Monday, August 29, 2011

The DREAM J/109 Europeans

J/109 one-design sailboats- sailing Europeans in EnglandHusband-Wife Teams Sweep Podium
(Dartmouth, England)- Perhaps the J/109 Europeans could've been a formula for domestic tranquility.  After all, since when did any class, of any kind, board, dinghy, keelboat, catamaran or log powered-by-palm-branch ever, ever have three couple teams (husband/ wife) all sweep the top three in a continental event?  Can't think of one.

For starters, following on their earlier success in the 2011 J/109 UK Nationals in May, the J/DREAM team lead by David & Kirsty Apthorp simply proved yet again that a season of up and down results in events such as the Warsash Spring Series and Cowes Week only lead to better outcomes.  Focusing on the J/109 Europeans was part of their overall program and their exemplary performance against formidable competition was especially sweet.  The fact that Ben Ainslie, multiple Olympic Gold Medallist and ISAF World Sailor of the Year was aboard one of their competitors for a day didn't phase them one bit.  In fact, if anything it galvanized the J-DREAM team to become the "dream team".  The record speaks for itself- Dave and Kirsty's team managed to score a remarkable six 1sts and three 2nds on their way to winning the J/109 Europeans by 7.5 points.

J/109 sailboats- sailing off EnglandNot to be outdone by any stretch of the imagination was another former National Champion VELVET ELVIS (Adam & Helen Wright) who are fresh from their success at Cowes Week and twice National Champions.  The Wright's velvety smooth, sharp, very intelligent and fast sailors managed to hang tough for most of the event but simply didn't have the edge or speed to overcome the Apthorp's well-oiled machine.  As it was, the "ELVIS" got two 1sts and four 2nds on their way to a very well-deserved second overall for 19.5 points.

Yet another husband/ wife team led by Mike and Sarah Wallis sailed JAHMALI to one of their best regatta scores ever!  Finishing third in this incredibly talented fleet is quite an achievement.  And, scoring three 1sts and three 3rds on their way to a total score of 28 points is simply awesome!  And, the coupe'd'grace?  Mike and Sarah sailed with three husband/wife couples-- now that's domestic tranquility, or so we believe?

Ben Ainslie sailing J/109 Europeans on Jet/JP MorganOf special note were the fact that 2010 Euro Champion BLUEJAY (Greg Burgess) who were keen to defend their title sailed especially well and managed to garner a fourth overall-- perhaps next time he'll bring along his significant "other" as good luck?  Finally, on Friday with eyes on the J/109 JET/ JP MORGAN with Britain's most successful Olympic sailor aboard, Ben Ainslie, Ben simply proved that he could help even good club racers-- taking a team that had been scoring in the bottom half of the fleet and helping them sail into the top five on Friday with a score of 3-8-7!  Pretty cool, eh?  Well, Ben's a pretty cool guy to start with and a talented sailor to boot.   For more J/109 Europeans sailing information    For more Ben Ainslie Sailing Team info     Sailing Photo credits- Ginny Campbell

Sunday, August 28, 2011

PEREGRINE Flies Thru J/120 North Americans

J/120 racer-cruiser sailboats- sailing upwind New York Invasion Eclipses Californians!
(San Francisco, CA)- Hosted by the oldest yachting organization on the West Coast (perhaps even oldest west of the Mississippi River!), the gorgeous San Francisco YC in Belvedere, CA ensured the J/120 fleet in attendance for the J/120 North American Championships were well taken care of, most especially with some awesome racing on San Francisco Bay.

The sailors were not disappointed, with two good days of racing, the local "townies" were having to contend with a strong contingent of "out-of-towners" that were learning the Bay's capricious ways quite radically fast.  Remarkably, a bunch of New Yorkers decided to head West and have some fun sailing in the gorgeous San Francisco Bay, renowned for nuclear wind conditions in the middle of summer where it's quite possible to get hypothermia sitting on the weather rail in a bikini or simple bathing suit!  Sunny it is, but those cold waters from the Japanese Current whistling down the West Coast, and drawn into the Bay each day (at a steady 3-5 knots!), just ensure those un-initiated sailors that it really can be damn cold in the Bay in August (wind chill can easily hit in the 30s F!).  Nevertheless, undaunted and totally un-intimidated, the New York team of David Halliwill from Center Island, NY sailed their magnificent bird PEREGRINE to a remarkable 3-3-1-1-1 for a total of 9 pts to win by seven points!  Fast bird she was, eh?!

Holding up the fort for the local boys was John Wimmer's DESDEMONA sailing to a 4-1-6-3-2 for 16 pts to secure second overall.  Just off the pace behind them was Steve Madeira's team on MR MAGOO sailing for Downeast Maine's Northeast Harbor Fleet, sailing to a 2-5-4-4-3 tally for 18 pts to get third overall.

Commenting on San Francisco Bay's conditions, John said "Winds were between 10 and 22 knots over the course of each day, with Sunday showing earlier and stronger breeze build, it was fabulous sailing."

For those of you interested in some great, college-style, close big-boat racing, you can't beat this fleet.  Of course, the J/105 guys will argue their case, but the J/120s are certainly having a lot of fun in the Bay.  There is a J/120 available for charter if you and your crew would like a change of venue.  Please contact John Wimer at if interested!!  Go for it, you won't be disappointed.  Still time to sail in the Rolex Big Boat Series!  For more J/120 NA's sailing information.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rolex Big Boat Preview

J/125 sailing Rolex Big Boat Series Strong J/125, J/120 and J/105 Turnout
(San Francisco, CA)- This year's Rolex Big Boat Series is hosting a Fast Forties Class, including the venerable J/125s against some of the latest boats off renowned designers drawing boards.  Says Regatta Chairman Norm Davant, "it's providing a division where boats of similar characteristics can race together just makes sense, especially when it has been proven time and again that the rating systems work very well under these circumstances."

Viggo Torbensen (Laguna Beach, Calif.) is making his way up from Southern California to compete against Northern California rivals in the Fast Forties Class in what will be one of his first major regattas since purchasing the J/125 TIMESHAVER a few months ago. "This will be my first time sailing on the Bay," said Torbensen. "I’ve sailed in Rolex Regattas before, and it is just immense fun with unbelievable organization behind it. This particular regatta is dominated by the local guys, and we are excited to step up and meet some new competition."

Since purchasing TIMESHAVER, Torbensen has focused mainly on offshore sailing. 'We do very well with boat handling, and our team is experienced. During long legs we rock out super-fast downwind, but buoy racing is different,' said Torbensen. 'Thirty percent of your race is right at the start, and one mistake can cost everything.'  Other J/124s entered in the Fast Forties currently are Richard Ferris’s (Tahoe City, Calif.) J/125 AUGUST ICE, Tim Fuller’s (Murrieta, Calif.) J/125 RESOLUTE and Andy Costello's (Point Richmond, CA) band of local speed merchants racing the beautifully refinished shiny silver J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE.

J/105 one-design sailboat- sailing San Francisco Big Boat SeriesIncluded in the large one-design fleets are the J/105 and J/120 classes, traditionally always some of the largest fleets participating at Rolex Big Boat Series.  Leading the charge in the nineteen boat strong J/105 class, by far the largest and most competitive one-design keelboat class at Rolex BBS, will be a number of previous Rolex Big Boat Rolex Submariner watch winners and top three finishers, including Bruce Stone's ARBITRAGE, Scooter Simmon's BLACKHAWK, Rolf Kaiser's DONKEY JACK, Phil Laby's GODOT and Adam Spiegel's JAM SESSION.  Notably missing are some of the top J/105 teams from Santa Barbara, San Diego and Long Beach, California.  In the J/120s, it's anybody's guess as to who's going to lead this extremely competitive pack home this year as the boats are so incredibly evenly matched.  Look for the following boats to be amongst the leaders, Steve Madeira's MR MAGOO, Barry Lewis' CHANCE, John Wimer's DESDEMONA and Don Payan's DAYENU.  It's often the case that several J/120s finish overlapped as they slide into the StFYC finish line off their famous deck, pretty darn good competition for such a modest fleet.

The Rolex Big Boat Series annually attracts many world-caliber sailors, all of whom are eager to win one of the six specially engraved Rolex timepieces given to winners of the St. Francis Yacht Club’s Perpetual Trophies. From its inception, the Rolex Big Boat Series has showcased top sailing talent and boats.  From the glory days of SORC, IOR and IMS to today’s Grand Prix and One Design classes, the Rolex Big Boat Series continues to be the West Coast’s premier regatta where the best of the best meet for four days of challenging racing.    For more Rolex Big Boat Series sailing information

J/122 NUTMEG IV Wins Fastnet Race IRC 2A

J/122 sailboat- sailing past Fastnet Rock- Fastnet Race 2011- Nutmeg VI France J/111 J-XCENTRIC 3rd IRC Doublehanders
(Cowes, IOW, England)- This year's Rolex Fastnet Race provided the sailors plenty of drama but mostly of the anxiety-inducing kind associated with watching enormous leads evaporate into thin-air while sitting at anchor, in no wind, and watching the night horizon behind you growing into an armada or red and green lights descending upon you like locusts!

As we said earlier, for those who love the 608 nm traverse offshore of southwestern England and southern Ireland, the 2011 race delivered on all counts. It proved a hugely tactical race and competitors fought for speed in a whole variety of conditions from 30 knots of breeze through to what was a complete shut-down in the pressure. Extraordinarily frightening for some, gut wrenchingly frustrating for others, incredibly rewarding for those who got it right.

