Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Silver Anniversary Key West- A Memorable Classic!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Key West J/122 TEAMWORK Wins PHRF A/ J-Class & LE TIGRE Wins J/80 Midwinters
(Key West, FL)- It was a frantic finish for the 119 entrants at Quantum Key West 2012 as several boats snatched victory with strong performances on the final day.  It was a fitting end to the 25th Silver Anniversary Edition of Key West.  As usual, Key West delivered on an almost picture-perfect "postcard" week of sailing.  The weather conditions provided a challenge for all over the course of the five days and the creme d'la creme rose to the top in every class.

J/111 Mental sailing in perfect Key West sailing conditionsThe weekend before Race Week started was fabulous, great N/NW winds blowing 10-20 knots, sunny, flags snapping away, with gorgeous aquamarine waters sparkling in the fresh breezes.  Happy dolphins were frolicking and jumping everywhere and curious sea turtles kept poking their heads out to see strange contraptions approaching them looking for all the world like an upside-down shark.  Pelicans walked around the docks and massive 8-10 ft long tarpon swimming beneath hung around like stray dogs waiting for any scrap of food the sailors might toss them.  It was even more amazing to watch giant, sleek black cormorants dive beneath the surface to seemingly always come up with a fish stuck in their gullet-- amazing fishermen!  While the "wildlife" on the waters were appreciated by all, perhaps the most ambivalent opinions were directed at all the wild hens and roosters (not talking about sailors here!) that were scampering around the streets-- if you were unlucky, you'd have a rooster crowing really loudly near your bedroom window at around 5-6 am every morning!  Certainly not a good thing for those sailors who themselves were enjoying Key West's notorious nightlife into the wee hours of the morning!

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing upwind at Key WestThe sailing was simply incredible.  Each day presented a new challenge and each day ultimately presented a unique set of sailing conditions-- they may have appeared to be the same, but they never are exactly the same.  Monday was the windiest day, with 18-24 knots of wind from the NNE, starting out grey but clearing as the day went on for two excellent races.  While it was forecast to be an oscillating-persistent shift veering further East, one could often play the wind shifts and make gains on the left side of the course upwind.  By Tuesday, as the fronts kept moving and the High went offshore, the wind moved into the Easterly quadrant and diminished to 8-14 knots-- again it was sunny with deliciously clear, azure-colored waters reflecting the white sands beneath the boats and the fleet was treated to three races.  Much like Monday's racing, you could not hit a corner upwind or downwind, lest you get killed by those playing the wind shifts.  As predicted, Wednesday's sailing was washed out, no wind, not even a breath of air.  Thursday and Friday's sailing were simply classic Key West "shorts & shades" sailing days- ESE winds 8-14 kts, sunny, with temps in the balmy 70s all day.  With three races on Thursday and two on Friday, it was a fitting, memorable finale for this Silver Anniversary event.

J/80 Key West Champions- Glenn Darden, Reese Hillard on Le TigreMaking the most of the conditions was Glenn Darden's J/80 LE TIGRE team from Fort Worth Boat Club, Fort Worth, Texas.  Glenn and his affable team comprised of co-owner Reese Hillard, Johnnie Gluek (Newport, RI) and Karl Anderson (Cape Cod, MA) never looked back after the first day; it was clear their experience as past J/80 World and North American Champions was keeping them out of trouble and sailing fast.  Leading the regatta from wire-to-wire, LE TIGRE walked off with the J/80 Class and were declared J/80 Midwinter Champions.  Giving them a run-for-the-money at times was Swedish J/80 Champion Mikael Lindqvist on ROCAD RACING.  Mikael's team ended the regatta on a high-note, winning the last race and tied LE TIGRE for top J/80 of the day on Friday, securing 2nd place for the regatta.  Third was Ron Buzil's VAYU 2, fourth was past J/80 North American Champion John Storck, Jr on RUMOR and fifth was Chris and Liz Chadwick's CHURCH KEY- one of their best J/80 Championship performances to-date.

J/80 SAIL BAB Team- Ryan Glaze from Dallas, TexasOf special note, the SAIL Magazine's Best Around the Buoys competition winner, Ryan Glaze from Dallas, Texas, sailed remarkably well to finish 6th on their boat SAIL BAB-Team Gringo.  In fact, after the first two days of sailing on Monday/Tuesday, Ryan and crew were lying in a solid second place overall!  However, perhaps the lay-day Wednesday and the classic Key West "daze" (e.g. late evenings) got to them as they faded from their podium position and fell out of the top five in the last two days, posting a 10-12-6-3.

J/122 Teamwork- PHRF A Champions at Key WestCompetition was fierce all week in PHRF 1 class with four different boats winning races. TEAMWORK, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, NC, fought its way through the fray to edge the J/111 MENTAL (Paul Stahlberg, Barrington, IL) by four points. It came down to the final day and TEAMWORK was up to the challenge, winning Race 9 and placing second in Race 10.  "We come down here to Key West to get the best competition we can find and boy did we this year," Team said. "We could not believe how close the racing was in this class. TRES HOMBRES, MENTAL and RUSH were all very well-sailed and pushed us from start to finish."

J/122 racer cruiser sailboat- sailing Key WestThis was the second Key West victory for Robin's TEAMWORK crew, who won in 2003 with a J/120. North Sails professional Jonathan Bartlett called tactics while fellow Annapolis residents Jeff Riedel and Kevin Ryman trimmed the jib and spinnaker. It was a particularly special win for Team since he had brother Adam and sons Alston and Coleman aboard.   "We were as well prepared as we ever have been for this regatta and it's a good thing because our competitors were really, really good," said Team, who also took top honors in the J/Class.

