Monday, April 30, 2012

J/Teams Sailing Fast In Charleston

J/111 Ragin sailing Charleston Race Week- winner of PHRF BJ/111 Wins PHRF A, J/120 Wins PHRF C, J/29 Wins PHRF F, 22s-24s-80s Have Epic One-Design Sailing
(Charleston, SC)- Again, the regatta management team at this year's Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week and the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina knocked it out of the park, hosting another great event, fine-tuning on-shore festivities even better than before and on-the-water making the most of what Mother Nature had to offer.  And, no question the fleets were challenged by this year's sailing conditions; ranging from a gorgeous, sunny Friday with NE 8-15 kt breezes, to a partly cloudy Saturday with Easterly 5-12 kt winds, to a rainy cloudy Sunday finale with a finicky, variable N-NW 5-12 kt crap shoot.

In the end, it was good competition across the range of fleets both offshore for the big boats and inshore for the one-design fleets.  The PRO's at CRW should be commended for their remarkable adroitness at managing their respective fleets and getting off as many races as they did in such challenging weather conditions.  As a result of their efforts, several epic battles ensued in both the offshore handicap fleets and the inshore one-design fleets.

J/122 sailing Charleston Race WeekFor the offshore gang, the J's were sailing in PHRF B and PHRC C on the north course and in PHRF F on the south course.  Sailing in one of the most competitive offshore fleets, PHRF B, the J/111 RAGIN sailed by Bob Moran and crew from Annapolis, MD raced a great series to pull off a well-deserved win, posting a 2-7-5-3-1-2-1-1 scoreline to take the series with 15 pts.  Giving them a tough battle all weekend long was early class leader, the J/122 TEAMWORK sailed by Robin Team's crew from North Carolina.  Their 1-3-4-5-6-4-4-2 score for 23 pts was just good enough to maintain second place.  It was self-evident by Sunday that the top five teams in this class were going to settle their scores on the last race.  Steadily climbing up that ladder was Doug Curtiss's J/111 WICKED 2.0, earning a hard-fought third place with a 7-4-7-1-2-1-3-13 for 25 pts.  Fifth in PHRF B was Henry Brauer's J/111 FLEETWING with a score of 6-8-2-4-4-6-2-4 for 28 pts.  As anyone can tell you that saw the racing on Sunday, anyone could have won on the last day, it was the luck of the draw on several occasions with regards to wind shifts and massive holes magically showing up across the race course.  In the J/111 One-Design scoring, it was RAGIN 1st followed by WICKED 2.0 in 2nd and FLEETWING in 3rd.  Of note, the J/111 RAGIN won the "Palmetto Cup" for Best Offshore Performance Award for top offshore team in the most competitive class!  Kudos to Bob Moran and team winning such a prestigious award in their first major regatta on the J/111!

In PHRF C, the J/120s were a big factor in the overall results despite having two very fast and smart teams aboard some 35 foot J's from across the decades.  In the end, it was local favorites Bill Hanckel on the J/120 EMOCEAN that swept the fleet, scoring a 3-1-1-1-1.5-1-1-5 for a grand total of just 9.5 points for first place.  Were it not for one bad race, Gary Weisberg's crew on the J/109 HEAT WAVE were just one heartbeat away from giving the EMOCEAN crew serious anxiety attacks.  HEAT WAVE's 4-8-3-2-1.5-2-2-1 for 15 pts was a solid score to earn them a silver on the podium.

Perhaps the donnybrook of the event aside from these other two divisions outlined above were the famous, fabled "29s" in the J/Family of designs.  A modern J/92 versus the J/29 mastheads of old, wow was that a fight to the finish!  And, what great racing these teams had over the course of seven races.  Beaming from ear-to-ear after they crossed the finish line in the last race were Ira Perry's crew on the J/29 SEEFEST, winning by the "hair on their chinny chin chin".  One point!  SEEFEST's 2-2-3-2-3-4-3 for 15 pts just squeaked by Dave Pritchard's J/29 AMIGOS which had accumulated a 4-5-4-ocs-1-1-1 for 16 pts!  My goodness.  Plus, Jim Mackevich's J/29 FOR SAIL held on tough to manage a 6-4-2-3-2-2-5 score for 18 pts to secure third.  Incredibly, past multiple Key West PHRF Champion, Steve Thurston's J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN sailed to a consistent tally of 1-1-6-6-4-3-4 for 19 pts, only good enough for 4th place!  Yet another J/29, John Amyot's BLITZ! from Canada not only won races, too, getting a 3-7-5-1-5-5.5-2 for 21.5 pts, but could only hang on for 5th place.  This group of five 29 ft J's were a seriously tough group of hombres-- fun sailing for all.

