Saturday, May 31, 2014

Delta Ditch Run Preview

A Cannonball Rally For Huge J/70 Fleet!
(Stockton, CA)- The Richmond YC and Stockton YC are hosting their incredibly fun, infamous, outrageous race that runs for 67 nm up the “delta” that forms the northeastern part of San Francisco Bay and heads off into the estuaries of the “flatlands”.  Notoriously windy most times, it’s a mad dash up the Sacramento River from Richmond YC’s starting line in NE Bay to Stockton YC’s finish in the muddy estuaries of the San Joaquin River.

With a fleet of 125 boats registered so far, it looks to be a full-on, crazy, wacky race.  With 30-40 foot carbon catamarans whistling down the straits at 75 kts, avoiding mudbanks along with J/22s, J/70s and dozens of others, you can bet there will be stories to tell after this event (e.g. groundings, dismastings, cart-wheeling humans into marshes full of mating snail-darters, etc, etc).

Ullman Sails J/70 winning Delta Ditch RaceLast year, a number of J/70s did the race and nearly won the entire thing despite making all kinds of rookie mistakes in boat-handling and boat-speed.  This year, there is an entire armada of experienced J/70 teams tackling the race hoping to beat the fable Moore 24’s who’ve been a stalwart of the race for years. This year’s rogues gallery of competitors include DIVERSION (Chris Gabriel from Santa Barbara YC), the famous ZERO TO 60 (Karl Pomeroy- Newport Harbor YC), PERFECT WIFE (Chris Andersen- St Francis YC), CAKE (Scott & Leslie Deardorff- Santa Barbara YC), ECLIPSE (Mike Drammer, Shaun Hughes, Andrew Nunn- Santa Barbara YC), SPITFIRE (Tyler Karaszewski- Santa Cruz YC), 1FA (Scott Sellers & Geoff McDonald- St Francis YC), SUGOI (Mark Nelsen), DFZ (Eric Kownacki & Tom Jenkins- Monterey Bay YC), BOTTLE ROCKET (David Schumann & Jeff Thorpe- from San Francisco YC), and LOOSE LUCY (Justin Kromelow- St Francis YC).  God Speed to this group! My God how much fun could that possibly be planing downwind for 67 nm in perfectly flat water!?

As for their big brothers & little sisters in the event, joining the J/70s are the J/120 SAETTA skippered by Ludovic Millin and the J/35 JARLEN sailed by Robert Bloom. In the next class down are the two J/105s BREEZE (Kurt Jordan & Peter Campfield) and SEA ROOM (Ralph Wessel).

The ultra-fast downwind machine, the J/90 RAGTIME (Rodney J’s old boat) will be sailed by Trig Liljestrand from San Francisco YC.  He will be battling the “classic” J/24s for overall honors as well- Chris Corbin’s JAGERMEISTER and Pat Brown’s CHEAP TRICK.  Then, one must not discount capability of a “turbo’d” J/22 in the form of MAJIC DRAGON guided by her master Mike Hopper.  Fun and games for who’s top J/Team?  Might be worth a magnum of Veuve-Clicqout champagne!?

Better yet, there’s a famous BBQ combined with one of the top classic and blues bands in Northern California that finish off the day of racing in grand style!  The party band, for over a decade the “Blue-a-Fuse” gang has been one of the top classic rock and blues bands in Northern California.  They go back to the roots of modern music.  They cover fun, upbeat, danceable tunes by great artists like Santana, Van Morison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and many more...this band ROCKS!

Even better yet, for you armchair-racing fans, there is a new race-tracking “app” on the Android or iOS devices that are being provided by RaceQs for the Delta Ditch Run.  Totally cool stuff.  Even Manhattan YC in southern New York City uses RaceQs for their Tuesday night races!  Check out some Manhattan YC races here.   For more Delta Ditch Run sailing information

GPEN France Preview

J/22 Europeans & J/80 Coupe de France III
(Cameret-sur-Mer, Brittany, France)- Grand Prix L’Ecole Navale (GPEN) returns for another magnificent Edition XII, during the Ascension weekend, from Thursday May 29th to Sunday June 1st 2014.  The primary host,  l’École Navale (French Naval Academy) are conducting the races on three sites- the bay of Crozon-Morgat, the bay of Camaret and le port du Château in Brest (Brest marina). The J/22s are hosting their European Championship and the J/80s are out in full force for the third stop of their Coupe de France season long championship. Ready to compete on three exceptional sites and coming from a dozen countries of the European Union are more than 600 crew.

J/80 one-design sailboats off starting lineThe nearly sixty boat J/80 class, the largest at GPEN by far, have many familiar faces sailing in this fabulous racing venue on the west coast of France.  As one might expect, with a World Championship taking place in Annapolis, MD in October a number of these teams are gearing up for the event.  Top of the class must be Eric Brezellec’s team on COURRIER JUNIOR, hoping to repeat their excellent showing last year in Marseilles.  Challenging them will be Herve Leduc on PIERRE OCEANE, Simon Moriceau on INTERFACE CONCEPT, Salomon Matthieu on CHARIOT PLUS- VANNES UTILITAIRES, Luc Nadal on GANJA, and four women’s teams- Maxime Mesil on CO PILOTES- NORMANDY ELITE TEAM, Sophie Riot on LE HAVRE LADIES NORMANDIE, Alice Metais on CHARLY, and Maxime Rousseaux on CN ST CAST GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES.  Of note, the British Royal Navy has also been invited and are sailing CRUNCH GNR1 & CRUNCH GBR 2 against their friends on the French Navy boats.