Rounding out the top five in PHRF A behind TEAMWORK in 1st and MENTAL in 2nd was Bill Sweetser's Annapolis, MD based team on the J/109 RUSH in fourth and Doug Curtiss's New England/ Buzzards Bay team on the J/111 WICKED 2.0 in fifth.

J/109 RUSH sailing team- Boat of the Day TuesdayIn the J-Class ToT (time-on-time) Division, behind TEAMWORK was Bill's J/109 RUSH taking second overall, interestingly enough, over a tie-breaker with Paul's J/111 MENTAL.  Fourth was Doug's J/111 WICKED 2.0 and fifth was Gary Weisberg's J/109 HEATWAVE from Boston/ Marblehead, MA.  A notable accomplishment was that Sweetser's RUSH team (see right) were the Boat of the Day after Tuesday's racing with a 1-1-2!

In the final analysis, perhaps what was most interesting about this year's 25th Silver Edition of Key West was to see the dominance of J sailors past and present who've risen to the top in other racing classes at Key West Race Week.  As the primary winter sailing event worldwide for many leaders in the sailing industry, for sailing professionals and for top amateur teams, its quite remarkable to see how many of them are alumni of the larger J/One-Design classes; proving yet again that many of the world's best sailors (legendary, famous sailors at that) have "gone to school" learning the ropes of sailboat racing on a "J".  Examples abound across the spectrum of the fleets.

In the Farr 40s, Jim Richardson (Newport, RI) raced J/24s for years, proving that he's still got it to race at the top of the game, winning the Farr 40 class in BARKING MAD.  "I wasn't too optimistic that we could win the regatta after what happened in that second race, but we just had to keep sailing with the understanding that every point was crucial," Richardson said. "We got better as the week went along and everything just sort of fell into place at the end." In other words, exactly what any good J/24 sailor would do to win.

It was a similar story in Farr 30s as skipper Deneen Demourkas (Santa Barbara, CA) and the GROOVERDERCI crew compiled an entire line of bullets. Deneen has raced J/105s with her husband "Johnnie D" for years in Santa Barbara, California on-board their J/105 ROCKIN & GROOVIN and learned the nuances of what it takes to get around the race track while minimizing mistakes and going fast, not the least of which why it's so important to have a good crew!

TP52 Wuantum Racing with Doug Devos and Terry HutchinsonThe TP/IRC 52-foot class was a bare knuckle brawl with all eight entries filled with fully professional world-class crews, the best that money can buy for these multi-million dollar campagins. Virtually every single boat had a J/Class veteran aboard steering or calling tactics to keep them going in the right direction.  Tough company for sure!  Regatta winner was former J/24 and J/44 owner Doug Devos sailing QUANTUM RACING, with J/24 World Champion Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, MD) calling tactics.  Second was J/22 Cayman Islands owner (and former J/29 owner) Peter Cunningham racing POWERPLAY with J/24 class champion Tony Rey (Newport, RI) calling tactics (seen left here).  Third was Hap Fauth on Team BELLA MENTE with a crew loaded with J/Class sailors from Newport, RI.  Fifth was Ashley Wolfe sailing MAYHEM with Seattle J/24 champion sailor TP52 Powerplay sailed by Peter Cunningham and Tony ReyCharlie McKee calling tactics.  Seventh was Austin and Gwen Fragomen's INTERLODGE with J/24 World Champion Brad Read (Newport, RI) calling tactics and eighth was past J/24 sailor Irvine Laidlaw sailing his brand new HIGHLAND FLING XII with Caribbean J/24 Champion Peter Holmberg (St Thomas, USVI) calling the shots.  Needless to say, for a class filled with "superstar" sailors, it was the top J/Class sailors that guided all the winners home!

In the Farr 400s, the top boat RED sailed by Joe Woods and Paul Goodison are all former J/24 UK sailors.  And the rest of the fleet was dominated by top J/24 and J/105 sailors across the board, Eric Arndt from California was tactician on BLADE, Nick Turney from Ohio was tactician on SPACEMAN SPIFF, Mark Foster from Texas was calling the shots on MERIDIAN X and Kevin Miller from California was directing traffic on TEAM PREMIERE NORCAL!

In the High Performance Class, past J/24 Champion Larry Leonard (Annapolis, MD) was tactician on second place STRAY DOG.  And, former J/105 owner Patrick Eudy replaced one infamous BIG BOOTY with another "bigger BOOTY", sailing well enough to capture third.

J/24 sailor Ed Baird talking sailing at Key WestIn the highly professional, talent-laden class of Melges 32s, most of the top boats were all either past J/Class owners or had J/Class Champions calling tactics on-board.  Former J/80 sailor Ben Schwatrz (New York) sailed PISCES with J/24 World Champion and America's Cup Champion Ed Baird (St Petersburg, FL) as tactician, adding in top J/24 sailor Scott Nixon as trimmer; they led the fleet at one point and finished a solid second place.  Capturing third was past J/24 and J/39 owner Vincenzo Onorato sailing MASCALZONE LATINO (his family owns the Italian ferry-boat/shipping group called MOBY Lines).  Fourth was past J/105 North American Champion Alec Cutler (Annapolis/ Bermuda) sailing HEDGEHOG.  Sixth was past J/35 Great Lakes/ North American Champion Bob Hughes (Ada, MI) sailing HEARTBREAKER.  Eighth was CATAPULT with J/24 World Champion Chris Larson (Annapolis, MD) calling tactics along with another J/24 and Intercollegiate Champion (and 2011 Rolex Sailor of the Year) on-board- Bill Hardesty (Chicago, IL).

