Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baltic Wharf J/80 UK Training

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing on Solent, England (Dartmouth, England)- Like their French and Spanish counterparts, the J/80 UK sailors are starting to "dial-up" their training programs this spring.  Four training weekends are planned for the UK fleet after Easter. They will include coaching for the fleet, tuning, boat handling practice, race work with the Race Management team for the Worlds and plenty of really good sailing.  It starts on 28-29 April in the Solent then transfers down to Dartmouth for the last three weekends of May.

The Baltic Wharf J/80 Training Program is precisely that: A coaching program which will be led by RYA/Olympic Sailing Coach Jim Saltonstall. It’s a series of training weekends designed to offer those skippers and crews who take part a real step up in performance in advance of the Worlds and a chance to learn the waters in which the regatta will be fought. One of the two final weekends will take place with the PRO and the full race team in attendance.  If you'd like to learn more about how to sail the one-design J/80 faster, please contact Becci Eplett ( at J/UK Key Yachting Group in Southampton, England.  Sailing Photo Credit- Peter Newton

J/105 EuroCup Gains Momentum

J/105 one-design sailboats sailing offshore (Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England)- For those J/105 sailors in Europe looking forward to participate in a fun, new EuroCup Series, it looks like there are over a dozen boats confirmed already! It represents a wonderful opportunity for J/105 class racing the likes of which have not been seen in the UK and Western Europe in quite some time.    The preliminary details are as follows:

1. Round the Island Race- 30th June 2012- with registration direct to Island Sailing Club – scoring will be based on IRC handicaps for this sole race and incorporated into the overall J/105 EuroCup results.  Make sure to have reservations at Cowes Yacht Haven- we hope to raft up all the J/105s together!

2. EuroCup Weekend- 7th July- racing organised by the Royal Solent Yacht Club at Yarmouth – all boats to level rate with the exception of boats from Europe who will use their IRC handicaps to save buying new sails for a single event.  The program is for registration completing on Friday, 6th July and to have at least 5 or more races (weather dependent) on Saturday and Sunday with prize-giving immediately after the conclusion of racing.

We look forward to seeing all J/105 sailors from anywhere to join us!  If you have any interest, please don't hesitate to contact us- email- or contact Becci Eplett ( at J/UK Key Yachting Group in Southampton, England.

J Sailors Eclipse Islands Race

J/125 sailboats- sailing Newport Beach to San Diego Islands Race J/125 SRM Wins PHRF 2 & J/120 POLE DANCER Wins PHRF Overall!
(San Diego, CA)- Over the years this 139 nm offshore race from Newport Beach around Catalina and San Clemente Islands to port and finish in San Diego is becoming a midwinter classic on the SoCal offshore racing scene.  Renown for its great parties, this seemingly benign offshore race can be challenging. 

For starters, the wind is highly variable (if it will be windy anywhere it will be offshore in February); the course will test various points of sail; the fleet have easy and understandable ratings (think Hot Rum series); and, intelligently enough, a Saturday finish/party so the sailors all have a Sunday to recover.

J/125 Stark Raving Mad- winner PHRF 2This year there were thirty-five of some of the best SoCal offshore yacht racers.  33% of the fleet were J's sailing.  And, most astonishingly, not only taking the top two spots overall, but six of the top eleven boats.  In other words, 50% of the top eleven! That's quite a showing for a broad cross-section of the J-Fleet.  Fleets of J/125s and J/120s showed up to experience the blast around the beautiful Channel Islands offshore.

In the end, it was Tim and Terri Manok's J/120 POLE DANCER that won both PHRF 3 and 1st PHRF Overall!  For the rest of PHRF 3, the other J/120s included Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS (3rd PHRF 3 and 5th PHRF Overall) and Jim Barbers' HOT TAMALE (5th PHRF 3 and 11th PHRF Overall).  Seth Hall's J/124 MARISOL managed a good showing, getting 4th PHRF 3 and 7th PHRF overall.  Other classmates included Daylen Teren's J/109 GREAT BALLS OF FIRE and Paul Stemler's J/44 PATRIOT.

In PHRF 2, Jim Madden's J/125 STARK RAVING MAD won PHRF 2 class and was 2nd PHRF overall not far off the pace set by the Manok's J/120.  For the rest of the fleet of J/125s, Mark Surber's DERIVATIVE finished 2nd PHRF 2 class and 8th PHRF overall.  Somewhat off the pace were Tim Fuller's RESOLUTE and Viggo Torbenson's TIMESHAVER.   Sailing photo credits- John Fuller- SDYC   For more Islands Race sailing information

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fast Sailing JAKE Snakes Sydney-Newcastle Race

J/111 speedster- one-design sailboat- sailing off Sydney, Australia (Sydney, Australia)- The longest race of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Ocean Pointscore Series (OPS) from Sydney to Newcastle, nearly 70 miles north of Sydney along the coast, was held on the 18th February 2012 . The J/111 JAKE was the smallest boat in the 26 boat fleet that lined up for the start at 9am Saturday morning. Here's the full-on race report from Ray and Sandra Entwistle from aboard JAKE:

"We certainly felt small during pre-start maneuvers amongst the smorgasbord of bigger boats which included the famous BRINDABELLA (a Jutson 80), MERLIN (the Cookson 50 footer), a Corby 49, Sydney 47, Rodgers 46, Beneteau 45, Sydney GTS43, Kerr40 and a pair of Cookson 12s, to name a few.