In the J/22 Europeans, there is a mix of French (14), German (3) and Netherlands (3) participating in the twenty boat class, a great turnout for J/22s on the continent!  Amongst the notable French teams are Bernard Andre on MAJIC, Patrick Huet on EUROPEAN HOMES, Ludovic Senechal on LULU LA NANTAISE and Charles Michaux on JAZZY.  Taking up the challenge in their home waters are top German teams like Bernhard Kleinefeld’s CAMPAGNOLO, Thomas Loesch’s JOULOU 3 and Christian Rieckborn’s JOLLY JUMPER.  Netherlands teams hoping to make a trip to the podium include Michiel Eijsink’s RANGER, Jelle Nijhuis’s HISTOS JR and Peter van Doornmalen’s GAP.  With such an excellent cross-section of continental European J/22 teams, it will be interesting to see which teams have benefitted from their spring training sessions and which ones are still in “catch-up” mode.  For more Grand Prix L’Ecole Navale (GPEN) sailing information

Go Sailing On The Famous J/120 SUNSET CHILD!

J/120 Sunset Child (ex-El Ocaso) sailing Caribbean(New York, NY)-  Yes, you and your friends can join them for some awesome offshore yacht racing in northeastern USA for summer 2014.

SUNSET CHILD is the famous ex-EL OCASO that won everything in the Caribbean over the past decade.  Today, Performance Yacht Racing USA, which has been operating four yachts for many years, is taking on “paying crew” (think “J-World Offshore” type of experience) and giving them the opportunity to race in high specification yachts all over the World. This program has been an enormous hit with established crews who already race J/Boats in their own backyards, but want to race further afield without having to move their own boat. They are always assured that PYR’s yachts are in top condition and have the latest sails and equipment.

This summer, the J/120 SUNSET CHILD will be based in New York City, but will race all over the northeast before heading south to Florida and then the Caribbean at the end of the season. You can learn more about their summer sailing circuit here:  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth-

Contact Marcus Cholerton-Brown at Performance Yacht Racing USA for more information: cell- +1-917-617-5335 or email-

Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta Preview

J/22 sailboats(Scheveningen, Netherlands)- The Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta is the largest Dutch sailing race event on the North Sea, from May 27th until June 9th, 2014. The 110 nm Vuurschepenrace from Scheveningen to Harwich on 27th May opens the annual Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta. After a day of rest in Harwich the IRC and ORC classes return to the Netherlands, sailing the 180nm RORC North Sea Race.

During the following Whitsun weekend about 25 classes race on the Scheveningen coast, including big yachts, Olympic classes, catamarans, open boats and surfers. Apart from being well known for its yearly races the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta is also known for its side event in the Hellweg Harbour going by the name “North Sea Kitchen”- a culinary heaven of delicacies await the sailor’s each day, so long as the crowds ashore haven’t gobbled it all up! The best cooks from the Benelux/ Netherlands region present you the best food, bands will play great music and the youngsters get entertained in the kids program.  Truly a regatta for the whole family!

On Tuesday 27 May, the traditional Vuurschepenrace begins with forty-five participants on the starting list; including a record number of fifteen entries in the Double-handed Division.  The race promises to be a very tactical crossing, characterized by little wind from various directions.  The Double-handed Division starts at 1900 hrs.

There are excellent J double-handed teams sailing from the Netherlands and Great Britain, many with championship winning pedigree.  Starting with the J/105’s, we find the teams of FAY-J (Wilko Seelt & Max Seelt), HARPOEN (Harry Rek) and DREAM MACHINE (John van Veen) dueling for 105 supremacy.  Next up is the J/109 ARETHUSA (Kees Mijs & Camille Mijs) trying to one up her sisterships.  Then the two big boats, the J/122 JUNIQUE sailed by Chris Revelman & Pascal Bakker and the J/133 BATFISH ( sailing with double-handed veterans Bart Desaunois & Gerard de Boer, either team are capable of winning.  The Netherlands-based JUNIQUE team (Revelman & Bakker) were the 2013 Double-Handed Award winner in the Netherlands and are already in training-mode for the 2015 Fastnet Race!

In the ORC 2 Offshore division, there is a trio of J/109’s participating in the fully-crewed portion of the race, including J-BORNET (Alain Bornet), JETTJE (Floris Waller) and YETI (Paul van der Pol).

There will be “live tracking” provided for most of the participants in both the Vuurschepenrace and the RORC North Sea Race. Follow your favorite teams on YellowBrick.   For more Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta sailing information

Friday, May 30, 2014

J/80s Win China City Clubs Open Regatta

J/80 sailing off Qingdao, China in CCOR Regatta (Qingdao, China)- The International City Clubs Open Regatta is hosted annually by the Qingdao International Marine Club (QIMC) located at the Qingdao International Sailing Center (the same venue used for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Sailing events). Overseeing Jiaozhou Bay, the sailors in the regatta enjoyed what many have said is one of the world’s best yachting and sailing centers ever developed (a $300 million development budget may have helped).

Qingdao Olympic Sailing CenterIn fact, the sailors in the CCOR enjoyed the amazing hospitality of the host club house along the waterfront.  QIMC was founded in 1999 and has the distinction of being China's only official international sailing club under State General Administration of Sports based in Beijing, capital of China.  What was one of the strong attractions of the club?  The fact that it serves one of the world’s best beers for pennies a pint.  Remember this, the city of Qingdao holds an international beer festival every August where the centerpiece is, of course, the local brew, Tsingtao beer.  Tsingtao Brewery is one of the oldest beer producers in China and was founded in 1903 by German and British merchants. The brewery is still using the original yeast transported from Germany more than 100 years ago- no wonder it’s the number one export beer from China.

Qingdao sailing center- Tsingtao Beer waterfrontOut of the four local J/80s in Qingdao, two sailed in this years CCOR regatta in ORC Handicap Division. Not your normal J/80 regatta since the teams found themselves sailing against a First 40 with a good skipper and two other 50 footers.  Ironically, the rating of the First 40 was only 10 seconds per mile faster then the J/80.  With very inexperienced crews, the J/80s sailed in 10 races with winds ranging from 14 to 30 knots over the 4 days.  The J/80 teams faired well with Jim Johnstone racing the lead boat and the Liuzhou Riviera Yacht Club instructor team racing the second boat.