The J/122 NUTMEG IV, owned and raced by Francois Lognone and his crew were the top J overall in the Fastnet 2011. As a seasoned offshore campaigner, it's a well deserved and hard fought result for the French skipper and crew of this forty footer. Their 8th IRC overall translates to 3rd in IRC 2 Division and 1st in IRC 2A Class! Another J/122, Neil Kipling’s JOOPSTER finished 16th place in IRC Overall and 5th in IRC 2A.  By virtue of this strong showing in the Fastnet Race, Neill's JOOPSTER now leads the RORC Season Points Championship in IRC 2!

Yves Grosjeans’s bright red forty-three foot J/133 JIVARO was just a few steps behind in 20th place overall and 5th IRC 1B.  Another J/133, Angus Bates' ASSARAIN IV was 27th IRC Overall and 9th in IRC 1B.

J/111 sailboat- sailing past Fastnet Rock in Fastnet RaceThe J/111s sailed fast, but the real issue for them has been whether or not they went fast in the wrong direction too quickly.  For the IRC Doublehanded class, the J/111 team on J-XCENTRIC, the Dutch team of John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef finishing first boat-for-boat on elapsed and finished 3rd in class.  At the time they anchored just 200 meters from the finish line in an adverse current and no wind, the J/111 J-XCENTRIC had been winning its class for 99% of the race!! This was their first Rolex Fastnet Race and Van de Starre said he was impressed: "This is a great challenge of tactics, handling and everything. There is so much in it - I had a really good experience. Racing double-handed is about management - everything has to work well, you need a good autopilot, all the preparation in advance should be perfect, and we had it very well organised." Read more about Robin's and John's epic story below in the J/community section.

Second boat to cross in the Doublehanded Class happened to be the J/120 NUNATAK sailed by Mike Jaques and crew.  NUNATAK ultimately finished 12th on corrected.  Perhaps the biggest story of the Doublehanded Class, other than the near-certain win by J-XCENTRIC was the remarkable come-back and amazing sailing by the family team on the J/97 JIKA-JIKA, a great offshore bonding experience (we're sure) for both Mike and Jamie Holmes! JIKA-JIKA sailed to a hard-earned 5th in class against some long-time veteran offshore teams. Some of their "Tweets" were amusing on the RORC website.  Just behind this group were some of those veteran J/105 campaigners, with Niki Curwen and Alex Adams finishing 16th on their J/105 VOADOR. Just behind them in 17th was Nick Martin's DIABLO-J, currently 4th in the RORC Offshore Season Points Championship in the Doublehanded Class (VOADOR is now up to 5th).
For more Rolex Fastnet Race sailing information

Bubbly For JELLY BABY @ J/105 UK Nationals

J/105s one-design sailboat- sailing UK Nationals in England (Yarmouth, England)- The 2011 J/105 UK National Championship took place as part of the Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta in Yarmouth over the weekend of the 20th and 21st of August. Five races were scheduled for the weekend with games due to commence on Saturday morning, and a wise J/105 fleet, cognicsent of the rather generous champagne sponsor, decended on the Royal Solent Yacht Club on Friday night, for some serious race preparations and, of course, the Taittinger Reception.

The first three races of the Championship were sailed on Saturday in a very light and extraordinarily shifty breeze from 4 to 12 knots. The Committee Boat was anchored off Lymington and was delighted to welcome an extra J/105 to the fleet just 30 minutes ahead of the first warning signal: James Heald’s Flawless J raced from the Fastnet finish (double-handed division of course) straight to the startline of the National Championship! Races 1 and 3 belonged to William Newton’s Jelly Baby, a team from Lymington so racing here in her ‘home’ waters. Another local helm, Malcolm Thorpe of Yarmouth racing King Louie won the second race of the day. The chat at the Class Dinner on Saturday night was all about the benefit of local knowledge and the fastest way to cure a Champagne hangover!

Professor Roger Williams racing Jos of Hamble clearly kept himself and his family crew ‘nice’ on Saturday night and stole the first bullet of the day on Sunday morning in Race 4. Professor Williams has been racing J Boats for many years and clever tactics coupled with good crew work keep him out at the front of the fleet. Race 5 was won by James Heald, fresh from the Fastnet.

So five races, four different winners and some really close and exciting racing, meaning that just one point separated the first four boats in the fleet as the J/105 UK National Championship drew to a close on Sunday afternoon! After several re-counts, copious checking of discards, count-backs and of the final points scores, William Newton’s team on Jelly Baby emerged as the new J/105 UK National Champions. Jos of Hamble was second and King Louie was third. All in all, a great regatta, in a beautiful venue and with a superbly generous sponsor: Team Jelly Baby were presented with a magnum of Taittinger Champagne to accompany the J/105 UK National Championship Trophy.  For more J/105 Taittinger UK Nationals sailing information

KASHMIR Eclipses J/111s Verve Cup

J/111 sailboat- one-design sailing winners- Kashmir J/35 AFTERSHOCK Shocks ORR 3, J's Sweep Level 132s
(Chicago, IL)- As one of the only major offshore regattas held in America during the month of August, Chicago YC's Verve Cup has developed as a world-class event, attracting over 3,000 national and international sailors on 240+ boats.  The fleet was greeted by three days of challenging weather, typical for Lake Michigan at this time ofyear.

Making the most of it was the team of Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson and Mike Mayer on the J/111 KASHMIR, sailing to a 1-2-2-1-3-1 to win the J/111 class with 10 pts.  Dave Irish's NO SURPRISE gave them a strong run for roses, but came up short, managing to get a 2-1-3-2-4-2 for a cumulative score of 14 pts.  The competition for the last podium finish was tight, with Paul Stahlberg's bright red MENTAL getting the edge with a 6-3-1-5-2-4 scoreline for 21 pts, just beating out Ed Dabrowski's NIGHTHAWK for fourth with a 5-4-4-3-1-5 tally for 22 pts.  Fifth was Tom and Carol McIntosh's MISTY with 28 pts.

J/109 one-design sailing cruising boat- sailing Verve CupThe J/109s had solid racing, too, with David Gustman on NORTHSTAR winning with five 1sts and one 3rd for a total of just 8 pts!  That's both a spanking and a "schooling" of their colleagues, fellow competitors are still trying to determine where the newfound speed and tactical brilliance arose since the SW NOOD Regatta!  Second was Lenny Siegal's LUCKY DUBIE 2 hanging tough, but not tough enough, to get five 2nds and one 3rd for 14 pts overall.  The SW NOOD regatta winner, Kevin Saedi's MOMENTOUS sailed a nice series and hung on for third with a 3-1-2-3-4-3 record for 16 pts.

As the biggest one-design class at the regatta, the J/105s always have strong, spirited competition and this year's event featured several new faces near the top of the pack.  Winner this year was Clark Pellett on SEALARK with a 3-1-1-2-3-2 record for 12 pts.  Second was Dorin Candea's MESSY JESSY with 19 pts and third was class newcomer on the newly "resurrected" red boat called CRASH TEST DUMMIES, sailed by Richie and Lori Stearns.

J/109 cruiser racer sailboat- sailing under spinnakerIn the ORR 3 handicap, the J/35s simply blitzkrieged their handicap class, finishing 1-2.  The winner was Bill Newman's J/35 AFTERSHOCK, winning with six straight firsts for 6 total pts!  Second was Bruce Metcalf's J/35 BOZO'S CIRCUS with 19 pts.

Over in the PHRF Level 132 class, three J's swept the division.  Led by the J/27 TRUE NORTH skippered by Dan Arntzen, Dan's team also managed the perfect scoreline like their J/35 big brothers, getting six 1st for 6 pts.  Second was the J/30 AWESOME sailed by Team Chi Nola and third was yet another J/30 PLANXTY sailed by the couple team of Kate and Dennis Bartley.

The CYC PRO's did a great job getting the regatta off in the crazy weather that swept the fleet over the three days.  On Friday, they managed to get in three races. The race committee postponed the start for nearly an hour waiting for the wind to build. The wind was east to east southeast most of the day, building slightly from three to five, to seven to nine knots.  On the second day, things were a bit more challenging, with changing winds, rain and thunderstorms leading to a significant postponement, with two circles completing one race each and Circle C completing no races.  On the final day of racing the weather cooperated as did the sailors.  It was a gorgeous day of racing and by the end the fleet was sailing home under full sun and half moon - what a beautiful day to be on the water. Circle C managed to pull off 3 perfect races. The wind was strong in the morning from the Northeast for the first and second race (a classic scenario after the large fronts on Saturday), shifting persistently to the right all day. The day's racing started on the course at 330 degrees and ended the last race at 035 degrees.  For more Verve Cup sailing information

Odenbach Grabs J/24 NA Title

J/24 Northamericans- one-design sailboat sailing around mark (Halifax, Nova Scotia)- As everyone hoped for, the weather cooperated to give this year's J/24 North American Championships some gorgeous sailing in a simply spectacular sailing venue.  The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron pulled out all the stops and ensured the forty-plus J/24 teams in attendance had an absolutely fabulous time both on and off the water.  With masterful race management by RNSYS's RC/ PRO teams, the races went off well, keeping the aggressive J/24 teams in check (most of the time!) and providing all the sailors a great regatta.

At the end of the day, the early race leaders had a tough time hanging on to their top spots.  Like the proverbial Phoenix arising from the ashes, sailing a strong second half of the series was Travis Odenbach, sailing his J/24 WATERLINE SYSTEMS to a total of 30 points, narrowly beating out current J/24 champion John Mollicone on 11TH HOUR RACING who finished with 31 points.  And, just behind them applying enormous amounts of pressure on the two leading crews was none other than current J/24 World Champion, Mauricio Santa Cruz sailing his famously named BRUSCHETTA to 36 points (who in turn beat Will Welles's CAROLINA GIRL team on tie-breaker)-- the outcome really did come down to the last race!

