Saturday, June 30, 2012

Read Vying For Volvo Race Lead

Puma Volvo 70 Ken Read(Lorient, France)- The Volvo Ocean Race is in its final week of sailing.  Hard to believe, but true.  At this time, just about any of the top four teams can win given the right combinations of racing.  But, the French team led by Franck Cammas on GROUPAMA will have an unassailable position so long as they average third in the next three races and could become the first French team in decades to win this epic around-the-world offshore race, this one being the longest-ever version with nearly 40,000 nm of sailing under their boats! 

Challenging GROUPAMA will be Newport's Ken Read racing PUMA Mar Mostro, hoping his collective experience of winning multiple J/24 World Championships will come into play in the last three "windsprints" left on the schedule.  Besides the two in-port "day races", the last offshore leg is just short of 500nm, a "day race" for these ocean-racing greyhounds!  It will be tough sailing, in fact more like a monster version of an intercollegiate dinghy race than an offshore keelboat race from a tactical point of view-- everyone will be in view the entire four days of racing!!  Good luck to Ken Read and crew on PUMA! 

And, not to be left out will be J/80 champion sailor from Spain, Iker Martinez and team on TELEFONICA.  TELEFONICA had led for 80% of the race until they broke their two primary rudders in a "chinese gybe" maneuver just before finishing the last leg into Lorient, France.  Limping into port on one rudder, the TELEFONICA team are hoping, like Ken's PUMA team, to win a few races and gun for the top of the podium, too!  Should be an intense, epic drama un-folding on the high seas off Europe!  For more Volvo Race sailing information

Hutchinson Sailing ACWS Newport

Americas cup 45 cat- Terry Hutchinson- Artemis(Newport, RI)- America's Cup World Series Newport competition gets underway Thursday. This will be the fifth and final event of the five part series. Having won the match racing in both Naples and Venice, ARTEMIS leads this element of the series and is third in the overall standings. Following on from five full days of training, past J/24 World Champion skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA) and the crew onboard ARTEMIS are looking forward to four days of racing against the seven other teams competing in the event.

"We feel fast on the open course, but we need to start well. That is key. All the things that you can control, you have to control," said Terry. "Competition, Mother Nature and the current are going to be the biggest variables in performance here. The boats are so fast, that you are punished if you don’t do things properly.  It’s great to have the America’s Cup back in the US and briefly in Newport. It is the premier spot to come and be supported by the people. Newport is the Cup’s home away from home and so far it hasn’t disappointed. We’ve had a lot of people out here spectating. There’s a good vibe."  For more America's Cup World Series sailing information

Friday, June 29, 2012

J24s Sailing Fun at Coronado YC

J/24 teams and the local sailing school are having fun at Coronado YC!  Said one committed J/24 team, "I give a bit of my involvement in community outreach program for a local yacht club. And just yesterday some of Juniors I teach sailing to went aboard one of your nice J24’s taking a class from a national champion in this class, you might remember Jon Rogers. He mentioned to us that he worked for you in Newport, RI at a J World school and asked me to say hi for him. Jon is a great guy and outstanding sailing instructor. He gave the juniors the ins and out of this magnificent racing vessel.

Our club organized a get together with the Coronado Yacht Club where Jon teaches and he kindly offered a day class to 3 of my top students. Luckily I went as well and confirmed what lots of people say about boats “They are fast”. We all enjoyed the class and hopefully in the near future we could have the opportunity to have one of this fast racing vessels in our fleet too."

Cruising The J/111

J/111 sailing and cruising

By Barb Whited- J/111 BAD CAT

We recently took our new J/111, Bad Cat, on a 5 day cruise around the middle area of the Chesapeake Bay.  Cruising on the J was a real delight:  the boat went fast, it was very comfortable for two people, and it handled extremely well in strong wind conditions.  We cruised into Smith Creek off the Potomac River, Crisfield on the Eastern Shore, Reedville on the western shore.  We anchored out in Smith Creek  and Mill Creek in Reedville.  In Crisfield we stayed at the MD state operated marina.  We had no problems navigating through the various channels with our Expedition software.  For most of the passages we did not even turn on the Garmin Chart Plotter since the PC was so much easier to use.  

Provisioning the Boat

I worried a lot about having enough room for food since the icebox area is small on the boat.  But there was plenty of room.  And there was even plenty of room when you consider that we have added refrigeration to the boat using the Isotherm cold plate.  The refrigeration kept everything very cold and in good condition.  I  froze steaks, chicken, and hamburger patties ahead of time then placed them in the bottom of the fridge.  Then added whatever other items we needed to keep cold (beer, wine, etc).   We have divided the icebox into two sections with a Plexiglas shelf.  Zahniser’s Marina did a wonderful job making a perforated shelf that allows the cold air to flow from the bottom to the top section of the icebox.   We added drinks as needed each day.  That way we continued to have plenty of room for food stuffs:  sandwich makings, condiments, fruit, veggies.  We also carried an ice chest on the boat which we filled before leaving Solomon’s, MD.  This allowed us to have plenty of cold drinks and ice for cocktail hour.   We strap the ice chest to the mast over the keel.  Our refrigerator will keep ice for only about 1 day, so the ice chest was very handy.  We just got additional ice at the one marina where we stopped and it lasted for the second half of the trip.

Dry food storage was not a big problem – much to my surprise.  Between the storage under the settees, the slider storage in the galley, and the stowage areas under the quarter berths, we had plenty of room.  I also found that since we weren’t taking the racing sail inventory, I could have easily packed three times as much STUFF by just using large plastic storage boxes with lids and putting them under the sails up forward.  So, the boat could go for a much longer trip with no trouble.  You’d just get fresh meat, seafood as you traveled and keep that in the icebox.  All your other things can go in the various storage areas.  Lidded boxes would be necessary to keep things dry when stowing them in the sail area.

Sleeping, Clothing, etc.

 We pack our clothes in our sea bags and then stow those in the quarter berths during the day.  I always pack each individual berth’s bedding in its own large plastic contractor bag:  sheets, pillows, blankets, etc.  That way, you can clean up the bunks in the morning, repack into the bags, and stow them back in the quarter berths as well.  This keeps the main salon nice and straight and uncluttered.  Plus the quarter berths are very dry.  

Our sleeping areas have cushions that are made with two different layers of foam: a sturdy, solid layer on the bottom with a softer, cushier layer on the top.  They were made by Ken’s Canvas in Rhode Island and were extremely comfortable for sleeping.  I heartily recommend the two layer foam.  We had that on our previous boat and it was very nice.

Sailing the Boat

 It’s fast, what else can you say!  It was so fast that we outpaced our companion boat which was a traditional cruising boat.  Left  them behind in the dust.  In fact on day two, we towed their Avon inflatable dinghy to try and slow down.  That didn’t help much.  We checked with our friends to be sure it was okay for the dinghy to go over 7kts.

We had excellent wind all days and were usually sailing over 7 knots in speed on any point of sail.  Upwind I finally insisted that we flatten the boat out because climbing up and down into the cabin or from side to side when you are heeled 30 degrees is just uncomfortable.  So, we reefed the main, used the #4, that flattened the boat and it went even faster.   Our cruising main has Antal slides on it and is simple and easy to reef.  Just lower the Halyard and pull in the reef line, all from the cockpit, and the main is reduced.  We even reefed it with the main way out downwind and it worked like a champ.  And you can shake it out just as easily.  Two people had no problem handling the sails and trim from the cockpit.

Bad Cat is equipped with a Raymarine X10  self steering system that can follow the GPS or our computerized instrument system.  The drive unit is from Octupus Marine and is very efficient.  So, life was easy cruising Bad Cat with ‘Otto’ the autopilot during a lot of the work.  Only one addition here, we will add a remote control before the next cruise.

