Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Record Entries @ J/70 SAILING Champions League

J/70 Sailing league (Copenhagen, Denmark)- For the premiere of the SAILING Champions League (SCL) from 17th to 19th October 2014 in Copenhagen, the number of entries is growing. 23 clubs have already registered. They will be sailing at this international event to gain the title of the best sailing club on the pan-European continent.

When the new SAILING Champions League was announced six weeks ago, the news was quickly spread among sailors across Europe and the rest of the world.  As of this week, Konzeptwerft in Hamburg has received registrations from 23 sailing clubs from 16 nations in total. "We are expecting 25 clubs from at least 17 nations", said Oliver Schwall, Managing Director of the SAILING Champions League.

In the SAILING Champions League, the participating clubs are sailing according to the format of the national sailing leagues in Germany and Denmark on International J/70 One-Design sailboats. In Copenhagen, 45 races are planned in three days, each of the races lasting between twelve and fifteen minutes.

All invited nations can send two representatives to the SCL. The countries with existing national sailing leagues are sending their top three from their premiere year. The Danish are sending the top three from 2014 and the Germans those from the 2013 championship. "We are overwhelmed from the positive feedback", says Hans Natorp, President of the Danish Sailing Association, "when leading yacht clubs of Europe and across the world are showing such a big interest.  We are convinced that our idea about national and international sailing leagues has a great future ahead."

Hosts of the SAILING Champions League are the German and Danish league as well as the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY). Patron of the event is the European Sailing Federation (EUROSAF). The first 23 participants of the SAILING Champions League in Copenhagen include the following clubs so far: Austria (Union-Yacht-Club & YC Bregenz), Czech Republic (YC Cere), Denmark (Hellerup Sejlklub, Kerteminde Sejlklub, Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub), France (Sport Nautique de l'Ouest), Germany (Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee, Württembergischer YC), Great Britain (Royal Thames YC), Italy (Circolo Cannottieri Aniene & YC Costa Smeralda), Monaco (YC de Monaco), Norway (Royal Norwegian YC), Oman (Oman Sail), Poland (Chojnicki Klub Żeglarski), Russia (Royal YC Moscow & St Petersburg YC), Spain (Real Club Náutico de Gran Canaria), Sweden (Royal Gothenburg YC), and Switzerland (Thunersee YC).

For more SAILING Champions League information, please contact Sophie-Karolin Wehner, Tel. +49 40 226 316 4-63 or EMail- press@sailing-championsleague.com or Web: sailing-championsleague.com.  See SAILING Champions League Facebook page- http://www.facebook.com/SailingCL

Monday, September 29, 2014

J/111 BLUR Wins Silver Rudder Challenge

J/111 Blur.se skipper- Peter Gustafsson(Copenhagen, Denmark)- The Silver Rudder Challenge of the Sea- is an annual single-handed regatta, that took place on the 19th of September in Svendborg on the island of Funen (Fyn), Denmark.  It has become the world’s biggest single-handed offshore race, with almost 200 boats participating in the 134nm race around Funen Island.  Like similar races in America (e.g. think Three Bridge Fiasco in San Francisco Bay), you get to choose which way you get around the island, its rocks, its islets and channels!  A challenge for even the best navigators, much less trying to do it all by yourself!

J/111 blur silver rudder challenge courseIn 2012, the race was launched and attracted 15 tough contestants. In 2013, 100 contestants signed up, among them sailors from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia and Denmark. Silver Rudder 2013 was the biggest international offshore singlehanded regatta in world for that year.  In the end of May 2014, nearly 170 were enlisted for the 2014 edition, which meant this year’s Silver Rudder Challenge would be the largest non-stop singlehanded offshore race ever.  By August, the entrants reached the maximum of 200 participants!

As the number of contestants increased, the competition was also getting tougher. But the challenge was still the same- 134nm around Funen – only you and your boat and your way to choose to go around!

So, who won this epic challenge?  None other than Peter Gustafsson on the J/111 BLUR.se.  Peter not only recorded the fastest circumnavigation yet for the Large Keelboat Class, but he eclipsed all other keelboats and was only beaten boat-for-boat by a powerful trimaran!

