the most competitive, since the early arrivers for the NAs are serious enough about their racing campaigns to come here two weeks early to race in the NOOD regatta to gain some local knowledge."

The Morgans and other members of Marblehead's J/105 Fleet No. 2 will be rolling out the red carpet for their guests over the next few weeks. "We're working hard to assure that the J/105 visitors for both regattas have a great experience in Marblehead," says Morgan. "It's one of the best one-design racing areas anywhere."

Certain to be amongst the leaders of the J/105s will be champions like Brian Keane on SAVASANA from Beverly YC, past Marblehead NOOD Champions Stew Neff and Henry Brauer on SCIMITAR from Eastern YC, Bernie Girod from Santa Barbara YC on ROCK & ROLL, Kevin Grainger on GUMPTION 3 from New York YC, Bill Zartler on SOLARIS from Houston YC, Joerg Esdorn on KINCSEM from American YC and Ken Colburn on GHOST from New York YC (after his recent Swan 42 Nationals win he will be further testing himself against the best J/105 one-design sailors in the world as part of his New York YC Invitational preparations).

In addition, two very large contingents of "classic" J-racers will be on hand to have some fun of their own.  Amongst them is a strong J/24 contingent.  Will be it Caroline Ross's LONDON CALLING leading the pack, or Greg William's GRACE UNDER PRESSURE taking the HIGH FIVE from Matt Herbster or John Denman's AIRODOODLE just limping along in the front of the pack?  Time will tell.

In the J/30s, it's pretty clear this group not only has fun, but they've also anted up the stakes with the inclusion of "The Fat Lady Sings" led by former SAIL magazine chief Eric Cressy aboard.  Should be an interesting class to watch, anything can happen with this crew-- it all depends on which crew "won the party" the night before!!  Thanks for contributions from Sailing World's Michael Lovett.  For more Marblehead NOOD sailing information.


Cowes Week- The Pinnacle of J-UK Summer

J/109s sailing with women/ girls teams sailing off Cowes, Isle of Wight, England (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Since 1826 Cowes Week has played a key part in the British sporting summer calendar and is one of the UK’s longest running and most successful sporting events. It now stages up to 40 daily races for around 1,000 boats and is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world.  Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, as the event is now known, is a fusion of many exciting elements, with its great mix of competitive sailing and social activities. The 8,500 competitors range from Olympic and world class professionals to weekend sailors.  In excess of 100,000 spectators come to watch the sailing, enjoy the parties and live entertainment, and to experience the unique atmosphere. It is genuinely a one-of-a-kind event.

In attendance are throngs of J sailors sailing on eighty-six J's ranging from J/80s to J/133s looking forward to the challenging racing on the capricious Solent, renowned for its wild currents and eddies, and engaging in the navigational puzzles every day of "what's the course and where's the bloody mark"!?  Many a Cowes Week has been blown either by misguiding the rounding of a mark in 5 knots adverse current or simply missing one altogether!

Leading the charge as THE large one-design keelboat fleet at Cowes are the J/109s.  At twenty-seven boats strong, you'll see many class leaders trying to avoid "the big mistake"  and stay in the hunt for five straight days-- not an easy task when one considers that the crew often find the Guinness Beer tent and seemingly disappear into the ether (perhaps their brains do).  Nevertheless, rest assured that J-DREAM, chartered by Peter Nicholson, will be in the limelight, as will be ME JULIE (Dominique Monkhouse), OUTRAJEOUS (Richard and Melanie Griffith), VELVET ELVIS (Richard and Helen Wright) and YEOMAN (the team from Malta is chartering with skipper Jon Calascione and perhaps Jon and Christian Ripard aboard?).

As they usually do, the J/80s all rally to celebrate the pinnacle of summer sailing and festivities by assembling a great fleet of sailors on the infamous Royal Yacht Squadron line. Amongst the twenty-two boats vying for honors will be two  TOE IN THE WATER boats- BIG TOE (Sam Thompson) and LITTLE TOE (Dave Chisolm).  In addition to them are past J/80 UK Champions like (Ian Atkins), SPITFIRE from the Royal Air Force Sailing Squadron (Tony Hanlon) and AQUA J (Bob Thompson).

For the first time, it looks like there will be a one-design sub-section of J/97s- six of them- all racing in IRC class.  Included amongst this exciting new fleet are McFLY (Tony Mack- previous winner of Queens Cup at CW, Nab Tower race, Tobago and BVI regattas), JIKA JIKA (Mike & Jamie Holmes), FEVER (Grant Gordon), JACKAROO (Jim and Steve Dick), JET (James Owen) and INJENIOUS (Dr Gillian Ross- 2nd fastest J/97 in its first outing- the Round Island Race!).