J/24 one-design sailboats- sailing at startOn the inshore side of things, there were epic battles and some dominating performances.  First, the epochal armageddons that always evolve in the closely fought J/24 class.  Amazing isn't it?  After 35 years of sailing, the J/24s still produce some of the world's best sailors and best class battles.  This time, some familiar faces were again at the front of the fleet.  While getting out of the starting blocks a bit slow on the first day, Mike Ingham and his Rochester Team of J/24 jockeys simply put themselves into cruise control and knocked out a steady 3-7-2-8-1-1-2-2-5 for 23 pts to become a repeat CRW J/24 Champions.  Second was Travis Odenbach, sailing the great yacht HONEY BADGER to a fast out-of-the-box 4-3-1-1-2-2 but fading to black with a 12-1-11 for 25 pts.  Third was Chip Till's gang on the infamous MURDER INCORPORATED, talk about blasting out of the blocks in a track meet-- their 1-1-4-dsq-6-3-1-13-7 was both heroic and tragic all at once- a Shakespearean play in the making.  What gives guys? Had to be the toxic "dark'n'stormies".  Perhaps if they race the Annapolis NOODs they can fight for retribution rights.

J/22 one-design sailboats- sailing CharlestonOn the domination game side of things, it's pretty clear the J/22s had to contend with a multiple World Champion that hasn't lost his touch over time and a newcomer in the J/80s had everyone scratching their heads and singing the blues in their beers.  In the J/22 world, Greg Fisher simply demonstrated to many that he's been a class-act for a long time, winning with grace and style with a solid 2-2-1-1-4-8-3-1-4 for 18 pts to take the J/22s by a substantial margin.  Second was Jackson Benvenutti's team starting fast, then hoping to hang in there and scoring a steady 1-3-5-4-3-5-1-5-6 for 27 pts.  Third was another Odenbach sailing, this was the "Jack" version sailing MKI to a 3-9-2-9-2-6-2-3-1 for 28 pts, just missing the silver on the podium.  Fourth was Todd Hiller with LEADING EDGE and fifth was Mike Marshall WHARF RAT.

J/80s sailing upwind at CharlestonThe J/80s had fantastic, very competitive sailing on their circle-- always challenging and not without its surprises.  Somehow divining the intricacies of this course better than most anyone else was Bill Rose on KICKS.  Screamingly fast and smart on the first day, they never let up on the fleet.  Their 1-1-2-4-1-3-4-5-3-dns for 24 pts was sufficient to win the J/80s by a lot!  Second was top J/105 sailor Brian Keane racing SAVASANA to a 3-2-5-1-5-11-2-6-4-5 for 33 pts.  Alex Kraus sailed COOL J to third overall with 44 pts total, just beating out class leader Bruno Pasquinelli on TIAMO with 46 pts in fourth.  Capturing fifth was Nizar Abuzzeni sailing ARROW.

How did it all pan out on a daily basis?  Here are summarized reports from Dan Dickinson, "media man" for the Sperry Topsider CRW.

DAY 1- Nature Shines On First Day Of Racing- Stronger-Than-Expected Wind and Waves Ignite Race Week— Charleston proved itself once again to be one of the world’s most reliable sailing destinations today, with mother nature unwilling to accept forecasts of a day with little breeze.

J/122 Teamwork sailing at CharlestonOffshore, around a hundred racing boats from 26 to 72 feet long set off into sporty conditions — an unexpected 12 to 16 knots of wind and large, choppy seas. The PHRF Class C is proving a true clash of the titans, with local legend Bill Hanckel’s J/120 EMOCEAN just a point ahead of 2011 Champ Tim Tucker’s C&C 115 Rock Star, while just one point separates the J/122 TEAMWORK, the X-41 Sarah, and the OD 35 Fearless, the top three boats in PHRF B.

On the inshore race courses, Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week’s biggest ever inshore fleet fought and scrapped for every inch on the course, sometimes taking it too far.  2011 Charleston Race Week champ and many-time J/24 North American, National, and European Champion Mike Ingham had a tough day on the water, though not as tough as he thought. “With the current flowing out, we got caught in a couple of bad spots during the starts and ended up over the line early twice,” Ingham explained. “When we got back and found out we were in second place, we couldn’t believe it.”

J/111 Wicked sailing CharlestonDAY 2- Mixed Conditions Tighten Up Fleets While America’s Cup Visits Charleston— Nearly two hundred sixty racing teams hit the docks this morning, ready to battle their opponents on the second day of racing. Instead of Charleston’s usually reliable sea breeze, the offshore courses faced unstable, patchy winds that allowed only two races over the course of the day.  A fierce battle has broken out in the B Fleet, with Greg Manning’s Rhode Island-based X-41 Sarah tied on points with Bob Moran’s Annapolis-based J/111 RAGIN’. Two-time Charleston Race Week champ Robin Team (J/122 TEAMWORK) had a disappointing day, dropping to third place, with another J/111, WICKED 2.0 from Dartmouth, Mass, breathing down his crew’s neck.“

Charleston Native Bill Hanckel’s team on board his J/120 EMOCEAN was nearly unbeatable in today’s shifty wind, though not quite: Gary Weisburg’s J/109 HEAT WAVE corrected to the identical time as Hanckel’s crew – down to the hundredth of a second in Race 5. “We thought we lost to Heat Wave in that race,” said Bill Hanckel. “Pretty amazing to see an hour-long race come down to a hundredth of a second, and it’s a sign of how tight the racing is out there.” Despite a recent leg injury, Hanckel is sailing hard, with son Will on the helm. “Surgery on my leg would’ve cost the same as getting the bottom of EMOCEAN into race shape. You can guess what I spent the money on!!”

