Thursday, October 31, 2013

YOUNG GUNS K.O. J/70 Fall Brawl

J/70 sailing fall brawl in annapolis (Annapolis, MD)- Eastport Yacht Club race committee hosted their annual Fall Brawl regatta for 25 ambitious J/ 70 sailors this past weekend on the Chesapeake Bay. The race committee wasted no time making sure their starting line was clear for starts and did a great job in keeping things moving. The regatta was held over two days in moderate to heavy air and lumpy seas with five races on Saturday and three more to wrap things up on Sunday. Competitors came from up and down the East Coast, with out-of-state sailors — primarily from Massachusetts and New York — outnumbering locals in the top 10 by the time the racing was done.

The YOUNG GUNS team came up from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and dominated the 24-boat J/70 Fall Brawl fleet from the start last weekend. St. Mary’s was led by Venezuelan Olympic hopeful Victor Diaz de Leon, borrowing a boat from the skipper on whose team Diaz de Leon had sailed a couple weeks earlier in the J/70 North Americans.

Their first day’s keeper finishes of 1-1-3-1 put the YOUNG GUNS so far ahead of the pack by the time the fleet came ashore on Saturday evening that they could afford to slack off a little on the second day and still take the overall win by a comfortable margin.

J/70 sailing on Chesapeake bayTaking a comfortable second was Jud Smith, amassing a solid record on day one to stay in the hunt with a 10-2-5-4-1 scoreline.  Going into the last day of racing, Smith still had a solid mathematical chance of grabbing the lead, but a 9-4-5 tally added a quick 18 pts to their score to keep them in second.  Meanwhile, the YOUNG GUNS gang rattled off a 7-3-6 to safely hold on to their early lead.

Finishing solidly in third overall in the eight-race, one-throwout series was Annapolitan John Aras’ team, including John Dolan, Alex Stout and Mark Eagan.  “We only just got the boat a couple of days before the NAs,” Aras said, “so we’re still figuring it out. The learning curve is pretty steep.”  Aras, who also was the top Corinthian (amateur) sailor in the event, said the conditions and the tight competition were challenging throughout the weekend, describing solid southwesterlies coupled with big chop on Saturday and puffy, shifty northerlies on Sunday that swung 20 degrees or more. “Getting through that chop was a bit of a challenge,” he said.

“It was all about trying to be consistent and not making too many mistakes, hitting the shifts and keeping clear air, ” he said. “A little mistake could cost you five or six boats pretty quickly.”  With five top-five finishes and only one keeper worse than 10th, Aras and his team showed that they’ve picked up a lot of boat knowledge in a short time.  “It was a lot of fun,” Aras said. “There was good breeze and Eastport did a good job with the courses.”

Rounding out the top five was Andrew Criezis in 4th with WHIQUILA and taking fifth was Blake Kimbrough on NOSTALGIA.

The fleet was tightly packed most of the time, and the conditions clearly took a toll as nearly everyone, including the top sailors, had one or more finishes they would have preferred to forget.  In fact, the EYC Race Committee led by PRO Keith Jacobs had to weather their share of challenges, too, particularly on Saturday when the weather mark blew away in the building breeze during the day’s last race and the mark boat crew had to sub in suddenly for the missing cylinder.  Thanks for contributions from Todd Hiller- USA #207- and Dan Phelps/   Full results and photos can be found here (and here).   For more J/70 Fall Brawl sailing information

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

J/Teams Sweep "Gearbuster" Race

J/100, J/105, J/120s Love Gale Conditions!
(Greenwich, CT)- The 58th Annual Gearbuster Regatta held by Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, CT on October 12th absolutely lived up to its name for the first time in years.  With a stationary low, strong northeast winds blew for three days before the regatta, as well as for the day of the race, making conditions extreme – even for experienced Long Island Sound racers.  Racers had to beat out the LI Sound to Stratford Shoal and back with 25-35 knot winds out of the northeast and 5-10 waves that made it feel like ocean racing.

J/120 sailing gearbuster race40% of the registered skippers either chose not to start or didn’t finish due to the rough conditions and broken gear. Of the finishers, J/Teams won 4 of the 6 classes with EAGLE, Steve Levy’s J/120, claiming line honors on the long course, crushing PHRF A class by over one hour corrected time in a fleet that included a Melges 32 and Farr 40.  Fellow J/120 MIRIELLE sailed by Hewitt Gaynor not only won the PHRF Double-handed class on the long course by over one hour corrected time, but also finished 2nd in fleet to her sistership!  That's quite a feat of seamanship and a testimonial to the toughness of the J/120.  Completing the sweep on the long course was the remarkable performance of the J/105 ROPEBURN sailed by Tim O'Brien, not only winning their PHRF B class, but taking 3rd overall just three minutes behind the J/120 MIRIELLE!

On the short course side of things, NEVERMORE, Ken Hall’s J/100, led the pack home, winning both elapsed time honors but handicap honors as well in PHRF Non-Spinnaker class!

From the front-lines of the battle, we got the "insider's report" on the experience from Steve & Mike Levy's J/120 EAGLE.  Said Steve, "The “Gearbuster” is a 46 mile sprint from Greenwich CT east around Stratford Shoal and back in daylight (for the quick ones).  Last week, we raced in 20-25 kts, gusting to 29 kts easterly, which provided for an upwind slog and a downwind sleigh ride on the way back.  An easterly breeze is the only time one gets waves of consequence in Western Long Island Sound.

My son, Michael, and I shared the helm. We executed a strategy that we developed days in advance and did not modify as the key elements did not change by race day; namely, 1) there would be more pressure toward Long Island and further East, 2) the wind direction change would provide a lift from Long Island, and 3) the current would be flooding most of the afternoon, so seek pressure, the lift and shelter close to Long Island.

We rolled upwind toward Port Jefferson.  It was quite bumpy, exemplified by the crew’s unanimously negative response to an offer of lunch.  We hoisted the jumbo #2A spinnaker after rounding Stratford Shoals Light.  This was a mistake as the .5 ounce fabric was just too light for the wind.  Shortly thereafter, on starboard headed toward Oyster Bay, our #2 became confetti (I did the same thing 5 years ago!).  We hosted the #3A which had the advantage of being a slightly stronger fabric and 15 square meters smaller.

We witnessed a top speed of 21.5 knots with the smaller chute, while sustaining an average of about 15-16 knots.  Active positions for the run included Mainsheet trimmer, Main Vang trimmer, Spinnaker sheet trimmer, Helmsman and spotter for a second pair of eyes for waves and the dreaded “sailing by the lee”.  Amazingly, the friction on the winch drum melted the cover on the spinnaker sheets!