IRC Class along will have 32 J's sailing in a fleet of 207 boats, or about 15% of the fleet.  Sure to be a factor will be the two J/111s, SHMOKING JOE (Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas- recent IRC Class winners in the Round Island Race) and the newly launched J-XCENTRIC (John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef who will also be sailing the Fastnet Race Double-handed!).  Then, the winning J/122 JINJA (Ian Matthews) will keep everyone honest and perhaps win a race or two and take a podium finish! Two other well-sailed J/133s- JINGS (David Ballantyne) and JIVARO (Yves Grosjean) have proven their capabilities to win races both around-the-cans and offshore.  This group is a tough one to put down a "betting line" on since just about everyone has won something in the recent past!   For more Cowes Race Week sailing information

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

J/145 BAD PAK Wins Transpac

J/145 BAD PAK winning Transpac Race (Honolulu, HI)- It takes awhile to cover 2,225 nautical miles sailing, even in the fabled Transpac Race where you spend more than 90% of the time sailing downwind in tradewind/ synoptic winds of 15-20 knots at various reaching and running angles, optimizing your VMC down course to ride the "passing lane" around the southern portion of the Pacific High past your competitors.  Those "lanes" can be capricious, they keep changing, some fast, some slow, some the wrong angle, too.  Nevertheless, it's what makes the Transpac the enduring challenge that keeps sailors coming back for more.  As they say, it's not often the winning that counts, it's the adventure and the voyage of getting there that makes it so memorable an experience.

In addition, says Kimball Livingston, "there's one great thing the Transpac has going for it. The big finish. The Molokai Channel. Maybe you got stuck in the fog off Catalina and spent what seemed like weeks getting out of town. Maybe the Pacific High Pressure Zone pulled a gotcha and reached down and swallowed the lane that you thought was going to sweep you to glory, but instead you watched the little transponder blips that represent the competition just walk away on a different latitude line.

And then you get to the opening of "the Channel"-- perhaps one of the best in the world to see pop up over the horizon for many reasons. The islands rise on the horizon, clear and lovely. The breeze rises behind you and funnels down the Molokai Channel and there you are on the ride of a lifetime, and the water is white-capped and tropical blue, and the sky is tropical blue with puffy trade-wind clouds, and ahead lies that iconic Diamond Head finish line that has beckoned racing sailors for over a century, generation after generation. This is the ride of the legends."  Even current J/100 and J/105 owner "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger, first-time Transpac sailor was ecstatic, "What can you say when the wind is 30 knots and the waves are boiling eight feet high, and I'm driving? The water was coming down the deck, and sometimes I couldn't even see out. And I didn't lose the boat. I...did...not...lose...the...boat! (we sure it's due to her J/125 and J/100 training!)."

And, there are those who've seemingly got it in their blood and keep coming back for more.  For more of that adrenalin rush experienced by Dr Laura, "newbie Transpac racer".  With a great team, great navigation and a really fast, fun boat to sail, it was Tom Holthus' team from San Diego YC that repeated yet again another Division 4 win on their J/145 BAD PAK.  Starting on the "second start" on Friday with all the big sleds, BAD PAK seemingly sailed a textbook race, start first and increase your lead!  Seriously?  Sure enough, they did exactly that.  Blasting out past Catalina Island soon after the start, holding a conservative line south of rhumb and making judicious choices in terms of distance versus wind, the J/145 BAD PAK sailed that fine line to perfection. Blasting down the Molokai Channel after literally leading the entire race, they finished in 18 days 17:56:24 to win their class on corrected time by over 4.5 hours- and an average speed of 9.4 knots for 2,225 nm!  Needless to say, the BAD PAK crew were jubilant, especially for becoming part of an exclusive club-- that rarified air of being a repeat winner in the Transpac Race.

J/130 BEBE finishing Transpac Race off Diamond Head, HawaiiFellow J sailor, Santa Barbarian Charles Browning, started out the race strongly, smartly, but with a bit of a handicap.  As part of the first fleet to start on Monday, July 4th, Browning's team on the J/130 BEBE from Santa Barbara YC sailed one helluva race for the first third, overcoming lighter than forecasted winds, a receding synoptic trade-wind that was supposed to blow stronger and a class spread over 300 miles of ocean.  Even then, Browning's BEBE led their Division 6 for nearly a week straight!  Then, some equipment issues apparently threw a monkey wrench into their race navigation, forcing them to fly "blind" for awhile until such time they could square it all away.  Nevertheless, they sailed with great determination and ultimately finished sixth in class.  As said earlier, in this case the adventure and experience is what keeps them all coming back for more.   For more Transpac Race sailing information and Facebook link   Sailing Photo Credits- Sharon Green/ Ultimate

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The J-Cup 2011 – A Channel Island Idyll

J/92 sailboat- winners of 2011 J-Cup J/92 BLACKJACK Wins Overall
(St Peter Port, Guernsey)- The J-Cup 2011, our tenth anniversary regatta, was brought to you by the principal event sponsors B&G, Dubarry of Ireland, Lombard Marine Finance, North Sails, Universal Marina and Nautical Guernsey, and was supported by Ray and Scott, Zenith Watches and Harken. The indisputable stars of the show were, as ever, the 350 J Boat owners and crew who made it happen. The J-Cup 2011 was won by Andy Howe, Annie Kelly and the crew on the J/92 Blackjack. The 2011 Lombard Marine Finance J/97 UK National Champions are Grant Gordon and his team on Fever.

J's sailing J-Cup 2011The final day of racing at the J-Cup 2011, hosted by the Guernsey Yacht Club, took place on Thursday in The Little Russell just off St Peter Port. The breeze was a light 6 to 10 knot north westerly. Whilst the PRO had planned to run three races for each of the four competing classes but the dying breeze and the fact that the fleet had their monster J-Cup Prize-giving Party scheduled for later in the day meant that two races were sailed and the fleet were sent home in good time for tea and medals at 1300 hours.