The inshore courses saw consistently higher breeze than offshore, allowing another four races to be completed across all three circles. Considering the shifty conditions and unpredictable wind velocity, it was a surprise to see the leaders remain the same across the inshore classes. College of Charleston Sailing Director Greg Fisher continues his stranglehold on the J/22 fleet, Bill Rose aboard KICKS extended his lead over the J/80 Class to 8 points, and in the J/24 Class, Annapolis sailor Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER holds a four-point lead over the surging Mike Ingham and his team on board US 4558, who won the day with a 1-1-2-2 scorecard.

J/111 Fleetwing sailing CharlestonThe evening’s beach party had an extremely special guest on Saturday, and over 1,500 sailors crowded around the big stage to welcome the America’s Cup to South Carolina for the first time in its 161-year old history. Representatives of America’s Cup Defender Golden Gate Yacht Club flew the prestigious trophy to Charleston to share their vision for the 34th America’s Cup with the huge crowds of passionate sailors attending Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. “What an unbelievable reception!” said GGYC Commodore Norbert Bajurin. “We really are bowled over by the welcome we’ve received here, and the level of interest from Charleston Race Week sailors in the next America’s Cup competition.” GGYC’s Vice Commodore is long-time Cup veteran Tom Ehman, who delivered an exciting multi-media presentation for the crowd. “We’re hugely grateful to Norbert and Tom for working so hard to get the Cup here, and to our sailors for turning out in such incredible numbers,” said Randy Draftz, Event Director. “We just hope they bring it back next year!”

DAY 3- A Wet Finale— The heavy weather forecast for Charleston failed to materialize on Sunday, and unsettled conditions meant different challenges throughout the three race areas. Within a 10-mile radius, both the offshore and inshore racing classes sailed between 0 and 3 races for the final, deciding day of the country’s largest keelboat regatta.

“These were some of the most challenging conditions we’ve seen ever at Race Week in Charleston, and it’s a credit to these race committee workers, the vast majority of them volunteers, that we got so many races in this week,” said Event Director Randy Draftz. “This event couldn’t be run without the nearly 300 volunteers that so generously donate their time, their energies, and their boats to this event, and we want to give all of them a special thanks for making Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week one of the best regattas anywhere.

J/24 sailing over the horizon at CharlestonA huge rivalry came down to the wire on Sunday in the J/24 class, where Travis Odenbach led Mike Ingham until the final race of the week. Both teams are from Rochester, NY, and both skippers are preparing for the huge J/24 World Championship in Rochester later this summer.  “We’ve been racing against each other for a decade, and we’ll probably be racing against each other for a decade more,” said Odenbach, whose HONEY BADGER took second place by a 2-point deficit.  “Going into the last race today we were down by a few points, and we got the start we needed,” explained Ingham. Odenbach didn’t stand a chance.  “Mike got ahead, and every tack, he slammed us back, just as he needed to,” he said. This is Ingham’s second consecutive victory at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, and he says he’ll be back to go for the hat trick.  “Where else would I want to be in April?” he exclaimed.

Greg Fisher took the 15-boat J/22 class by nine points, earning the College of Charleston’s Sailing Director the Charleston Race Week Perpetual Trophy for top one-design performance. A huge cheer went out from the crowd for the adopted Charlestonian, who sailed with wife Jo-Ann, College of Charleston freshman and varsity sailor Allie Blumenthal and longtime crew Jeff Eiber. The regatta's other perpetual award, The Palmetto Cup, which is given to the top performing boat in the PHRF classes, was awarded to Bob Moran and his crew on board the J/111 RAGIN' out of Herndon, VA Moran and his talented crew competed in PHRF Class B, in which they also won class honors.

The J/80 class rounded out the J/Boat one designs, and Bill Rose on KICKS continued his dominant performance, clinching the victory with a race to spare. Brian Keane’s Massachusetts based SAVASA took second place.

The local favorites aboard the J/120 EMOCEAN were overjoyed at their victory in PHRF C.  “We put the band back together and everything just fell into place,” said helmsman Will Hanckel. “Eight of the original 11 EMOCEAN crew were with us this week and their skill and our communication level aboard made things almost easy."  Sailing Photo Credits- Meredith Block/  For more Charleston Race Week sailing information

J/111- "Ready, Set, Go"

J/111 sailing fast under spinnaker(Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland)- Recently, the editorial staff took a little side-trip to a gorgeous mountain lake high in the Swiss Alps to experience super-fast flat-water sailing on the J/111 with J/Swiss dealer Peter Bangerter (current holder of the J/70 speed record of 16.8 kts).  Joining Peter was editor Michael Good for a fun, fast ride and day spent sailing on Lake Neuchatel.  Here's Mike's commentary:

"Excitingly fast, light, and handsome, the J/111 could turn into a top choice for racing sailors--- we were about to run out of room on the lake, and beating into the breeze on the return trip would be quite a haul. The Swiss J/Boat dealer Peter Bangerter suggested turning back, and his words suddenly interrupted the helmsman’s flirtations with the thrill of speed. Reaching at up to 14 knots, the J/111 was motoring down Lake Neuchatel, running as if on tracks, fabulously well controlled and accelerating in the puffs like a sport boat – that’s terrific sailing and a lot of fun."  Read the rest of Mike's review of the J/111 here on