It was an invigorating, white knuckle ride in a boat built for such moments.  Smaller boats, even sport boats, were no match for the J/120.  Some bigger boats decided not to fly a chute.  In the end, we beat the next finisher by almost an hour in a 6 hour race, winning the fleet!!  The crew was ecstatic!  Since it was a bit wet, here are some photos of us  in more benign weather conditions, hope you enjoy!"  Thanks Steve for the great story!  What a ride!   For more Stratford Shoals "Gearbuster" race sailing information

French Dominate J/80 Student Yachting World Cup

J/80 French winning team (Pornic, France)- The 33rd edition of the Student Yachting World Cup (SYWC) was the French Kedge Business School crowned champions with one day to go in the event.  While the USA US Naval Academy started out strong in the first day of racing, leading the French, they managed to sail a solid series thereafter and capture a podium finish.  As a result, the Swiss teams finished second six points ahead Team USA.

J/80s sailing around mark- Student Yachting World cupThe SYWC is an annual sailing competition organized by students of the École Polytechnique, a French engineering school.   They invite world’s best student sailing teams to race one-design J/80s off Pornic, France for an entire week-- nearly 18 races in all.  This year's edition saw teams participating from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Ireland and the USA vying for the 2013 title. Representing North America was Dalhousie University from Canada and the US Naval Academy from the USA.

While the French Kedge Business School celebrated their overall victory, they also won the AGPM trophy for the winner of the coastal races. The winner of the  "City of Pornic Trophy" belonged to Switzerland, presented to them as the winner of racing on the last day of the competition.   For SYWC J/80 sailing video highlights- Day IV   For more J/80 Student Yachting World Cup sailing information

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

J/122 & J/133 Top Middle Sea IRC Classes!

J/133 sailing to finish off Malta- Middle Sea Race (Gzira, Malta)- More often than not, sailors who have plied the Mediterranean Sea since the days of Sumerian trading ships and Homer's Odyssey share one thing-- the endless wrath by Neptune and the weather Gods for not having given homage (e.g. respect or enough tasty red wine) to permit safe, fast passage through the Straits of Messina (the famous geographic "boot" of Italy) and a sleigh-ride home to Malta.  Sitting at the cross-roads of the ancient trading routes in the Med, Malta has a long seafaring history of her sailors plying their trade between the Middle Eastern and European empires and, more often than not, were long sought for their knowledge of the capricious winds and seas in the region.  So, it was not too surprising that a combination of Maltese and Italian sailors who've got that DNA coursing through their veins managed to succeed in some of the most challenging conditions yet seen in the RMSR's 34th edition.

A record fleet of 100+ yachts set forth on their 606nm race with less than favorable weather conditions.  While the start from Malta to the Straits of Messina had an encouraging forecast of southeasterly winds, the Straits of Messina on the approaches to Sicily were notoriously light, and the balance of the race was going to be a challenge of racing from one breeze patch to another nearly all the way around the islands course to the finish line at Malta.

The grand irony of this year's race is that J/sailors dominated the entire event.  First to finish was Hasso Plattner's 86 footer MORNING GLORY (Hasso is an avid J/100 owner and sailor).  The overall winner was the TP52 B2 skippered by none other than Mediterranean sailing star, Francesco De Angelis from Naples, Italy-- the famous winner of the J/24 Worlds in Capri, Italy many moons ago.

J/122 Otra Vez sailing off Malta- Middle Sea RaceIn IRC 3 Class, the first Maltese boat home and taking class honors at the Royal Maltese YC's finish line was the J/133 OILTANKING JUNO sailed by David Anastasi & Sonke Stein-- she also claimed 14th overall in IRC.  Then, in IRC 4 Class, yet another Maltese boat won with Aaron Gatt Floridia's J/122 OTRA VEZ taking both line and class honors as well and taking 11th overall in a "big boat race"!!  Just behind them sailing an incredible race was the J/111 BLACK BULL sailed by Marco Flandin from Italy-- she took a 5th in class and 16th overall!  In fact, just a few miles from Lampedusa Island, the last turning mark before the "sprint" to the Malta finish line, BLACK BULL was sailing nearly boat-for-boat with the J/122 OTRA VEZ!  One wrong tack made the difference between these two boats for line and handicap silverware.

David Anastasi commented dockside sitting on his J/133 at the Royal Malta Yacht Club: “It feels really good, beautiful, we have an amazing team. It has been a long time but well worth the wait. It has been a great race but a very difficult last couple of hours when things just went hay-wire. Three different winds were converging and the amount of maneuvers was just crazy. We lost our lead but we managed to get into better wind. We took off after our competitors and caught them up, it was a big, big fight into the harbour.”

Sonke Stein was full of praise for the crew of OILTANKING JUNO. “It is a real pleasure to sail with this crew, I have been coming back year after year because of that. This is my holiday and it has been a very good one! I have seen the standard and the stature of this race grow over the last 12 years and I am very impressed with the level of the competition and how it has actually increased. I am so pleased with our result today.”

The sound of clinking of glasses and rousing voices filled the air Thursday at the Royal Malta YC. Hundreds of competitors enjoyed the full hospitality of the club, sharing their stories with fellow competitors over copious quantities of delicious food and thirst-quenching beverages. After days and nights at sea, isolated from the outside world, the cosmopolitan crowd also enjoyed good food and excellent company.

J/111 sailing Middle Sea Race off MaltaIRC Four was the largest class taking part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. 46 yachts from 10 different countries including Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Malta, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.  Edward & Aaron Gatt Floridia's J/122 OTRA VEZ completed the 606-mile race at dusk on Day Five, after racing with a highly competitive fleet.  “After being becalmed several times last year, we decided that this year that would not happen,” commented Edward Gatt Floridia. “Racing in light airs is very tiring, to keep the boat moving requires the whole crew to concentrate, even the off-watch have to wake up and move their weight to the correct side of the boat. The critical point in our race was after Stromboli. There was virtually no wind and on that first night we took the main sail down and hoisted our wind seeker. We were determined to keep going and we did. The moral on board was excellent and we are very proud of winning the class. Nearly half of the yachts racing were in Class 4 and there were a number of very well sailed boats for the overall win. The weather suited the bigger yachts this year. We can't do anything about that, we can only try to win our class and that is what we have done.”

