Tuesday, April 30, 2013

J/111 SEGLING Test

J/111 sailing Stockholm, Sweden(Marstrand, Sweden)- Recently, the largest Swedish sailing magazine, SEGLING, published a full-on test/ review of the J/111 with a team of experienced sailors led by Curt Gelin.

As reported by Peter Gustafsson, owner of J/11 BLUR.SE, "We had the test team out on a windy day last August and managed to put some smiles on their faces! Curt wrote the book "700 Tested Sailboats" - and I've never read such a passionate review!! They loved the boat."

Some quotable quotes:
- "Do you love speed and have 2 million kronor left over. Then, the J/111 might be the boat for you."
- "The lines are swanky, the speed amazing, and control direct and distinct."
- "The long sprit was introduced by J/Boats on the J/105 in 1991 (the world's first modern sprit production boat) and it offers fabulous control. We managed to broach anyway, because we laughed too much and trimmed to little, when the boat thundered away at 15-16 knots of boat speed!"

Please read more about the J/111 SEGLING Test here.   And, you may have fun checking out the SEGLING J/111 YouTube sailing video here.

Great Sailing Van uden Reco Regatta

J/111 sailing van uden reco regattaJ/111 2nd IRC, BIG LIFT Takes J/22s
(Stellendam, Netherlands)- With more than 120 boats on the start line, the Van Uden Reco Stellendam Regatta promised to have lots of action and fun for the offshore sailing season opener in the Netherlands.  Traditionally, the event is marked by an enormous fish fry and beer party where the local fisherman host the event, cooking up all kinds of local delicacies, including even lobster!  Plus, the sponsor Pantaenius ensure there's plenty of beer on hand for the sailors to wash down all the yummy seafood!

The predictions regarding the weather promised a weekend full of sun and plenty of breeze. Whether there would still be enough wind Sunday was the real question on everyone's minds as the weekend unfolded.

On Friday afternoon the Stellendam Marina slowly filled with all kinds of one-design class boats ready for a race weekend at the Haringvliet. For most sailors the regatta was a short drive, but the Van Uden Reco is worth it! For the J/22 fleet, two German teams looked forward to joining the party on and off the water and traveled to Stellendam. On Friday, it was cold and windy, so many teams launched, went for a quick practice sail then came back in to refuel, stay warm and prepare for up to eight races on the schedule.

J/111 XCentric Ripper sailing van uden reco regattaDespite the crazy weather this year Saturday dawned quite warm, so woolly hats were substituted with long shirts and caps to shield everyone from the warm sun. It soon became apparent that the wind forecasts were wrong. The prediction was a Force 5 11-15 kts wind. There was enough wind to get off four races and the sun made it a perfect sailing day! After a long, exhausting, but fun day on the water, the sailors all looked forward to the massive outdoor cookout on shore with ham, hamburgers, fish fry and plenty of beer. A good time was had by all as the sun sank further behind the shed and the temperature dropped (it was freezing at night!).

Unfortunately, predictions regards wind on Sunday came truer than anyone hoped.  With plenty of sun in the sky, the wind was hard to find!  However, it began to blow a little more in the course of the morning and the sailing teams were sent onto the water. It was a good decision, because not much later there was a breeze at Force 3-4! At noon was the first start for most classes and courses.  For the J/22s, the fleet managed to get in three short races.  However, the offshore boats had less luck, barely getting in two to three good races (depending on the course), leading to many boats simply dropping out due to lack of wind.

In the IRC Class, the three J/111s made the best of the conditions, particularly on Saturday's windier day.  As a result, finishing 2nd in IRC was XCENTRIC RIPPER- John van der Starre- sailing to a 2-1-1-2-5-5 record for 11 net pts.  Also sailing but having a hard time on the super-light Sunday were SWEENY (Hans Zwinjnenburg) and LALLEKONING (M Sigg).

In the ORC classes, the J/105 JIPPA was sailed by Andre Zijderveld in ORC2.  And in ORC3, the J/80s were having fun with a "sub-fleet" one-design competition amongst each other.  Leading the J/80s in 4th was JOT (M Menck), second J/80 lying 6th in fleet was nJOY (Coen van Even) and third J/80 was DJ (OJ Golverdingen).

J/22 one-design sailboat- sailing van uden reco regattaThe J/22s had some spirited racing, especially on the windier Saturday.  The nearly windless Sunday jumbled the standings as different teams excelled in one condition versus the other.  Taking the top spot after finishing Saturday in third overall was BIG LIFT/ Happy Future (Nico van der Kolk), sailing to a 3-6-4-4-1-2-2 for 22 net pts.  Just two points back after a slow start on Sunday was BIG LIFT/ Happy Star (Jeremy Moens), recording a scoreline of 5-4-5-1-5-3-1 for 24 pts.  Third was BATAVAIA STAD (Christian Rieckborn) with a 2-1-6-7-7-5-4 record for 32 pts.  Rounding out the top five were JOLLY JUMPER (Ivo Jeukens) in 4th with 34 pts and in 5th was DE KANTOORBUTLER (Stan Heltzel) with 37 pts.  Note, after the first day, Heltzel was the regatta leader with a 1-5-1-5 but got DSQ'd in race 5 on Sunday to hurt their chances at a podium finish.  For more Van Uden Reco Stellendam Regatta sailing information

Monday, April 29, 2013

GRAND SLAM Wins CHILE J/105 Nationals

J/105 Chilean Nationals awards (Algarrobo, Chile)- For two consecutive weekends of April (6-7th and 13-14th) the fleet of eighteen J/105s sailed on the beautiful waters in the Bay of Algarrobo, competing for top honors in the Chilean J/105 fleet's first National Championship.