Heavy air downwind

We came home in strong downwind conditions.  It was gusting up to 20 most of the way home from Reedville.  We simply used the #4, the reefed main, and surfed up to 11.5kts going downwind.  We did not fly the kite because with just two of us, it would be extremely difficult to get down.  Going up wasn’t the issue, coming down in those winds was the issue with only two people.  Besides, why would we need a kite considering what the boat could do on the main/#4.  Surfing was lots of fun.  We could see the small waves coming and the sound on the transom is really cool.  The boat roars.  And by the way, the boat sings.  There is a harmonic that sets up when the boat is going over 6kts.  We know we are ‘doing good’ when she starts to sing.  We will be adding a Karver furler to the Asym chute for future cruising.  This should allow us to set and douse the chute double handed.

Head/Holding Tank/Head Area

Head/holding tank worked just fine.  The holding tank could be considered small – but for two people it is more than adequate for several days.  Besides, if you stop at a marina you can get it pumped along the way.

Storage in the sliders in the head was adequate for our personal items, towels, first aid kit, etc.  We also use the large bin under the sprit to stow lots of things:  safety gear, extra beverages, towels.  And, if you haven’t noticed – the sprit and its retrieval line make a great towel rack.

The one thing I’d like to add to the head is a mirror on the bulkhead wall.  It is really tacky having to bend half way over to use the mirror.  Maybe someday I’ll find mirror material that I can put on the wall.  And we decided you could build a removable seat to put on the edge of the sail locker to give you a place to sit down up front for dressing or whatever.


We do not have an oven in Bad Cat, and don’t want one anyway.  We use a grill on the back of the boat and mounting the grill on the stern corner pulpit works out fine.  The alcohol stove heats quickly and supplied us with all the hot water, etc., that we needed.

Sleeping Crew for a Long Race/ Other thoughts

My observation is that 3-4 crew can sleep at a time on the boat for a long race.  Crew will share bunks with some of their gear, but I think it is doable.  You will need to install the lee boards on the settee bunks.   I would recommend stowing personal gear in the raised upper bunks with lee boards to free up sleeping space in the quarter berths.  The red night lights in the interior will make is easy for crew to sleep.  For a multi day race,  like Halifax, Bermuda, etc:  I think trash is an issue.  There is no convenient hiding space for trash and on a long race, you generate a bit.  It’s just something you will have to live with on the boat.  Meals will be served on your lap since there is no table.  But it can be managed.  We are used to being able to serve hot meals on ocean races, but that isn’t going to happen in the same manner on this boat.  You can still do it with ‘single pot’ meals that you assemble and heat on the cook top.  A hot meal restores a lot of energy when the ocean is fierce and it’s blowing and cold.

J/133 Smokes Capetown Race

J/133 sailing Cape Town South Africa (Capetown, South Africa)- Every year, the Royal Capetown YC hosts the highly popular Dia de Portugal- Explore the Bay Pursuit Race.  Like their American and European counterparts, the slow boats on handicap ratings start first and the bigger faster boats start last, first to the finish line wins!

This year, sixty boats entered and the J/Fleet overall had some great performances.  Tops amongst the J/Teams was the J/133 DHL SPEED OF YELLOW sailed by Patrick Holloway, walking off with the MERCANTILE BANK TROPHY for winning Division I and the ORLANDO DE ALMEIDA FLOATING TROPHY for winning the entire pursuit race overall!

Other teams that sailed well were the J/105 PANTS ON FIRE finishing 6th, the J/120 NALEDI finishing 8th, the J/27 HILL BILLY in 24th and the J/27 PURE MAGIC in 28th.   For more Dia de Portugal sailing information

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rolex Giraglia Cup Report

J/122 sailing Rolex Giraglia Race (St Tropez, France)- After four days of exceptional weather conditions sailing the inshore racing portion of the event, the teams completed the challenging 242-nautical mile race from St Tropez, France to Sanremo, Italy via the Giraglia Lighthouse sitting on a rocky outcrop off the northern tip of Corsica.  The forecasted blow came through for 20-35 knots and course records were broken for the big boats like the thousand-footer, canting-keeler, water-ballasted cigar-shaped boat called ESIMIT EUROPA.

In the "real sailors" division, the various J's sailed well in the tough conditions and managed to hang into the overall standings.  In the end, for IRC A, Giancarlo Ghislanzoni on his J/122 CHESTRESS 3 finished 6th overall in the five race series.  The J/122 ARTIE from Malta, owned by Lee Satariano and co-skippered by Christian Ripard were able to finish 9th overall despite not sailing the fourth race.  And Olivier Parchet's J/122 NOISY OYSTER finished 11th.  As a result, the J's were the best performing brand in the top fifteen for the series.

J's sailing Rolex Giraglia RaceThis historic edition – running 242nm from Saint-Tropez, France to Sanremo, Italy – was eagerly anticipated and provided a poignant opportunity to reflect on the race’s evolution through the ages. “The event is the oldest in the Mediterranean and its spirit comes from having a mixed fleet: from small, family-run boats to professional crews who have taken part in events like the America’s Cup,” reflected Carlo Croce, President of event organizers the Yacht Club Italiano and son of Beppe Croce, one of the race’s co-founders. “This is the essence of the Giraglia Rolex Cup and it is important that it has not been lost.” The event has grown enormously. That first edition in 1953 welcomed 22 boats while in 2012, 170 yachts from eighteen different countries crossed the start line.

The choice of race course for the 2012 event was particularly significant: Sanremo was the arrival point for the first ever race when it commenced from Cannes, and the sailing paradise of Saint-Tropez provided the departure point for several of the early editions.

Saint-Tropez has been the permanent home for the start of the race since 1998 when Rolex commenced its involvement with the competition. At the time, ‘La Giraglia’ was a struggling giant and these two factors have aided its re-emergence as the most respected offshore race in the Mediterranean.

J/122 sailing Rolex Giraglia RaceThirty knots of breeze welcomed the race start and around 40 knots were present when some teams rounded the race’s key strategic point – the Giraglia rock, located 1-nm north of Corsica.  On reaching the rock at sunset, the crew on ESIMIT EUROPE made a crucial tactical maneuver: “We didn’t jibe around the Giraglia rock as it was so windy, so we tacked around just to make sure we didn’t break anything.” Prudence was rewarded and despite tamer conditions as Esimit Europa 2 approached Sanremo, the race record was demolished. The winning time was 14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds - just over three hours ahead of the yardstick set by Alfa Romeo 2 - and only the sixth time in the last fifty years that the record has been broken.

As the late Beppe Croce, one of the event’s founders, once reflected following the race’s inception: “The aim was to find something new and challenging, a rise in quality at an age when offshore racing was still characterized by family-organised competitions. There was a desire to give life to a real race, following the formula of famous international events like the (Rolex) Fastnet.” Sixty years later, that ambition has been realized - the Giraglia Rolex Cup is a benchmark in its own right.  For more Rolex Giraglia Race sailing information

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

J/Teams Sail Fast To Bermuda!

J/44s sailing Bermuda RaceTwo Dozen J's Thrashed to "The Patch" For Silver!
(Newport, RI)- The grand-daddy of all American offshore races, the Bermuda Race, sent 167 racing and cruising sailboats hurtling across 635nm of capricious Atlantic Oceans towards the gorgeous pink sand beaches of Bermuda in record-breaking time.  For the J/44s the racing was tighter than ever.

