Tuesday, July 31, 2012

J/Teams Sweep Chicago-Mackinac Race

J/111 One-Designs Smoke the Fleet!
(Mackinac Island, Michigan)- For the enormous fleet of boats sailing in this year's Chicago-Mackinac Race, the forecasts weren't the most promising in the world for a fast passage north on the 289nm course to Mackinac Island.  As the morning dawned with a light southwesterly gradient breeze, it was becoming clear to the "locals" that a sea-breeze would likely develop and by early afternoon power the fleet down the course in an 8-13 knot southeasterly breeze.  The Double-handed fleet took off in near drifting conditions which include a J/29 and J/105.  About an hour later, the big divisions of J/105s, J/109s, J/111s and J/120s all took off in a building sea-breeze reinforced by the gradient.

Because of the stronger than forecast sea breeze, the race became an enormous chess match on the water, with all teams focused on when the breeze would shift from the southeast to southwest and then play gybing angles all the way down the Michigan shoreline, passing the famous Point Betsie turning point to head further NE towards the Greys Reef 3nm passage before turning to 97 degree for the final sprint to 30nm to the finish line off the famously picturesque Round Island Lighthouse off Mackinac Island.  The tale of the tape for various classes came down to two major decision points, when was the first gybe made in the middle of the lake late Saturday evening when the winds went from about 170-185 degrees to 200-220 degrees and when teams made the decision to gybe and go inshore along the Pt Betsie/Michigan shoreline to stay in breeze with more velocity.

All the J/Teams had some great racing, as demonstrated by their extraordinary performances overall in the Mackinac CUp Trophy fleet standings.  The first NINE of the Top 10 Teams were J/Boats owners.  12 of Top 15 were J/Teams and 16 of the Top 25! J/111s were 8 of Top 15 and 11 of Top 20!! An unprecedented sweep of the top 25 positions-- the best ever by any brand in the history of the Mackinac Race (or for that matter any major offshore race around the world).  Here is how the top 25 teams faired

1st- J/109 REALT NA MARA- Tom & Joe Londrigan
2nd- J/109 NORTHSTAR- David Gustman
3rd- J/111 KASHMIR- Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer
4th- J/111 VELOCITY- Marty Roesch
5th- J/111 NO SURPRISE- Dave Irish
6th- J/111 NIGHTHAWK- Tom Edman & Steve Dabrowski
7th- J/122 SUFFICIENT REASON- Mitch Padnos
8th- J/111 IMPULSE- George Miz, Peter Dreher, Mark Hatfield
9th- J/111 WIND CZAR- Richard Lehman
13th- J/111 MENTAL- Paul Stahlberg
14th- J/120 NIGHT MOVES- Henry Mistele
15th- J/111 ROWDY- Rich Witzel
20th- J/111 MISTY- Tom McIntosh
21st- J/111 LUCKY DUBIE- Len Siegal
22nd- J/120 PERSEVERANCE- Matt Songer
23rd- J/109 KIII- Irv Kerbel

In addition to doing well overall, the four J/One-Design divisions had extremely close racing amongst their colleagues.  According to Mike Mayer, a partner in the J-111 KASHMIR, the 10-boat J/111 one-design fleet battled all the way up the lake. "What a fun race," said Mayer. "We had multiple lead changes throughout. Going through the Manitous we had eight boats within a mile of each other. What great racing."  Winning the 111 one-designs was the team on KASHMIR- Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer and it was their 2nd Mac race win after 2011!! Putting on an amazing performance for being "newbies" to the Mac were the strong Annapolis team led by Marty Roesch on VELOCITY, finishing second after a duel with their classmates going into the final five miles of the race.  Third was Dave Irish's NO SURPRISE, fourth was NIGHTHAWK sailed by the dynamic duo of Tom Edman & Steve Dabrowski and fifth was IMPULSE led by the trio of Dr George Miz, Peter Dreher and Mark Hatfield.  Incredibly the entire J/111 one-design class all finished less than 50 minutes apart after the long race, perhaps one of the smallest "spreads" ever in a one-design class-- great racing for all!

The J/109s again proved they're one of the toughest fleets to beat on Lake Michigan, liking the light to moderate off-the-wind breezes.  Top boat in the Mac and J/109 Class winner was the J/109 REALT NA MARA sailed by Tom and Joe Londrigan.  Second was NORTHSTAR (David Gustman), third was KIII (Irv Kerbel), fourth the trio on MOMENTUS (Kevin Saedi/ George and Robin Simkins) and fifth was CERTAINLY (Don Meyer).

Amongst the J/105s, it was also a tough race amongst these evenly matched teams.  Leading the pack home was Mark Gurney's BUZZ, followed by Mark Symond's PTERODACTYL in second, Clark Pellet's SEALARK in third, GOOD LOOKIN (Dean & Lana Walsh) in fourth and fifth was Nancy Glover's TEMPEST.

Top gun in the J/120s was Henry Mistele's NIGHT MOVES, finishing 14th overall and winning the 120 class.  22nd overall and 2nd in class was Matt Songer's PERSEVERANCE, third was Bob Kirkman's HOT TICKET, fourth Frank Kern's CARINTHIA and fifth Bob Klairmont's SCIROCCO 2.

In the handicap world, Section 2 saw the two J/145s finish next to one another. Grabbing 4th and 5th, respectively, were Chris Saxton's VORTICES and Bill Schanen's MAIN STREET.

Section 3 saw another repeat winner!  The original J/122 SKYE was bought by Mitch Padnos and Tracy Brand and is now the current SUFFICIENT REASON!  Mitch and crew were incredibly happy with their performance, repeating the J/122s win in this division for the second time in four years!  Eighth in class was the J/133 RENEGADE sailed by Tom and Beth-Ann Papoutsis, ninth was the J/130 EDGE (Bob McManus) and tenth was the  J/130 WILLIE J (Doug Petter).

Section 5 also saw another repeat winner, perhaps a three-peat winner?  First was the J/109 VANDA III sailed by Jack & Jim Tolliver and Jim Mitchell with a great crew consisting of Simon Minoprio and Rodney Keenan from Auckland, New Zealand and Dallas Kilponen from Sydney, Australia along with Jimmie's dad "James".  Congratulations to them as they were 4th overall in the Mackinac Trophy division.

The Section 6 sailors must've felt a bit overwhelmed by the presence of 35 foot J/Teams sailing amongst them-- which, ultimately, took 7 of the top 10 in section!  The winner was a classic cruiser/racer, the J/110 LADY K sailed by Mike Stewart.  Third was the J/35 AFTERSHOCK (Bill Newman), 5th the J/92 SPLIT DECISION (Bruce Santerre), 6th the J/35 BOZO'S CIRCUS (Bruce Metcalf), 7th the J/35 TOUCH OF GREY (Larry Schell), 8th the J/33 RETRIEVER (Matt Beer) and 10th the J/35 SHEARWATER (Tom Anthony).