The early weather forecasts indicated there would be a period of high pressure and easterly winds. If this weather pattern stayed put, the race would most likely be sailed for the first time ever leaving Funen Island to starboard and going “clockwise” around, instead of the traditional strategy of “leave it to port” counter-clockwise. The reason is that the sailors will try to avoid upwind sailing during the starts and in the most narrow and tricky part of the Sound of Svendborg.

Silver rudder challenge trophyOut of seven classes, there were only three Danish winners in this year's regatta. In the Large Keelboat Class (35-40 ft), it was Peter Gustafsson’s J/11 BLUR.SE that took overall winners with a time of 29:11:05, to win by well over 55 minutes over his next closest competitor. Gustafsson is known among many Scandinavian sailors for his website with the same name as his boat, but not many people were aware of how good he sailor he is!!  He led the race from the Great Belt Bridge to out of Langeland, in which the front flerskrogbåd was passed by.  Then with only 0.5 miles to the finish line, Gustafsson managed to overtake Andraz Mehilin in Svendborgsund where both skippers had frequent sail changes. A spinnaker sock made the difference when it jammed a headsail change for Mehilin on his IMX 40. The old truth that one can sail a small boat closer to 100% singlehanded over a larger boat turned out to be true. Despite the extremely difficult conditions and long periods without wind, Gustafsson’s BLUR.SE managed to outdo William Friis-Møller's IMX-40 elapsed record time of 2012; that resulted in a shift of Silver Rudder Challenge Trophy from Denmark to Sweden.  Plus, BLUR.SE was also the fastest overall keelboat in the Silver Rudder Challenge 2014!!

As Gustafsson explained, “For me it was 29 hours of hard work - but I won the class and was the fastest monohull around the course!!  BLUR.SE also set the new record for Keelboat Large Class, beating the old time of 31:28:55 set by an IMX 40 with the new time of 29:11:05!

This year we’ve won the biggest races in three different categories with our J/111 BLUR.SE (fully crewed, double-handed and solo) in three different countries- Norway, Sweden and Denmark.  I LOVE this boat!!”

Behind Peter G, in the Keelboat Small division, the J/80 CLEAN eMARINE took 5th in class.  Plus, in the Keelboat Medium class, the J/105 JAVELIN took 4th in class.  A great showing by J/Teams in tough, mentally-taxing conditions!  Yet again, a demonstration of why J/Teams are always so successful offshore against other brands & designs— J’s are simply easier to sail, faster, nearly 100% of the time, while their competitors struggle to even keep sailing their boats in a straight course!   See the Silver Rudder Challenge Facebook page here.   For more Silver Rudder Challenge sailing information

J/80 World Championship Preview

J/80s sailing World championship (Annapolis, MD)- The upcoming J/80 World Championship, to be sailed from September 28th to October 5th, will be hosted by Eastport YC on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.  The 33 boats will be treated to a top notch Race Committee led by Principal Race Officer Sharon Hadsell, an International Jury with Charlotte Greppe (Sweden) as Chief Judge, and a professional staff and volunteers experienced with running large scale world-class events.

The principal foreign team is Sophie Faguet’s French team (Benoit Charon, Maxime Mesnil, Noemie Bessec) sailing WHITE LIGHTNING from YC de Cherbourg.  They will be challenged by many of America’s top J/80 teams, including past champions like Terry Flynn’s QUANTUM RACING (current 2014 NA Champion) from Houston, Texas; Glenn Darden’s LE TIGRE crew from Fort Worth Boat Club in Forth Worth, Texas; Kerry Klingler’s LIFTED crew from Norwalk, CT; Les Beckwith’s FKA from Lake Winnipesaukee, NH; Mike Hobson’s MELTEMI from Annapolis, MD; Paul Parsons PARSONS PROJECT from Houston, TX; Will & Marie Crump & Tom Klok’s R80 from Annapolis (2013 J/80 NA Champion); John Storck Jr and John Storck III from Huntington, NY (2010 J/80 NA Champion), Brian Keane’s SAVASANA (J/80 Key West Midwinter Champion); and Curt Johnson sailing AVET from Los Angeles, California (West Coast Champion).   For more J/80 Worlds sailing information

Sunday, September 28, 2014

J/36 JAZZ Cruising Corfu- Sailing Greek Islands!