A rhumbline race will produce a tight race in any class but no one could have predicted five J/44s exiting the Gulf Stream virtually within sight. Though the race didn’t end up exactly that way, even the crews who were nipped by minutes at the end were still ecstatic.

“We were within a few tenths of a mile from each other,” said Phil Gutin, who drove his 44 BEAGLE to first place. “These boats were really designed to race this race and all the teams were great this year.” Gutin decided to stay just west of the rhumbline to capture the most of the positive current of the Stream. In 2010 where he finished fourth, they had the same plan but watched, gutted, as the fleet sailed by to the east.

This year, the bet paid off for Gutin and his crew and they avoided some of the holes the rest of the fleet had to negotiate. “We thought the Low was moving and headed east after we exited the Stream,” said Jamie Ewing, the navigator aboard STAMPEDE who added that they were within 200 yards of RUNAWAY at one point. “That really motivated us. The last night the guys were trimming the kite so much I couldn’t even sleep in the quarter berth.”

The J/44 fleet, a one-design though they are racing under IRC, is known for close racing. With their long cockpit benches, and comfortable wood-veneered interior, it seems as though they would be hard boats to push, but Gutin said this doesn’t stop the teams from pushing hard. “We have relentless trimmers,” he said. “And our navigator only gave us bits of information so it would not have a psychological effect on us.”

With Jim Bishop’s GOLD DIGGER and Lenny Sitar’s VAMP always nipping at his heels, BEAGLE finally legged out to a 14-mile win. The rest of the fleet finished within hours and sometimes minutes of each other Monday afternoon. “In 2010 we had a respectable fourth,” said Gutin. “This was really respectable.”

J/44 sailboats sailing Bermuda RaceThe race was remarkably straight-forward. For the most part, most of the fleet joined the long parade aiming for the narrow gap in the Gulf Stream between an eddy and the rhumb line.  What caught everyone's collective eye was a line of squalls making up near Bermuda.  That was the race’s game-changer.  After that it was really all about the low. When the wind backed through north into the northwest that afternoon, Happy Valley became an extremely tactical playing field.  Then the crucial elements were good steering and clever choices of jibing angles.  Boats that didn’t spot the new weather missed out, but boats that did gained large distances in the second leg.  Good steering was crucial in the shifting winds. Steer to maintain speed was the mantra. In all 635 miles, many boats only jibed twice and some tacked twice to the finish.

Amongst the IRC St Davids Lighthouse Division, the J/Teams faired well.  In Class 2 IRC, the J/40 MISTY sailed by Fred Allardyce finished 2nd.  In Class 3 IRC the J/42 FINESSE skippered by Newton Merril was 4th place overall.  One of the most competitive divisions was Class 4 IRC, which saw the J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON sailed by Andrew Weiss finish  1st.  Fifth was the J/120 ROCKET SCIENCE sailed by Rich Oricchio and sixth was the J/120 SHINNECOCK sailed by Jim Praley.

In the J/44 class, it was an incredibly tough race as was described above.  In the end, it was Phil Gutin's BEAGLE that finished 1st, followed by Len Sitar's VAMP in second and Jim Bishop's GOLD DIGGER in third.

For Class 6 it was going to be a tough race for the J/133 sailors. In the end, it was MATADOR sailed by Mike McIvor that finished 2nd in division.  Fifth was the J/133 JACKKNIFE skippered by Andrew Hall and seventh was the J/13 BACCHANAL skippered by Jan Smeets.

In Class 9, the fourth place finisher was the J/130 DRAGONFLY sailed by Colin McGranahan.

From an overall perspective, the differences amongst various sailboats are quite striking.  While an S&S 48 called CARINA finished the race in an elapsed time of 75 hrs:56 min, the J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON finished 2 hours faster in 73:53.  The fastest J/44 BEAGLE was home in 71 hrs:55 min and the next J/44 home to Bermuda was VAMP in 73:58.  So, it appears that the J/122 and J/44s (all 15-25 year old designs) continue to be competitive.

As has been the case for the past few dozen Bermuda Races, the double-handed divisions have been dominated by passionate, devoted J/Sailors who KNOW their boats can be one of the best performers across a wide-range of wind conditions.  This year was not without exception.  In ORR Doublehanded Division 14, it was again the masters of offshore short-handed racing, the J/35 PALADIN sailed by Jason Richter finishing first.  Fourth was the J/40 EAGLE sailed by Dana Oviatt.  In the ORR Doublehanded 15 Division, the J Teams nearly swept, with the J/120 MIRIELLE skippered by Hewitt Gaynor finishing first followed by yet another J/120 ALIBI sailed by Gardner Grant in third.  Fourth was the J/46 SEA BISCUIT sailed by Nathan Owen, a great performance for all J/Teams sailing in the Double-handed divisions.

Finally, in the  ORR Cruising 13 Division, the J/160 TRUE sailed by Howie Hodgson's team had a fantastic time in the reaching conditions to finished second in their division.   For more Bermuda Race tracking and sailing information

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spain Sweeps J/80 Worlds

J/80 World Champions- Van Der Ploeg family(Dartmouth, England)- At a constant wind speed of 33 knots coupled with swells in excess of 4 metres (12 feet plus) across the race area had necessitated the decision to abandon racing for the day and for the regata. An excited round of applause rang around the Race HQ as the assembled fleet congratulated the new J/80 World Champions: Jose Maria van der Ploeg and his crew on board NILFISK: Luis Mas, Juan Merayo, Hugo Ramon and twelve year old Jose ‘Junior’ van der Ploeg.  A sweet and well-deserving victory for this family crew!

The nine races sailed at The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM each delivered a different winner: a fact that is testament to the level of competition on the race-track within the International J/80 Class. Van der Ploeg’s team on NILFISK never conceded a single result outside of the top 14 boats during the course of the regatta but nor did he finish a race within the top two. Skilled consistency in crew work, boat handling, tactics and intelligent regatta strategy delivered a World Championship win for NILFISK with a four point lead over the second placed boat, Rayco Tabares’ Hotel Princesa Yaiza and six points over third place Carlos Martinez’ Mapfre.

All 76 J/80s were de-rigged and lifted back on to their road trailers on Friday afternoon along Dartmouth ’s North Embankment so that 350 competitors could rush home to spruce themselves up in advance of the Closing Ceremony and Prize-giving Dinner scheduled for Friday evening. The venue for the closing ceremony (by virtue of the fact that the Britannia Yacht Club shared the hosting of the World Championship with the Royal Dart Yacht Club) was Britannia Royal Naval College .

J/80 sailboats at windward markCompetitors enjoyed dinner, wine and a fair few tots of SLAM-buca on Friday night in the stunning surroundings of The Senior Gun Room and The Ward Room at the college before moving on to the official Prize-giving Ceremony which was held on The Quarterdeck. Prizes were presented to the top ten boats at the MIQ Logistics 2012 World Championship Powered by SLAM. Several British J/80 teams featured in the role-call: Kevin Sproul’s J.A.T finished in fourth, Robert Larke’s J2X took sixth place, Simon Ling’s RAF benevolent Fund Team Spitfire finished ninth overall and Simon Johnson and Ruairidh Scott’s Joyeuse finished tenth overall. The largest piece of silverware presented on the night war Rennie and Ruth Miller’s J/80 One-Design Cup which went to Sproul and his team from J.A.T who were the best performing British team at the Worlds. Special prizes from Allspars of Plymouth were awarded the best performing furthest travelled boat, which went to Andrew Moore’s Tigrina from Hong Kong and to stalwart supporter of the J/80 UK Class, Scott Cole and his team on Purple Haze.