Finally, the Double-Handed Trophy was again won for the third year in a row, the proverbial "three-peat" for J/Teams by the J/29 TFWB RELENTLESS sailed George and Scott Petritz.  They were following up the previous year's double-winner, the former J/122 SKYE sailed by Bill Zeiler and Richie Stearns.  Fifth overall in DH was the J/105 OCH! sailed by Brendan Docherty and Jim Hilliard.  For more Chicago Mackinac sailing information

Penobscot Bay Rendezvous

J42 sailing offshore (Penobscot Bay, Maine)- Yachting Magazine hailed the Penobscot Bay Rendezvous as one of the top 10 sailing/cruising events of 2011.  This year, the event will be taking place from August 16 -19 and already 42% of the entrants are J sailors competing in racing,  cruising canvas crewed and double-handed cruising canvas.   The entries range from a J/80 to FOUR J/160s,  as well as a nice sampling of J46, 42, 122, 124, 109 with more signing up every day.

What makes this event so special is not just the incredibly beautiful waters of Penobscot Bay,  but also professional event and race management, over-the-top parties and fabulously yummy dinners,  mind-blowing fireworks, an aerobatic airshow, awesome live music and plenty of silverware to sink a ship!

If you have any interest in joining this fiesta of sailing on the water, please be sure to contact Tom Babbitt in Camden at ph# 207-236-8656 or check out the website.

Monday, July 30, 2012

J/Cup UK Preview

(Southampton, England)- The scene is set for a stunning 2012 J-Cup Driven by MIQ Logistics, scheduled to take place on the Solent this week. The event comes back to its spiritual ‘home’ at the Royal Southern Yacht Club this year and comprises The Lombard J/97 UK National Championship and the J/109 UK National Championship supported by Sebago. The J/111 Class will also be racing at the J-Cup for the first time this year and the International J/111 Class Rules will apply in full. The remainder of the 63 boat fleet will be made up three more classes, the J/80s who will also race in a one-design class and two mixed IRC J Boat classes. Even the brand new J/70 is set to make her first regatta appearance!

Racing starts tomorrow, Thursday 26th July and nowhere will the competition be hotter than at the J/109 National Championship supported by Sebago. Studying the form at recent J/109 one design regattas will not help the pundits at all as several boats have been starring. Paul Griffiths, J/109 Class Chair who sails with his family and friends on Jagerbomb is blisteringly quick in the light stuff but was not giving much away on interview. When pressed, Paul explained ‘The issue is that the racing in this fleet really is wide open. On any given day there are easily ten boats in the running. What I can say for sure is that everyone sailing in the 24 boat J/109 National Championship fleet is delighted at the prospect of racing in some sunshine and thrilled to share in the generous support of our sponsor, Sebago’.

J/109 sailboatThe current Lombard J/97 UK National Champion is Grant Gordon and his team on Fever, having won the regatta last year in Guernsey . Fever is back to defend the one design title this year, along with eight other J/97s, a fleet which includes three newcomers to the Championship. It’s tough at the top of the J/97 fleet and even the smallest of errors can be costly. Gill Ross has a predominantly young squad on board Rock n Roll 2 but having competed together at the recent J/80 Worlds she will be hoping that the strength of her close-knit team will pay dividends. From Cornwall, having recently won the South West IRC Championship, Stuart Sawyer and his crew on Black Dog were looking fast last weekend at a training regatta here on the Solent albeit they were just pipped to the top slot by local boys Mike and Jamie Holmes in Jika Jika. Mike and Jamie also have the 2012 Lombard J/97 National Championship title firmly in their sights.

The J/111 Class has eight boats racing on a level rating basis at the J-Cup this year and the fleet is chock full of winners: Didier Le Moal’s J-Lance comes to compete from France having beaten David and Kirsty’s J-Dream (Round the Island Race Class winner) by the very narrowest of margins at Spi Ouest regatta at Easter. Jamie Arnell’s Jeez Louise won the J/111 Class at the Vice Admiral’s Cup earlier in the summer and Duncan MacDonald and Phil Thomas ’ crew on Shmokin Joe have been slotting in some very impressive results in their home port of Brighton .

So, in usual J-Cup style we’re set for a massive event: six classes, two race areas, eight races, two National Championships, 63 boats (so far!) 400 people, two bands, SLAM clothing, SLAMbucca shots, the B&G Dark and Stormy Party, North Sails daily prizes, a live blog from the race-track at www.keyyachting.com, the Wight Vodka Online Results Service, fantastic sponsor support, prizes galore and of course the infamous J-Cup Prize-giving Party on the final Saturday, this year to be held at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton and (according to current forecasts) sun, sun, sun all the way!

To sum up, James Clark, Global Services Director at MIQ Logistics, the principal sponsor of the 2012 J-Cup said ‘We are thrilled to continue our sponsorship relationship with Key Yachting and the 2012 J-Cup Driven by MIQ Logistics is set to be a fabulous regatta. We understand the huge responsibility that comes with our investment but the opportunity to be involved with the J-Cup was one that we could not ignore and it demonstrates and cements our commitment to the marine sector. This will be my first J-Cup and I have to say that I am really looking forward to the event.’   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright- Photoaction.com  For more J/Cup sailing information

Friday, July 27, 2012

RAF Sailor, Airman Down

J/80 RAF Sailor off Dartmouth, EnglandRAF J-Sailor, Airman Down-  We received sad news this past week about a fellow J/80, J/97 and J/109 sailor who was very active on the RAF Sailing Team on the Solent.  Hywel ‘H’ Poole, aged, 28, was one of the three pilots who tragically died in the RAF Tornado fighter jet incident over the north-east coast of Scotland on Tuesday 3 July 2012.

‘H’, a proud Welshman, was born in Bangor and grew up on the water sailing in the British and Welsh Optimist and Laser squads. He joined the RAF in 2006 following a degree in Naval Architecture at Southampton University and excelled through fast jet training. H was a regular on the Solent as a member of the RYA Keelboat Programme, sailing on the Farr 45 and TP52. He also sailed J109's and J80's to huge success with RAF colleagues and often joined his friends on the J97 JIKA-JIKA.

H lived life on the ground as fast as he did in the air and achieved so much in such a short time. Famed for a fast yard, dubious dancing and a heart as big as his hands, he was a true gent who will be sadly missed and never forgotten.  Best wishes and condolences to H's family from the J/Family and friends around the world.

Here’s a little of his flying experience shared by one of his RAF buddies.  Amazing footage (thanks for this contribution from SA).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goEydHDN8JQ

Brian Thompson- J/24 offshore sailor

(Weymouth, England)- Brian Thompson, a J/24 sailor from England, has been setting sailing records for a long time.  Recently, he set a sailing world record as crew on the 130 foot French trimaran BANQUE POPULAIRE of under 45 days.  Just this past week, Brian sailed the MOD 70 one-design trimaran class in a record for under 100 foot sailing craft across the North Atlantic, going from New York to a mark gate off Land's End, near Plymouth, England (about 2,900nm) in under 5 days!  Then, proceeded to take a right turn, literally, to head south to Brest and still beat the record in 5 days 6 hours!!  Brian Thompson on his fastest Transatlantic yet- "It was a very nice finish, everyone is very happy.  This is my best ever-Atlantic crossing, just over 5 days from NY to Brest. I was probably waiting for five months of my life on PlayStation hoping for good weather and we never really got it, certainly not this good. The weather was almost ideal, we did not take the rhumb line past Newfoundland but went further south from the first day and then it was pretty much a straight course from there. We sailed a few more miles but we were always going fast, pretty much 25 knots or more the whole time.