After 9 races, Johnstone had eight 1sts and one 2nd and the other J/80 had a split of seconds and thirds.  Boat-for-boat Johnstone finished in front of the First 40 four of nine races; that’s quite an accomplishment since they should be much faster.

The last race of the CCOR regatta was a 15nm distance race and the J/80s knew there was no way we were going to have sufficient handicap time on the First 40.  While the First 40 won on handicap, the J/80 sailed by Johnstone finished second overall, thus taking the overall ORC Division win by a significant margin.  Second in ORC class was the Liuzhou Riviera YC team on the other J/80.  Of note, was that Johnstone’s J/80 team beat all of the Far East 26's and the lead Soto 27 boat-for-boat and the Flying Tiger FT10 finished only a few boat-lengths in front when they finished.  Sailing with Johnstone were Jeppe, the J/Boats Asia Qingdao representative doing cockpit, the owner and one of the Liuzhou Members doing bow.
For more City Clubs Open Regatta sailing information

Thursday, May 29, 2014

BABA LOUIE Seattle NOOD Overall Champion!

J/24 sailing Seattle NOOD (Seattle, WA)- This year’s Sperry Top Sider Seattle NOOD Regatta brought tears of joy and smiles all around to the sailors for one simple reason- wind!  At least enough of it so that most fleets got in a least six if not ten races over the three day event.  Taking advantage of this most precious of commodities in the Pacific Northwest was none other than BABA LOUIE; the J/24 sailed by Pat Dore with Chris Snow, Melanie Edwards (bow), Ken Monaghan (mast), and Dale Turley (trimmer).  BABA LOUIE not only won their class but also won the entire event overall— declared as the Overall Seattle NOOD Champions!

Friday was a rather auspicious start for the regatta.  A consistent 10-15 kts southerly allowed some classes to complete as many as five races.  Pat Dore's local team on the J/24 BABA LOUIE, which won four of five races in the 16-boat fleet, was the standout team of the day. "We had a really good day," said Dore's tactician Chris Snow. "It was a great day of sailing. It was a lot of fun, especially to be able to get in that many races. The left side of the course was really favored because the wind accelerates over the headland, so the key was to work that side."

Seattle NOOD overall winnersFor the second day of sailing, there was still wind, but just a bit less.  Jerry Diercks, of Seattle, knows how tricky the sailing conditions can be on Puget Sound, especially when the winds are as light and the current as strong as it was. Dierck’s J/105 DELIRIUM was tied for first in its seven-boat class after five races, and in the first race of the day, they almost took themselves out of contention.

“I had one of the worst starts of my life,” said Diercks. “The current was so strong and I jibed away from the line two minutes before the race [which took him down current] instead of tacking like I should have, and in an instant we were 200 yards away from the line and behind the entire fleet before we even started.”

Fortunately for Diercks and his teammates on DELIRIUM, the race committee abandoned the race shortly after the start because a considerable wind shift skewed the racecourse. “With no throw-outs allowed in this regatta, we can’t have another bad race [they’re already carrying a seventh from yesterday],” said Diercks. “With the tie, we need to have two good races tomorrow.”

Sunday’s racing ultimately had to be abandoned for lack of wind after two light air races.  However, most sailors were grateful and quite happy with the fact the regatta’s PRO’s pushed hard the first two days to get in some good sailing.

Behind BABA LOUIE in the J/24 class was Harrie Dursch and crew on SELF ABUSE taking second place.  This team was closing fast on the boys in front of them going into the final races on Sunday, in fact posting a 2-3-1-2 to get within two points of the overall lead on Sunday.  Grabbing third place was past winner Scott Milne on TREMENDOUS SLOUCH with 33 pts.  The balance of the top five was Steve Travis on SPARK in fourth with 44 pts and fifth was Brad Miller on HAIR OF THE DOG with 68 pts.

In the J/105s, Diercks’s DELIRIUM crew continued their winning ways and closed with a 1-1-2 to win the regatta with 14 pts.  Leading with a 2-1-2 after the first three races was Todd Rickard’s SEAMIST.  However, it appears that SEAMIST’s tactician went A.W.O.L., since SEAMIST’s scores of 5-2-6 in the last three races completely torpedoed their grandiose dreams of glory, instead having to settle for silver on the podium.  In fact, SEAMIST had to win on a tie-breaker they had sunk so fast. Third was Erik Kristen’s JUBILEE team sailing remarkably consistent all weekend, winning a race and never posting a score over 4th, to finish with 18 pts and tied with SEAMIST!

In the J/80s it was clear the regatta had become a duel between two boats, Bryan Rhodes’s CRAZY IVAN and Bill McKinnon’s SKYE ROCKET. After the dust settled at the O.K. Corral in this gunfight, CRAZY IVAN took top honors by winning four of the six races.  McKinnon’s SKYE ROCKET took four 2nd place finishes to secure second overall.  Third was Lek Dimarucot’s FEARFUL SYMMETRY.

In addition, sailing ten races in the regatta were the inaugural J/70 class.  Clearly, the fleet loved the first day of sailing with a combination of planing and soak modes all day long.  Sailing super-fast out of the box on that day was the experienced team aboard DaSPENCER, skippered by Mike Pitt, taking two bullets to lead the fleet after day one.  However, as the wind dropped off over the next two days, so did Team DaSPENCER’s fortunes.  In the end, JUST LISTED sailed by the Sail Northwest team took top honors with 13 pts.  They were followed by Andrew Mesher’s PERIDOT in second with 24 pts and in third was DaSPENCER with 27.