A 10 to 15 knot south westerly dictated a spinnaker start in Sydney Harbour and we were delighted when JAKE emerged out of Sydney Harbour Heads in 5th place on the water (e.g. boat-for-boat!). We settled down and concentrated on our race strategy of hugging the coast to keep out of the current and playing the 13 to 18 knots of breeze as it occasionally drifted either side of south. We knew we were doing well with some of the bigger boats still behind us and it wasn’t until Pittwater 25 miles north when one of our main competitors, ST JUDE (the Sydney 47) managed to pass us. After a mistake at the start AFL MIDNIGHT RAMBLER (the new Ker 40) also managed to creep by. There were still a lot of boats behind us that owed us time on IRC and we were having a great sail as the day progressed and miles slid effortlessly by. Thanks to some great asymmetric designs by Ian Short Sails we were going as deep and in some cases deeper and faster than conventional rigged boats.

One of JAKE's crew made a comment how good everything was going and the boat was simply flying as we saw our final headland in the distance-- "Nobby's Head"- now famous due to the grounding of the 76 thousand tonne “Pasha Bulka”  bulk carrier in 2007 when she ran aground during a huge storm. All was going to plan and JAKE's crew were looking forward to finishing in daylight, and few beers with dinner.  We were still ahead of many much larger boats and still crossing gybes with the larger Sydney GTS43 OCCASIONAL COURSE LANGUAGE. About 5 minutes later the breeze dropped to 5 knots, by 6pm it had  had petered out completely and we had a a complete "glass-out", much to our chagrin (we figured we may have been winning overall at the time).

Trying every trick in the book, we could not stop ourselves from slowly going backwards as the tide turned and darkness enveloped the fleet. We started to hear the retirements come through on the VHF an hour later and were surprised to hear how far back some the boats were. Between 7 and 8 pm, a slight whisper of a southwester began to filter through, only a few knots but enough to harness in JAKE's sails and make headway once again. With the spinnaker back up we ghosted past one of the Cookson 12s, as we completed our final gybe to head into Newcastle Harbour, we crossed with the Sydney GTS 43 for the last time and through the finish line at 9.30 pm.

With Newcastle yacht clubs staff and volunteers welcoming the finishing boats with a tot of rum as we tied up and quick calculation we knew we had done ok in the longest race so far in our potent J/111 rocketship.

Before we retired for the evening it was confirmed we were second on IRC to our friend and competitor Julian Farren Price who has sailed a faultless series. We were advised we were second on PHS to the famous Jutson 80 BRINDABELLA but a few boats were still at sea with a building breeze. The next morning we learnt our final position was a fourth in PHS.

The story doesn’t end there, however. With most of the crew having to drive back to Sydney due to family commitments, Sandra and I, just two up, had a fantastic sail back the Sydney the next day-- yet again proving how versatile and easy the J/111 is to sail shorthanded with husband and wife!   For more Sydney-Newcastle Race sailing results

HONEY BADGER Sails To St Pete NOOD Victory

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing at St Pete NOOD Regatta (St Petersburg, FL)- This year's Sperry Topsider St Petersburg NOOD Regatta promised to have good racing on the water on the basic assumption that Tampa Bay's infamous winter weather patterns cooperated.  They didn't.  Unfortunately.  Light, shifty, drizzly day was the order of the day on Friday.  Then, Saturday dawned with fog and no wind in the morning giving way to glorious sunshine and no wind in the afternoon-- at least the parties were fun!  Then, after nearly two days of no wind, the weather Gods tossed the fleet a huge curve ball as a massive trans-continental Low frontal system passed from the West to East across America.  With gusts into the mid-20s, the fleets were challenged with short steep chop and shifty breezes making for some tough beating upwind and fast rides off-the-wind.

J/24 sailboat- sailing with family/ kidsThe biggest one-design keelboat class at this year's STSPNR were the fleet of nineteen J/24s, easily eclipsing any other fleet at the event!  Returning champion from the local Davis Island YC, Todd Fedyszyn, had his hands full on his boat SPOONY TACTICS, managing to accumulate an 11-3-2-3 for 19 pts, good enough for just fourth place.  The winner of the class in a "runaway" was Travis Odenbach from Rochester YC on HONEY BADGER, garnering a very fast 5-1-1-1 for 8 pts to win not just the J/24 class but also the coveted St Pete NOOD Overall Champion of the largest and most competitive class at the regatta-- earning himself a trip to sail in the NOOD Championship Regatta in the British Virgin Islands 2012 later in the year on giant, air-conditioned cruising bath-tubs equipped with air-powered weed-whacker blenders- renowned for making killer "umbrella rum drinks"!  Just behind Travis and crew were Chris Stone from Atlantic Highlands YC sailing VELOCIDAD to a 3-4-3-2 record for 12 pts to secure 2nd overall.  Also flying the AHYC flag and lying third sailing a very solid series was John Surguy on VANISHING ACT, adding up a 4-2-5-5 score for 16 pts. Rounding out the top five behind Todd on SPOONY was Steve Wood from SailNewport sailing TASMANIAN DEVIL.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing at St Pete NOOD RegattaIn the J/80s, a competitive contingent of eight boats rocked and rolled in the breezy conditions on Sunday.  Many found it to their liking and had some fun planing around on some good puffs and decent waves.  The fleet had a good cross section of teams from across the country, from Texas to Wisconsin, Florida to New England.  Winning was Fort Worth Boat Club's Ramon Torres sailing 80 PROOF, managing to sail a very consistent 4-1-2-2-1 score for 10 pts and easily win their class.  Behind Ramon was a very tough race for the balance of the podium, if not the top five. Second was Gary Panariello hailing from North Shore YC racing COURAGEOUS to a 2-2-3-3-7 for 17 pts.  Just one point back in third was local Randy St James sailing for Davis Island YC onboard CLAIRE, managing to sail super-fast on the last day to snag a 6-5-4-1-2 tally for 18 pts.  Yet one more point back was Tod Patton from Milwaukee YC sailing BLONDIE to a 7-3-1-4-4 score for 19 pts.  And one more point back from him was Ian Torrie from Nepean Sailing Club racing BLIND FAITH to a 3-4-5-5-3 record for 20 pts.  Whew! That was a close finish for these four boats on the last day!    Sailing photo credits- Allen and Daniela Clark/  For more St Pete NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/80 Trofeo Maximo Bolado

J/80 sailboat- sailing Santander, Spain (Santander, Spain)- The J/80 fleet in Santander enjoyed a good day of racing last weekend, vying for the Trofeo Maximo Bolado.  The high tide and northwest wind around 12 knots (which was subsiding throughout the afternoon), allowed the RC to locate a good race course up to the gorgeous moors that form the backdrop to the harbor.