Grant Gordon’s J/97 Fever had established a strong lead in the Lombard Marine Finance J/97 UK National Championship by the final day or racing and no doubt left the dock after having giving his crew the ‘sail our own regatta’ pep talk. Money would have been worth parting with for an ear in on Tony Mack’s team talk to his crew on McFly who were lying second on Thursday morning or indeed on board Mike and Jamie Holmes Jika Jika, in third, each of whom would be racing to change the course of their regatta. After the final two races Fever’s 1,2 scoreline, and Jika Jika’s 2,1 sealed the overall positions. Grant Gordon’s Fever is the Lombard Marine Finance J/97 UK National Champion for 2011. Jika Jika took second and McFly was third overall. Jika Jika won the North Sails Boat of the Day Prize.

J/122 sailing J-Cup regatta in EnglandThe two top boats in IRC 1 as set off for the two final races on Thursday were Nigel and Donna Passmore’s J/133 Apollo 3 in first place and Rob Craigie’s J/122 J Bellino in second, each tied on nine points. Key Yachting’s J/111 J Spirit was in third with twelve points and Colin Wall’s J/111 True Love had fourteen points. Tricky, sticky, light stuff for two races and it was ‘All Change’ in IRC 1 at the end of the seven race series. True Love won both races on Thursday which shot them into the top slot for IRC 1. Apollo 3 finished second in class, on equal points with the winner and only losing out to True Love on the count-back for number of race wins! J Bellino took third in class. The North Sails Boat of the Day Prize for IRC 1 was presented to David Cule’s J/122 Mint Julep.

Just two points separated the top three boats in IRC 2 at the start of racing on Thursday. William Newton’s J/105 Jelly Baby sat at the top of the fleet on five points as the mainsails went up. The J/92 Blackjack owned and raced by Andy Howe and Annie Kelly and Marc Noel’s J/92 Dr Jeckyll were  tied for second and third respectively on six points. The adage goes ‘show me the man who has had his last bad day on the water’, but for IRC 2 on Thursday it was more like ‘show me the man and woman who have had their best day on the water, ever!’ and Blackjack went out to bang in two race wins, securing them the Class win in IRC 2. Second overall was Dr Jeckyll and Jelly Baby took third. Daniel Sheehan and Peter Sandover’s J/105 Jacana won the North Sails Boat of the Day prize.

J/109 one-design sailboat- sailing off St Peter Port, GuernseyThe J/109 One-Design Class was chock full of new faces to the fleet but the competition was as tight here at the J-Cup as at any National Championship that the Class has ever enjoyed. Going in to the final two races of the seven race series, Bruce Huber and Johnnie Goodwin’s Alexabelle was leading the class but from pole position to fifth place overall there were only five points separating the key contenders. It must have been lip bitingly tense out on the J/109 race-course, but it was Tony De Mulder’s crew on Victric who kept themselves ‘the coolest of the cool’ and their 1, 5 score on Thursday propelled them into the top slot overall. Seamus Fitzpatrick’s Mermaid V showed the J/109 fleet some proper Irish attitude and took second place whilst St Peter Port local superstars, Roger Martel and the crew of Moojo, climbed up to third place in class. Blue Jay, the J/109 of Greg Burgess won the North Sails Boat of the Day prize.

As the 350 J-Cup 2011 prize-giving party-goers took their seats at their dinner tables on Thursday night, everyone of course knew who had won each of the competing classes, and the champagne duly flowed freely. However, those who have never attended this epic event in the past were blissfully unaware of the sheer number and variety of seriously significant prizes and awards that were yet to be presented to a whole host of winners.

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing past rocks in EnglandAs supper commenced so did a game of ‘Heads and Tails’ the like of which most of us had never previously experienced. Ray and Scott (a specialist jeweller and diamond specialist on Guernsey) had arranged with Zenith Watches to offer a beautiful and extremely valuable Zenith Watch in response to donations from the J-Cup fleet for their chosen charity, Toe In The Water. Everyone present made a donation to Toe in the Water by way of an ‘entry fee’ to the game  and then 350 sailors stood on chairs to make their ‘heads or tails’ calls as the coin was tossed by Jeff Fox of Ray and Scott. After much hilarity, Paul England of the J/122 Majic won the Zenith Watch. However, the real winners here are the injured servicemen and women whom Toe in the Water help to rehabilitate through the sport of Sailing. Toe in the Water is £1773 better off today, thanks to the generosity of Zenith Watches, Ray and Scott and the J-Cup fleet. What a way to go!

J/109 one-design sailboats- sailing downwind at J-Cup Guernsey, EnglandThe presentation of the main prizes commenced at 2130 hours and all of those who had achieved third or better in their class were presented with silver, glass and goodies. The beautiful, silver Lombard J/97 UK National Championship Trophy was presented to Grant Gordon and his crew on Fever. The Dubarry Boot for Endurance went to Andrew Given and his crew from J/109 High Tension, long term stalwarts and supporters of the J/1089 fleet and Martin Pound of the J/92 Moby-J was presented with the Dubarry Boot for Outstanding Achievement. The Best Newcomer Trophy went to Stuart Sawyer and his Cornishmen on the J/97 Black Dog. The best two boat team was that of J/109 Victric and J/111 True Love and they took home the Musketeer Trophy, a double champagne ice bucket. Jackie Dobson and the crew from J/133 Jeronimo won the stunning Ray and Scott Prix d’Elegance Trophy. Universal Marina gave away a year’s free berthing at their exquisite facility at the top of the river Hamble to Jamie Arnell for his J/109 Jeez Louise, who was the eventual winner of their photo competition.