Sunday, April 29, 2012

J/70 Sailing Annapolis

J70 one-design speedster sailing fast with spinnaker(Annapolis, MD)- After traveling south to Charleston this past week, the J/70 is headed north and will be sailing on the Chesapeake Bay for the next few weeks.  Be sure to swing by and see the J/70 speedster sailing out of Back Creek at Northpoint Yacht Sales in Eastport (Annapolis), next to J/World Sailing School.  For sailing demo's be sure to contact Ken Comerford at ph- 410-280-2038 or email-

Also, our J/Dealer in the Chicago area, Richie Stearns @ Stearns Boating, put together a nice sailing video "review" of the J/70 for you to enjoy on YouTube.  Enjoy the video, some entertaining sequences sailing the J/70 as well as practical descriptions of the various parts of the boat.

J/70 sailing fast with spinnakerAnd, while you're in the entertainment mode, don't forget to check out the J/70 Sailing Music Video, a wonderful perspective on how easy it is to sail the J/70.  An oft-heard refrain coming from those who've sailed the J/70 in winds ranging from 5 to 25 knots is "man, that's an easy boat to sail FAST, you always feel like you're in complete control!", commenting on it's ability to hit 5.8 to 6.3 kts upwind across the wind range and how J/70 starts planing downwind in 8-10 kts of wind going as fast as the wind.  Enjoy!
For J/70 speedster sailing information

J/145 BAD PAK Wins SDYC Yacht of the Year

J/145 Bad Pak owner- Tom Hothus and familyJ/145 BAD PAK won the San Diego Yacht Club's prestigious 2011 Yacht of the Year.  With an excellent racing record that included winning their class in the Transpac Race 2011, Tom Holthus and crew sailed hard and fast, earning their keep to be one of the top crews on the California offshore racing circuit.  Seen here is Tom and his family crew receiving the award at San Diego YC's Opening Day Ceremonies.  Of note, this also marks the third time in five years that a J/Team has won SDYC's prestigious Yacht of the Year Award, previous winners were a J/120 and J/125!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

J/Teams Sailing Newport-Ensenada Race!

J/120 sailing under spinnaker off CaliforniaJ/Sailors Relishing Fast Race South of the Border
(Newport Beach, CA)- This year the famous 125 nm drag race down the coastline, the proverbial "Border Run" from SoCal to Ensenada just south of Tijuana, Mexico has a new sponsor on-board- Lexus Cars.  Chuck Iverson, Commodore of the organizing Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA), said, "Lexus' presence elevates the race to a new level of esteem. NOSA is proud to have our two traditions of exceptional performance working together." From the sailing community standpoint, it's good to see like-minded business partners supporting the sport of sailing overall for friends, families and loved ones.

From the sailing perspective, it looks like the J/Clan is supporting the event in a big way as it often has over the years.  Here's a quick breakdown of the J/Team entries.  There are twenty-one J's sailing across six classes, representing about 10% of the fleet overall and nearly 35% of the "racing boat" fleet.

Sailing in Sprit A Class will be a raft of TEN J/120s in what amounts to be a J/120 one-design class.  Promising to be a big factor will be incredibly well-sailed J/120s over the years, including Jim Barber's HOT TAMALE, Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS, Tom and Terri Manok's avidly-campaigned POLE DANCER, John Laun's champion CAPER, and perhaps Mike Hatch's silver-collecting J-ALMIGHTY-- please note, all of these J/120 teams are capable of podium finishes, so all outcomes will ride on that "road not taken" from point A to point B.

In Sprit B Class will be an army of J/105s making an assault across the border, including Bill Moore's KESTREL, Juan Lois's ROCINANTE, Mark Wyland's LUCKY STAR, Tom Bollay's ARMIDA.  Giving them a run-for-the-money will be John Shulze's J/109 LINSTAR.

J/145 sailing off California in Ensenada RaceIn the big boat PHRF division will be a cast of characters many of you will be familiar with in SoCal offshore sailing circles.  In PHRF A, the "big boys & girls", will be Viggo Torbenson's J/125 TIMESHAVER, fresh off a successful assault on the Puerto Vallarta Race recently.  Giving them a run for the podium will be a hot team from Santa Barbara YC led by Carolyn Parks on the J/145 RADIO FLYER, a known awesomely fast offshore boat with lots of silverware for her sisterships.  Not to be taken lightly is a "fast cruiser", the J/160 INDIGO sailed by Paul Margis, that can run amok with the racing boats given the right reaching conditions.

In PHRF B class are some more offshore J/Teams that have a similar "laid back", but serious approach to their sailing style--- generally a successful approach to SoCal sailing, with many to show shelves of silverware for their efforts.  Recently, Seth Hall on his J/124 MARISOL has been winning, so we expect good things from his team.  Twin J/46s, Jorge Morales' gorgeous BOLERO and Bob Pace's equally beautiful ANDIAMO will be challenging Seth for honors in their division.