The first race was dominated from start to finish by Alberto Padron at the helm. NEXTEL's Ignacio Camino was second. Third place was decided in the final meters in favor of VERIGUETO that had Santi Lopez-Vazquez at the helm, ahead of CROCS sailed by Javier Aguado. Finishing fifth was ECC VIVIENDAS, skippered for the occasion by Javier de la Plaza.

In the second race, it was FONESTAR with Peru Mujica at the helm, who led most of the race, but he hooked the anchor line of a mark and lost his position with an "auto-penalty", but managed to finish third despite the setback.

Overall, the thirty boat fleet is pretty tight with the Pichu Torcida's ECC VIVIENDAS leading the first trophy of the year with 15 points, followed by Ignacio Camino's NEXTEL which has soared to second place (18 points) and third is maintained Jaime Piris on FONESTAR (22). David Madrazo's GO FIT is fourth with 26 and fifth with 31 is CINCUA SOLUCIONES sailed by Toño Gorostegui and Alejandro Diaz.  For more Santander J/80 sailing information   Sailing photo credits-

Monday, February 27, 2012

WINGS & CAPER & AVET Win @ SCYA Midwinters

J/105 sailboat- sailing San Diego, CA (Long Beach, CA)- As anticipated, the various J One-Design classes had some great sailing this past weekend in the Southern California Yachting Association Midwinters regatta, one of the largest midwinters sailing events taking place in the northern hemisphere.  The J/105s and J/120s sailed out of San Diego YC out off Point Loma and the J/80s sailed out of California YC in Marina Del Rey, just north of the monstrous Los Angeles International Airport.

The J/105s, who are gearing up for their 2012 North Americans in San Diego, saw a highly competitive fleet with the top honors determined by the outcome of the last two races.  Climbing back on top of the fleet were Dennis and Sharon Case sailing WINGS to a 1-1-4-2-1 tally for 9 pts.  They just beat out the Hurlburt/ Driscoll gang racing BLOW BOAT, who managed to start slow but increasingly gained momentum during the event, accumulating a 4-2-2-1-3 for 12 pts to snag 2nd overall.  Sean O'Keefe and crew aboard DECOLORES started out even slower, with a 6-6, but shared the best record for the last three races with a 1-3-2 to claw their way back into 3rd overall with 18 pts.

In the J/120 fleet, there some familiar names that managed to jump onto the podium, but no one was expecting to get thoroughly dominated by one boat!  Talking about taking out a can of "whup-ass" and using it up in one regatta, John Laun and the gang took CAPER to FIVE straight bullets to win with 5 pts only.  That's a spanking and a half!  They sure seemed to have everyone's heads spinning as to what or how they uncorked such an impressive win.  Surviving the whipping was Mike Hatch's crew on J-ALMIGHTY blazing to a 2-3-2-3-2 for 12 pts to hold onto second place.  J-ALMIGHTY just edged out past SCYA Midwinter Champion Chuck Nichols' famous CC RIDER, whose 4-2-4-2-4 for 16 pts was good enough for third.

Over in J/80 world at Cal YC, it was pretty evident that Curt Johnson's team on AVET were not going to eclipse their friendly competitors as they had last year.  Giving them a run for the money was Bob Hayward's BLUE JAY.  In the end, Curt's team on AVET managed to score a 2-1-2-1-1 for 7 pts, enough to beat Bob's BLUE JAY team that scored 1-2-1-2-2 for 8 pts.  Lying third was Dave Angers' MISS DEMEANOR with five 3rds.   For more SCYA Midwinters sailing information.   Sailing photo credits- Peter Howson

J/24s Sailing Regattas Invernale (Winter Regattas)

J/24 sailboat- sailing off Italy on Mediterannean (Taranto/ Anzio-Nettuno/ Marina di Capitana/ Cervia/ Cagliari, Italy)- The J/24 class in Italy continues to reign supreme as the pre-eminent one-design class across the country.  With hundreds of boats spread across the country, it's easy to hop into one, give the boat a "refresher" and go sailing with friends.  The J/24 Winter Regatta circuit is conducted in five sailing areas around Italy, from the North to the South, from East to West.  Here are some quick updates on their activity since the start of 2012.

TARANTO- So far, in what is perhaps the southernmost Italian J/24 fleet located in Taranto (inside the "heel of the boot"), they are the only fleet that has seen the most sailing this winter on the Ionian Sea.  It looks like JEBEDEE ITA-427 with the duo of Soriano-Macina continue to lead the standings in a fleet of sixteen J/24s, but DOCTOR J ITA-406 skippered by Sandro Negro is only one point behind.  They are currently ahead of MA TI LTD ITA-490 sailed by Angelo Lombardo and John Cavallo, LUMACHIA COSIMO DE PADOVA ITA-172 sailed by Carlo D'Errico.  For more J/24 Taranto sailing information

