Thursday, February 28, 2013

J/111 Flies in Capetown Mid-Summer Fling!

(Capetown, South Africa)- While those north of the Equator are still fighting old Mother Winter, the intrepid sailors of Capetown are having a ball sailing in balmy breezes and slightly "cool" waters-- the stuff Great White Sharks love to swim in chasing yummy brown seals!  Yikes!  Even though the infamous Shark Island is just offshore with various Great Whites leaping 10-15 ft into the air while vying for their "aerial shark world chumping-ship", the sailors are blissfully ignorant about it and go their separate ways, planing down massively long slopes of fast-moving South Atlantic storm swells at a zillion miles per hour!

Having great fun in the Royal Cape YC's Mid-Summer Fling Regatta was the new J/111 TENACITY sailed by Erol Stern and Rob Meek.  With their magnificent "purple people eater" asymmetric spinnaker straining hard at the end of its dyneema "leash", the TENACITY gang certainly had their fair share of full-on screaming planes down the huge swells in the high teens!  In the end, their team managed to pull off a third overall in IRC Division I!  A bit off the pace but having just as much fun was the J/105 PANTS ON FIRE sailed by Dwayne Assis and Paul Thompson, managed a third in the final and extremely windy last race-- gusts over 30 kts!!

In Division I Racing, the J/27 HILl BILLY sailed by Peter Hill sailed well to finish 6th in their grouping, loving in particular the last heavy air day.  In Division II, the J/22 ESCAPE RACING TEAM sailed by Rob Tanner also enjoyed their racing over the course of the series.

If you're ever down in the South African region, be sure to stop by the Royal Cape YC in the shadows of the enchanting Table Mountain.  The Club hosts important sailing events including South Africa's premier keelboat regattas. The Cape to Rio and South Atlantic Races have been hosted by Royal Cape Yacht Club since inception in 1971. Other international events have included the Whitbread Race, the BT Global Challenge, The BOC Around Alone Race, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Hong Kong Challenge, to name but a few. Down the centuries, the Southern tip of the African continent, has extended a welcome to seafarers, gaining for the city and the RCYC the soubriquet- "The Tavern of the Seas"!!  Sailing Photo Credits- Onne    For more Capetown Mid-Summer Fling sailing information

J/120 REBECCA Wins Pineapple Cup MoBay Race!

(Montego Bay, Jamaica)- Following a relatively mellow light-air start, Glenn Gault's team on the J/120 REBECCA from League City, TX eventually enjoyed double-digit reaching conditions to become first in PHRF division in the 31st biennial Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race Presented by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum.

The annual ocean race of 811 nautical miles started on Friday, February 8 at Florida’s Port Everglades, sending the 'MoBay' fleet of ten boats--sailing in IRC and PHRF divisions--on a challenging all-points-of-sail course to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Shockwave crossed the finish line on Sunday, February 10 with an elapsed time of two days, 11 hours, 23 minutes and two seconds, just short of the current race record that was set in 2005 by Titan 12. Due to the favorable conditions, all of the boats had crossed the finish line by Tuesday evening, February 12, two days earlier than expected.

One of the navigators on the race said there were two different theories regarding the expected weather for the race. "One was that it would be light at the start but very solid the rest of the way to Jamaica; the other forecast was for a light and variable breeze to carry on for the first 12 hours of the race, and that proved to be the case."

Immediately after the start, racers cross the Gulf Stream for the Northwest Providence Channel. The middle of the race offers a fetch down the eastern side of the Bahamas Island Chain toward the tip of Cuba. The final stretch is a sailor’s dream: a 240-mile downwind sleigh ride from Cuba’s eastern tip, known as the Windward Passage, to the finish at Montego Bay. After this year’s finish, sailors were treated to a week of fun with cocktail parties every night, steel bands, limbo dancing and other memorable displays and competitions, ending with a dinner, dance and prize giving ceremony on Friday, February 15.

Glenn Gault’s REBECCA finished at 21:08:59 on February 13th, just in time to join the tail end of the "Early Bird Cocktail Party" at the Montego Bay Yacht Club.  The complimentary case of Red Stripe tasted great and was a good prelude for a good night’s sleep. The crews are all cleaning up and catching up to be ready for the rest of the weeks festivities and the Friday night event to see who takes home the coveted Pineapple Cup! There was even more to celebrate for Glenn's REBECCA team for beating two of the world's fastest Class 40s and a Santa Cruz 52 for overall PHRF honors!  Sailing Photo Credits- Marco Oguendo! For more Pineapple Cup/ Montego Bay Race Sailing information

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

J/Teams Enjoy Warm SCYA Midwinters

J/80s, J/105s, J/120s Racing One-Design
(Marina del Rey, CA)- The SCYA Midwinter Regatta’s history is packed with legendary sailors and their boats from the early days to the present. In 1928, SCYA and the LA Junior Chamber of Commerce teamed up to sponsor the first Midwinters which was promoted as an example of the sports “paradise” that Southern California offered in the winter. As hoped, the event attracted boats from the Great Lakes, Atlantic Coast and the rest of the Pacific Coast, and some of the best known yachtsmen in America, including Clifford Mallory, John Alden and Herbert Stone, editor of Yachting. Yachtsmen have continued to come west and from up and down the West Coast for the SCYA Midwinters ever since.  Hosting over 2,000 sailors at over a dozen venues around Southern California, the local clubs put on quite a show and generally offer excellent race management for the highly competitive one-design classes attending.

One of the largest J contingents is hosted at San Diego Yacht Club, with strong fleets of J/80s, J/105s and J/120s participating.  In the J/120 class, there were some familiar names filling out the top three on the podium.  Winning the event in this hotly contested class was Chuck Nichols on CC RIDER, winning the last two races to overtake his friend John Laun on the great yacht CAPER!  Third was Mike Hatch sailing the mighty J-ALMIGHTY!