J/36 JAZZ- sailed by Norm Curnow(Corfu, Greece)- The J/36 JAZZ has been sailing thousands of miles between the UK and the Mediterranean over the past decade by a  salty dog named Norman Curnow.  He loves his boat, originally owned by designer Rod Johnstone in Stonington, CT.  Here’s Norm’s latest update:

“Hi JAZZ here!  After Corfu we went on to Preveza.  There is a large lake there, where Linda and I used the car to go to Koransia- a narrow peninsula of land about 2 miles long just about a road width wide! On the end, there is a marina and few cafes & bars.  We stopped for a meal and had a great day! On to Lefkes Canal where I touched the bottom, silting is a big thing there. They’re always dredging and entry is difficult, since the sands are always on the move!

Next we had to wait for the large swing bridge to open, swear to God its chipmunks on a treadmill opening it, it takes sooo long!  Anyhow, down the canal we went to Tranquil Bay were I saw my pal Annie on board a Nicholson 43- she lives on board, she set sail back in 2011 and loves living in Tranquil Bay!  Who can blame her, pretty place and nice locals! More to come-  Norman”

J/80 Italian Nationals Preview

J/80 sailboat rounding mark (Loano, Italy)- Big names in international sailing are going to take part in the J/80 Italian National Championship, being held in Loano from 25th to 28th September.  The regatta is organized by YC Marina di Loano in collaboration with Blueproject, the J/80 Italian Class, and Marina di Loano.  The program includes three days of racing for a total of eight races.

Fifteen teams are already registered; most of them are Italian boats and some foreign crews.  Among the Italian crews there will be some famous sailors such as Tommaso Chieffi (offshore & one-design champion), Francesco de Angelis (past J/24 World Champion and America’s Cup champion), Simone Ferrarese, Lorenzo Bressani, Francesco Ivaldi, Fabio Ascoli, Giorgio Benussi, Anne-Soiciz Bertin, Massimo Rama (past J/80 National Champion), Paul Montedonico, Stefano Ferraro and Taito Sanchez. This group of sailors assures the fleet of a very high level of competition.

Expert sailors participating for the first time in the class include: Edoardo Lupi, Michele Galli, James Loro Piana (of the famous fashion house- Loro Piana), Alberto Signorini, David Albertini Petroni, Stefano Polti, and Santiago Cow.  On the Blue Project Team is the Match Race Champion Anne-Soiciz Bertin with Andrea Trani, Martino Tortarolo, Mattia Capurso, and Fausto Surini.

Blue Project is partners for the event with its nine J/80s all equipped with brand-new sails by North Sails. Michele Rayneri from Blue Project commented: "Our company was specifically founded with the aim to supply the top racers with the best equipment possible. Our philosophy is excellence and technological leadership in sailing. We believe in the J/80 class and we want to develop it in Italy. That's why we chose to equip our International J/80 class boats with the best sails by North Sails, the worldwide leader in sailmaking."  For more J/80 Italian Nationals sailing information

Saturday, September 27, 2014

J/Fest Regatta Ready-to-Roll!

J/70 sailboats- sailing off start Announcing J/70 Winter Series
(San Diego, CA)- Join the fun as the J/70’s hit the water in full force over the next six months, starting with J/Fest and sailing through Yachting Cup, incorporating the popular One Design Weekends, and the even more wildly popular Hot Rum Series!  Sponsored by JK3 Nautical Enterprises and sailed out of San Diego YC, the J/70 sailors will be assured of excellent racing, great social entertainment on the lawns of the club, and obtaining early “insider info” on the location for the 2015 J/70 North Americans to be hosted by San Diego YC!

As the first regatta, J/Fest promises a nice turnout of J/Teams for SoCal.  The fleets include J/70s, J/105s and J/120s in addition to PHRF Classes.  The J/105s and J/120s are turning out in strength with many of their SoCal fleet leaders partaking.  Familiar faces like Dennis & Sharon Case’s WINGS, Sean O’Keefe’s DECOLORES 2, Jon Dekker’s AIRBOSS and Steve & Lucy Howell’s BLINK! will be part of the J/105 fleet.  The J/120s have John Laun’s CAPER, Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY, Gary Winton’s SHENANIGANS, Chuck Nichols CC RIDER and John Snook’s JIM.