And so, that just left the presentation of the J-Cup itself, the overall and most coveted prize of the whole regatta. In ten years of running the J-Cup regatta, the J-Cup has never been awarded to the same boat or the same team, twice. It’s just a very simple piece of silverware but it embodies the soul of the J-Cup regatta and of the unique spirit of friendship, competition and camaraderie which exists between J Boat owners. The winners of the J-Cup in 2011 were Andy, Annie and the crew from Blackjack: for their win in IRC 2, for their support of the J/92 Class over the years and for their unfaltering friendship to all newcomers to the J Boat family. Isn’t that what our sport should be about?

The J-Cup 2012 will be hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble from Wednesday 18th July to Saturday 21st of July. You have to be in it, to win it.   For more J-Cup sailing informationSailing photo credits- Tim Wright/


Monday, July 25, 2011


J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing Fiesta Cup- Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA)-  During the third weekend of July, Santa Barbara gears up for a colorful celebration of its Mexican, Spanish and American pioneers, called the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, that lasts for a week and brings in people from all corners of California, if not America, Mexico and Europe.  Coincidentally, many boats from around Southern California arrive in town to join the party and also prepare and gear up for the popular Santa Barbara to King's Harbor Race- a mad reaching/running dash out around the Channel Islands to King's Harbor near Los Angeles.

J/105 Fiesta Cup- spirit and entertainmentAs a result, it's a popular week to be in Santa Barbara for Californians, nothing else is on the racing schedule, kids are out of school (or at camp) and "the Fiesta" becomes a popular destination for friends and family for some fun and frolic on the gorgeous American "Riviera" known as Santa Barbara (one of five cities in America that claim that same title).  The main drag in town, State Street, seemingly turns into another version of New Orleans's infamous Bourbon Street in the French Quarter with thousands celebrating into the wee hours of the night (learn more about it here-

J/105 one-design sailboat- Fiesta Cup party on beach at Santa Barbara YCSailors were greeted by the customary amazing hospitality from the host, Santa Barbara YC and were entertained for hours at the traditional beach party underneath the club's porch with free-flowing beer and margaritas as well as delicious tacos, enchiladas and other yummy Spanish-Mexican foods off the grills.  From the sailing perspective, the weather cooperated, too, with yet more of the region's renowned spectacular sailing conditions- sunny days, gentle warm breezes, cool water and great race management by SBYC's RC.  Liking the atmosphere and entertainment a lot are the SoCal J/105 sailors.  The J/105 fleet continues to grow for this event and is getting increasingly competitive.

This year, the eleven boat J/105 fleet had two great days of racing with westerlies blowing down the shoreline from 5 to 15 knots.  As usual, it was critical to get off the starting line, stay right upwind, avoid the big kelp lines (or force competitors into them!), and play the shifts as they come flying down off the bluffs on the right side of the course.

The four teams that made the migration north from San Diego YC were more competitive this year but were still no match for the local Santa Barbarian teams that swept the top three.

The racing was remarkably close for the top of the leader-board with the winners ultimately determined in the last race.  Four boats had a shot at winning, including three SBYC teams- Alex Rasmussen's FREE ENTERPRISE, John Demourkas' ROCKIN & GROOVIN, John Ziskind's PERFECT TIMING 2 and one SDYC team- Rick Goebel's  SANITY.

After the first three races on the first day of sailing, the top three were ROCKIN & GROOVIN with a 2-1-2, FREE ENTERPRISE with a 1-3-4 and third PERFECT TIMING 2 with a 4-6-1.

J/105 crew- Jon Ziskind, Heidi Ziskind and friendsSunday saw a fast turnover in the standings.  After the first two races, Johnny D's boys sailed to a 6-2 and Johnny Z's gang sailed to a 2-3.  As a result, it looked like it was going to be a stand-off duel at the OK Corral for these two teams to determine the winner of the regatta.  However, both teams either forgot, or ignored, the fact that Alex's FREE ENTERPRISE team also had a mathematical chance of winning, too.  As a result, in the 6th and final race of the regatta, the two Johnny's arm-wrestled themselves down into the dirt and way down the standings, with Demourkas getting the better of the two finishing 7th and Ziskind getting the short end of the stick and snagging a heart-stopping 9th!  Winning not only the last race and the regatta was Alex Rasmussen and Ted White's team on FREE ENTERPRISE!  Surprise! Losing the tie-breaker to Alex was Demourkas' ROCKIN & GROOVIN team.  Third was Ziskind's PERFECT TIMING 2 with 25 pts.  Rick Goebel's SANITY team nearly pulled off the ultimate coup by stealing third place, just missing despite being the only two race winner in the regatta with a 1-1-4 on the last day to finish 4th with 27 pts!  Watch out for the San Diego crowd next year, looks like they're figuring out the kelp patches and wind patterns in the Channel!

Thanks to all who donated their weekend to make it a successful regatta, Race Committee and volunteers and, especially, the sponsors including J/Boats Santa Barbara dealer Chandlery Yacht Sales managed by Bob and Ken Kieding, Harken, Ventura Boat Yard and sailing photos from Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing.  For more Fiesta Cup J/105 sailing results

J/109 BLUE STREAK Wins Lake Ontario 300

J/109 sailors wins Lake Ontario 300 35 Foot J's Clean Sweep IRC Overall/IRC 2/ PHRF 1! 
(Port Credit, Ontario, Canada)- It's not often that one brand can command clean sweeps in separate classes in two premiere Great Lakes offshore races in a single weekend.  But, that's exactly what happened.  Other than the Double-handers in the Chicago-Mac walking off the podium with all the pickle dishes, the 35 foot J's swept IRC Overall and IRC Class 2 and PHRF 1 in both the long course and Scotch Bonnet short course to take home all the silver.