At the Prizegiving Commodore Simon Williams of Britannia Royal Naval College explained how much the college had enjoyed being involved with the World Championship and without need to recourse to spoken word his presence at the Ceremony meant that all competitors were duly reminded what an honour and privilege it was to take part in such an auspicious event in such dramatic and historic surroundings.

Paul Heys of Key Yachting thanked Britannia Royal Naval College , Mike Moody and his team at the Royal Dart Yacht Club, the PRO Mike Pearson, the massive team of volunteer helpers and all of the sponsors of the event: Principal Sponsors MIQ Logistics and SLAM. Supporting Sponsors Baltic Wharf, Brittany Ferries, Coast Graphics and Dart Harbour and Prize Sponsors Allspars, Café Alf Resco,, Lifedge by Scanstrut, Paul Barclay, Rowbury Gallery and the Royal Castle Hotel.  Dancing and celebrations continued in to the small hours of Saturday morning.    Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright-  For more J/80 Worlds sailing information

Monday, June 25, 2012

J/70 Sailing Texas

J/70 sailing Texas (Fort Worth, TX)- Over the past few weeks, the J/70 has been sailing in some pretty cool places.  Down in Texas, the Fort Worth Boat Club has been hosting J/70 demo sails.  Said Scott Spurlin, "The FWBC had been receiving calls all week with interested parties.  People drove/flew in from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Oklahoma City.  For the first 3 or 4 hours we had two to three boat loads waiting for their turn on the dock while the boat was out.  Terry Spurlin, Bob, and a sailor from Tulsa that came in Friday, Glenn Darden, and myself were all busy!  Quite amazing the buzz this boat has generated!  But well deserved!

Some interesting observations from our recent demos-- many of the prospects are new to the J/Family and own boats such as:  Soling (1), Colgate 26 (2), Catalina 22 (2), Catalina (25).  There are a few J/owners that are buying and one of the hot prospects currently owns a J/27.  The good news is that the J/70 seems to be growing the J/family."  For more J/70 sailing information

Friday, June 22, 2012

J/40 Cruiser Turbo'd?

(Los Angeles, CA)- Seems that Dave Moore on his J/40 #11 called LIBERTY in Los Angeles, California was looking for solutions to get his J/40 going faster after recalling how the first J/40 won the Chicago-Mackinac Race in a "three-peat" in the early 1990s.  Rodney and Alan J went to work to help Dave turbo LIBERTY's downwind potential.  Said David, "The 20 pct penalty pole with matching symmetrical spin has proven to be very effective, just as you suggested. We won our race from LA Light to Dana Point on Memorial Day weekend. A 20 mile broad reach in 15 to 20kt TWS westerly followed by 14 miles of close reaching in an erratic 3 to 6 kt TWS southwesterly. In the stronger wind conditions we watched most of our fleet round up repeatedly. None of that on the J40 - just comfortable speed and smiles."  Gotta love those stories.  Keep them coming!

New J/105 Space Shuttle Experience?

J/105 sailing New York near NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise(New York, NY)- Yes, the J/105 was part of the NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise Experience?  You bet.  Seen here is the Space Shuttle Enterprise as it's lifted onto the deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the retired USS Intrepid Aircraft carrier in New York, June 6, 2012. Pretty cool stuff.  Good to see fellow J/Sailors looking after "space sailors" that circled the globe at 25,000 kts for years, all in the support of better science and, for sailors at least, better weather forecasting!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

J/120 Sailing Action in Detroit

(Detroit, MI)- J/120 action in Detroit is "hotting up" all the time in the summer.  Competition and fun that is, not temperature or tempers.  And the Grand Poobah and King of all things J/120 One-Design Racing in the Great Lakes, Commodore Frank Kern, forwarded to us some more video evidence that the J/120s continue to have a good time with their boats in greater Day-twah, that resurgent urban waterfront town more renowned for bending metal, snapping on plastic, throwing in some leather, tossing on some good "shoes & rubber" and making lots of cars.  Enjoy the video!

J/111 Sails Fast FOERDER Race

J/111 sailing Norway Foerder Race(Oslo, Norway)- What happens when you get 900 boats and a challenging course out through the Oslo Fjord?  Then, mix in a shifty, streaky, puffy breeze meandering down the fjords?  A pretty slow race with TWS mostly around 2-6 knots!  But, for the J/111 BLUE sailed by Peter Gustafsson and crew from Sweden, it simply meant a great opportunity knocking on the door to demonstrate to fellow Scandinavian offshore sailors what it's like to race the fun, fast J/111 speedster in demanding conditions.  As Peter described, "In 900+ boats, we were 15th fastest boat in some great company! Being 13 minutes slower than a GP42 and beating a Brenta 42, X-50, Dehler 41 and First 40 on the water after 20 hours isn't bad! :D

Friday offered brilliant sunshine and 2-3 m/s from SW. We had plenty of time and had a good track on everything. 1.5 hours before departure, we went out so that everyone got acquainted with our new Code 0.  We had had it up on Thursday on the way up, but it was important that everyone had a look at how it set as we'd be using it a lot this race!

J/111 Blur sailing teamEasy start where we were too early to windward.  After being sailing 10-12 perfect starts in Marstrand last weekend, it was like all the skills were gone! After a while (seemed like an eternity) we were able to sail our race and get down to the islands to the left. Several had had good pressure there, and I think it worked for us too. Teknova and 4-5 other fast boats chose this route for the same reason.

Easy check down past Dyna Lighthouse where we continued on the left. Stretch to Nesoddtangen Buoy where we got into a good groove with a little wind in the middle of the track.

We had a good track and were able to deploy our Code 0 just after the rounding.  We passed a First 40.7 with double the speed, it was quite hilarious.  Here, we also passed a number of boats, including the King 40 "Magic" and a Class 40, both boats were not shifting gears at the same rate as us.  Plenty of wind came in.  Then it was back to the jib ... and now we were in the game again. Just JV41R, Teknova and Karukera ahead of us, but lots of good boats just behind.

After a while, we were able to again use the Code 0 and step on the gas past the JV41R Karukera before the bottom at Slemmestad. Here we were caught up and passed another JV41R and a Landmark 43! But what good was it when Teknova worked hard with puffs on the right wing to the south. Incredibly difficult sailing some time before it filled in from the east.

This year we had an OK push through all the difficult straits. Frederick and Pelle on-board our boat were working hard. We started to the left to avoid the reverse current, then went down the Hallangstangen and towards Dröbak. Good fight with an X-41 that we finally hit but most of all we got in lots of distance on Teknova. I do not think we have passed the Straits in the best way ever, and the only thing that was better was a Landmark 43 and an X-50 that snuck inside the Oscar Borg and the Castle, but it felt like a high-risk maneuver.

Easy to check the south where we and Teknova continued fight on the right side. We had a little better speed, but especially picked some great shifts and we were gone.  Incredibly nice.  And good to have a good boat to run against.

After Filtvet, the wind increased and turned on the South so we switched to medium / heavy-jib. We wanted the left, but a little sloppy with shifts in the exchange so Teknova ran up again, but we kept them on pace. It eased back to 2-3 m/s, so switching back to ease the jib. Now, we significantly improved and was able to snatch back some distance. Then we picked a couple of good shifts and we were gone. Outside Gullholmen was X-50 and a few other boats parked in the doldrums, so we were a bit worried for a restart. But finally the wind filled in from the East to make it sailable again.

As the wind would eventually turn to the south, the choice was to go high and go slow but in the middle or to throttle-up and hope for a big shift in the wind towards the Foerder shore. Counter-current was the deciding factor, so we set the Code 0 again and flew down the inner part of Bolærerna.  At more than 5 knots boat speed, all crew on the rail in only a light 2 m/s wind is quite fun!  It was exciting as we passed lantern after lantern during the night's darkest hours.  It was hard to know what it was that we were passing so fast, so we all looked forward with great anticipation for morning light to find out what happened!