Here are the reports from the three days of racing.

J/24 one-design sailboat- Maurizio Santa Cruz Bruschetta sailing past markDay One-  The first day of racing is over at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and I’ m proud to say that I can pick a winner when I see one. The only non-North American in the event, the Brazilian crew of Bruschetta has led the way with a perfect sheet of three wins in three races.

From my perspective, handling the string pulling responsibilities on Airborne, I have had glimpses of Bruschetta in every race. She is fast but, much more important, her crew know how to handle her. Airborne, which has been renamed Stix and Stones for the regatta and to protect her resale value, is in 19th and Bruschetta has crossed behind us a couple of times. It doesn’t last long though because the Brazilians know where to tack as well as how to. Each smooth turn launches them into clear air at top speed. A couple of those and they are soon out on their own with Tim Healy and a couple of others snapping at their heels.

Tim Healy is giving a healthy chase. He recorded a couple of seconds in the first two races and added a third in the last race of the day. Also in the running are Will Welles from South Carolina (I saw a palmetto on her stern and I happen to know the state tree of South Carolina) and Tony Parker from Annapolis both of whom had steady top five finishes. Ted Bartlewski of Toronto is the top Canadian in sixth.

Exposure to all these come from aways is revealing to the locals. We have several current and past Canadian Champions registered from Atlantic Canada but the competition is tough. The top local boat is Sticky Fingers helmed by current Canadian Champ, Johnny Whynacht of Lunenburg, who is holding down seventh place. Lisa Ross in Stewie Slamn’it in 29 Seconds or Slam for short rounded the windward mark with the lead in the second race and posted creditable finishes all three times out to put herself and regatta Chair Dale Robertson in ninth.

As we learned at the Canadians last year, one day of dominance is no guarantee but a three-way tie for first, like we had last year, is looking pretty remote. The Brazilians and their brand new boat looked awesome today and it will take quite an effort from Tim Healy or one of the other contenders to reel them in.

The weather today was excellent. The sun shone as predicted and the wind rose to a steady 15 kts from the southwest, also as forecast. Solid for fast sailing but a fair test for everyone involved. Predictions for tomorrow and Saturday are similar, promising good conditions for Bruschetta to continue to shine and others to make whatever challenge they can mount.

J/24 one-design sailboats- sailing to starting lineDay 2- The second day of the J24 North Americans on Halifax Harbour taught a couple of good lessons. One is that no one is invincible, another is that you can only be lucky for so long.

For many this morning dawned a bit too early. Plenty went to Durty Nelly’s last night and quite a few, whether they were in the pub or not, seemed to be surprised to find that the schedule called for racing to begin at 10:30 am as opposed to the 11:30 am start used on the first day. Having cruised downtown on Dale Robertson’s massive Isle of Cumbrae with the crews of Durty Nelly and Slam, I should have been among the worst but I was the first among the crew of Stix and Stones to come to the realization (my wife Lorna pointed it out).  Several phone calls and a bunch of hustling got us all together a bit after 9:30 and with several projects leftover from last night, we were the last to pull out from the dock right behind Durty Nelly herself.

As good race committees do, Jay Hooper’s crew were out past McNab’s Island well ahead and did not waste any time getting down to things. The wind was lightish from the southwest and the five-minute sequence started within minutes of 10:30 leaving us a solid minute away when the start gun went. Only the even more unfortunate Spar Wars was behind us. With clarity of purpose that inevitably comes when most of your options are eliminated, we set out to the righthand side of the course and banged the corner for all we were worth. For once, a good decision, as we were soon crossing boats and then reaching the windward mark within sight — for heavens sakes – of Bruschetta, who had gone left and, for once, were not in first. Our skipper, Erik Koppernaes, who is a sailing contrarian if ever there was one, then came up with the brilliant stroke of eschewing the gybe sets  taken by the top end of the fleet and continuing to the left from the offset  mark. Several sharp sailors behind us in the jumbled fleet such as Tony Parker in Bangor Packet and Craig Noakes in Ian Dawson’s Lightning McQueen followed so I figured it must make some sense and lo and behold it did. When we gybed we were up with the leaders in what appeared to be significantly better pressure. For a while I thought we might actually get through the leeward gate in first but I was happy enough when we rounded in sixth, ahead of Bruschetta.

We dropped as low as twelfth from there but pulled off another downwind coup to finish up seventh, while Bruschetta fell to eleventh. I took a couple of pictures of her finishing behind us for posterity. Our next two races were more in character, a 20th, which is our average finish, and a 25th brought on by a broken genoa tack shackle, that amply reflects the state of readiness that you can get a J24 into if you start preparations during lunch hour the day before the regatta and the point at which our luck ran out.

Enough, in any case, about my experiences, which don’t figure significantly in the actual story of the regatta. What our day on Stix and Stones does illustrate, however, is that today was a day for nearly every dog. It was light and shifty in the first race, light to medium and persistently backing in the second race, and all over the damn place in a rising breeze for the third and final race.

Just like last year’s Canadians here in Halifax, the first day leaders in Bruschetta came to earth, with three finishes that would leave us delirious on Stix and Stones, but were not enough to keep them in the lead. The new front runner is the World Champion I forgot, Tim Healy of Newport, Rhode Island. Tim’s 11th Hour Racing recorded two threes followed by a bullet to move four points up on the Brazilians with one drop race. Also having a good day was Travis Odenbach in Waterline Systems, who won the first race of the day and then knocked down a five and a six.

On the whole, the fleet bunched up considerably. Like Stix and Stones many local boats punched into the top ten for a race or two. The outstanding performer of the day was the Squadron’s own Ted Murphy, who is weighed down by several aging friends of mine including his Uncle Mat, who is the club’s Commodore. Ted racked up a 10, 2, 10 record and moved into tenth overall. Another notable performance was by Thomas Barbeau in, who was the first to the huge port tack lift the settled the day’s second race halfway up the first leg. Thomas and crew horizoned the fleet, recording the first and only victory by a Canadian in the regatta so far. The top Canadian overall though is still Lunenburg’s Johnny Whynacht, who nabbed a third in the last race to move up to sixth from seventh, one place ahead of

With boats yoyoing up and down the standings all day and even top boats recording finishes in the teens and twenties, an exciting final day is shaping up. The forecast indicates the weather will continue to be warm and predominantly sunny, although there is a 30 per cent chance of rain and the potential for thunder storms late in the afternoon. Wind is supposed to be strong but dying in the afternoon according to the ever reliable Environment Canada Marine forecast. Seems like a lot of possibilities.

Day 3- The final day of the North American Championship again brought shifty light winds that tested the ability of all sailors to be consistent. It was probably even tougher than Friday, as a matter of fact. Once again new boats made appearances at the head of the fleet and the sailors who dominated previously struggled to figure out what was going on.

The strongest performer of the day was Travis Odenbach in Waterline Systems, who won the first race playing what appeared to me from my position on the sideline as one of two boats that didn’t make the first race start to be a strong lefthand shift as the wind moved from the west to the south. He was followed by Chris Jankowski in Street Legal and Will Welles in Carolina Girl.

The second race was a bit more complex as good shifts were identifiable to both the left and the right. I can`t provide too many details on this one because the Stix and Stones crew actually sailed and after rounding the windward mark roughly mid-fleet managed to pull up our spinnaker on the inside of our genoa, which gave us a very good look at the bottom end of the fleet a very distant view of the front. I did, however, see the Craig Noakes & Ian Dawson partnership in Lightning McQueen round the windward mark in first after, I believe, working the right. I also know Ted Bartlewski and crew in Drivers Wanted followed at that point in one of the first mark roundings at which two Canadian boats held the top two spots. They apparently held on through the balance of the race followed by Will Welles, who nabbed his second third of the day.

I can give a lot more detail on the final race of the day and the regatta. As I’ve mentioned, my skipper, Erik Koppernaes is a dyed in the wool contrarian. For the third race the bulk of the fleet (i.e., about 25 of 30) lit out for the left side no doubt considering the forecast that the wind would back. We, on the other hand, started by the Committee boat and quickly tacked with a small apology onto our friend Greg Blunden with whom we set out to the west with a couple of other stragglers. As it turned out, Erik was onto something as we watched the boats to the east fade and stall, as we picked up with Greg tucked below us. After Greg tacked to starboard, we waited a bit and tacked ourselves, skipping along just below the starboard tack layline with the entire fleet framed in our genoa window.

We rounded the windward mark in first with Greg on our tail and a good lead over the rest of the fleet. Our boat however is slow. Its a cottage boat that should be sold to a good family on Grand Lake so they can race it against the Tanzer 22s up there  (it is minimum weight and it has good sails but the bottom needs serious work to avoid being put out to pasture - Ed.). Our crew work also isn`t that smooth. It didn`t take Greg long to catch us after he executed a good gybe set at the offset. We were happy enough to settle for second through the gate in any case. In character, we went left after heading upwind while Greg again went right. We needed to clear our air but Erik also thought it was swinging east and his calculation didn`t appear to be wrong. There was good wind all the way, although Greg`s boat, Adrenaline Rush, did pull away on the right. As I mentioned, our boat is slow and we didn`t consider it to be any shame to lose one place upwind to Travis Odenbach.

The three of us held on downwind but wouldn`t you know the last race each day has five legs. The boat in fourth place as we headed upwind to the right was Will Welles who already had two threes on the day and appeared to have a strong interest in getting another. He worked us up the righthand side of the last windward leg as Adrenaline Rush sailed conservatively and very well to stay between Waterline Systems and the finish line. Greg ultimately finished with a comfortable lead over Travis Odenbach but Will Wells was more than we could handle, beating us with a lovely roll tack to the finish for his third consecutive third on the third day.