ANZIO-NETTUNO- This region for J/24 sailing includes the entire Gulf of Anzio and Nettuno (Rome, Vatican City) and the various yacht clubs that surround it, including the Navale Italiano.  So far, they've had good racing despite the tough conditions with mistral/scirocco type of conditions with rough seas and 15-25 knots winds from the Easterly quadrants (blowing offshore).  In this fleet of twenty-eight J/24s, the NAVY's ITA-416 sailed by Ignatius Buonanno is leading with Marco Vincenti in second and Massimo Mariotti in third.  The fleet tried to sail the past weekend, but horrible weather forced the Polizia to stop traffic in many areas near the coast, canceling races for the weekend.   For more J/24 Anzio-Nettuno sailing information

After the second weekend of racing, the J/24 teams did have a nice video made of their winter series, you can see it here:

J/24 sailboat- sailing off Italian coastline off RomeMARINA DI CAPITANA- Out on the island of Sardinia, the J/24 fleet has been having a much harder time getting their winter series rolling due to incredibly bad weather.  Whatever they've been getting on the mainland, it's only twice as worse or more out on the island, especially with the winds in the ENE quadrants- mistrals are rough going on the northeastern shores of Sardinia.

The Winter Series Championship is organized by the Yacht Club St. Helens under the auspices of the Italian Sailing Federation, with assistance of the Port of Cagliari.  Despite the dismal weather, the first weekend of actual sailing had a  welcoming sun and the nice wind made for three great races.  At the top of the leader board with three 1sts is ITA-103 sailed by Paco Jadine.  Just behind them is Laura De Luisa on DELL'INCIVISI Sailing Team with a 3-2-2.  Lying third is an all-girl team lead by Claudia Barbara sailing EXPRESSIVE MEDIFARMA with a 2-4-3.

On the second weekend of sailing, Claudia and her girls on EXPRESSIVE MEDIFARMA started off strongly by winning the first race!  Nevertheless, after two races the standings are still the same as the previous weekend as Paco Jadine is still on top. The Winter Championship in Sardinia will continue during the weekend of 4, 18, 30 March and 1 April.  For more J/24 Sardinia sailing information

CERVIA- If the weather was creating some difficulties to get racing going in Sardinia or in Rome, the sailors in Cervia (south of Ravenna) were far worse off on the eastern coast of Italy on the Adriatic Sea.  A combination of bad weather and heavy snowfall wreaked havoc on their winter sailing season so far.  On their first weekend of sailing in 2012, twenty boats were ready to sail but due to strong wind, fog, or absence of wind, they managed to only get in one race.  So, the schedule is getting reworked to schedule in more days for sailing.  At this stage the J/24 Fleet Captain Guido Gudagani is leading on ITA-400 CAPTAIN NEMO.  He's followed by Antonio Antonelli with KISMET in second and Fabio on ITA-424 APOLLONIUS in third.   For more J/24 Cervia sailing information

CAGLIARI- The other J/24 fleet in the southern part of Sardinia sails out of Cagliari and the renowned Marina Piccola Marina on the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Cagliari.  So far, they have managed to get in three races sailed.  Like their fellow J/24 sailors they've also experienced rain, cold and light winds interspersed with strong storms.   The report so far from one of the competitors:  "With three races so far, an indomitable race committee was able to carry itself well on a typically dreary day. Rain, little wind and cool temperatures did not deter anyone and the racing has been at the top, as is customary in this class.  A solitary boat appears to be leading the pack: it is Kimbe Alberto Gai, skipper and owner. This brand new boat, in which nothing is left to chance, includes Giovanni Meloni to call tactic and with a 1-3-1 seems to have taken flight on the group. Five points separate them from their pursuers."

JAM SESSION Wins J/105s at Three Bridge Fiasco

J/105s starting Three Bridge Fiasco 
BADFISH Wins J/24s, J/80 PAINKILLER 10th Overall!
(San Francisco, CA)- The name is appropriate.  For starters, you have to know who the "Singlehanded Sailing Society" is on San Francisco Bay.  Next, you have two choices on the type of course you want to sail, go clock-wise around the Bay or counter-clockwise.  Your choice.  Then, since it's a "pursuit" style race, the little boats get going early in the morning while the bigger boats get rolling later in the day.  Next, you can sail single-handed or double-handed, no more-- for many that decision in and of itself is one of the more challenging ones to make based on weather and other unknown factors that cross the psyche of short-handed sailors.  Finally, toss in that other thing called "the wind" and, most importantly, the "capricious currents" on San Francisco Bay and you have-- voila-- a recipe for a "fiasco".  Despite its name, the event continues to mushroom in popularity just because it is almost complete and utter chaos.  Half or more of the fun is just participating.  And, you literally see an entire cross-section of the history of yachting as you sail around the course-- from Knarrs and Cal 20s to the most modern sportsboats.  It's also one of the most utterly entertaining regattas held anywhere as some of the most bizarre scenarios unfold in some of the most beautiful, and sometimes dangerous, sections of the course (e.g. the marks).

For the most part, dozens of J sailors participate spread across all the divisions (there are many to choose from).  The J/105s and J/24s generally have a class since so many come from all four corners of San Francisco Bay to partake in the fun.

More often than not, conditions for the annual Three Bridge Fiasco are cold, wet and nasty — the sort of weather that would inspire fair-weather sailors to turn up the thermostat, slip on their Uggs and linger over a long, drawn-out breakfast. But on Saturday this much-anticipated annual contest saw splendid conditions: clear, sunny skies, mild temperatures, and even a bit of breeze.

Not that it really mattered, though. For decades hundreds of diehard single- and doublehanders have turned out to compete, regardless of freezing temperatures, driving rain, lack of wind, or whatever. You could argue that the race, which allows entrants to navigate the course in either direction, passing near the Golden Gate, the San Rafael Bridge, and the Bay Bridge in whatever order they wish, is as much a rite of passage as it is pure competition. And with 334 entries this year, it's appeal is obvious.