Just before Bolærerna the wind shifted.  Hoisted the medium / heavy jib and furled the Code 0.  Now we were definitely ahead of those that run on the outside of Bolærerna, but we were still nervous that we were the only boat on the right (except for two small boats). At Småkryssande we finally met boats coming from the left.  GP42 Al Capone, Brenta 42, JV41R and X-50 Jokerman. Wow! All had been well ahead at Gullholmen!!

The wind increased gradually and it was a tough final leg out to Tristein. Around Tristein up with A2. Fantastic sailing homewards with 10-12 knots and spinnaker fly fast. But not enough wind for the J/111 to go really fast. We had a fun time sailing her.  J/111 is truly an amazing boat to race offshore!"  For more J/111 BLUR sailing information

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE action

J/125 sailing Spinnaker cup (San Francisco, CA)- During this year's Spinnaker Cup, if you recall, Andy Costello's DOUBLE TROUBLE pulled off three consecutive Spinnaker cup Overall Victories 2010-2011-2012. The 2012 Race had over 30 knots of breeze for the upwind portion and the downwind portion consisted of high teens to mid-twenties for windspeed. Here's a video update of their experience blowing down the coast of California at excessively fun speeds in complete control with huge grins plastered all over their faces!  See their Blog at   Plus, here are their two most recent videos.

Spinnaker Cup race-

Pacific Cup practice and sail test-

J's Sailing Tough Onion Patch Series

J/122 sailing Onion Patch series(Newport, RI)- Known as the "triathlon of ocean racing", The Onion Patch Series is a diverse three-event series of international races that challenge the complete range of a yacht's capabilities and a racing crew's skills. Yachts compete in the Onion Patch for both individual and three-boat team prizes.

The Onion Patch starts out with the high-level competition of the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, with a focus on fast-paced, round the buoys racing. The Series then moves on to the historic ocean racing of the Newport Bermuda Race, complete with the challenges of the Gulf Stream and the joys of "Happy Valley" in the approach to Bermuda. As a fitting reward, the Onion Patch concludes with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's Anniversary Regatta's delightful and exuberant racing on the Great Sound and surrounding bays and harbors.

Among the three-boat teams racing for the Onion Patch Trophy the NYYC Red is in second place with 37 points led by Andrew Weiss's J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON, the famous M&R 48 CARINA skippered by NYYC Rear Commodore Rives Potts, and Jim Bishop's J/44 GOLD DIGGER.  This trio of boats all have class wins and even overall wins in the Bermuda Race St David's Lighthouse Division; we expect to hear good things from this team after the smoke clears on the fields of battle on the onion patches in Bermuda!

Lenny Sitar's J/44 VAMP had a brilliant weekend in the New York Yacht Club 158th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex but is still 13th in the Onion Patch Series. "I just did what I was told by my tactician," Sitar said. " I had a great crew and they pointed the way to go and I just had to do my job driving the boat. We caught up with the Class 4 boats who started ahead of us, so we know we were doing well." Sitar and crew came first in class and first in the Blue Circle fleet.  VAMP sailed in IRC Class 5 and on Sunday they sailed in the Blue Circle on the Rhode Island Sound. The White Circle went up Narragansett Bay looking for wind there while the bigger boats went outside.

Rives Potts, skipper CARINA, tied with Sitar for the regatta and both had a first and a second for three points. The official results list VAMP in first and CARINA in second.

On the White Course, CHRISTOPHER DRAGON, Andrew Weiss's J/122 is sixth in the Onion Patch Series. She was the top Onion Patch boat for the Annual Regatta on that circle. Matt Brooks' Classic S&S yawl DORADE was the second in the annual Regatta, but stands ninth in the series.  For more Bermuda Onion Patch Series sailing information

BMW J/29 North Americans Update

J/29 sailing off Nova Scotia(Lunenberg, Nova Scotia)- The organizers of the 2012 BMW J/29 North Americans are pleased to announce that our entry is up to 17 boats with a very important addition to the fleet. Chris MacDonald and Mike O’Connor, the brain trust behind four-time Atlantic champion SCOTCH MIST IV, have officially announced their intention to compete.

We always hoped and expected that SMIV would be in. She is after all based at Lunenburg Yacht Club and has sailed every Lunenburg Regatta and Chester Race Week event in memory. Chris was, in fact, the "Papa Doc Duvalier" of our class, ruling as “President for Life” through the first decade of the century.

SCOTCH MIST IV won championships consecutively in 2005, 2006, and 2007, as well as an isolated win in 2001. They haven’t really lost a thing since their run of dominance. They’ve got a big crew and are especially tough when it blows hard, as it does at times in Lunenburg.

We are thrilled to have SMIV in the fold and to be back to the brink of having the largest J/29 fleet of all time. Just one more will put us in a tie and two will secure the record. With so many good 29s sailing PHRF events in the US and Central Canada, there have to be two more that would like to test themselves in a major one design event.  Call us!! For more J/29 North Americans sailing information

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

J/39 ClubRacer Sailing Belgium

J/39 ready to sail in Antwerp, Belgium(Antwerp, Belgium)- The J/39 CLUB-RACER- this is the real story of a "phoenix rising from the ashes" in Antwerp, Belgium. It starts like this.  Kathleen asks: "Honey, if I had enough money, I'd like to buy a new 40-foot J-Boat, OK?"  Eddy answers: "Hmmm.  I ​​once saw sailing during Ramsgate Week in England a J/39 that sailed and performed so well that I immediately had great respect for this design." That same evening, Kathleen and Eddy ("Ice") searched on the Internet for various boats-for-sale. Ice was immediately charmed by a J/39 in Trinidad for a very attractive price in USD.  But, in France there was a J/39 for sale with a factory-installed wheel-steering option that was preferred. Said Ice, "We found this J/39 in a French shipyard near La Trinite Sur Mer. She J/39 sailing off Antwerp, Belgiumwas left behind in the  shipyard for more then 6 years!! My wife Kathleen and me bought this beautiful racer/cruiser and started to refit her last summer. It seems that the new CLUB-RACER is gonna hit the water for summer 2012!"  Sure enough, CLUB-RACER is launched, looks gorgeous and according to Ice,  "will be used for doublehanded regatta's, as a press boat (for and last but not least for our holidays."

For more information on Eddy Lekens (a.k.a. "Ice"), the Founder/ Editor-In-Chief of Belgium's top on-line sailing website- please visit ""-

WINGS Flies In Rolex NYYC Regatta

J/122s sailing New York YC regatta(Newport, RI)- After a rousing 19-mile Around the Island Race on Friday, sailors at the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) 158th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex had to face light winds on Saturday and Sunday and a subsequently abbreviated race schedule where every move counted as critical to final results.  With 104 boats entered in Friday’s race (separately scored and optional) and 133 entered in weekend racing, this 2012 edition of what is revered as America’s oldest regatta will go down in sailing history as having its biggest fleet ever-- and, for some, the most intriguing last-minute victories.

J/122s sailing off Newport, RIIn the IRC 5 Class, the expected competition between the J/111 and J/122s was tough.  Henry Brauer's J/111 FLEETWING was up against a quartet of exceptionally well-sailed J/122s and managed to finish in the middle of them, finishing 7th in fleet overall with a 6-7.  However, past J/122 North American champion Mike Bruno and Tom Boyle (Irvington, N.Y.) finished 2-1 in the regatta’s two races to take IRC 6 on his J/122 WINGS. Second in class was  Andrew Weiss' J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON sailing to a 1-5.