While the big boats may have a fast, comfortable passage, perhaps the "sleeper" in this fleet is Larry Leveille's incredibly well-sailed J/29 RUSH STREET from Santa Barbara YC that will be sailing in PHRF D.  Never discount how fast a masthead J/29 can catch you in the craziest of conditions.  And, these guys know how to do it.  Compatriots in crime in the 30 footers will be Steve Cole's J/30 LOVE & WAR sailing PHRF F from Alamitos Bay YC, equally as capable as RUSH STREET to surprise the fleet.  What many forget is how fast the J/29 and J/30 are at reaching like hell once everyone is sailing with cracked sheets under white sails or sailing with chutes on reaching angles.

How do you sail the Ensenada Race?  Lots of wisdom is offered by many.  But, one of the renown experts on the race is Andy Rose-- this guy's done a LOT of offshore races, but most especially the Ensenada Race.   What Andy likes about the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race is that "it's a very challenging race." Although it's only 125 nautical miles from the Balboa Pier to the new finish line off the new race headquarters at the Hotel Coral and Marina, it presents important strategic decisions, along with unsurpassed pre- and post-race fun.

"You see a lot of conditions that you sometimes wouldn't get unless it was a longer race. It's fun sailing after dark. If the race doesn't have some very light squirrely stuff in the night we don't do very well. We're the smallest boat in the maxi class so we need something weird to happen and, happily, it happens at night. Last year we were fortunate to do the right thing and we ended up within a few lengths of the boats that had been four or five miles ahead of us at sundown."

On Thursday evening, Rose discussed three points in the race that are key: (i) whether to go offshore at the start or stick to the coast; (ii) whether to go inside or outside the Coronado Islands at the border, and (iii) when to jibe to the finish inside Todos Santos Bay, where races have been won and lost in the tricky breeze.

"I don't think anyone can tell you they know all the ins and outs," Rose said. "None of us do. But there are some things we look for and try to act accordingly."   However it goes, Rose said, "You get to a fun place at the end with the town filled up with people who have just raced down."

Some of the boats, anxious to return home, don't dock after finishing but just head for home---"turn and burn," it's called. "That'll be part of my talk," Rose said. "We stay until Monday morning because we love Ensenada and we always have a great time. The shoreside stuff for us is just as much fun as the race."  For more Lexus Newport-Ensenada Race sailing information

Friday, April 27, 2012

JOCONDA Scoops Italian J/80 Winter Championship

(Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy)- Over the course of the four weekend winter series held on the beautiful waters and bay off Santa Margherita and Portofino, Italy, it was pretty clear that JOCONDA was sailing strongly and was determined to finish well in their series.

The regional J/80 fleet saw testing conditions over the course of the series, with relatively light breezes from the southern sea-breeze quadrants most of the time.  In the end, with eleven races sailed,  JOCONDA won the Winter Championship Trophy Miramare!

In second place in both rankings was JENIALE, which was lacking in consistency and good performance.  MONTPRES was sailing well and managed to sail to third place while J-BES managed a fourth.
For more J/80 Italian Sailing information

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Baker Cooks J/22 Mpumalanga Championships

(Mpumalanga, South Africa)-  The start of the season long J/22 South African Championship series begins in Mpumalanga.  Hosted by Witbank Yachting and Aquatics Club, the twenty sailing teams were in for yet another treat by this fine South African sailing club.  The sailors were happy to get in a total of six races with one discard over the weekend regatta.

Sailing near the top of their form were Graham Baker and crew of Shaun Gurnell and Barry Gurnell, just roasting the fleet on their J/22 US'N'J with an extremely consistent 2-3-2-5-2 score for a net of 9 pts, winning the regatta without ever winning a race.   They kindly left daily first trophies for all their friends!  Giving them a run-for-the-money was Ewald Sternhagel and team of Devon Matthews and Ron Gurnell taking that crazy-looking clear gelcoat "balsa patchwork" boat called HAKAHANA to a scoreline of 4-1-6-3-3 for a net of 11 pts, good enough for second place.  Were it not for some serious, serious "brain fades", the team on SHAMBLES somewhat lived up to their namesake, with Shelly Nell and crew Anton Nel and Tyron Smith banging out a roller-coaster ride  of a 3-8-1-1-9 for a net of 13 pts!  Fourth was Luke Wagner and crew Steven Wagner and Tim Dugguid on BLUE JAY with a 1-11-7-10-4 for a net of 22 pts in fourth.  They beat out on a tie-breaker, the LAUGH A MINUTE team guided by John Bruckman and crew (Dave Martenson and Aysha Genloud) with a 16-4-4-2-12 tally for a net of 22 pts, too.  For more J/22 South Africa sailing information

MANDOVI Leads El Trofeo Primavera

J/80 one-design sailboats- off Spain GO FIT Leads Trofeo El Mundo Cantabria
(Algorta, Spain)- The J/80s in Spain continue their spring series in their various sailing regions.  Held over several weekends, these regatta serve to warm-up their teams to world-championship calibre in a very short period of time-- all possible due to the high level of talent in their fleets, giving many sailors the chance to practice and train hard against Olympic and World Champions!