Finally, in the North Sails Rally class, a one-day time-on-time PHRF pursuit style race around the bay on Saturday, the J/24 CHALLENGER sailed by Chris Archer took second overall! Sailing photo credits- Tim  Sailing World video interview - Dave Reed and Chris Snow   For more Sperry Top Sider Seattle NOOD regatta sailing information

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BLACKHAWK Wins Swiftsure Regatta

J/105s sailing San Francisco Bay (San Francisco, CA)- The Swiftsure Regatta is a classic “city front” event that takes place along the San Francisco city shoreline, just south of Alcatraz Island.  The regatta is well-attended by the local J/105 fleet on San Francisco Bay.  Here’s the regatta report from one of the J/105 teams, Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE:

“This year’s Swiftsure was a classic, with a building flood and relief on the shore, wind in the high teens and low 20’s, with the forecast to build into the high 20’s, so we brought out last season’s sails.  The race committee set up off of Ft. Mason, and while they usually cant the line to draw boats toward the committee end, we (Arbitrage) felt the pin was way favored with the tide advantage and we started all alone on port at the pin, successfully crossing the fleet.

The next problem was to determine when to tack to shore for the relief.  The crowd taking our stern of course got there first and unfortunately we got a terrific lift which I should have ridden around 20 more seconds.  By tacking to shore off the lift, I sent us back into the semi-cheap seats.  Blackhawk tossed off a bad start, found a clear spot at the shore and came out clean, establishing a big lead. With the rest of the fleet camping on each other, short-tacking the City Front, Blackhawk and Godot pulled away.  We had to fight our way back into contention and rounded the windward mark around 5th place, even with Mojo and Jam Session.

The race committee set us up with starboard rounding’s anticipating everyone would want to go out into the deeper water for more flood, and we all set, went out for a few minutes, then made one jibe to lay the leeward mark, Blossom Rock buoy, also a starboard rounding.  This was a race committee error as it should have been a gate given the entire fleet wanted to go to the cone of Alcatraz for relief heading upwind.

J/105 Blackhawk sailing San Francisco BayAnyway, with Mojo and Jam Session overlapped inside us, and Moonshine outside us, we tried to round to starboard, but Mojo and Jam turned slowly, holding us out so we could not round.  Moonshine anticipated we’d be rounding and their mainsheet trimmer hauled in the sail.  With the wind in the mid-20’s and gusting to 30, they rounded up into Arbitrage, and its bowsprit hit our port push pit, taking it out, along with my GPS and VHF antennae and my SailTec hydraulic backstay, while bending the tang attaching the backstay to the transom!  It’s a bit exciting sailing on the Bay with closely-packed one-design keelboats!

Moonshine did its penalty turns and then stood by to offer help.  We retired and motored home, but decided to try for the third race.  We quickly took everything apart, called a neighbor, Ariel Poler, owner of Juxtapose, who graciously offered the use of his push pit and we went to his boat, disassembled it and reinstalled it on my boat, along with my spare backstay adjuster, and hoping for the best on the stainless steel tang, we were ready to go racing when the race committee abandoned racing for the day due to many people broaching (the leader Blackhawk broached four times!) amid winds around 35 kts!!

We applied and got redress, and raced the next day.  Big flood and big wind!! Most boats went out to catch the late ebb.  We had a 7-2 score, ending up fourth.”

While ARBITRAGE finished fourth, the story of the weekend may be that it was Scooter Simmon’s son, Ryan, who sailed and skippered BLACKHAWK to the overall win in the J/105 class!  In fact, they won by a whisker, beating Jeff Litfin’s MOJO crew on a tie-breaker.  Starting with a 1-3-1, Simmons’s crew nearly lost it all by taking a 10th in the last race to Litfin’s 1st!  BLACKHAWK took the tie-break on most “firsts”.  Third just three points back was Jason Woodley & Scott Whitney on RISK followed by ARBITRAGE then Doug Bailey on AKULA in fifth.

Also sailing was a PHRF Division with three J/120s sailing against 50-54 footers and one-off carbon racers.  Taking two of the podium spots were Steve Madeira’s J/120 MR MAGOO in 2nd with Barry Lewis’s CHANCE in 3rd.  For more Swiftsure Regatta sailing information

“Dark-n-Stormy” Community Sailing Benefit

J/24 Hudson River Community sailing team (Pier 66, NY)- The Hudson River Community Sailing Center is hosting its 7th annual “Dark & Stormy” Sailing Benefit at the Pier 66 facilities known as “The Frying Pan” at West 26th Street and Hudson River Park on Tuesday, June 13th.

This program has grown tremendously over time and the fact that a fleet of J/24s are helping to provide academic enrichment to New York City and New Jersey public schools is an awesome program to support— for all sailors!

The event takes place on Tuesday, June 3rd from 7pm to 10pm with music, dancing, great food, open bar and fantastic raffle prizes.  Please contact event chairs Joy Macdougall, Chrystal Puleo, Lisa Fox or Emory O’Mealia.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hallagan Crowned Chief “Jack Rabbit”

J/22s sailing Jack Rabbit regatta- Lake Canandaigua, NY (Canandaigua, NY)- The J/22 Jack Rabbit Regatta was recently hosted by J-22 Fleet 24 at the Canandaigua Yacht Club from May 17th to 18th on beautiful Canandaigua Lake.  A good time was had by all; though attendance was down this year as the J-22 North Americans were scheduled for the same weekend.  There were major rain storms in the area on Thursday before the regatta, and Canandaigua Lake was at flood levels with water up to the top of the docks.  The County Sheriff issued a safety warning and issued a speed restriction of 5 mph to minimize any shore damage. The camping area was wet, but several brave souls camped and had nice camp fires going on Friday and Saturday evenings!  That is the tradition of the “Jack Rabbit”, laid back, fun and so popular that it’s now going into its third decade as a great late spring regatta to “de-mothball” your J/22 and get it ready for the summer sailing season!