J/111s sailing upwind off Key West at starting lineAll in all, Key West was a fun event (a "bucket list" event for sure!) and to see the dozens of J sailing "alumni" makes for an entertaining regatta.  And, especially in Key West where sailing friends from around America, Europe, the Antipodes and points further beyond congregate for what may be one of the few events worldwide (like a Cowes, Spi Ouest, Block Island, Big Boat Series and others) that attracts a broad spectrum of sailors- industry, professional and amateur alike!  Next time, we all hope to see more J/Teams and J/Sailors participating in 2013!   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes    For more QUANTUM SAILS Key West Race Week Sailing information

ECC VIVIENDAS Leading Trofeo Bodegas Maximo Bolado

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off Santander, Spain (Santander, Spain)- One of the world's top J/80 fleets is at it again.  When the Santander J/80 fleet gets rolling in early January on the spectacular northern shores of Spain, it not only marks the start of the J/80 sailing season in Spain, it is also an opportunity for the newer J/80 teams to test themselves against some of the world's best sailors.

The first trophy event of the season for the Santander J/80s is the Trofeo Bodegas Maximo Bolado, an event that runs for over four weekends and attracts many of Spain's top J/80 sailors from other fleets- the depth of talent in the twenty-eight boat fleet is simply breath-taking!

The first weekend saw two very tough races sailed in beautiful spring weather.  The day started slowly with a postponement, but by 1500 hours the wind began to blow from the northwest about eight knots.  The race course was set south of the navigation channel in the area known as "The Moors", making for tough tactical decisions regarding both current and wind as the breeze kept  veering in an oscillating-persistent scenario further Northeast.

In the first race, the favored side of the line was the port "pin" end, but the wind shifted to the right so much that the entire fleet arrived in a very compact package at the first windward mark.  Setting the standard by leading at the first windward mark was Pichu Torcida's J/80 World Champion team on ECC VIVIENDAS followed by Paco Cospedal skippering WIND and OPTICA CENTRALE sailed by Julia Casanueva.  On the first downwind leg, ECC VIVIENDAS managed to escape clear and held first place throughout the race. It was a very tough fight behind them for the next few positions.  In the end, GO FIT sailed by David Madrazo finished 2nd, followed by Toño Piris' YATES Y COSAS in 3rd, FONESTAR (Jaime Piris) in 4th and OPTICA CENTRALE with Fernando Pereda at the helm in 5th. J/80 World Champion Ignacio Camino on NEXTEL ENGINEERING was 6th.

The second race was much more complicated.  It was a "black flag" start with three boats sent home!  The wind kept shifting and was full of holes, making for complex decisions related to current as well. In the end, A&G PRIVATE BANKING sailed by Tono Ribalaygua won their first race of the season.  FONESTAR was second, followed by GO FIT, ECC VIVIENDAS and MATRAKO to round out the top five.

The leading trio is very tight with ECC VIVIENDAS and GO FIT at the top of the standings with 5 points each and FONESTAR is third with one more.  Then, in a tie for fourth is YATES Y COSAS and Paco Cospedal's WIND with 13 points each.  For more Trofeo Bodegas Máximo Bolado sailing information

J/111, J/80 & J/92 Frostbiting In England

J/92s sailing on Southampton Water off England Sailing Southampton Winter Series
(Southampton, England)- The Royal Southampton YC started its Doyle Sails Frostbite Series on the 8th January.  The first racing in the Solent of 2012 started early this year but with the warm dry weather continuing it felt more like a spring day . The wind was a gentle 5 knots from the west which caused consternation for the race management team just before the start by dying away to  a little over 3 knots. Postpone or not to postpone that was the question. It did appear that the start line was in the light spot and the rest of the race area seemed solid so start they did.

There were 30 boats on the water out of an entry of 33 which was an excellent start to the series and perhaps an indication of how good the weather was. The class 1 IRC were 1st away and as always the start was competitive and there was an OCS who quickly restarted before the beat from Hover 1 across to the Hythe ship buoys, the course then running back to Hover 1 before a return to Hythe and then a short reach to the finish at Bird Pile.  Class 2 IRC were up next and had a clean start before their beat to the same mark although the run was shorter to a laid mark to the west of Hover 1. Finally the J class for J92’s and J80 were away but they too were over enthusiastic and there was an OCS.

In Class 1, J-DREAM, David & Kirsty Apthorp’s new J/111 finished 2nd, just 27 sec behind the leader.  Stuart Hawthorn's J/80 J'AI DEUX AMOURS won by 9 sec over JAMIN, John Cooper and Ian Townsend’s J/92. So it is close racing indeed.

With the wind slowly building to the low teens but steady in the West race 2 was quickly under way on the same course . This time they were all well behaved and clean starts were had by all. This time it was the J/111 J-DREAM who won Class 1 taking "all the chocolates". Currently, J-DREAM's 3-1-1 is leading the class for the series.  Class 4 was won by BOJANGLES, Richard Sainsbury’s J/92s.  However, Stuart Hawthorn's J/80 J'AI DEUX AMOURS is leading the series with a 1-2-1.  For more Royal Southampton Frostbite Series sailing information

Monday, January 30, 2012

French J80s Prepare For Sailing Season And Worlds

J/80s sail training First England 2012, Then France 2013
(La Trinite Sur Mer, France)- As their Spanish counterparts are ramping up their sailing and training schedules, the French J/80 Class are doing the same in La Trinite, Lorient and other ports around the French coastline.  No question the top French teams have in their sights top 10 finishes (or better) at this year's J/80 Worlds in Dartmouth, England and later in the 2013 J/80 Worlds in France.