In the Trofeo Primavera being sailed off Punta Galea near Algorta, Spain, the MANDOVI team is setting the pace, having won two races last weekends.  MANDOVI now sits in first place with only six points followed by JET SET and FREUS that are tied on ten points each.

J/80s sailing off SpainOver in Santander, the J/80s are racing for the title of Champion of El Trofeo El Mundo Cantabria-  in short, "Champion of the Cantabrian World".  A bit tongue-in-cheek, of course, but no less fun and serious for the top teams practicing for the upcoming worlds just under two months away in Dartmouth, England.

After last weekend's racing, it is David Madrazo's team on GO FIT that is leading with a strong, consistent performance of a 7-2-2-1-2-2 for only 9 total points.  Immediately behind him are two J/80 World Champions, with Ignacio Camino on NEXTEL ENGINEERING with a 5-3-1-3-8-3 for 15 pts, good enough for second place, and Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS in third with a 1-20-5-7-4-1 for 18 pts.  Rounding out the top five are Jesus Gonzalez on RAITAN with a 6-17-7-2-6-5 for 26 pts in fourth and in fifth is Tonio Piris on the familiar YATES Y COSAS, starting out strong with a 3-1-4-5 but DNC'd the last two races for a total of 43 pts.  For sailing photo credits in Algorta- Patricia Merino Fotografía  For J/80 Spain sailing results

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vela 2012 Show Report

J/122 cruiser racer sailboat- trieste, italy (Trieste, Italy)- Sailing on the Mediterranean and off the gorgeous coastline of Italy's Adriatic Sea has its benefits.  Spectacular natural scenery. Famous coastal villages dating back to the days of Odysseus's famous sailing epic "The Odyssey" traversing the Aegean, Ionian and Adriatic Seas.  The region is steeped in both history and the evolution of civilization, especially as it relates to seafarers.  In that great tradition, local sailors continue to ply their waters in the hope of winning some silverware as well as enjoying the voyage to their events.

In Trieste, the tradition lives on, one of the great sailing areas in Italy.  The weather conditions for sailing are great most of the time, with strong southerly sea-breezes flowing.  The typical Northern wind called "Bora" (a.k.a. "mistral", "meltemi" in other parts of the world) can build up to incredible power, flowing down fast out of the Italian Alps at ferocious speeds in excess of 40-60 knots!  Here is a report from Paolo Boido regards the local sailboat show and the local sailing scene:

"Trieste has produced some of the best Italian sailors in recent years, all great friends of the "J/Family" and most of them successful sailors with various J/Boats models. Two J/24 Worlds Champions, Vasco Vascotto (as well America’s Cup driver) and Rufo Bressani (internationally famous in many different Classes), hail from Trieste.  Gabriele & Furio Benussi are also top drivers in J’s One-Design Classes. Roberto Vencato managing the Ullman Loft in Italy is also based in Trieste.

At the recent VELA Boat Show in Trieste, J/Boats Italy was displaying the gorgeous J/122 #78, an impressive site for many local sailors with its high-modulus black carbon fibre Hall Spars mast & boom-- the J/122 truly dominated the local sailing scene.

Piero Santi, the happy owner of this great yacht, is a kind of veteran among J/Boats Owners. He has owned a J/92, then a J/105, next a J/109, and now sailing this lovely J/122 Grand Prix Edition form JB Composites France.  Mr Santi and crew won several races in the Trieste Gulf and North Adriatic Sea. Obviously now there is a great expectation waiting for impressive speed and results of this new J/122 on the local Trieste sailing scene.  The crew will begin practicing and discovering how to sail faster their new “racing machine”, getting ready for the next IRC/ RORC European Championship that will take place in July 2012.

The Vela Boat Show is in it's fourth edition this year.  This show is open just to sail yachts and takes place in the private and modern marina of Porto San Rocco located in a very nice eastern part of the coast of the Trieste gulf.  The manager of the show, Roberto Sponza, is a great sailor in past 470 Olympic campaigns.  We look forward with Roberto's help to have many more J-sailors in Trieste and the Adriatic Sea!"  Best regards, Paolo Boido.

J's Lovin' Fresh Warsash Sailing

J/80s sailing windy Warsash spring series regatta (Warsash, So'ton, England)- The second half of the Warsash Spring Series arrived with a "bang" on 15th April after a break for Easter. Following three Sundays of light and fickle breezes, competitors were greeted with a brisk if chilly northerly of 12-14 knots, which unexpectedly rose to over 20 knots by late morning-- indeed, fresh to frightening with a bit of nip in the air!

The Black Group fleet raced from a start line on Ryde Middle bank on courses designed to include the occasional reach, interspersed with beats and runs. The start sequence stayed on schedule until an over eager IRC3 class forced a general recall. All classes shared common marks for the start and end of each race with the middle section of each course suitably adjusted to suit the different classes.  In IRC 1 class, the J/111 JEEZ LOUISE skippered by James Arnell sailed for the first time in the series and finished 3rd, just beating out Ivan Trotman's J/122 JOLOU in 4th.