J/22 sailors at Jack Rabbit regatta- Lake Canandaigua, NYSaturday morning was bright and clear with NW winds in the 5-8 kts range, with temperatures in the low 40’s.  There was plenty of coffee, donuts, juice and fruit donated by “Wegman’s Market” to get us warmed up and ready to race.  Jim Muller, who has been the regatta PRO for the last 7 years, got racing started at approximately 10:30.  By 3:30 five great races had been completed and the boats headed to shore. 

After the boats were secured for the night, the fleet headed to the Canandaigua YC building for an awesome “house party”!  Entertainment was provided by “The Table Top Three,” a local favorite that play blues, standard stuff and contemporary popular music, featuring an acoustic trio of guitar, harmonica and upright bass. They certainly had the house rocking late into the evening!

Again, according to tradition, after the running of the Preakness Stakes (part of the horse-racing “Triple Crown”) on Saturday, spirits, glasses and shirts provided by East Avenue Liquor were given out to participating boats!

J/22s sailing on Canandiagua Lake, NYAs the sailors slowly woke up at the crack of noon Sunday morning, the weather couldn’t have been nicer, bright and clear again with temperatures in the mid 40’s. Winds were again light from the NNW.  Racing started at 9 and two more races were completed before noon.

Awards for the top three included J/22 sailboat models and gift certificates from sponsors APS Ltd. and German Brothers Marine.  The Mid-Fleet winner garnered a bottle of “Pyrate Rum” with a wooden display case.  Awards were also given to the best sailing clubs with 3 or more boats participating and for the boat that came the greatest distance.  As people packed up their boats, there were smiles everywhere.

After winning four of the seven races sailed, Richard Hallagan’s crew on CHIBOUGAMAU took first overall with 10 pts net (after toss race).  Second was Mark Stuhlmiller on EUDAIMONIA with 15 pts net and third was Gary Schmidt’s MOOI NOOI with 20 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Adam Masters on TRAINWRECK and Todd Salzman on HANDBASKET, 4th and 5th, respectively.  For more J/22 Jack Rabbit sailing information

BAD NEWS 2 Wins J/22 North Americans

J/22 North American crews relaxing at Annapolis YC (Annapolis, MD)- Thirty-eight teams from across the United States and Canada competed in this year’s J/22 North American Championships held at the Annapolis YC in Annapolis, MD.  Mike Marshall of Jamestown, Rhode Island earned his first J/22 North American Championship with crew Mark Sertl and Matt Gowell sailing BAD NEWS 2. BAD NEWS took advantage of a discard in the fifth and final race to secure the championship with 12 points. Local teams rounded out the top three, as Chris Gaffney’s CHASING WATERFALLS took second with 16 points and J.R. Maxwell’s SCOOBY snared the bronze spot with 18 points. Four races were held on Sunday, after light and fluky breeze allowed just one race over the first two days of the championship, bringing the total number of races to five.

J/22s sailing North Americans off Annapolis, MDMarshall, also the winner of the Annapolis NOOD two weeks ago, credited Gowell in the middle and Sertl on the foredeck for getting him around the race course while he focused on steering. Despite light air and strong current, the team focused on the conditions where they were at any given moment. “You made a decision that brought you to where you are, so you just have to concentrate on that,” Marshall stated. “The Race Committee did the best they could with the conditions they were given. It was challenging and tough.” Marshall is relatively new to the J/22, having just competed in last year’s Worlds and some local club racing.

J/22 sailors winning trophyWinds at 8-10 knots greeted competitors on Sunday morning under sunny skies, as local Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY won the day’s first battle. Brad Julian’s THREE DORIES.COM team followed in second, and Jonathan Phillips’ BRUISER in third. 2013 J/22 World Champion Allan Terhune on DAZZLER dominated the next contest, with Gaffney and Marshall behind him. Chris Doyle steered “THE JUG 4 1”to victory in Sunday’s third race, trailed by Maxwell and Marshall, as winds decreased slightly. Terry Flynn’s TEJAS closed the event with a victory. Next were Chris Wilson’s LIL’ PUFFY and Jeffrey Love’s STAMPEDE.

The top five after Marshall’s BAD NEWS 2 was Gaffney’s CHASING WATERFALLS in second with 16 pts, Maxwell’s SCOOBY in third with 18 pts, Wilson’s LIL’ PUFFY in fourth with 21 pts and Doyle’s “THE JUG 4 1” in fifth with 27 pts.  Sailing photo credits- Susan Mikulski.  For more J/22 North American Championship sailing information

Monday, May 26, 2014

Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga Starts With Three-Way Tie!

J/70s sailing Deutsche Segel-BundesligaNorddeutscher RV Win The Tie-Breaker
(Starnberg, Germany)- After an intense qualification regatta a few weeks back, eighteen clubs participated in the Bundesliga season opener on Lake Starnberg at the Bayerischer Yacht Club. The thirteen sailing clubs that qualified from the first season in 2013 were joined by five “newcomers” that had qualified in early April- Bodensee Yacht Club Überlingen, Düsseldorf Yacht Club, Kieler Yacht Club, the S.C.”Wappen von Bremen" and the Seglervereinigung Itzehoe.

Prior to the start of the regatta, Ilya Wolf (BYC team manager) said, "Our team is perfectly prepared. We are looking forward to the coming weekend and are proud host of this event. We are very excited about participating with the Segel-Bundesliga. It is a very good opportunity for our young sailors and a great way to promote sailing to everyone."