J/24s sailing on first leg of Three Bridge FiascoWith an ebb running in the morning, the most popular course strategy was to knock off Blackaller Buoy first (near the Golden Gate), then beat up to Red Rock (near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge), then run down past Treasure Island and on to the finish. But Three Bridge fleets are renowned for their contrarian thinking, so even with the ebb, many boats were seen crossing the starting line heading 'upstream' (east). Up at Red Rock, the armada split in two, half leaving the island to port, half leaving it to starboard. And back behind Yerba Buena Island the light air traffic jam lived up to the event's name.  For those headed to the Gate, a half hour after the start of the smaller boats, the breeze clocked a bit, allowing a rare spinnaker reach to the Gate.  Even later in the day, although there were holes in the North Bay wind, most boats had a pleasant, sunny ride down to Treasure Island, occasionally interrupted by upwind traffic.

For the fourteen boat J/105 class, it was Adam Spiegel and Matt Clark on JAM SESSION that took all the marbles, winning by just 1:57 over Peter Wagner and Al Sargent sailing SLEIGHRIDE.  After their start at 10:00 am, the J/105 floated along with the ebb in a westerly direction towards Blackaller Buoy in lightish winds before turning back east to fight the ebb and the dozens of other boats already in front of them.  After the fiasco of clearing their air, the J/105s saw Stephen Kleha and Shannon Ryan on DONKEY JACK finish third in class another five minutes back.  Fourth was Doug Bailey and Caspian Bailey on AKULA and rounding out the top five as Phi Laby and Garth on GODOT.  Out of the 334 boats, JAM SESSION got a credible 38th overall.

In the J/24 class, Scott Lynch and Tommy Pastalka on BADFISH won their race by 2:17 over Val Lulevich and Zane Starke racing SHUT UP AND DRIVE ( who was driving?).  Third was Darren Cumming and Alex Symes on DOWNTOWN UPROAR just 45 seconds back.

IN the SF Bay 30 class, the team of Peter Jermyn and Curt Brown on their J/30 IONE fought hard to get a second in class, followed by the J/29 AUDACIOUS sailed by Scott Christensen and Kevin McCurdy.

In the PHRF 108 Spinnaker class, the J/130 RAM sailed by Bob Milligan and Tom Thayer managed to get a sixth in class and 39th overall in the fleet of 334 boats.  Just behind them on 2:10 off was the famous PEGASUS- MOTION-X team of Phillipe Kahn and Mark Christensen on their J/100 modified with a bowsprit.  Not far behind them was the J/120 TWIST sailed by Timo Bruck and Ryan West.

Perhaps the hero of the day was the J/80 PAINKILLER sailed by Eric Patterson singlehanded in the PHRF 111-150 Division.  Eric started at 9:00am and finished by 15:39:51 in the afternoon, not only getting a podium finish by getting 3rd in class, but also getting 10th Overall out of all 334 boats!!  Wow, amazing performance in such challenging conditions!   For more Three Bridge Fiasco sailing information

Sunday, February 26, 2012

J/80s Sailing Grevelingen Cup Practice

* J/80 Grevelingen Cup Regatta in The Netherlands are having fun getting themselves up to speed in the middle of the European winter.  Conditions have been less than ideal, but they did manage to get some good "GoPro"-like video of their racing.  You can watch some of it here:

YOUTube video---

Italians Sailing J24s in Copa Mexico

* Is the J/24 Italian Team Ready to Race J/24 Copa Mexico?  It looks like TEAM BERGAMO racing ITA 479 are getting ready to go to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and try their hand against some of the best in the J/24 class.  This year John Fields, President of the Yacht Club Città dei Mille, will represent Italy.  They will be up against 64 J/24s teams from over 20 countries! The Italian J/24 representatives are counting on the support of Bergamo Filtes International - Technical Yarns, OSMI Sro - Oil & Gas and some other partners-- more information at Among the sponsors of the 2012 Copa Mexico include Banamex, Coca Cola, Tag Heuer, Comex, Dell, Microsoft Office, Cerveza XX, Nyssen and Grey Goose Vodka.

J/39 SLEEPER Challenges Caribbean 600

J/39 SLEEPER sailing in Solent, England (Antigua)- The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, started at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There's a proverbial "jump up" going on at Antigua Yacht Club as over 500 competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world - Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.  There can be few sporting events that can boast such a worldwide appeal with sailors taking part from all over the world including: Antigua, Australia, Austria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey and America.

Hetairos super maxi sailing yachtThis astounding diversity of nationalities is matched only by the astonishing array of yachts and personalities. The largest yacht competing this year is the magnificent Hetairos with a waterline length of 200' (seen here), the world's largest carbon composite sailing yacht (for the moment). While at the other end of the scale is a true "sleeper" of a competitor, none other than Jonty and Jack Layfield's J/39 SLEEPER sailing in IRC 3 and IRC Doublehanded divisions on of the smallest yachts in the fleet.  This father and son team, Jonty and son Jack are both RORC members and hale from Brighton, UK. Last year with a full crew, Jonty's J/39 SLEEPER won class at Antigua Sailing Week.

"Sailing Two-Handed with my son, I don't expect to be very competitive, we are not going to go flat out but treat the race more like a delivery trip," admitted Jonty. "I have raced double-handed with my son back in England and I have been sailing with Jack since he was about five years old, we are more like friends than father and son. The great thing about sailing is that you have to get on with it; you can't have any histrionics. Jack is working in Brazil at the moment and the RORC Caribbean 600 is a great way to spend a few days together."