J/24 World Champion Francesco De Angelis also had some war-stories to tell about his experience sailing the TP52 B2.  After losing all their electronics on the first night out, B2's navigator Nacho Postigo said, “We tried everything to reboot the system, but it simply didn't work.  In the end, we used the GPS on a smartphone taped to the pedestal, it worked quite well!” The impromptu solution forced the crew to rely more on their instinct, as Postigo closes: “We raced B2 like a J/24 and Francesco had to call the strategy almost completely blind - I don't think he had more than two hours sleep!”  Not surprising they could sail fast with limited input, as De Angelis had sailed dinghies and J/24s for years on the Italian circuit with no more than a compass!  Said De Angelis, “It was a difficult race, the first time this team has done a race this long together. To arrive ahead of almost 100 boats is a great achievement. We are very tired! Comfort is not really associated with a TP52 and we experienced everything: light, medium and some strong wind. Technically and physically it was a very challenging race. The key was not losing ground in the difficult moments or getting blocked during periods of light air.”   Sailing photo credits: Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo   For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information

Monday, October 28, 2013

J/70 Big Boat Series Review

J/70 sailing Big Boat Series- San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)- Recently, Andy Schwenk from Anacortes, Washington, had a chance to sail a J/70 in this year's Rolex Big Boat Series.  The J/70's were a new addition to the event to provide all day entertainment for those recent America's Cup sailing addicts that enjoyed St Francis YC's most extraordinary setting along the San Francisco Bay waterfront.  After all, with a bar, grill, restaurant and starting line all, literally, experiencing the saltwater spray from waves crashing on their waterfront, having a fleet of the world's fastest growing sportboat playing like dolphins during your luncheon couldn't be more fun to watch!  Here's Andy's take on the entire experience:

"The J/Boats line have book-ended my sailing career to date. In 1980, back when I was 15, a neighborhood friend took me to St Francis YC for the J-24 North Americans. Fast forward to the present, September 2013, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Big Boat Series hosted by St Francis YC to sail on a new J-70. About 1' shorter than a J-24, the J-70 is as different as a boat can be besides the emblem up on the mainsail. When I sailed in 1980 you could order a J-24 in any color of the rainbow, the J-70 seems to be available in every color as long as it's white. One thing that hasn't changed is the wind in San Francisco Bay. Another is if they dropped a J-24 off a tall building it would be hard pressed to break 15 Knots, the J-70 carried us downwind @ 16 knots whooping and hollering and in full control!

J/70s sailing off St Francis YC in San FranciscoIn the 33 ensuing years from 1980-2013 I have completed 37 Trans-Pacific voyages, won a Moore 24 National Championship, and sailed with friends and family every chance I've had. And I can tell you the J-70 is a special boat. She's easily trailered behind most any vehicle and I can even put the light little carbon mast up by myself. The hiking rules are two people with legs in, two people with legs out. Any two people, big, small, fat or tall, you don't have to only choose your crew by their physical attributes.

In 1980 our J-24 had 4 winches, in 2013 the J-70 had 2 and we never even used them in wind up to 25 knots. Okay, so I'm 6' 2" 225 lbs and a former Army Ranger but I know the winches are there for a reason, nonetheless, pull real hard and it all comes in real easy. The tuning guide is helpful and rig tension seems surprisingly important, but that individual with the tiller still rules the school. Upwind and down, reaching (yes we overcooked a few laylines) and listening to the feedback from the helm drove the boat. Get ready to play the vang, the outhaul, in-haul the jib sheet, and keep weight forward.

Check the results from Big Boat Series and you'll see we didn't win, but hey the skipper hadn't entered a regatta since college (20 years ago) our crew of four didn't even know each other's names until the day before the regatta and we still pulled a first and a third in a seven race series. I've always felt that fractional rigged boats favor good focused sailors; the J-70 is no different - little adjustments pay off big. Try vang sheeting rather than dropping the traveler when it gets windy, adjust the 4/1 jib halyard when it goes light. I don't know that we ever had the jib leads correct but we sure adjusted them a lot. It is likely if you are used to a nervous curl on the luff of the spinnaker you are going to have to get used to smaller adjustments. Of course if you are out to win, this treatise assumes a fresh bottom, first class sails, and motivated crew.

J/70 sailing on San Francisco BayThe J-70 is a special boat at a critical time and she likely owes her sportiness to the "Fast is Fun" cult ULDB's of the 70's and 80's. So what happens when you wipe out a J-70? Well we saw a few and she has plenty of reserve buoyancy and lead in the keel to keep her up and on her feet, (and she has a kelp cutter to). Criticisms? Is there something I did not like about the boat? I'm a thirsty fellow, what is the plan for the cooler? Why not fiber standing rigging? A central bilge pump would be handy on breezy, wet days.

Did I mention this is a comfortable boat? Huge cockpit, all the controls within easy reach and nothing to trip over on the cockpit floor. The stock non skid grippiness is just about right, but you can't go wrong by adding some Raptor deck to the fold. The helm is surprisingly light and balanced for a transom hung rudder and we could easily tell when the skipper felt over powered on the runs and were able to ease the vang or spin sheet before he lost control. The jib simply rolls up on a Harken under deck furler, There is even hardware on the boom for a mainsail reef but ours wasn't fit with a reef point, nor did we ever feel it was needed.

The spinnaker is dead simple and no one in our class completely shrimped it all week long, though it typically gets a little wet on the hoists and douses. The rig tension is controlled through an ingenious system that locks the upper and lower shroud together so you can easily slip a handy plastic bar in the turnbuckle and twist away. I'm sure this will take some practice as any adjustment directly affects forestay tension and your ability to point. We tended to go a little tighter than what the tuning guide called for and it seemed to work for us. The leech tension on the main was controlled through the use of the vang and seemed more important than backstay tension upwind.

Light air performance? I don't know that we had our legs over the side at each start, with the lighter winds in the starting area, but there was word, and it may be true, she feels fully under control on the upwind legs, but why speculate? Why not go for test a sail?"    Sailing photo credits- Erik Simonson.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Youth Sailing J/124 In Southern California!

J/124 MARISOL- youth sailors in Southern California(Long Beach, CA)-  Steve Schupak recently provided Craig Leweck's Scuttlebutt with some perspective on successfully getting young sailors into the "big boat" sailing game in southern California on Seth Hall's J/124 MARISOL.  Here's Steve's commentary:

"The secret play going into the final race of the summer beer-can racing season had been deviously planned. Little did the crew realize that the big event wasn’t just sailing in blazers and bow ties, but they would now officially be the youngest team on the water!

As the engine was warming up and the dock lines being slipped from the boat, the adult supervision – all decked out in blazers and bow ties like the kids – gave the announcement that they would be staying off the boat and it was a "kids-only" night! Eyes got big, questioning looks spread from boy to boy, and finally they awoke to the fact that they were fully in charge.

“And by the way, don’t hit the dock as you pull out, and don’t get near anyone on the course.” Typical "helicopter" parent talk as they pulled out and set sail. Average age was around 15.3 years old.