J/105 sailing Chilean NationalsBoth weekends had a great wind conditions for sailing, between 10 an 15 knots from the southwest - the best local wind - and gently rolling offshore swell in excess of 6.5 feet!  Teams that could master good upwind speed and turn the top mark and make use of the great surfing conditions often made significant gains on their competitors.

From the beginning, it was clear that three teams were battling for the podium and dominated the regatta.  However, notably five boats won races in the nine race event and thirteen of the eighteen boats (nearly 75% of the fleet) posted top five scores in their overall records!  That's a wonderful indicator of good, close, competitive racing to have the kind of scoring distribution across the fleet.

J/105 Chilean crew memberIn the end, Patricio Seguel's team on GRAND SLAM were declared Chile's first J/105 National Champions!  They managed to hold off their two closest competitors and after two discard races, scored all top three finishes for a total of 13 net pts.  Scoring two 1sts and two 2nds was not enough to chase down the leader for Miguel Salas' team on BIG BOOTY, ending up with 19 net pts to secure a well-deserved second overall.  Chasing both teams was Vernon Robert's ARCHIMIDES, themselves also counting two 1sts and a 2nd in their scoreline, but not enough to catch the others with a 22 pts net for the regatta.

Rounding out the top five were Pedro Perez's RECLUTA with 28 pts net in fourth place and in fifth was Daniel Gonzalez's crew on TRICALMA with 31 pts.  Of special note is that Jose Manuel Ugarte's SCIMITAR #526 was the 2011 J/105 North American Champion in Marblehead, MA, now living a wonderful new life sailing on the Pacific and doing well, getting a 6th overall in its first regatta in Chile!

The J/105 was introduced in Algarrobo, Chile 17 years ago with a few units and at the end of 2010 the class was launched by Algarrobo Yacht Club members. Nowadays there are more than 25 boats in the central part of Chilean Coast (Viña del Mar, Valparaíso and Algarrobo).  As a result of that effort and passionate enthusiasm by Chilean sailors, the J/105 class has become the principal family-fun, one-design yacht in Chile!

The fleet will meet again on May  11 & 12th in Viña del Mar for the Chilean Navy Day Celebration, locally known as "Glorias Navales", where many classes join together to celebrate the event.  For more Chilean J/105 Nationals sailing information and photos

Glorious Warsash Spring Championship!

J/111 one-design sailing on Solent, EnglandAwesome sailing for J/70, J/80, J/109 and J/111 Fleets
(Warsash, England)- It was a busy weekend for Warsash Sailing Club on 20th/21st April with racing on both days for the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship and the fifth Sunday of the Spring Series. Perhaps the warmer weather had enticed new entries on the water, resulting in 150 boats ready to enjoy a busy programme of racing. Over the weekend, the race officers ran 40 separate races - a challenging but rewarding time all round.

Saturday- Spring Championship Day 1
The Spring Championship offers an intense schedule of four days’ racing, with no discards allowed. This year all IRC classes are eligible in Black Group as well as J/109s.  J/111s racing in IRC1 were also given extracted results to show how they performed as a “class-within-a-class”.  White Group includes classes for J/70 and J/80.

Although the day dawned with the River Hamble resembling a millpond, everyone was pleased to see the wind fill in and racing got underway without delay.

Windward/leeward courses were set for all classes in Black Group varying in length from 4.3 to 6.2 nm for IRC1/IRC2 and 3.1 to 5.5 nm for J/109 and IRC3. IRC1 had an impressive lineup that included six J/111s as well as J/133s. After an initial general recall, the class was given a second chance to start under a ‘P’ flag and all went well.

The J/109s were out in force with a 17-strong entry. Sardonyx IX (William Edwards) beat Juke Box (Chris Copeland) in Race 1 and Jahmali (Mike and Sarah Wallis) in Race 3 but clearly had problems in Race 2 where Jubilee (Tony Dickin) headed the class.

White Group completed three good races between 40 and 50 minutes in length before the wind faded away and PRO Peter Knight called it a day amidst requests from competitors and race officers alike to enjoy a beer on the terrace in the sunshine. Information from ‘Bramble-Met’ confirmed this to be a good decision since there was a lull of well over an hour before any wind returned - too late for racing.

In the J/70s North Sails (Ruairidh Scott) took two races and Boats.com (Ian Atkins) one. Betty (Jon Powell) won the first J/80 race with Juicy (Allan Higgs) 15 seconds astern. J’ai Deux Amours (Stewart Hawthorn) was a slender one second adrift in third place but returned in the second race to win. Betty came back on form for the third race.

J/133 and J/111 sailing on Solent, EnglandSunday- Spring Series Day 5,  Spring Championship Day 2
The weather was bright and sunny with a forecast south-westerly breeze set to build from 10 to 17 knots during the day. The Black Group committee boat set up station near Universal buoy using courses with an initial windward leg to Williams Shipping or West Knoll buoy. The plan was to offer a longer race well over two hours to the Spring Series competitors followed by a short race for those boats entered in the Spring Championship only. The conditions offered the best sailing in the series so far, only a few sunbeams short of champagne sailing – the champagne instead being presented after racing. Smaller boats needed to choose carefully to find clear air avoiding the  powerful IRC1 and IRC2 classes speeding downwind. Sundays in the Solent are also also busy with commercial traffic and the North Channel saw several shipping movements to avoid.

The Series race for IRC3 saw a very close finish, Induljence (J/97 – Nick and Adam Munday) taking first place by five seconds.  Sardonyx IX scored two wins in the J/109s, to count towards the Series and Championship.