After an exhausting fall 2012 sailing nearly four J/105 regattas in a row, it's a wonder any of the San Diego J/105 sailors crawled off their  physiotherapists beds to go sailing a J/105 again, so soon!  Nevertheless. off they went and one of the top dogs locally took home the silverware again, with Dennis & Sharon Case on WINGS sailing a closely fought series to win with three 1sts and two 2nds, beating friends Rick Goebel and gang on SANITY by just 3 pts!  Lying third was Dave Vieregg on TRIPLE PLAY.

The J/80s saw a closely fought series for first place with Matt Hurlimann on FIREBOLT finally taking the gun in the last race to take the overall lead and win by one point.  Second was J/WORLD II sailed by the local J-boys.  And third was  J/WORLD I also sailed by local sailors.

Over at California Yacht Club, they hosted a competitive J/80 fleet, too.  In their event, it was Kurt Johnson's AVET from Cal YC that simply dominated the event with straight bullets!  Second was Scott Witt on BLUE J with straight 2nds!  And, third was Dave Angers' MISS DEMEANOR with nearly straight 3rds!   Sailing photo credits- Marnie Buddo  and Bronny Daniels/  For more SCYA Midwinters sailing information

J/70 CATAPULT Wins St Pete

Brown Takes J/24 Class & Overall NOOD Title
(St Petersburg, FL)- It’s hard to remember a class that has hit the ground running faster than the J/70 class. Amateur sailors from a variety of other classes are scrambling to get in and get good, while representatives from every sailmaker are investing a lot of time and effort to get the early jump on sail design, rig tune, and boat-handling techniques.

None of this will diminish the importance or satisfaction gained from a regatta win, but it does add another layer of intrigue to any J/70 regatta in 2013. Who won is as important has how they did it.  The Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta was the NOOD debut for the J/70 class, and it did so in style with 20 boats signed up to sail.

Unseasonably cool conditions dominated the 16th edition of the Sperry Top-Sider St. Pete NOOD. But with the cool weather came breeze, and sailors generally prefer wind and cool weather to balmy temps and glassy seas. Those who braved the wind chill on Tampa Bay Friday through Sunday were rewarded with near perfect racing conditions, which enabled the race officials to run up to 11 races for each of the nine classes.

The biggest class was the fledgling J/70 class, with 20 entries. As the J/24 did when it debuted the late 1970s, the J/70 is attracting a lot of interest in its first full year of one-design racing. Joel Ronning, of Minneapolis, MN sailed his brand new boat, CATAPULT with Willem Van Waay and Jeremy Wilmot and a St Pete YC Sailing Center Opti sailor to win the J/70 class by 20 points with a 1-4-4-1-1-2-1-6-2-2 record.  It wasn't easy as the CATAPULT team was challenged by several boats over the course of the regatta, but a combination of incredibly shifty conditions, OCS's and misjudged boat-handling (shrimping and broaches) in the 15-25 kt breezes encountered on Saturday's and Sunday's racing practically eliminated CATAPULT's principal competition.  Nipping at their heels the entire regatta was the team of Will Welles (Newport, RO) and Ethan Bixby (local sailor from St Pete) sailing RASCAL, winning two races, but having to recover from an OCS in a critical race meant the RASCAL boys had to settle for a 3-6-3-5-3-1-8-10-4-1 scoreline for a total of 44 pts to take second overall.  Just behind them in third overall was MENACE, on-board were past J/22 and J/80 World Champions sailing as a team, Kerry Klingler (Larchmont, NY) and Terry Flynn (Houston, TX), sailing their best series to date and compiling a 6-19-2-7-4-8-3-4-1-4 tally for 58 points.

Behind the top three was a real battle for the balance of the top five.  In the hunt were the teams of LIFTED (Jim Cunningham- Tiburon, CA), USA 171 (Peter Vessella- San Francisco, CA), MUSE (Heather Gregg-Earl & Joe Bardenheier- Boston, MA), JUNGLELAND (Chris & Carolyn Groobey- Annapolis, MD), SURGE (Jeff Perini) and USA 69 (Joe Colling- Bath, OH).  With all six teams within ten points of one another going into the last day, anything could happen to settle the score for the top five.  In the end, Jeff Perini's team sailed well in the final day's extremely shifty winds filled with enormous puffs and holes to beat out the others to secure 4th overall.  Fifth went to Jim Cunningham's LIFTED team, beating out USA 171 by 3 pts and MUSE by 4 pts!  It was fun, close racing overall with lots of reports of J/70s hitting 15-16+ knots in the windy, wavy conditions!

St. Pete local Robby Brown dominated the 15-boat J/24 class winning seven of 11 races. By virtue of the impressive win over some top competition, Brown, whose boat USA 799 first touched water 35 years ago, was selected as the overall winner for the regatta. That honor includes a trip to the British Virgin Islands in November, where Brown and his crew will get a chance to battle for national bragging rights  against the overall winners from the other five Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regattas.

Robby Brown (seen here second from the left) and the crew of the J/24 USA 799 celebrate their overall win in the 2013 Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta. This is Brown's second time winning the overall honors, but after being unable to go to the Caribbean the first time he is determined to make it to the BVI in November for the NOOD Championships.