The breeze was perfect and the boys were coming into their own out on the water. The gory details of the race really don’t matter as the boys sailed well; safely for both body and boat. And they did it with style! Those of us parents and grandparents following along on, hooting and hollering and cheering, enjoyed a special, special night.

With the support of many this summer, we watched the growth of the next generation of sailors for our sport. Nights like these will have a lasting impression and impact on these young men’s lives – more than any day in a junior program. Here they competed against adults, were accepted by adults, and cheered as adults!"

J/124 youth sailors- sailing in beer-can raceJohn Drayton provides a little background:  "Two summers ago, Seth Hall asked me to race his 40-foot J/124 MARISOL a couple nights when he was out of town for the Monday night summer races. The race course wasn’t real busy, and I’d usually grab our two boys (then 14 and 12 years old) and a couple of their friends. It was really casual, and we maybe only sailed a half dozen races in total that summer (2011).

Last summer (2012), with Seth’s encouragement, we got a little more organized. Steve Schupak joined me to help “coach” the boys. We recruited a regular team, and started treating the kids like adult sailors (they were responsible for rigging/de-rigging the boat, nobody leaves until everything is done, no un-excused missed nights). On several nights we recruited periodic “guest” coaches to come along for a night, including top local sailors like Dave Ullman, Bruce Cooper, Harry Pattison, Mark Olson and Tom Pollack (among others).

This summer, the “Monday Crew” continued their growth as a team. There were 7-8 kids with 2-3 alternates, all under 17 years. Every boy steered at least one full night (including a 11 year old). Each boy rotated through all the key positions: helm, trimmers, grinders, tactician. Progressively the adults were pushed out of the cockpit and away from any position of responsibility – by the end of summer, my only remaining job was to skirt the jib after tacks.

The final night when we exited the boat was a lot of fun, especially at the point where I told them they would be sailing without us. I’d worked out with Seth in advance that they’d sail without any adults, and it’s no surprise to any of us that they did a great job. They closed out their racing season in first place overall for the series!

None of this would have occurred without Seth letting (and trusting) a group of kids to sail his boat. There’s nothing magic about what we did – and the model for copying this elsewhere is really simple (put kids on a boat, let them race) – but the overall results of this program have far exceeded everyone’s expectations!!

J/105 Masters Regatta Preview

J/105s sailing Masters Regatta- San Diego, CA(San Diego, CA)- For years, the worldʼs greatest master sailors such as Elvstrom, Buchan, Burnham, Tillman, Trask, Irish, Harken, North, Holland, Hinman and Dickson competed in the prestigious event on San Francisco Bay called the International Masters Regatta.  First created by St Francis YC member Don Trask in 1975, the sailors initially competed on J/24 one-designs.  As time went by, it was felt that J/105s would be a more appropriate platform for the gentlemen sailors (after all, skippers had to be at least 60 yrs old and all crew over 45!).

J/105s sailing on San Diego Harbor- Masters RegattaThe event took a hiatus in the 2009-2011 period due to the extraordinary financial distress experienced by economies the world over.  Recently, the San Diego YC resurrected the regatta with the help of SDYC member Jeff Brown and Mr Trask and, together, hosted a wildly popular Masters "classic" in 2012 in the pristine flat waters of San Diego Harbor.  This year's "class of 2013" promises to be an even more competitive event as word got out how much fun everyone had last year.  After all, how can you beat sailing in matched J/105 one-designs with matched sails, matched tuning and the extraordinary venue of sailing in San Diego Harbor with the city as the backdrop and ginormous U.S. Navy nuclear aircraft carriers as the "continuing obstruction" on the south side of the course!  As one might imagine, in more ways than one, San Diego delivers on its postcard-perfect weather conditions of WNW 8-12 kts breezes with plenty of sunshine and lots of tourist distractions.

Leading this year's class of Master sailors has to be last year's winners, Dennis & Sharon Case from the host SDYC.  Nevertheless, as the "local heroes", they will accompanied by fellow "rock star" SDYC members Chuck Nichols.  Three members from St Francis YC will be attending, including Jon Andron, Bruce Munro and Don Trask.  Last year, two of these NoCal teams nearly walked off with all of the silverware!

Rounding out the West Coast contingent will be Sally Honey, past 505 World Champion, dragging along her husband Stan Honey (the same guy who's invented all those cool graphics for football, baseball, NASCAR, tennis and most notably, the America's Cup 34 TV/ Internet broadcasts).  While Stan may have won the TransPac once or twice on his Cal 40, the one-design talent clearly lies with Sally-- perhaps the first women ever to win a World Championship on a trapeze skiff as skipper!?

J/105 team rounding mark- Masters RegattaFrom the eastern side of America (e.g. east of California), the renown J/Boats designer Rod Johnstone from Stonington, CT's Wadawanuck YC will be sailing with his son Jeff J.  Past Masters winner John Jennings from St Petersburg YC (St Petersburg, FL) is sailing with the legendary Mark Ploch (first J/24 Midwinters winner in 1978!).  Jennings is re-emerging from a premature retirement to determine whether or not he still has the "hot hand" that enabled him to win back in the San Francisco days of the event.  Renown Great Lakes sailor, David Irish from Harbor Springs, MI will be sailing with some of his local talent. And, "young" Jeff Neuberth (of BOOMERANG the IOR Maxi 80 footer fame) will be participating for his first time-- not an envious position to be in, getting tossed into this den of wolves!

Finally, adding a bit of international flavor to the event is perhaps Her Majesty The Queen's most notable, and infamous, yachting journalist of the past half century, none other than Bob "The Fish" Fisher, from Lymington, England's Royal Lymington YC.  Whilst "Fish" is most renown for his quick wit, sarcasm and insightful commentary on all things yachting (especially, the America's Cup), the mighty pen pales in comparison to his abilities to divine the intricacies of wind, wave and tide-- all learned on the western end of the Solent and, one might add, after a few tongue-lashings by that famous Irishman Harold Cudmore!

The weekend forecast looks quite promising, with sunny days, WNW winds of 8-12 kts, flat water and plenty of events on the social schedule to keep every one distracted-- did we mention earlier this was also the "chamber of commerce" weather forecast, too?  With so much talent on the water it's just about impossible to lay odds on which teams will be standing on the podium after the smoke clears!  Watch this space, it will surely be entertaining!   SDYC J/105 Masters sailing photos- Bob Betancourt/ SDYC   For more information J/105 Masters sailing information

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chilly & Rainy "Winter" Series Update

J/109s rounding mark on Solent- sailing Hamble Winter Series (Hamble, England)- The Garmin Hamble Winter Series lived up to its name on Sunday with torrential rain and a chilly 18 knots from the northwest that left competitors glad to retire to the bar after racing for a few "hot toddies" and warm Guinness! But despite the conditions the crews and the volunteer race teams alike braved the conditions to fit in two exciting races.