The first event called the ARNO SKIPPER is now also a Sport Boat Regatta in La Trinite sur Mer.  Leading up to the famous monster spring event called SPI Ouest Regatta, there will be five training weekends for any French J/80s wishing to participate. The dates are: January 28/29, then February 11/12 and 25/26, then 10/11 and 24/25 March.

These training programs are being organized on the following basis: on-the-water sailing, racing, speed-testing, boat-handling and so forth followed by a de-briefing in the evening with video, photos and questions/answers with the top sailors (tactical, strategy, weather, boat-settings, etc).  If you want to get your J/80 team up-to-speed very, very quickly, then participation in these training weekends will be the best investment of time and resources you can possibly make!

For further J/80 training/ sailing information, please contact- Arnaud Walter- ph- 06 69 58 21 21 or arnoskipper@yahoo.fr    For more J/80 France sailing information

J/111 First Sailboat To Start New Year!

New Years Australia- from J/111 sailing in harbor Mind-blowing Australia New Year's Experience  on-board JAKE
(Sydney, Australia)- New Year's Day. Australia.  One of first nations on Earth to celebrate the New Year.  It is a fact.  Peter Gustafsson flew down to Sydney, Australia to not only "test sail" the J/111 Down Under, but joined Ray and Sandra Entwistle and family on the J/111 JAKE for New Year's festivities.

J/111 sailboat off Sydney, AustraliaRay, Peter and the "JAKE family" were the first J sailors to experience the dawning of the end of civilization as we know it in the Chinese Year of the Dragon 2012.  After all, only one hour past the dateline, they celebrated New Year's Day in Sydney at 12 AM when it was 5 AM the day before in Southern California 19 hours later!  So, the Sydney J sailors can easily lay claim to be the first sailors in the world to start the New Year! OMG, looks like they had one helluva lot of fun!  Read more about it here on Peter Gustafsson's BLUR.se sailing website.

J/92 Sailing Fast, Fun in France

K92 sailing off France*  In the "We Love to Get These Emails" category, we recently got a note from JP Teague, owner of a J/92 in France and sailing in the Mediterranean.  JP's note- "Hello- We race our J/92 in IRC in France and elsewhere.  We recently bought a nice suit of North Sails 3DL sails for our boat, so we're competitive!  It's very beautiful sailing in Palmares on the Mediterranean in 2011 and we plan to continue having fun in 2012!  Bravo J/Boats, beautiful boat!"  Thanks JP!  We love you guys, too!  :)

J/World's Tihansky Leads US Naval Academy Sailing

* Kid Leadership!?  Seven years ago, if you had told Jahn Tihansky, owner J/ World Annapolis, that he would be the head coach of the U.S Naval Academy (USNA) varsity offshore sailing team, he would have told you that you were nuts. With a sailing school to run, he wasn't exactly looking for work - certainly not the kind which would consume 60 or 70 hours per week in sailing season. But, opportunity knocked.

After much debate, as well as some prodding from Annapolis sailor Gary Jobson, (who's a "rainmaker," says Tihansky), who assured him that it was the opportunity of a lifetime, the business owner had to quickly find a way to make his school run without him and immerse himself into his new challenging post. Six years later, Coach T, as the midshipmen call him, is still surprised at his good fortune and how well the pieces have come together.

A native of Tampa, FL, Tihansky's family joined the Davis Island YC "because it had a pool." Curiosity and courage enough to hitch a ride on a Cal 27 at the age of 12 led him deep into the sport. "The crew figured out that I'd do anything on the boat from open beers to set the spinnaker, so they taught me to sail," he says, which opened the door to yacht deliveries and many years of interesting racing experiences such as the 1978 Key West to Cuba Race.

After having run his own Sobstad loft as a young man and a stint at Sobstad's corporate headquarters in Connecticut, Tihansky moved to Annapolis where he worked for Sobstad for four years before his opportunity to run J/World Annapolis and in 1993, to buy the sailing school.

It was his brainchild, the J/World big boat winter training program - during which students would train for and successfully compete in big regattas such as the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and Key West Race Week - that fit the type of coaching experience USNA was seeking.

What makes the USNA offshore sailing team unique is that beyond winning sailboat races, participation on the team counts as professional leadership development. "Other sports just can't compare to a kid leading a team of seven to prepare a big boat to go to Bermuda or even down the Bay," says Tihansky, who says that coaches are on the boats as mentors, but the team runs the boat.

"It's a huge responsibility to learn to take care of an asset and take care of teammates. In the tough situations, that's when your character comes out - you're puking and cold. It's 2 a.m., and you're called on watch. The crew must perform. They have to drive, trim sails, navigate, and compete. We do sail to sail well." -- The Stern Scoop from APS Ltd, read on.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

J/105 Loving South Africa's Southerly Busters!

J/105 sailboat- sailing off Cape Town, South Africa (Capetown, South Africa)- It seems that a bunch of fun-loving sailors in South Africa decided that some of the bigger J's might be good offshore boats for the gear-busting conditions often seen of the tip of South Africa.  In recent years, both a J/105 and a J/133 have shown up on the local racing scene and have been enjoying themselves often as leaders of the pack.  We recently got a heart-warming note from one of our J/105 owners, Dwayne Assis, proud owner of J/105 #591 called PANTS ON FIRE!  Here's Dwayne's story:

J/133 racer cruiser sailboat- sailing off Cape Town, South Africa"Hi J/Team- By the way here are some images of my J/105 PANTS ON FIRE and another J/133 JACANA participating in Simon’s Town’s Spring Regatta in South Africa in September 2011.

