Friday, January 31, 2014

J/70 @ Scandinavian Shows

J/70 sailing off Marstrand Sweden(Marstrand, Sweden)- Peter Johansson and the Marstrand Yachts team will be attending three boats shows in Scandinavia in the next two months.  Be sure to check out the hot, hot, new J/70 on display at all three shows.
Please be sure to contact Peter Johansson at ph# +46 (0)735 430 800 or email- or Skype: peter.r.johansson.

Here’s the overview of the J/70 (link is Swedish).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

CONVICTS Overcome J/24 Australian Nationals

J/24s sailing Sydney, Australia (Sydney, Australia)- This year’s J/24 Nationals were sailed on the fabulous Sydney Harbour and the teamwork at the host club, Royal Prince Edward YC, was nothing short of amazing.  Though the fleet had thirteen teams participating, the depth of talent was huge and great skippers were back in the pack.  Midway through the regatta, Ben Lamb, Dave Suda and Steve Girdis all had a mathematical chance of winning the regatta.  It was incredibly close racing all the way until the end.  In fact, big changes could (and did) happen on the final day of racing in the middle of the pack where just 6 pts separated six J/24s sailing Sydney Harbour, Australiaplaces!  In this group, Rolex Sydney-Hobart winning tactician Sean Kirkjian, Vlad (Singapore), Doug Watson, J Spot, Ron Thompson, Dave West, are all great skippers and would be treated to a “roller-coaster” ride of ups & downs all the way to the end.

Steve Girdis sailing CONVICTS REVENGE was crowned the Australian 2014 J/24 National Champion in an ultra-tight battle in the last two races, winning by just one point as a result of winning the last race! It was not an easy title to come by with so many tough cowboys vying for the podium.  It was consistent sailing that ultimately won the day for the CONVICTS, posting a 3-3-3-6-2-3-1-2-4-1 scoreline for 23 pts net.  Early regatta leaders, Ben Lamb’s KAOTIC crew, surely must’ve “blown a fuse” after winning four of the first six races J/24s sailing upwind on Sydney Harbour, Australia(maybe it was too much grog?).  In races 7, 8, 9 they posted a disastrous 6-5-10 and basically had to win the last race to gain the title. Alas, that was not in the cards for them, watching Girdis’s CONVICTS win the finale and bragging rights as “Top Gun” in the Australian J/24 fleet.

Dave Suda’s gangsters on PACEMAKER were lying second after eight races with a very consistent scoreline of 1-4-2-4-4-2-3-1.  But, like their colleagues on KAOTIC, they also experienced a bit of chaos with the “wheels falling off their shopping trolley” in the last two races.  PACEMAKER’s 5-7 in races 9 & 10 dropped them into third overall, taking the bronze in a tough, tough fleet.  Rounding out the top five were BY THE LEE and Kirkjian’s SAIL PAC in 4th & 5th, respectively.  For more J/24 Australian Nationals sailing information

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pacific Northwest Top 25 Intergalactics

Top 25 sailboats in Seattle/ Pacific NorthwestJ’s Dominant Brand Offshore
(Seattle, WA)- The Best of 25 Intergalactic Championship is a comprehensive look into the large group of sailboats that race throughout the Greater Puget Sound area between Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.  Here is Ben Braden’s report:

“For starters, we wish to “thank” Jan and Skip Anderson once again for taking the time to be out on the water taking these amazing photographs of the boats and sport we all love! These two not only get their boat out to take photo’s, they assist the race committees with course issues, they put boats in distress under tow and have even been known to deliver sailors with medical emergencies to the shore for care.  Thank you for all you do out there Jan and Skip! We’re blessed to have you on the water!

Please be sure to swing by the Sail Northwest booth (J/Boats Northwest dealer) at the Big Seattle Boat Show (just look for the J/70) and pick up your photo’s!

So, the Best of 25 Intergalactic Championship is based on the following: we picked 25 different races from the South Sound, West Sound, East Sound and even way up North to Whidbey, Anacortes and the San Juan Islands. 25 different races that put 556 different boats on the list. Think about that for a second, 556 different sailboats are out racing in Washington’s & British Columbia waters– that is an amazing amount of boats!

Each boats score is developed by adding up their finish places, by class, in each and every race. No boat did all of the 25 races so a “DNE” score (Did Not Enter) was developed and is simply the worst class score in the particular race +2. Encouraging and rewarding participation, combined with doing well, of course, is the plan for the Best of 25. Nothing is thrown out in the Intergalactic Championship– everything counts!  Participation is key– the most active consistently well-sailed boat comes out on top every year.  Ties are broken by the number of races entered and then the number of first place finishes.