I think I have done about 30 Trans-Atlantics and I think this is up there with winning the Quebec St. Malo on Sergio Tacchini and the other one was winning the OSTAR in 1992 on my own, my first Transat. This was a great race. if it hadn't been the for the foil breaking up, I am sure we would have been pretty close to the other boats.

I think we really did learn a lot. It was much harder to sail without the foil. Very easy to overpower the boat and nosedive, and so we were fine tuning that. If you had too much power the leeward hull would bury and you would stop dead. We were doing a lot of nose dives. It was a really good exercise.

The crew were awesome. Mohsin is more experienced and did quite a lot of driving and ran the pit (halyards) and was a real stalwart, and Fahad we knew was a really strong trimmer, but he turned out to be a really good helmsman. He could go very very fast, now over the next few months - he has really got the knack for it - and that adds to his skills, how to trim the boat, how to balance the boat, working out where the limits are, all things which take experience, he has the good the helming ability he has just not got the miles yet because he only started sailing three years ago and he really has come on incredibly." For more MOD 70 sailing information

Thursday, July 26, 2012

J/22 Family Sails One-Design Regatta

J/22 family sailing Toronto, Ontario, Canada(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)- The National YC One-design regatta was held July 7-8, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario.  The J/22 FLAWED LOGIC was sailed by Chris Hobbs AND his entire family, including Will (2), Ilaria (4) and wife Toni. They finished first and second in two individual races to end up second overall out of 7 J/22's. Sweet!

The funniest part is watching this video and seeing the kid's head in the cockpit! Said Chris about their barn-burning performance, "The morning after the regatta, Ilaria had a pencil in an empty plastic cup and was stirring air. When I asked her what she was doing, she said 'stirring epoxy'. The people at her daycare must wonder about us!"  Enjoy watching this J/22 family sailing their J/22 off Toronto.

PROZAK Wins Rolex Ilhabela

J/24 Prozak sailing Brazil Ilhabela sailing race week (Ilhabela, Brazil)- The 39th edition of the largest ocean sailing event in Latin America, Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week, saw some great duels unfold on the waters of the Sao Sebastiao Channel off YC Ilhabela, host for the event.  The sailors were treated to an incredibly wide range of conditions, what is now becoming a routine for sailors in this event.  Conditions ranged from light to heavy and sunny with very shifty winds funneling around the island, to massive rain squalls and stormy conditions forcing postponements back to the final day with gorgeous 12-14 kts wind enabling all classes to get in two races out on the Sao Sebastiao Channel.

In ORC 700, the J/24 PROZAK sailed by Marcio Finamore) had a tough battle with the "Argentine Sea & Sailing".  However, after seven races with one discard, Marcio's PROZAK crew amassed a 1-2-4-1-1-4-2 for 11 pts to crush a fleet of more modern boats like the Mastracchio 24.5s and Skipper 21s.

Of note, other renown Brazilian J/24 sailors from the past were winning skippers or tacticians in other divisions.  Eduardo de Sousa Ramos, past Brazilian National J/24 champ won the Soto 40 class on his boat PAJERO while J/24 Pan-American champion Mario Buckup was responsible for the tactics to become the top 30 Class boat.  Said Mario, "We are very happy. Winning the Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week is important for all Brazilian sailors. The races are always very close, and requires full attention on the race course."  For more Rolex Ilhabela sailing information

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

J/145 Takes Vic-Maui Race

J/145 offshore racer Doubletake team wins Vic-Maui (Lahaina, Hawaii)- This year's biennial 2,308nm dash across the wild blue Pacific had two primary elements that will make this year's edition a memorable one.  For starters, the sailing was almost epic, a relatively fast start and a cooperative Pacific High meant fast sailing for the top boats for most of the race.  The other was a bit sad and macabre, this year's competitors were the first trans-Pac sailing fleet to have to deal with the massive amounts of floating debris from the March 2011 tsunami that struck Japan.

how to sail the Pacific HighThe weak winds at the start held the prospect of weak winds offshore and a slow race. But, nothing could have been further from the truth. The winds have been strong (sometimes over 25 and 35 knots) and more northerly, letting the fleet get spinnakers up early and sailing very fast.  The flee generally sailed south-southwest along the Oregon and California coast to take advantage of strong following winds and to avoid the somewhat unstable weak winds of the Pacific High. This resulted in fast boat speed, but slow VMG (which is the velocity made good towards the Finish in Hawaii). Ultimately, the fleet "turned right" to go around the Pacific High, those who turned later ran into less wind with less favorable angles, those who turned a bit early just about ran out of wind.

Taking advantage of the bigger risk-takers in the fleet, Tom Huseby's J-145 DOUBLE TAKE of the Seattle Yacht Club of Seattle, WA became the first to finish Vic Maui 2012. They took a more middle-of-the-road approach, favoring further east first but then using a favorable gybe angle to get back west to come roaring into Hawaii on a very fast, low port tack gybe angle, smoking of of the fleet on one principal move.

DOUBLE TAKE finished in on a hot, muggy evening in Lahaina after enduring 10.5 days of overcast conditions with plenty of wind. Her time to complete was 10 days, 12 hours, 39 minutes. Tom apparently wore a wide grin as he guided the boat into the dock after finishing an hour earlier off Ka'anapali Shores. Brad Baker, the navigator said that they pushed hard all through the race, but the boat treated them well and there were no gear failures or torn sails.  In fact, on July 11, DOUBLE TAKE reported a large metal object 6 ft long as being “very scary” as part of their mandatory daily position reports given over SSB radio.

J/145 sailing upwindFor one of the members of the DOUBLE TAKE crew, it was also a "life-changing event". Tom's son Max provides some on-board insight about their experience.  "The trip thus far has been a life-changing event for me in the best ways possible. It took me a long time (years) to come around to even thinking of the idea of offshore racing for roughly two weeks, but I don't regret my decision in the slightest. All of it redefines incredible: The food (thank you Mother, aka Janice), the wind, the waves, the seeming-less never-ending expanse of ocean, and of course the company. These guys are all awesome. Smelly, but awesome. I've developed new levels of relation with friends and family alike that I'm sure will last a life time. That, in itself, is worth the trip.

"However, it wasn't until last night's shift (when we were happily mobbing at a steady 19kts  in the pitch black with heavy rain accompanied by wind reaching up to 30 knots, in shorts no less.. I like to call it "Squalin") that I thought to myself for the first time, 'Wow, a lot of people must think we're totally F***-in crazy.' It made me grin. Waking up every four to six hours has become practically passe, sleeping in the same clothes that you wear on your shift is expected (as well as tossing articles overboard if they get too stench-ey), and the obnoxiously loud spinnaker winch is pretty much white noise as this point.