From the bigger and admittedly more relevant perspective of the overall regatta results, Odenbach’s pass on us to get into second was critical. The leader going into the last race was John Mollicone, who I have been identifying for two days as Tim Healy for the simple reason that Mr. Healy was the name on the registration form. Whether Mr. Mollicone or Mr. Healy is the current World Champion, I’m not clear, but their boat 11th Hour Racing is damned fast and they held a good lead going into the last day thanks to consistent sailing over the first two days as they managed to be in the top three in all six races.

Day three was, however, a bit rougher as they led off with a twelfth. A sixth in the final race, however, appeared to put them in the driver’s seat as they went into the last race needing only a ninth to retain the lead over Odenbach, who was the only boat within range of them. Unfortunately, as so often seems to happen, what had to happen was exactly what transpired. The 11th Hour team finished in eleventh with Carter While in AL and Chris Jankowski in Street Legal respectively occupying the ninth and tenth places that Mollicone needed to overtake Odenbach. I have no idea how close they all were but Ì’m guessing there wasn’t a lot of distance between them.

The results were that first day leaders Mauricio Santa Cruz in Bruschetta held on for third through a tie breaker over Will Welles. The top Canadian was Ted Bartlewski in Drivers Wanted, who took fifth. Top Atlantic Canadian was Johnny Whynacht, who brought the crew of Sticky Fingers home in seventh.
For more J/24 North Americans sailing information

J/111 Doublehanded- Robin and John report on the Rolex Fastnet Race

* J/111 Doublehanded- Robin and John report on the Rolex Fastnet Race 2-Handed with the J/111 J-Xcentric

Robin: After Cowes Week went very well for us, we had only one day (Saturday) to change our boat into a “double-handed” racer to be ready for our Fastnet Race effort.   Luckily, our J/Team Benelux helped us with that conversion process and by the end of the day Saturday we were ready!

It was really remarkable to watch how the mood in Cowes Yacht Haven completely turned into “ serious business” during Saturday.  Everywhere you could feel the tension with skippers and crew members for the coming race.  The hectic, festive mood of Cowes Week was completely gone and was transformed into a state of high tension, with static electricity crackling in the air.  After our safety check Saturday evening, we were ready to race with our J/111!

The first night of sleep on board is always hard.  In the morning of the start, John found just one last little detail that needed to be done-- cleaning the bottom of the boat!  With large sponge and goggles he jumped overboard to get the job done!  We immediately nick-named him “Sponge-bob John”!

With a fully clean bottom, we head directly to the start of the race, at 12.10 with 70 boats in the IRC2 -- all skippers and crews were full of adrenaline and couldn’t wait to get going-- we knew it was going to be one big mess, so we felt to get out of the Solent in the best way was to keep ourselves apart. Rules did not seem to exist anymore, every man (boat) for itself-- fortunately we knew that there were 600+ miles to sail, so time to forget and just blast away!

The weather forecast was 10 kts  S-SW increasing 20 kts and turning SW, so it was a beat to windward out of the Solent with increasing winds predicted. Our setting, a #2 MH jib and first reef in the main ready to go. The reef in the main was soon necessary as we tacked along with the full ebb tide pushing us upwind out of the Needles Channel in the direction of St Alban’s Head.  At this point, we took the full benefit of the running tide and we continued our way in the direction of Portland Bill (we wanted to stay nearshore because of the turning tide there).

In retrospect, the start was a very spectacular one because of all the big boats started last, it was a magnificent view to see all those big boats passing ( VO70’s, RAN, ICAP Leopard, Rambler 100 and so on) go flying down the course.

Our tactics that we had outlined with currents and wind shifts worked out very well and the predicted SW-W windshift came as well so we entered into a long upwind leg to Lands-End. This is where our biggest setback occurred.  After a long day using the NKE autopilot and computer system, we had to  charge the batteries.  Starting the engine however was not the problem, but after 6 min. a temperature alarm was generated and we had to stop the engine….. what to do? After consideration, the conclusion was made that either the internal water pump or the engine’s thermostat may not be OK!

Meanwhile, we immediately switched over into energy saving mode. We started steering by hand with as few electronics switched on as possible.  With a weather forecast for the Irish Sea WNW – 12 kts turning NW 25 – 28 kts during the night, things did not look that good for awhile.  I disassembled – and re-assembled the water pump as well as the engine’s thermostat, but nothing was found defective, the problem remained.  The watch regime for two guys was 3 hrs on deck – and 3 hours rest and we stuck strictly to this scheme, and so we entered into the night. With a genoa #3 and a reefed main we screamed and surfed down towards the Irish coast for hours with speeds reaching over 17 kts-- all hand-steering all night long!

The predicted northern wind shift came, but just for a short period and so we ended up westerly of Kinsale in light weather conditions, 22 miles from the famous Fastnet Rock.  Here is where we thought that we had screwed up our race!   We had to tack those miles to the rock, and the boats that had stuck to the rhumb-line would have had the benefit, or at least so we thought.

But as we got closer to Fastnet, we saw more and more boats from the Irish sea tacking towards the Irish coast, and soon we saw on the AIS system that even our class competitors where behind us! At the Rock we heard that we were the first for line honours in our Doublehanded class…. You don’t know what a boost that gave us!

J/111 JXcentric sailing at Cowes downwindJohn: The Rolex Fastnet race is a tactical game with fortunately many possibilities in terms of current and wind to win or lose.  So, in a situation where you feel that you are hopelessly lost, there is always a possibility to fight back forward.  This happened approaching Fastnet Rock, after the predicted NW windshift  that did not come we felt we ‘d lost the game.  Suddenly, we saw on the AIS system the J/122 Geronimo 2 at a speed of 8 kts SOG!  Cracking along the coastline of the Ireland, while at sea we could not do more than 4.5 kts.  We decided to take the same route, and where you would expect less wind and tidal current, the opposite occurred!  There was a tidal stream catapulting the boat in the direction of Fastnet and we took the benefit of that current.   At least we caught another 5 boats again!

The rounding of Fastnet Rock was quite spectacular with he helicopter above us, the spectator boat following us, in a beautiful sunset atmosphere… a very special moment! At the rounding, we hoisted the kite ( 1st time in the race ) and we reached away to the Pantenius Buoy.

The engine problem was finally solved in the end by taking the coolant reservoir apart and temporary mounted it above of the engine, we could use our NKE autopilot again!

After Fastnet with the kite up our J/111 was finally able to show her strongest side, but sadly enough the wind shifted NE and after 30 miles we had to take the kite down and ended up with a long close reach towards the Isles of Scillies where we had to round the Bishop Rock.  Here we could take advantage of some tidal current and again we were able to gain a few boats out of our IRC class 2.

From Scillies to Lizard point we sailed on shifts and current and our tactics for the last part of the race were determined primarily by tides.
The tidal current changed exactly at the moment that we approached the Lizard and it provided the highest benefit immediately straight along the rocky shoreline. With a light NE wind and a 55 mile upwind beat to Plymouth--- this was going to be a tough journey forward!

Navigating with B&G Expedition on my computer at the chart table, I instruct Robin to tack and tack and I specify how far he may proceed, bravely going up to the 5 meter depth line near shore.  I hear Robin mumbling, “are you sure we can go that far inshore?  I can feel the spray of the back-bouncing waves from the shore already.   Can you please have a look outside to see how close we are to these @#$% rocks?!”  All in all, it was a huge gain for us to use these tactics-- we gained a lot of boats and suddenly I see the other fully crewed J/111 Arabella on my AIS system, a new target was born!

As we followed the coastline to Plymouth we faced numerous rain showers with many wind shifts that we were able to take advantage of-- we got to within 100 meters of Arabella!   Subsequently, on our AIS screen we can see boats struggle against the tide in Plymouth Sound with a very low speeds to get to the finish line.  We decide to stick close to the coast in shallow water to minimise reverse current and slide into Plymouth Bay.  This works out perfectly down to the bay of Plymouth, where the wind simply kept dying out very slowly and deliberately!  At this point just short of the finish line (only a “stones throw” away), Arabella slides only 50 meters in front of us  to cross the finish line as we go slower and slower and-- then start to go backwards!!  We can almost touch the line, but are just not able to finish!!  The pain, the agony!!  No $%&*#% words could describe our feelings!!  So, so, so close we could taste the champagne!  But, the wind
totally dropped and we had to anchor! Here we lost over 1.5 hour before we found a little puff of wind to finish!

Sick of this 1.5 hour lost of time and realising that perhaps our first place on handicap is lost because of this, we sail into the harbour also aware that we have gained a whole bunch of boats last night that have still not finished. We also realise we have won line honours in one of the world’s toughest races- the Fastnet Race, in the toughest class-- the Doublehanded Class.  OK, well, this is just totally cool – and there is still a chance for a top 3 ranking-- maybe even a podium finish! Our fate lies in the hands of the weather Gods and we simply have to wait. We feel we have given just everything!

This year’s Rolex Fastnet Race was a super race with everything in it--  a super fast and reliable boat ( thanks J-Boats!);  super teamwork; 0 – 28 kts of wind, unfortunately for us only 30 miles on gennaker; cool tactical sailing, sometimes many boats catching up; solving (technical) problems; but also a very enjoyable good times with many porpoises around the boat etc.   Many ups and downs, but coming out better than we could’ve expected, with finally a 1st place on line honours, 3rd place in our 2H class, as well as a 22nd place IRC2 over-all! 

In our opinion, we could not have done better given the circumstances we have had given the weather systems.  On the one hand a pity, on the other hand a third place in this field is just a fantastic performance.
Very satisfied and in two years time we will be back!