My crew of 3 and I sailed the J/105 from Cape Town round Cape Point (my first rounding) in very pleasant weather (thank goodness) a few days before the regatta.  First J/105 rounding the notorious Cape of Storms? I certainly think so!

We competed in a return race from Simon’s Town to Cape Town after the Spring Regatta and completed the course in 6 hours 16 min beating into a mild South-easterly to the Point and enjoying a marvelous run all the way to Cape Tow-- broaching spectacularly under masthead A2 on the finish line as the South-easterly wind crept up to 35 kts! We finished 4th on club handicap behind the J/133 (1st) an Archambault 35 (2nd) and a Beneteau 44.7 (3rd) beating a Simonis 42, Farr 40, Lavranos 52 and some others.

J/105 Club Mykonos sailing teamComing up on February 24-25 is the annual downwind dash from Cape Town to the huge, wildly luxurious Mykonos resort in Langebaan Lagoon some 60nm north of Cape Town.  Last year’s race attracted over 100 entries!  It's fun!  Pictured here is how they start to promote the regatta, my oh my!

Keep up to date with the event and the Royal Cape Yacht Club sailing scene at http://www.rcyc.co.za.  Please note, our resident photographer Trevor Wilkins has a sailing photo collection here.

Regards from Sunny South Africa!  Dwayne"

Villanova Wins College Regatta Video Contest

J/105s sailing Storm Trysail Big Boat  series* Villanova Wins First-Ever Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta Video Contest- Sailors captured the breeze from a creative angle during a video challenge at the Larchmont Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Foundation 2011 Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR), which took place over Columbus Day Weekend.  Nearly 85% of the 47 boat fleet were J's- ranging from J/105s to J/109s to J/122s! During the two-day event, 30 HD Flip video cameras, donated to the Foundation by Storm Trysail Club members Rick Lyall (owner of the J/109 STORM) and Barry Gold (owner of a J/122 and J/105), were made available so that each sailing team had the opportunity to document as much action as possible onboard their boats and dockside before and after racing as well as during social events. This week, Villanova University, with sophomore Scott Barnhill (Baltimore, Md.) serving as video editor, was declared the winner of the video challenge (click to view video) and will receive a $1,500 donation made out to its sailing team.

“We’re in a big fundraising stage for our team, so this a fantastic boost for us,” said Barnhill, adding that it was Villanova’s first time attending the event and that it certainly lived up to its reputation as the world’s largest, if not most exciting, college regatta. Over 400 collegiate sailors from across the country raced on the placid waters of Long Island Sound off Larchmont, N.Y. They sailed on 47 offshore boats, which were lent for the weekend by private owners. The boats ranged in size from 35 to 44 feet.

“The cameras really brought everyone together; you saw a lot of people come forward to share their creative ideas with each other,” said Barnhill. “Looking back, the level of footage that we got to work with was fantastic because we had cameras in so many different places. It is impossible to be at every spot and to capture all the shots, but because we had all those cameras we were able to document the whole event.”

Once the regatta had concluded, the footage, which totaled over 50 hours, was uploaded to a server, and each team was challenged to turn the collective work into a short video that would best capture the atmosphere of the event. “The video that Villanova submitted not only met the criteria of the contest, but it was a superior effort that will serve to show what this regatta is all about and help the Storm Trysail Foundation and Larchmont Yacht Club build interest in the event,” said IOR Regatta Chairman Adam Loory.

“We will definitely run the contest again in the future,” Loory added. “Having cameras on all the boats and in the hands of so many different shooters let us cover the regatta so much better than just one or two professional photographers, and we have a lot of good footage that was left on the cutting room floor, so to speak, that we will be able to use in other projects.”  To watch the winning sailing video, click here.

J-Sailors Ken Read & Iker Martinez Leading Volvo Race

Volvo 70 Puma Mar Mostro- sailing fast* Fellow J-Sailors Ken Read on PUMA and Iker Martinez on TELEFONICA are now back to real "live" ocean-racing on their Volvo 70s in the Volvo Ocean Race.  They're now sailing the Maldives (Indian Ocean) to Sanya, China leg.  Ken had this to say about the experience for Leg 3- "And now we are off. Sailing the leg that really nobody looks forward to when they sign up for this race. Upwind for about a million miles!" So far, in the tight, tactical racing relished by Ken and his PUMA MAR MOSTRO gang, they're currently leading the fleet into the Singapore Straits before making a long left turn to head north up to Sanya (a gorgeous, almost Hawaiian-like island that is China's southernmost point of land).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter Sailboat Shopping Season

J/111 speedster- sailing fast downwind (The World)- While our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are "simply messing around on their boats" in the height of "Mid-summer series" and having a ball, their northern neighbors are still feeling like they're either living in an icebox or on the verge of becoming Eskimos themselves.  Nevertheless, since most all northern "winter" boatshows are indoors (other than SoCal & Florida), it's a great time to get out and socialize with friends and take a look at some of the latest J's that are making headlines around the globe.  Here's a shortlist for you globe-trotting J sailors to consider visiting in the near future:

San Diego Sunroad Boat Show- from Jan 26-29, the southern California J/Dealer JK3 Yachts will be showcasing an exciting lineup of new boats at the upcoming San Diego Boat Show. Come by the show to see the J/95 and for info on the new J/70 – the latest hotrod from J/Boats. Please note, JK3 is hosting a reception on Sunday for J/Boat Owners, Fans and Friends as well.  For more info contact JK3 at ph- 619-224-6200, email- jeff@jk3yachts.com or http://www.jk3yachts.com.   For more Sunroad Boatshow information