Amongst the J/44s there were familiar top class teams in the lead of IRC 5 Class.  Leonard Sitar’s (Holmdel, NJ) J/44 VAMP took class honors with a 2-1 in his series.  Second J/44 and 5th in class was Jim Bishop's GOLD DIGGER with a 4-5.

IRC 7 Class has often been the domain of the J/109s taking the rest of their class to task for the top of the podium.  This year was no different, with the J/109s taking four of the top five! Winning with a 1-1 was past J/109 NA Champions like Bill Sweetser on RUSH with local champions Rob Salk and John Sahagian on PICANTE finishing 3rd with a 4-3, Rick Lyall's STORM in 4th and Paul Milo on VENTO SOLARE finishing 5th.

In PHRF Navigators Division, the J/105s sailed well with Fred Darlington's TONTO taking 2nd and Nelson Wiederman's KIMA taking 5th.  In the big boat Navigators Division, the J/160 TRUE sailed by Howie Hodgson finished 3rd in class.  For more Rolex New York YC Annual Regatta sailing information

Monday, June 18, 2012

J/111 IMPULSE Wins Chicago NOOD

J/111s sailing one-design offshore(Chicago, IL)- The final day of the Chicago Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta greeted sailors with gorgeous weather and consistent 5-10 knot wind, setting the stage for a full day of racing on Lake Michigan. The sailors could not have been luckier.  For the third straight day, the crews had been enjoying unseasonably fabulous sailing weather.  If you recall, last year's event was punctuated by a epic front spitting massive thunderbolts, squalls, hail, horizontal rain and pouring "cats & dogs"!

Enjoying the wonderful sailing was none other than the J/111 IMPULSE sailed by Dr. George Miz, Pete Dreher and Mark Hatfield.  With a 1-5-6-1-3-1-2-4 record for 23 points, they won their first major J/111 regatta on a tie-breaker over Steve Dabrowski's NIGHTHAWK, with a record of 4-4-3-3-2-3-1-3 also for 23 pts.  With a half-dozen entries, the J/111 class had very competitive fleet racing one another, as evidenced by very close scores.  With two races to go in the eight race series, it was anyone's guess as to what the podium would look like when the spray cleared on the race course.  Past NODO Regatta winner, KASHMIR sailed by Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson and Mike Mayer, finished only 1 pt out of first place!  KASHMIR's 5-3-4-2-1-5-3-1 for 24 pts was good enough for the bronze.  Fourth place just 1 pt back was Paul Stahlberg's MENTAL with a 2-2-1-4-5-2-4-5 for 25 pts; a strong start but slow close on the last day meant they finished just out of the money.  Win-Place or Show in the last race sealed the deal for the top three!

For the J/105s, this year again saw one team simply dominate the regatta, with some new faces on the top of the heap.  Blane Shea and crew on STRIKING started off strong and never let up on their classmates.  STRIKING knocked out a striking scorecard of four 1sts, two 2nds and two 5ths to win with 18 pts, four pts clear of Tom and Gyt Petkus' VYTIS-- a past regatta winner.  Third was Clark Pellett's team on SEALARK scoring two 1sts, four 4ths, a 3rd and 6th to finish with 27 pts to grab third place.  Like their J/111 brothers, the 105s also saw the last spot on the podium come down to the final race.  In this case John Weglarz's crew must've had the inmates already running THE ASYLUM as their last three races of a 4-3-7 sunk their chances for a bronze, finishing just 2 pts back from 3rd overall.

In the J/109s, the top three also had a tough three-way battle for the top three.  Again, the last two races made all the difference as some teams stepped up to the plate and "closed the deal" while others faded a bit and tumbled down the standings.  In the end, Dave Gustman's team on NORTHSTAR won the battles and the war, scoring a 3-2-1-2-2-2-6-3 for 21 pts to win class.  Second was Don Meyer's CERTAINLY with a 1-7-5-3-1-3-4-2 scoreline for 26 pts and 2nd place.  Just missing second by one point was Kevin Saedi's MOMENTUS, finishing third while collecting three 1sts along with a 2-3-6-6-7 for 27 pts.

In ORR3, Mitch Padnos' new J/122 SUFFICIENT REASON sailed a very strong regatta to finish 2nd overall with a 2-5-2-3-2-1-3-1 tally for 19 pts.  Mitch's new J/122 replaces his J/124 which he raced for years in the Chicago-Mackinac Race.  The new SUFFICIENT REASON was previously SKYE, which has won the Chicago-Mackinac in Class and Overall three times, once as a fully-crewed boat and twice as the overall Double-handed Class winner.   For more Sperry Topsider Chicago NOOD Regatta sailing information

Sunday, June 17, 2012

J/70s Sailing Across America!

J/70 sailing off Newport, RILong Island Sound, "The Gorge", Sarasota & Texas
(Newport, RI)- Recently, J/70s have been delivered to their happy customers in some great sailing areas around America.  Dozens of new J/70 sailors are hopping aboard and fleets continue to sprout like kudzu weeds in even the remotest parts of the Midwest.  Sailors young and old alike, girls and boys, Mom's and Dad's are discovering the joy of having a fun, easy-to-handle boat that can be towed by the family car, ramp-launched just about anywhere, and can handle just about any weather condition Mother Nature can throw at them.

Just ask the J/70 crews on the infamous "Gorge", that remarkable body of water with a natural "wind tunnel" on the Columbia River east of Portland, Oregon that is the favorite of the world's best kite-boarders and board-sailors.  A current sweeping you upwind at 1.5 knots plus a sunny afternoon westerly breeze of 20-25 knots is a "normal" day.  The J/70 sailors are lovin'it! SAIL NORTHWEST's customer Scott Sutherland is having a ball flying around the Gorge.

J/70 Bikini Cup sailingMeanwhile, CROSSCURRENT MARINE proudly took possession of J/70 #10. Craig Crossley had this to report, "The 1,400 mile trip from Bristol, RI to Sarasota was a snap with the brand new Triad trailer doing a stellar job of transporting our new J in style and safety. Transporting in keel-up mode provides a very low distribution of weight and the trailer support points were perfectly laid out to cradle the boat properly.

The arrival at Sarasota Sailing Squadron this Friday created quite a buzz with numerous sea-trials going on. The consistent feedback is she's a great sailing platform -- easy, stable, quick and responsive.  With the annual BIKINI CUP Regatta being held today, Squadron Board Officer Michelle Lee grabbed a few of her friends and got the J/70 out sailing with the gals for a great day of racing on Sarasota Bay!"

What are you waiting for?  Get on down to your local J/Dealer and hop aboard a J/70 for one of the most enjoyable sailing experiences you've ever had.  A gentle five kts breeze and flat water or nuking at 25 kts and blowing dogs off chains, it will be hard to wipe that "cheshire cat grin" off your face.  We promise.  For more J/70 sailing information

Rolex Giraglia Cup Update

J/122s sailing Rolex Giraglia Cup (St Tropez, France)- When St Tropez rolls out the red carpet, with gardens in full bloom, surrounding hills of the Baie de St Tropez lush with fragrant flowers, fabulous cafes serving up an orgy of delicious seaside cuisine, crystal-clear skies dotted with puffy white, cottony clouds and warm Mediterranean breezes sweeping down the picturesque coastline, it's awfully hard to beat.  And so far the sailors have been treated to nothing but the best St Tropez has to offer.