Christian Ripard- Malta JBoats sailorPast J/24 European Champion, now RORC Chief Executive, Eddie Warden-Owen believes that the RORC Caribbean 600 is especially attractive to larger yachts, however the ethos of the club maintains equal status to every participant.  "A wide spectrum of yachts and competitors has decided that this is an event that is not to be missed. The club is delighted that people from all over the world want to take part. There is a mixture of world class sailors and Corinthian enthusiasts, but they all have one thing in common, a passion for offshore racing."  For example, pictured here is world-famous sailor/navigator Christian Ripard from Malta, recent winner on his J/122 of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

"The average length of yacht for this year's entry is over 70'. When the Royal Ocean Racing Club started this race in 2009, we felt it would appeal to larger yachts and that has proved to be the case. This year we have a significant number of Racing Maxis, Superyachts and Spirit of Tradition yachts. However, every yacht competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 is governed by the same set of rules. All of the competitors receive a warm welcome from the Antigua Yacht Club, regardless of their finish time or place. Since 1925, The Royal Ocean Racing Club has promoted offshore racing for all and in many ways the RORC Caribbean 600 typifies that cause."

RORC 600 sailboat race- courseWhat's the key to the race? Said one veteran navigator, "It's unlike any other offshore race in that the average leg is only about 40 miles and for a navigator there is a lot to consider. Normally, a race is all about the weather and strategy but in addition to all that, this race takes you back to the basic problem of navigating around so many rocks and islands. Looking through all the legs, there is a broad mixture of sailing angles; there is a fair bit of reaching, but it is wrong to think that is not a challenge, especially with the speed sensitivity of modern high-performance boats. The course is more like a whole stream of complex coastal races."

Some of the course tips included commentary from a past winner in 2009: "An early look at the weather and it looks like we are going to get normal trade wind conditions with a wind direction just slightly north of east, "classic 600" conditions provided the weather pattern holds as it is."

"This year, the start line will need to be significantly longer because of the size of the superyachts that have entered. It will be a magnificent sight from Shirley Heights. The yachts will tend to tack as close into the cliffs as they can to get a huge lift off the headland and there is a lot of current inshore. The yachts will want to get out of that adverse current. Once around Shirley Heights a close-fetching yacht can almost lay Green Island in one tack.

The leg up to Barbuda could well be a powerful reach but a good tip is that many yachts tend to over-stand the North Sails mark at Barbuda. After Codrington Point the wind can free off enormously as you run down the side of the island. The wind also tends to accelerate there and it is usually a monster reach-to-reach gybe.

Antigua English HarbourThe downwind leg to Nevis is usually not too tactical but it is especially worth looking out for squalls. I remember on Region Guadeloupe we overtook ICAP Leopard there because we got the right side of a squall and they didn't. Significant gains and losses can be made in squalls. Look at the cloud formations as you approach Nevis. If the clouds are moving briskly that is a good sign of breeze, but if they are static the signs are there is a big wind shadow and it is probably best to head further west before turning the corner. In general, the best policy is to stay a bit offshore around the back of Nevis and St.Kitts, then try and lay Saba in one tack.

Although Saba is a small island it does have a fairly large wind shadow but it is usually a tough beat afterwards and you would tend to try to keep as much height as possible. The sea state can really pick up there due to a significant current. It is the first real taste of harsh ocean sailing for the crew and yachts. After making St.Maartin there are still 18 miles of short tacking. It is a hard-hitting part of the course, especially at night for the smaller yachts. What's more, there are a lot of rocks that the fleet will need to be especially careful of.

The reach down to Guadeloupe is the first real chance for crews to get their heads down in the race but the start is a significant point tactically, getting the right angle after St.Barths can be crucial. In my opinion, you should stay slightly high on your course, as if the wind does go south of east, you could end up beating. Montserrat is on the layline and there is talk of leaving Montserrat to port, but in my opinion when there are normal trade wind conditions you shouldn't benefit from going west of Montserrat, especially as in doing so you would have to sail a lot more miles and in foul current.

Rainbow off Guadelope western pointThe approach to Guadeloupe is a key area of the race. There is typically a significant wind shadow on the north west corner of Guadeloupe, especially at night. Having said that, during the day you can actually experience a westerly sea breeze there. It is so variable that it is best to look at the clouds over the island and also keep a watchful eye. I always get my binoculars out before approaching Guadeloupe to see how other yachts are sailing up ahead. I have been trapped in an area of no wind, north west of Guadeloupe and watched as 30 knots was blowing through the channel, just two miles away. Many yachts may choose to put someone aloft to take a good look, but a good overall strategy is to stay well off, keep your distance maybe five miles offshore, sail a quarter of the way to Dominica so that you can lay Les Saintes.

Îles des Saintes marks the most southerly point of the course but I would really advocate turning back towards Guadeloupe after rounding Les Saintes, if the wind is in the northeast. Beat back towards Cappisterre but watch out, there are thousands of fishing floats. I wouldn't go in any further than a depth of 50-100 metres. However, there is a massive lift inshore because the wind cascades down to the 'north of Soufriere with the wind going to the south. Once inshore, stay there is my advice, don't go out towards Marie-Galante or you will lose out.

Les Desirade is the most easterly part of the course and that is always a place with a rough sea state. Very confused seas with a lot of current, smaller yachts need to be mindful of the conditions that can be expected. After rounding, the yachts will come off the breeze, a big bare away and another time when crews can get there heads down, as it is 90 miles to Barbuda and there are no real tactics coming into play there, other than avoiding over standing the North Sails mark, which we have already covered.

Barbuda to Redonda is normally a very fast reach with yachts belting along going for line speed. It is worth keeping an eye out for squalls. Redonda is only a small island but it can throw out a significant wind shadow. I have seen races won and lost there so avoiding getting too close to Redonda. After rounding the last island of the course, no messing about, get right on the wind and head for Cades Reef on the north west coast of Antigua. There is a shelf extending out from Antigua some 16 miles and taking this route will be an advantage for less foul current, then work down the west coast of Antigua along the edge of the reef until the finish.