Strictly Sail Chicago- from Jan 26-29 at Navy Pier- the J/111 on display is an example of the boat that dominated the two Mackinac Races this past year in 2011.  Also, please visit J/105 Fleet 5- Lake Michigan at Booth #204E where J/105 fleet members will be happy to discuss with you the virtues of low-key, fun J/105 class participation.  Please be sure to contact Richard Stearns at Stearns Boating- ph-312-994-9153 or email- rich@stearnsboating.com   For more Chicago Strictly Sailboat Show information

Gothenburg Boatshow- from Feb 4-12- to be sure the J/108 will be displayed very comfortably indoors at the Gothenburg Show in Sweden!  Come on in and enjoy classic Swedish hospitality in the most enjoyable surroundings one might possibly imagine- with healthy Swedish hostesses addressing any of the craziest questions one might ask as it relates to DSPL/L, BMax/ BWL, Sprit Extension/ SPL Midgirths and Prismatic Coefficients/ High VCG ratios.  Please be sure to arrange for a personal tour with Henning Mittlesman- ph- 49-4642 2722/ info@mittelmannswerft.de/ www.JBoats.de   For more Gothenburg Boatshow information

Boston/ New England Boatshow- from Feb 11-19 - on display comfortably in-doors in a wonderfully warm ambiance will be the Hill & Lowden display that will be showcasing the J/111.  Please be sure to come by, convince them to give you a "lobster roll & beer"-  contact Rich Hill and George Lowden at ph- 781-631-3313 or hilllowden@aol.com   For more Boston Boat Show information

Friday, January 20, 2012

Key West- Day Five- Classic Key West, Spectacular Finale!

J/111s sailing off starting line at Key West LE TIGRE Three-Peats J/80s, J/122 TEAMWORK Wins PHRF/ J-Class
(Key West, FL)- Today is what everyone dreams about when sailing Key West.   Gorgeous light bouncing off the pearl white sands creating a neon blue water color.  Steady, oscillating ESE gradient breeze with near trade-wind like consistency flowing along at 10-15 knots.  Solid race committee and PRO management making for fun, fair racing on mostly windward-leeward courses.  One cannot imagine that anyone would be disappointed by such spectacular weather conditions.

While Thursday's sailing saw breezes in the NE quadrant, Friday's final day of sailing saw mostly ENE breezes that hardly fluctuated more than 15 degrees in direction.  The key was staying in wind pressure and ensuring you sailed the lifted tack as long as possible.  Some boats hit the corners and when they did it usually turned into a disaster-- corner shots sometimes pay in Key West, but not this week.  For the most part, so long as you played the wind shifts and the wind pressure you could always stay in the hunt with the race leaders.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Key West on FridayIt was a runaway in the 18-boat J/80 class as Glenn Darden steered LE TIGRE to a steady stream of first, second and third place results. John Gluek was serving as tactician on LE TIGRE, winning with an 18-point lead over second place ROCAD RACING skippered by Mikael Lindqvist from Stockholm, Sweden.

LE TIGRE was named Mount Gay Rum Boat of the Day for winning the class which had the closest, most competitive racing for the day on Thursday. The boat is co-owned by Reese Hillard, who works the bow while Karl Anderson trims the jib aboard the Forth Worth, Texas entry. They captured the J/80 World Championship in 2006 and got the three-peat for Key West!

J/80 Le Tigre sailing team- Darden Hillard and crew“Our team really meshed well. We’ve had a lot of time in the boat and that makes a big difference,” Darden said. “John has done a great job of keeping us in phase and everyone else is just doing their job at a high level.”

The next three places in the J/80s were a horse-race to the very end of the regatta.  Snagging third place by virtue of a 5-5 on the last day was Ron Buzil on VAYU 2 for a total of 48 pts.  Fourth place went to the fast-climbing veteran J/80 campaigners, John Storck Jr and family on RUMOR finishing with a 3-8 to get fourth overall with 50 pts.  Behind them in fifth place was Chris & Liz Chadwick on CHURCH KEY with a 9-9 for a total of 53 pts.  The SAIL Best Around Buoys Team, Ryan Glaze and the Scott brothers hung tough against some top J/80 teams and managed to finish off with a 6-3 for 54 points, good enough for sixth place.

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing in Key West afternoonSAILING WORLD'S Mike Lovett had a quick interview with this fast team: "What was the most fun is that the conditions were up and down, shifting around," says tactician John Gluek, who is president of Dimension-Polyant. "It was all about staying calm and not panicking, deciding a side that's favorable and digging through the fleet to get there, and shifting gears. From five to ten to fifteen knots, there's a range of adjustments [we] make that is really the speed, that's the gas pedal."

Trimmer Karl Anderson is the team's gear-changer. "We try to keep the boat rolling, fully powered up," he says. "There's a lot of small adjustments you can make that are minor adjustments, but they all add up. The trick is to have it all in sync with the trim of the boat and the pressure on the sails. In that way, it's a little back to dinghy sailing. When the wind drops, we try to focus on making the boat go faster forward. We'll heel the boat to make it easier for the helmsman, and we try to keep everybody from freaking out! When everybody's working together, we're able to work through those lights spots."