"The only things that constantly keep me going like a freight train on auto-pilot is the knowledge (thanks to Brad's extremely helpful computer and navigating... or navi-guessing depending on the situation) that we're almost there, and Mila Kunis's company when I pass out (I put a picture of her above my bunk... thank you Maxim magazine). And we're ahead. My fingers
are crossed for an epic finish that yields some epic results. Considering how hard everyone works and how little they all complain, we deserve it."  For more Vic-Maui trans-Pacific race sailing information

J/30s Sweep Queens Cup

J/30 sailboat sailing on Lake Michigan (Milwaukee, WI)- The Midwest is as hot as ever both in temperature and in racing action, with last week’s Queens Cup from Milwaukee to South Haven, MI giving a nice little warm-up to the huge Mackinac fleets.  For most it was an easy ride on the 75.8nm course across the southern end of Lake Michigan with close-reaching angles in 8-14 kts of breeze, with wind direction fluctuating across the lake from 175 to 250 degrees.  There were nearly 200 boats sailing, the biggest fleet in years led by Ken Read's first Volvo 70 Il Mostro.  The race is often a quick preview and practice for the hundreds of boats racing in the two Mackinac Races- Bayview Mackinac Race and the upcoming Chicago Mackinac.

J/130 sailing on Lake MichiganThe highlight of this year's race was to see the two J/30s sailing in the PHRF Double-handed Division take the top two spots on the podium.  Both Milwaukee boats, Ton Hainrich's HULLABALOO finished first, doing the race in 12 hrs 48 min- a near 6 kt average!  Just behind them and keeping the pressure on all the way across the lake were those tough-as-nails girls on RAFIKI led by Whitney Kent, finishing just 4 min back in just 12 hrs 52 min!  A remarkable performance and kudos to the J/30 class and teams who've been helping them realize their dream to sail fast and safely offshore.  Who says these girls can't race the Chicago-Mackinac Race!?

What's interesting is that another J/30 sailed by Dell Todd, TEMPTATION, also sailed fast in PHRF Division 8 with a full crew could just muster an elapsed crossing time of 12 hrs 51 min, exactly in between the two double-handed J/30s in terms of time!  As a result, TEMPTATION finished 4th in PHRF 8 and 26th overall.

In Division 2, the J/130 WILLIE J sailed by Doug Petter sailed the race in 10 hrs 24 min to finish 5th in class, but only four minutes out of a third place podium finish!  In Division 5 the J/105s finished 6th and 7th just ten minutes out of first place!  Tight racing.  Mark Gurney on BUZZ (6th) and Pat Mullins on ARCHELON (7th) probably wondered where they "lost" that time on the race course.  In Division 6, the J/100 SHEK O sailed by Al Wilson sailed fast to grab third in class, just five minutes out of first.
Sailing photo credits- Meredith Block For Queens Cup sailing information

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

EVIL DONUT Wins Bacardi Newport J/24s

J/80s sailing Bacardi Newport Sailing Week (Newport, RI)- For the forty-nine J/Teams sailing in this year's Bacardi SailNewport Regatta, the weather was hot and so was the competition.  With temperatures ashore hovering in the high 80s, low 90s, the sailors were assured of the fact that no matter what the breeze was like in the morning, it would most assuredly develop a good sea-breeze by midday and provide the sailors but inside Narragansett Bay as well as those outside with some good sailing.

Not surprisingly, the very hot J/24 class provided some of the closet competition in the regatta.  After leading the first day, the team of WATERLINE SYSTEMS sailed by Will Welles could not hold off the hard-charging current J/24 US Nationals Champion, John Mollicone, from taking the overall prize with the infamous boat EVIL DONUT.  In fact, the regatta outcome hung in the balance on the last race of the ten race series.  Up until a disastrous 14th in race 8, it looked like the Well's WATERLINE SYSTEMS team had the regatta "in the bag".  Also in the same predicament was Mike Ingham's 11TH HOUR RACING, scoring a DNC/28 in the same race.  As a result, both Will and Mike had to use those two as their "drop" races, just about handing the regatta to Mollicone's EVIL DONUT.  In the end, the "donut boys" just had to stay within one place of the Welles team in the last race to win, which they did by snagging a 5th to Welles' 4th.  Third for the series was Mike's 11TH HOUR RACING team, fourth was Greg Griffin's GIZ and fifth was the craftiest "old man of the sea", Tony Parker on his famously-named BANGOR PACKET.

The other three classes- J/22, J/80 and J/105s- produced quite the opposite outcomes.  All three had near "runaway" winners that dominated their classes after slowly getting into the swing of things on the first day of sailing.

In the J/80s, Bruno Pasquinelli's TIAMO from Texas had four 1sts and two 3rds to win by four points over Jeff Johnstone's LITTLE FEAT from Newport with a 1-3-2-3-3-2 record for 11 pts.  Third was Brian Keane's SAVASANA just 3 pts back.  Fourth was Ray Wulff on USA-251 and fifth was local Newporter Andrew Burton on GROMIT.

The J/22s were swept by the Rochester sailing mafia!  Chris Doyle won every race, taking 6 straight firsts and not sailing the last race!  Second was the Sertl family with Nick Sertl sailing the boat, taking a 2-2-2-4-3-2-1 for 12 pts.  Third was Mark Stuhlmiller with an equally consistent record of 3-3-4-2-5-3-3 for 18 pts.

Starting out slowly on the first day but finishing with a flourish in the J/105 class was past J/105 North American Champion Duncan Hennes and Joerg Esdorn on the well-campaigned KINCSEM.  Second after the first day behind Harald Edegran and Jeremy Henderson's CONUNDRUM, KINCSEM managed to accumulate a 1-3-dnc-1-1-1-1-2 for a total of 9 points, easily winning by five points.  Second was CONUNDRUM, sailing smart and fast to score a 2-2-1-2-3-4-4 tally for 14 pts.  As has been the case with the J/105s, third place was a tightly fought affair by familiar faces.  Separated by only four points, Damian Emery's ECLIPSE sailed to a 3-1-2-3-5-5-6 for 19 points to take the last spot on the podium.  ECLIPSE narrowly beat out by one point Sean Doyle's KESTREL in fourth and Kevin Grainger's GUMPTION3 in fifth with 23 pts.  For more Bacardi Newport Sailing information

J/109s Sweep @ Cork Week

J/109s sailing off IrelandJELLY BABY Wins Irish Championship
(Cork, Ireland)- Like a fine seafood platter, Cork Week dished up a huge variety of courses and Friday's Harbour Race was the centerpiece of a phenomenal week of racing. The entire international fleet racing at Cork Week enjoyed a scenic race in Cork's historic harbour. The weather may have closed in once again but the myriad of racing boats parading passed Cobh provided a spectacular finale to what has been a very special regatta.