So, looks like Jonty and Jack have their work cut out for them, not just racing agains the clock against fully-manned crews, but a navigational and tactical challenge as well to play winds, currents, wind shadows.  Best wishes to them.  Sailing Photo Credits- Tim Wright/   For more RORC 600 sailing information

Thursday, February 23, 2012

24 Teams Sailing NYYC Invitational Cup Qualifiers

J70 one-design speedster- the nextgen trailerable sailboat (Newport, RI)- Twenty four of the leading American yacht clubs have accepted the invitation of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) to compete in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup U.S. Qualifying Series (USQS) to be sailed in Newport, RI from September 4-8, 2012.

Returning to the event are American in Rye, N.Y.; Carolina in Charleston, S.C.; Eastern in Marblehead, Mass.; Fishing Bay in Deltaville, Va.; Forth Worth Boat Club in Fort Worth, Texas; Indian Harbor in Greenwich, Conn.; Larchmont in Larchmont, N.Y.; Little Traverse in Harbor Springs, Mich.; Newport Harbor in Newport Beach, Calif.; Pequot in Southport, Conn.; San Francisco in Belvedere, Calif.; Seattle in Seattle, Wash.; Southern in New Orleans, La. and St. Francis in San Francisco, Calif.

The event has generated considerable interest, and 10 yacht clubs new to the event have accepted invitations: Bay Head in Bay Head, N.J.; California in Marina Del Ray, Calif.; Edgartown in Edgartown, Mass.; Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.; Grand Maumelle Sailing Club in Roland, Ark.; Grand Traverse in Traverse City, Mich.; Nantucket in Nantucket, Mass.; Storm Trysail Club; Texas Corinthian in Kemah, Texas and Youngstown, in Youngstown, N.Y.

The complement of clubs represents a cross section of the country with three clubs from the Northeast, four from Long Island Sound, two from the Mid Atlantic, four from the Southeast, three from the Great Lakes, four from California, one from the Pacific Northwest and two from Texas. Storm Trysail comes to the event with a nationwide membership.

New York YC Invitational Cup US Qualifying SeriesThe top three U.S. yacht-club teams will join host New York Yacht Club, Royal Canadian Yacht Club, of Toronto, Canada, the winner of the 2011 Invitational Cup, and some of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world to compete for the 2013 NYYC Invitational Cup presented by Rolex September 7-14.

The USQS will continue the successful format from 2010 in which teams will compete in two fleets of one-design keelboats. An initial qualifying round will advance the top-12 teams into a gold fleet competing for the top-three spots, while the bottom-12 teams will be competing for an invitation to the 2014 USQS. The NYYC will be utilizing the J/70, a modern high-performance planing keelboat 22.7' in length with an asymmetrical spinnaker along with the 23' Sonar with its symmetrical spinnaker.  For more NYYC USQS sailing information, please contact the NYYC Sailing Office- or NYYC website

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vice Admiral's Cup Regatta- J/111 & J/109 Classes

J109 sailing fast on the Solent, England (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The eighth edition of this hugely popular regatta will feature classes for 44-46' series production boats (minimum 4 produced) with a maximum IRC rating of 1.240 and a max SPA of 181.5 sq meters, the J/111 Class, the J/109 Class and two other classes.

In addition it will provide the inshore element for the 2012 GBR Team trials for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup (the offshore element being the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Morgan Cup Race on 5 May). The RYA's Selection Committee will be using the regatta to help them identify three teams of three boats with IRC Endorsed ratings of between 1.020 and 1.230 with the proviso that only one boat in the team may rate 1.150 or above.

Racing will take place on two separate courses in the central Solent with Class 0 (Commodores' Cup trialists), Class 1 (44-46') and the J/111s racing on one course and the J/109s and two classes on the other. The courses will be predominantly laid windward-leeward format with up to eight races scheduled over the three days of racing.  Sailing photo credit- Paul Wyeth-  For more information about sailing the 2012 Vice Admiral's Cup  or contact Jo Chugg email-

J/80 French Teams- Sportboat + Training Regatta

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing off La Trinite sur Mer, France (La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The J/80 teams in France are starting to dial-up their training programs for 2012 with a focus to get all boats up to speed in time for the early start of the J/80 Worlds in Dartmouth, England in June.

For the second weekend of training, seven enthusiastic teams showed up for a combined weekend of training on Saturday with a Sportboat Regatta on Sunday.

J/80 sailing video- sailboat training for speed and techniqueSaturday's sailing was simply fabulous.  Under a wind veering north-northeast from 6-12 knots, flat water and glorious sunshine, the fleet practiced sailing maneuvers and then worked on various starting situations.   At the end of the session, the skippers and crew met for a debrief with their coach and speaker Walter Arnaud (winner of a Spi Ouest France in J/80).  A video of the day is available on YouTube:

The Sportboat Regatta on Sunday was excellent training for all the crews.  Three windward-leeward races were held in a wind veering north-northeast 4-10 knots under sunny skies.  In the end, the top three J/80s were 1st SENJI, 2nd J-VENTURE and 3rd GREEN RIBBON.  To learn more or participate in the final training weekend email-  For more J/80 Challenge Sportboat Regatta sailing information   For more J/80 France Sailing Photo galleries

Team Breault Crushes J/22 California Dreamin Opener

J/22 one-design sailboat- Nicole Breault winning crew in San Diego (San Diego, CA)- Nicole Breault and team simply dusted off some of California's top match racers in San Diego, winning her maiden voyage in the first weekend of the three part California Dreamin’ match racing series racing in J-22s.  Here's the report from Nicole on how it all went down:

"We had pretty solid wind (for San Diego) from the west, 7 to 12 knots. The competition was great! Some of the teams had minor boat and sail handling issues the first day, but those issues disappeared the second day and we had to fight hard in every race.