J/109 Blue Streak winning Lake Ontario 300For starters, "congratulations" to Sperry Cup winner Robert Eckersley and the J/109 BLUE STREAK crew from Queen City Yacht Club, winning the not just the coveted Sperry Cup, but IRC 2 Class Overall.  Not only did they sail one heck of a race to beat their closest rivals, it was fellow J sailors who were giving them a run for all the marbles.  Just behind was the J/35 JEAGER sailed by Leszek Siek to get 2nd class and 2nd overall!  Then, as if to ice the competition altogether, the J/109 LIVELY sailed by Murray Gainer got 3rd class, 3rd overall!  Astonishing.  Awesome. Unprecedented?  Perhaps.  Then to add insult to injury to all their competitors, yet another J/109, Denys Jones's  CARPE VENTUS finished 4th class, 7th overall!

As if to prove their stablemates in IRC were not the only ones to show the fleet the way home, in PHRF 1 the J/35 SHORTHANDED sailed by Michael Pietz was also 1st class, 3rd overall!  Remarkable, nearly total domination of 35 foot J's in the long-course 300 mile Lake Ontario race.

J/35 sailboats starting Lake Ontario 300 sailing raceOn the shorter Scotch Bonnet Course, it was clear that yet another 35 foot J set the pace, to be the first boat into the marina after all had taken off the day before.  In PHRF 1, the J/35 ABRACADABRA sailed by Klaus Noack and team were not only first boat to finish in fleet, but 1st Class, 2nd overall!  In short, like their 35 foot counterparts on the Chicago-Mac, the Lake Ontario crowd also demonstrated why they are a force to be reckoned with offshore-- easy to sail and awfully damn fast in nearly all conditions on all points of sail.   For more Lake Ontario 300 sailing information   For full LO300 Sailing results

Sunday, July 24, 2011

J/111 KASHMIR Wins Epic Chicago-Mac Race!

J/111 sailing under 1a at sunset on Chicago Mackinac Race J's Sweep Double-handed Podium!
(Chicago, IL)- This year's Chicago to Mackinac Island 289 nm dash was a tale of two races, the "haves" (the big fast boats) and the "have nots" (the smaller boats).  For the 361 sailboats entered (about 1/3 J/Boats), the first 30 hours after the starts at noon Saturday were near postcard perfect, Chamber of Commerce sailing. No bugs, plenty of breeze from the right angle, a kindly sea-state, warm air and brightly colored spinnakers punctuating the horizon as far as the eye could see. Nothing broken about this picture at all-- yet.  However, about midnight Sunday/ early Monday the dogs came howling off their chains and the lights went out. At the time, the 18-22 knots southwest breezes saw a large part of the Mackinac fleet sailing on port gybe headed from the Point Betsie turning point up through the Manitou Island Straits and headed to Grey's Reef Lighthouse- a 50 mile stretch of water.  Then, all hell brook loose and the maelstrom struck. Sheet lighting started illuminating the sky and it became a mad scramble aboard most boats to get the spinnakers down and either batten-down the hatches (and crew) or hoist heavy-air sails and press-on regardless through the storm.

J/111 sailboat- sailing downwind during Chicago Mackina RaceSailing on the J/111 NO SURPRISE was legendary Great Lakes yachtsman (and winner of multiple Mac Races), Dave Irish from Harbor Springs, Michigan.  Dave's commentary is both insightful and helpful:  "The race started with 230 miles more or less of running, from light to over 20kts of warm and pleasant wind. In the higher wind, with good sea running, we heated the angle significantly up to 150-155 TWA, and using the waves, sailed at speeds in the teens. We made significant gains on boats sailing conventional downwind angles. Fun and active too.

The real story of the race was the weather at the north end of the lake. The whole middle of the fleet, maybe over 100 boats, were hit with severe weather in the middle of the night, which resulted in the loss of two lives.  My call is that we had a 60 knot hit. The wind would move your body, it was necessary to hold on. The big wind was preceded by an hour of incredible electrical activity. It was clear we were in for a "pasting", but as usual it is difficult to tell when it will hit, especially when it's pitch black outside, and in the meantime there was racing to be done.

As the inevitable neared we got the spinnaker off, the #3 jib on, and of course Spinlock deck-vests on with tethers. The wind came and the boat laid down, rig near but not in the water. Lots of white water in the air and no clear line between. I won’t claim actual control, but the boat took care of us until there was a little moderation and it was possible for the crew to move and act.

Chicago Mackinac finish line tentReefing: We have only one mainsail reef, and it is 2.5 meters deep, big enough to make a difference. So two crew members proceeded to pull in the reef, one easing the halyard (on a winch), and one grinding in the single reef line, (also on its own winch). We had opted for the Antal cars on the luff so that part of the sail was under control as well. It is just a routine operation to reef the boat in those conditions, with no-one outside the cockpit. I think we partially rolled the jib. But within a short period of time the boat was all snugged down and we were back at work sailing towards Grey's Reef.