It was all to play for in IRC 2 with two yachts vying for the class win and the title of 2012 Irish J/109 National Champion. After two legs of the Harbour Race, Hall & McDonell's Dublin based SOMETHING ELSE led the charge but Ian Nagle's JELLY BABY made a decisive move on the beat past Roches Point to gain the upper hand. Royal Cork's JELLY BABY never looked back and won the last race of the regatta to win both the IRC 2 Class and the J/109 Irish Championship.  Second in both IRC 2 and the J/109s was SOMETHING ELSE.  Third in the J/109 Irish Championship was Baker's JALAPENO.  For more CORK Week and J/109 Irish Championship sailing information

Monday, July 23, 2012

J/111 Wins Bayview-Mac Race

J/111 sailboat wins Mac RaceJ/29 Wins Double, J/44 Wins Too!
(Port Huron, Michigan)- The 233 boats that sailed this year's Bayview Mac sailed a fairly typical race on Lake Huron in the middle of the summer.  With no significant weather systems roaring by at a frenetic pace, it was the usual stuff of Lake Huron lore-- light to medium winds, variable, starting south, shifting west, maybe shifting northwest, but then going back west.  In the end, it means only one thing for the "long" Cove Island course, a somewhat reachy, runny leg up to the Canadian shore followed by a long beat of sorts to Mackinac Island.  For the short course guys, it would be mostly a reachy race.  Such was the tale of the tape this time around, almost two completely different races, "the reach up the beach" or the "two sides of a bad triangle."

Sailing the Division I Cove island course were a trio of J's that found the difficult conditions much to their liking.  In fact, the more difficult and variable, the better this trio of boats were going to perform in this race.  Sailing PHRF C were two J/111s and a "classic" J/33.  To no one's surprise, the wiley old fox of the Great Lakes, Dave Irish from Harbor Springs, Michigan, again won his class for the second year in a row sailing his appropriately named NO SURPRISE! Dave is a veteran of a few dozen Mac Races, so it stood to reason that if anyone was going to figure out how to sail the Cove Island Course fast, it was Dave and crew.  Not far off the pace was the J/33 SHENANIGAN sailed by Dick & Dan Synowiec, getting a third in the division.  And, perhaps most surprisingly was the strong showing for their first time in the "racing" division of the J/111 UNPLUGGED sailed by Tim Clayson (last year's winners overall in the Cruising Division)!  They sailed to a well-deserved 4th overall in a tough, competitive fleet.

On the short course, the eight J/120s sailed a classic one-design race with many familiar faces dueling it out for line honors.  Many of the pre-race favorites were in for a surprise.  Leading the gang home was Ken Brown's JAYHAWKER in first place.  They were followed by a bunch of Canadians upsetting the American apple cart, preventing a clean sweep of the podium.  Gerald Hines team on IRRESISTIBLE TOO from Ontario finished second.  Third was J/120 ring-leader Frank Kern on CARINTHIA, four was Bob Kirkman's HOT TICKET and fifth was Don Hudak's CAPERS.

The Level 35 Class proved to be a J/35 "tour'de'force" with a record number of eight J/35s racing.  After the smoke cleared in this incredibly competitive class, it was a very familiar face at the top of the podium- the amazingly famous MR BILL'S WILD RIDE sailed by Bill Wildner, of course!  Second was the very experienced FALCON team sailed by Ed (43 PH Macs) and John (37 PH Macs) Bayer (only 250+ Bayview Mac Races amongst the crew-- e.g. "been there, done that" 100x!).  Amongst the 35s, Robert Gordenker's TIME MACHINE ensured J/35s took the majority of the top five with a 5th place!

In PHRF D Class the fleet of J/105s had many well-sailed boats, but it was Mark Symonds' PTERODACTYL that delivered and took home the bronze for 3rd place this time around.   In PHRF E, the J/44 SAGITTA sailed by its co-owners/skippers, both past Commodores of Bayview Yacht Club, Com. Larry Oswald (1990) and Com. Jon Somes (2000) proved, yet again, why they're considered "Grand Masters of the Huron Universe", taking it home against a tough group to secure a solid first place in their division.  For PHRF F Class, the classic J/36 POLARITY sailed by Murphy Palmer, the last of its breed as J/36 hull #55, pulled off a 5th in class! A similarly classic J/34 IOR design, SEA FEVER, also managed a third place in PHRF G class sailed by an incredibly experienced Mac Race team, led by Den Balcirak and Tom Burleson from Grosse Point Woods, Michigan.

Finally, in the Double-handed Division IV group, the J/Teams again proved they can sail their boats faster more consistently than any of their short-handed competitors.  A well-proven scenario in Fastnet Races, TransPac Races and Trans-Atlantic Races over time.  In this case, it was the J/29 PATRIOT sailed by David and Lyndon Lattie that won their class and a fellow J-sailors on the J/105 PIRANA (CJ Ruffing and Chris Ongena) pulled off a dramatic third place finish to round out the podium!  For more Bayview-Mackinac sailing information

LO 300 J/Teams Ready to Roll!

J/109 sailing Ontario(Oakville, Ontario, Canada)- The 23rd running of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge promises to be an exciting 300 mile race with plenty of good winds forecast that should shift around the clock, challenging teams to make the most of the fast moving frontal systems that will traverse the west to east axis of the racing.  The teams will see a lot of reaching, running and beating and should play to the all-around strengths of the various J/Teams competing in the event on either the long "Main Duck" 300nm course or the shorter "Scotch Bonnet" course.

'We have some very tight divisions in the competitive, sport boat divisions, which always makes a race like this very tense,' stated Darren Gornall, chairman of this year’s race and past Sperry Cup Winner.  Currently, there are over 135 sailboats coming from as far away as Chester, Nova Scotia and Erie, Pennsylvania, as well as from all points within Lake Ontario including Kingston, Cobourg, Rochester, and Youngstown.  There are over 25 yacht clubs represented in this race with yachts ranging from 27’ to 44’ in length. They are competing in a variety of divisions that include, fully crewed, double handed, single handed, and a multihull division.

lake ontario 300 race course17 boats have registered in the Double Handed Division, which in the early days of this competition was the only division possible.  Sailing PHRF Double-Handed is a J/27 sailed by Andre Beese from Oakville Yacht Squadron.

Approximately 65 yachts will compete fully crewed with flying sails on the Main Duck Course with three IRC divisions totaling 24 yachts and five PRHF Divisions totaling 41 yachts.

PHRF FC1 Class has the new J/111 LAKE EFFECT sailed by Bob Hesse from Youngstown YC and the J/35 SHORTHANDED sailed by Mike Pietz from Brampton YC.  PHRF FC2 Class has two J/105s sailing, including Geoff Clarkes' CASUAL ELEGANCE from Boulvard Sailing Club and Bjug Borgundvaag's VOODOO MAGIC from Mimico Cruising Club in Toronto.

IRC FC1 Class has the J/145 SPITFIRE sailed by Jon Bamberger from National YC sailing.  IRC FC2 class has three J/109s racing, including Sheila Smith's PHOENIX from Royal Canadian YC, past winner Bob Eckersley's BLUE STREAK from QCYC and Murray Gainer's LIVELY from ABYC.