Thanks to our J/Team Benelux that supported us with the boat and equipment and the perfect teamwork!

See you soon,
Robin Verhoef & John van der Stare

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ugotta Love 111-105-35 One-Design Sailing

J/105 sailboats- sailing Ugotta Regatta KASHMIR, CREATIVE DESTRUCTION, FALCON Class Winners
(Harbor Springs, MI)- Sailing teams from across America head to Harbor Springs each July for a summer tradition: the Little Traverse Yacht Club "Ugotta Regatta". Hosted by the LTYC, the Regatta brings together some of the best sailboat racing in the country on Little Traverse Bay and takes place the weekend following the second of the Mackinac Races (Port Huron to Mackinac or Chicago to Mackinac).

This year’s 2011 Regatta, sponsored by Credit Suisse, began with one design racing on Friday followed a "Tour of the Bay" course on Saturday and windward-leeward racing on Sunday. The weekend’s festivities kick off bright and early Friday morning with a fun tradition: a long line of happy people beginning at sun-up outside Irish Boat Shop to purchase the 2011 Regatta t-shirt. Each year, the shirt design changes and with a limited number produced, the lines begin early so that the shirts can be had.

Enjoying the fun and festivities were Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson and Mike Mayer on the J/111 KASHMIR, showing the J/111 fleet how to get around the track (or in some cases, get out of trouble), finishing the event with a consistent scoreline of 1-1-2-2-1-3 for 10 pts.  Local favorite and sailing hero, Dave Irish took aboard as much local talent as possible on NO SURPRISE and simply couldn't muster up enough fire-power to overcome KASHMIR's ability to sail fast and smart. NO SURPRISE finished the series with a 4-2-1-1-2-2 for just 12 pts.  Third was Paul Stahlberg's fun-loving team on the fast red boat MENTAL!  The MENTAL team sailed consistently and snuck in a first in the last race to finish with a tally of 2-4-3-4-3-1 for 17 pts.

Over in the J/105 fleet, local sailors took home the bacon with Carter Williams' CREATIVE DESTRUCTION winning in convincing fashion with a 3-1-4-1-1-2 record for 12 pts.  Second was Clarence Holman on EXIT STRATEGY with 14 pts.  In nearly a three-way tie for third was Bill Petzold on GREEN FLASH, Mark Symonds on PTERODACTYL and Richard Lehman on WIND CZAR.  Based upon how these three teams had been sailing all weekend, it was anyone's guess what the outcome would be after the last race.  By getting a 3rd, Bill's flashy team won the tie-breaker over Mark's raptors with their 5th and coming up short was Richard's czars with a 4th.

Like their 35 foot sisterships, the J/35s had a fun, close series.  While the leader, Ed Bayer's FALCON walked off with three 1sts, the battle for 2nd to 4th was close.  It was Bruce Metcalf's BOZO'S CIRCUS that managed to squeak by with a 4-2-2 to finish second by a half point over Larry Taunt's BAD DOG.

In handicap world, a fleet of J's sailed well to take places in three of the divisions.  In PHRF E class, Mike Graham's J/109 MERENGUE finished 5th after three races and Mitch Padnos' gorgeous J/124 SUFFICIENT REASON finished 6th.  In PHRF H class, the J/95 STILL CRAZY sailed by Justin Palm was 2nd and the J/100 JUST MESSIN sailed by Adam Esselman was 5th.  In PHRF I Class (jib & main only), the J/42 JAYWALKER sailed by Bill and Judy Stellin continue to sail fast after criss-crossing the Atlantic Ocean, pulling off 4th in their class.   For more Ugotta Regatta sailing results

Annapolis J/22 sailor- Sue Mikulski Women's Worlds interview

J/22 sailors Sue Mikulski from Annapolis, MD* J/22 sailor from Annapolis, Sue Mikulski, a long time veteran competitor and key contributor to the Rolex Women's reflects on how this special event has impacted her life. Over the years, she has made it a personal goal of hers to grow competitive women’s sailing and the Championship has played a major role in achieving this.

Sue was the Outreach Coordinator for the Road to Rolex Clinics and Next Step to Rolex from 2000 to 2005. Road to Rolex clinics are designed to prepare competitors for the Rolex IWKC. Junior women sailors interested in gaining international sailing experience participate in the Next Step to Rolex Program.

“I spent many hours and many evenings contacting women sailors from around the world explaining theses Rolex programs, how it draws women into racing at all levels and that it is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Sue. “The Road to Rolex clinics helped promote women's sailing, and especially those getting ready to do their first international event.” 

Sue is ecstatic about the progress these programs have made on the evolution of the Rolex IWKC and maintaining it as a first class event with talent and diversity.

“It is extremely rewarding to see names of juniors from the Next Step Program now competing in the upcoming RIWKC. I smile when I see those names,” she said.

Sue trained for two years leading up to her first Rolex IWKC in 1995. She joined the Liberty Sailing Club in Philadelphia, Pa. and the Philadelphia Laser Fleet in the early 1990s and sailed close to 200 races a year from 1993 to 1995.

“I felt it important to give back to the sport of sailing, after so many helped me get involved, and that US SAILING helped me get my start in conjunction with Rolex. I had a great team who helped me pull it together,” she said. Sue went on to skipper at the Rolex IWKC at Annapolis in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

She is excited to return to competition this year after missing the 2009 and 2007 events. For the past five years Sue has battling the effects of Chondromalacia. She has no cartilage behind her knee caps and two torn meniscus in each knee. During this time she became very involved with Race Committee at Annapolis Yacht Club, which she loves to be part of. After hours of therapy, she is ready to make a return.

The Rolex IWKC is a unique event with a camaraderie unlike any event I've ever done. Sailing with your girlfriends is fun, intense and such a learning experience about yourself.  Racing, owning and skippering my boat helped my confidence, helped my leadership ability and ability to be a team player.”

US SAILING’s 2011 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC), hosted by the Rochester Yacht Club (N.Y.), takes place on August 29 - September 1. For team rosters, results, video, photos, Facebook/Twitter updates and daily racing reports, please visit the event website at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

J/109 Europeans- Starring Ben Ainslie!

J/109 one-design sailboat- starting on line in Dartmouth, England (Dartmouth, England)- The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta is based around a programme of rowing and sailing events, but also incorporates a busy programme of activities including air displays, fireworks, a large fair, and many other smaller events that happen in and around the town centre.  With nearly 100,000 people visiting Dartmouth during the Regatta period it makes Dartmouth Regatta one of the largest public events in the South West, and the second largest Regatta after Cowes Week.

With racing scheduled to take place from the 24-28 August over a mixture of windward/leeward, round the cans and a passage race to test both the boat handling skills and endurance of the crews.  Dartmouth is ideally placed to attract J/109s from around the UK and Ireland in addition to the Channel Islands and France.  The J/109 is the largest one-design yacht racing fleet in the UK and Ireland with 30-40 boats regularly racing at Cowes Week, the J/109 UK National Championships and the Irish National Championships in addition to strong international one-design fleets. Coupled with the active social programme, this is the ideal venue for the J/109 Euro Championship.

Competitors at the 2011 Euro Championship include former National Champion Velvet Elvis (Adam & Helen Wright) who are fresh from their success at Cowes Week, twice National Champions and former Euro Champion J-Dream (David & Kirsty Apthorp) and the current Euro Champion BlueJay (Greg Burgess) who are keen to defend their title.  There are a couple of new boats to the fleet including Jason Romer from the Channel Islands who has chartered Levante and Kevin Taylor & Chris Copeland in JukeBox, but on Friday all eyes will be on the J/109 chartered by JP Morgan as they will have Ben Ainslie CBE onboard.  Ben Ainslie is Britain's most successful Olympic sailor; in total he has won three gold medals and one silver.  Ben's sailing achievements are unprecedented not only is he a triple Olympic gold medallist, he is also a nine times World champion, eight times European Champion and three times ISAF world sailor of the year.  Ben has raced on another J Boat, the J/105 at the Allianz Cup in San Francisco back in 2006 when he had his first win on the match racing tour.  He is currently the 2010 ISAF World Match Racing Champion.  Even if the sun does not shine on Dartmouth this Bank Holiday Weekend the competition will be hot!   More J/109 Europeans sailing information  More Ben Ainslie sailing team information

Rolex Womens Preview Shootout at the Women's OK Corral!

J/22 saling Rolex Women's Worlds (Rochester, NY)- Talk about some fire-power. Two Rolex Women's Sailors of the Year, two Women College Sailors of the Year, Women's Match Race World Champions, four Women Olympians and multiple College Women All-Americans? This year’s edition of the Rolex IWKC features 36 teams representing 16 U.S. states and three foreign countries (Canada, Great Britain and The Netherlands). This biennial regatta, marking its 14th edition in 26 years, will offer these top sailors the opportunity to experience high-level competition along with social activities designed to promote camaraderie. The Rolex Gala, on Thursday, September 1, will conclude the event with the presentation of US SAILING’s Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex timepiece to the winning boat’s skipper.

Many world-renown sailors are returning to the event this year, including the top three teams from 2009. The defending champion team is back for another shot at the title. They compete full-time as “Team Maclaren” for a 2012 Olympic berth in Women’s Match Racing as members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Team Maclaren includes Olympic Gold medalist and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.), Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and Liz Bower (Rochester, N.Y.).

After a break from the 2009 competition, three-time champion and Olympian Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.) returns with her US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics crew Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) along with Annie Lush (Bournemouth, U.K.) and Jacqueline Campbell (Washington, D.C.).