For 2013 the races of the Best of 25 include Winter Vashon, Duwamish Head, Toliva Shoals, Blakely Rock Light, Islands Race, The Tulip Cup, Blakely Rock Benefit, The Puget Sound Spring Regatta, Protection Island, Race to the Straits, Vashon Island, Three Buoy Fiasco, The West Sound Sailing Association Series, Whidbey Island Race Week, Down the Sound, the new T-town Regatta, Northern Century, The Pacific International Tonner Championship, Star & Bar, Round Bainbridge, Foulweather Bluff, The Puget Sound Sailing Championships, Grand Prix, Round the County, & The Snowbird Series.  Buoy racing, mid-distance races, weekend and season series along with shorthanded races and two day events– basically, everything Puget Sound sailing has to offer.”  Thanks for contribution from Ben- for any questions contact him at-

Of the Top 25 boats, J’s took eight places (32% share), by far the dominant brand in the Intergalactic series.  Taking the #2 slot was LAST TANGO, a J/105 owned by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle’s Jim Geros.  Normally thought of as a One-Design racer LAST TANGO garnered 192 points after doing 14 of the 25 races while taking home only one 1st place finish.
In the #6 position was SLICK, a J/29 owned by Corinthian Yacht Club of Tacoma’s Pat Nelson and Bob Mayfield; they sailed 10 of the 25 races with 6 first place finishes and a total of 217 points. J/29 Slick sailing Seattle
Garnering the #8 finish was the famous TANTIVY, a top J/109 owned by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle’s Stuart Burnell; TANTIY sailed 11 of the 25 races with 2 first place finishes and totaled 230 points. J/109 Tantivy sailing off Seattle
Taking #10 position was yet another J/105.   DELIRIUM is owned by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle’s Jerry Diercks; DELIRIUM sailed 9 of the 25 races, winning 8 races for a total of 231 points. J/105 Delirium sailing off Seattle
And yet another J/105 took the #12 spot! DULCINEA is owned by West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club’s Mathew Gardner-Brown; they sailed 10 of the 25 races, with 2 first place finishes and a total of 235 points. J/105 Dulcinea sailing off Seattle
In the #15 slot was HERE & NOW, a J/29 owned by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle’s Pat Denny; they sailed 10 of the 25 races with 1 first place finish and 237 total points. J/29 Here and Now sailing off Seattle
Rounding out the Top 25 were the two big J’s in the fleet.  In the #22 position was the beautiful navy-blue JAM, a J/160 owned by Gig Harbor Yacht Club’s John McPhail; they sailed 8 of the 25 races with 5 first place finishes and had a total of 245 points. J/160 JAM sailing off Seattle
The other was the J/145 JEDI, taking the #23 finish.  She’s owned by Seattle Yacht Club’s John & Edie Tenneson; they sailed 10 of the 25 races with 2 first place finishes and 246 points total, just one point back from stable-mate JAM! J/145 JEDI sailing off Seattle
For more Top 25 Intergalactics sailing awards information

Mexico Hosting 2014 J/24 North Americans!

J/24 North Americans and Regata Copa Mexico (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- Warm waters, winds from 12 to 25 knots, plenty of sunshine and the already famous parties await you at arguably one of the best sailing venues worldwide. The J/24 North American Championship will take place on the waters of Bahia de Banderas (Vallarta) from March 16th to 21st, 2014.

This is definitely a regatta not to be missed, so mark your calendars and make plans to attend this event which will be part of the  Copa Mexico in its third edition. Those of you who have attended the past two editions or the 2007 Worlds there can attest to the excellent sailing conditions at Bahia de Banderas (Vallarta).  The bay is one of the largest in North America and is easily accessible by many of the large airlines with direct flights from most major hubs in the USA and Canada, as well as, Latin America and Europe— making it convenient to get to & from wherever you are visiting Puerto Vallarta.

The host club will again be the Marina Riviera Nayarit located at the Cruz de Huanacaxtle on the north side of the bay— they’re ready to receive all of the participants with their accustomed excellent hospitality. The town itself, not long ago a sleepy fishing village, has seen tremendous growth recently due to the marina. Now with many great restaurants catering to every palate from international cuisine to real authentic Mexican food from both the region and the country. There is also a chandlery and spare parts store with a huge selection within walking distance! Close by is the town of Puerto Vallarta offering a taste of a real Mexican town with its cobblestone streets and buildings hundred of years old,  art galleries and exquisite food for all tastes, plus night life that is unparalleled!

All this alone would be reason enough to visit beautiful Banderas Bay, but if you add the superb sailing and weather conditions, plus friendly people and great parties, it’s a hard combination to beat.  Last time, the Brazilians “won” the dance contest, the party AND the regatta!  Can you top that!?

There are already 53 teams registered with many of the world’s top sailors in attendance.  Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil and five other teams are coming from Brazil. Mike Ingham, Tony Parker, Chris Snow and many of the USA’s best sailors are also coming. And, there are teams from Monaco, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Peru, Canada and many others also participating, totaling over ten countries.  The regatta organizers are expecting a fleet of around 60 to 70 boats!

For more J/24 North Americans sailing information, please contact Leopoldo Farias, President of the J/24 Class Mexico, at email-  For more J/24 NA’s sailing information

Friday, January 24, 2014

J/70 @ Providence Boat Show

J/70 at Providence Boat Show (Providence, RI)- Having a bit of the winter blues?  Dreaming about sailing in faraway places after the last few weeks of crazy weather?  Why not take a hike down to the Rhode Island Convention Center to see the latest and greatest from the stable of J high-performance designs— the J/70!  The show runs from January 31st to February 2nd.

“The Providence Boat Show is the prime venue this winter for discovering what the Ocean State and its surrounding region offer to boaters—  whether you want to learn more about our stunning coastline,  our excellent marinas and service facilities, or the many marine businesses located in this part of the country,” says RIMTA CEO Wendy Mackie.