For the first time this year, the Lake Ontario 300 will be presenting a trophy to the overall PHRF as well as IRC handicap winner. This may be why we have seen an increase in the number of IRC rated yachts that are competing this year.  The creation of two overall winners this year, with the Sperry Cup PRHF and The Gold Cup IRC, has provided a solution to have more teams participating.   For more Lake Ontario 300 sailing information  Lake Ontario 300 Yellowbrick tracking

Sunday, July 22, 2012

J/111 Sailing Cowes & Peru

J/111 sailing at sunset (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The J/111 has taken the world by storm in 2012, with boats lighting-up race courses in over 12 countries.  One-design action is already taking place in Chicago, Newport, Annapolis, San Francisco, La Trinite France and now in the Solent, starting with the upcoming J-CUP, then followed by Cowes Week.  J/111 #60 based in Hamble, UK is ready to sail for enthusiastic J sailors. Whether your passion is short-handed distance racing, round-the-buoys fleet racing, or just plain sailing fast & fun in an easy to sail speedster, the J/111 is well worth checking out.  For those of you who have an interest in expanding your horizons in the European racing scene while still having the ultimate beer-can evening series boat, please don't hesitate to contact Paul Heys at J-UK at paul@keyyachting.com or +44 78022-64141.

J/111 sailing PeruMeanwhile, for those loving the South American lifestyle, it's hard to beat sailing a J/111 in Peru.  Recently, the J/111 CHALLWA was launched into the cool Pacific Ocean in the morning shadows of the magnificent Andes Mountain range.  German Fuchs and friends are happy to welcome J/111 enthusiasts anytime in their spectacular waters on the southwestern side of South America.  An important note for connoisseurs of the traveling lifestyle-- Peru, Chile and Argentina have some of the most extraordinary skiing, sailing, beef and wine (white or red) in the world (not necessarily in that order)!  Please be sure to contact German for a demo sail/ski anytime.  For more J/111 sailing information

J/Teams Sailing Pacific Cup

J/125 sailing PacificJ/120, J/125 & J/145 Dominant Competitors
(San Francisco, CA)-  Leading up to the start of the Pacific Cup race, the electricity in the air was crackling like thunderbolts.  A consolidated Pacific High was spelling "Good Racing" and was looking good for all.  Even BMW MARIN (supported by the J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE) was providing shuttle service cars (enjoy the ride and the new car smell!) to the parking lot for sailors.

J/35c Brainwaves sailng Pacific CupThe forty-six boats racing in the 17th edition of the Pacific Cup leave from the San Francisco city front (off the St Francis Yacht Club) at noon on Monday July 16, sailing under the famed Golden Gate Bridge to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The 2070 nautical mile race runs every even (non-TransPac) year. A staggered start from July 16 through July 20 sees the slower boats take the line first, followed by the rest of the fleet throughout the week. Even so, an early start may not be enough of an advantage for the slower boats.

Andy Costello, skipper and owner of J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE, is racing Pac Cup for the first time and has taken a glimpse at the long range forecast, "We've started to look at the weather and it's looking better for our start later in the week than it is for the earlier starts, so that may help us get to Hawaii faster."

Like Costello's going to need much help, stacked as his boat is with accomplished Hawaii racers, including Skip and Jody McCormack, Matt Noble and Trevor Baylis. Nonetheless, Costello's playing it cautious after a disappointing experience in last year's Trans Pac race.  As for most Pac Cup racers, the preparation - both boat and crew - is daunting. "It's been a six month project," Costello said. "We've double checked, modified, strengthened the boat, found new ways to get weight off the boat - we've done a lot but when you sail with crew like mine, they really prepare." (thanks for the contribution from Michelle Slade).

J/120 sailing teamHere is a synopsis of the J/Teams that are sailing. In Division E starting on July 19th at 1430 hrs are the two J/125s. They are the J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE sailed by Andy Costello from Point Richmond, California and sailing for Corinthian YC (check their blog here).   Next is the J/125 WARRIOR sailed by Greg "Chubby" Constable from Nanaimo, BC, Canada and sailing for Nanaimo YC.

In Division DH2 starting on July 16th at 1330 hrs will be the J/120 JAMANI, the current fleet leader that is sailed by Sean & Jeff Mulvihill from Park City, Utah.

In Division B starting on July 17th at 1330 hrs will be the J/35c and J/42.  The J/42 TIKI J is skippered by Kim Worsham, Portland, Oregon (http://www.sailblogs.com/member/tikij/ or http://www.tikij.com/) and the J/35c BRAINWAVES is skippered by Jim Brainard from Golden, Colorado sailing for Los Gatos YC.
For more Pacific Cup sailing information   For Yellowbrick Tracking of Pacific Cup

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicago-Mac Race Preview

J/111 sailingNEW J/111 One-Design Class Ready-to-go!
(Chicago, IL)- The famous offshore yachting classic in the Great Lakes is about to get underway with over 300 boats undergoing last minute preparations for the 289nm dash from Chicago up Lake Michigan to that quaint, cute little island called Mackinac sandwiched between the top of Michigan and the Canadian border.  This annual right of passage has enough of a tradition for offshore sailors in the Great Lakes that those old sailors who never die and come back for more are honored, even revered, by those in the know-- that secret society known as "the Old Goats Society".

This reunion of sailors from across the greater Midwest (and the World) is celebrated first at the famous Chicago YC Monroe St Station, then after a few days on the water, is re-celebrated again with even taller stories to tell of what happened in the race conquering 'ole Mother Nature.  Ever heard about the boat planing past competitors in 95 kt winds under bare poles with lightning lighting the way home.  Or, the one about surfing the front of a water spout to the finish while God's light show of lightning bolts blew out all the instruments are were lighting up the carbon fiber in the jib like St Elmo's fire?  Yup.  Mac Racers have seen it all, heard it all --ironically there's even some truth in those "Paul Bunyan-type" stories for many who frequent the infamous Pink Pony Bar & Restaurant, de facto post-race headquarters for the thousands of weary sailors.

Gathering under the tents and along the docks of Chicago's waterfront are some of the world's better sailors and certainly a remarkably strong contingent of J sailors from across the lakes, including visitors coming from afar to participate in one of the true "Lake classics".  Four J/One-Design classes are represented- J/105s, J/109s, J/111s and J/120s.  It's the first year for the J/111 One-Design class, first for the Mac Race, too.  Plus, there are J/Teams spread throughout the Double-handed and handicap classes, many who've proven time and again they're not only champions in their own classes and divisions, but quite a few who've won the variations of the Mackinac Island races overall!

Starting with the one-design classes, it's quite exciting to see the J/111 speedster evolve into a full-blown one-design racing class in this eponymous offshore race.  There are ten J/111s entered and, quite frankly, there's no telling how it's all going to end up at the finish line.  What J/111 owners and their teams have proven to date is that just about anyone can win, especially an offshore race like the Mac.  The J/111 is so fast offshore, that anyone getting any leverage on their classmates extracts fast and enormous gains.  And, it works both ways. Especially if you're the boat behind, you're never out of the hunt for a podium finish, as last year's Mac Race proved for the five 111s that sailed in that stormy race!  Amongst the top contenders will be teams that have competed in Key West, Charleston, Annapolis, Newport, Bayview and Chicago over the past year.  From Chicago, you have several winners of recent regattas, including Paul Stahlberg's MENTAL, IMPULSE (Dr George Miz, Peter Dreher, Mark Hatfield), KASHMIR (the Mayer, Henderson, Brummel team), Tom McIntosh's MISTY and Tom Edman/ Steve Dabrowski's NIGHTHAWK. Newcomer to the Chicago fleet, the J/109 Great Lakes Champion Len Siegal, is sailing his new J/111 LUCKY DUBIE! From Annapolis is one of their top boats, VELOCITY sailed by Marty Roesch from Annapolis YC.  And, past year's double Mac Race winner NO SURPRISE sailed by Great Lakes racing legend Dave Irish should be amongst the top of this incredibly talented fleet.