I have known fear on the water, but not this time, and not in this boat (have sailed over 60 years).  The J/111 was amazing.  It was under us, did not demand that we do dangerous things to manage it, and only had to be taken out of race mode for a few minutes. This weekend we race the Lake Huron Mac race, the boat arrived in Port Huron last evening, and we are ready to go. Bring it on, we have the weapon to play this game!"

From another perspective was the team on the J/111 IMPULSE sailed by George Miz, Peter Dreher and Mark Hatfield.  Said George, "This boat certainly had the fun meter pegged in the 'red' all of Sunday afternoon on the Mac. We had 3 consecutive drivers hit 18+ kts in 20-25 kts of breeze and in full control. The boat just likes to go fast with none of the drama we've dealt with on previous boats (George is a former Farr 395 owner)."

Adding to George's commentary was Karl Brummel on KASHMIR, stating that "the boat was fantastic in a variety of conditions. Saturday we were doing 6-7 kts boat speed in 4-5 kts wind with Code Zero. Sunday we were killing it 10-15 kts downhill in 20-28 kts wind with the 2A asym up.  Sunday, after we went storming by a well-sailed Farr 395 at 11-15 kts boat speed/ 155-165 TWA, I said, 'We should have named this boat HORIZON JOB.'"

Mackinac BridgeDuring the early stages of the race, it was apparent the strategies that were unfolding for the sailors headed north were the following:  a) sail the classic rhumbline of 21 degrees from Chicago to Pt Betsie,  b) sail West and up the Illinois/ Wisconsin shoreline in a "thermal" scenario based on various forecasters prognostications, or c) toss everything out the window (ignore all forecasts) and sail at least as high as rhumbline and head east overnight to be on the eastern lake/ west Michigan shoreline to take advantage of southerly breezes accelerating along the shoreline due to the massive heating of the Michigan sand dunes during Sunday's sailing.  Post-race analysis showed the best scenario was a combination of the 1st and 3rd options-- a very bizarre circumstance considering the pre-race forecasts from leading offshore weather routers that recommended staying west of rhumbline and away from the middle of the lake at night!  The boats that worked further east saw more easterly breezes (75-110 degrees) with more pressure until it went light, swung south and accelerated Sunday morning.  The boats that worked west saw the forecasted SSW winds of 7 to 14 knots and sailed mostly 6.5 to 8.5 knots all night long (albeit on a much longer routing).

J/109 one-design sailboat- sailing Chicago Mackinac RaceOff the starting line for the J/111's it was clear the fleet was split on strategy as outlined in the 3 approaches to the race above.  KASHMIR sailed by the team of Brummel/Henderson/Mayer that won Class 3 started at the starboard end with a Code Zero and simply sailed down rhumbline and ultimately worked further east.  Near them was Steve Dabrowski's and Tom Edman's team on NIGHTHAWK that finished 7th.  Going north/northeast just west of rhumb was NO SURPRISE sailed by Dave Irish that finished 3rd, but Dave made it pay by sailing more aggressively downwind (as mentioned above) when the wind hit the high teens/ low twenties and they moved into "planing mode" to pass other boats like they were pylons on a race course.  Near them was Thomas and Carol McIntosh's team on MISTY that finished 10th, sailing a bit more conservatively than most and apparently not taking advantage of "planing mode" to make large gains.  Headed the most westward, heading due north after the start were MENTAL and IMPULSE.  MENTAL was sailed by Paul Stahlberg, Richie Stearns and father Dick Stearns, taking the northernmost route and finished 14th (modified based on a time award for helping with the rescue efforts of the capsized boat WINGNUTS).  IMPULSE, sailed by George Miz, Peter Dreher, Mark Hatfield started north, but bailed at Sheboygan and played gybe angles across the lake to Pt Betsie, ultimately sailing for over 80 nm on starboard gybe at speeds up to 18 knots before having to gybe down the Manitous Islands channel northeast of Pt Betsie, finishing 11th in class.

The story was much the same for most other classes as they all faced the same trade-offs.  In the J/105s, Marty Symond's PTERODACTYL was 1st, followed by Mark Gurney's BUZZ in 2nd, Clark Pellet's SEALARK for 3rd, Tom Petkus' VYTIS in 4th and Mark Nichols' CERTARE in 5th. A very strong class showing overall.

The J/109s had a tough fight for first overall. In the end, it was MERENGUE's David Southwell and Jack Dau 1st.  VANDA III's Jimmy Mitchell was 2nd, yet again getting top 3 division finish over multiple Mac's in a row.  Third was David Gustman's NORTHSTAR.  Fourth was Don Meyer's CERTAINLY and fifth was Peter Priede and Roy Stewart's FULL TILT.

J/105 sailboats sailing Chicago Mackinac Race doublehanded winnersThe Double-handed Division saw an epic performance by a group of 35 foot J's (seen right).  Amongst the three J/105s, OCH! (Brendon Docherty and Patrick Lindenhurst) won the class, followed by GONZO (Ken Ganch, David Pikowitz) in 2nd overall and PHANTOM (Scott Vukovich and John Kalanik) was 7th.  The J/29 TFWB RELENTLESS (George and Kimberly Petritz) was third overall and a J/35 NEMESIS (Timothy Kent and Dana Felton) was 8th.  A remarkable performance for these J sailors considering the challenging conditions for two people to race full-on for 289 nautical miles.