They’ll face stiff competition from 2009 second-place finisher and top hometown team of Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Cory Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.), Amy Moran (Pittsford, N.Y.), Annemarie Cook (Rochester, N.Y.) and Jane Mastrandrea (Webster, N.Y.); and from third-place finisher, Olympian and past champion Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) returns with Margaret Podlich (Severna Park, Md.), Kim Couranz (Annapolis, Md.) and new addition Karina Vogen Shelton (Watsonville, Calif.).

A number of promising young newcomers have entered to compete in this talented and diverse fleet. Skipper Allie Blecher (Fullerton, Calif.) is a four-time ICSA All-American and the 2010 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year. Blecher’s team includes, Alyssa Aitken (Sandwich, Mass.), Molly Robinson (Sausalito, Calif.) and Sarah Somes (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.). All four have sailed, or are still sailing, for College of Charleston. Blecher and Aitken won the 2010 ICSA National Women’s Championship.

In her three years at Boston College, Anne Haeger (Lake Forest, Ill.) has been named an ICSA All-American each year and was crowned the Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year for 2011. She is currently helming a 470 campaign for the 2012 Olympics and a member of the US Sailing Development Team. Haeger’s crew includes, Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.), Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) and Darby Smith (Marblehead, Mass.). Roble, also a three-time ICSA All-American at Old Dominion University (class of 2011) and is currently driving a match race campaign for the 2012 Olympics. Shea, a two-time ICSA All-American at Connecticut College, is currently trimming main for a match race campaign for the 2012 Olympics, while Darby, an outstanding crew from the University of South Florida, is currently doing bow for the same match race campaign.

Skipper Kristen Lane’s (Tiburon, Calif.) team features several standout crew members, including current US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Genny Tulloch (San Francisco, Calif.), who is campaigning in women’s match racing for the 2012 Olympics. Also joining the team are Molly Carapiet (Belvedere, Calif.) and Jennifer Morgan-Glass (Seattle, Wash.).

Not only will all four corners of the U.S. be represented with teams coming from northern Massachusetts down to the tip of Florida and out west from Washington state to southern California, but also Canada with four teams and The Netherlands with the return of the sixth-place finishers from the 2009 Rolex IWKC. The Netherlands team has been sailing together for the past five years and skipper Marike Poulie (Amsterdam), first sailed the Rolex IWKC in 1995 in Newport, R.I. Since then she has sailed many J/22 events with Bregje Lodewikus (Haarlem), Renske Verbeek (Amsterdam) and Leontien Benders (Hilversum).  For more Rolex Women's Worlds sailing information

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lovin' J/111s @ Fall Boatshows

J/111 sailing double-handed- easy for a couple evening sail Jump on the Bandwagon and Have Some Fun! 
(Newport, RI)- For the  past few months J/111s have demonstrated time and again that a great all-around design can succeed in a wide variety of weather conditions worldwide.  Plus, it's just as easy to sail as a couple double-handed or with a full crew!  Beer-can racing with a J/24 sized crew is, in fact, quite easy and a lot of fun!  Whether sailing off Sydney Heads, Australia, dueling off the coasts of France and England, flying down the coast of California and Baja, Mexico, enjoying the sparkling waters off Key West, or winning in the challenging racing on the Great Lakes or the Northeast, J/111s have brought miles of smiles and cases of silverware to their lucky owners.

Even if you're just thinking about J/111s, take a trip down to one of these boatshows in the near future to see J/111s up-close and personal.  You'll begin to understand why current J/111 owners simply love their boats-  friends and family for daysails and beer-can racing, with standing headroom and a bathroom (!), but can go offshore with the "big boys" and make them pay!  Check them out at:

Sep 14-19- Grand Pavois Boatshow (J/111, J/108)- La Rochelle, France
Sep 15-18- Newport Boatshow (J/111, J/109, J/95)- Newport, RI
Sep 16-25- Southampton Boatshow (J/97, J/108, J/111)- Southampton, England
Oct 6-10- Annapolis Sailboat Show (J/111, J/108)- Annapolis, MD 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

J/35 Crushes IRC NAs in Canada

(Toronto, ONT, Canada)- A mostly Canadian fleet of 55 teams competed at the 2011 IRC North American Championship, held in Toronto, Canada on August 11-14, 2011. David Ogden and his crew on the J/35 BUCKAROO BONZAI pulled off a decisive victory in the IRC 2 fleet as well as the overall title.  Fifth in IRC 2 was yet another J/35, Stephen Trevitt's CRIME SCENE.  Other notable performances were John McLeod's J/133 HOT WATER, sailing to a 4th in IRC Super 0 class.

J/Boats dealer Don Finkle from RCR Yachts had some interesting observations for the event- "One thing that struck me was the wide variety of boats that took part in the event. Apparently almost anything that floats can get an IRC rating. I don’t mean that in a negative way; just an observation that you don’t need any certain type, age or style of boat to compete.

For example, on one end of the spectrum we had a Farr 30 and Melges 32, very light high performance sportboats. You could throw the canting-keel Shock 40 in there too. On the other end there was the vintage “Red Jacket”, the 39 foot custom ocean racer that first put C&C on the map by winning the SORC overall back 1970. Of course, RJ has been heavily updated and optimized (now called a Bruckmann 39, not a C&C 39), yet she is still over 40 years old.

There was also a Hunter Legend 37 that you would not think of as a racer but that does very well, lots of boats from the 1980s such as C&C 34s and J/35s, an assortment that you need to scan the scratch sheet to truly appreciate. The in the middle, so to speak, were more recent but not extreme designs such as the Beneteau First 36.7s, 10Rs and 40.7s and C&C 115s.

The amazing thing is that the top five overall boats at the end of the regatta came from across the board and included boats from the fastest (John Odenbach’s Farr 47 Rampage) and slowest (Winston Beckett’s Santana 30-30 Fortitude) divisions and those in between as well. And, the overall champion is the mid-1980’s designed J/35 BUCKAROO BANZAI owned by David Ogden- winning with a 1.8 average score!

We had a ring side seat of BANZAI’s dominating performance because they were in our division, and we owed them time (on our Beneteau 36.7).  The bottom line is that boats of various vintages and types seem to be able to compete, and for sure older designs are still very much alive in IRC.   For more IRC North Americans sailing information.

BRILLIANCE Radiates At Chester Race Week

J sailors relaxing at Chester Race Week Sunset Big J/29 & J/24 Fleets Scrum For Class Honors
(Chester, Nova Scotia)- Every summer, several boats from the Northeast in America use the Marblehead-Halifax Race to extend their summer sailing adventures along the gorgeous bay and islands that dot the waters off Chester, Nova Scotia.  In early August, the fog banks for the most part burn-off fast or are non-existent and the weather Gods certainly seem to smile on the hardy group of sailors who have grown to love Chester Race Week.  This year, the fleet was again blessed with a few days of gorgeous weather.

J/24s sailing at Chester Race Week in Nova Scotia, CanadaIn the A2 PHRF fleet, Colin Mann's J/92 POOHSTICKS nearly pulled off a race week win, but their 6-5 in the last two races dashed all chances of winning the brass-ring this year.  Instead, they had to settle for third overall just three agonizing points away from the top of the podium.  Fourth in their class was the J/35 SUMROO skippered by Gary Sullivan, seventh was the J/29 sailed by Jeremy Wood and eighth was the J/35 J-HAWK sailed by Thane MacDonald.

In the D1 PHRF fleet, the J/120 BRILLIANCE sailed brilliantly by Richard Calder managed a 1-1-3 tally to win with only five points!  Other than a slow start, the J/111 BLAST skippered by Mark Surette won the last race to add to their earlier 5-7 to finish with 13 pts.

The most remarkable fleet growth has been the fractional J/29s and the J/24s.  The J/24s had a great turnout with eight boats  having great sailing around the bay and in the buoy races.  Dale Robinson's team on SLAM IN 29 SECONDS sailed to six 1sts and two 2nds in nine race total to win by 3 pts.  Second was Greg Burden's ADRENALINE RUSH with 13 pts.  Kim Drisdelle's BLACKJACK was third, fourth was Ross Romney in RUSH HOUR and rounding out the top five was Brian Storey on MUFFIN.

J/29 one-design sailing regatta- at Chester Race Week Nova ScotiaThe twelve (yes- 12!) J/29s were a very colorful site on the water since most all boats had colored spinnakers!  Like their J/24 brotherhood, the J/29s also had a top dog being the "alpha puppy" of the gang.  Chris MacDonald's crew on SCOTCH MIST IV had four 1sts in nine races to win with 14 pts (including drop).  Andrew Childs had the SILVER WOMAN team rocking in most races and managed to also get two 1sts to place second with 23 pts.  Third was Andrew Orr's FEED ME with 33 pts, narrowly beating out Scott and Matt Christie's COLMONELL in 4th place.  Fifth was Evan Petley-Jones driving SATISFACTION.

Of special note was that long-time North Sails consultant and designer Andreas Josenhans was Regatta Chairman.  Helping Chester YC put on a great show and helping out considerably on race management.  Andreas also had many pearls of wisdom for the sailors, offering some of the extensive knowledge prior to and after each day's racing.  In fact, here's a great YouTube video of some of Andreas' bits and bobs-    More sailing news and results on Chester Race Week FB page

J/111 WICKED 2.0 2nd Buzzards

* Congratulations are in order to Doug Curtiss and the entire crew of the J/111 Wicked 2.0 who finished second in the PHRF Division 1 (rating 42) at Buzzards Bay Race Week off Padanarum, MA August 5-7.  The You-Tube reference, courtesy of crew member TJ Scott, is to the last race at on Sunday August 7. Doug Curtiss's J/111 Wicked 2.0 won its class boat-for-boat and on corrected time on a four-legged windward leeward course in 25-32 knots of wind and big seas.  Wicked 2.0 sailed the entire race with a reefed main, a #4 jib (flown also on the downwind legs), and a "chicken" A sail of 118 sq meters. The reference to Ted is helmsman Ted Scott, who along with the expert Wicked crew, did a masterful job of sail selection and boat handling in trying conditions. It was ear-to-ear grins on the race course and afterwards.   YouTube video:

J/111 JENGA Report- Thursday Cowes Week

J/111 sailing fast downwind at Cowes Week regatta* More J/111 stuff- Paul Heys' account on the next "huge" day of sailing at Cowes Week on the J/111 JENGA VII-  "Big Wednesday at Cowes was followed by.....extremely large Thursday. Having had a full day of high speed sailing on the Wednesday, Thursday brought even more wind.  Whilst most of the smaller boats were sent to the relative shelter of the Eastern Solent, the bigger IRC classes were sent West to Hurst Castle .