The Providence Boat Show is a prime venue for regional boaters who want to take advantage of Rhode Island’s “no-sales-tax policy” on boats that are delivered and registered in the state, as well as on boating services such as mooring and slip fees, winter storage, and refit and repair work. Show-goers considering Rhode Island as their new boating home can do their homework on marinas, boats, cruising grounds and service providers while at the show. For more information on the Providence Boat Show.   For more J/70 sailboat information

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Epic Sailing off Key West- Day 4

J/70s sailing with spinnakers off Key West
(Key West, FL)- It's been said the only certain things in life are death and taxes. But, for sailors “in the know”, you gotta add to that list a full week's worth of racing in Key West. Thursday’s sailing was simply spectacular, with a classic NNE breeze blowing 10-20 kts, clear blue skies, and white caps dotting the seas over turquoise waters.

J/70 class leader- Tim Healy on Hellly HansenThe strong northerly winds allowed for another three-race day on all courses. Hap Fauth, skipper of Bella Mente, felt exhilarated as he stepped onto the dock following Thursday's action.  "We had absolutely fabulous conditions out there today," Fauth declared. "Anybody who complains about any aspect of this regatta has a screw loose. This is just fantastic sailing."

So far, Tim Healy’s HELLY HANSEN has put forth an impressive performance in the J/70 class, largest of the regatta with 60 boats. Healy, the defending class champ in Key West, has placed first or second in five races and counts no lower than a fourth in accumulating 15 points. SAVASANA, the second place entry skippered by Brian Keane, is a whopping 27 points astern.

Healy won two races on Thursday and finished fourth in the other to earn the Industry Partner Boat of the Day honor. He received the beautiful handcrafted Ship's Bell Clock trophy from Chelsea Clock. Geoff Becker and John Mollicone are teaming to call tactics while Gordon Borges works the bow aboard HELLY HANSEN.

"The big takeaway today was that you can't get too focused on one side of the course. We saw big shifts both ways and there was plenty of pressure on both sides," Healy said. "Our strategy has been to choose a side, but not be the furthest boat out there. You don't want to get pushed all the way to the edge."

Just behind the two leaders and only four points out of second is Great Britain’s Ian Atkins and his team sailing BOATS.COM.  The come-back of the week award must surely go to David Ullman sailing USA 32 after their slow start on the first day of racing.  Starting off with a rather humble 39-14, Ullman’s team added a 5-4-1-7-19-7 for a total of 57 pts to leap into fourth overall after ending the first day’s racing in the high 20’s.  Fifth is Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT with 60 pts.

J/122 Teamwork sailing off Key WestThere figures to be some fireworks in PHRF 1 as four boats are still in contention with a 4.5 pts separating all of them. SPACEMAN SPIFF, sailed by Rob and Ryan Ruhlman of Cleveland, Ohio, held onto the lead for a second straight day, but is just 1 ½ points ahead of fellow J/111 Team FIREBALL (Eddie Fredericks, Annapolis). TEAMWORK, the J/122 skippered by Robin Team, is coming on strong - having won five of the last six races to get within 2 ½ points of the lead. Finally, STARK RAVING MAD, a J/125 owned by James Madden, also has a shot to win.

 "It's a strong class with a lot of good boats and it's not surprising the regatta has come down to the last race," said Team, who was regretting a seventh place suffered in Race 8. "We've got to go out tomorrow and win the race. That's all there is to it."

Skipper Bill Sweetser and the crew on the J/109 RUSH have clinched victory in PHRF 2, posting a steady stream of firsts, seconds and thirds in the seven-boat fleet. Veteran pro Tom Babel called tactics on RUSH, which has built an insurmountable lead over fellow J/109 HEAT WAVE (Gary Weisberg, Gloucester, Mass.). Sweetser, an Annapolis resident who has been class runner-up in Key West four times, announced he will not race on Friday to avoid a breakdown in the big breeze or fouling another competitor.

VAYU2, a J/80 chartered by Ron Buzil of Chicago, is the runaway winner of the 12-boat J/80 class. Professionals Jahn Tihansky and Andrew Kerr are helmsman and tactician, respectively, aboard VAYU2, which has won six races and placed second in three others in totaling 12 points. After struggling at the beginning of the series, John Storck and crew on RUMOR have posted steady top five finishes to jump into second overall.  The balance of the top five are all husband/ wife couple teams, led by Bob & Cheryl Hayward’s BLUE JAY in third with 40 pts.  Fourth only two points back are Chris & Liz Chadwick on CHURCH KEY and fifth are Bill & Shannon Lockwood on SHENANIGANS.

Friday’s racing promises to have another epic, even windier day, with 15-25 kts wind forecasted from the NNE.

Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal

For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information

Women's Volvo Team Selects Sally Barkow

Sally Barkow sailing Volvo Ocean Race on SCA Team(Southampton, England)- Congratulations to Sally Barkow- she’s the latest women sailing superstar to be sailing Volvo One-Design 65s on TEAM SCA- the only women’s Volvo Ocean Race team! The former Olympian, long-time J/22 and J/24 sailor, and match-racing ace has been selected to sail aboard the all-women's TEAM SCA in the next Volvo Ocean Race. According to reports, Barkow and the other members of TEAM SCA have undergone rigorous tryout and team-sailing sessions to ensure both the right set of sailing skills and the correct blend of personalities make it onboard the team's race boat.