Robby commented about his win, "A huge thanks to everyone aboard Team 799 this past weekend! Seen here rounding first with our complete North inventory. A fantastic job by all. Despite Travis Odenbach and Team Honey Badger's attempt to cripple our trimmer on Saturday night, our team performed at top speed all weekend. We were honored to be chosen the Overall event winner for the second time and will definitely represent Tampa Bay in the Virgin Islands for the Championships this November. A HUGE thanks to Nate Vilardebo, Stephanie Karidas, Karen Regan (the future wife) and Matt, our newly discovered secret weapon. Thanks to the event organizers for an outstanding regatta, and we were absolutely blessed with some superb sailing conditions on Tampa Bay all weekend!"    Sailing World's Stu Streuli Interviewed Robby Brown, please see it here.   For more J/70 and J/24 Sperry Topsider NOOD St Petersburg Regatta sailing information

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

J/39 Blasts Off On RORC 600!

(English Harbour, Antigua)- A flash of smoke, high above the "Pillars of Hercules" announced the start of the 5th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. Before the start 25 knots of trade winds, gusting close to 30, provided feisty conditions.  Nevertheless, the sailors were quite excited as this meant the "big boys" would be targeting record-setting wind conditions for the race-- faster than 42 hours for 600nm!!

"At the moment, the forecasts seem to be quite stable," advised Hugh Agnew, a renown navigator and veteran offshore racer. "We can expect 20-26 knots of easterly wind, maybe slightly to the south of due east for the duration of our race. The longest leg of the course is from St. Barth's to Guadeloupe and with this wind direction, coupled with the apparent wind created by the boats, it will be forward of the beam, so many boats will be unlikely to fly a spinnaker. This will slow them down, but the other side of the coin is that this wind direction may be beneficial on a crucial part of the course-the south side of Guadeloupe. If we get a one-sided beat, requiring few tacks, this could really work in the fleets favor."

It has been a fast race so far on what is a pretty "reach" offshore course with some long fetches and beats interspersed amongst the "islands" course.  After a yeoman's effort last year, Jonty Layfield's team from the United Kingdom have continued to modernize their sail inventory and have their beautiful J/39 SLEEPER VIII rolling along quite fast!  At this moment at 1500 hours on Thursday, Feb 21, their lying about 75 nm from the finish line and are currently leading IRC 3 Class!  We wish them luck and wish them more Fair Winds & God Speed! you can follow them with Race tracking on Yellowbrick    Sailing Photo credits- Tim Wright/   For more RORC Caribbean 600 sailing information

Mollicone Dominates J/24 Midwinters

j24 sailboat in regattaNewport Fleet #50 Steamrolls Competition
(Tampa, FL)- John Mollicone's HELLY HANSEN team has seized the lead after five races on the opening day and never looked back.  Taking four 1sts and three 2nds in ten races, John Mollicone from Newport, RI and his HELLY HANSEN team were crowned 2013 J/24 Midwinter Champions. With Tim Healy, Geoff Becker, Dan Rabin and Gordon Borges, the group was able to spectate the last of the 10-race series to allow the other 19 teams to duke out the remaining places.

Will Welles, also from Newport Fleet #50, skippered COUGAR to an impressive series and 26 points for second place, starting off fast to lead the series after four races but dropping back in the end, collecting a 2-1-5-4-6-1-2-3-8-2.  Peter Bream’s TEAM TARHEEL accumulated 43 points for third overall but had to work very hard to three other teams that could have easily grabbed the last spot on the podium.  Dueling for the bronze and just 1 pt back with 44 pts was Mike Ingham's team on USA 5448 from Rochester, NY in 4th place; Tony Parker's "AI" team in 5th place just two points back with 47 pts; and in 6th was Travis Odenbach on HONEY BADGER tied with Tony Parker on points but losing the tie-breaker!  Close racing, indeed!

Conditions in sunny Tampa Bay remained gorgeous on Wednesday, with breeze between 14-16 knots and puffs to 18. Mollicone praised the “champagne sailing conditions” as the best he’s ever seen there. On the heels of winning last November’s J/24 North American Championship, Mollicone thanked his consistent team, saying “We’ve got a good team, but the biggest thing is we’ve got the same people all the time, and it makes a big difference in our crew mechanics and communication.” The group put in some practice time and training before the event which “helped a lot with getting comfortable again on the J/24 after taking some time off,” Mollicone explained. His dependable group will be heading to Howth, Ireland in August for the J/24 World Championship, but he’ll turn over the helm to Tim Healy. “We’ll just switch roles, and then next year I’ll drive in Newport (for the 2014 J/24 Worlds),” shared Mollicone. In Wednesday’s final two races, Mollicone and Tony Parker took the bullets.

The top ten J/24 teams overall were: 1st- John Mollicone (21 points), 2nd- Will Welles (26), 3rd- Peter Bream (43), 4th- Mike Ingham (44), 5th- Tony Parker (47), 6th- Travis Odenbach (47), 7th- Chris Jankowski (76), 8th- Robby Brown (77), 9th- Darby Smith (80) and 10th- John Poulson (84).   For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information and results

Monday, February 25, 2013

New! J/88 Family Speedster

J/88 the ultimate sailing machine- a 30 ft speedster
(Newport, RI)- From the J design/build team that launched the J/70 and J/111, comes the NEW J/88, a 29’ mid-size family speedster with stability, style and sailing comfort. J/88 hits the sweet-spot in J Boat’s performance sprit range – large enough to provide the creature comforts of a sit-in cockpit, inboard diesel, overnighting interior and head; and small enough to be single-point lifted, owner trailered and stored.

If sailing is having your cake and eating it too, then the J/88 will be like ordering the whole dessert menu. Design highlights include a high-aspect, non-overlapping sail plan (no genoas) with a carbon fiber, double-spreader mast - deck stepped for easy rigging, tuning and keeping the main cabin dry. The 6.5 ft fixed, low VCG keel with molded GRP finish is similar to the J/70’s, ensuring a fair, smooth foil for every boat.  The result will be a ride that’s every bit as exciting as the J/88’s speedster siblings - fast and balanced upwind with planing performance downwind in moderate to fresh breezes.