We had some trouble winning starts on the second day, and in our early wins we had to come from behind. We lost to Nick Dougdale and David Storrs back to back and had to rally as a team to overcome the slump and win our last two races. We nailed our start against Dan Aeling and sailed away for the first of those wins. That pumped us up big time!

J/22s sailing California Dreamin Match Race regattaOur last race was against Dustin Durrant's team for overall winner of the regatta.  We split off the line, and in the duel up the first beat we prevailed and rounded the top mark first. The course was a bit skewed and we gambled that the pressure was better to the left looking upwind and gybed first. It was a mistake, the breeze dropped off, and Dustin rolled up to our lee stern and pinned us above layline. We slowed to make the 17 overlap, got it, flagged, he did the double gybe, pinned us again, we reestablished a 17, flagged and he got a penalty (perhaps should have been a red flag penalty). We rounded behind him and trailed closely up the beat. On the second run, he made a fatal mistake dropping his chute to come attack us on white sails with to big a gap between the boats. We just sailed away to win! He lost the lead and had to re-hoist his chute to chase us down, but we were already gone."

Nicole and the other teams are continuing the next step to participate in the US Match Racing Championship Area GHJL Quarter-finals and Semi-finals, sailing all three events (if they qualify) in J/22 one-design class sailboats.  The dates are April 14-15 at St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC); May 12-13 at San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC); and the Semi-Finals on June 2-3 at San Francisco Yacht Club (SFYC) in J-22s!  Sailing Photo Credits- Kirsten Stahl.   For more J/22 Cal Dreamin sailing information.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bream Crowned J/24 Midwinter Champion

J/24 one-design sailboats- sailing in formation downwind on Tampa Bay (Davis Island YC, Tampa, FL)- A two-peat! After the first day of racing defending champion, Peter Bream, of Jacksonville, Florida led the fleet and, remarkably, never looked back, holding his lead every day for over four days to win with a solid 9 pt lead and tossing out his worse race- a 5th!

Hosted by "The Sailingest Club in the South", Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida, and it's RC/ PRO teams did a wonderful job hosting the event in challenging conditions ranging from light to medium winds and the notorious Tampa Bay chop.

On the first day, the 28-boat fleet completed four races in beautiful 10-12 knot conditions under sunny skies.  The remains of Saturday’s strong cold front brought cool temperatures and 20 degree oscillations, which made staying of the lifted tack the rule of the day. Bream, aboard TEAM TARHEEL, found the weather to his liking and posted four top-three finishes to take a commanding 13 point lead.  Everyone else had a "bomber" of a race, including Mike Ingham of Rochester, New York in second and John Mollicone of Newport, Rhode Island in third.

J/24 sailboats- sailing around mark at Midwinter regattaThe second day of racing was tough on all crews.  It was pretty clear after the dust settled from the battlefront on the Bay that TEAM TARHEEL were not to be dissuaded from their ultimate mission of dominating the competition.  Who knew?  Sure, Peter and the boys won last year, but you have rock stars like past J/24 World Champion Mike Ingham breathing down your neck and John Mollicone on 11th HOUR RACING/ SAILORS FOR THE SEA and Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET throwing in a few upper cuts and jabs for good measure to keep them honest. Bream, the  sailed to a solid fifth place finish in the day's only race, held in a perfect 10 knot breeze under sunny skies. But as forecasted the wind gradually shifted to the south and died as the remnants of a cold front finally pushed through the area. The day's race winner, Tony Parker of Annapolis, Maryland, moved up to second place overall.

J/24 sailboats- sailing downwind under spinnakersFor the third day of sailing on Tuesday, the fleet was finally greeted by "classic" Tampa Bay weather.  Warm and sunny.  And, after a brief morning postponement, the sea breeze filled as expected and three races were completed.  The sailors were treated to perfect sailing conditions with 10-15 knots southeast winds.  In the day’s first race, Travis Odenbach of Rochester, New York played the final run perfectly to just edge out John Mollicone for the win. Mollicone responded by winning the next race in convincing fashion. In the day’s final race, defending champion and regatta leader, Peter Bream, snuck past Rochester’s Kris Werner to take the bullet.  As a result, after eight races Bream still topped the leader board ahead of John Mollicone of Newport, Rhode Island in second and Tony Parker of Annapolis, Maryland in third place overall. Back on shore, the hosts at the Davis Island Yacht Club once again pulled out all the stops with a pig roast and bluegrass band on the schedule.

J/24 sailboat- 11th Hour-Sailors-for-the-Sea Sailing Team at Tampa, FloridaThe final day ended up being a bit anti-climactic.  So long as Peter and the TEAM TARHEEL boys simply didn't "blow it", the regatta was their's in hand.  In the end, the weather cooperated from the TARHEEL gang's perspective.  Only one race was completed in light 4-6 knot winds on the final day.  Bream’s consistent top-five finishes through 9 races allowed him to cruise to victory, finishing with a 9 point margin over John Mollicone of Newport, Rhode Island in second overall. Third place overall went to Tony Parker of Annapolis, Maryland.  Both Mollicone on 11TH HOUR and Parker on BANGOR PACKET surely must've been lamenting in their beers the decisions that forced them to take deep toss races-- Mollicone's 10-10 to start the regatta hurt their chances (sailing to the best record for the last seven races) and Parker's 13th in Race 4 and 7-6-7 in the final three dropped them out of the running.

Thanks go out to the great team at the Davis Island Yacht Club, Mount Gay Rum and all the other regatta sponsors. The J/24 Midwinter Championship again returns to DIYC in February, 2013.  For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information