Volvo 65 one-design - Team SCA with Sally Barkow“This is definitely really exciting,” commented Barkow. “I feel that SCA is providing an incredible opportunity here to compete on an equal level with the other teams in this race. There are only nine months left to the start, so we are really now on the home straight and have everything to train and play for.”

'Team SCA' is slated to remain at their training base in Lanzarote, Spain, where they are enjoying a two-boat program, a great coaching staff and other training resources. Also, the team plans to enter some longer distance races prior to the start of their around-the-world adventure this fall.  Sailing photo credit for Volvo 65 one-design- Rick Tomlinson.

J/88 & J/70 @ Seattle Show

Seattle Boat Show with J/70 and J/88 (Seattle, WA)- Sail Northwest will once again be at the Big Seattle Boat Show in the exhibition center- from January 24th to February 2nd.

Swing on by their Booth# West 8 and learn more about the fancy, new, super fast J/88— perhaps the ultimate “beer can” boat.  Plus, you’ll get to talk to two of the Pacific Northwest’s most laid back, knowledgeable sailors, Ben Braden and Bob Ross from Sail Northwest.  If you got a question about J’s, they’ll have an answer for sure!

Furthermore, they’ll have a J/70 on display and will have information on the complete J/Boat line.  Everything from what you've seen on the race course to some new really cool designs you've never heard of yet.  And, to entice you to stop by, here are two nights Ben & Bob know you’ll want to be aboard for:

Wine tasting January 24
NW Brewery Night January 31
For more Seattle Boat Show information

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Support Sarasota Youth Sailing!

(Sarasota, FL)- Calling All J/22 Owners!  Sarasota Youth Sailing Program needs used sails, equipment, stuff for their J/22s!  The Sarasota Youth Sailing Program, a local charity in Florida serving under-privileged youth, has a fleet of four J/22s and in November 2013 they started a youth keel boat program. Please make donations of used sails and equipment. If shipping is an issue, they can pick up whatever is available in the New England area this summer and bring it down to Sarasota by trailer at the end of the summer.

Their program runs from “community learn-to-sail” to “USA Olympic sailing team” development. Two of their juniors, Sam Armington and Ravi Parent, have been named to the USA Olympic Sailing development team.  You will see that Sam got started sailing in the Sarasota sailing summer camp after 4th grade.   To make J/22 sailing equipment donations, please go to their website

Spectacular Sailing- Day 3 in Key West

(Key West, FL)- Broad smiles and weary bones usually means a successful day on the water for sailors. There was plenty of both on the docks around the Conch Republic on Wednesday after organizers of Quantum Key West 2014 completed three races in strong winds.

Northerly winds that held steady from 12-20 knots provided the best racing conditions yet for the 10 classes on three divisions. After completing three races combined on Monday and Tuesday, the competitors were thankful for the full day's work.

There is a new leader in the J/70 class, the largest of the regatta with 60 boats. Tim Healy steered Helly Hansen to 2-2-3 on Wednesday to take control with a low score of 29. Catapult, skippered by Joel Ronning of Minneapolis, MN, is 12 points behind in second. Third is Brian Keane on Savasana and leaping into the top five was Dave Ullman on US-32 with a 5-4-1 on the second day of sailing.  Notably, Ian Atkins's "" also jumped into the top ten with a great day of sailing.

J/80 midwinters- rumor- john storckGeoff Becker is calling tactics upwind on Team Helly Hansen while John Mollicone is doing the honors downwind for Healy (Jamestown, RI), the defending regatta champ. "Going downwind we were in-between planing and displacement mode so you had to decide when to keep the bow up and the jib out," Healy said. "There were big gains and losses to be made downwind."  Healy explained that a J/70 begins to plane in around 15 knots of breeze and attempting to do so when the wind is not strong enough causes the boat to really slow down. "It's crucial to know when to soak it low," he said.

Spaceman Spiff and Team Fireball, a pair of J/111s, are duking it out in the eight-boat PHRF 1 class. Spaceman Spiff, sailed by Rob and Ryan Ruhlman of Cleveland, Ohio, pulled ahead by 2.5 points based on the results in Wednesday's last race. Spaceman Spiff tied the J/122 El Ocaso for third place on corrected time while Fireball, skippered by Eddie Fredericks of Annapolis, suffered a sixth place finish.

"We feel good about the way the boat is moving. I think the key for us has been minimizing mistakes and recovering from the few we have made," Rob Ruhlman said. "We have sailed conservatively, especially at the starts."

PHRF 1 was deemed the most competitive class at Quantum Key West on Wednesday and that earned Teamwork the Mount Gay Rum Boat of the Day honor. Skipper Robin Team steered his J/122 to three bullets as Teamwork jumped from sixth to third in the overall standings.  "We had a little pep talk this morning at breakfast and reminded everybody what we are capable of when we are focused and determined," Team said. "We had epic conditions today and our team loves that type of breeze. Our tactician, Jonathan Bartlett, was on fire. He hit every shift all day long."

Vayu2, skippered by Ron Buzil of Chicago, is running away with the 14-boat J/80 class. Professionals Jahn Tihansky and Andrew Kerr are helmsman and tactician, respectively, aboard Vayu2, which has won four races and finished second in the other two in building a commanding 12-point lead over Rumor (John Storck Jr., Huntington, NY).