Section 1 had the J/125 and J/145 speedsters (seen below).  They saw the right conditions for outright speed and they took advantage of that fact, sailing their fastest possible VMC angles while headed up the track to Pt Betsie.  The J/125 JEANINE III sailed by Jack Roeser was 6th and the two J/145s, Bill Schanen's bright red MAIN STREET finished 4th and Chris Saxton's VORTICES was 5th.

Section 2 saw the J/133 RENEGADE sailed by Thom Papoutsis finish 12th.  Also sailing in this tough group were two J/130s, Pete Stott's SALSA that finished 14th and Doug Petter's WILLIE J that sailed well to get 8th.

Also sailing in Section 3 with the J/111s was Mitch Padnos' beautiful J/124 SUFFICIENT REASON, getting 5th in a very tough class--- as we said before, this team sails hard, fast and have fun doing it!

J/145 sailboat- Main Street sailing Chicago Mackinac RaceAmongst the Section 4 fleet were four J/120s, including Matthew Songer's PERSEVERANCE that ended up a well-deserved 2nd, Tim Matheson and Glen Estill's ELUSIVE was 7th and Robert Klairmont's SIROCCO 2 was 12th.  Included amongst the 120s was the J/46 WINDRUSH sailed by George Hender, sailing perhaps more comfortably than all of us put together to get a respectable 11th in class.

Section 6 was the "J/35 class" and, sure enough, the "clowns" led everyone home.  Bruce Metcalf's BOZO'S CIRCUS was 2nd, leading the other J/35s.  Larry Taunt's BAD DOG was 7th, Larry Schell's TOUCH OF GREY was 10th and Jack Andree's HOUQUA was 16th.  The J/100 JUST MESSIN sailed by Adam Esselman was 4th.

For the Section 7 gang, you just can't keep a good woman down.  Yet again sailing a great race was the J/110 LADY K sailed by Mike Stewart to a well-earned 4th overall.

Finally, in Section 9 the two J/30s had a rough go considering the storm elements.  Nevertheless, persevering like their Disney movie namesakes, RAFIKI's Greg & Stephanie Moll from Milwaukee, WI finished 6th while INNISFREE's John Nesling from Toronto, ONT ended up 13th overall.  For more Chicago-Mackinac Race sailing information

J/109 3rd- AF Offshore/ Round Gotland Runt Race

J/109 sailing in Sweden (Stockholm, Sweden) - The J/109 MATADOR sailed by Jonas Grander from the Royal Swedish YC (KSSS) finished third in SRS Bravo Class after sailing the 364 nm race course.  The Gotland Runt race is considered the Baltic Sea's premier offshore race for most sailors in norther Europe and Scandinavia.

It was one of the fastest around Gotland Island races in a long time.  As always, the difficulty is the capricious wind. Sometimes the wind is strong and steady, and other times there's nothing.  The goal for all the boats is to keep running the boat and not park too often.  The first part of the race was fast, but then came the doldrums soon after rounding the southern tip of Gotland.  For more AF Offshore/ Gotland Runt sailing results

J-Sailing Fun- Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge

J/111 sailing Screwpile Race/ Solomons Island Race J/111, J/105s, J/109s, J/80s Summer Fun on Chesapeake
(Solomon's Island, Maryland)- Every summer, sailors on the Chesapeake Bay all look forward to one of their favorite summer time classics, the Solomon's Island Race that takes you 55 miles down the Chesapeake from Annapolis to Solomon's Island. That race is then followed by four days of racing around the buoys for even more fun and frolic.

This year, the combination of extreme heat, mushy fronts and lighter winds tested the mettle of even the more hardened Chesapeake Bay sailors-- a rare breed to say the least.

It was on Friday night of last week when Eastport Yacht Club started the 120 boats competing in the 31st edition of their annual point-to-point race from Annapolis to Solomons Island in Maryland. With a healthy fleet spread among PHRF and one design classes, it would seem to make this overnight race a success. And based on this report by Bryn from APS, it may be popular because of the attitude...even on grand prix boats.  Said Bryn, "Five minutes before the start of the 2011 Solomons Island Race, the crew on-board Yellow Jacket were busy cooking up burgers so they'd be "smoking gas and on fire at the start"!  Literally!  They were clearly having a bit too much fun."

J/80s sailing Screwpile regattaThe wind gods were kind for the 55-mile trek down the Bay. A steady southerly breeze kept the fleet upwind the entire race. The fleet were guided by a full moon that may or may not have caused a little craziness on board some boats.  About nine hours after the start, some of the leaders reached Solomons.  North Point Yacht Sales friends and staff enjoyed a great night of racing on the J/111 VELOCITY. The team finished with impressive 3rd place in the PHRF 1 Division with a great fleet of competitors.

For the J/80's present at the 2011 Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge: John White, Angry Chameleon, White Lightnin', Dragonfly, Rakali & Mango battled it out on the water for 1st in an exciting 3 day event, proving that the J/80's know how to sail fast and have fun.

For more Screwpile Light Challenge and Solomons Island Race sailing information

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mexican J/24 Sailor Lorenzo Berho 2nd Transpac!