Of course, skipper Glenn Darden prefers to avoid the light spots altogether. "What John [Gluek] did was keep us in the breeze," says Darden. "There were big breeze lanes—more than shifts, there were breeze lanes—and John kept us in these lanes. A couple of races, we didn't get off the line as well as we wanted, we were a little bit behind, and up the first beat we weren't looking great. John had the patience to work us into better lanes."

Gluek explains his wind-hunting method: "Today was what I call lake sailing, where you had to be patient. You couldn't hit a corner; you couldn't say it's right or left. You had to go with the velocity and move up the water, a little like skiing down a slalom course."

J/122 Teamwork sailing team- winning Key West Race WeekIn the PHRF One Division, the sailing could not have been more interesting and more fun competitively amongst the ten boats sailing in the division.  Many incredibly well-sailed boats, all with great teamwork, good tacticians, great boat speed.  There was nowhere to hide amongst the top six boats, it was a tough battle every single race to scrap for every place you could get as each and every team sought to make incremental gains against one another-- perhaps some of the best "almost one-design" racing one could find sailing handicap racing.  On this last day, the moderate conditions seemed to be working well for Robin Team's J/122 TEAMWORK (pictured at right)  and Paul Stahlberg's J/111 MENTAL, each compiling a 1-2 record to be the "J-Boat of the Day".  At the end of the day, the late charge by MENTAL was not enough to overcome the strong showing of TEAMWORK on the first two days/ five races of the series.  Robin's team on TEAMWORK sailed a fantastic series to win with a total of 22 pts.  Second by virtue of their three 1sts and two 2nds on the last two days was Paul's MENTAL team from Chicago, IL, good enough for 26 pts.  Finishing fourth overall was Bill Sweetser's veteran J/109 RUSH with a 4-3 for the day and Doug Curtiss' J/111 WICKED 2.0 sailed to a 5-5 for a total of 43 pts to snag fifth place in class.  Gary Weissberg's J/109 HEATWAVE sailed a strong last day to get a 6-7 and finish sixth in class.

J/111 sailing the PHRF A diviions at Key West- Warlock from NewfoundlandWithin the J/Division (PHRF Time-on-Time), Robin's J/122 TEAMWORK won the class with a 1-3 on the last day for 20 pts.  Second was determined on a tie-breaker, with Bill's J/109 RUSH with a 3-2 on the final day to snag 2nd place.  Losing the tie-breaker was Paul's J/111 MENTAL with a 2-1 for 23 pts to secure third place.  Sailing their J/111 WICKED 2.0 well was Doug Curtiss' team that included skipper Ted Scott and tactician Neal Fowler (both Tufts Sailing Team classmates of the Editor), securing a 4-4 on the last day to finish fourth in class.  Debuting for his first time in Key West was Gary Weisberg's team on the J/109 HEATWAVE, sailing to a 5-6 to get fifth overall in the J/Class.

In the PHRF Two Division, Gerrit Schulze sailed strongly on the J/105 MAX POWER to finish fourth overall in class with a 4-5 on the last day.  Ed and Justin Palm's J/95 STILL CRAZY sailed to a 6-7 to get sixth place and Dave Whealon's J/80 BOND---JAMES BOND sailed to 9th overall.

J/44 White Gold sailed by Jim Bishop at Key WestIn the IRC Three Division, Jim Bishop on the IRC Modified J/44 WHITE GOLD had a serious battle on their hands going into the last day for second place on the podium.  However, despite their valiant efforts to overcome stiff competition, the 2-4 was just not enough to win this cliff-hanger to get onto the podium.  The WHITE GOLD crew missed 2nd place by one point and their two competitors in themselves had to settle the score on a tie-breaker at 33 pts each! 
Photo credits- Tim Wilkes- http://www.timwilkes.com
For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing results:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Key West- Day Four- Tricky Sailing Day

J/44 White Gold sailing off Key West Good Day For MENTAL Crew!
(Key West, FL)- After Wednesday's sailing was thankfully canceled due to lack of wind, everyone was looking forward to another nice day of sailing Thursday.  The forecasts all showed a front passing over the Keys in the early morning hours followed by NNE wind blowing 7-13 knots with clearing skies during the day.  Remarkably, the forecasters got it right!

J/111s finishing at Key West Race WeekThursday's sailing was an enormous challenge, a lot like the first two days of sailing when the wind is filling behind a large frontal system headed out to sea over the Bahamas.  No telling whether the wind will back or veer and whether or not the forecasts are remotely accurate.  Why?  The combination of the fast-moving, 85 degree river known as the Gulf Stream and exceedingly warm waters over the Bahamas Banks are renown for killing many a front, much to the chagrin of even the most experienced weather forecasters.  The day's racing started off with about an hour postponement-- wise move.  The wind was shifting a good 20-30 degrees with enormous fluctuations in velocity.  Once the wind settled down, it certainly oscillated like crazy with large wind streaks filling in from both sides of the course.  There was no "magic bullet", just keep your head out of the boat and stay on top of developing breezes (or massive, glassy holes in the wind) and keep the boat moving towards the mark uphill or downhill.  Starboard tack saw headings vary from 345 to 005 degrees and on port from 45 to 80 degrees.  No question the tacticians anywhere on all three courses were suffering moments of stark terror and extreme anxiety as boats from BOTH corners of the course were making gains!