J/70s sailing off Starnberger, GermanyRecognizing the importance of this season long series that culminates with the Finale in Hamburg, many clubs pulled out all the stops to get their top sailors to hop aboard the teams as either crew or skippers.  Among the most prominent sailors in Starnberg were four German Olympians. Sailing for Württemberg Yacht Club was Stefanie Rothweiler (two-time Olympic 470s); sailing for Wansee was Ulrike Schumann (Olympics in Ynglings); and Kristin Wagner (Olympic Yngling) and Patrick Follmann (Olympian 470) were both sailing for Deutscher Touring YC.

With so much talent and tactical horsepower aboard the various boats, the racing was going to be close.  In fact, far closer than anyone could have imagined!  After the first day of sailing, three teams were tied on points- Bayerischer YC, Deutsche Touring YC and Flensburg SC! Lots of sunshine and light 7 kt winds greeted the fleet, enough to get in seven races.  "The weather conditions were not optimal. In fact, it was often difficult.  But, we are extremely pleased and excited that we were able to get a good start in the new season on home turf," concluded Christian Schäfer, helmsman of the BYC boat.

J/70 youth sailors - Sailing in GermanyThe second day offered sailing at its best. Starting out with a bit of rainy weather, by afternoon, the weather had cleared and the good breezes enabled twenty-four races to be sailed! The defending champions, Norddeutscher RV, had an impressive day of sailing.   "The field is so close and tight that a single mistake is sufficient to be passed from the very front to the very back of the pack. With good starts and safe maneuvers, we were able to stay up front most of the time. Our goal is the top three," stated Florian Weser from the NRV team.  In fact, after Saturday’s racing, they did much better than that; Team NRV was leading after ten races.  Following them were Wannsee in second, Deutscher Touring YC in third and Konstanzer YC in fourth.

After Sunday’s sailing, only 39 of the 45 scheduled races were completed, 13 for each club.  In the end, the defending Segel-Bundesliga 2013 champions, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, took first place overall by breaking the tie-breaker with seven race wins over their competitors.  The other two teams tied on 44 pts each were Verein am Wannsee and Deutscher Touring YC, taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.

"For us it was a roller-coaster of emotions. The quality of sailors and the competition were extremely high. All in all, we really sailed well and look forward to enjoying our first win," commented NRV teammate Carsten Kemmling.

Second-placed VSaW Team manager Ulrike Schumann said, "After the bad start, we pressed the reset button and then it all ran much smoother. We want to win this year, that's our goal!"

Next stop on the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga is July 19-21 as part of Travemünde Sailing Week on the Baltic Sea.  Remember, all races are broadcast via “live stream” on the Internet, so thousands of sailing enthusiasts in Germany and around the world can watch it “live” on the water.   Sailing photo credits- DSBL/ Lars Wehrmann    Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing video:   Day One    Day Two   Day Three   For more Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Awesome J/Fest West Sailing Video!

J/Fest sailing video of J/105s, J/70s and J/120s (San Francisco, CA)- The recent J/Fest West Regatta, hosted by St Francis YC on San Francisco Bay, had two wonderful days of sailing with sunny skies and plenty of the famous Bay winds roaring in under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Watching with some degree of admiration was Halsey Fulton from Fish Hawk Films in the Bay area.  He decided to take his “photo drone” for a tour of the Bay and took some awesome sailing video, capturing the J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, J/111s, J/120s sailing on Sunday April 6th.  Check out this cool sailing video on YouTube here:

MENDIETA Wins J/24 Campeonato San Isidro

J/24s sailing off Argentina on Rio de la Plata (San Isidro, Argentina)- Over the past two weekends, from April 26-27 and May 3-4, the Club Nautico San Isidro held their annual J/24 Campeonato San Isidro for a very strong showing of the Argentinean J/24 fleet.  There was some “new blood” in the class with good teams participating from CUBA, YCA and CNO yacht clubs across Argentina.  For the first four boats (RINA, MENDIETA, CACIQUE and COCOON), in fact, the racing proved to be very close for the eleven race regatta.

For the first weekend, it was clear there were four very well-sailed teams that all had their eyes on being at the top of the podium after the two weekends of racing, some of whom have already registered to sail in the J/24 Worlds in Newport, RI this September.  The racing was electrifying, with finishes being determined by less than 10 meters between all four, sometimes even just centimeters differences!

J/24 sailboats-sailing downwind in ArgentinaOn Sunday, 27 April the CNSI club PRO managed to conduct three races with steady breezes from the ENE.  For the first race, it was blowing up to 18 kts, forcing many teams to choose between genoas and jibs.  Then, for races 2 and 3 that day, the wind calmed down to 9 kts or so, so genoas ruled the day.

On Sunday, the fleet was more compact than most of Saturday and positions juggled wildly during the course of each race. After the first weekend, other than having to contend with a DSQ for MENDIETA, the top three boats were essentially tied.

The following weekend was going to be a suspense-filled, anxiety-ridden affair since all three boats, with COCOON hanging tough, could again see the standings get juggled again.  No one knew what to expect.

Sailing like a man possessed, Montes’s COCOON team were determined to make a comeback against the other three.  After Saturday’s racing, their three 2nds in a row allowed them to climb back quickly into overall contention for the lead while the other three boats faltered.  Sunday was going to bring a lot of drama if Saturday was any indication of what could happen with the top four boats.

J/24 sailboats- at start off ArgentinaThe morning started with fog and the start of the race was postponed until there was good visibility.  With “borneantes” winds blowing from 120-160 degrees and wind strength varying between 5-10 kts all day, it was going to be a challenging day for everyone. The four top positions were well fought and the championship was on the line for any one of them.

The first race went to COCOON, and that happened after making a 720-penalty turn, their excellent recovery was enabled by the other three boats spending too much time focusing on one another. MENDIETA was second, third RINA and fourth CACIQUE.

