Saturday, June 29, 2013

Long Beach Race Week Preview

J/105 one-design sailboats- sailing off Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)- One of the classic California regattas will be taking place this coming weekend off Long Beach, renowned for being the host of the famous match race series, the Congressional Cup.  The conditions are considered the best in southern California, with summer sea-breezes often developing out of the West at 10-17 kts.

Over the course of time, the event has become a big J/Fest with six J one-design fleets participating, including J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/105s, J/109s and J/120s. In addition, there are two PHRF divisions with several offshore J racing teams sailing.

The fast-growing J/70 class in SoCal has eight teams sailing with top sailors from Cal Race Week also gunning for repeat performances. New York YC Annual Regatta J/70 class winner Bennet Greenwald will be sailing PERSEVERANCE, others sure to be challenging them will be Cal Week J/70 class winners Jenkins/ Kownacki on DFZ, Karl Pomeroy's ZERO TO 60, Dan Gribble & Kurt Wiese's GO-RILLA, and looking for redemption will be Dr Laura Schlessinger's VENDETTA.

Five teams are sailing in the J/80s, including multiple class winner Curt Johnson sailing AVET and Cal Week's runner-up Steve Wyman on NUHUNU.  The J/24 class has a small turnout but had some good teams participating, including past winner Susan Taylor's TAKE FIVE.

The J/105 class has six teams sailing and the fleet may see a repeat of the battle for the lead during California Race Week a few weeks earlier between Gary Mozer's CURRENT OBSESSION 2 from Marina del Rey and Rick Goebel's SANITY from San Diego, as well as Rich Bergmann's ZUNI BEAR from San Diego.

With seven boats sailing, the J/109s also will see the leaders from Cal Race Week participating, including Tom Brott's ELECTRA from Seal Beach, Bryce Benjamin's PERSISTENCE, Peter Nelson's SPRAY and Alice Leahey's GRACE O'MALLEY all from Cal YC.

The nine boat J/120 class has most all of the top SoCal teams participating, including several champions over the past few years.  Amongst the potential leaders may be John Laun's CAPER, Mike Hatch's J-ALMIGHTY, Tom & Terri Manok's POLE DANCER and Chuck Nichols' CC RIDER.

In PHRF Division, will be a cadre of fast, well-sailed J's, including the famous offshore speedster DOUBLE TROUBLE, the J/125 sailed by duo of Peter Krueger and Andy Costello; the J/125 DERIVATE sailed by Mark Surber; the J/133 TANGO skippered by Roy Jones; the J/111 JATO sailed by the duo of Bill Webster and Mike Moorhead; the J/124 CIRRUS sailed by  Tim Harmon; the J/35 RIVAL led by the duo of Dave Boatner and Dick Velthoen; and the J/105 LEGACY by Bruce Cooper. Sailing the PHRF Random Leg (around government marks) division is the J/133 PICANTE sailed by Doug Jorgensen.  For more Long Beach Race Week sailing information

J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE 4-Peats Spinnaker Cup!

J/125 Double Trouble sailing San Francisco Bay- Farallones Island RaceDT and J/111 AEOLUS Dominate Farallones Race
(San Francisco, CA)- Looking at the success of Peter Krueger and Andy Costello's J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE, one is reminded of other sporting achievements that are roughly parallel to their efforts.  For example, Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls were a pretty tough group with a supporting cast like Scottie Pippen and 3 pt gunners John Paxson and Steve Kerr.  "Da Bulls" are now celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first three-peat as NBA World Champions.  Then, they had a "repeat three-peat"?!  An un-paralleled achievement in sport, anywhere.  Winning sailboat races is never easy, particularly offshore with a few zillion variables tossed in for good measure and boats often going to extremes to win (e.g. hitting corners).  So, to win a race, any race or regatta four times in a row is pretty special-- the DT gang are basking in "rare air" standing tall atop the Spinnaker Cup Race podium and savoring yet another sweet victory for the record books.

Three-peat winners- Chicago Bulls basketball- like four-peaters Double Trouble J/125 sailboat!Said Andy after their victory, "We finished up our 4th overall Spin Cup victory in good shape. I think we corrected out 45 minutes in front of the next boat. We also ended up beating the RP 45 Criminal Mischief boat-for-boat! We passed them down wind in 30 plus knots of breeze thru Monterey Bay. Our GPS track had us clocked at over 25 knots of boat speed for over a minute. We averaged over 17 knots for last 35 miles of the race. The 125 is a wicked design!"

Andy goes on to say, "We just sailed around the Farallones Island in the 58 nm Round Farallones Race.  Incredibly, it looks like it's good for back to back wins in it! Here are few shots of us hovering at 20 knots under the Golden Gate Bridge for the finish!"  The DT gang again eclipsed the "criminals" on the RP 45 by over forty-five minutes on corrected time to take both PHRF 1 Class honors as well as overall PHRF honors!

Also sailing a terrific Farallones Race was the J/111 AEOLUS sailed by Rob Theis from Santa Barbara YC.  Rob and crew managed to finish in second place in PHRF 2 and take fifth overall in PHRF on their first major offshore outing!  They managed to beat some downwind flyers like a Quest 33, Hobie 33, Farr 36 and an very experienced Express 37 crew.  Sailing photo credit-    For more J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE sailing information - Spinnaker Cup   Round Farallones Race sailing information

J/Day Sailing Chicago & Jimmy Buffet Concert!

Jimmy Buffet rock concert with JBoats sailboats (Chicago, IL)-  Around the world of music, there are few entertainers as popular amongst sailors as the famous Jimmy Buffet.  Long a fan of the sport of sailing and famous for his "Margaritaville" life-style in Key West, Florida, Jimmy and his band will be performing on Saturday, June 29th right on the Chicago city waterfront.