The wind at the start was over 20 so the boats at the front of the fleet were set up with #3's and full mains. The first leg was a very one sided beat, the J122 Jinja was first boat onto port and having judged the layline to perfection was first to the the Raymarine buoy, which was a passing mark on the way to the windward mark at Hurst castle, some 7 miles further. The strong west running tide flushed the fleet down the Solent with an arrival order at Hurst of Jinja, J111 Shmokin Joe and J111 Jenga7. Once again the lightweight J 111’s had beaten most of the the larger, heavier boats to the Windward mark.

Slow spi sets by the leaders allowed Jenga to jump into the fray and an epic downwind battle commenced between the two J 111’s. Sailing perhaps a 100 metres apart with Shmokin’ Joe trying to maintain a slender lead the two boats flew along at a constant speed in excess of 20 knots for half the width of the Solent.

Jenga was first to gybe back into shallower water and took the lead only to lose it on the next gybe.

In deference to the difficulties encountered by the foredeck crews, both boats opted to sail with jibs up down wind, the disadvantage of having the jib set is that it is extremely difficult to refill the spinnaker after the gybe, without over pressing the boat. To be languishing at a mere 12 knots of boat speed trying to refill the spinnaker when you opposition is at mach 2 means that the lead yo-yoed between the two boats.

Having arrived at Salt Mead we went back on the wind for a very close fetch of 2 miles, this was followed by a down wind blast towards Cowes . When the wind strength was 22 we were sailing at 14 knots of speed when it was blowing 30+ we were sailing at 19-22 knots, so finding and staying in pressure and executing the gybes was key. On Jenga we had a particularly bad gybe with a big wrap in the kite, this looked like it might cost us the win. However it was not yet over as we gybed on the port layline, Shmokin’ Joe gybed on the starboard layline and wrapped their kite. For the second day running this resulted in them dropping the kite and then trawling.

Jenga led to the finish and as yesterday the finishing order was the three J111’s followed by the J 122!

Upon examining the results we discovered that having sailed the same course our elapsed time was faster than all of the class 1 boats which included a King 40, a Grand Soleil 46 and a couple of Ker’s. Had we been scored against this fleet the J 111’s would have won by 20 minutes on corrected time."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Neff/Brauer Win J/105 North Americans

J/105 one-design sailboat- Scimitar sailing NA champs (Marblehead, MA)- For the forty-two J/105 teams that participated in this year's J/105 North Americans, it will certainly be one of the most memorable regattas sailed in a long time.  For starters, the combination of the fabulous facilities and gracious hosts at Eastern YC meant that all J/105 sailors and guests were treated like kings and queens.  Toss in the addition of Ken Legler as the PRO and you had a recipe for great on-shore festivities as well as fantastic race management.  Furthermore, the weather cooperated with four distinct days of sailing, each offering the highly-competitive J/105 teams a different challenge to overcome.  For many local sailors, however, it will be most remembered for the highly atypical "Marblehead conditions"-- go left early, then right late in the typical summer sea-breeze day-- it was anything but that!

Nevertheless, "locals" Henry Brauer and Stewart Neff on SCIMITAR were victorious on their home turf to win one of the most competitive J/105 NA's in years. With crew Stuart Johnstone, Julia Langford, Will Walters and Steve Cucchiaro, SCIMITAR never scored worse than a 16 in the 11-race series, including three bullets and two runner-up tallies. With a total score of 68 points, the team finished 13 points ahead of its closest competition in the 42-boat fleet (a high average of 6th!). Brian Keane, J/105 Midwinter champion for the past three years on SAVASANA, followed SCIMITAR with 81 points, then Texan Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE with 86 points (averages of nearly 8th to place in the top three!). Conditions on the final day of the four-day event allowed two more races in breeze starting at 6-8 knots ESE, building to 8-12 kts from the SSW with a few 20-30 degree shifts for good measure. The top 10 were: Henry Brauer/Stewart Neff, SCIMITAR (68 points), Brian Keane, SAVASANA (81), Bill Lakenmacher, RADIANCE (86), Joerg Esdorn/Duncan Hennes, KINCSEM (104), Ken Colburn, GHOST (112), Damian Emery, ECLIPSE (121), Bruce Stone/Julian Croxall, JOUSTER (135), Kevin Grainger, GUMPTION 3 (146), Bernard Girod, ROCK & ROLL (158), and Matthew Pike, GOT QI (161).

Starting on the first day, Brauer/Neff on SCIMITAR held a narrow lead over Brian Keane on SAVASANA. SCIMITAR started the event brilliantly with a 2-1-4-10 for a total of 17 points. SAVASANA's second in the last race brought them to 18 points after previous scores of 4-9-3. Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE rounded out the top three with 31 points. Conditions were gorgeous, the winds started at 8-12 knots from the SW and built into the teens in the afternoon out of the WNW. It was shifty, streaky and blustery with plenty of sunshine.

By the second day, the Brauer/Neff team on SCIMITAR narrowly maintained their lead, scoring a 16th in Friday's first race but rebounded with a first in the day's only other race to finish with 34 points.  Brian Keane's SAVASANA trailed by a mere one point, after finishing with an 11-6 tally. In third place was Ken Colburn on GHOST (52 points). Damian Emery on ECLIPSE won the day with first and second place tallies, respectively. Racing was delayed until 1:20 p.m. as the breeze filled in at about 6 knots from the SE, perhaps the only day where "going left" paid-- exactly the formula employed by Damian on ECLIPSE, starting at the port end and hitting the left corner both times!

Team SCIMITAR dramatically opened-up their lead on day 3, scoring a 10-1-2 in Saturday's three races, winning the day for the second time.  The local SCIMITAR team headed into the final day of the regatta with 47 points, 20 pts ahead of Brian Keane's SAVASANA. Texan Bill Lakenmacher moved up to third, and had 70 points after solid results of 1-2-11. The fourth and fifth place positions were only separated by two points. Joerg Esdorn and Duncan Hennes on KINCSEM registered 86 points, and Ken Colburn's GHOST was just two points back. Racing was delayed less than an hour as the breeze settled in at 6-8 knots producing another SE/SW day that produced enormous wind streaks, shifty breezes and enormous anxiety for the tacticians on the top ten teams.

The last day dawned overcast with mild mist and light winds, not enough to start the fleet on time for the final, dramatic battles to determine the leader-board.  Just before noon, a weather system gradient wind filled in from the south at 4-6 knots and PRO Ken Legler sent off the fleet on a double windward-leeward course.  Under overcast skies, Damian Emery's team on ECLIPSE again won the day (the only other team to win the day aside from the winners Team SCIMITAR) with a stunning 1-3 tally.  Going into the last race, Keane's SAVASANA had to overcome a first race 12th to overcome a 5 pt deficit to Lackenmacher's RADIANCE who was now lying in second overall.  For the 11th and final race of the regatta, the fleet started out in the light SSW wind of 5-7 knots, but two-thirds up the first windward leg in a 5-leg, finish to weather race, the wind shifted 30 degrees right and increased to 10-14 knots!  Perhaps sailing one of their best races in the series, Keane's SAVASANA fought off the challenge from RADIANCE to get a 2nd and secure second overall.  Team SCIMITAR managed to "salvage victory from the jaws of defeat"-- recovering after another "bleacher-seat" starting position and rounding the first weather mark in 29th place, the SCIMITAR team went into over-drive and simply flew back through the fleet in dramatic fashion with good tactics and boat-speed to finish 14th, assuring them of a 13 point victory margin.  Sailing photo credits- and on Facebook at  For more J/105 North American sailing information. br />

Sailors/ servicemen salute Toe-In-The-Water Charity

The charity uses sailing to aid the rehabilitation of injured servicemen so its presence at the Cowes Race Week regatta, provided the perfect platform in which to promote its valuable work.  A total of 13 inter-servicemen competed at the regatta, including 10 crew aboard two J/80s – Big Toe and Little Toe, from the UKSA.  Because Toe in the Water is an extension of rehabilitation, the sailors who are competing here this week are under a strict regime, which means after they return on shore from racing they have to be taken straight to the trauma physiotherapist to complete their daily treatment.

To find out how Toe in the Water benefits injured servicemen and women, we spoke to 23-year old Private Chris Herbert. Herbert was originally from Barnsley and served in the First Battalion Yorkshire Regiment but when he was 19 years old he lost his leg while serving in Iraq.

When he joined Toe in the Water as a patient during Aberdeen Asset Cowes Week in 2008, he’d never been on a boat before. Three years on, he is now a full time able-bodied volunteer, with a Yachtmaster certificate under his belt. “Sailing, through Toe in the Water, gave me back my life. When I lost my leg, I was young, angry and didn’t know where my life was taking me. I was psychologically lost and physically weak. I joined Toe in the Water and I was put on the winch to improve my core stability. I was also part of a team again, which was very important to me. Sailing helped me in every aspect of my recovery and I am now competitive racing sailor.”