The worst of the rain held off until the second race, with the first sailed in a marginally preferable light drizzle. In IRC 0, Cornel Riklin's J/111 JITTERBUG sailed fast to snag a 2-3 to be tied for second, just three points clear of David & Kirsty Apthorp's J/111 J-DREAM with a 4-4 tally.

J/92 sailing Solent- Hamble Winter SeriesIn IRC 1, Louise Makin's J/105 JOURNEYMAKER 5 took a 3-5 to be tied on points with the new J/88 JUNGLE DRUM sailed by Paul Heys with 4-4 finishes.

In IRC 3, Nick Munday’s J/97 INDULJENCE beat David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO by 18 seconds in the first race and Jamie Muir’s Scarlet Jester by five minutes in the second, and now sits atop the overall results.

J/109 setting spinnaker at mark- sailing on Solent at Hamble Winter SeriesIn the J/109s, Paul Griffith’s JAGERBOMB won the first race ahead of David McGough’s JUST SO, but in the second race JUST SO took first and now leads the series by 2 points. Behind them are Ivan Burden's JACOBI in third, tied with JAGERBOMB.  Fourth is Owain Franks' JYNNAN TONNYX and fifth is Dave McLeman's OFFBEAT.

In the J/111 class, Riklin’s JITTERBUG are sailing fast and smart and managed to beat the Apthorp's J-DREAM in both races to take first overall. Lying third is William Naylor's BRITISH SOLDIER.

Day prizes were – quite appropriately, given the foul weather conditions – provided by clothing supplier Hudson-Wight at the prize-giving back at Hamble River SC after racing, as well as by Southern Ropes, whose prizes went un-awarded last week due to the lack of wind.

J/105 Journeymaker V sailing on Solent- Hamble Winter SeriesDoyle Sails Hamble One Design Championships
Saturday and Sunday also hosted the first of two Doyle Sails Hamble One Design Championship weekends, which ran starts for J/70, J/80 and J/109 classes. Saturday saw a pleasant if shifty 12-15 knot breeze that swung between 078 and 097 degrees, and bright sunshine. As in the main series, Sunday was far less pleasant, especially for the open sportsboats, but at least there was some breeze!

Iain MacKinnon’s TIGH SOLIUS II had a successful weekend in the J/109 class, winning three of the five races, and currently sits atop the results ahead of Tony Dicken’s JUBILEE in second place and Paul Griffith’s JAGERBOMB in third.  Fourth is Steven Tapper's STALKER and fifth is Owain Franks JYNNAN TONNYX.

In the J/70s, Malcolm Jaques’ DJANGO was similarly successful, also scoring three wins in five races. The RAF’s SPITFIRE entry, helmed by Simon Ling, is just two points behind with 9 points, ahead of Ian Wilson’s JOYRIDE in third.  Simon Cavey's PHEEBS is fourth while Jack Davies' JUGADOR stands fifth.

Jon Powell’s BETTY leads the J/80 class after a strong performance over the weekend – they scored two seconds and three firsts and lead the class by four points, ahead of Patrick Liardet’s AQUA-J and Yannig Loyer’s J-OUT-OF-THE-BOX.  Geoff Payne's SURF & TURF is fourth just two points in front of Brian Denny's JALAPENO.

After a weekend of close-matched and frenetic racing, the Doyle Sails Hamble One Design Championship returns in a fortnight’s time, with another five races scheduled.

Kudos to all the teams who braved Sunday’s weather and to the volunteers who manned the committee and mark-laying boats. Here’s hoping for better weather next weekend, which hosts the final MDL Hamble Big Boat Championship weekend and the third race day of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, with One Sails as the Day Sponsor.  Thanks for contribution from Ben Meakins.    YouTube sailing video of Hamble Winter Series   Sailing photo credits- Malcolm Donald   For more Garmin Hamble Winter Series sailing information

Shanghai Airport Wins J/80 Club Cup

J/80 sailing  Xiamen in the China Club Cup (Xiamen, China)- It takes time for anything to grow and the China Club Challenge Match is no different.  The event started as a challenge between two embryonic Chinese sailing clubs, Ironrock Sailing Club in Xiamen and Zhuhai Sailing Club in two beat-up old J/24s, and over the years the event has grown.

Over the last few days in Xiamen the ninth edition has been sailed in a competitive and sportsmanlike manner better than ever before, with 30 teams locking horns in J/80s. The number of teams depending on retired athletes has gone down, and the female involvement has gone up with 20% of the boats being driven by the fairer sex – although judging by their competitiveness that is very much a relative term.

The event had everything: protests (valid!); general recalls; and even one or two black flags. Close competitive racing, yet very little in the way of ‘bumper cars’ that can sometimes be seen in regattas with borrowed boats.

The event was sailed in International J/80 one-design sailboats supplied by the organizers thanks to the support of Hudson Marine, with the boats being equalized and checked by Jim Johnstone (the name is no coincidence) who heads up J-Boats Asia.

J/80 one-design sailboats- starting in China Club Cup off XiamenWith 20 boats and 30 teams it was necessary to split into two flights, both getting in seven races each over the three days of racing in conditions that ranged from a shortened course to genuine broaching weather, with the event finishing just ahead of Typhoon Fitou which hit the coast around 100 miles away not many hours after the noise of the prize-giving party died away.

The standard of sailing has certainly evolved and improved over the years, with far more amateurs involved than the early days, and with some teams even being owner driven.

The Club Cup, as it is known, is the oldest keelboat regatta in China, pre-dating China Cup by a full year, and it has become the ‘must win’ event for many Chinese teams. This year, some were making their fourth or fifth attempt to have their name inscribed on the trophy, getting closer each time.

From the form shown in the first part of the event, the favourites heading towards the second knockout match racing phase must surely be Shanghai Airport Sailing Team which is primarily made up, as the name suggests, of employees and family from Shanghai’s airport workers sports club. They posted five bullets and two second places over their three days’ racing – not bad having a ‘2’ to discard!