The results after the first hard-fought race had RINA leading overall with 20 pts with MENDIETA and CACIQUE tied with 21 pts and COCOON following closely with 23 pts!!  In short, whoever won the last race won the championship! To add more excitement, RINA match-raced CACIQUE off the starting line, but both had good windward legs and rounded together 1-2.  In the end, after passing them, MENDIETA took the bullet with CACIQUE in 2nd, COCOON in 3rd and RINA in 4th!  What a crazy finish to a long, hard fought series— fun for all!

The final top five was 1st MENDIETA (Pancho Van Avermaete), 2nd CACIQUE (Sergio Pendola), 3rd RINA (Nico Cubría), 4th COCOON (Fernando Montes) and 5th Juan Pablo Rixon.   Sailing photo credits- Mattias Capizzano  For more Argentinean J/24 sailing information

J/105 Lovingly Sailed in Chile

J/105 sailboat- sailing on lake in Chile(Lake Rapel, Chile)- Many J’s find themselves in some of the world’s most unusual, spectacular, and un-imaginable places to go sailing.  One of these happens to be a J/105 now sailing high up in the Andes Mountains in Chile, on a place called “Lake Rapel”, two hours south of the capitol of Santiago! Find it on Google maps here.

J/105 #279 has now found itself in a “happy” place, lovingly looked after by a very proud family enjoying what is essentially a “maxi-boat” on one of Chile’s largest lakes. Her enthusiastic new owner is Marcelo Tapia.  He sails mainly with his son and daughters. Most of the time with 2 or 3 onboard.

J/105 on launch ramp in ChileHow it got onto Rapel Lake is a story in and of itself!  First, he bought the boat from its American owner, shipped it to Chile and picked it up in September 2012 at the Port of San Antonio.  Next, he personally unloaded the boat from the ship, then he painted it with antifouling, cleaned and change all what was needed: engine supports, ropes, instruments, lights, new WC tubes, new chart-plotter and VHF, all new canvas made at home, etc.  He recently renewed all the keel box gelcoat, too.

J/105 family sailing on Chilean lakeThe boat was then trucked to the marina on Rapel Lake that only has launch ramps.  Then, she was backed down to the water’s edge next to a giant tree.  This was going to be the “mast crane tree”!  You guessed it.  After attaching a block & tackle high in the tree, they hauled the mast up and lowered it into the boat!  Finally, to launch the boat, they attached a long extension tongue to an old farm tractor and backed the entire trailer, boat and all, into the lake, deep enough to float the boat off!

As the happy owner motored off to its new home in a cove in front of Marcelo’s house on the lake, she ended up securing herself onto a mooring line and block of concrete that Marcelo himself had put into the bottom of the very cold freshwater lake.  Needless to say, Marcelo’s girls are ecstatic!  Enjoy the photos of their happy faces and some key parts of getting their boat to Lake Rapel.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Perspectives- Sailing J/24 Classics In Italy

J/24 sailing upwind (Argentario, Italy)- Marco d’Aloisio Mayo- an Italian J/24 sailor who sails in the PasquaVela/ Argentario fleet had some refreshing perspectives about sailing the J/24 as a one-design over the course of time:

“During this year’s Pasquavela regatta, we counted eighteen J/24’s on the waters of Argentario. What’s fascinating is to see the fleet continually revitalize itself and see strong participation across Italy as well as continue to see J/24s produce such good sailors!

For example, a long-time J/24 sailor who also sailed in Italy is now the new Soling World Champion-  Farkas Litkey from the Hungarian J/24 fleet.  Other examples are strong sailing teams in Germany (EUROPE 2 saw Tobias Feuerherdt came close to winning the trophy), the Monaco sailor Peter Langhans (already the champion’s of Europe and of Italy with La Superba Ignazio Bonanno at the helm), the crew of the “Blue Flames” and Massimo Mariotti on ALVOTORE (the 2007 Italian J/24 Champion in Cagliari).

The J/24 still requires a very good technical knowledge to sail the boat well, and that shows by the interest around the PasquaVela event and to our J/24 one-design.  Yet, compared to previous years, the number of boats sailing in the PasquaVela have diminished, not only in the J/24 fleet, but especially in Class Altura. In fact, many of the other one-design classes are completely gone! There are no more C21, First 7.5, Melges 24 or 20, Este 24, UFO 22, or even X32.

Only the J/24 class continues to be the leading one-design fleet in Italy and is often the largest fleet in many important regattas.  Yet, some say that it is an old boat. By now, there are boats much faster and efficient. It is probably more rewarding for a sailor, novice or aspiring champion, to climb aboard a “wedge of cheese”, killing themselves upwind touching hands to your toes, then planing with huge asym spinnaker on the carbon mast and the sponsor on the chest.  Then, such sailors wait for the right wind at the dock, then sail at 10-20 kts downwind, only to find themselves firmly planted in the sea in a monster broach! They’re spending a lot of money to buy the ultimate and, most importantly, keep it. After racing for a few years with these “hydrofoils of the sea”, they then abandon them because they are no longer competitive with the new boats since such contraptions always have structural failures of the hull!

J/Boats are simply built better!  In 2013, at Anzio, the winner of the Italian J/24 Championship was the former J/24 European Champion Luigi Ravioli.  Ravioli renovated an old “J” built in 1984 by Cantiere Biagini, bringing it back to life and and making it competitive and successful!

Today, any kid who grew up on the water can afford to buy a J/24, alone or creating a team of small boat owners, with an initial outlay of around 2,000- 3,000 EUR per person.  They can buy the boat together, put it back in order and enter into one of the nine Italian J/24 fleets!  Or, they can participate in the regattas on the lakes or the Mediterranean, sail against great sailors, and grow and conquer each race— one day, maybe even, the a World title! Only in Italy are there more than 150 J/24s racing each year; with 5,400-plus worldwide . Everyone has the opportunity to participate in a National or European title events.  No one-design in the world offers so many opportunities with an investment comparable to that of an old used Fiat!