White Group enjoyed good sailing with a start near Meon. The moderate breeze remained fairly stable from the south-west necessitating only a single slight reorientation to the course to maintain good beats and runs.  Racing took place on a small neap tide which may have led boats into a false sense of security. Several had to take penalties after misjudging the tide at the windward mark. This had its effect on Betty which moved her from first boat at the end of Saturday to third overall on Sunday after six races in the J/80 Spring Championship. J’ai Deux Amours grabbed the opportunity to consolidate three wins. North Sails went well in the J/70s followed by Spitfire (Team RAF Benevolent Fund) then Boats.com in each of the three races.

As a result of the weekend's sailing, taking an early lead in the J/111 class is James Arnell's JEEZ LOUISE with a consistent 2-1-3-1-1 tally for 8 pts.  Just behind with just two points separating them are Duncan McDonald's SHMOKING JOE in second with a 4-2-1-4-2 for 13 pts and Tony Mack's McFLY in third with a 5-3-2-2-3 for 15 pts.

The J/109 class has been seeing a very steady performance by Mike & Sarah Wallis' team on JAHMALI, leading both the Spring Championship as well as the Spring Series.  Not having sailed the Spring series hasn't seemed to have handicapped William Edwards' team on SARDONYX IX. Blasting out of the box on Saturday, the SARDONYX IX crew continued their winning ways on Sunday, sitting 2nd in the Spring Champs as a result of collecting four 1sts!  Just behind in them in the Spring Champs is Tony Dickin's JUBILEE with a somewhat roller-coaster scorecard.  As for the Spring series scenario, the JAHMALI crew can't rest on their laurels as Owain Franks & Jean Lockett's JYNNAN TONNYX crew are hot on their tail and just one point back.  Still sitting in third for the series is David Mcgough's JUST SO.

The J/70 class has seen the teams fluctuate on performance based on weather conditions.  Nevertheless, showing greater consistency of late is Ruairidh Scott's NORTH SAILS team, leading both the Spring Championship as well as the Spring Series-- running the table with three straight 1sts on Sunday seemed to have helped their scoreline a wee bit.  Bolting out of the blue on Saturday and maintaining the same performance on Sunday was Simon Ling's Royal Airforce Team sailing SPITFIRE, taking six 2nds over the two days!  In third for the Spring Champs is Ian Atkins' BOATS.COM with lots of 3rds and is hanging onto second in the Spring Series just one point back from NORTH SAILS.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Solent Warsash Spring seriesJ/80s are having a battle for second place while Stew Hawthorn sailing J'AI DEUX AMOURS is seemingly sailing away with the Spring Champs.  The next four boats, successively, include JUICY (Allan Higgs), BETTY (Jon Powell) and AQUA J (Patrick Liardet) and they're all within 7 pts of each other!  Exciting racing!  On the Spring Series side, Powell's BETTY is still ruling the roost and it's unlikely he'll get unseated from their throne atop the standings.  However, the battle is also for second place in the Series, with Gillian Ross' ROCK & ROLL and Allan Higgs' JUICY within 3 pts of each other, so anything goes in next weekend's finale.

Finally, the Spring Series IRC3 class continues to have an absolutely insane, panic-inducing, anxiety-driven, nose-to-nose dust-up to the grand finale next weekend.  Four boats are essentially tied for the lead, including the J/97 JIGGERY POKERY sailed by Chaz Ivill and their stablemate J/97 INDULJENCE sailed by Nick & Adam Munday.  Both boats lie 2nd and 3rd overall, tied on points at 10 apiece, one point from the lead and just 3 points above 4th!!  Should create a few sleepless nights for these crews next weekend!  The betting is getting HOT, HOT, HOT at Ladbrokes betting parlor for this gang of four!
Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie   For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Family Sailing @ Regattas Can Be Fun!?

J/70 kids learning how to sail! (St Petersburg, FL)- Embracing the regatta experience as a family really can be fun. Here's what Brandon Flack, his wife Cindy, and the kids have been doing with their J/70 TORQEEDO.  Pretty amusing and cute story, not exactly the "DisneyWorld" experience many parents promise to their kids!  Here's Brandon's story:

"When we bought a new sailboat this year, one thing on my mind was the advice of boats.com editorial director, John Burnham. “Don’t make the mistake I did,” he said. “Invite your kids to race with you while they still think you’re cool.”

Well, we just finished up a family trip to Florida to race our new J/70. I could’ve chosen a lot of different boats if I were the only one involved. My former college race buddies make a formidable crew in any boat. But the J/70 has a multi-purpose aspect that jumped out at me right off the design table. Here’s a sport boat that’s fun for my pals, but easy to handle for my family.

When we landed in Florida, it was 60 degrees, light wind, and lots of RAIN. Not what the brochure (or the old man) had promised. It took a bit of convincing to get the family into their fresh new foul weather gear but once they realized they would stay dry, we made it off the dock for an afternoon practice sail. The sails went up and down and everyone watching seemed impressed our family crew could do it. And at the end of the day we cheered as a hint of sunshine finally broke through.

When the official racing began the next day, we sailed our first race as a full family team. Dylan, 7, is the bowman/driver in a pinch. Lily, 10, is the jib trimmer and neat freak who keeps the middle of the boat tidy. My wife Cindy is the spinnaker trimmer and voice of reason. Dad does the boat work and drives.

Coaching was all about trying to do things in very slow motion and set up a rhythm for how each job was done.  Crew placement, line locations, labels, terms, and new vocabulary were all our part of our “comfort level curve”.

Not that we didn’t have some frustrations. They say what goes up must come down, but that was not the case with our spinnaker. We just could not seem to get the hang of getting that thing back in the boat and spent a few mark roundings chasing it for a few extra minutes.

I usually make the tactical decisions around the course, but the kids made the best call of day. After the race, with the wind dying, they radioed the RC and said we’d be heading in — the pool was calling. This caused a domino effect, and the whole fleet soon followed suit.