J/109 racer cruiser sailboatThe J/109 class has a dozen entries this year and so far each race has produced a different winner. This week it was newcomer Jonnie Goodwin’s HARLEQUIN that was top boat. This was his first race in the series and the team put in a very strong performance to beat David & Mary McGough’s JUST SO by over four minutes. If HARLEQUIN competes similarly in the next two weeks, there could well be a shake up in the results. At this stage, Mike & Sarah Wallis' JAHMALI are leading with a 2-2-1-3 scoreline for 8 pts, followed in 2nd by David Mcleman's OFFBEAT with a 4-1-3-4 tally for 12 pts.  Lying third id Owain Franks & Jean Lockett's JYNNAN TONNYX with a 5-6-2-6 with 19 pts.  Less than four points behind in 4th and 5th, respectively, are David & Mary McGough's JUST SO and Paul Griffith's JAGERBOMB.

In the mixed J/Sprit class, another newcomer had a good day. The J/105 JOURNEYMAKER V (Chris Jones), as the biggest boat in the class, reveled in the conditions to take line honours but three minutes behind him and less than a boat’s length apart Tony Mack’s MCFLY just beat the J/97 INDULJENCE (Nick & Adam Munday) to the line to take the class win on his first outing. Class leader J'RONIMO (David Greenhalgh & John Taylor) could only manage fourth in their slightly smaller J/92 for a 1-1-1-4 record for 7 pts.  Second is Nick and Adam Munday's INDULJENCE with a 5-2-2-2 scoreline for 11 pts.  Third is Andy Howe's J/92 BLACKJACK with a 3-3-3-6 score for 15 pts.  Fourth is John Cooper & Ian Townend's J/92 JAMMIN and fifth is Chris Jones' seasoned offshore campaigners on JOURNEYMAKER 5.

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing Warsash spring seriesOn the White Group sportsboat course, the J/80s were given a gate at the bottom of the course. In the first strong breeze of the year, for many of them the retrieval of gennakers proved to be a significant factor and some ended up having to sail longer windward legs than expected. In the first race it became apparent that boats sailing to the shifts made the most gains. Under the lee of the Meon shore the northerly wind was much more susceptible to shifting and the boats that chose to go for the laylines tended to lose out. Two boats dominated the J/80 class. Rob Larke (J2x) won all three races and he was followed home each time by Ian Atkins in  After a series total of twelve races, J2X is leading by over 20 pts.  Lying second is Nick and Annie Haigh's SLIGHTLY STEAMY with 43 pts, followed in third by Stew Hawthorn's J'AI DEUX AMOURS with 62 pts.  Fourth is Patrick Liardet in AQUA-J with 64 pts and fifth is Ian's with 75 pts.

Next weekend the pace hots up with racing on both days for the Warsash Spring Championship, including a section with trialists for the Dolphin Brewer’s Commodore’s Cup. The fifth week of the Warsash Spring Series continues on Sunday 22nd April.   Sailing photo credits- Eddie Mays  For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

San Diego & Santa Barbara Epic Opening Days

J/105s sailing one-design J/105's Smoke the Fleets
(California, USA)- The tradition has been a long-standing one for yacht clubs around the world to have an "opening day", symbolic of the start of a new year, a new sailing season, re-affirmation of belonging to the "local tribe", participating in various "tribal rites of passage" with lots of pomp, circumstance, dressy stuff and good-natured bantering fueled for the most part by good food, drink and friends.

Nowhere is the tradition more laid-back than it is on the West Coast of America.  After all, watching sunsets on the beach is a right of passage, as is surfing to Hawaii on massively fast "sleds", and blasting down the Cal/Mex coastline to some destination called La Paz, Ensenada, Cabo or PV.  This year, two of those opening days were in for a treat, atypical conditions that challenged the best of the best in San Diego and Santa Barbara.

J/105s sailing downwind off Santa Barbara, CaliforniaSan Diego YC's opening day was an eye-opener.  "Fresh to frightening" or "epic" may have been adjectives assigned to massive chop, 18-30 knot winds and a bit thrill ride of for some.  Of course, the J/105 teams were simply licking their chops, knowing their erstwhile competitors might be doing the wrong kind of "pole dance" as they spun around in broaches all day long!  The SDYC opening day event is an incredibly fun "pursuit race", where slowest start first and fastest last.  In fact, J/22s started first and TP 52s were last!

After the fleet crashed and bashed, surfed and broached their way home, it was the J/105s that swept the fleet- WINGS (Dennis & Sharon Case) that finished first, followed by AIRBOSS and TRIPLE PLAY in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.  As was commented by one of their crew- " Surfing and planing on the downwind leg and having control in the beats were the keys to success and how much fun was THAT!"  Awesome stuff.

On the Santa Barbara YC opening day side of things, their classic "WNW" breeze blew in fresh and fast making for a spectacular afternoon of sailing.  With J/105s, J/29, J/92, J/100, J/145, J/22 and J/24s all making a go of it, it was the J/105s that had a spectacular showing.  Leading the fleet home were SHORT SKIRT followed by Ken Kieding's new ADVANCE (the old ROCK'N'ROLL) and ESCAPADE.