So now the top 16 (eight from each flight) must go away, hone their boat handling skills further, and read up on the rules to be ready to re-join battle back down in Xiamen, 8-11 November. Will they be able to break last year’s record, when the race management team managed to get off 26 races in one day? In 2012, each match in the round of 16 went to the best-of-three decider, plus a couple of ‘exhibition’ races. Granted, it’s unlikely, given that one or two teams have shown themselves to be head and shoulders above the rest this year - but only time will tell.  For more J/80 China Cup & Club Cup sailing information

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

J/Performance @ Strictly Sail Long Beach

J/125 sailing off California coastline (Long Beach, CA)- Attention Sailors!  JK3 Yachts will be presenting some exciting boats at Strictly Sail Long Beach, October 24-27th at Shoreline Village in Rainbow Harbor, with a high performance line up of J/Boats! Featured will be these proven speedsters, the J/125 “Warrior”, the J/145 “Jeito”, and the J/133 “Tango”. Whether racing offshore, around the buoys or cruising off to the islands, J/Boats are the perfect choice. Now is the chance to step aboard these thoroughbreds to compare the quality and great value for your next big campaign.  For tickets or more information on this exclusive J/Boat line up, please contact Jeff Brown-

College Big Boat Regatta Runaway Success!

J/105 sailing college big boat regattaJ/44, J/109 and J/105 Fleets Enjoy Big Breeze!
(Larchmont, New York)- The Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR) as it's officially known, run by the Storm Trysail Foundation and the Larchmont Yacht Club, had an epic regatta this year. Over 300 college sailors hopped aboard 54 borrowed offshore boats to make this year's IOR the largest collegiate regatta in North America. The fleet was made up of eleven J/105s, fifteen J/109s, five J/44s, and two 10-boat handicap divisions-- the 35 J/Teams on the line comprised 65% of the fleet with 216 sailors manning the boats (about 70% of the college sailors on the water!).

J/105 sailing at college big boat seriesAs a result of a stationary low, strong northeast winds blew for three days before the regatta as well as for the two days of racing, making conditions extreme – even for experienced Long Island Sound racers. After two races were sailed on Saturday in winds blowing from 22-30 with higher gusts, the race committee sent the dwindling fleet back to the harbor in hopes of more benign conditions the next day. But on Sunday the low pressure system still refused to budge and conditions remained the same.

J/109 rounding mark at college big boat seriesAfter a two-and-a-half hour harbor postponement, the RC called it quits and neither the owners of the borrowed boats nor the sailors thought it was a bad call. “It was a shame for the teams that came so far,” said Regatta Chair Adam Loory. Eleven teams came from the Midwest and three teams came from Canada. “Our committee had to err on the side of caution; if boats get broken or people get hurt, we won’t be able to pull together a regatta on this scale ever again. As it was, the City Island UK Sailmakers loft burned a lot of midnight oil to get sails back into one piece for Sunday. In the cases where sails were un-repairable, we found loaner sails to fill in.”

After two races, the standings were tight; three divisions were won by boats with two firsts and the other two divisions were won with scores of a first and a second. Picking an overall winner was impossible; therefore, the Paul Hoffman Trophy for the overall winner of the 2013 IOR went jointly to Georgetown and the College of Charleston.

College of Charleston team- winning J/105 class at college big boat regattaThe Charleston team sailed on Austin Fragomen’s J/105 WARLOCK. Third overall went to one of the three teams from Massachusetts Maritime sailing Rick Lyall’s STORM in the 15-boat J/109 fleet.

Coming the farthest were two teams from Europe, the result of a joint venture with the EDHEC Sailing Cup, which is the world’s largest intercollegiate regatta. The EDHEC Sailing Cup is staged every year in France by students of EDHEC, one of France’s most prestigious business schools; last year their regEDHEC French university sailing teamatta attracted over 1,500 sailors who raced on 180 boats. In an effort to get more foreign teams at the IOR and the EDHEC Sailing Cup, respectively, winning teams from each regatta will be given the opportunity to compete, cost free, at the regatta on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean. Georgetown was the very first winner of the EDHEC Challenge, which earned the team a free trip to the 46th EDHEC Sailing Cup in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, in April 2014.

Adam Loory, the Storm Trysail Club co-founder of the I.O.R. event, said that "we've been getting some great comments from both boat owners and collegiate competitors that sailed in this year's regatta."  Here are some of the below:

Tufts’ sailing coach Ken Legler who brought two teams said, “We didn’t get much sailing in but what we did get was pretty special.” Andrew Berdon, owner of the J/109 STRIDER, posted on his Facebook page, “Sailed with members of the Dalhousie University sailing team today. They drove 13 hours to get down here from Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to kick butt taking a first and second in our races today. The wind was 'blowing dogs off chains', 22-30 knots from the northeast with higher gusts and huge, breaking waves. Thank you to the Storm Trysail Foundation and LYC for putting on my favorite regatta of the year.”

Adrija Navarro wrote, “I just wanted to thank you for matching the Princeton University Sailing Team up with Matt Breef (on Matt Baker’s J/109 RELIANT) for the IOR. The IOR is an incredible event, and we hope to come back again next year."

Chris Ercole, owner of the J/109 SWEET CAROLINE wrote, “Yes, it was a lot of fun. I had no idea the Ottawa team does not have a coach or even much of a sailing budget as they are not a varsity level team. Our helmsman never steered anything bigger than a 420 before, never mind anything with a wheel. I think we were all very happy with our performance. The kids were absolutely great and very appreciative for having use of the boat. They were very respectful of the boat and gear; nothing was lost or abused. Having Tom (Darling) aboard was great too as I’m still learning and don’t know the first thing about teaching kids how to sail.”

Each boat had the boat owner or his representative aboard as well as a second adult. The adults are encouraged to teach boat-speed, boat-handling and sail trim since much of big boat sailing is new to dinghy sailors as Chris Ercole noted above. Since the regatta is a stand-alone event and is not used to rank the teams, the regatta organizers encourage teaching during the regatta. The only line that is drawn covers tactics-- the college sailors call their own tactics since figuring out which way to go on the race course is universal to all sailboats.

David Doody, a coach on David Wilson’s J/109 BLANCHE, wrote, “Great job with the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta; it really is a terrific thing and you do an incredible job pulling it all off. Canceling racing on Sunday was the right decision for the event, which was clearly another huge success. We went out sailing for an hour after racing was abandoned without problem; we got the spinnaker up and they learned how to spell b-r-o-a-c-h. The weekend was a big learning experience for the six intrepid sailors of the team from William and Mary.”

Ron Weiss, an offshore coach at SUNY Maritime wrote, “I just wanted to drop a personal note about how grateful we are for the IOR. The SUNY Maritime guys had a blast and it was an important stepping-stone in their progress as a team. Again, thanks for everything you’re doing for the sport.” The SUNY team won the J/44 division on Dr. Norman Schulman’s CHARLIE V, which was an all service academy division. They beat Navy, Mass Maritime, Maine Maritime and Coast Guard.