Our crew work was flawless when it mattered most. After the kids radioed the RC, they jumped down below and pulled out the Torqeedo in its three easy-to-move, lightweight parts (battery, tiller and shaft). They assembled and lit up the engine, and we were off and running-- first place all the way in, for the all-important race to the dock and, more importantly, THE POOL!!  Kids win.

When all was said and done, we could've sailed better as a team.  However, I know we won our own personal victory; the kids are pumped to sail in the next event and try to do better!"

Growing Sailing- Girls Rule?

J/109 offshore cruiser racer- sailing with women crew (Newport, RI)- While sailing industry types scratch their heads trying to find the right formula to increase the number of kids in sailing programs, and sailing clubs and racing associations nationwide worry about declining memberships, sailing is shifting and growing under their feet.

Promoters repackage races to appeal to shoreside fans of testosterone-loaded extreme sports, selling sponsorships to brands which, in turn, hope fans will buy shirts or drinks, and sailboat builders seek designs hoping for mass appeal or some new “breakthrough” formula, all while sailing is being revolutionized from the inside out.

Sailing is becoming the activity of adult women.

Don’t believe it? Quick, say the last names of Ellen, Dawn, Betsy and Anna. You got them all in a few seconds right? Now try to do that quickly with the names of four guys who sail.

But it’s much more than a few popular female sailing athletes. This revolution isn’t being led by pros or celebrities, but by grassroots changes and on all new terms.

J/105 one-design sailboat- with women's sailing teamHere’s some evidence: Facebook analytics reports that among 1.1 million Americans who express an interest in sailing, women account for 51%, and 88% of them are over 25 years old. But they’re not just fans. Women under 24 and over 35 share their own sailing experiences on Facebook almost twice as often as men.

Consider that only 20 years ago, men outnumbered women in sailing 7-to-1.

You might see it in your town. What sailing center’s teaching staff isn’t dominated by strong, athletic, articulate and confident female sailing instructors? What collegiate sailing team doesn’t have at least as many women as men? What yacht club doesn’t like to boast about its first female commodore? And what regatta doesn’t overplay its all-female entries?

J109 cruiser racer sailboat- women's team sailing Solent, EnglandIn many cities near water in the U.S., women are organizing all-women teams and events. These events often grow organically out of a small network of veteran sailors who cobble together some used boats and recruit and help train newcomers until they’ve built a decent-sized fleet. In my town, summer Monday nights (the night the women sail) are the busiest nights on the bay.

When a sailing mom’s kids are very young, they get an inspiring early taste. They learn to be on and around boats and sailors, to wear life jackets, to touch water, and to be safe. Then, when her kids are old enough to be on a sailing team, the family becomes the team. Mom doesn’t sit in the bleachers at a soccer field, she trims the kite, steers the boat or calls tactics.

So, the most important person on any sailing boat is the mom. Think about it this way: When a mom sails with her kids (instead of driving them to soccer) she’s doing something deemed suited only to men just a few years ago, and she is not doing the things thought to be the status quo for moms today. She’s a renegade. An innovator. A leader.   Read on at SAILING Magazine.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Congo Cup Update- J/24 sailors led the charge!

Congressional Cup- led by J/24 World Champions(Long Beach, CA)- While it may have been billed as a "dream win" for one sailor from Italy, the rock-solid team of Ed Baird and Terry Hutchinson (dual J/24 World Champions) eliminated all their competitors to sail the final match.  But, for most who've watched this event over the years, it was quite a disappointing finale.  Even Ed Baird was a bit mystified why they would sail a one-race championship showdown, a quarter-mile race windward-leeward twice around in next to no wind to determine the winner!

Here's how it all went down. Earlier in the long afternoon fickle and feeble breeze delayed the start of racing for about two hours and then stopped it again for an hour in mid-afternoon before a 6-knot southerly showed up under a heavy cloud cover to allow the title matTerry Hutchinson- J/24 sailor expert- World Championch to go at 5:15 p.m early Sunday evening.

Even then, the conditions were so fragile PRO Randy Smith cut the title and petite finals from best-of-threes to single matches!

So, after Ferrarese had spotted Great Britain's Ian Williams--- the double defending champ and world No. 1---their first semifinal match before winning the next two and Baird had dispatched France's Mathieu Richard with wins in their first and third go-rounds, it all came down to a single rEd Baird- J/24 sailor extraordinaire- World Championace.

That's when Smith also ordered the windward-leeward, twice-around course shortened from a 0.35 nautical mile to 0.25---a mere quarter-mile that seemed to suffice??

As it was, Ferrarese found breeze that nobody else could, first winning the favored left side from Baird, who went right at the start, and extending his leads from 29 seconds at the first windward mark to 35 at the leeward, 48 at the second windward and finally 54 at the finish. Baird said, "He just went the better way. We gave him what he wanted."  For more Congo Cup sailing information- http://www.lbyc.org

J/80s Hong Kong Nation's Cup

J/80s sailing around Hong Kong, China(Hong Kong, China)-  The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Nations' Cup has already attracted 73 entries from 23 nations - many of whom will spend the days leading up to the event deciding what costumes to wear and what national delicacy to bring to the 'after-party'.  The race starts on Saturday, April 27th and the intent is to go "around the island" (Hong Kong, of course) as members of "national teams".

Crews are formed along the lines of nation of origin or allegiance. While the Nationality Criteria states that "100% of crew members must be nationals of the country which is represented by the boat they are racing on", the same criteria then go on to offer a multitude of different ways that a 'wannabe' can qualify - all the way down to representing a Nation in the Miss Universe Pageant.

Racing will feature a pursuit race following a simple course, starting in Victoria Harbour at Kellett Island and taking the fleet eastwards, out through Lei Yue Mun Gap, to a turning mark which will be selected to suit the prevailing weather conditions. Once around, the boats will re-enter the Harbour and, with a bit of cooperation from the wind gods, race back to the finish line at Kellett Island.