But above all, no one-design is so technical with such simple adjustments. The amount of fine-tuning and variables makes the J/24 a joy to discover and understand forever. Intriguing for the most creative minds and simply crazy for the stubborn! Angry are the defeated, but the tenacious fall in love. You can spend twenty years of tuning, wins, losses, changes, but each time the J/24 will amaze you and you will ask yet another new question!

Yes. The J/24 is a passion; like all the feelings you have in your heart. Suffering and rejoicing, angry and embracing with happiness, trying to understand and find out what you do not understand, reaching a milestone and realizing that there is a sea and another race to conquer in front of you, and that every time you realize that you know that it is infinite.”

FIGAWI Race Preview

J/105 sailing Figawi race (Hyannis, MA)- The most anticipated opening regatta for the offshore sailors in New England (particularly those around Cape Cod) has to be the renowned FIGAWI Race weekend.  Traditionally taking place on the USA Memorial Day holidays, this mad dash of 60nm or so (depending on how you sail it) from Hyannis port to Nantucket has to be one of the world’s larger pursuit races.  And, that is its charm.  No one has any idea of how well they will do since it’s really a race to yet another social event/ party that takes place on Saturday night.  For most, the racing is secondary to the social activities ashore in Nantucket all Sunday.

The 43rd Annual Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the Cape Cod and Nantucket summer season with over 200 sailboats and nearly 3,000 sailors attend this event.  The weekend begins with a Kickoff Party at Hyannis Yacht Club on Friday, May 23rd, 2014.  It is a come-one, come-all affair!

Early Saturday morning, the first boat officially starts at 10 am off the Hyannis Port Jetty, hoping to be the first one to Nantucket Harbor. In this pursuit-style race, there have often been cases where maxi 70 footers are crossing the line simultaneously with J/24s, J/35s, J/44s, Concordia 40s and Lord knows what else!

This year’s 206 entries are sure hoping the weather cooperates.  Fog, drizzle and rain are not unknown in these parts in late spring, so is no wind.  Nevertheless, with an enormous depression moving offshore spinning off northeasterly breezes, the fleet should have light drizzle Friday, but clearing for Saturday start! (see weather forecast).

Hoping to make their mark in this year’s event are nineteen intrepid J adventurers whistling across Vineyard Sound.  First out of the blocks will be the two J/29s, Pat Cerundolo’s IL CATTIVO and Ira Perry’s SEEFEST.  Next are likely to be another duo of J/40s, Bill Jones’s SMITTEN and Kirk Brown’s JAZZ.  Then, comes the single biggest “one-design” start in the fleet, a half-dozen J/105s that include the Nantucket High School Sailing Team on CLIO (very cool, eh?) along with Joyce & Wagner Reservitz’s DARK’N’STORMY, Doug Riggs’s RIGADOON, Ed Lobo’s WATERWOLF, Brad Mascott’s TWO IF BY SEA and Jon Bloom’s BEAR SPIRIT.  Two J/109s are next, making the trip are Jim Bello’s DEJA VU and Bill Kneller’s VENTO SOLARE.  Not far behind will be two J/120s, Dave Follett’s GLORY and Gordon Mack’s M-SQUARED.  Ed Kaye’s J/111 PRAVDA 2 will be in hot pursuit behind the 120s.  Yet another duo of J/122s will be following them, Jim Masiero’s URSUS MARITIMUS and Peter Duncan’s PATRIOT. Finally, the “big boys” this year starting about the same time are Lauren Burke’s J/44 SPICE and Dick Egan’s award-winning J/46 WINGS!  Fun for all. It’s likely to be a jib/ genoa fetch reach across, particularly if the front keeps moving and the wind veers into the ESE quadrants!  For more FIGAWI Race sailing information

Menzner Tops J/80 MAIOR Cup

J/80 sailboats- sailing in Kiel, Germany (Kiel, Germany)- With the MAIOR- MAY Offshore Regatta- the big boat sailing season begins in Germany every year, the regatta season opener for the sailing elite in Kiel. With 100 boats participating in this year’s event, it was clear many teams were looking forward to getting back onto the water after a very, very long, difficult winter ashore!  Amongst the regatta participants was a large fleet of twenty-four J/80s sailing on the bay.

J/80 sailboats- sailing off start in Kiel, GermanyAlmost consistently, the best sailing weather greeted the sailors at the beach and on the race-track north of Bülker Lighthouse.  Sunshine and 10-17 kts NE winds greeted the fleet with nice waves rolling down the bay on Friday, enough to get in three races for the J/80’s.  By Saturday, the day dawned brightly with promise of good winds, but these died off until 1500 hrs.  At that point, the PRO’s on the one-design course wisely waited for the newly developing breeze and managed to get in two more races by early evening.  On the finale on Sunday, the wind shifted to WNW and challenged the RC PRO- Stefan Kunstmann- to once more display a lot of skill at adapting the course to the changing conditions. In the end they managed to get two more races off for the one-design fleets, good enough for them to count 7 races in the 10 scheduled for the weekend.

The J/80s had an exciting duel until the very end.  Before the last race, Martin Menzner and Sven Vagt were still head to head. Ultimately, the veteran Menzner from Kiel prevailed and won with the narrow margin of one point! Menzner won the last race while Vagt’s crew faltered and sailed their “drop race”, a sixth.  In the end, Menzner’s and Vagt’s crew were sailing in a class by themselves.  Menzner’s crew compiled a 1-1-3-2-1-2-1 record for 8 pts net while Vagt’s took a 2-2-1-1-2-1-6 for 9 pts net.  A distant third was Soren Hadeler’s crew scoring a 6-4-2-3-3-4-3 for 19 pts net.  The rest of the top five included Heinrichs Patrick in 4th and Bjorn Beilken in 5th.   For more J/80 MAIOR Regatta sailing information