On deck, the daysailing comforts include a spacious T-shaped cockpit (J/111 style) with seating and backrests forward of the floor-mounted traveler and a wide-open cockpit aft due to the tiller-steered, transom mounted high-aspect rudder.  Adding to J/88’s ease-of-sailing characteristics is an in-deck jib furler, retractable carbon bowsprit and cockpit-led sail controls.  Belowdecks, the J/88 sports a weekending layout with two full length settees, Igloo cooler, galley sink, private head forward of bulkhead and optional V-berth.

J/88 hull #1 is projected to launch in June 2013!  For more J/88 sailing information and details, please contact your local J/Dealer or J/Boats at "".

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Growing sailing- Greg Fisher Interview

Greg Fisher- J/22 World Champion, College of Charleston director(Charleston, SC)- Past J/22 World Champion, Greg Fisher, has made it nearly a life-long endeavor to grow the sport of sailing, ensure those he sailed with, or taught how to sail, enjoyed the sport at every level-- day-sailing, racing, simply messing around, or just beer-can racing with buddies.

Recently, Scuttlebutt's Craig Leweck, had a chance to catch up with Greg.  As he explains, "West coast college sailing will take its annual leap from dinghies to keelboats next month with 10 teams from across the nation racing Catalina 37s in the sixth Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup/Cal Maritime Invitational Intercollegiate Regatta March 8-10. Among the fleet will be a bold newcomer to the game, the College of Charleston from South Carolina.

Charleston has one of the nation's top college sailing programs, ranked third in the country after the fall semester. But those events are mostly small boats, not the heavily crewed Catalina 37s otherwise seen in the  Congressional Cup and other ocean racing events.

Greg Fisher, now sailing director for the College of Charleston, is working to expand the Cougars' sailing program for big boats because, Fisher says, "it's an important part of the sport. (Note- they have a fleet of J/22s to fleet race, match race, and learn basic keelboat sailing).

"So many sailors love the offshore races with a different type of technical skills required. The whole atmosphere is different. I see how important big boat sailing it to the sport in general.

"With dinghy college sailing there is unfortunately a size limitation. If you're too big it's hard to be competitive. A lot of our guys on our offshore team who are going out [to California] to sail the Harbor Cup are
excellent sailors, but they're bigger guys and would have a hard time competing with the guys on our dinghy team."

"The team is all fired up and working hard at it," Fisher said. "This has given us the segue to go to our athletic department and say, hey, this is an opportunity to develop a new part of our team and offer more sailing for kids to come to our college."

For College of Charleston's Facebook page-
For more information about Greg's team at the College of Charleston-

J/22 Midwinters Preview

(Tampa, FL)- The J/22 class is returning to Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa Bay for its J/22 Midwinter Championships.  As one of the "sailingest" yacht clubs in the South, the DIYC always goes the extra mile to take care of its sailors and has deservedly gained the reputation as one of the nicest yacht clubs to host major events in the South.  Plus, one of the big bonuses often cited by the sailors is that the bar is great and the course can be viewed from the deck, just about a half mile or less away!

Nearly twenty J/22s are participating in this year's Midwinters and, given the experiences from J/Teams sailing in recent regattas on Tampa Bay, the J/22s can expect the entire smorgasbord of weather conditions, from light to heavy, choppy to flat and warm to cold-- pretty typical for this time of year on the Bay!  Top talent is showing up and one can expect that amongst the leaders will be J/22 champions like Chris Doyle and Will Harris on THE JUG 41 leading the Rochester fleet contingent along with Travis Odenbach and Patrick Wilson on HONEY BADGER.  Top Chesapeake Bay teams of Allan "Albie" Terhune sailing DAZZLER and Jeff Todd's HOT TODDY will figure into the mix.  Then, can't forget the Texas gangster, lead by past World Champion Terry Flynn on TEJAS along with Casey Lambert's team on BLACKBURN MARINE RACING.  Good luck to all and, above all, have fun!  Should be excellent racing this coming weekend.  For more J/22 Midwinters sailing information

Sailing intervew- John Kostecki- J/24 America's Cup sailor

J/24 World Champion John Kostecki- now Oracle Racing tactician(San Francisco, CA)- Diverse experiences like sailing J/24s and Sunfish made John Kostecki a better sailor (yet another, "what does a J/24 World Champion do for a career later in life", kind of story).  Marin Magazine in San Francisco Bay area recently had a chance to catch up with John in between sailing that monster AC72 foiling catamaran named, simply, ORACLE:

"American John Kostecki has made a career as a professional sailor, and can now be found as tactician for America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA. His trail to the top began on San Francisco Bay, with a notable marker in 1982 when both the J/24 World Championship and Sunfish World Championship were held on his home waters.

As an eighteen year old, John won the Sunfish title and came close to winning the J/24 title, too (editor's note- losing to John Kolius and later won the Sydney, Australia J/24 Worlds). John considers his diverse background as an important element of his success today, and would recommend it to children interested in the sport of sailing...

"Most importantly, have fun and enjoy it! There are so many classes out there, so find the one you love. I loved sailing from a young age, so I looked for as many opportunities as I could to get out on the water. I raced both dinghies and keelboats and learned every role on the boat. I'd go keelboat racing with my dad and his friends, then sailing in a junior program. I always tried to hang out with the older kids because they had so much more experience and I learned from them. I didn't focus on being the skipper, but rather on getting as many experiences as I could get..."    For more on the Marin magazine John Kostecki sailing interview

Thursday, February 21, 2013

FREMITO D'ARJA Wins J/70 Primo Cup

J/70 fleet in Monaco Primo CupJ/111s Enjoy Windy IRC Racing
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- “It’s been a long time since I had so much fun on the water” said a competitor at the Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse about their full weekend of racing on the water in "fresh to frightening" breeze conditions, rather epic 4-8 ft Mediterranean seas sweeping into the bay and the mountainous principality swept by a combination of snow flurries and sun-kissed by the soft winter Mediterranean sun.