Coveted prizes include the right of the winning nation to place their flag on conspicuous display behind the Club's Main Bar until the 2014 race and, of course, the bragging rights that go with proving themselves to be "Champion Sailing Nation of The Year".

The first boat home in the inaugural event in 2011 was England, followed by Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Scotland and Japan. The 2012 edition had to be abandoned due to lack of wind and miserable weather conditions, however the 'after party' more than made up for any disappointment.

In addition to the fleet of one-design J/80s will be a raft of handicap-racing boats, including a J/111, J/105, J/109, J/92 and even J/24s!  More fun and games racing around Hong Kong Island!
For more Royal Hong Kong YC Nation's Cup sailing information

Friday, April 26, 2013

College of Charleston Crew Takes on J/70 World

J/70 MOXIE team- led by Cole Allsopp from Annapolis, MD(Charleston, SC)- Charleston Race Week attracts a broad range of competitors, and they arrive from all over the U.S. and at least six foreign countries. Among the participants in this three-day competition you’ll find full-time professional racers, sailing industry experts and talented amateur sailors, along with those who are just getting a taste of serious sailing competition for the first time.

One of the most hotly contested groups among the 18 different classes that make up the event is apt to be the J/70 Class. With 56 boats registered, this will also be the largest class at the regatta. These 23-foot long speedsters were only introduced last year, but already they’ve gained tremendous market traction.

Within the J/70 Class will be an equally broad spectrum of competitors, with plenty of nationally renowned sailors scattered across the fleet. Among those in the class who aren’t so widely known is a crew with close ties to Charleston, and they’ll be sailing on a boat they’ve christened MOXIE.

Skippered by Cole Allsopp who now lives in Annapolis, Md, Moxie’s crew includes Zeke Horowitz, Brendan Healy, and Sam Stokes – all recent graduates of the College of Charleston and former stalwarts on the school’s top-notch varsity sailing team.

The College of Charleston’s Director of Sailing, Greg Fisher, sat down with this quartet recently to hear them out on their plans for Charleston Race Week.

"Greg Fisher: You guys had a great regatta at Key West, a big one for you and the J/70 Class. How do you look forward to, and prepare for, Charleston Race Week?

J/70 one-design- sailing off Key West at Race WeekZeke Horowitz:  I think it is important to look at CRW as a completely different event than Key West. People have been in the boats for a while now, and I would imagine that the speed differences will be less in Charleston. Most importantly, though, the conditions that we will see in Charleston will be absolutely nothing like what we saw in Key West. Conditions will be changing dramatically from race to race and leg to leg, whereas in Key West, the conditions (and therefor the race track) were pretty much the same for the entire event. This will make tactics and strategy the driving force to success as opposed to KWRW where speed was most important. We will be prepared to use our local knowledge to put our boat in the right spots on the race course where we will be able to use the speed that we know we’ll have.

GF: How much time had you guys spent in the J/70 before Key West?

Cole Allsopp: Unfortunately, we had spent very little time in the boat. Fortunately that was also the case for most of our competitors. We attempted one practice day in Annapolis all together, but the breeze did not cooperate. James (Cole’s brother who sailed with them at KWRW) and Brendan sailed the boat for the Fall Brawl and we did some frostbiting. Beyond that, we spent very little time preparing.

ZH:  As far as I know, Cole, Brendan, and James spent a decent amount of time in the boat together before the event, but KWRW was really my first time in the boat, and first time crewing for Cole or sailing with either of the other two. That gave me a pretty good chance to learn the boat and get a lot of the tuning ideas in mind.

Brendan Healy:  We didn’t spend a great deal of time in the boat before the event to be honest.  James and I sailed the Fall Brawl in Annapolis with fellow College of Charleston alum, Russ O’Reilly.  I’m pretty sure Russ and I were a pretty enormous and expensive headache for James.  We figured out in no time how exactly to shrimp and shred a kite. We did, however, come away from that event with a few nuggets of knowledge. We also sailed in a practice season against one other local boat in town, but as a group we only sailed one short afternoon in Annapolis with very little breeze. So, how much time did we have in the boat before KWRW?, not much."   Please read on at Scuttlebutt's complete interview here.

St Francis YC Wins Battle of California

J/22 sailboat- sailing St Francis YC Challenge Cup (San Francisco, CA)- It was Northern California versus Southern California as St. Francis Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club faced off in their Challenge Match Race event on San Francisco Bay.

J/22 Challenge Cup- San Francisco's St Francis YC teamEach club brought teams with skippers aged 20+, 40+, 60+, and a flag officer for a series of match races in J/22s. This inaugural series went to the bay area hosts, with young, seasoned match racers Shawn Bennet and Craig Healy joining veteran match racers Bruce Stone and Cai Svendsen to represent St Francis Yacht Club.

As reported by event Chairman Russ Silvestri, "It was a good time and a great couple of parties.  The racing was dominated by StFYC's team consisting of Stone, Svendsen, Healy and Bennett.  They sailed very well over 44 races.  It got a bit breezy on Sunday and we cancelled the fleet/team race.

Hope to do the event next year down there, but it was like a wedding weekend-- everyone had a good time.  Mads Tolling, Bruce Stone’s musician friend, played a little violin during the awards ceremony to add to the luster of the event."   For more Match Race Challenge California sailing information

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Poole Yacht Club Triumphs @ Inter Club Challenge Cup

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing on Solent, England (Southampton, England)- This past weekend, a team of young sailors from Poole Yacht Club has won the inaugural British Keelboat Academy Inter-Club Challenge Cup.