The J/120s have a few Lakes legends of their own sailing amongst their one-design class along with some newly revamped programs all looking to dial-up their programs to take a shot at the top of the fleet.  From the Bayview Mac Race, you'll see all the top teams- CARINTHIA (Frank Kern), JAYHAWKER (David Sandlin), IRRESISTIBLE TOO (Gerald & Joanne Hines)- plus add in two strong Chicago teams in the form of SCIROCCO 2 (Bob Klairmont) and JAHAZI (Frank Giampoli) and it's likely you will find it hard to pry these teams apart even going into the finish line just short of Mackinac Island!

The J/105s have the largest J/One-Design fleet with fourteen boats participating.  Some familiar names will be contenders, including the recent Bayview Mac top J/105, Mary Symond's PTERODACTYL from Grosse Point YC and then add in top local Chicago boats like Tom and Gyt Petkus' VYTIS, Clark Pellett's team on SEALARK and John Weglarz's inmates already running THE ASYLUM and you have the makings of a 289nm gunfight at the OK Corral-- tough teams having a great time!

Not to be outdone by their other 35 foot sisterships, the J/109 class has ten strong teams racing to Mackinac Island, many of whom are past Mac podium finishers, Sailing World NOOD Regatta winners and Verve Cup winners.  Like their J/111 friends, the J/109s can see just about any boat finish in the top three due to the competitiveness of the fleet, nevertheless likely to be amongst the top boats will be MOMENTUS (Kevin Saedi and George & Robin Simkins), REALT NA MARA (Tom & Joe Londrigan), NORTHSTAR (David Gustman), K-III (Irv Kerbel) and DRIVEN 2 (Jim Milliken from Traverse City, MI).

In the handicap classes will be a wide variety of J's participating, from J/42s to J/145s.  In the Cruising I Division will be the J/42 ANOTHER J sailed by Conrad Dieter from Minnesota.  In Double-handed division will be the J/105s GONZO (Ken Ganch) and OCH! (Brendan Docherty) and the J/29 TFWB RELENTLESS (George & Scott Petritz).  In Section 2, there will be two J/145s fighting in out with some Santa Cruz 52s, Tripp 47s and Neiman-Marcus 43-50 footers. Both J/145s, VORTICES (Chris Saxton) and MAIN STREET (Bill Schanen, publisher of SAILING MAGAZINE) are tough contenders, both having won their classes in the various Mac Races.  Section 3 sees three J/130s, a J/122, J/133 and J/124 all slugging it out with Farr 395s and Sydney 41s for class honors.  Mitch Padnos's J/122 SUFFICIENT REASON, the J/124 STILL MESSIN (Adam & Jerome Esselman), the J/133 RENEGADE (Tom and Beth Ann Papoutsis), and the J/130s SALSA (Jim Gignac), WILLIE J (Doug Petter), EDGE (Bob McManus) will amongst the class leaders.  In Section 4 is the J/46 WINDRUSH from Lake Forest sailed by George Hender.  Section 5 has the "sleeper Q ship" in the fleet, the J/109 VANDA III sailed by past Chicago-Mac Winners Jimmy Mitchell and Jack & Jim Tolliver.  Section 6 seems to be a 35 footer shoot-out with J/35s, a J/33, J/110 and J/92 dueling it out with Beneteau 10R's, Shock 35s and Thomas 35s.  In the end, the J/110 LADY K (Mike Stewart), the J/92 SPLIT DECISION (Bruce Santerre), the J/33 RETRIEVER (Matt Beer) and the J/35s BOZO'S CIRCUS (Bruce Metcalf), HOUQUA (Jack Andree) and TOUCH OF GREY (Larry Schell) will all be scrapping for the podium by Monday-  OMG, what a tough fleet to sail against (please note- some of these boats have all won Mac Overalls in the past, too)! Finally in Section 7 is the J/92 CYCLONE sailing against, of all things, old NA 40s for silverware!   Chicago Mackinac Race Yellowbrick tracking   For more Chicago Mackinac sailing information

Friday, July 20, 2012

Read's Puma Wins Volvo Inshore

Volvo 70 Puma sailed by Ken Read of Newport, RI(Galway, Ireland)-  Ken Read's PUMA Mar Mostro Wins Volvo Inshore Title!  A PUMA team decked out in Irish rugby shirts rounded off the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 in style on Saturday, securing victory in the In-Port Race series with a win on the waters of Galway on a day that saw Franck Cammas's GROUPAMA celebrate the overall win in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Ken Read's team scored a commanding first place in the Discover Ireland In-Port Race, their ninth podium finish of the 10-race inshore series and a first victory.  An electrifying scrap for second between CAMPER and Groupama saw the two teams virtually inseparable right to the end of the 8.2-nautical mile course with Chris Nicholson's team stealing the runners-up prize on the day, and in the series as a whole.

Driven to score their first in-port win, there was no stopping Kenny and the PUMA gang as a flawless performance saw them extend their lead at the first mark, holding on to take the win around the 8.2 nautical mile course by one minute and 19 seconds and secure the overall in-port title.  “It tastes very sweet,” said Ken Read who punched the air in delight as he steered Mar Mostro over the finish line.  “To race against the best offshore sailors in the world and come out on top is all we can ask for.”

Thank goodness all that practice winning five J/24 Worlds paid off over the course of time!  Congratulations to Ken, the Puma Team and Kimo Worthington for job well-done!  Time to retire and go for a cruise to Cuttyhunk and Canada with Kathy and Tory for a bit of R&R and family time.  Next up?  Ken is going sailing on the Chicago-Mackinac Race on his first Volvo 70- Puma il Mostro (a bit of a "busman's holiday", eh?)!  No rest for the weary.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

J/109 North Americans Preview

J/109 one-design sailboat- sailing regatta(Newport, RI)-  The second half of the Rolex New York YC Race Week features the J/109 North Americans.  With eighteen J/109s signed up so far, the turnout has only been exceeded at the class’s inaugural North American championship in 2006, when 19 boats competed.

“Race Week at Newport is a high profile event where race management is very good and the venue and racing area is truly spectacular,” said Rick Lyall, the 2009 J/109 North American champion,  explaining that counting this 2012 championship, the J/109 Class will have held its North Americans at Race Week  four times.

Lyall also noted that his STORM team will face stiff competition from three-time and defending North American Champion Ted Herlihy (South Dartmouth, Mass.), who will be skippering GUT FEELING, and Bill Sweetser  (Annapolis, Md.), who has won the East Coast Championship three times aboard RUSH.

“Donald Filipelli (Amagansett, N.Y.) aboard CAMINOS has also been a very tough competitor the last few years. It's always a battle between the four of us for the podium,” said Lyall.  “After that, who do we pay attention to? Everybody!"