Skipper Bill Sweetser and his team aboard Rush have maintained the lead in PHRF 2 for three straight days. Sweetser has steered the J/109 to first in four races and second in the other two.  Gary Weisberg’s Heatwave is lying in third.

Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal

For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information

Chile J/70- Mile High Sailing

J/70 sailing on lake in Chile's Andes mountains(Santiago, Chile)- J/70s continue to pop-up in some of the most amazing places to sail in the world and are also doing some amazing things in even the most common places to sail in the world.  On the highest order of magnitude of “coolness” has to be the two J/70s that are sailing on Vichuquen lake, 350 kms south from Santiago, Chile way, way, way up in the spectacular, breath-taking Andes Mountains.  Here we find J/70 #76 sitting safely high and dry on her “dry-sail” cradle on a dock- “sweet” to have this baby sitting behind your “crib” a mile high on this gorgeous lake!

J/70 sailing on Galveston BaySailing on the ever-popular Galveston Bay is a rapidly growing fleet of J/70s.  While not sailing one-design events, some have been sailing the Galveston Bay Icicle Series in the PHRF handicap fleet- a series of “pursuit-style” races over several weeks.  Recently, Michael Byrne posted a YouTube sailing video of their J/70 flying a Code Zero in this PHRF handicap pursuit race!  Apparently, the J/70 was simply flying!  According to Mike:

“We were in the PHRF staggered start race, we used a Code 0 built from the Galveston Bay UK loft.  The race started off pretty tight with an apparent about 50 degrees, but ended up around 60-65 degrees.  The pole was out just about 2.5 feet.  Wind was around 6-10 kts true.  Boat speed averaged about 7.5 knots C.O.G in flat water with no current.  A J/109 with a Code 0 took forever to overhaul us, they ever so slowly rolled us to leeward with an extra 0.5 knots of boat speed, but chalk that up to the extra 13 feet of waterline!”

It sure looked like it was a fun day on the water. Last week the J/70 was the first boat across the line.  Enjoy their YouTube J/70 sailing video here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

J/88 Yachts & Yachting Boat of the Year!

J/88 Yachts & Yachting Boat of the Year AwardsAnd “Cover Girl” for Sailing World Jan/Feb issue!
(Newport, RI)- Corks were popped, champagne sprayed (or drunk) and victors toasted as the 2014 Yachts & Yachting Awards were presented on Thursday, 9th of January at the London Boat Show.

J/88 on Sailing World Jan/Feb album coverThere was a great turnout to the event, as sailing enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the efforts and achievements of nominees and winners alike. The public had voted for winners in their droves and the readers were clearly excited about the future, and some of the most innovative new launches got the giant “thumbs-up”.  Amongst those receiving awards was the J/88 family speedster, garnering the Best Performance Boat under 40ft award. Here’s Paul Heys, J/UK & Key Yachting Ltd’s Managing Director receiving the award. For more Y&Y Boat of the Year Award for J/88 family speedster.

Other exciting news is that J/88 was featured as “cover art” on the beautiful new graphic design layout for Sailing World magazine- as Sailing World's Boat the Year Winner-   Check it out, a nice progressive, refreshing approach for the “new media” world.  Celebrating its 50-plus years in publication, Sailing World debuted the sleek and modern new look with the release of its January/February 2014 issue. Emphasizing performance sailing’s sophisticated and technical content, the magazine’s new aesthetic features a revamped design and layout while reflecting the sport’s unique blend of cutting edge technology and classic beauty.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Slow Start to Epic Key West Race Week

(Key West, FL)- The prognosticator “extraordinaires” of all things weather were, for one of those rare moments, remarkably accurate in their predictions for a light air day with next to no wind or just enough wind to make it happen.  As it turns out, the light southerlies driven by a “pancake flat” mini-High shadowing the Florida Keys and into the Straits of Florida that border Cuba to the south were enough to get two of the three race courses racing on the first day.

J/70 sailing off Key West- and Ian AtkinsWhile Division 1 managed to sail two races on super-shortened courses (with breezes fluctuating wildly from 3.2 to 4.4 kts and swinging from 220 to 270 degrees), the other fleets on Division 2 and 3 had even less to contend with.  Neither the gradient breeze nor the sea-breeze  along the coast fully developed during the day.  The J/70 fleet with 62 boats strong sat around for 5+ hours on the water and the RC PRO wisely canceled racing for the day.  Nevertheless, there’s a fun blog being written by UK J/70 sailor Ian Atkins sailing “” with a number of his mates who’ve raced with him on the Solent off Cowes (read more here)

Aside from D-1, the other “lucky dogs” for the day were the Division III teams sailing on the course that is further east along Key West.  Waiting until at least 1530 hrs, their RC PRO managed to squeeze in a race for all three classes— the two PHRF fleets and the J/80s.

Amongst the J/80s competing for the Midwinter Championships, it was Ron Buzil’s team on VAYU 2 with John Tihansky skippering and Andrew Kerr calling tactics that showed their transom to the rest of the fleet.  Relative class newcomers, Bill & Shannon Lockwood of J/29 national championship fame from New Jersey, sailed a strong race on SHENANIGANS to take 2nd.  Third was long-time Key West veteran Gary Panariello on COURAGEOUS (also a past Key West class winner).  Rounding out the top five was Bob & Cheryl Hayward on BLUE JAY in fourth and Randy St James sailing CLAIRE to fifth.