The event was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club on behalf of the British Keelboat Academy, and aimed to get more young sailors out racing on yachts to increase the engagement of sailors, clubs and boat owners in the opportunities which the BKA is able to offer to support the development of young sailors.  The format is based on the best scores of two boat teams from each yacht club (one IRC boat and one J/80 team).

Poole Yacht Club's winning team the J/80 LAST CHANCE sailed by Chris Doe. Combined with her team-mate, their aggregate scores over three races was 13 pts.  Their score was enough to hold off the RORC team that included Nick Haigh's JAI DEUX AMOUR with on 18 points.

Some 80 young sailors took part in the event, all demonstrating great skill on the water to handle their boats in gusty conditions, with driving rain later in the day and the continuing unseasonably  cold weather not making things any easier.

Many of the sailors were new to this size of boats and were using this event as part of making the transition into keelboat racing. On some boats, the sailors were supported by more experienced older sailors on board, whilst several boats had been entrusted to a complete crew under the age of 25 - great testament to the skill of these young sailors.

Jim Macgregor, from Poole Yacht Club, summed up the event from their perspective: "It was the first time many of the Team had sailed a keelboat outside of Poole, so to visit the Solent and keep Teams from RORC, The Royal Yacht Squadron and The Royal Southern Yacht Club behind them was particularly satisfying and will have given their self-confidence a huge boost, further bolstering their enthusiasm to do more. The tough conditions encountered in getting the team boats from Poole to The Solent and back just added to the character building experience of the event. Bonding was further built by the youngsters being empowered to organise and run the campaign themselves, under the watchful eye of Chris Doe who, at 26, was by far the eldest of the 27 sailors (average age under 19).  Suffice to say the rest of the club was right behind the Team with support whenever it was needed. There can be no doubt that Poole YC's win and the networking experienced will have given them a whole new view on their future sailing plans and a will to apply for a position in the British Keelboat Academy."

After sailing, all participants were able to hear from an experienced panel about the opportunities at the top level of yacht racing. Current BKA squad member James French, himself only 20, talked about the his experience skippering the British team at the recent Red Bull Youth America's Cup trials and, particularly, the benefit of the experience and training he had received as part of the British Keelboat Academy.

Luke McCarthy, British Keelboat Academy Head Coach, commented: "It was great to see so many young sailors out on the water and all sailing their boats really well in some tough conditions.

"I am sure that many will go on to be really successful keelboat sailors, and we look forward to welcoming lots of them to the BKA in future. Thanks to all those involved with making this first event such a success."

Editor's note- after reviewing the results, it does appear the best two boat team (IRC + J/80) in fact happens to be the Royal Southern YC's Adam Munday sailing his J/97 INDULJENCE, taking 2nd in IRC Class with 6 pts and his team-mate, the J/80 SEAFIRE sailed by Bruno Van Dyke, that won the J/80 one-design class with 5 pts, making for a combined total for both boats of 11 pts??  Were these two sailors and their Royal Southern YC team not the winners according to the format? One wonders.

In the end, the BKA Inter-Club Challenge Cup is a wonderful idea to promote youth sailing.  Congratulations to Adam Munday's team (RSYC) on his J/97 INDULJENCE for their second place in IRC Class and to Alastair Speare-Coles team (BKA) on the J/109  ALICE for finishing 3rd in IRC.  Thanks must also go out to David Aisher's J/109 YEOMAN (Royal Yacht Squadron) for participating in the event, too.

In the J/80s, congratulations Bruno Van Dyke's team (RSYC) sailing SEAFIRE to first overall.  They were closely followed by Nick Haigh's JAI DEUX AMOURS team (RORC) in second and by Chris Doe's LAST CHANCE team (Poole YC) in third.   For more Inter-Club Challenge Cup sailing information    For more British Keelboat Academy sailing information

BMW J/24 Worlds- Update from Ireland

J/24 World Championships- sailing Howth, Ireland (Howth, Ireland)-  This year's J/24 Worlds promises to be a special event, one remembered for decades to come.  It's the first 24 Worlds hosted by the Irish J/24 class and you can bet the Irish sailors will do their best to roll-out the red carpet for all participants and ensure everyone (almost without fail) will have an absolutely fantastic time!

With the event sailing from August 22-30, 2013, we recently got a nice update from Derek Bothwell - Event Chairman.  Says Derek, "With just a little over five months to go until the start of the BMW J/24 World Championships I am very happy to say that everything is going well on the planning side. Entries are stacking up and I am very pleased to see that we have interest from many J2/4 sailors representing North & South America, Europe & Asia.

I am delighted that the current World Champion, Mauricio Santa Cruz, from Brazil, will arrive in Howth to defend his title. This really puts it up to the Europeans who have only a pond to cross in comparison to arrive in large numbers.

We will also have Allison Young heading up a ladies team from the UK. Allison who competed in the Laser Radial in the Weymouth Olympics has a very busy year ahead as she continues to train for the next event in Rio. It is a challenge for our lady sailors which should not be overlooked.

Charter boats are being snapped up and there is a lot of activity on the accommodation front, so if you are thinking of entering, do not get left out!

The Irish J/24 National Championships will be run on the 16th and 17th of August in the same waters with the same Race management team, so why not come early and get a taste of the venue and tides."    For more BMW J/24 Worlds sailing information

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

J/24 Champion Augie Diaz Wins Star Western Hemisphere's

Star Champion Augie Diaz (Coral Reef YC) and Stu Johnstone (New York YC)(Nassau, Bahamas)- In the category of you can't teach an old dog new tricks, how about this one!  Augie Diaz (a.k.a. "Augie Doggie" and who's father is affectionately known in Miami sailing circles as simply "old man") spent years sailing J/24's (Midwinter Champion, etc), 470's and Snipe's (World Champion, Pan Am Champion, etc) and in his later years Stars.  Recently, Augie won the Star Western Hemisphere Championship in that fabled Star-sailing paradise known as Nassau, Bahamas. Trailing by two points going into the final day of the Western Hemispheres, Augie Diaz and crew Arnis Baltins bulleted both races to take the title among the 21 team field. Not bad for an "old dog", eh??  Here's a recent photo of Augie with the Editor in front of Coral Reef YC- both competitors and best friends sailing 470s and J/24s for decades, in fact ever since the first U.S. Youth Championships sailed in Wilmette, Illinois in 1973!