Spoiled after four days of exceptional weather conditions sailing the inshore racing portion of the event, the teams are now headed out into the challenging 242-nautical mile race from St Tropez, France to Sanremo, Italy via the Giraglia Lighthouse sitting on a rocky outcrop off the northern tip of Corsica.  Of course, can't be too bad if you're simply going out to sea, turning left and going from the French Riviera's hot-spot to the Italian Riviera's ho-spot, right?  Think again.  The forecast is for 20-30 kts and by Thursday blowing up to 40 knots in a classic Mistral-like condition.  “It will be very demanding with a lot of wind throughout today,” explained Francesco de Angelis, former J/24 World Champion in Capri, Italy and tactician onboard the 62-foot NATALI–B2. “For tomorrow we are forecasting a certain drop in conditions and some changes of direction bringing lighter winds. It will be a difficult race for everyone although, as always, you can never predict what is going to happen.”

J/122 Malta- ARTIE sailing Rolex Giraglia CupFew boats will be as experienced and up to the challenge as the J/122 ARTIE from Malta, owned by Lee Satariano and co-skippered by Christian Ripard. In their previous competitive offshore outing the combination were the first Maltese in ten years to win the hugely demanding 606-nm Rolex Middle Sea Race. Keeping them honest will be Giancarlo Ghislanzoni on his J/122 CHESTRESS 3.  Also, in the hunt will be Olivier Parchet's J/122 NOISY OYSTER and Edward Gatt Floridia's J/122 OTRA VEZ.  With four J/122s racing, one of them is certain to revel in the conditions.

After the first four races in IRC A with 73 boats participating, the top J/122 is Giancarlo's CHESTRESS 3 sitting in 6th place, just 20 points out of third going into a double-counter race.  Just behind in 10th is Olivier's NOISY OYSTER and 11th is Lee's ARTIE RTFX.

In IRC B, with 55 boats participating, the top J is Antonio Marcri's J/39 SCINTILLA J sitting in 9th place.  The J/109 JAVA BLEUE 3 sailed by La Forest Bardaille sits in 12th place and another J/109 JET LAG sailed by Richard Burton (not the movie actor!) is lying in 20th place. With the forecast for a solid breeze and waves, look for the J/109s in particular to make a quick climb up the ladder and be further up the standings after the Giraglia Race.   For more Rolex Giraglia Race sailing information

Saturday, June 16, 2012

J/80 Worlds Update

J/80 one-design sailboatSpanish Teams Leading, English & French Fill Top Ten
(Dartmouth, England)- It was a tough first day of racing for the 76 boats sailing the J/80 Worlds in Dartmouth, England.  The day started ashore with a postponement.  Then breeze built in from the south light air and rainy.  Just one race for the fleet doing a double windward-leeward.  As a result, many of the top contenders were all over the map, some finishing mid-fleet.  The podium was Frenchman Patrick Bot 1st, Englishman Robert Larke 2nd and Spaniard Javier Aguado 3rd.  French were 5 of top 15, showing their hard-work this spring has been paying off.  English were 8 of top 15 and Spanish were 2 of top 15, the latter was a surprise to many sailing.

J/80 sailing crew at markRacing commenced in Dartmouth on Tuesday. The World Championship is being co-hosted by the Britannia Yacht Club and the Royal Dart Yacht Club. Principal Race Officer Mike Pearson held the crews of the seventy six competing teams ashore for a postponement of just over two hours in order to wait for the breeze to fill in and settle. Light airs meant that only one race of the three scheduled for today was raced but the fleet returned to the Regatta Centre happy to have completed the first race of the eleven scheduled for the World Championship series.

Out in the race area in Start Bay the breeze eventually filled in to a very tricky four to six knots from 180 to 190 degrees and a windward-leeward course was set. Keen to get going, competitors pushed the line on the first start resulting in a general recall and the PRO immediately deployed the black flag and at the next start all boats got away cleanly. Crews from nine nations are racing in Dartmouth and today it was Frenchman Patrick Bot sailing Ecole Navale CG29 who took the win in Race 1.

J/80 SLAM sailing J/80 Worlds EnglandPatrick explained ‘I had a good start, not perfect, but I arrived at the first windward mark in eighth place having sailed the left hand side of the beat. We then just worked our way through the fleet. The gate at the bottom on the leeward leg was important: I took the left hand mark and it paid. The boats around us on the race course are all evenly matched in terms of boat-speed.’

Rob Larke of Great Britain took second place in Race 1. He said ‘We also chose the left hand side of the beat but it was hard to call. Our boat speed and we’re happy with our second place today.’

All in all it was a good day on the water for British teams with five GBR sail numbers in the top ten at the end of day one. Four races are scheduled for Wednesday 13th June and all the competitors are hoping for a little more breeze to add to the excitement.

On the second day of sailing, clearly the sun was shining brightly on the Spanish Teams. Dartmouth was blessed with blue skies, sunshine and just a little more breeze on Wednesday for the second day of racing. Four races were sailed in 6 to 9 knots of breeze oscillating through the day between 095 and 135 degrees. As the crews came ashore after racing it was clear that the fleet were delighted to have enjoyed really tight racing and top flight competition albeit the day’s sport had been both physically and mentally challenging. The overnight leader of the regatta is Jose Maria Van der Ploeg from Spain and his crew on board NILFISK, a result of this crew’s consistency across the regatta series so far, never scoring a result outside of the top 10 boats in the fleet of 76.

The first race of the day (Race Two of the series) was won by Laurent Sambron of France racing EJP 10 with the young crew of Henry Bomby on Team Baltic who are all from Dartmouth in second place. Simon Ling and Ian Southworth took third in RAF Benevolent Fund Team Spitfire. Eric Brezellec from France won Race Three in Interface Concept 1 and his friend Maxime Rousseaux won Race Four in his J/80 called CN St Cast Grand-Ouest Etiquette. The final race of the day (Race Five) belonged to Javier Aguado’s team on board CROCS, a win that puts him second in the overnight rankings.

J/80s starting J/80 Worlds off Dartmouth, EnglandThe two top boats in the fleet going into Day Three on Thursday are both Spanish teams. Speaking to Jose Maria Van der Ploeg, skipper of NILFISK after racing he said ‘We are very satisfied to be leading but it was hard on the water today. We are not used to sailing with this much current and we found it very difficult. We have tried not to take too many risks but we were very close to being over the start-line in Race Four and that would have meant a Black Flag disqualification for us’. Van der Ploeg’s son Junior is just twelve years old and is a crucial part of this talented race-crew. He explained that today the crew work and boat handling was good on board NILFISK but that the J/80s racing in Dartmouth are all very evenly matched in terms of speed across the water.

Javier Aguado helmsman and skipper of CROCS are in second place overall and he said ‘The racing was close and exciting although the light airs and strong current are not what we are used to and it has made judging the start-line very difficult. We were over cautious in Race Two and found ourselves late when the start signal sounded but we were tactically strong for the next three races and I am pleased to be in second place overall.’

The top placed British boat is Kevin Sproul’s J.A.T. and this crew currently sits in third place on the leader-board. Sproul is a formidable sailor and is well known in racing circles for his dry humor. ‘I was feeling close to suicidal when I came ashore’ he joked. ‘It was so hard out there with 76 boats on the race-track and I really felt that I could have sailed better. I suspect that I may have been just a little hard on my crew today but when we came off the water and I saw our points score and our position in the rankings I have to say I felt a lot better.  My crew definitely deserve a beer or two on me tonight.’