Robin Team on J/122 TEAMWORKIn the J/PHRF handicap world, it was the J/111s that were the class leaders in PHRF A, with Kirsten’s Robinson’s gang on TEAM FIREBALL from Annapolis/ Edgartown taking top honors followed by Rob & Ryan Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH.  Third was Jim Madden’s J/125 STARK RAVING MAD IV, a past Key West champion multiple times.  Last year’s class winners, Robin Team’s J/122 TEAMWORK took fifth overall (watch Robin’s pre-regatta interview here about sailing in “the J/Class fleet”).

As anticipated in PHRF 2, the J/109s set the standard with Bill Sweetser’s RUSH taking the lead followed by Gary Weisberg’s crew on HEAT WAVE taking third on their first day of racing.

For the rest of the week, most weather models are in agreement that Tuesday will see a building breeze for the rest of the week with plenty of sunshine.

Sailing photo credits- Ken Stanke/

For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information

AFRICA Dusts J/70 Quantum Winter Series

J/70 one-design sailboats- sailing off Tampa, FL(Tampa, FL)- The J/70 Winter Series got off to a strong start with thirty-nine boats competing at Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL. The three-weekend series kicked off on January 11-12, with Jud Smith of Eastern Yacht Club snagging the victory. Jud and his wife Cindy sailed with their daughter Darby and Rick Myers. It was a unique milestone in the J/70 class as not one, but two couples, placed 1st and 2nd overall!

Davis Island YC race committee- starting J/70 sailboat raceThe hosts, Davis Island YC, did a terrific job of running the six races over the two-day weekend event.  The fleet was blessed with awesome sailing weather.  On Saturday, winds started at 12 knots and built to 20 kts by the end of the day. With the breeze out of the south, waves increased to 1-3 feet. Sunday dawned with lighter northerly winds that flattened the wave action; breezes began at 8-10 kts but dropped to 4-6 kts at the end.

The Smith’s AFRICA team sailed a very consistent series, finishing with a 1-5-1-10-2-6 record for 25 pts, winning by a comfortable nine point margin.  Canadian sailors Rob & Cindy Butler, yet another couple team, took second overall on TOUCH 2 PLAY, sailing to a 5-4-3-13-1-8 for 34 pts total.

J/70 sailing with woman skipperThird place was anything but a “walk in the park” for the next six teams, with just five points separating them and 3rd to 5th places determined by a three-way tie-breaker (Britts, Brauer & Dressel- sounds like a law firm, eh?)!  All six teams displayed “Phoenix-like” track records, rising to the sun with thrilling performances then (suffering a nose-bleed perhaps, plus losing their wings) crashing to Earth and cratering their scores with some “soon to be forgotten races”.  Winning this war of attrition and taking the bronze was local Rob Britts and company on HOT MESS from DIYC, compiling an impressive 9-1-8-17-16-2 for 53 pts.  Fourth was Marblehead’s Henry Brauer sailing SCAMP with an equally unusual “stop & go” record of 17-2-12-14-3-5 for 53 pts.  Getting the short end of the trio’s tie-break to take fifth overall was Ft Lauderdale’s Mike Dressel with a 14-8-7-4-7-13 tally for 53 pts.

J/70 Scamp- sailing with Henry BrauerJust behind the top five were the other teams that could easily have cracked third position, but for one reason or another just missed the podium.  In the group was Doug Strebel on BLACK RIVER RACING with 54 pts in 6th place, Mark Ploch on SUGAR DADDY with 57 pts in 7th and Kris Werner sailing SUPERFECTA to 8th with 58 pts.

Nineteen boats competed in the Corinthian Division with Rob Britts’s HOT MESS winning followed by  Peter Tuite on CURRAGH in second and Joe Colling’s USA69 in third.

An interesting observation of the J/70 fleet competitiveness is that Smith’s AFRICA team counted just two bullets to win with a 4.2 average finish position. In fact, five of six races were won by different teams, including Britts, Butler, Bennet Greenwald and Kris Werner.  To finish 2nd overall, Butler averaged 5.7 and to get a top five, those teams averaged 8.8!  And, to get into the top ten you had to average better than 12th!  More thrilling racing on Tampa Bay continues at DIYC on February 7-9 and March 28-30.
 For more J/70 Quantum Winter Series sailing information

Another Epic Key West Sailing Forecast!

J/70 sailing Key West (Key West, FL)- This year’s Quantum Key West Race Week is gearing up for its trademark week of racing on the aquamarine waters off the coast of the Conch Republic. As the sailors make their way down the Florida Keys by air, water and land over the weekend, it looks like they will be greeted by either the tail feathers of another “polar vortex” spinning madly across America or they’ll be hammered by a “clipper system” ripping SSE across the continent spinning up all kinds of winds.  By Monday, the “good word” from the colorful Key West Chamber of Commerce is that sunny, benign weather will caress the fleet with near-perfect Caribbean-like conditions all week— some forecast!  Realistically, various weather forecast models (GFS, NAM, ECUWF) show 8-12 kts from NW to NE quadrants for Monday, Tuesday followed by increasing winds from the NW to NE in the 10 to 20 kts plus range from Wednesday to Friday’s closing day.