J/111 North American Championship Update

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing North Americans Chicago (Chicago, IL)-  This August J/111 Fleet #1 on Lake Michigan will host the first annual North American Championships from 15-18th of August.  With the racecourse just off the visually stunning shore that's lined with Chicago's famous skyscrapers and beautiful white-sand beaches, this regatta offers the quintessential Chicago sailing experience. Headquartered at the Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Station, owners and their crew can expect a first-class race committee, with amenities to match.

If you have yet to experience sailing on Lake Michigan, this event also offers an exceptional opportunity for more than just the J/111 NACs. As Chicago is undoubtedly the gateway to sailing on Lake Michigan, we would like to further entice you to spend some more time with us on one of America’s greatest freshwater lakes. The world famous Race to Mackinac Island, hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club, consists of a 333 mile race up the lake starting on July 13, boasting up to 350 boats. The Mac is a “bucket-list” race for many sailors, a legendary freshwater offshore classic.

Next on the schedule is the Port Huron to Mac Island Race that begins July 20th starting from Detroit, MI. In addition, the Little Traverse Bay Yacht Club hosts the Ugotta Regatta from July 26-28th, a nice stop for those boats headed back to Chicago from the island. Preceding the North Americans is the  Verve Cup, also hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club August 9-11th, which can serve as an important warm-up.

Finally, the city of Chicago is a vibrant place in the summer, offering festivals, concerts, baseball games, and is home to countless museums. It's one city that actually comes to life in the summer along with the whole lake.  Additionally, up and down the coast of Lake Michigan, cozy villages along the shores from Charlevoix to Sturgeon Bay, all the way down to Kenosha and St. Joseph are stunners in the summer and offer relaxing weekend getaways accessible by boat or car.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com

Please check the regatta website (http://j111nac2013.wix.com/j111nac2013). We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or comments regarding this event! We hope to see you in Chicago!  For more J/111 info please email- j111nac2013@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

J/97 Takes Gold in Sydney Super 30s

J/97 sailing Super 30s- Sydney, Australia (Sydney, Australia)-  The J/97 KNOCKABOUT has been racing in the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club's Super 30 Gold Cup fleet.  After sailing all season long, the KNOCKABOUT team managed to capitalise on their good start to the season to win both the PHS and AMS pointscores for the 2012-3 season!  Here's a report from Ray Entwistle who sailed with the team for much of the season:

"As one might expect, the PHS pointscore got more challenging as time went by, and our handicap tightened. A horror third last race, due to a last minute loss of key crew on a 20-25 knot day (setting extras would have been just careless), saw us slip to second place. Fortunately, this was followed by a glamour penultimate race, which gave us a win and put us back into the lead. We still had to give a good performance in the last race but it ended up as a bit of an anticlimax as the wind glassed-out and the race was abandoned, handing us the Gold Medal.

The AMS (Australian Measurement System) pointscore was less nail-biting, we had that secured after the penultimate race! An excellent showing of how the J/97 performs under measurement based handicapping. With a scoring consisting of 4x 1st, 3x 2nds, 3x 3rds and 2x 4ths the J/97 has certainly proved a very serious candidate in this hot shot super 30 fleet. The big difference is with the J/97 we can now go family cruising in luxury! None of our competitors can even come close to claiming that capability!

All in all a good reason to attend this year's prizegiving. Not bad for a crew with average age hovering around 6 decades!"    For more J/97 family cruiser-racer sailing information

J/122 LAZY DOG Wins St Barths!

J/109 sailing Les Voile St Barths regatta (George Town, St Barths)- The final day of racing at Les Voiles de St. Barth served up lively conditions for the fleet, with 20+ knots of wind whipping up four to six foot seas.  The race committee sent the Spinnaker 1 and 2 classes on a 17 nautical mile course along the western side of the island, somewhat protected by the lee of the land but nevertheless providing shifty conditions. Spinnaker 3 and Non-Spinnaker classes sailed a 26 nautical mile course around the islands off the north and east side of St. Barths, fully exposed to the fresh breeze and ocean swell.

In Maxi/Racing, new J/70 owner Jim Swartz sailed his TP52 VESPER to a string of bullets to win the class. Swartz said, “This week has been pretty typical: constant wind, 15-17 knots, predictable but shifty, with challenging and nice waves on the backside of the island. Kind of a sailor’s paradise; the race committee does a great job, the people are terrific.”

J/125 HAMACHI sailing Les Voiles St Barths regattaIn the Spinnaker 1 class, the standings going into today were close for the class leaders.  In the end, past J/105 Champion tactician Steve Cucchiaro along with long-time J sailor Jack Slattery (North Sails) sailed DEFIANCE to a solid  1-1-2-2 score line, but sadly faded on the last race to settle for a second overall.  Loving the reaching conditions of the last race was the J/125 HAMACHI sailed by Greg Slyngstad, taking second in the race but not enough to snag third place, missing by 4 pts and having to settle for fourth instead.

Sergio Sagramoso’s J/122 LAZY DOG returned to form, posting a first in the last race to take Spinnaker 2 racing class. The ebullient Puerto Rican sailor said, “This was probably our best season in the Caribbean: we won the Heineken Regatta, BVI Spring Regatta, were 2nd at International Rolex Regatta, and we’ve won this!”