Monaco’s bay again delivered a varied regatta full of surprises. From bright blue skies on Friday to the scattering of snow on Saturday, not to mention the tail end of a Mistral, the weather conditions delighted the IRCs and the one-design fleets, including the enthusiastic J/70 class.  Note that for the J/70s, voted “European Boat of the Year 2013” by the international press in the “Special Yacht” category, the Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse was the first official regatta in the Med for this young class, which has only been available in Europe for six months.

J/111s starting IRC at Primo Cup MonacoEven though conditions were not quite good enough to race on the Sunday, due to the centre of a depression in the Gulf of Genoa changing tack, five very enjoyable races were started over this second weekend compared to six last weekend.  With fourteen nationalities present and a high level of competition, the Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse confirmed its demanding reputation and quality for all yachts and hundreds of sailors.

A special note must also be made that makes the Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse unique in its prize-giving for regattas around the world-- Credit Suisse Bank, appropriately enough, offers a 24 carat 99.999% Gold 1 oz. ingot to the winner of a drawing amongst the winners (a 1 in 6 chance)!!  Plus, Slam Advanced Technology Sportswear is awarded to the first three J/70 crews and to the top three in IRC Class.

J70s sailing off start line at Primo Cup MonacoThe first day of sailing was fabulous.  It started with a steady 10 knots south-westerly wind, with beaming sunshine and calm sea, reaching 30 knots by the end of the day.  Three races were started for the J/70s while the IRC class sailed two races.  The J/70s had fun and fast sailing and this 7-meter keelboat has delivered on all its promises on the Monegasque bay. On the results side, the Italian crew of FREMITO D'ARJA sailed by Dario Levi, lead the day's race by two wins out of the three races, followed very closely by the Italian SPIN ONE team sailed by Pietro Saccomani and the Dutch HENRI LLOYD team sailed by Wouter Kolllmann, the three top crews only 5 points away from each others.

For the second day of the regattas, the early starts of the morning saw spring sailing conditions.  Then the weather Gods got a bit chaotic!  Later races were replaced by snow falls and wind gusts reaching up to 20 - 25 knots of wind towards the end of the races, challenging the nerves and physical skills of the racing crews on their last legs.  Two races were completed Saturday, allowing the Race Committee to count five races in total for the J/70 one-designs and four for the IRCs.

J/111 sailing at Primo Cup Monaco upwindIn the IRCs, the J/111s were sailing against 14 boats in a massively competitive fleet. Loving the conditions was the J/111 ESPRIT SUD sailed by Thierry Bouchard, finishing a well-deserved 4th place overall with a 7-5-3-3 scoreline and only missing the podium bronze by just two points.  The other J/111, MERLIN sailed by Michel Buffet and Gilles Conte, finished in the top ten by gathering a record of 9-6-10-8 to finish 8th overall.

In the end, the J/70s were swept by the Italian armada.  The Italian crew on FREMITO D'ARJA dominated throughout, ahead of fellow countrymen aboard SPIN ONE and the HENRI LLOYD Dutch team.  The winners received the J/70 Class Challenge Trophy awarded by J/Boats Italy, which from now on will be awarding the best in this series at future Primo Cups.

We received a great report from Paolo Boido, Chief of J/Boats Italy:

J/70s parked at Monte Carlo, Monaco yacht harbour"We made it! Thank goodness. The J/70s were getting ready for the first European regatta in Monaco, mooring at "Quai d'Honneur" at Yacht Club Monaco.  A total of seven teams have showed up for their first Primo Cup, it's a great honour for J/70 to be admitted at this prestigious event-- its attendance is generating a great interest for this lovely boat.  Four Italian Teams, one Dutch, one Russian and one representing the YC Monaco burgee, an amazing international attendance for such a new class.

Dario Levi with Andrea Casale from Quantum Italy playing tactician dominated all the races, winning the Credit Suisse Trophy and J/Boats Italy Challenge Trophy.  Second was Piero Saccomanni with Nevio Sabadin as trimmer and tactician.  Third was the Dutchman Wouter Kollmann, who was able to reach Monaco in a heavy snow storm across all of France!

The experienced Race Committee, with Thierry Leret Chairman, did a great job adjusting the sailing course according to frequent wind changes, from medium light up to strong blast over 30 knots in shifty conditions.  The J/70s put on a great show in all weather conditions, sailing fast in light with big left-over storm waves on Friday and on Saturday surfing/planing full speed at 15.0+ kts and with great stability with puffs over 30+ kts.

J/70 family sailing with kids in Primo Cup Monte CarloBoat handling has been perfect and easy in all conditions. All the teams sailed four-up. One of those was a family team, Vittorio di Mauro who sailed with Filippo Domenicali and his two kids 7 & 10 years old!! They were quite competitive even in heavy air; but most importantly, this team shows the great stability of the J/70 and how safe it is boat-handling even with two kids on board!!

J/70 going 17.8 kts!It’s always a pleasure for boat designers and dealers to watch their owner's smile when they show happiness for their performances achieved with their boats. Here (pictured at right) Dario Levi’s smile showing his Velocitek displaying 17.8 kts reaching downwind in winds less than 20-23 kts!

Championat Monégasque 2013- The J/70 Fleet has been invited to sail again in Monaco, sailing March 16-17 for the YC Monaco Championship!  That is quite an honor for the new "baby J"! Therefore, in the next weeks J/Boats Italy will be offering demo sails of the J/70 in Monaco leading up to the up-coming event!