There will be nearly 130 boats sailing, but what’s different, like a lot different, about this year’s Key West is that J/Teams comprise two-thirds (66.0%) of the fleet with 85 J’s sailing.  In other words, Key West is now the de-facto “Winter J/Fest”!  That’s a good thing since the new regatta HQ at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill, situated on Caroline St between Whitehead St and the infamous Duval St will be over-run by members of the J/Tribe sailing J/70s, J/80s, J/88, J/109s, J/111s, J/122s, and J/125!

J/122 Teamwork sailing off Key WestThe PHRF fleets 1 & 2 will be sailing with a variation of Rod Johnstone’s J/PHRF ratings, meaning all J’s will be rated quite fairly against one another.  Robin Team (Lexington, N.C.) and the boys aboard the J/122 TEAMWORK will look to repeat in PHRF 1 while going against another J/122 and four J/111 designs in this incredibly competitive eight boat class.  In fact, the TEAMWORK gang may be in for the fight of their lives against the “rogue’s gallery” of J teams in the class, many whom have won Key West Divisions in the past.  For starters, Jim Madden’s J/125 STARK RAVING MAD will have an all-star team from San Diego, CA ensuring he’s going fast in the right direction.  Challenging them will be Rick Wesslund’s “new” EL OCASO, a J/122 that’s quite fast and no question will include many of his past Key West winning teams.

J/111 Fireball sailing off Key WestJoining the PHRF 1 class will be four J/111s, any one of which are capable of winning.  Consequently, they’re also the hardest to handicap as everyone continues to improve significantly.  FIREBALL’s crew will be led by tactician Kristen Robinson from Annapolis. Rob & Ryan Ruhlman from Cleveland, OH are back in Key West with their new SPACEMAN SPIFF (watch out, they improved dramatically at the J/111 NA’s in Chicago after taking delivery of the boat just 3 days beforehand!).  Brad Farber’s UTAH from Macatawa Bay YC has several Chicago-Mac winning crew aboard. And, three-time Key West participant and multiple podium finisher, Doug Curtiss, has the colorful WICKED 2.0 sailing with his champion Buzzards Bay crew aboard.

Rick Wesslund was a regular at Key West from 2004 to 2010 with his J/120 EL OCASO program and returns after a three-year hiatus with his newly-purchased J/122. "This is our debut regatta and we are really eager to put our best foot forward. We are cautiously optimistic, but know this will be a real good performance test for the boat. Robin has a terrific team and that is always a well-sailed boat so we will have to be on top of our game in order to win," said Wesslund, who earned the PHRF Boat of the Week honor in 2006.

J/109s match-racing while sailing off Key WestPHRF 2 will again see the twin-terrors going at it hammer & tong for division bragging rights, the J/109s sailed by multiple Key West champion Bill Sweetser on RUSH from Chesapeake Bay and Gary Weisberg’s HEAT WAVE from Massachusetts Bay.  Challenging them will be Terry Mckenna and crew from Prince Edward Island (Canada) on the new J/88 DOG PARTY, hoping to get a nice mix of weather to test out their “new wheels” on the race track.

Newport-based Tim Healy will be back to defend his title in J/70 class aboard TEAM HELLY HANSEN, which has attracted a whopping 62 boats. Runner-up Brian Keane’s SAVASANA (Weston, Mass.) and third place finisher Bruno Pasquinelli on STAMPEDE (Dallas, Texas) will also be back as the J/70 class contests its second Midwinter Championship.  They’re up against a formidable array of teams from across the world, not just top Americans, but also teams from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Great Britain, Canada and Bermuda.  The top boats from the Tampa Bay Quantum Winter series will be attending, including the top three- Jud Smith on AFRICA, Rob & Sandy Butler on TOUCH 2 PLAY and Rob Britts’s HOT MESS.

The balance of the J/70 fleet is deeply talented with any number of teams capable of top ten finishes.  Amongst the top foreign teams could be one of Great Britain’s top J/70 crews, Ian Atkins sailing BOATS.COM; from Puerto Rico is Marco Teixidor skippering CACHONDO; from Bermuda is Chuck Millican racing ELUSIVE; and from Mexico is Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO.
J/70s sailing under spinnaker off Key West
Several Etchells 22 World, North American and Jaguar series champions are sailing J/70s, namely Jud Smith as mentioned, but also Peter Vessella sailing RUNNING WILD, Peter Duncan helming RELATIVE OBSCURITY and Jim Cunningham on LIFTED.

Other contenders that have won or were “in the chocolates” in various J/70 regattas in the past year include Brian Elliot’s B-SQUARED, Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING, Mike Sudofsky’s CARLOS, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT, Bob Hughes’s HEARTBREAKER, Kerry Klingler’s MENACE, James Allsopp’s MOXIE, Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, Dave Franzel’s SPRING and Dave Ullman’s US 32 from Newport Beach, California.