J/109 Les voiles feminin st barths- sailing st barths regattaSagramoso goes on to say, “I think in sailboat racing, especially when you do it with the same crew year after year – and these are friends who are not professionals, there are no professionals on board – everything has to click. I’ve had a year like this before, but you can go five or six years without having a year like this. When everyone is on top of their game physically, mentally, and the boat is ready, everything clicks and then you start winning. I think we are in one of those years, it takes a long time to get there, but we have it now.”

In Spinnaker 3 racing class, the "girls boat", the J/109 LES VOILES AU FEMININ ST BARTH sailed by Sophie Olivaud to a fourth overall, just two points out of third!

In the Non-Spinnaker class, it was another tough competition for these teams.  Finishing in the money again was Tom Mullens' J/95 SHAMROCK VII, taking second place and getting yet another podium finish in as many Caribbean events they've participated in over the last few weeks.  Hanging in there for fourth overall was the custom J/120 JAGUAR ISLAND WATERWORLD sailed by Ben Jelic.   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright/ Photoaction.com.   For more Les Voiles St Barths sailing information

Monday, April 22, 2013

Warsash Series Swings Into Spring Sailing- Finally!

J/70 one-design speedster- sailing Warsash spring series(Warsash, England)- After three weeks of freezing weather, a hint of spring was in the air on 14th April 2013 for the fourth Sunday in the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series. With the temperature rising to double figures, the thermal layers could be left behind and there was no ice to clear from the decks. Although the forecast promised 16-20 knots from the south with gusts to 30 knots, these did not materialize and the full program of racing could be completed for all classes.

The Black Group committee boat took up station at Flying Fish buoy. After a short postponement, a light south-easterly set in sufficient to design courses between 11 and 15 miles, using a mixture of laid and fixed marks. Despite the east-going tide, all classes got away cleanly. The early classes started with a beat to a laid mark east of North Ryde Middle in a very light breeze of 3-6 knots. IRC3 had an initial beat to South Ryde Middle in a 10-12 knot breeze. Wind over tide produced a slight chop which slowed some. Others were regretting leaving their light weather sails ashore in view of the forecast! As the morning drew on, the wind backed to the south-southwest and increased, producing short sharp gusts which caused some broaches and wraps as well as stunning downwind racing. Spinnakers were used on the legs designed as such, but later these sometimes turned to shy reaches from true runs.

Conditions suited the bowsprit designs in IRC3 with JIGGERY POKERY (J/97 – Charles Ivill) taking a win from sistership INDULJENCE ((Nick and Adam Munday). As a result, JIGGER POKERY is now leading the IRC3 division for the Spring Series. INDULJENCE has also closed the gap on the leaders and is currently lying third just three points out of first!  The racing is coming down to the wire amongst the top three teams with just two weekends of sailing left on the series!

In the J/109s DESIGNSTAR 2 (Roger Phillips), competing for the first time this series, took the lead from JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain Franks and Jean Lockett).  And, JAHMALI (Mike & Sarah Wallis) snagged third.  As a result, JYNNAN TONNYX still remains in the dries lead with just 12 points, one point clear of JAHMALI.  Third is JUST SO (David Mcgough) with 18 pts.  There is a bit of a wrestling match going on between J/109 champions JAGERBOMB (Paul Griffiths) and OFFBEAT (David Mcleman) who are tied for fourth each with 20 pts.

J/70 one-design speedster- sailing fast on Solent, EnglandThe sportsboats in White Group also assembled in the entrance to Southampton Water. Relieved to find no forecast Force 4-6, a three-round windward/leeward course was set parallel to the shore, 0.65nm long. The J/70 class got away but there was disappointment for EXESS in the J/80s, having led all the way round, to return and find she was over the line at the start. This left the win to current series leader BETTY (Jon Powell). In the J/70s a mere 66 seconds separated the fleet on the finish line, with North Sails taking this first race.

In the second White Group race there were individual recalls in the J/70s and J/80s but this time everyone returned quickly. Halfway through, the wind started to shift and had soon gone through 90 degrees to the south-west. The race was shortened and the committee boat moved inshore ready for the third race. With the wind in the 8-10 knot range the J/70s got away cleanly only for one of the forecast gusts to come in at over 20 knots just two minutes before the J/80 start. At this point the committee boat’s anchor began to drag causing a short delay. The enthusiasm of the fleet to get under way showed when half the boats were too keen on the start line. With several hidden in the middle a general recall was needed before all went smoothly on the next attempt. Again, there was close racing in the J/70s. This time the fleet finished within 27 seconds after 50 minutes of racing. Simon Cavey in PHEEBS posted two wins and a third for the day, whilst BETTY (Jon Powell) gained the same score in the J/80s.

As a result of the days scores, Ian Atkins' boats.com crew are still in the lead, but having less than a brilliant day on the scorecard (a 4-2), all of a sudden they look vulnerable despite having a seemingly insurmountable series lead.  With 23 pts total, the boats.com team has a 7 pts lead over the fast improving PHEEBS team lead by Simon Cavey, now with an aggregate 30 pts.  Also faltering a bit this past weekend was NORTH SAILS (Ruairidh Scott) notching a 2-4 on his scorecard to drop into third two points back with 32 pts.

The J/80s continue to see Jon Powell and crew riding the mighty BETTY fast, hard and furious, never letting up on the fleet and rarely showing a chink in their armor.  With 19 pts, the betting is good that BETTY is well on her way to taking the J/80s with 19 pts after 12 races!  Behind them by 23 pts is Gillian Ross's ROCK & ROLL in second overall.  They're followed by Allan Higgs' JUICY with 59 pts in third place.

Next weekend sees additional racing on Saturday for the Spring Championship whilst the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series meets for the fifth time on Sunday 21st April 2013.  Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie    For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information