For more SDYC ( and SBYC ( sailing information.

J/Teams Sailing PalmaVela

J/80s sailing Palma Majorca, Spain (Palma de Mallorca, Spain)- 116 boats, 1,000 sailors, 16 represented countries and 15 divisions make up the impressive line-up of the 2012 Mapfre PalmaVela regatta, the principal opening event for the 2012 sailing season on the Mediterranean. During the four next days, 15 divisions will be competing on four race areas distributed throughout the bay of Palma, probably one of the world's most famous sailing areas.

J/145 sailing PalmaVelaThe J/80 fleet will have nineteen teams and will feature the participation of Olympic champion and winner of the last edition of the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre, José María van der Ploeg at the helm of GREAT SAILING as well as past winner of the PalmaVela, Carlos Martínez sailing MAPFRE.  Sure to give them a good-ole fashioned run-for-the-money will be Gary Kamins and crew (Jay Lutz) from California YC and Houston, TX.

In the ORC fleet will be the J/145 ACE sailed by Fred Stelle that has on-board a great crew, including J/Boats designer Rod Johnstone.  Since they're the "small boat" in a big-boat class, life could be interesting chasing down the big-boys when the sea-breeze builds on a choppy, wavy bay off Palma.  For more PalmaVela sailing information

J/24 Italian America's Cup Sailing

J/80s starting(Naples, Italy)- In keeping with the influence of Italy on the sailing world, it's somewhat coincidental that SAILING WORLD's recent "50th Celebration" article from past J/24 World Champion and College Sailor of the Year Terry Hutchinson- "Recover from a bad start"- was published recently.  As Terry said, "Patience is a virtue when it comes to recovering from a bad start."  In it, Terry Hutchinson explains how to get in the clear after a bad start: "You know you've had a bad start when you can't execute the game plan determined before the race. Two critical things must happen if you wish to recover: the helmsman has to sail the boat as fast as possible while in dirty air, and you need to decide where to go to get clean air."  Here's the article-

But, what to do after a "bad spill"?  Don't have that answer yet!  Take a look at this problem Terry recently encountered while racing an AC45 in the America's Cup World Series off Naples, Italy--

What's the coincidence here??  Terry's up against LUNA ROSSA that has Francesco De'Angelis as a principal part of their racing/management program.  LUNA ROSSA recently won the fleet racing, appropriately enough, in Naples, Italy in the same waters that Francesco won his 1987 J/24 World Championship off the famous island of Capri!  Small world, eh?

Monday, April 23, 2012

French J/22 Worlds Practice

J/22 one-design sailboats in France(Nantes, France)- The French J/22 class invite all J/22 aficionados to participate in the French Open J/22 which takes place June 16-17, one week before the J/22 Worlds.  The sailing site is beautiful, an area famous for its gorgeous, seaside beauty (manors, pastures) and hosted by S.N.O Sailing Club

This region of France is renown for its spas and resorts.  So, take a moment to enjoy yourself in Nantes and rejuvenate the body, spirit, soul for some good sailing in the following week!  Check out the Nantes Tourism site at- or go a step ahead and join the place where the J/22 Worlds will take place and enjoy the wonderful seaside-

And, speaking of J/22 Worlds, the Netherlands J/22 fleet is getting busy!  Benelux sailors are working hard with less than two months to go to the worlds to get into full training to bring the J/22 World Cup back to Benelux.  Their regattas and training also include- April 28-29- Almere Regatta; May 12-13 Spring Cup; and May 25-28 Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta.   For more Netherlands/ Benelux J/22 sailing information.  For more France J/22 Worlds related sailing information.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

J/111 SoCal Boatshow

(Newport Beach, CA)- J/111 will be on display at the April 19-22- Newport Beach Boatshow.  Learn more from Jeff Brown and crew at JK3 Yachting why this remarkable 36 footer has taken the world by storm over the past year.  With one-design activity growing in Europe and America, now's the time to jump aboard and have some fun in 2012 and look forward to Key West in 2013!  Recently, the J/111 One-Design Class in SPI Ouest France saw fantastic racing from teams across Europe, expect more in the Solent and Cowes Race Week.  Next up in America are class racing events in Charleston, Annapolis, Newport, Chicago, Harbor Springs and San Francisco.  Contact Jeff Brown and crew at or cell#619-709-0697.  The boatshow information for the Newport Show.

J/70 Southern-style Sailing

J70 one-design speedster sailing fast with spinnaker (Charleston, SC)- J/70 has completed its extensive sailing trials north of the "Mason-Dixon" line in the cool, windy, sunny climate of northern New England.  Time to blaze some smokin hot contrails down south.  This week, the J/70 travels south to the warm and comfortable confines of South Carolina for Charleston Race Week.  After a charming week on Lake Norman, the J/70 will be shaking off its recent fresh-water bath for the salty mid-Atlantic Ocean and running tides in Charleston Harbor.  Be sure to swing by and see the J/70 speedster at the Charleston Harbor & Marina (next to registration & walkway onto the docks).  For sailing demo's be sure to contact Don Trask at cell# 510-385-4094 or email-