Designers Rod and son Alan Johnstone will be sailing the latest RAGTIME and welcoming other renown class newcomers like Johnny Demourkas sailing GROOVEDERCI from Santa Barbara, CA (Farr 40 and J/105 West Coast Champion); John Brim from Fisher’s Island skippering a “baby RIM” called RIMETTE; Johnny Wynacht sailing STRANGE BREW from Nova Scotia (Canadian J/24 champion and J/29 sailor); Richard Bergmann on ZUNI BEAR II (of J/105 Zuni Bear fame); John Arendshorst on 20/20 RACING from Macatawa Bay; Chris Whitford sailing a baby HOT LIPS (top Farr 40 team from Chicago); Stu Williams on CLOUDSOURCED from Whitefish Bay; Malcolm Gefter sailing CELERITAS from Newport (long-time M32 and Swan 42 sailor); and Tim Molony skippering JOUST (with his New Orleans friend, Olympic medallist Johnny Lovell, as tactician!).

The dynamic match-racing duo of Taylor Canfield (current World Match Racing Champion) and Stephanie Roble (USA #1 Women Match Racer) are sailing as tacticians and could be the proverbial “dark horses” in the fleet. Taylor is sailing with Dan Cheresh’s EXTREME team from Macatawa Bay and Steph is helping Juddie Smith’s Marblehead team on AFRICA.

J/70 champion Heather Gregg-EarlAmongst the record nine women J/70 skippers (15% of the class!) will be current J/70 North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl skippering MUSE along with Suzy Leech sailing JUNKANOO, Catharine Evans steering MOJITO, Maegan Ruhlman on SPACEMAN SPIFF, Kathy Parks on SUNDOG, Amy Neill on NITEMARE, Kirsten Berry sailing DANGER MOUSE, Carrie Austin skippering CHINOOK and Tris Worth sailing ALIBI.

Dave Franzel attended what was known as Key West Race Week way back in 1981 as crew for a J/24 program. The founder of the Boston Sailing Center returned 32 years later as a J/70 skipper and was crowned as Corinthian champion after finishing eighth overall in the 39-boat fleet.  "I had an absolute blast. It was one of the best regattas I've ever been to. It made me wish I hadn't waited so long to come back," said Franzel, a resident of Somerville, Mass. "I was very impressed with the race management. The courses were sound and the starting lines were solid. We got in 12 races in five days and you can't ask for more than that."

The Demourkas family from Santa Barbara, CA are back again.  This time, John Demourkas will be racing his new J/70 GROOVEDERCI in the class as the couple makes their annual winter pilgrimage from Santa Barbara.  His wife Deneen is sailing her M32 GROOVEDERCI, commenting that, "John and I have been attending this event the last 14 years and we love the relaxation Key West affords, particularly after a hectic holiday season.  And then there is Race Week, which always delivers. You can pretty much guarantee great sailing conditions, beautiful weather and good competition. Why wouldn't you be here?"

NOTE- the North Sails J/70 team is providing FREE pre-regatta clinics in Key West— come one, come all! Here's what’s happening:
  • Saturday 1-4 pm- North On-the-water clinic (run by Tim Healy, Allan Terhune, Andreas Josenhans and Chuck Allen) with starting drills and short course races with complete photo and video coverage.
  • Saturday 5:30 pm- Clinic Debrief at the North U. Regatta HQ (725 Caroline St, formerly West Marine)- review photos and videos and pick the brains of top J/70 sailors in a relaxed and casual environment. Refreshments courtesy of North Sails.
  • Sunday 10 am- North Dockside clinic- will be held at Tim Healy's boat located near the ramp at the Truman Annex. Bring your questions and a notepad to get the latest, hands-on, tuning tips
J/80s sailing off Key WestNo question, the re-bound one-design class at Key West this year are the J/80’s, which will have thirteen boats on the starting line for their J/80 Midwinters (it’s also part of their season series leading up to the 2014 J/80 World Championships in Annapolis, Maryland). Skipper Ron Buzil and his VAYU 2 team will try to repeat as regatta winners against a deep fleet that includes former North American champion RUMOR (John Storck) and several other accomplished programs like Chris & Liz Chadwick’s CHURCH KEY, Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS, Bill & Shannon Lockwood’s SHENANIGANS, and Henry DeGroot’s WIRED.  "Our owners love coming to Key West and we're thrilled to have a very competitive fleet this year," said Chris Chadwick, National class secretary for the J/80. "Premiere Racing always puts on a quality regatta and the racing is second to none."

Finally, the lone wolf representing the J gang in IRC 3 will be perennial Key West contender Jim Bishop on his IRC-modded J/44 WHITE GOLD sailing for American YC in Rye, New York.  Nevertheless, Jim’s up against dozens of J “alumni” sailing other boats, like Phil Lotz and Jeff  Madrigali on ARETHUSA, Marc Glimcher and Geoff Ewenson on CATAPULT, Andrew Weiss and Butch Ulmer on CHRISTOPHER DRAGON, Jack Slattery on MAHALO, Bill Coates and Jay Lutz on OTRA VEZ and Mark Reynolds on VITESSE.  Without question, Bishop or J alum’s in one form or another will be on the podium at the end of the week in this class!  Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal Photos and Tim Photos.

For Key West sailing video entertainment, look at this beautifully produced summary from Chris Odom @ Chris Odom Photos- nice sequences of J/70s, J/80s, J/109, J/111, J/44, J/122 in the 3-minute clip.   For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information