The next two days of racing promise more wind, more weather and, most certainly, much tougher racing as the top teams from Spain, UK, France and Germany fight it out for the podium and top ten.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright-  For more J/80 Worlds sailing information

Friday, June 15, 2012

J/80 in Barcelona Sailing School

(Barcelona, Spain)- Sailing director, Eva Piulats, says "We're opening a new sailing school in Barcelona...the novelty is that we have a beautiful J-35 in our fleet along with J/80 sailboats! We are proud to have such a performance boat for sail-training."

Furthermore, Eva says, "As founder of the brand new company "Barcelona Sailing School", I have a background in sciences in my early ages and then more than a decade of sailing experience in several seas and countries. And from the beginning, I had the chance to work with the dealer of J-Boats in Spain, Mr. Pedro Egea, manager of the company Catamaran Center SL & Yate Center. He made me love J-Boats by sailing them and I was clearly set up for the decision.

So, when I wanted to turn my career into another field and be devoted to training, I decided to focus on J-Boats. We planned to use J-35 for offshore regattas and preparing skippers to cruise on their own. We also offer other activities in J-80 for day-sailing!"  For more Barcelona Sailing School information- L'Equip de Xaloc

Bermuda Race Sailing Preview

Bermuda sailingTwo Dozen J's Thrashing to "The Patch" For Glory
(Newport, RI)- The grand-daddy of all American offshore races, the Bermuda Race, is about to start on June 15th, Friday at 1300 hrs off Newport's Castle Hill, sending over 167 racing and cruising sailboats hurtling across 635nm of capricious Atlantic Oceans towards the gorgeous pink sand beaches beckoning all sailors like the famous "Song of the Sirens" in the Odyssey. 

The very first Bermuda Race was an act of rebellion. In 1906, the "Establishment" in America believed that it would be "insane" for amateur sailors to race offshore in boats under eighty feet. Thomas Fleming Day, the feisty editor of The Rudder magazine, vehemently disagreed, insisting, “The danger of the sea for generations has been preached by the ignorant.”  Certain that an ocean race would be enjoyable and safe – and also develop better sailors and better boats – Day founded one on his own. The Brooklyn Yacht Club started the race in New York Bay, and offshore on that island paradise, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club finished it off St. David’s Head. Today, it's co-hosted by the Cruising Club of America (with New York YC's Harbour Court in Newport providing support) and Royal Bermuda YC.

The goal is to sail fast on a VMC course of 162 degrees magnetic for 635nm.  Few Bermuda Race veterans can ever describe the experience as a "walk in the park"-- in fact, it's reputation is quite the contrary. Starting off Castle Hill, Newport, Rhode Island, the first 15 miles of the race finds the fleet typically beating towards Bermuda in a southerly thermal breeze.  However, this year the forecast shows a North-Northeasterly with 10-20 knots for up to 48 hours-- perhaps making for a faster, nastier race than normal (see Gulf Stream description).  After the start, the race is divided into three general parts, each with its own problems and strategies:

I. Between Newport and the Gulf Stream-  Sailing in cold water and often in fog, the navigator must select a route to the optimal position on the northern edge of the Gulf Stream, avoiding the bad side of warm eddies north of the stream, or taking advantage of the favorable side of the clockwise rotating warm eddies. Current in the eddies may reach 3 knots and the warm eddies can be 60 to 100 miles in diameter. Satellite photos and their interpretation are available so these days the navigator has a pretty good idea of the location of the stream and its major eddies.

II. Crossing the Stream- Depending on the configuration of the Gulf Stream (there is no typical configuration) the navigator must choose to cross the generally east flowing current up the 4 knots in the most efficient manner. Due to the extreme temperature difference between the stream and the slope water to the north, it is not unusual to have thunder squall activity in the stream. The racers often find light winds punctuated by powerful, fast moving cells of wind, lightning and waterspouts. The stream itself is often quite lumpy as the current and the wind interact-- e.g. this scenario is quite likely this year-- the experience of ENE 10-20 kt winds against a powerful 4 kt easterly flowing current is not a wonderful combination in the Gulf Stream, unless you like 10-15 foot breaking seas with an occasional freak-wave at the height of your first spreaders!  There’s a good reason why the Bermuda Race’s nickname is “The Thrash to the Onion Patch.”  Rough weather and Gulf Stream stories are hardly strangers for those riding the rail to Bermuda.  In fact, they're synonymous with one another.

III. Happy Valley! After bashing and crashing across the Gulf Stream in epic sailing conditions, the last 300 or so miles from the bottom of the stream to Bermuda are generally most pleasant-- that's why many call it "the happy valley".  The racers are in warm water, the winds are warmer and generally southwesterly if the Bermuda High is established, fetching the island is often possible. Bets are made on when the island will be sighted and there is anticipation of the sweet-smelling aroma of oleander flowers as one of the first "tell-tale" signs the island is near.

The Bermuda Race consists of five divisions - The St. David's Lighthouse (amateur) Division, The Cruiser (amateur) Division, the Double Handed Division, the Gibbs Hill (professional) Division and the Open (professional) division.

Among boat builders, J/Boats has 28 entries, the largest brand participating for the 10th year running.  By contrast, Nautor-Swan are represented with 24 boats, Beneteau have 7, Hinckley with 6, and C&C/ CAL with 4 apiece.  In other words, 17.0% of the Bermuda Race fleet are comprised of passionate offshore J sailors.  Many of them are amongst some of the most experienced and successful offshore sailors. 

In the largest and most competitive fleet, the St David Lighthouse Division has amongst its race veterans the famous GOLD DIGGER, Jim Bishop's J/44 (New York, NY) who will be back for its twelfth race in what looks to be like another tour'de'force for the seven boat J/44 class.  Included amongst them are Phil Gutin's BEAGLE, Len Sitar's VAMP, Jason Leblanc's GLORY, Dr Norm Schulman's CHARLIE V, Jimmie Sundstrom's STAMPEDE and Lawrence Glenn's RUNAWAY.

In addition to the strong turnout of J/44s, there are a number of other very competitive boats in the St David's Lighthouse Division, including a fleet of twelve well-sailed 40-43 footers from the J/Design team.  The big bananas are the troika of J/133s sailing- BACCHANAL (Jan Smeets), JACK KNIFE (Andrew Hall) and MATADOR (Dale McIvor).  Next up is past division winner, Andrew Weiss's veteran campaigners aboard the J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON, 2nd place finishers in the recent New York YC Annual Regatta.  The trio of J/120s include ROCKET SCIENCE (Rick Oricchio), SHINNECOCK (Jim Praley) and WINDBORN (Richard Born).  The quintet of J/40-42s include the J/40 MISTY (Fred Allardyce) and the J/42s- ARROWHEAD (Steve Berlack), SHAZAAM (Roger Gatewood), FINESSE (Newton Merrill) and GLIDE (Tanner Rose).  Rounding out the division is past Bermuda Race competitor Darren Garnier sailing his J/35 GREAT SCOT.

In Cruising Division will be Howie Hodgson's J/160 TRUE and in the Gibbs Hill "pro" division will be the J/130 DRAGONFLY sailed by Colin McGranahan and crew.

Finally, the Double-Handed Division is only getting stronger every Bermuda Race.  This year we'll see repeat Bermuda Race winners participating, like Jason Richter's incredibly well-sailed J/35 PALADIN.  Like last time, Jason will have his hands full with two J/120s, Hewitt Gaynors' MIRIELLE and Gardner Grant's ALIBI- both tough contenders.  Plus, toss in Scott Miller's J/122 RESOLUTE and Nathan Owen's J/46 SEABISCUIT and you have a nearly "one-design" race amongst these five highly competitive boats.  Not to be outdone will be the J/40 EAGLE sailed by Dana Oviatt, eager to give fellow competitors a run for the money!  For more Bermuda Race tracking and sailing information