Concurrent to the evening concert, a "J/Day" is planned with fun, family sailing races with balloons and other crazy things; plus there will be some regular sailing races followed by a barbecue on the Columbia YC docks.  Following the "barbie food", a J/flotilla will embark to the Jimmy Buffet concert, so you can listen from your boats!  A day no Chicago J/Sailor should miss!   For more J/Day sailing information and registration

Friday, June 28, 2013

J/122 RESOLUTE Takes Bermuda One-Two Outbound

Bermuda One-Two sailors enjoying dinner on Bermuda!(Newport, RI/ St George's, Bermuda)- One of the classic short-handed races is the 635nm Bermuda One-Two Race.  It's a race many sailors look forward to in between the Storm Trysail's fully-crewed version that takes place in even years.  For most, the "odd years" sailing from Newport to Bermuda outbound single-handed and returning on the summer solstice from Bermuda to Newport sailing double-handed, is the ultimate test of sailing skill.

After a gorgeous start on June 8th with sunny skies and a beam reach out of Narragansett Bay, Scott Miller's J/122 RESOLUTE managed to draw first blood and win Class 1 on both elapsed and handicap time over a C&C 41 and a Class 40!

The fleet is now sailing the return double-handed leg from Bermuda to Newport and Scott is sailing with friend George Hazelton.  At noon on June 20th the fleet took off from the Sound. The wind kept shifting from WSW to SSW but the fleet made it out of the Town Cut with no problems.  The fast ferry even arrived between classes; very accommodating.  The fleet are being tracked by Yellowbrick again, for you armchair sailors you can monitor and strategize what's the best course for the given winds and cut-across past the infamous meanders of the Gulf Stream.   For more Bermuda One-Two sailing information

J/111 JEZEBEL Wins Celtic Regatta

J/111 international one-design sailboat- sailing off Wales, United Kingdom(North Wales United Kingdom)- The 2013 Celtic Regatta incorporating the ‘J Challenge’ was hosted by Pwllheli Sailing Club over three days in June. The Regatta was organized in response to the growing fleet of racing boats in Pwllheli Wales and in particular in the J classes.

Racing started on Friday 14th June with three windward leeward races. The Welsh National Event Centre Race Management Team started the regatta at the scheduled time despite the challenging force 5 winds and just as the skies and rain cleared to reveal the fantastic backdrop of the glorious Llyn Peninsula and the mountains of Snowdonia and mid Wales.  In fact, the sailors were treated to mostly sunny skies, windy conditions accompanied by enormous seas-- it was a glorious weekend of sailing in northern Wales along the spectacular Irish Sea.

J/109 one-design sailboats- sailing off north Wales, United KingdomJ/109 JEEPSTER (David Lean) took an early lead in the regatta with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd closely followed by J/109 SGRECH (Stephen Tudor - ISORA 2012 champion) with two 1sts and a 5th.  The competitors were greeted ashore by Kev ‘Bach’ Williams of ‘HEART FM DISCO SOUNDS’ and later entertained by Meinir Gwilym.

The second day's racing was in a force 6 with wind speeds averaging 25 knots and gusting 30 knots. All competitors thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and exhilaration of the surfing conditions on the downwind legs and Andy Green the official photographer captured excellent images of boats in action.  SGRECH took the first race and then two 2nds. J/111 JEZEBEL (Guy Cowper) found her pace and scored 2nd and then finished the day with two firsts.  Saturday afternoon ashore entertainment was by the GYPSY TRIO and followed by a superb crew dinner for 90 competitors, friends and guests and music by the WEE BAG BAND until the early hours.

J/109 sailing upwind at Celtic Cup in north Wales, United KingdomSGRECH led the regatta at the start of day three with JEZEBEL and JEEPSTER looking to snatch a victory. With lighter 17 knots of wind SGRECH failed to repeat her strong wind performance and the impressive JEZEBEL came first in the first race. So it was all down to the final race and with JEZEBEL pushed onto the course side at the start of the last race SGRECH failed to take advantage and JEZEBEL won the regatta by one point (10 points). SGRECH was second on 11 points and JEEPSTER third on 14 points.

The J/109 MOJITO fought it out with JETSTREAM for 4th place and finished the regatta with a second place on the last race and JETSTREAM achieved their best result in the earlier race (2nd).  All results were very close and the standard of racing was considered exceptional with evidence of good seamanship in the high wind regatta.

Gareth Roberts the CHPSC Events Manager presented prizes to the winning boats donated by English Braids, Sta-Lok and Partington Marine and thanked all competitors, race management team - lead by Richard Tudor, volunteers, staff, entertainers and sponsors including Cwrw Llyn and Hafan.

The Pwllheli J/Teams will be taking part in the DĂșn Laoghaire Regatta Ireland in July.  Planning has started for the 2014 event which will be hosted in the new Sailing Academy and National Event Centre and details will be posted on   Sailing photo credits- Andy Green - Green Sea Sailing   For more Celtic Cup Regatta sailing information

Thursday, June 27, 2013

J/120 ALIBI Stars in Marion-Bermuda Race

J/120 offshore cruiser racer sailboat- winning Bermuda Race off St David's Lighthouse (Marion, MA)- This year's 645nm race from Marion to Bermuda was anything but typical.  Starting with good breeze with many boats anticipating a record run, the wind ultimately shut-down with some of the leading teams nearly in sight of Bermuda's famous St David's Light finish line.  Persevering through the challenging conditions was the experienced blue-water team aboard the J/120 ALIBI skippered by Gardner Grant from Westport, CT, a recent winner in the Block Island Race and now Marion-Bermuda Race class and overall champion!

Early wind in the Bermuda ocean races often dangles race records like a time carrot in front of the bows of the big boats. But the record is very elusive. When the top of the course has pressure and speed, the system that is producing the wind is already moving out into the North Atlantic.

As high pressure expands from the West and to the South of the original windy area, a proverbial "parking lot" grows right in the middle of the last 100 miles of the course.  Most racers call this area the "Happy Valley", happy because that's how you describe skippers and navigators who've gone delirious!

The 'handicap' leaders for most of the race were the smaller boats that kept the old, reaching breeze longer and made their time on the other larger boats in their class. Towards the end of the race, the winds shifted into the southerly quadrants with 5-12 kt breezes moving the fleet along nicely.  For most of the fleet, the low pressure system built from Monday into Tuesday as the low moved off the mid-Atlantic coast and squeezed the high back to the southeast.  One of the prime beneficiaries of this front was the ultimate winner, the J/120 ALIBI.

Also participating in this year's event were two well-known media and TV personalities- Geraldo Rivera who's now on FOX NEWS and also Dan Egan, ski/ sports extreme adventurer from Boston.  While Geraldo sailed his own boat quite respectably, Dan joined with friends on the J/122 AUGUST WEST sailed by Jamey Shachoy from Marion, MA. They managed to have fun and take a sixth in class and beating Geraldo!  Sweet!

J/122 August West shredding spinnaker at start of Marion to Bermuda RaceEven better, Dan wrote about his account on the sports blog.  Titled "Ski Bum at Sea", Dan loves to write about action sports and adventures.  He thrives on action and has been at the forefront of the extreme sports scene since the mid 1980s. As a pro athlete, Egan pioneered extreme skiing and the extreme sports industry. He led adventure trips around the world from the Alps to the Arctic. His company ( runs camps and clinics across North America, Europe and South America. Dan's is not only a writer, but a world-renowned extreme skiing pioneer and an award-winning and Emmy nominated media producer. Here is some of Dan's commentary on the race:

"Joseph Campbell famously once said, 'The best things in life can not be described, the second best thing in life are the things we attempt to describe and the third best things in life are the ones we talk about.'

One thing is for sure: sailing the open ocean at night can’t be described, and in the spirit of Joseph Campbell, I will not attempt to do so here.

But what I can tell you is that Marion, Mattapoisett and Padanaram, Massachusetts are towns where sailing reigns. Located in those towns are some of the most respected boat yards, boat wrights, and sailors in the world.

The annual Marion to Bermuda Race is a rite of passage in this part of New England, and the scene at the dock with generations of families ranging in age from four months to 80 plus years old, wishing us luck is equally hard to describe.

On the boat I sailed on, ages ranged from 18 year-olds to seasoned sailors, many of whom had done this race as many as 13 times. The largest boat in the race, Shindig, had a father-son team on board. Mark Riley and his son kept a blog with that is very moving and both the father and son are sailing the boat back later this week.

I sailed on the boat August West. We had an amazing start, only to blow out the spinnaker three miles into the race. We eventually sewed it back and referred to it as Frankenkite, but by then the leaders were too far out in front to catch. This photo was taken by Hew Russell of our kite ripping away from the boat.

Racing these sailboats is a mix of mental endurance and physical grind, with three-hour watches at night and four hour watches during the day. The hardest part of sailing in general is staying focused on making the boat go fast and in a 650 mile race like this, that often can be a tall order. We had eight crew members to motivate each other, and the winner of the race (on the boat Alibi) was a double-handed entry. I can only imagine that their challenges during sail changes and rough seas were greater than ours."  Read more about Dan's adventures here on (   Sailing photo credits- Spectrum Images   For more Marion to Bermuda Race sailing information

Gorgeous New York YC Annual Regatta

J/122 offshore one-design cruiser-racer sailboat at New York YC annual regattaJ Sailors Winners Across the Board!
NEWPORT, R.I. (June 16, 2013)  – The New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex—the oldest regatta in the country—has entered the history books for the 159th time. With 153 teams competing, the 2013 edition also was the largest Annual Regatta on record, with enough action on the water and ashore to guarantee the event’s venerable reputation into the next century.  The regatta was blessed with great sailing conditions all three days, starting with the immensely popular Around Jamestown Island Race, a 20nm affair that can challenge the best sailors anywhere.  A massive frontal system was moving offshore, greeting the sailors with 20-30 kts of NNE breeze on Friday's Round Island race. Saturday saw beautiful SSW breezes in the 6 to 13 kts range with partly cloudy skies and balmy temperatures.  By Sunday, a weak cold front presented the fleet with dazzling blue skies and a cool fresh Northerly blowing 8-15 kts in the morning that slowly died off by noon, followed by 6-14 kts of classic SSW sea-breezes under sunny skies in the afternoon.

“We are proud and privileged to be able to open our home to this many yachtsman and sailors that come from all over the world, both professional and Corinthian, with great crews,” said Commodore Thomas Harrington after an Annual Regatta dinner that hosted 800 sailors and is as much of a tradition as the racing. “We extend the hospitality of the New York Yacht Club both on the water and off, because what we are about is sharing in our traditions. And like anything else, to have a great party you need people to come, and they came.”

J/Teams were a significant part of the regatta, and the parties!  One-design J's included J/70s, J/80s, J/105s and J/111s. Sailing on the Red course located just north of Newport Bridge in Narragansett Bay were the J/70s, which also are preparing for their first J/70 North American's in Annapolis, MD. Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT lived up to its name by launching itself into first place on Sunday after winning three of four races to displace Saturday’s leader SUGAR DADDY, skippered by Mark Ploch.  Finishing third in the eleven boat class was Heather Gregg-Earl and Joe Bardenheier's MUSE.  Rounding out the top five were brothers Blake & Lud Kimbrough's NOSTALGIA in fourth and Don & Tim Finkle's JUNIOR in fifth.

Racing on the same course were the J/80s, also preparing for their North Americans next week being held concurrently with Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week.  Taking the crown with three bullets on the last day were Will & Marie Crump sailing R80.  Finishing with three 2nds on the final day to snag second overall was John Storck and family racing their famous RUMOR!  Taking three 3rds on Sunday to take the bronze on the podium was Jeff Johnstone racing LITTLE FEAT.  Taking fourth was Guy Nickerson's PRESSURE and fifth was Peter McCarthy's EAGLE.

J/122 offshore cruiser racer sailboat- US Naval Academy's ORION.Sailing outside on Rhode Island Sound were the Blue, White and Green race courses.  Both sailing days brought challenging conditions to these fleets.  In the J/111 class, Henry Brauer's FLEETWING sailed a very consistent series, taking two 1sts and three 2nds to win with 8 pts, 5 pts clear of the fleet.  In a donnybrook behind them were Marty Roesch's VELOCITY and Doug Curtiss's WICKED 2.0 helmed by designer Rod Johnstone.  The last two races determined the outcome, with VELOCITY taking a 1-3 to take second overall while WICKED 2.0 sailed a 4-2 to finish third overall behind by one point!  It could not have been closer racing overall for the 111s, with positions changing virtually every leg.  Of note, was that FLEETWING never rounded the first mark in first place and three boats won races, including Dave Brodsky and Fred van Liew's ODYSSEY.

Sailing on the same course as the J/111s were IRC 3 Class.  It just so happened this class of eight boats had to contend with five incredibly experienced offshore racing teams sailing J/122s and J/44s.  In the end, the J/122s dominated with Mike  Bruno's WINGS taking first by a whisker over the US Naval Academy Sailing Squadron's Neil McMillan sailing DOLPHIN.  Third was Paul Milo's team aboard ORION.  Fourth in class was the gorgeous aquamarine J/44 GOLD DIGGER skippered by Jim Bishop from Jamestown, RI.

Over on the more westerly White Course were IRC 4 and the J/105s.  In IRC 4, Bill Sweetser sailed his J/109 RUSH fast and furiously, enough to take second and eclipse one of New York YC's more famous boats, Vice Commodore Rives Potts' 48 foot CARINA.

J/92s offshore racer cruiser sailboat- sailing New York YC Around Island RaceThe J/105s had incredibly close competition with just two points separating the top three!  In the end, finishing strongly to take overall honors was Sean & Susan Doyle's KESTREL from Cos Cob, CT.  Settling for second was Fed Darlington's TONTO and taking third after leading the first day were Mark & Jolene Masur's TWO FEATHERS from Fort Worth, TX.

The Green Class teams were sailing the PHRF Navigators races, courses that took them around Narragansett Bay and into Rhode Island Sound.  In PHRF 6 class, the J/92s SPIRIT sailed by EC Helme took third and in PHRF 7 class, the J/29 MEDDLER skippered by Brian Kiley finished second.

Finally, past J/105 North American Champion, Stew Neff, skippering his Etchells 22 SCIMITAR, held the lead over two days and five races to win his class. "This weekend was full of tricky conditions and tough competition, but we sailed well enough to win the regatta," said Neff, who won the Etchells North American Championship in 1992 and is preparing for the 2013 event scheduled here next week.  "This weekend was great practice for the North Americans coming up this week; about half the fleet was here."   Sailing photo credits- Rolex/ Daniel Forster   For more New York YC Annual Regatta sailing information

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wild Ride To Guernsey

J/109 offshore one-design cruising racing sailboat- sailing RORC raceJ/Teams Dominate IRC 3 In RORC De Guingand Bowl
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The 120nm race to Guernsey produced some of the toughest conditions in this year's RORC Season's Points Championship so far.

In IRC 3 Class, J/Teams dominated, taking seven of the top 10 overall.  Second in IRC 3 was Todd Wells with the J/109, JE VANTE, beating five other J/109s racing to Guernsey. Todd Wells sums up a tough race- "Well that is the sort of race when you ask; why do we do this stuff? From a light start of 15 knots, the weather forecast was as predicted and we knew what was coming. Two thirds of the way to the Casquets, we peeled to the heavy No. 3 and all was fine....Then we hit it. It wasn't so much the wind which was about 28 knots but those Atlantic rollers, some up to 4m, which tossed us mercilessly. Wet, bumpy and torrid for 25 miles against tide; that's when you re-evaluate why you sail offshore! So eventually after four hours or more, it ended. Bearing away to a reach, we spot J/109 Jarhead; a scalp to aim for. We hoisted the kite for the last 3 miles and in up to 25 knot gusts we took her, what a stunning result for Je Vante and I'd like to say how proud I am of you my crew! Thanks for that stunning result guys and thanks much more for enduring it."

Behind JE VANTE were the J/109 JARHEAD (Greg Nasmyth) in third, the J/109 JIBE (Robin Taunt) in fourth, the J/109 J-T'AIME (Chris Palmer) in fifth, the J/105 DIABLO-J (Nick Martin who also took second overall in IRC Double class) in sixth, the J/109 JAZZY JELLYFISH (Kevin Armstrong) in seventh and the J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS (Tom Hayhoe) in ninth!  Quite a show by these J sailors!  Thanks for contribution from RORC press officer Louay Habib.   Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson   For more RORC De Guingand Bowl Race sailing information

Stellar J/70 & J/80 UK Nationals

J/70 one-design sailboat- world's fastest growing one-design sailboatScott Wins J/70s, Sproul Takes J/80s
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron from Friday 14th June to Sunday 16th June 2013, the rapidly growing J/70 class and the large J/80 fleet held their National Championships in widely varying, challenging sailing conditions on the Solent. Winners in the J/70s were Ruairidh Scott on NORTH SAILS and in the J/80s was Rob Larke on J2X.

Expectations were high amongst the J/80 fleet following a stellar 2012 season. The J/80 World Championships came to the UK for the first time in seven years, and hosted an incredible seventy-six boats from nine nations including the USA and Hong Kong. Twenty-six boats then went on to compete in the J/80 UK Nationals in September. The Nationals provided a nice warm up for UK teams sailing the 2013 World Championships in July, where more than 130 boats are expected to travel to host city Marseille.

The J/70 UK Nationals were the first major UK one-design regatta for the new sportsboat that is storming the world. J/70 crews will then go on and sail one-design at Cowes Week and at the fabulous J-Cup Regatta at the end of August.

The first day of the regatta on Friday could not have been nicer.  Both fleets were presided over by PRO Captain Simon Van Der Byl. Conditions on the race-track (in the area of Brambles Bank) were some of the Solent’s finest with a brisk but variable 10 to 18 knots from South to South West. Captain Van Der Byl explained, "We really did have the best of days. We had to use the Z flag on the first start for the J/80 fleet but after that the behavior of both the J/70s and the J/80s was immaculate."

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing upwind off Cowes, EnglandThe J/80s were first away for Race 1 of the two races scheduled. Once the fleet had settled down following the deployment of the Z flag, Kevin Sproul led Race 1 from the start in J.A.T and took the bullet at the finish line. Sproul said, "The Squadron did a fantastic job with the course. We sailed well and we had good boat speed. In the second race Stewart Hawthorn just got past us. It was great racing." Hawthorn and his crew on board J’ai Deux Amours were clearly pleased with the way things went for them. "We managed to get away from the fleet and get ourselves inside the leading pack at the penultimate mark. From then we managed to stay ahead until the line." But, it was a day where consistency delivers its own rewards and a mid-fleet result for Hawthorn in the first race countered by consistency and some strong and intelligent sailing by Allan Higgs with Team Juicy and Jon Powell with Betty put them in second and third place respectively, each on eight points at the close of the first day.

J/70 one-design offshore speedster- sailed by Russell Peters from West Kirby Sailing ClubThe first race for the J/70s saw newcomer to the Class, Russell Peters and his team on BOB in first at the first windward mark!  But, Race 1 and Race 2 ultimately belonged to Ruairidh Scott and his boys on board North Sails who scored bullets in both. Ben Field, tactician for North Sails explained, "We got the boat going well, we took the shifts and tried to play every little lift and header. Russell did a tremendous job keeping the pressure on, as did the guys in Team RABF Spitfire." Ruairidh added, "The first race was really close but at the start of the second we saw a potential fight brewing at the pin and we came up to avoid it. We got a clean start and then worked the shifts as they arrived to our advantage." At the close of racing, North Sails led the J/70 UK Nationals with Bob in second place with five points and Simon Ling’s Team RABF Spitfire in third, also on five points.

It was a challenging day on the water for all on Sunday. Having completed the first two races of the championship on Friday in sublime race conditions, competitors were sent ashore and racing was abandoned before the first start sequence on Saturday, as an easily sailable 21 knots quickly built to a steady 33 knots in the course area near Mother Bank on the Solent. Three races were scheduled for Sunday, of which two were completed by the J/70s and the J/80s in a fading breeze of between 6 and 12 knots which swung between 230 and 190 degrees.

J/80 international one-design sailboat class- sailing off Cowes, EnglandSunday was a ‘double bullet’ day both for Rob Larke and his crew in the J/80 National Championship fleet on J2X and also for Ruairidh Scott and the boys on the J/70, North Sails. For Ruairidh, these two wins completed his perfect regatta score-line and stamped convincing authority on this first J/70 UK National Championship title. Conversely, for Rob in the J/80 fleet, two wins on the final day of racing, although impressive, were not sufficient to overhaul Kevin Sproul and his crew on board J.A.T who had led the regatta from Race One and, having never posted a result outside of the top two across the series, were deserving winners of the 2013 J/80 UK National Championship.

Both fleets were invited to a Pimms loaded prize-giving on The Platform at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Sunday afternoon, which, unsurprisingly, was extraordinarily well attended. PRO Captain Simon Van Der Byl thanked competitors for their sportsmanship throughout the weekend and presented prizes alongside the Rear Commodore for Finance, the Honourable Patrick Seely.

In the J/80 fleet, Gillian Ross and her crew from Rock & Roll were presented with the prize for Most Improved J/80 which was sponsored by Race Yacht Services. Rock & Roll’s results got better and better as the championship progressed, perhaps aided and abetted by the team’s visit to the Isle of Wight Festival.

The Best Corinthian J/80 Team at the J/80 Nationals was Jon Powell and his crew on Betty. There are many full-time professional sailors racing J/80s and J/70s and both classes acknowledge that recognition is due for outstanding achievement by the ‘amateurs’ in each fleet. In the J/70 Class The Best Corinthian Team was Simon Ling and the boys on board Team RAFBF Spitfire Powered by SLAM. The prizes were generously sponsored by Fastnet Insurance.

It was a short hop back to the podium for Jon Powell: he and his crew on Betty finished third overall at the 2013 J/80 UK National Championship with 15 points across the series. Rob Larke and J2X finished in second place with 11 points. J.A.T finished on just 7 points and the 2013 UK National Champions, Kevin Sproul, Phil Taylor, Chris Taylor and Chris Fisher were presented with the silverware and were congratulated by the assembled fleet.

In third place at the 2013 J/70 UK National Championship was Simon Ling and his crew from Team RAFBF Spitfire Powered by SLAM with 12 points on their score-sheet. Second overall was class newcomer Russell Peters and his team from Bob with 9 points. Ruairidh Scott, Hugh Fletcher, Ben Field and Matt Curthoys sailing North Sails stepped up to accept the J/70 UK National Championship title, never having lost a race. They were presented with a stunning J/70 half-model, sponsored by Wilson Covers.

On behalf of the J/70 and the J/80 fleets, Ruairidh thanked all at the Royal Yacht Squadron for the Club’s unrivaled hospitality and for the excellent race management delivered by Captain Simon Van Der Byl and his team. He went on to congratulate and thank his crew for their skill and support throughout the season so far and all of those racing at the championship for their competition and sportsmanship. Sincere thanks were also proffered for the other supporting sponsors of the event, Grapefruit Graphics, Peters and May, Wight Vodka and SLAM.

The next key event on the 2013 calendar for J/80 and J/70 sailors is AAM Cowes Week and then both fleets will race at the J-Cup in Plymouth later in August. The 2014 J/70 and J/80 UK National Championships will take place at Poole Regatta from the 24th to 26th May 2014.   Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson   For more J/70 & J/80 UK Nationals sailing information

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

J/111 Breaking 20+ Kts Off Marstrand

J/111 speedo - going 20+ knots! (Marstrand, Sweden)- Peter Gustafsson and crew aboard BLUR.SE went out for their training session in May on the northwestern Baltic Sea on a grey, steely day with winds blowing just 20-26 kts.  Many other boats were out practicing prior to the first race weekend of the season-- most were having great difficulty controlling their boats, most broaching wildly.  The J/111 crew on BLUR.SE simply went about their training session like a "walk in the park on Sunday morning", effortlessly gybing several times (see their technique in the video) and planing up to 20.26 kts on their GPS/ speedo!  Watch this YouTube video of the J/111 BLUR.SE.

Similarly, the J/111 #17 sailed by Dorian McKelvy has been out sailing quite actively and are also having a great time with their boat.  Here is their first regatta video on

J/Teams Love Cleveland Race Week!

J/70 one-design sailboat- sailing Cleveland Race Week Cleveland, OH (June 16, 2013) – Seventy-one one-design boats invaded Cleveland Race Week at Edgewater Yacht Club on June 14-16. Seven fleets competed, including four J one-design classes- J/22, J/24, J/70 and J/105. Light and inconsistent breeze on Saturday allowed only the J/105s to complete a race. Sunday dawned with winds between 14-16 knots, and all fleets were able to run three races.

J/22 one-design sailboats- sailing off Cleveland OH at Cleveland Race WeekThe largest fleet competing were the J/22s with sixteen boats participating from all over the Great Lakes.  Adding yet another feather in their cap was Chris Doyle and gang sailing THE JUG 4 1 from Youngstown, NY.  The JUG's 1-3-1 record for 5 pts was by no means a walk over, narrowly beating chief rival Travis Odenbach on HAARSTICK SAILMAKERS with their 2-2-2 tally for 6 pts.  Taking third was Tod Sackett on TRACTION with 11 pts, fourth was Vic Snyder on MO'MONEY and fifth was RJ Moon on MOONLIGHTING.

The J/24s did see a "runaway" in the form of FUGUE STATE sailed by Kevin O'Brien.  Their three firsts could not be matched by any other team.  In fact Dean Riedy tried, but their HALL PASS failed to get the ticket to pass go and had to settle for three seconds!  Third was Cathy Graf sailing GRAFIX.

J/70s had a terrific regatta with the second largest one-design fleet at the event.  Having learned some lessons from Key West and Charleston Race Week, Dave Ullman from ULLMAN SAILS simply staged another "runaway" with three firsts in three races to win handily.  Second was Ron Copfer on CLOUDSOURCED with three seconds and third was J/70 Class President Joe Colling.  Fourth was Tim Gibbs and fifth was David Koski sailing SOUL.

J/105 world saw the Sminchak family team (photo at right) led by Mindy Sminchak to a dominant four first places, the third example of a runaway in the Cleveland regatta.  Their closest competitor was Robert Mock's UNBRIDLED with three seconds.  Taking third was Eric Sutherland on ROLLICK.  For more Cleveland Race Week sailing information

Block Island Race Week Preview

(Block Island, RI)- For many sailors in northeastern America and their friends from the around the world, Block Island Race Week is the highlight of the sailing summer.  Hosted by the Storm Trysail Club with professional, well-managed race committee's, sailors can count on fantastic racing for five straight days of sailing from June 24th to 28th.  Included in the schedule is another one of those fabulous "round island" races, the 25nm Around Block Island Race sailed mid-week.  While many enjoy the sailing, it's not unusual for many of the thousand-plus sailors to enjoy the renown "Block Party" that goes all week long, fueled by Mt Gay's famous rum and, equally as famous, The Oar Restaurant & Bar's famous "mudslides".

This year the sailing teams are looking forward to one of the largest fleets to assemble in years, with 183 boats registered to sail, J/Boats having by far the largest brand presence in the regatta with 80 boats participating (44% of the fleet!).  Six J one-design classes are sailing, including the J/111s, the J/80 North American's and East Coast Championships for the J/109, J/105s, J/44s and J/29s.  J/Teams are also sailing in the IRC and PHRF handicap divisions.

The J one-design teams are loaded with excellent sailing talent.  With eight boats, the fabulous turnout for the J/44s include several past J/44 North American and Block Island champions, including Jim Bishop's GOLD DIGGER, Jeff Willis's CHALLENGE IV, Bill Ketcham's MAXINE and Norm Schulman's CHARLIE V.

The J/111 class have a strong fleet of five boats, all of whom have won various handicap and one-design events over the past two years, including ANDIAMO (Paul Strauch), BRAVO (Sedgwick Ward), PARTNERSHIP (David & Maryellen Tortorello who are reigning STC BI Week J/111 champions), WICKED 2.0 (Doug Curtiss who's reigning BI Week 2012 champion) and class newcomer EAGLES DARE (Mike Piper from Marblehead, MA).

The fifteen boat J/109 class are hosting their East Coast Championships and all recent North American champions are participating, including Bill Sweetser's RUSH, Rick Lyall's STORM and Ted Herlihy's GUT FEELING.  Other teams that may factor into the hunt for some silverware include CAMINOS (Don Fillippelli), NORDLYS (Bob Schwartz), PAX 3(Bob Siegel) and SKOOT (Jim Vos).

With fourteen boats, the J/105s have a combination of veteran teams as well as some new faces in the crowd.  Amongst the veterans with North American, East Coast and regional series championships silverware are ECLIPSE (Damian Emery who's reigning STC Block Island Race Week champion), LOU LOU (Bruce Stone), JADED (Peter Rugg), PLANET CLAIRE (John & Marisa Koten), TONTO (Fred Darlington) and TWO FEATHERS (Mark & Jolene Masur).

With their North American Championship on the line, the J/80's sixteen boats are also the largest J one-design class participating.  There are several top teams sailing with North American, Sailing World NOOD, Key West and East Coast champion credentials amongst them, including R80 (Will & Marie Crump fresh off a NOOD and New York YC Annual Regatta wins), RUMOR (John Storck, Jr and family), Clarke McKinnney, Bert Carp, CHURCH KEY (Chris & Liz Chadwick), FKA (Les Beckwith) and COURAGEOUS (Gary Panariello).

Enjoying a bit of a renaissance are the J/29s with six boats attending this year's event.  The two principal rivals with North American and Key West Race Week titles in their past will be at it again with HUSTLER (John & Tony Esposito) and MIGHTY PUFFIN (Steve Thurston) dueling for class supremacy.  However, don't count out DIRTY HARRY (Jack McGuire) and SEEFEST (Ira Perry who has won Charleston Race Week in PHRF class).

Sailing IRC 3 are four J/122s, DOLPHIN (Neil McMillan sailing for the US Naval Academy Sailing Squadron), ORION (Paul Milo), TUMBLEWEED (George and Carole Shaw) and WINGS (Barry Lewis from St Francis YC).  Also sailing are Andrew & Linda Weiss on their J/130 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON VIII.  In IRC 4 are two J/120s, REBECCA (Glenn Gault) and VAREKAI (Peter Hein).

In PHRF world, sailing the PHRF 2 class are the J/100 5 CENT (Nickel van Reesema), the J/109 ZUMA (Macrae & Chronert Sykes) and the J/35 SERAPHIM (David Saurette).  In PHRF 4 is the J/95 GRIN (Richard Eytel).  Sailing PHRF Cruising is the J/24 ISLAND SPIRIT (Bob Closter from Block Island).  In PHRF Double-handed class are the J/90 BLACKWING (Chris Dowling) and the J/100 FLASHPOINT (Adrian Little).  For more Block Island Race Week sailing information

Monday, June 24, 2013

J/88 Family Speedster Update

J/88 one-design family speedster sailboat
(Newport, RI)- The next generation family-friendly speedster is rapidly taking shape at the production facility in Bristol, Rhode Island under the careful supervision of designer Alan Johnstone and CCF Composites.  Seen here with it's deck installed, the J/88 is on-track to launch by late June in time for the masses of sailors that flock to Newport to enjoy the spectacular 4th of July Independence Day celebrations on the water in front of New York YC's Harbour Court and the fireworks display off Fort Adams.

J/88 one-design family speedster sailboat cockpitThe J/88 one-design speedster has over two dozen boats going to European, American and New Zealand customers.  The anticipation has been very high in those areas where 28-32 foot performance sailboats have traditionally been most popular-- Northeast, Mid-Atlantic/ Chesapeake, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, West Coast, as well as the United Kingdom, Benelux, France, Germany and Scandinavia.  For those who can’t make it to Newport this summer, the J/88 will soon be “on tour” making the rounds at most of the major shows this fall including Newport, Southampton and Annapolis.  Over the next six months boats will be on their way to five different countries including New Zealand, UK, Germany, Canada and the USA; and within the USA to Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, Galveston Bay, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan (Chicago), Gulf of Maine, Marblehead, San Francisco and more.

For demo sails on this exciting new addition to the speedster family, please be sure to contact J/Boats ( ph# +1-401-846-8410 or contact your local J/Dealer to make arrangements to sail the J/88 in Newport.  For more J/88 sailboat information

J/24 US Nationals Preview

J/24 one-design sailboat- world's largest one-design classWill Three Big Dogs Prevail?
(Wayzata, MN)- Lake Minnetonka will again be the playground for J/24s as the Wayzata YC hosts them for their National Championship from June 20-23.  As J/24 Fleet #1, Lake Minnetonka has more experience than any other club hosting major events for J/24s over the course of time sailing on the lake since 1977!  The Wayzata YC J/24 sailors are looking forward to another "most excellent" regatta with a stellar group of twenty boats participating.

Recently, the J/24 class established a "World Rankings" website ( that gives J/24 sailors around the world a ranking overall and by country based on performance and participation.  Currently 1,118 sailors and 140 regattas over 4 years were used in these rankings (best four in past two years count using a high point system).  Not surprisingly, six of the top ten are Americans with Brazil, Italy, Argentina and Germany filling out the balance of top teams.  Sailing in this year's J/24 Nationals are three of the Americans, including World #1 Mike Ingham from Rochester, NY, #9 Pat Toole from Santa Barbara, CA sailing his famous THREE BIG DOGS and #10 Travis Odenbach from Rochester, NY sailing HONEY BADGER.  Not to be outdone are some of the famous founding members of  J/24 Fleet #1 sailing with Rolf Turnquist and John Gjerde on the mighty yacht OZ!  For more J/24 US Nationals sailing information

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Delta Ditch Run Sailing J/70 style

J/70 sailing Delta Ditch Run on San Francisco Bay(Richmond, CA)- We received some great reports from the J/70 sailors participating in this infamous race.  It was clear all five J/70s that sailed the race loved it.  Here's Bruce Cooper's report for starters sailing on-board the J/70 ZERO TO SIXTY, quite entertaining:

"Any sailor who says they have raced the best downwind race truly has not done so till they run the ditch! Racing up the delta is loaded with decision making, sail handling and challenges waiting at every bridge and turn.

This race attracts all types of boats. At the start you will see various J/Boats, fast planning monohulls like the M38 and Melges 20's, original Santa Cruz downwind flyers like the Moore 24 and Express 27s, IOR death roll machines and some regular cruising type boats and then an assortment of multihulls ranging from beach size cats to Formula 40 style catamarans and last but certainly not least, throw a foiling moth into the mix!

Racing 67 miles up river in a J/70 in a typical medium to high breeze downwind "gybe, crash and burn times 50" race sounds too good to be true. I joined Karl Pomeroy and Erik Mayol from BCYC in SoCal to race in the 2013 Delta Ditch Run hosted by Richmond YC and Stockton Sailing Club. I had raced this race in Hobie 33's and Melges 24's, so I instantly became the local expert. To date I still have not hit dirt, so at least I know where deeper water is compared to some of the racers who park their boat in the mud every year!

Five J70's started with Tom Jenkins & Erik Kownacki sailing the J/70 "DFZ" double handed with the other J70's sailing with three.  If the breeze comes up, the crew of two will get their workout for the summer and then some! If the wind stays light, this might be the right recipe for steep'n into Stockton ahead of the fleet! Joining the J/70's in the Sport 2+ class was a mix of boats: Melges 20's, Thompson 650, Ultimate 20's, J80's and a heavily modified Santana 27.

J/70 sailing downwind at Delta Ditch sailboat raceThis year, the double handed approach worked perfectly for the speedy "DFZ". Tom and Erik sailed in the front of Sport 2+ class and by the George Miller Memorial Bridge they started to open their lead against the next two J/70's, Peter Cameron's "Baby War Pony" and Pomeroy's "Zero to 60". The strategy of staying in the strongest flood tide while sailing low-deep angles is an important part of the race. I have found that staying away from larger boats that are slower is also a major part, but maybe not as much as staying in the major flood tide when the wind is lighter. "DFZ" and "Baby War Pony" took off from the other 3 J/70's at mid course while we all sailed in-out-back in of slower traffic. The lead J/70's were sailing out of traffic and soaking nicely down the channel.
On "Zero to 60" our strategy changed at turning buoy #19. The two lead J/70's were within sight but were getting 5-7 minutes ahead and the race was getting shorter, not longer. All the boats we could see were headsail reaching on the dog leg left turn, no spinnakers. The breeze is usually windier and gusty here, so spinnaker sailing is a big no-no (unless you are a Wylie Wabbit with big cojones and carry the spin with full trapeze and flog the main and jib), so we put the spinnaker up and let it all hang out. The J/70 sailed the razor thin line of spinning out and keeping the foot on the gas pedal at full RPM passing boats, squeezing in to the lead boats and pulling away from the boat chasing us.

As the river gets closer to Stockton, there are more turns with one or two more tight reaches and then almost dead downwind to the finish line. The breeze "usually" starts to die off, but this year it started to blow with some gusts in the mid-20's. "Zero to 60" pushed hard with the spinnaker up and down on the tight reaches with boats around us spinning out trying to match the narrow angle to stay off the rocks on the leeward side of the channel and out of the mud on the windward side! This was awesome sailing with very little room to maneuver and burn down in the puffs and try to avoid submerged trees sticking out of the water and dozens of water ski boats and jets ski's. We were sailing in a real life sailing combat zone video game, don't spin out Karl!

Delta Ditch Race sailing routeAfter the last tight reach, the dead down angle was the only way to go. By this point, most asymmetric boats have gybed 40+ times with 10+ more gybes before the finish in 5-7 miles. Finally some carnage started to hit the race course with the breeze picking up instead of dying, more gybe wipe outs were happening and one FT-10 stuck in the mud after a spin out! "Zero to 60" went into our 2 minute "no huddle" offense with "wing-on-wing" sailing down the puffs. We were closing rapidly in on the lead J70's as we could get on the step and start planning with the wing-on-wing sail trim. Erik steered dead down wind or just by the lee, I trimmed (held) the spinnaker sheet while Karl was letting out the tack line for better separation from the spinnaker and main. It was exhilarating sailing as each puff would hit and the boat jumped in speed as the boats around us kept wiping out during their jibes. Erik would simply sail toward the spinnaker when the boat got out of balance and kept the boat and sails in perfect balance and trim, it was wicked fast and as good as VMG as you could get!
J70 JAYA- skippered by Craig Tallman:
"In the end, we ran out of race course and crossed 3rd behind "DFZ (3m:30sec ahead)" and "Baby War Pony (0:33sec ahead)". Keeping the spinnaker up on the reaches and the wing-on-wing technique was a big reason we were able to get up next to the lead J/70's by the finish. The earlier part of the race where we jibed away from bigger slower boats and sailed out of the best water and wind made too much separation. The J/70's performed amazingly well in this race and will be a factor in next year's race for sure. But, the best part of the race for the J/70's was at the hoist with all of the other trailerable boats there. Watching (not really helping) Karl and Erik put away the boat and ready it for the hoist and dropping on the trailer made me a believer. It was so dang fast and simple I could not believe it. Seeing the other trailer boats get their ladders out and mess with gin poles to drop the rigs, the J/70 experience was fast and easy.  I would expect to see close to 20 of the J70's at next year's race after taking 1,3,4, 7, 12 in their class and fun it was to race with your friends and how easy the boat was to launch-race-put away at the end of the day."

J/70 DFZ- sailed by Eric Kownacki:
We won our division. PHRF didn't treat the Sport boat division well enough to win overall but we beat the half dozen J70's, 3 or 4 Melges 20's, Thompson 650's, etc boat for boat and corrected. Peter Cameron was the second J/70, he sails from Alameda. Arcadia is that crazy modified Santana 27 that long timer and old timer, crafty old Gordie Nash sails.  Flight Risk was the Thompson and they were so out of control I couldn't tell you what they were doing as it seems when we were near them they were broaching!

It was moderate rather than light. Always wind and we were never below 5 knots over water and usually over 6/7 over land with a 1-2 knot current push. Top speed was 17.2 kts, so we had our moments!! Typically, sailing around 7-8 knots.  I would say most of the race was in the 10-15 kts range with gusts to 25 kts. A Melges 20 snapped a rig (just like one in Charleston that was winning the race). Plenty of the usual groundings. Nacra wrecked on the rocks, etc.  Fun race!"   Sailing photo credits- Slackwater SF   For more Delta Ditch Run sailing information

J/70 Kaliningrad- Sailing on the Baltic Sea!

J/70 women sailors in Russia enjoying sail on Baltic Sea off Kaliningrad.(Kaliningrad, Russia)-  The first training and boat demonstration session for the J/70 MOJO took place over the June 7th to 9th weekend off Kaliningrad.  The wind was somewhat light, just 4-7 kts with gusts up to 12 kts.  The conditions were gorgeous with plenty of sun and warm weather.  Taking the boat for test rides included Irina Gorbatyuk and Dmitry Zaritskiy from Kaliningrad.  Their comments were that "the J/70 is very well behaved, to windward it has very good speed. Downwind with gennaker we were planing in the puffs, very nice!  All who have tried it give the J/70 very high praise, noting that the boat is light and nimble, well-balanced, and very comfortable to drive."  J/Russia are planning on getting a complete sailing program running in Kaliningrad with a fleet of J/70s!