Herbert is heading off to Portsmouth University in September and aims to combine his studies with sailing, and learn about the business/marketing side of the industry. Before then however, he’ll be taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race,

Toe in the Water also had a big presence on shore with all sorts of exciting social events taking place throughout the week. One of the biggest, and most popular was the Wednesday night "Indian Curry Night" where The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment did the cooking, and Gurkha pipers and drummers entertained the crowds. br />

Sunday, August 21, 2011

J/111s Win Cowes Week

J/111 Jenga sailing upwind at Cowes Week, England VELVET ELVIS Rocks J/109 Class
(Cowes, IOW, England)- Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week simply had an epic week, bashing and crashing around the buoys on the Solent in winds ranging from 10 to 30+ knots, with boats literally flying downhill under spinnakers at 20+ knot boat-speeds!  It was the "thrilla from Manila" reincarnate on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron starting line.  The competitors played "rope-a-dope" with each other, battling for advantage on every gybe and tack, trying to avoid spinnaker wraps, launching crews overboard (by mistake), or "shrimping" spinnakers for the umpteenth time!

J/111s sailing Cowes Race Week- EnglandThe big battle for supremacy on the Solent was seen in the huge IRC 2 Class.  Sailing like maniacs and trumping the J-Team clean sweep of IRC 2 was the J/111 SMHOKIN JOE sailed by Duncan McDonald & Phil Thomas- they put on an amazing performance and a remarkable display of boat-handling in the demanding conditions-- perhaps an outgrowth of having sailed outrageously high-performance dinghies called International 14s and winning a few Worlds, to boot.  Never far from throwing a punch back at them was Ian Matthew's beautifully sailed J/122 JINJA, garnering a few wins during the week on their way to second in class.  Paul Hey's J/111 JENGA VII was third (read more about their experience below in the J/Community section).  Fifth was the Dutch J/111 J-XCENTRIC sailed by John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef-- they were part of the J/111 clean sweep of the podium on Thursday's epic, "blowing dogs off chains" race around the cans.

In IRC 3 Class, the J/39 SLEEPER sailed by Jonty Layfield finished third, sailing an excellent regatta and put on a quite remarkable performance for a design that was originally optimized for light-medium wind conditions!  In IRC 4 Class, the J/105 KING LOUIS sailed by Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe finished 6th place overall, loving especially the long downhill slides criss-crossing the Solent on all-out planes.

Amongst the IRC 5 Class, the J/Teams were dominant in the top 10, with the J/97s dueling for the top of the fleet-- FEVER sailed by Grant Gordon finished second, in third was MCFLY skippered by Tony Mack and sixth was INJENIOUS sailed by Dr Gillian Ross.  The J/92 J'RONIMO sailed by David Greenhalgh & John Taylor finished 8th.  Ed Holton's J/110 SHADES OF BLUE finished 11th.  Richard Sainbury's J/92s BOJANGLES was 10th and Andrew Dallas' J/92s HULLABALOO finished 16th.

J/109 one-design sailboat- sailing downwind at CowesFor the huge thirty boat, insanely competitive J/109 class, the team of Adam & Helen Wright on VELVET ELVIS won by a whisker with just 12 pts.  Just behind with 13 points was the Maltese family team lead by the Ripard's and Calascione's sailing the J/109 YEOMAN OF WIGHT.  Third was LEVANTE led by the triumvirate of Stanley, Walker & Williams.  Fourth was Malcolm Boyle racing SHIVA and fifth was INSPARA sailed by Christopher Sharples & Richard Acland.

J/80 one-design sailboat- winners sailing J/80 class- boats.comAmongst the twenty-five boat J/80 class, Ian Atkins and crew on BOATS.COM missed the first race Sunday, but came on strong and sailed very consistently to win with just 14 pts over six races sailed-- a terrific performance by Ian since they had not sailed many races prior to Cowes Week.  Finishing second was TEAM BALTIC skippered by Henry Bomby, followed by William Goldsmith on TEAM EXESS in third.  The RAF "fly-boys" were tough, the well-sailed TEAM SPITFIRE skippered by Tony Hanlon finished fourth and JUMPIN JENGA sailed by Stewart Hawthorn hung in there for fifth.

J/111 owner Duncan MacDonald- sailing Cowes WeekFor SHMOKIN JOE J/111 co-owner Duncan McDonald- former I-14 World Champion pictured at right- it was a tough week.  Wednesday's strong wind resulted in a few problems aboard the "Joe" with Duncan suffering an injury as a result of a heroic maneuver. According to Dr McDonald he had to save two holes discovered in the mainsail from getting worse. “We were sailing downwind in pretty fresh conditions and discovered these two holes in the main. Naturally I didn’t want the whole mainsail to explode when we gybed so I made every effort in the world to stop the mainsail hitting the spreaders. While doing that my leg got taken away by the traveller block that whipped across the boat.”

McDonald’s leg was in a poor state when he arrived back on shore, with a cuts and grazes to the knee, and swollen ankle, but he assured us he was going to be fine. “Actually I am not so worried about the scrapes but the internal injuries in my ankle. I put a lot of ice on it and rested it when we got in so I am hoping it will be okay to continue racing. Although I have to say it is slightly worrying. It is not broken it is just going to be a soft tissue injury. Phil Thomas my co-owner has had a look and we’ve come to the conclusion it’s just a sprain, so we just need to strap it up, take lots of pain killers.”

The good news, in this bizarre situation is, McDonald managed to save the main. “If I hadn’t, and the holes had increased it probably would have shredded and we wouldn’t have finished the race.”

Chatting about the new J/111 class, which seems to have turned a few heads on the race course this week, McDonald concluded. “We’ve had our boat for two months and all I can say it is a great boat. In every condition we’ve raced it, it has been great fun, fast, enjoyable to sail and I think the J/111 is a fantastic class.”

J/109 one-design sailboat- sailing off Cowes, IOW, EnglandWednesday summary:
As to the conditions for Cowes Week, after a strong start on Sunday through Tuesday (as reported last week), Wednesday saw more high adrenaline racing in strong winds and bright sun- a sailing photographers dream come true! The Solent was sandwiched between areas of high and low pressure and as the day progressed, the wind began a relentless non-stop upwards trend that lasted for five hours, peaking with mean speeds of 25 knots and gusts well over 30 through the afternoon.  It was another day of hard, wet beats to windward, followed by high speed downwind blasts that had competitors grinning from ear to ear as they came ashore. Unsurprisingly, there was also a lot of gear damage, including three J/109s, among them William Edwards’ SARDONYX and Robert Stiles’ DIAMOND JEM, who retired with broken rigs.

The J/109 fleet started in a tight bunch towards the inshore end of the line. Adam and Helen Wright’s VELVET ELVIS made an excellent start, far enough ahead to cross in front of the fleet on port tack. Next were five boats all tied neck and neck – the Calascione/Ripard family’s YEOMAN to leeward of a bunch that included Jamie Sheldon’s JIGSAW and Stanley, Walker and Williams’ LEVANTE. Despite her apparent disadvantaged position, YEOMAN managed to pull four lengths ahead of the others a couple of minutes into the race. VELVET ELVIS extended her lead to more than four minutes at the finish. However, the next three places were super-tight, with only 24 seconds separating JIGSAW, YEOMAN and LEVANTE.

J/105 sailing downwind at Cowes Race Week, EnglandThursday summary:
The big winds continued, powering the biggest J's to blistering speeds approaching 25 knots. Most dayboat classes were set short courses that ensured they had finished racing before gusts to 38 knots were encountered in the afternoon.  Pip Tyler’s J/105 NIELSON REDEYE was fifth, his team’s best result so far in IRC Class 4. “We’ve had another really fantastic day,” he said after stepping ashore. “We were cautious and didn’t use the spinnaker, but we still hit more than 16 knots. It was a perfect length of race and everyone had massive great grins on their faces as we flew down the big waves in the western Solent.”

Friday summary:
The penultimate day of the event was a more gentle day than those earlier in the week, starting with bright sun and a gentle breeze that built to 15-18 knots. It also saw incredibly tight racing across dozens of classes.  The top of Class 2 turned into a super-tight battle between three fast J's. The start of the day saw Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas’s new J/111 Shmokin’ Joe on 10 points, Ian Matthews’ J/122 JINJA on 11 and another J/111, Paul Heys’ JENGA 7, on 12 points. These three boats took the top three places in the class in Friday's race, in exactly that order on corrected time!

In the J/109 fleet Adam and Helen Wright’s VELVET ELVIS has again been the boat to beat this year. Starting the day only three points behind VELVET ELVIS, the Calascione/Ripard family’s YEOMAN had the opportunity to beat her for the overall class win Friday. However, Stanley, Walker and Williams’ LEVANTE won by a substantial margin, with YEOMAN second. VELVET ELVIS finished fourth, just 8 seconds ahead of Boyle’s SHIVA, to retain the overall lead by just one point.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing fast downwind at Cowes Race WeekSaturday summary:
A blanket of cloud over Cowes in the morning quickly gave way to bright sun and a rapidly increasing wind. Weather forecasters outlined several possibilities for Saturday, but the most likely scenario prevailed-- the initial south-westerly wind of 10-14 knots building to a west-south-westerly of 13-19 knots by midday, with gusts adding as much as 40 per cent to the base wind speed.

“It’s the first time I can remember such a consistently breezy Cowes Week,” said CEO Stuart Quarrie “It’s certainly the first one with an average windspeed over 20 knots, but the feedback we’ve had so far was that it’s been one of the best Cowes Weeks ever.”
Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson-
For more Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week sailing information