By the way, the new trailer design is working out quite nicely.  Balbi Rimorchi & J/Boats Italy engineered and set-up the new trailer Model BD-1500.  It's easy and light to tow with medium-size cars, this trailer is very stable thanks to the well proportioned body and wide axle. Independent suspension system and brakes.  A custom-made GRP front hull support with GRP flat supports aft allow easy hauling/launching from a ramp."  Thanks for Paolo's contribution.  For more J/70 Italy/ Monaco information, please contact Paolo at "".

Finally, the Primo Cup- Credit Suisse has already been set for the 30th edition which will take place February 7-9, 2014. Significantly, the regatta will have both J/70s and J/24s and will be the IRC Mediterranean Championship.

In the meantime, the YCM will soon host from 8th to 10th March 2013, a new Team Racing event in J/24s as well as the J/24 European Championship, organized from the 6th to 12th October 2013.

Sailing photo credits- YCM/ Carlo Borlenghi.  For more Yacht Club Monaco and Primo Cup- Credit Suisse sailing information

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chile J/70 Promotion 2013

J/70 one-design speedster- sailing Chile(Santiago, Chile)- J/70s have arrived in time for Chilean sailors to get a taste of the great fun that American and European sailors have been experiencing with their boats; the Chileans are especially enthusiastic after seeing the reports and gorgeous photos of J/70s frolicking in the aquamarine waters off Key West during Race Week.

We recently got an update from Juan Eduardo Reid, the Chilean J/Dealer, regarding recent interest in the J/70, regatta participation and fleet development.  Juan commented on those activities:

"This past weekend from Jan 27th to Feb 4th we had a very well-received exhibition of the boat at the Soto 40 Worlds in the emerald waters of  Talcahuano Bay.  We had many people requesting to sail the boat and we have setup demo sails on Vichuquen and Pangupulli Lakes in the near future, more on that in a moment.

J/70 sailing with Chilean Naval Academy sailing teamWe since participated in the the Frutillar Regatta on Llanquihue Lake last Friday-Saturday-Sunday.  I sailed with 3 Chilean Naval Academy students/ midshipmen.  We were 1st overall in the coastal Cruiser-Racer class! There where 5-6 coastal boats (Hunter 35, McGregor 26, Dufour 34, Bavaria 30) and nine J/24s.  In fact, we plan to run the first J/70 Nationals in Chile next year in the same time period.

For J/70 class development, we are providing boat tests on Monday and Tuesday, Feb 18-19, on Vichuquen Lake.  Already sailing on this lake quite a lot since December 2012 is J/70 #75.  Then, on Saturday and Sunday, Feb 23-24, we will be doing both racing and testing of the J/70s on Panguipulli Lake and we expect to have two more boats delivered by that date for more fun sailing in the Andes Mountains!  For more J/70 Chile sailing information and demo sail, please email Juan Eduardo Reid

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Key West Sailing Interview- Dave Franzel

Dave Franzel interview- part deux(Key West, FL)- Brian Hayes recently had a chance to catch up with Dave Franzel to chat about his J/70 experiences in Key West, his first J/70 regatta (Dave in orange hat at right chatting with Dave Reed of SW fame).

BH: "Dave Franzel, with his team of Greg Anthony, Chris Hufstatder and Eric Barreveld, sailing his new J/70 for the first time at Key West Race Week, consistently climbed the leader-board and finished the week 8th overall and as the top Corinthian team (all amateur). Dave is certainly not a newcomer to top flight competition having Sonar World and North American titles to his credit. The former owner of Boston Sailing Center, Dave was looking for a vehicle to renew his excitement for racing and perhaps found it in the J/70.

Dave, congratulations on a great showing at the first J/70 midwinters! 8th overall and 1st overall in the  Corinthian is a great start. How did it come to pass that you ended up in a J/70?"

DF: "Thanks Brian!  I became interested in sport boats last year after sailing a Viper a couple of times.  But after seeing J/70s in Newport I asked Stu Johnstone to let me sail one and I found that as soon as we put the chute up and started going 12+ knots that I could not stop smiling.  It is less prone to wiping out than a Viper and kinder on old knees."

BH: "How much time did you and your team have to practice before the event?"

DF: "We arrived Friday night, set the boat up Saturday and practiced for a few hours Sunday.  The regatta started Monday.  However, our approach was to use this regatta to learn the boat and hopefully begin to achieve competitive speed."

BH: "Tell us your impressions on the boat. What did you find worked well to get you up to speed so quickly?"

DF: "Well I'm a little embarrassed about this, but on the first windy day which was the second day of the event, I noticed that Tim Healy's forestay was very stable and ours was not even though I had the backstay cranked.  I asked Tim about it after sailing and he patiently explained that the backstay has a course adjustment that gets it in range first, then the standard adjusting line.  There was also a minor issue around the fact that I have never actually used a Loos gauge before, but the backstay discovery was the main thing that helped get me up to speed."

BH: "Do you have any tips you found worked well for you either upwind or downwind?"

DF: "Upwind I tried playing the traveler first, which turned out to not be as fast as vang-sheeting in the seaway we had.  I'm going to guess that the trav will work better in flatter water.  The class allows two of the crew to sit, legs out, so we had the big guys in the front of the boat do that and Chris trimmed the jib using the windward winch.  It definitely seemed fast to ease the jib slightly in the big blasts and then trim back in.  I did not feel fast enough downwind to offer any suggestions, yet."

BH: "You sailed with 4, as you have in the Sonar for years. How did the jobs fall into place on the boat?"