Lorenzo Berho- J/24 sailor racing Transpac on big boat* Lorenzo Berho- a Mexican J/24 and former J/145 owner sailed the 70 foot PELIGROSO in the Transpac Race this year.  Being the unflappable gentleman that he is as both a sailor, a person and as a competitive racer, it was more than amusing to hear about Lorenzo's spectacular finish off Diamond Head, Hawaii.  As described by Kimball Livingston who was present as it all happened---

"Another hundred yards and it would have been right out of the movies, the A4 spinnaker blowing up dead-on the finish line of an eight day race. But, she blew a hundred yards short, and PELIGROSO finished Transpac 2011 under the main that had been reefed since the night before, when that sail blew out in a gybe. Then, they blew big time, both of them-- at the finish!  We can honestly report there was no apparent dampening of spirits aboard.  Sorry, we don't have that shot, or at least, not yet.

Mexican J sailors celebrating 2nd in Transpac aboard Berho's 70 footerThe PELIGROSO crew was the second to arrive at Ala Wai Harbor and the first to tie up on Transpac Row-- the crew sang for the waiting crowd before they stepped ashore. According to navigator Ben Mitchell, they sang all the way across, 2,225 measured miles, from Los Angeles to Honolulu!

Once ashore and into the party tent, it was not long before young Eduardo Saenz - third generation sailor from the Club de Yates de Acapulco - fielded a bottle of rather fine tequila for the boat's owner, Lorenzo Berho, and that kicked off a round of 'put your head back, open, I'll do the pouring' celebration.

Lorenzo, grateful for his youth sailing and J/24 sailing in his early racing career, recognized the need to support youth sailing.  As part of his long-term interest in supporting youth sailing, Lorenzo bought PELIGROSO to bring big-boat racing to the talented youth of Mexico, and at second in Division One of the 46th Transpacific Yacht Race, it would appear he's moved the ball."  Sailing photo credits- Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing and Kimball Livingston/ Blue Planet Times.

J/105 Sailor Ken Colburn Wins Swan 42s!

* Congratulations to long-time J/105 sailor Ken Colburn for winning the Swan 42 US Nationals.  As a result, his team qualify to represent the New York YC in the upcoming NYYC Invitational Cup!  And, thanks also to ED's friends Jack and Bob Slattery for helping Ken get across the finish line as his tacticians in grand fashion, themselves accomplished J/22, J/24 and J/105 champion sailors.

Noteworthy was that dominating the leader board in the Swan 42 Nationals were J/105 and J/80 sailors who've cut their teeth on tough one-design competition sailing various J's.  Second was Phil Lotz from Newport sailing ARETHUSA who learned one-design racing in offshore boats on J/105s, winning a number of regattas over time.  Fourth was J/80 World Champion and J/105 North American Champion Glenn Darden from Ft Worth, Texas sailing HOSS.  Fifth was Jim Madden's STARK RAVING MAD IV who's won class in the Bermuda Race on his J/65 and also numerous Key West and West Coast events sailing his J/125 STARK RAVING MAD III.

The NYYC's Harbour Court will host 22 yacht club teams - representing 16 nations from six different continents - with racing on NYYC Swan 42s September 10-17.  As has been demonstrated for the American NYYC representative, there are several foreign teams that have champion J/22, J/24 and J/80 teams on-board as tacticians and skippers-- should be an interesting fireworks display of top corinthian skippers and tacticians in September!

Mackinac Race Tragedy- Condolences

J/109 Realt Na Mara Chicago Mackinac storm video* As sailors, the J/Family's hearts go out to the friends and family of Mark Morely and Suzanne Bickel, both of whom drowned in an unfortunate incident in this past weekend's Chicago-Mackinac Race.  Both were highly regarded and loved in their community in Saginaw, Michigan.  Our heartfelt condolences to all and best wishes and prayers go out to the families of those who were lost.

Answering the "call of duty" to a Channel 16 emergency/ distress call were several J/Teams- including the J/111 MENTAL sailed by Paul Stahlberg and Richie and Dick Stearns as well as the J/109 REALT NA MARA sailed by Tom and Joe Londrigan. Tom and Joe's crew member, Greg Alm was wearing a helmet cam about the time at 12:40 a.m. Monday, when the storms capsized the winged Kiwi 35 WINGNUTS, and two of the eight crew members drowned (Mark and Suzanne).  Alm describes the scene in the description that accompanied the video on YouTube:  "Here's edited footage shot from a helmet camera aboard the J/109 REALT NA MARA during the 2011 Chicago to Mackinac Race in 50-60+ knots. The worst of the storm hit just after midnight which made bolts of lightning our only light source. The evening's weather reports indicated winds were not expected to exceed 30 knots. As the wind built, our tack line exploded; we were knocked down immediately and stayed horizontal from winds of 54 knots for about 15 minutes. Shortly after being knocked down, with no steerage, lightning flashed and another boat, just to weather, without sails was planing right towards us. Thankfully, they managed to alter course and avoid a collision. Once the winds calmed a bit, lights shined on our boat followed by the release of an emergency flare. We approached the vessel we now think was SOCIABLE who was first at the scene of the capsized WINGNUTS. They told us there were 8 people in the water. We began searching the area immediately. In a short period of time, more than a dozen boats were at the site; and, after about 45 minutes, the rescue helicopter joined the search as well." Greg's video is compelling.  Note, it's exactly what the ED's team on the J/111 IMPULSE saw, too, 52-63 knot winds over the deck, Zeus's' lightning bolts thrown everywhere, horizontal sheets of water blowing across the deck and 4-6 foot wave tops blown flat by violent winds (not 100 knots, but easily 50 to 60 knots plus winds).   You can see the J/109's REALT NA MARA YouTube video here