“Winning a major regatta takes a lot of preparation for the boat and crew and a reasonable amount of luck. Even when you've done everything you can to have everything on the boat in order--a perfect bottom, new sails and a highly experienced crew-- it all can fall apart with one bad break.  A bad start, a foul, an unlucky wind shift or even abandonment of a race where you are doing well can all make the difference between winning and finishing down the ranks. You can control preparation, but being lucky is an intangible.” At the conclusion of Race Week, Rolex timepieces will be awarded for the J/109 North American Champion!  For more J/109 North Americans sailing information

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Halifax St Pierre Ocean Race Update

J/133 offshore cruising sailboat- sailing off Halifax(Halifax, Nova Scotia)-  The Halifax-Saint-Pierre race 2012 is a world class ocean race held every two years (opposite the Marblehead - Halifax race) from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Saint-Pierre, France off of the beautiful coastal Newfoundland.  The Halifax-St Pierre Race attracts yachts from Canada, United States and France, sailors enjoy the challenge presented by sailing 350nm across the cold  waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, the Cabot Straits towards the French islands of St.Pierre and Miquelon.

The race continues to foster the close relationship between eastern Canada and the French islands, and the great social and economic relations between the two countries and maritime people everywhere. The race brings together sailors from many historic maritime regions who sail over a demanding course and end up at a destination extraordinaire - St.Pierre et Miquelon. There the fleet gets to enjoy a "Touch of France" and all the cultural, gastronomical and social delights that are part of French hospitality.  As the "chamber of commerce" description says, “Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, is really a French Homeland 25km from Newfoundland. The French flag flies high and the people speak with an authentic French accent. The “Gendarmes” stand tall over De Gaulle’s square with their signature “Kepi”. But “The rock” as named by the islanders has a character all its own.”

Looking forward to enjoying classic Gaelic hospitality at the end of their blast across part of the cool North Atlantic Ocean are the J/133 BELLA J sailed by Raymond Rhinelander in the IRC Class and the J/35 HARRIER skippered by Evan Petley-Jones in PHRF Class.  At midweek, both boats on the tracker appeared to be winning their respective classes on handicap-time.  Good luck and hope both crews continue to sail fast!  For more Halifax to St Pierre sailing information

J/145 Sailing Vic-Maui Race

J/145 sailing Vic-Maui race (Victoria, BC, Canada)-  Since DOUBLE TAKE arrived in Seattle around the first of the year, the boat and crew have been on a path sailing toward the the start of this year’s Vic-Maui Race.  The boat got put back together after its truck trip north from San Diego and got out on the water a couple of times during January and February.  In March, DOUBLE TAKE sailed in all three of the Center Sound Series races.  The spring has brought more racing with the Tri-Island races and Swiftsure.  For Tri-Island Series, DOUBLE TAKE finished first in her class and fourth over-all. The crew posted a third in the Flattery Unlimited Class at Swiftsure.

DOUBLE TAKE sails for the Seattle Yacht Club and is skippered by Tom Huseby. DT is Tom's second J/145, the first of which, JEITO, sailed in the 2002 Vic-Maui.  DT is crewed by four returning JEITO vets, Tom, Brad Baker, Tim Larson and John Austin. Brad is the navigator and is competing in his ninth Vic-Maui.  Joining the four vets this year are Ryan Helling, on his second Vic-Maui and three race newcomers; Jay Sharkey, ocean racer extraordinaire, Tom's youngest son, Max; and Tom's nephew, Nat Smith.

The race has start and you can follow their progress and live blog on their sail across the Pacific to Hawaii.  Here's their initial blog entry-- fun reading.  "With the first day under our belt, we are staring to settle into the routine and get our sea legs.   After the months of preparation it is nice to be finally underway doing the race.  Currently we are off the Oregon Coast at about the same latitude as Portland Oregon.   We are about 70 miles off the coast and heading just west of due south, running under spinnaker at over 10 knots in close to 20 knots of wind.  Life is good.

J/145 sailboat- sailing at start of Vic-Maui raceHere's the race recap so far.  Yesterday morning we were the first to leave the dock and head out to the race course.  I was feeling very confident that we were well prepared and good to go. Well, best laid plans of mice and men an all that. As we motored out I turned on the water maker. No water! WTF? I couldn’t believe it! I have been testing the water maker and making sure it was ready to go. In the end Jay and I got it going again. I still don’t know exactly what went wrong, but we were able to re-prime the system and make water. So far it has been making water flawlessly (touch wood).

The start itself was in a very light Southerly.  We had a good head of steam across the line and there is a very good chance we were the first to cross.  As we sailed towards race passage the wind did build and shift to a more westerly as I expected.  We lead the fleet heading through race passage.  Up the beat we quickly put on a healthy lead over our competitors only to have it cut down to near nothing by Terramoto as they found a bit more pressure in the middle as we went to the right.  Later up the beat it was our turn as Terramoto sailed to close to shore and got on the wrong side of a shift giving us Healthy lead back.  By the time we rounded Duntz rock we could barely see other boats.  For the trip out the strait we saw winds ranging from near nothing all the way up to 20 knots.  We cycled through the Lt. #1, #2 and #3.  Sail changes went very smoothly.  We have a good bunch of guys sailing the boat.

Once out in the big ocean things got interesting. The wind died and turned out of the Southwest. This made for lumpy uncomfortable sailing and a few of the crew got squishy (Ryan decided to feed the fish).  Not to worry as everyone is doing well now.  Sailing in the light air was frustrating.  Kinetic who opted to sail further offshore hooked into some wind and actually sailed right up to our position. I suspect at one point they were first boat overall. Terramoto must of gotten caught in a hole because when I checked their position they were 8 miles dead astern.  In the light conditions near Flattery we also managed to catch some kelp on the keel and had to do a backing down maneuver.  I hate it when that happens!

The pain of escaping the flattery suck-hole eventually did end.  We managed to get South and the wind slowly build.  During our 10pm to 2am watch we hoisted the code zero spinnaker which was the perfect sail for the light air tight reaching. Just after the other watch came on we made the call to switch to the 1A spinnaker. Then at the next watch change we went to the work horse 2A.  We have had a very nice day of sailing with winds mostly in the teens but occasionally reaching the low 20′s.  I currently hold the top speed record at 19.3 knots.  Hopefully that record will be broken soon!!

You may wonder who is on what watch.  The "Red Team" is skipper Tom, Jay, Ryan & Nat.  The Blue team is yours truly Brad along with Tim, John and Max.

I’m sure many of you back on dry land have been watching the race tracker.  This time around we are allowed to look at it as well.  I’ve downloaded the positions 3 times today.  It’s becoming very apparent that in these conditions Terramoto has pace and are going to be extremely hard to beat boat for boat let alone corrected in these downwind sailing conditions.  It’s a long race and there are a few navigational hazards along the way.  All we can do is sail the boat hard make good decisions, navigationally speaking, and let the chips fall where they may."  For more J/145 DOUBLE TAKE blog reading  For more Vic-Maui sailing and tracking information