DF: "Upwind Greg and Eric are constantly looking for velocity and telling me about speed and point compared with nearby competitors.  Chris is integrating the information as we discuss big picture strategy.  That let me really focus on trim and speed which was a huge help.  On the sets, Greg pulls the sprit out, then the tack line as Eric hoists.  Chris trims sheet.  In big breeze when we start to overtake waves and the bow digs in, Greg trims sheet and Chris stands behind me.  Someone is always looking for the next puff.  Downwind it was typical for our speed to range  from 7 knots in the lulls to 14  in the puffs so catching every puff and getting on a plane is a critical part of sailing these boats downwind.  We actually hit 16.7 knots once according to the Velocitek."

BH: "What was the best part about Key West Race Week (keeping in mind that this interview may reach a broad demographic!)?"

DF: "Very relaxed place, blue/green water, great breeze, excellent race management, 40 boat fleet, sun with temps in the mid 70s every day.  And then of course there was always enough going on in Key West to keep the whole team entertained when we weren’t racing!"

BH: "Your team always has fun at every event you go to. Any funny stories from this one?"

DF: "Not so much a funny story, but this: After decades of racing with inordinate concern about outcome--which may be necessary to acquire skills--I'm not certain about that, I finally realized several years ago that you can have more fun and get better results by finding a way to be less invested in outcome and more present.  I really enjoyed sailing with my team, sailing against excellent sailors and having the challenge of a new boat to figure out."

BH: "What’s next for the “SPRING” team?"

DF: "Miami, Charleston, Annapolis."

BH: "One word (or sentence) to describe the J70."

DF: "Good luck trying to wipe the smile off your face!!"

Hmm, that last one seems to be the natural outcome of having a blast sailing with your family and friends, as evidenced by Dave's J/70 colleagues doing the same in Monte Carlo, Monaco recently sailing the J/70s in the Primo Cup- Credit Suisse!   For more on Dave Franzel's J/70 interview, please read more here.

J/97 EuroCup One-Design!

J/97 racer-cruiser sailboats- sailing  upwind(Plymouth, England)- As the J/97 fleet continues to grow on either side of "La Manche", enthusiasm not just for offshore handicap racing in RORC events has increased, but the desire to sail more one-design racing has also emerged amongst the lovers of this easy-to-handle 32 ft family cruiser-racer.  As a result,  the J/97 EuroCup event has been announced as part of the 2013 J-Cup hosted by the Royal Western Sailing Club, Plymouth from 21st - 24th August.  The UK J/97 fleet hope boats from Ireland, Scotland, France and Benelux regions join them for some great sailing after Cowes Week.

The fleet will enjoy eight races over three days, both inside and out of the Plymouth breakwater, with most races scheduled to finish within view of the sailing club and spectators on the Hoe and surrounding areas. The overall results will determine both the winner of The Lombard J/97 UK National Championship, and now the European Championship also. Both winners will be awarded some first-rate prizes for their success on the water.

The J/97 is the smallest cruiser-racer of the J/Boats range. Measuring 32 ft', it combines 6' of headroom and family cruising accommodation in a high performance, easily driven hull. Launched in 2009, a sizable fleet of J/97s has developed in the UK, enjoying both one design and IRC racing. The boat has proven its competitive ability under IRC time and again; in 2012 the J/97 was crowned champion at the IRC SW Championships, IRC Nationals, IRC2 Class at Dartmouth Week, Class 5 at Cowes Week, and finally, overall winner of the coveted Scottish Series.

The annual J-Cup regatta is exclusively for racing yachts of the J-Boats brand and all J-Boats models are eligible to compete. A different venue is selected each year, and the event returns to Plymouth for the first time since 2007.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright-  For more J/97 EuroCup and UK Nationals sailing information

Monday, February 18, 2013

J/111 owners simply love their boats!

J/111 Stampeder - sailing off Nova Scotia (Chester, Nova Scotia)- Recently, we received a wonderful note from a long-time Canadian J/24 sailor from the past- Dave Connolly.  He just started sailing his new J/111 STAMPEDER this past 2012 summer in Chester, Nova Scotia at Chester Yacht Club.  Dave had this to say,

J/111 Stampeder crew- Chester, Nova Scotia"We sailed a J/24 out of Toronto in the early 80's and I ran the Canadian J/24 Class association for several years. In 1986, I was moved to Calgary where there is really no water so we sold the boat and essentially gave up sailing!  When I decided to retire early last year, one of the first things I did was order a boat through Jim Snair to get back into racing at our summer home in Nova Scotia.  We love the boat!  Our only complaint is that there aren't more J/111's in Nova Scotia.  It's great competitive sailing though with PHRF."  Here's a picture of them sailing and their happy, young crew!

J/24 Sailor Fourth In Vendee Globe Race

J/24 sailor- Jean-Pierre Dick- in Vendee Globe sailing Virbac-Paprec 3 (Les Sables d'Olonne, France)- This one happens to be an amazing story of a remarkable guy.  Frenchman Jean-Pierre Dick sailing the massively fast and huge Open 60 called VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 finished the Vendée Globe 2012-2013 with no keel, and took fourth place in this amazing event. Several J/24 sailors in the UK and Europe competed against Jean-Pierre at many J/24 events in Europe in the 1990s, and they remember some very competitive tussles with "JP" particularly at the French SPI OUEST Regatta that is sailed in La Trinite sur Mer, France every Easter Holiday weekend.

It's been a long journey from the around-the-buoys, bashing and crashing around the race-track on J/24s  to skippering these extremely fast, all-carbon, water-ballasted, swing-keel speedsters-- the modern incarnation of the "ocean greyhounds of old."  Fresh off the press at the Vendee Globe site is great insight into Jean-Pierre's remarkable competitiveness, camaraderie with friends and sailors (notably starting with the J/24 class) and amazing display of seamanship to simply finish the race:

Open 60 Virbac-Paprec with J/24 sailor Jean-Pierre Dick"French skipper Jean-Pierre Dick (a.k.a. "JP") crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne this afternoon at 15hrs 5mins and 40 seconds UTC/GMT to finish fourth in the Vendée Globe, the famous solo nonstop around the world race. His third participation has yielded his best ever result, despite having to race the final 2,650 nm without a keel on his IMOCA Open 60 Virbac-Paprec 3. JP's elapsed time for course is 86 days, 3 hours, 3 minutes and 40 seconds. He finishes 8d and 47m behind race winner François Gabart (MACIF).