J/80s sailing downwind at Key West Race WeekFor the J/80s, the Glenn Darden/ Reese Hillard team on LE TIGRE continued to knock out strong, consistent scores, avoiding corners and sailing super fast.  Their 2-3-1 tally enabled them to extend their lead to a solid 18 points over the closest rivals for a total of 14 pts in 8 races-- not bad, just below a 2nd average!  Making a comeback after a slow day Tuesday was Mikael Lindqvist on ROCAD RACING with a  4-1-4 for a total of 32 points.  The next three places in the J/80s are in a horse-race for the silver and bronze on the podium.  Just 3 points back from ROCAD RACING is that fast rising CHURCH KEY team led by Chris and Liz Chadwick with a 1-5-3 for 35 pts total.  Three points back are Ron Buzil on VAYU 2 sailing to a 5-2-5 and just one point back are another fast-climbing team, the past North American Champion team, the Storck family sailing their RUMOR to a 6-4-2 for 39 pts.  The high-flying SAIL Best Around Buoys Team, Ryan Glaze and the Scott's from the famous lake yacht club, Rush Crush YC, in Dallas, Texas had a rough day, accumulating a 3-10-12 to drop into 6th with 45 pts.  Check out the latest video by Adam Cort on the SAIL BAB blog with a debrief of Tuesday’s racing with skipper Ryan Glaze.

J/80 sailing at Key West Race Week downwindIn the PHRF One Division, the lighter conditions started to create a changeover in the standings as some boats excelled and others took a nose-dive.  Savoring the conditions was Paul Stahlberg's J/111 MENTAL, compiling a 2-1-1 record to be the "J-Boat of the Day", for a total of 23 pts, good enough for third place.  Still leading the division is Robin Team's J/122 TEAMWORK with yet another consistent performance, scoring a 4-3-2 to be leading PHRF One by one point for 19 pts.  Dropping into fourth place is Bill Sweetser's J/109 RUSH with a 3-4-6 for a total of 28 pts.  Laying in fifth is Doug Curtiss' J/111 WICKED 2.0 with a 5-2-3 for 33 pts.

Within the J/Division (PHRF Time-on-Time), Robin's J/122 TEAMWORK continues to lead the pack with a 3-4-2 for 16 pts.  Second is Mr. Bill's J/109 RUSH with a 1-1-4 for 18 pts.  Third is Paul's J/111 MENTAL with a 2-2-1 for 20 pts.

“We’re having a great time because the conditions have been terrific and the competition has been spectacular,” said Team, who has his brother and two sons in the crew. “We’ve been mixing it up with Tres Hombres and finished overlapped with them in the first two races today. RUSH is also tough so I think it will be a dogfight the whole way.”

J/109 racing cruising sailboat- sailing at Key WestRUSH, a J/109 skippered by Bill Sweetser and team of Annapolis (pictured right), was named LEWMAR/ NAVTEC BOAT OF THE DAY on Tuesday after posting a superb score line of 3-2-1.  Quantum pro Tad Hutchins is calling tactics on RUSH.  “The conditions were very good for us today. When the wind is 14 knots or less we can fly our big jib, which is kind of like our secret weapon,” Sweetser said. “We pay for that jib in our rating so it’s good whenever we can use it.”  It’s been close but no cigar for Rush at Key West as Sweetser’s boat has finished first or second in class several times, but never come away as overall winner at week’s end. “One of these years we’re going to finally break through and it’s going to be wonderful,” he said.  Here's a YouTube Interview with the RUSH crew:

In the PHRF Two Division, Gerrit Schulze sailed strongly on the J/105 MAX POWER to stay in 4th place with a 7-5-4.  Ed and Justin Palm's J/95 STILL CRAZY is hanging in for sixth place and Dave Whealon's J/80 BOND---JAMES BOND are enjoying themselves and hanging in 9th overall.

In the IRC Three Division, Jim Bishop on the IRC Modified J/44 WHITE GOLD got a 3-5-2 for a total of 28 pts, exactly 2 pts out of second place overall!  We wish him well on Friday.

J/80 sailor Ben Schwartz sailing M32 class at Key West Race WeekAmongst the J sailors, champions and alumni in other racing divisions, it's pretty clear they're having a dominating impact on both IRC Divisions and other one-design divisions.  Top amongst them is long-time J/80 sailor Ben Schwartz, now leading the notoriously pro-heavy M32 Class with his boat PISCES over such notables as John Kilroy on SAMBA PA TI.  Sailing with him is America’s Cup veteran and J/24 World Champion Ed Baird calling tactics and Quantum professional and J/24 Champion Scott Nixon trimming the jib and spinnaker. “You have to give Ed and Scott a lot of credit for getting our boat up to speed,” said Ben. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew, the guys never stopped working and we were able to change gears pretty well.”

POWERPLAY lived up to its name by making a strong move in IRC 2/ TP52 class with a strong line of 1-3-4 on Tuesday and a 2-6.5-3 today. Owner Peter Cunningham, a resident of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands and a champion J/22 sailor locally, has a nice mix of amateur and professional crew with tactician Tony Rey from Newport (yet another top J/24 sailor).  “We’ve only had the boat for six months and we’ve made a lot of modifications during that time,” Cunningham said. “We’re pretty happy with our performance so far. We’re sailing fairly well and having a lot of fun.”

TP52 Quantum Sailing racing Key West- Terry HutchinsonQUANTUM RACING, skippered by former J/24 and J/44 owner Doug DeVos, continues to set the pace in the 52-foot class and leads PowerPlay by 14 points. Terry Hutchinson, helmsman for the Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing that is Challenge of Record for the America’s Cup and a J/24 World Champion, has made strong tactical calls in leading Quantum to the top of the leader board.  “Tuesday was far from straightforward. The wind was very shifty and there are some tricky current patches to deal with,” Hutchinson said.

Photo credits- Tim Wilkes- http://www.timwilkes.com

For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing results: