Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ARBITRAGE Wins Sausalito J/105 Invite

J/105s sailing upwind on San Francisco Bay (Sausalito, CA)- This past weekend the San Francisco J/105 fleet was treated to its own race course on the Berkeley Circle courtesy of Sausalito YC.   SYC has been running the event for J/105s-only for years between Sausalito, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.  However, with all the America's Cup hoopla going on, SYC wisely moved the event to the Berkeley Circle to avoid having J/105s sliced in half by 50 kt 72-foot AC catamarans careening out of control.

On Saturday, the winds started at 15 kt, quickly grew to a consistent 30-32 kts, and even hit 50 kts after racing was over and folks were motoring home in their boats across San Francisco Bay!  Scooter Simmons’ BLACKHAWK dominated the first day of racing with a 4th and two bullets, while Bruce Stone and the team on ARBITRAGE were just three points behind with a 2-4-3.  Jeff Littfin's MOJO and Phil Laby's GODOT were tied for third a couple more points back, so with such a closely bunched crowd, the regatta was anyone’s to win going into Sunday.

As has often been the case with the SF J/105s, whatever happened on Saturday would have little bearing on the outcomes for Sunday to determine the final winners.  ARBITRAGE was a bit eager early in the morning (perhaps due to the influence of Stone's custom-made roasted coffee beans) and was called over early in the first race.  Nevertheless, Stone's team clawed their way back for a hard-earned second.  In the last race, the ARBITRAGE team turned in another consistent race, finishing third, to claim the top spot on the podium despite no bullets.  Littfin's MOJO took second and Laby's GODOT third.  Past regatta winner RISK (Jason Woodley & Scott Whitney) was just off the pace in this event but managed a bullet in the last race to secure 4th, while early regatta leader Simmon's BLACKHAWK slid down to fifth place; much of that could be attributed to that fact they sailed a borrowed boat on Sunday after their own boat blew-up the jib roller due to Saturday's heavy winds.

According to Stone, “Steering was quite difficult both days, and big gains were made switching gears. Nicole Breault, our main trimmer and tactician, worked really hard to keep us moving from normal trim into footing mode to punch through the significant chop and get into the next shift.  Since we cross sheet, she had the jib at hand and was able to work both main and jib all the way up the race course.  We feel this made a huge difference in our performance.”  Sailing Photo credits- Rolex/ Daniel Forster.  For more Sausalito YC J/105 Invite sailing information

J/Teams Score In RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race

French J/122 Nutmeg IV sailing fast offshore (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- This year's Cowes-Dinard-St Malo race had over 170 yachts entered from six different nations will race across the English Channel to the famous walled port city of St Malo in Brittany, France. The 170-mile race pre-dates the Royal Ocean Racing Club by almost 20 years, with the overall winner taking the impressive gold plated King Edward VII Cup, presented by the British Monarch to the Club Nautique de la Rance at Dinard in 1906.The Cowes Dinard St Malo Race is the ninth race of the 13 race series for the RORC Season's Points Championship.

The race to St. Malo from Cowes is one of the oldest yacht races in the world and has always been a popular event with competitors racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The timing of the race coincides with the celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, a symbol of the uprising of the modern French nation. Bastille Day is one of the biggest celebrations throughout France and the fortress village of St Malo will be a hive of festivities and cultural celebrations culminating in an impressive firework display.

However, despite the fact that it can be a fast reaching race for many, this edition may very well go down into the history books as one of the toughest, slowest and lightest on record for a vast majority of the fleet.  What appears to be a record number of DNF's were scored for the fleet, with approximately 25% of the fleet actually finishing the race while all others simply dropped out.  "It was a race of super concentration," commented a competitor. "We were so pleased with the crew, we kedged near the start and in the Channel in very deep water but we were determined to finish, at no time did we even talk about giving up." Kedging to win?!  Hmmm, didn't see where that was permissible under the ISAF regs, but then again, it is an old race with perhaps old rules!

Surviving were a number of J crews that managed to get across "La Manche" and grab some silverware, hopefully with bowls to throw in a few rum punches to calm the frazzled nerves! In IRC 2 Class, Francois Lognone's J/122 NUTMEG IV was second boat to cross the line and took third on corrected time.  Meanwhile, her sistership sailed by Rob Craigie- the J/122 J-BELLINO- took fifth in IRC 2 Class and seventh in IRC Double class.  Also sailing quite well in this challenging race was Robin Taunt's J/109 JIBE (skippered by Fergus Roper), scoring a second in IRC 3 Class.   For more RORC Cowes-St Malo Race sailing information

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

J/70's Sail Travemunde Week

J/70 Bundesliga- Travemunde winnersGreat Racing in Bundesliga Between German Clubs (Travemunde, Germany)- The J/70 Bundesliga yacht club participants were looking forward to sailing on Travemunde's famous bay on the Baltic Sea; renown for the sea-breeze that often fills in the afternoon at 10-15 kts from the northeasterly quadrants- often oscillating from 40 to 75 degrees.

The second regatta of the Bundesliga took place in front of Lübeck, sailing in a "stadium-style" racing right along the Travemunde waterfront.  The regatta organizers did a fabulous job of running thirty races for three flights over the two days for the eighteen teams that were competing.  The weather Gods cooperated, offering up sunny days with nice sea-breezes every afternoon-- that's what the chamber of commerce promised, right!?

Demonstrating how close the competition was for all the teams, the top three was determined on a three-way tie-breaker with 25 pts total each.  Winning the regatta with most firsts was the Bayerischer YC, second was the North German Regatta Association and third was YC Berlin Grunau.

J/70s sailing in Bundesliga Germany"The leading clubs are all sailing on the same level. Everybody has won races and sometimes have also landed back in the field," says Walter Roth sailing with Yacht Club Berlin Grunau.  And, he adds that "having short, fast consecutive races means bad ones are quickly forgotten!  The BYC team with skipper Christian Schäfer and crew John Kaske, Philip Hibler and Walter Roth have been improving constantly.  Their victory in Travemünde means we now move into second place in the overall Bundesliga series!"

The YC Berlin Grunau continues to lead the Bundesliga series as a result of their third place finish in Travemunde. "For us, everything went as planned. We defended our championship lead and want to continue our good performance in the next regatta in Hamburg," said the team manager of YCBG.

The second place team in Travemünde, the North German Regatta Association, underlined their ambitions in the Bundesliga. "We're used to match race sailing, but we quickly adapt to these exciting new boats- the J/70s. This has definitely helped us on the first day of racing," explains Florian Weser. He generally match races with his teammates Klaas Höpcke and Niklas Meyerinck. "The NRV team is now ranked third in the Bundesliga series and we intend to get better!" added helmsman Johannes Polgar.

As one of the primary sponsors of the Bundesliga series sailed on J/70s, SAP's Sail-TV has been providing both locally live TV broadcasts as well as live internet broadcasts on-line.  The popularity of the event not only throughout Germany, but across Europe, has been increasing dramatically!  Watch for other versions of this J/70 circuit in other European countries next year!  Sailing Photo credits- Lars Wehrmann   For more J/70 Bundesliga sailing information   For more Travemunde Woche sailing information

J/Teams Dominate Bayview Mackinac Race

J/111 sailing into Bayview Mackinac finish lineJ/120s Top Cove Island Race, J/29 Doublehanded Champ
(Port Huron, MI)- The Bayview Mackinac Race, hosted by Bayview YC, had a strong field of 239 boats that sailed in Doublehanded, PHRF and ORR handicap divisions.  The fleet was split between the two courses on offer to the sailors, with a small fleet of boats sailing the longer "Cove Island course" (which takes teams up onto the Canadian side of Lake Huron up north near a buoy to the entrance of the North Channel in Ontario, then head nearly due WNW to Mackinac Island for the finish) and the balance of boats sailed the so-called "Shore Course" (a direct shot, mostly up the eastern Michigan shoreline directly to Mackinac).  The popularity of the Shore Course has risen dramatically in recent years at it's primarily a reaching course, so teams get to Mackinac Island faster and happier (for the most part!).  The Cove Island course takes teams due north and often when turning left to head for the island, it turns into a fairly rough beat to windward (not good for Mom and the kids).

J/120 sailing in Bayview Mackinac raceThis year's race was a relatively fast one with teams starting in good breeze on Saturday and many finishing late Sunday and early Monday morning.  Taking the overall crown in the Division I Cove Island Course were two J/120s, Tom Lewin's SLEDGE HAMMER in 1st followed by classmate Bill Bresser in FLYIN IRISH in second, both finishing just after 3am Monday morning.  The third J/120, Dennis Dettmer's PERVERSION took 9th overall.  Sneaking in between these offshore cruiser-racers was the J/111 KASHMIR sailed by Tom Roop, taking 7th overall.  J/120s as a whole did well in this race, taking seven of the top 17 places overall.  Add in the top J/111's and results show J/Teams took nine of the top 20 places (not bad, to have nearly 50% of the top 20!).

Looking at the Shore Course overall, the J classics sailed well with two J/35s finishing 6th (MR BILL's WILD RIDE) and 8th (MAJOR DETAIL), the J/145 VORTICES in 7th and the J/44 SAGITTA taking 10th-- like their Cove Island colleagues, also a great showing for J/Teams taking 4 of the top 10 overall.

J/29 sailing double-handed on Bayview Mackinac raceIn the Doublehanded Division on the Shore Course, the J/29 PATRIOT skippered by Lyndon Lattie took first overall followed by the J/111 NO SURPRISE sailed by Dave Irish in third place.  A fantastic performance for both boats.

Sailing Cruising A Division on the Shore Course was the J/42 DOS MAS sailed by Gary Gonzalez, taking both 3rd in class as well as 3rd overall!  Yet another feather in the cap for this cruising offshore classic!

J/120 cruiser racers- sailing Bayview Mackinac RaceThe highly competitive fleet of eight Great Lakes J/120s proved beyond any reasonable doubt they know this Bayview Mac race quite well!  Behind the top three boats (SLEDGE HAMMER, FLYIN IRISH, PERVERSION) the balance of the class top five included Bob Kirkman's HOT TICKET in 4th and the team of Ed Vermet and John Hughes's NAUTI BOYS in 5th.  Good show for this mostly Detroit, Michigan crowd-- the exception, of course, going to "long distance award" travelers SLEDGE HAMMER from Buffalo, New York!

The J/105's saw a "two-peat" take place in their midst, with past race winner PTERODACTYL skippered by Mary Symonds finishing late Sunday night to win by only two minutes!  Chasing them hard the entire race was GOOD LOOKIN sailed by Dean and Lana Walsh.  Just seven minutes back from them in third position was SNAKE OIL skippered by Don Harthorn.  The rest of the top five include WINDSHADOW sailed by Jim Murphy in 4th and RAMPAGE led by Matt Haglund in 5th.  Amazingly, the J/105s must have had the "best performing boat in class" award, as the spread for the top five was only 22 minutes!! And, for the entire class, just 45 minutes! Fun, close racing for all.

J/35s sailing in Level 35 Class- Bayview Mackinac RacerThe J/35's in the Great Lakes had nine very competitive teams sailing in the Level 35 Class and without question, many of them had the potential to win class as well as overall in the Shore Course race.  In the end, the J/35s swept the top four positions, with past Bayview-Mac champion MR BILL's WILD RIDE sailed by Bill Wildner taking the crown again!  Second was MAJOR DETAIL skippered by Bill Vogan just eight minutes behind.  Third was TIME MACHINE sailed by Robert Gordenker and fourth was FALCON sailed by the trio of Bayer/ Bayer/ Barbes.

J/111 finishing off Mackinac Island finishThe Cove Island course PHRF C class saw the two J/111s simply dominate their competitors.  Leading the fleet home was past Chicago-Mac winner KASHMIR sailed by Tom Roop, winning by over 22 minutes corrected.  Second home was Tim Clayson's UNPLUGGED, 41 minutes clear of the boat that took third!

The Shore Course PHRF D class had a few offshore greyhounds in the crowd.  Sailing well to take 2nd position was Chris Saxton's J/145 VORTICES, showing again that their excellent sailing in the Chicago-Mac Race two weeks earlier was no fluke-- a solid offshore team they are!

J/46 SAGITTA sailing with the "commodores"The Shore Course PHRF E class saw the J/44 SAGITTA sailed by J/100 sailing Bayview Mackinac Racepast commodores Jon Somes and Larry Oswald take a well-deserved 2nd overall, finishing as first boat in class on elapsed and second on corrected time.

First in the Shore Course PHRF F Class was the J/33 SHENANIGAN sailed by the team of Dick & Dan Synowiec.

The Shore Course PHRF G class had the J/100 BLUE JAY skippered by John McVeety taking 10th in class and the J/92 KOHATSU sailed by John Stromberg was 12th.   Sailing photo credits- Martin @ ELEMENTS   For more Bayview Mackinac Island sailing information

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ullman Wins Fiesta Cup J/70s

J/70s sailing off start- Santa Barbara YC Fiesta CupGoebel's SANITY Takes J/105 Cliffhanger
(Santa Barbara, CA)- As they have for the past six years, Santa Barbara YC's gracious team of volunteers pulled out the red carpet for all crews sailing their famous Fiesta Cup Regatta. With PRO Brad Schaupeter coordinating on-water activities and Regatta Chair-woman Jane Watkins looking after the ever so popular on-shore festivities, the host's promise of a fun regatta with great sailing exceeded most sailors expectations.

The sailing was about as challenging as many of the locals have seen for the event.  Saturday's forecast was for light winds from the S-SW.  However, with the "June gloom" fog dissipating early, cool Pacific waters in the low 60s, and razor-clear blue skies, the classic WSW winds the area is renowned for settled in- starting in the 195-210 degree range early afternoon and swinging as far as 250-270 degrees in late afternoon.  Perhaps critically for many, the amount of loose kelp and weed in the water was enough to create a lot of headaches for many crews trying to shed that speed-destroying stuff.

For the J/70 class, it was a weather/ wind scenario often seen by local champion Dave Ullman, who managed to rattle off a 1-2-3 to take the early lead.  Just behind them was Craig Tallman's team on JAYA with a 5-1-2 and the duo of Tom Jenkins & Eric Kownacki on DFZ in third with a 4-5-1.

J/105s sailing around mark- setting spinnakers at Fiesta Cup Santa BarbaraIn the J/105s, the combination of starting issues, weed/kelp drama and basic boat-handling seemed to be afflicting many in the fleet.  After the smoke cleared, leading the first day was local hero Larry & Becky Harteck sailing the famous REPEAT OFFENDER, followed by San Diego's Rick Goebel on SANITY in second and Steve Howell's BLINK! in third position overall.

Sunday dawned with a completely different scenario for the fleets as there was the remnants of an offshore hurricane coming up the coast of Mexico that weakened dramatically into a mushy Low pressure system, but still spun high-level clouds and gradient winds into the region from the ESE quadrants.  The winds were shifting erratically from 150 to 180 degrees with significant wind streaks ranging from 4 to 8 kts; plus toss in a few weed/ kelp "pods" that were sometimes impassable, meant only one thing for the J/70 and J/105 fleets-- chaos.

Despite the crazy conditions, Dave Ullmans' J/70 team hung on for the class win.  And, previous day's second place team also managed to do the same- Jenkins/ Kownacki on DFZ- to secure second place with a strong 2-1 showing in the last two races.  Just behind them was a different story with Kenny Kieding's SMOKE & MIRRORS sailing a brilliant first race to win and taking a 4th in the second race of the day to take the third position on the podium by just one point.

J/105 Fiesta Cup winners- Rick Goebel's SANITY teamThe drama for the lead in the J/105 class seemingly changed leg by leg as the enormous windshifts and streaks rolled through the fleet upwind and downwind.  In the end, Rick Goebel's SANITY avoided too many pitfalls to snag 2nd in the last race to secure the Fiesta Cup Champion Trophy by two points.  On the comeback trail was Alex Bernal & Tedd White's team on FREE ENTERPRISE, arising like a Phoenix from the ashes to grab two bullets in a row to take second overall.  Having to overcome a number of obstacles on the last day was Harteck's REPEAT OFFENDER, holding on to take third for the regatta just one point in front of Howell's BLINK!

As many have come to appreciate over the past few years, the Fiesta Party on Saturday night delivered on great music (good band!) and plenty of tasty Tex/Mex tidbits to satisfy the hungriest of sailors.  Plus, having plenty of free beverages supplied by regatta sponsors Fess Parker's Winery and Vineyard and Cerveza Pacifico added to the overall camaraderie on the beach in front of the yacht club.   Sailing photo credits- Jane Watkins/ Taggart Lee  For more Santa Barbara YC Fiesta Cup sailing information

J/97 & J/35 Win Class In RORC IRC Nationals

J/35 winning IRC UK Nationals (Portsmouth, England)- Yachts from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom  gathered in the Solent for the twelfth edition of the RORC IRC National Championship. Split into five IRC classes, the J/Teams were participating in three of them- IRC2, IRC3, and IRC4- and they all either won or had top five finishes!

The Royal Ocean Racing Club was determined to open the IRC National Championship in style and three excellent races on challenging windward-leeward courses was the result offshore of Portsmouth. With virtually no wind forecast for the central Solent, as well as tidal and depth issues, the Race Committee decided to take the fleet east in search of a decent breeze and the result was a magnificent day on the water.

J/35 Bengal Magic team sailing fast in light airIn IRC Three James Chalmers' J/35 BENGAL MAGIC was fast out of the blocks and after three races led their class by one point. Reigning RORC IRC National Champion, the JPK 10.10, Strait Dealer, scored one race win today to claim third place. That was quite an auspicious start for the classic J/35 against the latest IRC machines off top European designer's drawing boards!

The top performer of the day was Nick and Adam Munday's J/97 INDULJENCE, scoring three straight wins in IRC Four. In light airs getting a good start and into clear air was the telling factor and INDULJENCE started every race with great anticipation. Richard Sparrow's J/92 WHO'S TO NO was second.

For the second day of sailing the RORC P.R.O chose Hayling Shoal as the combat zone. With five races now completed, battle lines were emerging for the three classes J's were racing. Day Two was another light winds affair with the 54 strong RORC fleet heading once again to the best sailing grounds available. With the wind speed barely reaching 10 knots, starts were important and getting into clear air gave a distinct advantage. However, some yachts were over-eager with several general recalls and a number of boats were called over the line on individual recalls. Only two of the scheduled three races were sailed, however the race management team were roundly applauded for getting in two good races with difficult weather conditions.

J/111 sailing fast under spinnaker- IRC UK NationalsIn IRC Two, Cornel Riklin's JITTERBUG had posted three finishes in the top five (3-4-4) but had an 8th in race 5 to hurt their chances for the podium.  Her sistership, Andrew Christie's J/111 ICARUS, sailed like her namesake, not melting her wings as she streaked to the front of the fleet, posting a bullet to her scoreline.

In IRC Three J/35 BENGAL MAGIC's fantastic championship efforts continued. James Chalmers and his crew from Weymouth scored a win and a second place today to lead the class and had the lowest net points score overall for the entire fleet. "We have put in a lot of preparation for this event," commented Chalmers, skipper of Bengal Magic, and we are proud to say we are a Weymouth boat and would love to take the silverware back to Dorset but we will have to see how things go tomorrow."

J/97 cruiser racer- sailing fast at IRC UK NationalsNick and Adam Munday's J/97 INDULJENCE had a perfect scoreline in the morning but the Hamble based crew were over the line at the start of the first race of the day and had to go back and the error cost them dearly. However, INDULJENCE were still leading the class, but discarding an eighth place meant one more slip up would see them move down the leaderboard. Tied on points for second place was Richard Sparrow's J/92 WHO'S TO NO.  "My son Adam put in a lot of hard work getting Induljence race prepped and we have all been sailing through the cold winter months to enjoy this weekend's beautiful sunny weather," commented Nick Adams. "We are delighted to be doing so well and it really is all down to preparation but we still have one more day to go."

For the final day of racing on Sunday, the crews faced a fairly grim forecast-- next to no or little wind was on the cards and it would be difficult for the RORC committee to get the ball rolling and have a "fair" race for all.  As it happened, all classes got away off Gillkicker Point, but a substantial shift in the light breeze was too much to provide fair racing and the race was abandoned shortly after the start.

J/111 sailing downwind under spinnaker at IRC UK NationalsConsequently, Cornell Riklin's J/111 JITTERBUG snatched a fourth place in IRC2 having sailed a solid series in the middle three races.  Chalmers J/35 BENGAL MAGIC took IRC honors.  "It has come as a complete surprise to win our class!" commented an ecstatic Chalmers. "We have been racing against some well sailed boats but now and again everything clicks together and that has been the case this weekend. We are absolutely thrilled to be national champions. I have just spent a fortune with Spinlock, so I am delighted to hear that we will be receiving some prizes from them, as well!"

National Champion in IRC Four was awarded to Nick and Adam Munday racing J/97 INDULJENCE who won three of the five races sailed. Richard Sparrow's J/92 WHO'S TO NO took second place and Charles Ivill's J/97 JIGGERY POKERY took fifth in class. Thanks for contribution from RORC/ Louay Habib.  Sailing Photo credits- Paul Wyeth- For more RORC IRC Nationals Championship sailing information

Sunday, July 28, 2013

J/125 TIMESHAVER takes Dana Point Offshore Series

J/125 Timeshaver sailing on close reach(Dana Point, CA)- Over the 4th of July weekend, the J-125 TIMESHAVER skippered and helmed by Viggo Torbensen with Keith Magnussen as tactician won the Dana Point series A class and topped the entire fleet for the perpetual trophy as well. Here's the report from Viggo himself-

"The eight race regatta that was comprised of four random leg and four windward-leewards, were not exactly the strength of the J/125.  To make matters more difficult, we were the biggest boat on the course by a long shot, lots of boat handling on short courses. Sporting a wardrobe of Ullman sails custom tailored by "KMag", TIMESHAVER managed to keep the competition behind to secure the name of yet another J/Boat to be engraved into the silver! Stay cool my friends.  Hope to see you around the race track again soon!"  Sail fast, Viggo.  Editor's note- Viggo and team are hoping to crush the competition in the fast downwind race from Santa Barbara to King's Harbor (LA) this weekend.

Big J Fleet Sailing Youngstown Regatta

J/70s sailing off starting line (Youngstown, NY)- It what may be the 40th, and last, Youngstown Level Regatta hosted by the Youngstown YC, sailors in the northeast have showed up 180 boats strong to celebrate a wonderful four decades of summer sailing tradition at the western end of Lake Ontario.

The J/70 class debut is making a huge splash with sixteen teams showing up as the largest fleet in the event.  Notable New York locals sailing are Tim Finkle on JUNIOR, Marty McKenna on USA 168, Don Finkle on SEAWEED and Kris Werner sailing SUPERFECTA.  Visiting sailors that could give them lots of headaches will be past J/80 World Champion Kerry Klingler sailing MENACE; Morgan Paxhia sailing PENNY PINCHER from Newport, RI; J/24 champion sailor Marc Pincus sailing PIPISTRELLO from Miami, FL; Ed Furry from Culver, IN sailing SAIL22 FALE;  Martin Kullman skippering TOUCH 2 PLAY from St Petersburg, FL; Andy Papierz sailing DYANMO from Port Credit, ONT, Canada; and Brandon Flack from Stonington, CT driving TORQEEDO.

The J/24 one-design class has three boats sailing with a notable class leader diving into their midst-- Travis Odenbach's famous HONEY BADGER!  Watch out, the badger is hungry for a win!

In handicap offshore racing world, there are IRC and PHRF classes.  PHRF 1 class has the appearance of a 35 ft J class with a number of J/109s, J/111 and J/35s all participating.  Bob Hesse's J/111 LAKE EFFECT should lead the fleet around the track, being chased by J/109s like Bob Eckersley's BLUE STREAK, Denys Jones' CARPE VENTUS, Murray Gainer's LIVELY and Ed Werner's MOCCASIN.  Also giving them a run for the money will be J/35s like Andrew Kooiman's LOYALIST, Mark DePaul's REMARKABLE, Doug Mitchell's SASSAFRAS and Ken Bruce's ZONE.

Sailing PHRF 2 is the J/105 ALI-KAT skippered by Ed Berkhout and the J/100 SQUIRMY led by Joe O'Brien.  PHRF 3 sees the appearance of two J/29s, including Mark Bowman's UNTAMED and Alex Miller's PAGAN.  PHRF 4 has the classic J/30 CRUSADER being sailed by Dan Mather as well as Fred White's J/34 SOUND WAVE mixing it up in the fleet. PHRF 6 has the lone J/22 MO'MONEY being sailed by Aaron Snyder from Niagara Falls.  PHRF Cruising 1 has Doug Clarke's J/35c ROGUE WAVE sailing in their class in what many might perceive as "a wolf in sheep's clothing" sailing amongst them!  Finally, IRC 3 class has two J/27s including Mike Seitz's NORTHERN SEITZ and Andre Beese's MESSING ABOUT.  For more Youngstown Level Regatta sailing information

Saturday, July 27, 2013

J/111 Smokes Kiwi Offshore Double!

J/111 sailing Auckland, New Zealand (Auckland, New Zealand)- While J/111's have been sailing successfully in Hong Kong and on Lake Michigan this past week, another J/111 in New Zealand has advanced their sailing program significantly.  Sailed by her new owner Andrew Reid, the J/111 DJANGO (ex-Stella) has been turning heads in Auckland and has had some great racing recently.  Here's the latest report from Andrew regards the Simrad Offshore double-handed series:

"With over 100 boats entered, the SSANZ B&G SIMRAD 60 series, sailed in NZ's awesome Hauraki Gulf, is hugely popular - and challenging. Ours was the first start of the day, with 18 boats entered. Conditions were light, so we unfurled the brand new Doyle Stratis Code Zero for the first time 15 seconds before the gun, and nailed the line at speed, in clear air. Wired, a 52 foot canter, soon sailed over us, along with Venture 2, an Open 50.

The course took us to the Eastern end of Waiheke Island, then up to Tiritiri Matangi, around Haystack, then past Rangitoto to the finish off Orakei wharf. We managed to pass Venture 2 soon after the start, when they dropped their kite into the water - and then, after a few sail changes (A1 to A2 and back again a number of times), passed Wired (pretty rare for our 36 footer) somewhere north of Waiheke. This was temporary, and they soon overhauled us.

Sailing into a hole was costly, with Overload, a well-sailed Elliot 9SS, passing inside us in good breeze. A choppy upwind leg kept us in the hunt, and we got past them again when both of us sailed into another hole - and we (with some luck, it must be said) picked up the new SW breeze first. This was champagne sailing under Code Zero - 70-90 degrees TWA, boat speed consistently higher than windspeed, hot coffee, and sunshine. We could see Omega, a Bakewell White 42, below us and going well, with only Wired and Venture 2 ahead.

The last part of the leg to Tiri was on the wind, with the light no1 looking good - we rounded the mark and once again unfurled the Code Zero - good speeds in 12-16 kts of breeze, a quick headsail change in anticipation of a building Souwester, a close encounter with both some dolphins and the Haystack (unlit and nicely obscured behind the Zero!), then on the wind again to Rangi light.

Most of the nav lights we could see were behind us, so the last cup of coffee was tasting pretty good. The anticipated and forecast breeze failed to materialise, so it was up with the Zero again, to finish in moonlit flat water, just 2 minutes ahead of Omega, doing 6.5 kts in 5.5 kts of wind.

So after 60 nms and 12 hours of racing, we had made more good calls than bad, and took out the Division 1 handicap victory, finishing 3rd on line. The boat performed beautifully, and is certainly quite easy to sail short-handed. And fast!"  For some more entertaining perspective on their sail, please see DJANGO's YouTube video here.

J/30 North Americans Preview

J/30s setting spinnakers (Barrington, RI)- The J/30 Class Association, Barrington Yacht Club, and J/30 Southern New England District (Fleet 13) are looking forward to host a near record fleet of twenty-three J/30s for the 2013 J/30 North American Championship July 25th-28th.

Narragansett Bay provides challenging race conditions and historic Barrington, Rhode Island is a wonderful and fun summer vacation destination for those J/30 sailing teams that are attending. There really is nothing quite like Narragansett Bay and the greater Newport-Providence area in the summertime. J/30 sailors will be able to enjoy this experience and local flavor with planned events such as the New England Lobster Boil on Saturday.

J/30s sailing downwind under spinnakerAnswering that call are many of the top J/30s that have been maintained and lovingly restored to "AAA" bristol  condition.  With many new owners participating along with a number of veterans, it will come down to whom can divine the nuances of upper Narragansett Bay and its currents to determine the overall champion.

Familiar names like Bill Kneller's RHAPSODY, Chuck Stoddard's FALCON, Carl Sherter's FAT CITY, Randy Boyles's ROCKET J and Clare McMillan's WICKED that have been sailing in the Northeast and others will most assuredly enjoy a wonderful time sailing in Narragansett Bay.  For more J/30 North Americans sailing information

Friday, July 26, 2013

J/70 New England's/ Marblehead NOOD Preview

J/70 one-design speedsters- sailing fast downwind under spinnaker (Marblehead, MA)- This year's Sperry Topsider Marblehead NOOD regatta will also be featuring the inaugural J/70 New England Championship, hosted by the famous trio of yacht clubs in the harbor- Eastern YC, Boston YC and Corinthian YC.  In addition to the J/70 class there will be fleets of J/105s and J/24s participating.  Of the 150+ sailboats participating, by far the largest brand represented are J's with 42 boats (28% of the fleet) sailing in the waters off Marblehead.  The wind forecast for Friday looks a bit "iffy" as a large Low pressure system offshore will be pumping Northeasterly winds into the harbor all day, with steadily increasing winds forecast to hit 20-30 kts by late evening Friday. The scene inside the harbor may be "touch & go" with huge waves rolling into the docks, making launch and recovery a bit delicate, one might say!

A fair number of recent J/70 regatta winners will be participating amongst the fleet of seventeen J/70s.  They include the winners of St Pete NOOD, Charleston, Annapolis NOOD, Bacardi Newport, Cal Race Week and Long Beach Race Week-- Joel Ronning on CATAPULT and Bennet Greenwald on PERSEVERANCE!  Tough hombres these guys are!  Several locals will be quite competitive in their home waters, including Etchells 22 World Champion Jud Smith sailing with his wife Cindy, Dave Franzel on SPRING, Tyler Doyle and Ted Johnson on VITAMIN J.  Notably, two women skipper/owners will be sailing, including Newporter Suzy Leech on JUNKANOO and Nancy Glover on WINTER WIND from Marblehead.  Finally, the "long distance" award may have already been won by the German team on ROSAROTER PINGUIN led by Juergen Waldheim from Berlin!

As the largest J/class, the eighteen J/105s will have several local and visiting teams that sailed well in last year's NOOD as well as in the J/105 North Americans held at Eastern YC in the past.  Amongst the Boston crowd that could be factors in the event include the entire top eight teams from last year's Marblehead NOOD!  Those teams include past NOOD regatta winner Charlie Garrard on MERLIN, Matt Pike's GOT QI, Ric Dexter's CIRCE's CUP, Peter & Doug Morgan's STEELAWAY III, the BLOWN AWAY trio (Jon Samel, Mike Royer, Bob Mann), Fred deNapoli's ALLEGRO SIMPATICA, and Mark & Jolene Masur's TWO FEATHERS from Ft Worth Boat Club in Fort Worth, TX!  Watch for significantly different results this year as the weather forecast may upset this pecking order!

Last year's J/24 class winner, Jubilee YC's John Denman on AIRODOODLE, will again be back hoping to repeat their win in the seven boat J/24 class.  Another past top five finisher that will be sailing is Mike Taber's XINGU form Boston YC.   For more J/70 New England's & Marblehead NOOD sailing information

J/111 MOJITO Eclipses Hong Kong Offshore

J/111 sailing off Hong Kong, China (Hong Kong, China)- Recently, J/111's have been scoring significant performances in major offshore series around the world.  Michele & Simon Blore, sailing their J/111 #77 MOJITO has found herself in a tough division in Hong Kong's Nautica Typhoon Series 2013, a 9 race mix of windward leewards and islands races, competing in the top IRC group against Sam Chan's TP52, FreeFire; the GTS43 Elektra; two Mills 40 footers Ambush and (ex-Tiamat) Mandrake, and also the Ker 40 Signal 8. Also in the division are three A40's, two First 50's, a Marten 49, an MC38, the X41 Orient Xpress, a Sydney 38 and an all carbon Anteros 36. Here is the Blore's report:

"The top boats are all sailed by the core of Hong Kong's Commodore's Cup teams, plus the odd "Pro" as well, whereas Team MOJITO is still made up from the core of our J/92S team from 2008 to 2012, plus some new friends.

For Race 6 on Sunday, there were 21 IRC B boats on the sportily short start line, and undaunted by the size and speed of the kit all around her, Mojito judged it to perfection with a nose ahead on most of the fleet at the gun. In such a large fleet of bigger boats, getting out in front early was key, and quickly a lane opened up for a tack to port so we could work the right side upwind; a zone that seemed to be getting slightly better pressure all day.

J/111 sailing upwind off Hong Kong, ChinaThe fleet quickly extended with the much faster TP, the Marten, and the "fast 40's" (Signal 8, Elektra, Ambush and Mandrake) all pulling away, but MOJITO just being able to stay in touch. In the 10-13 kts of breeze, MOJITO was on her North 3Di no 2 headsail, and downwind we were changing gears from 145TWA, and tack down, to playing the tack in the puffs and increasing the TWA to 160-165. It helped having one of the crew dedicated to trimming the tack line, in much the same way as playing the pole on a symmetric boat. The high power to weight ratio of the J/111 again proved to be a factor, as slight increases in wind pressure were quickly converted to more speed and depth downwind, and we are still learning how best to maximize this.

On the second upwind, by playing a few shifts and by tweaking in-haulers and trim some more, we lost little ground on the fleet ahead as we continued to work the west side uphill and downhill.

Downwind the J/111 was at times matching the angles of the pole boats, and gaining depth on the Ker 40; and by the end of lap 2 we rounded just a minute or 2 behind the fast 40's, so we knew we were in the mix for a top 3 place. Of the similarly rated boats such as the Anteros and the A40's, we had already opened up a winning margin of a few hundred metres by that time.

On the final lap upwind our pace still seemed to be good against the 6 boats ahead of us (all of whom gave us time), as we continued to cross tacks with the faster McGonaghy MC38.

Another good downwind leg consolidated our race as we sailed an eastward shift out on the now favored starboard gybe, and we finished believing we had a good shot at a podium place, in what is a very competitive and closely matched fleet of the 6 or 7 leading boats. Back at prize-giving we were delighted to hear that we had won the race, beating the TP52 by only 5 seconds on corrected; but a win's a win, and our new J/111 put down another marker in Hong Kong!" Sailing Photo Credits- Guy Nowell/ RHKYC.   For more J/111 one-design offshore speedster sailing information

J's Sailing SB-King Harbor Race Preview

J/145 Radio Flyer- Carolyn Park and crew sailing fast(Santa Barbara, CA)- This distance race spanning 81.0nm has been a tradition for Santa Barbara and King Harbor sailors for 41 years and for 2013 will have 69 keelboats entered; eighteen are J/Teams spread across one-design J/105s, PHRF and Sprit PHRF classes-- 26% of the entire fleet!  The race is a California downwind classic most years, the real question will be how much wind will the fleet enjoy at either end of the race--  the start off Santa Barbara and the finish off King Harbor can be notoriously light.  What's crazy about the race is that once the fleet rounds Anacapa Island offshore (part of the Channel Islands), the wind can often be funneling down the west side of the island chain from 20 to 30 kts!

The thirty-six boat PHRF Class is comprised of mostly symmetric spinnaker boats, including the J/33 TIGGER sailed by Fred & Suzanne Cottrell and the Santa Barbarians on Larry Leveille's champion J/29 RUSH STREET.  Joining them will be Shawn Ivie's J/30 FRICTION LOSS.

J/125 Timeshaver sailing fastIn the nineteen boat Sprit PHRF Class is a fleet of the fast-reaching, offshore J sailing machines.  Leading the J/fleet should be Carolyn Parks's gorgeous red J/145 RADIO FLYER.  Breathing down their necks will be the J/125 TIMESHAVER sailed by Viggo Torbenson and the J/133 FORGIVENESS skippered by Joe Simpkins.  Not far behind may be the J/111 JATO sailed by the team of Bill Webster and Mike Moorhead.  One of the fast J/120s sailing is Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS and they will be accompanied by three J/109s- SHADOWFAX (Chris Mewes), PERSISTENCE (Bryce Benjamin) & LINSTAR (Len Bose).  Also participating is Dan McGanty's J/105 AQUABELLA, Tom Cullen's new J/97 CHISPA and Brian Kerr's J/92 DOUBLE DOWN.

The J/105 One-Design class start has three boats participating, including ARMIDA (Tom Bollay), TWELVE BAR BLUES (Chuck Spear) and David Gorney.  For more Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race sailing information

J/133 & J/35 Win Lake Ontario 300

(Port Credit, ONT, Canada)- The weekend of the "Great Lakes" major offshore races, the Chicago-Mac and LO300, were primarily characterized by the fact that a massive High pressure area was squashed over the entire Great Lakes, acting somewhat like the Atlantic and Pacific Highs that wobble around-- they generally produce little or no wind near the maximum area of pressure.  While the Mac Racers had their longest race on record, it may also be said that LO300 sailors shared a similar experience.

In some respects, the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge, the premier offshore race on Lake Ontario, provided even more challenging scenarios than their Mac counterparts as they circumnavigated Lake Ontario.  The Main Duck Island course of 300nm saw tops boats finishing just as some of the fleet in the shorter 190nm Scotch Bonnet course were finishing, too!

Nineteen J/Teams sailed the race but not all finished as the rate of attrition was nearly as high as it was for the Mac Race on Lake Michigan.  It was epic, slow going as well for the Lake Ontario sailors.

The IRC 1 again proved to be a dual between two J/Teams and two Farr teams.  Winning class was  John McLeod's J/133 HOT WATER and getting the short-end of the stick in fourth place was the J/111 SURVENANT (skippered by a Quebec quartet of Marcel Cote, P Bernier, C Boulet, N Cote and Y Dion).

In IRC 2 division the J/109s had a tough go of it.  Top of the 109 heap was Murray Gainer's LIVELY (a past LO 300 race winner) in fourth overall followed by Denys Jones's CARPE VENTUS in sixth  and Sheila Smith's PHOENIX in ninth.

Sailing fast in IRC 3 class was Stephen Trevitt's J/35 CRIME SCENE. As a past winner in class in the LO 300 it was clear they demonstrated their local knowledge and experience to secure more silverware with a well-deserved second overall.

In PHRF 1 it was Mike Pietz's J/35 SHORTHANDED that took it to their classmates and showed them how it's done in the light stuff, winning their class by a comfortable margin.

The Singlehanded class had Geoff Cornish's J/124 ROULEUR from Royal Canadian YC take fifth overall. For more Lake Ontario 300 sailing information

Thursday, July 25, 2013

J/Teams Love Bacardi Newport Regatta

J/70s sailing off NewportJ/70 CATAPULT, J/24 HELLY HANSEN, J/22 JULIAN ASSOCIATES Winners
(Newport, RI)- As has been the tradition for years, the SailNewport team led by Brad Read and a select group of PRO's provided excellent race management over the course of the two-day Bacardi Newport Regatta to ensure most classes had four good races.

As the largest fleet in the regatta, remarkable considering it's "the new kid on the block", the J/70s managed to put twenty-two boats on the line for a highly competitive and fun event. Perhaps most importantly, the fleet has demonstrated that newcomers to the fleet can be quite competitive against earlier season "veterans" and sail quite well.  Following on earlier season success, Joel Ronning's CATAPULT team from Lake Minnetonka, MN sailed well with a 1-7-7-1 series for 16 pts to just beat out Bruno Pasquinelli's STAMPEDE team that sported a 9-4-2-2 scoreline for 17 pts-- it all came down to who-beat-who in the last race.  Taking third was Bennet Greenwald with a 4-1-6-10 tally for 21 pts-- fresh off wins on the Pacific Coast at Cal Race Week and Long Beach Race Week.  Dave Franzel's SPRING sailed a solid series, capturing a consistent 6-8-5-4 for 23 pts for fourth and lying fifth was newcomers TOUCH 2 PLAY sailed by Martin Kullman with a 5-6-1-12 record for 24 pts (nearly pulling off an overall win in their first try were it not for the last race "bomber" race!).

For the sixteen J/24s, it was a double-whammy, a District 2 Championship World's Qualifier and US Adult Sailing Championship Qualifier. And, to no one's surprise, it was Tim Healy that ran the table with straight firsts on HELLY HANSEN to take the J/24 title.  Fresh from sailing over in Europe was Mike Ingham (world-traveler man!), taking the second spot with a 5-2-2-2 record for an easy second place.  Sailing yet another BANGOR PACKET was Tony Parker taking third.  Fourth was Steve Kirkpatrick on BUCKSHOT and fifth was Mike Marshall on PIPE DREAM.

Nine J/22s sailed gaining good practice for the upcoming J/22 Worlds sailing in Newport in October 2013. And, what a practice it was!  For THREE teams all ended up tied at 9 pts each for first place!  How often does that happen?  Never heard of it before in decades of sailing.  Surprising some of the teams was the excellent performance by Brad Julian and crew on JULIAN ASSOCIATES, winning with a 4-2-2-1 record based on having most 1sts and 2nds.  Second on the tie-break was Chris Doyle's JUG 4 1 with a 3-3-1-2 tally and third on the tie-break was Jim Bernash with a 2-1-3-3 record-- losing the tie-break because of last race placing!  How cool is that?!  CLose racing and fun for all.  Fourth was Dave Godin and fifth was FJ Ritt.  For more Bacardi Newport Sailing information

Portugal's Rocha Wins J/80 Worlds Cliff-hanger

J/80 world champion- Portuguese Hugo Rocha and teamFirst Tie-Breaker That Determines The Championship!
(Marseilles, France)- After all the build-up for the J/80 Worlds 2013 in Marseilles, it would appear the domain of J/80 world hegemony would come down to just two nation's top sailing teams-- that of France and Spain.  Undoubtedly, many top teams from other countries like United Kingdom, America, Germany, Italy and Sweden had aspirations to the throne, no one quite expected the ultimate outcome after sailing in challenging conditions for four+ days on the gorgeous Bay of Marseilles.  Crowned as the 2013 J/80 World Champion was skipper Hugo Rocha from Portugal, sailing his NEW TERRITORIES team with an international crew consisting of Alex Semenov and Pavel Savenk from Russia and David De La Plaza Madraz and Francisco Palacio from Spain!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing worlds MarseillesWith 117 boats participating, it was going to be a tough event for any team to rise to the top.  One small mistake would cost you dozens of boats upwind, in the corners at the marks or downwind.  Crew handling was critical as well as general boat speed around the track.  The fleet was split into four flights with a rotation for the first two days to qualify for the "Gold" championship fleet.  At that time after the qualifiers, it looked like the Spanish teams were poised to again sweep the podium and take more than just the top three, creating yet a third sweep of the J/80 Worlds.  However, as fate would have it, for one reason or another the leading Spanish teams had their difficulties in the championship round.

J/80 women's worlds winnersAsked what were his objectives before the J/80 Worlds to take part in the competition? Rocha answered, "We are a new team, it was the first time we sailed altogether. Two crew are from St Petersburg, Russia and two are from Spain and I’m from Portugal. We all trained hard for the championship. Last month I participated in the Spanish Championship and my team finished 3rd, but we had to change the team composition because some of the crew had a setback.  At the beginning of the competition, we struggled a little bit with boat-handling, but then we rapidly improved. I can divide the competition into two parts: the first 50% qualifiers we were good (5-12-14-17) and the second 50% we were very good (1-1-3-1-6). It’s a shame we couldn’t have sailed the last day but the wind was irregular and very light."

J/80s sailing in Marseilles, FranceThe balance of the top ten was reflective of the battle between the top French and Spanish teams with a split between them for the top ten.  Sailing a strong championship series was Luc Nadal from France on GAN'JA, scoring lower total points and tied with Rocha's team on total net point at 43 each-- unfortunately, Luc lost the J/80 Worlds based on 1st places and so had to settle for second overall; a tough pill to swallow after leading the worlds after race 7.  Third was the renown French team on INTERFACE CONCEPT led by Eric Brezellec with 51 pts net.  Fourth and fifth were the famous Martinez brothers- famous Spanish Volvo 70 sailors and World 49er champions and Olympians. Carlos Martinez sailed DELTASTONE to 52 pts net.  Fifth was brother Iker Martinez sailing ENBATA 80/ GOLD SAILING with 53 pts net. The balance of the top ten was Frenchman Quentin Ponroy on ELECTRA in 6th, Frenchman Nicolas Lunven on GENERALI in 7th, Spaniard Jose Maria Van der Ploeg on FACTOR ENERGIA in 8th, Canary Islander Rayco Tabares on HOTEL PRINCESA YAIZA (the early regatta leader) in 9th and Frenchman Herve Leduc on JIBE SET in 10th.

J/80s one-design sailboats- starting at Worlds in Marseilles, FranceThe top, and only, American was Brian Keane on SAVASANA in 11th; top Swedish team was Ingemar Sundstedt in 18th; top German team was Sven Vagt on CAMIL FARR POWER SYSTEMS in 27th; top Netherlands team was Laura Vroon on JOIE DE VIVRE in 28th; top Swiss team was Yannick Preitner on ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE DE LAUSANNE in 31st; top British team was Jon Powell on BETTY in 32nd; top Italian team was Massimo Rama's crew on JENIALE! in 46th; top Polish team was Pawel Boksa on MOONRAKER in 68th; the only Omani team was OMAN SAIL led by Rajaa Al Owrsisi in 91st; and Russia's Maxim Kuzmin on ENERGY was 94th.   Spanish Sailing Photos- Jesus Renedo / Trofeo Conde de Godo and Elena Martinez / RCMS.  For more J/80 Worlds sailing information