The goal of the Storm Trysail Foundation and the Larchmont Yacht Club in running the IOR is to introduce dinghy sailors to the fun and teamwork of big boat racing, which is a new aspect of the sport to many dinghy sailors. It also gives college sailors with big boat skills a chance to compete in some of the best prepared boats around. Thanks to sponsors Rolex, Vineyard Vines, Caithness Energy, Safe Flight Instruments, Flintlock Construction, Dimension/Polyant Sailcloth, UK Sailmakers, Gill (foul weather gear), Heineken and Coke, this is a totally free event for the boat owners and college sailors.

Storm Trysail Club Commodore Nick Langone said, “I applaud the organizing team, led by Adam Loory and Butch Ulmer, for spending so much time organizing, giving direction, and finally executing one of the best, and well run regattas I’ve been associated with.”

Finally, a special thanks to Larchmont Yacht Club, the co-sponsor of the regatta. “There are very few, if any, clubs that can host an event this size, while not inconveniencing their members,” said John Fisher, Chairman of the Storm Trysail Foundation. Larchmont provided over 35 guest moorings and put on extra launch service for the regatta. They also ran their own Columbus Day regatta at the same time. Report contributed by Adam Loory.   For more Intercollegiate Offshore Race sailing information

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

J/70 Segel-BundesLiga- Thrilling 4th Regatta

J/70s sailing Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga- Friedrichshafen, Germany"Locals" Wurttemberg YC Win Fourth Stage!
(Friedrichshafen, Germany)- The fourth regatta of the J/70 Deutsche Bundesliga was hosted by the Wurttemberg YC located in Friedrichshafen from the 27th to 29th of September.  The sailors experienced everything from light airs and super flat water to strong steady winds with choppy seas on the gorgeous Lake Constance (a.k.a. the "Bodensee").  The host team won the regatta-- Wurttemberg YC-- with skipper Max Rieger, his brother Moritz Rieger, Thomas Dietsch and Felix Stemmer.

J/70s sailing downwind in German regatta seriesWith seven wins in twelve races, the team from the WYC had "tough sledding" to rise to the top, especially since the second place team, Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee were counting eight 1sts in their scoreline!  Said the relieved skipper of WYC, Max Rieger, "We may have had home advantage on Lake Constance, but one cannot expect it to help at all in the difficult, shifting winds. But, we are very satisfied with the result!"

Only two points behind the leader was the team from the Wannsee in Berlin- Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee.  Their team comprised of Kathrin Kadelbach, Ulrike Schumann, Nils Schröder and Malte Kamrath started off with two bullets, struggled in the mid-series of races and closed fast with five 1sts and one 2nd to nearly pull off an upset.

J/70 Germany sailing team- on Lake Constance, GermanyThe Norddeutscher Regatta Verein team from Hamburg, including Carsten Kemmling, Klaus Lame, Weser and Florian Haufe, finished the regatta with a string of five bullets to rapidly close on the leaders and take third overall.  It wasn't enough to overcome the stronger start of the other teams, but it certainly kept the others anxious as they closed to within 4 pts of the lead and only 2 pts back from second!  As a result, the team successfully defended their overall Deutsche Bundesliga championship lead going into the fifth and last stage of the event in Berlin.  Said NRV Team Manager Klaus Lame, "we wanted the team that would sail in Berlin to race here on Lake Constance and gain the experience necessary to hopefully win the title!  We're fortunate to have succeeded after sailing in these difficult conditions this weekend!"

J/70 German sailing teams at Friedrichshafen, Lake ConstanceThe last regatta for the Bundesliga takes place from November 8th to 11th sailing at NRV's yacht club on the Wannsee in Berlin.  The question of which clubs are in the best position for the season finale in Berlin certainly became clearer after the Lake Constance event.  With 66 pts, NRV is leading by just 4 pts and they're hoping the "home-town" advantage will play in their favor.  Lying second is the fast-learning Wurttemberg YC team with 62 pts overall and they're excited about sailing on the Wansee.  Another "local" Berlin team, the YC Berlin-Grunau are sitting in third overall with 60 pts, struggling a bit after winning the first event in Tutzing at the beginning of the season.  They, too, are hoping that sailing home-town waters will bring them better luck!  Fourth is Bayerischer YC with 56 pts and fifth is Chiemsee YC with 54 pts. Of the eighteen teams participating, it's conceivable that up to eight teams have a mathematical possibility of winning or leaping onto the podium in Berlin!  Don't count out other teams like "locals" Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee, Deutscher Touring YC and Konstanzer YC!

J/70s sailing off starting line- Germany's Segel BundesligaAre the teams having a lot of fun and, as some have asked, is this the future of regatta sailing?  Maike Christiansen from the magazine in Germany was posing that question to the various sailors and team managers during the last event in Friedrichshafen.  Here's Maike's commentary:

"The Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga, a struggle for status as the best sailing club in Germany, is nearing the end of its first season sailing the new J/70 sportboat.

Short, fast races. Sailing J/70s with just main, jib and asymmetric spinnakers. The crews, some of whom have never sailed together before, others fielding strong, established teams, give nothing away at any corner or leg of the race course. Sometimes only centimeters determine who will be first to the finish, who can cheer loudly for their team.

J/70 women sailors at Germany Segel-BundesligaBack on land, the sailors forget everything about the day on the water.  With gourmet chefs providing delicious food and with plenty of drink and music, the sailors sit together and exchange ideas, exchange tips and anecdotes about sailing J/70s, make new acquaintances and refresh old ones again. When sailing the Segel-Bundesliga everything mixes together: young and old, followers of traditional sailboats and sailors of modern skiffs, America's Cup participants, German champions and those who have won the regatta on the village pond around the corner, match race experts and fleet racing sailors.  Yet, in the first German yacht club competition in the sport of sailing, it's not the individuals, but the sailing clubs that are in the foreground. In a series of five regattas spread over the whole of Germany (like the "stages" in the Tour de France), eighteen teams fight for victory.

One may argue whether such a regatta series really has significance as to which club is the best and also whether such a comparison is at all meaningful!  However, with the Segel-Bundesliga, where teams train all year together, can the event - apart from the name - at least not really compare?!

J/70 women sailors competing at Germany's Segel-Bundesliga regattaNevertheless, the facts and realities mean one thing-- the format has a future. The facts are (i) that J/70s are strict one-design class sailboats made to travel easily; (ii) the sailors can travel quickly on a weekend to all of the events; (iii) the J/70s are great for the German lakes and bays for sailing many short, tight races; and (iv) the sailing teams can depart after the sailing without having to worry about boat transport or maintenance.  In short, the "sailing" and "social" activities are at the forefront of the regatta experience. The format is particularly attractive for good sailors who have to contend with the responsibilities of study, work, family, and so forth-- leaving precious little time available for any recreational activity, especially sailing on weekends with friends! That the five Segel-Bundesliga regattas have been elevated to a higher context - the championship of all German sailing clubs- it will be asked, has the sailing in the event taken on even greater significance??  Yes, it has because it addresses the most important point: It's FUN!