JP's average speed for the theoretical course of 24,393 nm is calculated to be 11.8 knots. In reality he sailed 27,734 nm on the water at an actual average speed of 13.4 knots.

Jean-Pierre Dick sailing Virbac-Paprec 3 in Vendee Globe RaceDouble-winner of the two-handed Barcelona World Race and three-times winner of the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre, JP was one of the possible favourites to win the Vendée Globe but in the end had to give up his third place position he was holding when his keel snapped off on 21st January. He fought on to the finish after making a 48 hours stop in the north of Spain to let a strong low pressure system pass to receive a warm welcome today back in Les Sables d'Olonne.

His finish in Les Sables d'Olonne put a full stop to one of the most engaging stories of this edition Vendée Globe. As he sailed to fourth place JP's race revealed an inspiring mix of human fortitude and endeavour, sporting excellence and technical achievement.

JP was on the hunt, lying in third place and still doggedly chasing the two leaders, François Gabart (MACIF) and Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) who were nearly 400 miles ahead when his Virbac-Paprec 3 lost its keel at 2245hrs UTC on January 21st some 500 miles NW of the Cape Verde Islands.

To make the finish JP has sailed some 2,650 nm – a record - without the essential appendage which balances the boat against the force of the wind. It was a passage during which he lived life on a knife edge, constantly vigilant to make sure his IMOCA Open 60 was not knocked over. To sit out the worst of a low pressure system over the Bay of Biscay, JP made a short 48 hours stop on the Galician coast, mooring in Saint Cyprian between 0430hrs UTC January 31st and restarting in light winds on the morning of February 1st at 0720hrs UTC.

Jean-Pierre Dick sailing Virbac-Paprec 3 in Vendee Globe raceUntil the accident effectively robbed him of third place on the podium, the French skipper who is originally from Nice, was one of the key players in the race. On the descent of the Atlantic he was in the top 5 at the Canary Islands. Then, just as he also lead during the 2008-9 Vendée Globe, JP took the lead and between the Agulhas gate and the Cape of Good Hope he was at the top of the rankings six times, leading the Vendée Globe fleet past the Cape of Good Hope. From there a pattern is set to Cape Leeuwin and beyond with a leading trio becoming well established, François Gabart, Armel Le Cléac'h and the skipper of Virbac-Paprec 3. But in the Pacific, JP lacked the power of key headsails because of damage to the head hook high up on the mast and he loses progressively more on Gabart. At one point he is 687 miles behind. But after several mast climbs to fix his problem he comes back strongly on the approach to Cape Horn, more than halving the deficit. On the ascent of the South Atlantic he got to within 100 miles of the leading duo just as their race-defining split took place.

For JP, this fourth place is his best Vendée Globe finish yet. He finished sixth in 2004-5, arriving with no power, and in 2008-9 he had to retire into New Zealand after suffering rudder damage due to a unidentified floating object.

JP relaxing on deck of Virbac-Paprec 3- getting ready to race Vendee GlobeBy comparison with the Breton 'inner circle' JP was a late starter to IMOCA Open 60 racing, and is not really a graduate of their traditional passage through the Figaro solo circuit. Instead, he arrived through sailing J/24s competitively in Europe, he won in the crewed Tour de France a Voile race. A qualified veterinarian with a masters business degree and years of a professional executive career under his belt before he turned to ocean racing, JP is a rigorous, thorough sailor who trains long and hard and embraces science and technology in every aspect, human and technical.

JP has become renowned as something of a specialist in two-handed races. His best solo result remains his third in the 2006 Route du Rhum. JP has a reputation in the sport for being a tough, hard working gentleman who is supported by highly competent team.  Read the report of Jean-Pierre’s experience
For more Vendee Globe and JP/VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 sailing information

Summary of Jean-Pierre Dick's VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 Vendee Globe race:
  • Greatest distance covered in 24 hours: Virbac-Paprec 3 covered the second greatest distance over 24 hours in this edition of the Vendée Globe clocking up 517.23 miles on 10th December. Average speed: 21.6 knots.
  • Speed/ distance covered on the water: 13,4 knots/27 734 miles
  • Number of rankings as leader (5 rankings per day): 6 times
  • Les Sables – Equator: 11d 00hrs 25mins (record held by Jean Le Cam since 2004-2005 race with a time of 10d 11hrs 28mins)
  • Equator – Good Hope: 12d 02hrs 40mins (leading the fleet at that point)
  • Good Hope – Cape Leeuwin: 12 d 13hrs25 mins
  • Cape Leeuwin – Cape Horn: 18d 00hrs 12mins (new record)
  • Cape Horn – Equator: 14d 5h 30mins
  • Equator – Les Sables d'Olonne: 18d 5h 3mins
JP's Career highlights:
  • 2011 - JP elected French Sailor of the Year
  • 2011 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Jérémie Beyou)
  • 2010- 2011 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Loïck Peyron)
  • 2010 4th in the Route du Rhum
  • 2007-2008 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Damian Foxall)
  • 2006 Route du Rhum, 3rd
  • 2005 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Loïck Peyron)
  • 2004-2005 Vendée Globe, 6th
  • 2003 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Nicolas Abiven)
  • 2001 Winner of the Tour de France Sailing Race