J/70 Germany Segel-Bundesliga sailing video- highlightsIt's fun to compete on athletic keelboats with other teams that are just thrown together as their own crew! It's fun to tack under Jochen Schumann and force him to tack away! It's fun, not as a "lone wolf", but being part of a sailing team representing your club! It's fun to meet the regatta sailors from various boat classes to see and meet old friends!  The Segel-Bundesliga provides students with a "sense of community", attracting younger and older sailors and it makes you want to sail.  How can you expect anything more from an event like this?  Hard to beat sailing J/70s on a wild plane across some of the most picturesque bays and lakes in Germany with friends-- young and old, newly made or known for decades!  Looking forward to Berlin already!"   Friedrichshafen Sailing video highlights on YouTube
Facebook Sailing photo credits: Segel-Bundesliga / Lars Wehrmann
For more J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information

England's IL RICCIO Dominates J/24 Europeans

J/24s sailing Europeans off Monaco Germany's Thoennessen Takes Women's Crown
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- A record turnout with 67 boats, 11 nations and a top level playing field sums up the J/24 European Championship (Open) hosted for the second time by the Yacht Club de Monaco 20 years after it organized the first edition, with the invaluable support of Stuart Jardine, a legend on the sailing scene in England and the J/24 class.

An International Race Committee presided by Englishman John Coveney fired the gun on eight hard-fought races over the four days, in east to south-westerly wind conditions ranging from 5 to 30 knots. It was a tactical as well as physically challenging championship for the 335 sailors, who had to cope with varied conditions, complicated by the Ligurian current, not counting practice races and a succession of starts.

J/24s starting off Monte Carlo, Monaco in EuropeansFaced with a compact fleet it was difficult to avoid the 67 J/24s when rounding the mark or to fight for a place on the start to be sure of clean wind. With courses averaging five nautical miles and taking less than an hour, the competition was intense, with less than 10 minutes separating the first from the last in each race.  In the end, it was Englishman Ian Southworth, triple European Champion, who lifted his fourth title with Chris MacLaughlin (Il Riccio). Despite not winning a race, they were impressively consistent and always in the top six.

J/24s sailing downwind under spinnaker off Monte Carlo, MonacoThe racing itself was quite complex and challenging.  The sailors often found themselves at odds with the wind, current and fleet.  Tight fleets and some local knowledge helped.  In fact, by the end of the second day, the Monegasque team skippered by Ian Ilsley was leading the fleet  thanks to a sound second place in the fourth race.  “These are the conditions we really enjoy! It’s great to be competing in a championship regatta organized by one’s own club. It is so motivating especially because the level is higher than the world championship that was held in August in Dublin,” commented Ilsley.

Nevertheless, as everyone knows in this level of competition, "it ain't over 'till it's over".  Hot on their heels was the  English team of Ian Southworth & Chris MacLaughlin, hanging in for second place with 5 points and the Italian Pietro Diamanto skippering JAMAICA in third with 6 points.  Not far off the pace and expecting to get on the podium were past J/24 World Champion Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil sailing BRUSCHETTA and also  American Mike Ingham sailing JULIA.

J/24 setting spinnaker at Europeans off Monte Carlo, MonacoThe third day of racing dawned with a very strong south-westerly breeze with ginormous cresting waves (more like breaking swells).  Making the most of the conditions, the PRO managed to sail three very fast races for the large fleet.  BRUSCHETTA  made a comeback, moving from fourth to second place in the overall rankings and winning one race hands down by a country mile.  A steady performance was also turned in by the IL RICCIO team, taking a top ten for each race, and took the lead in the ranking from the day’s first race.  Monaco sailor Ian Ilsley managed to cling on to his place in the top three, despite a poor performance on the seventh leg of the last race.

However, there was disappointment for one of the favourites, Pietro Diamanti's JAMAICA, third yesterday and 15th after day three's sailing; proof of the quality of competitors and just how hard-fought the racing has been on the Monaco courses. The general view is that a hierarchy seems to be establishing itself with the gaps widening in the fleet as the breeze increases in strength.  And, so it went for the next two days with close racing and great camaraderies amongst the European J/24 teams.

In the overall event, second place went to another favorite, triple world champion Mauricio Santa Cruz on the famous BRUSCHETTA- he was second in the Dublin Worlds in August 2013. Surprised by the level and high quality of the playing field, he won one race in style, leading from start to finish and widening the gap to put him well ahead of his competitors in the fifth race.

J/24s sailing upwind towards Monte Carlo, Monaco harbourBut the title of vice-champion of Europe went to the Monegasque ST ANDREWS SECURITIES team helmed by Ian Ilsley with François Brenac on tactics.  They pulled off a coup by coming third, just three points shy of the Brazilian.  “This is the culmination of a year’s hard work. We made the trip to the World Championship in Ireland in August to prepare for this one and hone our boat. Our efforts have paid off and the contract largely fulfilled, beyond our expectations as we had set our sights on finishing in the top ten,”comments Ian Ilsley, for whom the next meeting is the Primo Cup (31 Jan/2 Feb & 7/9 Feb 2014) then the North American Championship in Mexico in March 2014.

Fourth for the regatta and third European was the Italian team on LA SUPERBA skippered by Ignazio Bonanno sailing for Centre Veico Marina Militare.  Fifth was early regatta leader EVNIKI, skippered by the popular Greek helmsman Dimitris Altsiadis.

J/24 German women's sailing team- ALICE- sailing at Monte Carlo, MonacoRounding out the top ten were 6th- Aurelio Bini from Italy (VIGNE SURRA), 7th- MacCathy Duncan from England (MADELEINE), 8th- Marco Stefanoni from Italy (KONG EASYNET GRIFONE), 9th- Claude Rodelato from Monaco (TOPO TOO) and 10th- Stephan Mais from Germany (RUNNING MEN).

The top three women's teams included Ragna Thoennessen from Germany sailing JUELSSAND in first place, she was part of the twenty team contingent from Germany-- the largest at the regatta from any single country. In second was her team-mate, Lea-Katharina Witt sailing ALICE for the Hamburg Segel-Club.  Then, third was Francesca Guzzo from the host club YC Monaco sailing COOL J!   Sailing photo credits- YC Monaco/ Franck Terlin   For more J/24 Europeans sailing information