In addition to the traditional racing format, J/Fest is also adding a "Fun Pursuit Race" on Friday for all participants that starts off the "Cupola" @ SDYC out to the bay and return to finish just off the guest dock at SDYC. They will have a staggered start with Tom Barkers' J/145 GOOD CALL as fastest (and last boat to start) with a mix of J/PHRF boats participating like a J/44, J/109s, J/70s, J/22s, J/80s, J/105s etc.

The J/70 Winter series events include the following:
Sep 26-28- J/Fest- http://sdyc.org/race/calendar/events/2050/
Nov 8 & 22/ Dec 6- Hot Rum Series- http://sdyc.org/race/calendar/events/2057/
Jan 17-18- SDYC One-Design Weekend- http://www.sdyc.org
Feb – SCYA Midwinters- South Bay
Mar 13-15– San Diego NOOD- http://www.sailingworld.com
April – SDYC One-Design Weekend- http://www.sdyc.org
May 1-3- Yachting Cup- http://www.sdyc.org

Storage at SDYC for the 2014/15 J/70 San Diego Winter/Spring Series will be available starting at J/Fest. Plan to leave your boat so that you can participate in the SD Winter/Spring series, starting in October!  SDYC Dockmaster, Joe Ravitch, is arranging the details on storing boats, mast up, over the course of the 2014/15 J/70 San Diego Winter/Spring Series.  Parking the boats at SDYC with rigs up, the dockmaster will move the boats to the hoist ready for you to launch on regatta days!  Storage Fee - $186 per month.  However, for each regatta that your boat enters, you will be credited back an amount toward the monthly fee!  The storage will be available from September 26 - May 15. Contact Joe at joe@sdyc.org or (619) 758-6308.   For more information regarding the J/70 San Diego Winter Series, contact SDYC J/70 Fleet Captain, David Vierreg at david_vieregg@intuit.com

J/105 JAM SESSION Leads Dutch Short-Handed Racing

J/105 sailing double-handed- North Sea (The Hague, The Netherlands)- The Noordzeeclub and Shorthanded.nl organize and host a summer series for short-handed racing on the North Sea. Sailing teams and enthusiasts of this type of sailing come from all over Europe, including The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.  During the year there are 10 events were you can score points. At the end of the season, the best score of 4 events will decide who is the winner.

The J/122 JUNIQUE and the J/133 BATFISH were already in a battle for several events, with JUNIQUE coming out on top. The J/105 JAM SESSION, skippered by Dennis Zuidam, had only done 3 events, so for their last event they needed to score high points to factor into the overall standings.

J/105 sailing videoConsequently, that’s exactly what happened in the Bruine Bank Race, a 100nmrace around a sandbank where skippers can decide if they want to round clockwise or counter-clockwise around the marks.  JAM SESSION elected to sail clockwise and after 13h:47m:25s of racing offshore, they finished 1 hour behind BATFISH and just 0:45 min. behind JUNIQUE, making JAM SESSION 2nd overall in the race for a total score 351 pts.  That was just enough points (by a 5 pts margin) to overcome JUNIQUE’s lead and win the overall Dutch Short-handed Season Series!!  Here is a YouTube sailing video of their experience.

J/70 Europeans Preview

J/70s sailing Lago di Garda (Riva del Garda, Italy)- The first J/70 Europeans is being hosted by Fraglia Vela Riva from September 24th to 27th on the fabulous waters of Riva del Garda.  Famous for their impeccable regatta management, the FVR RC are promising some new and fun innovations for the J/70 class.  If last year’s J/70 EuroCup experience was any indication, the record turnout of 37 J/70s from 10 nations will have the fantastic experience of the early morning northerly mountain winds that are shifty and streaky for at least one race, then break for lunch and wait for the afternoon southerly seabreeze to fill at 15-20 kts for 2 or more afternoon races!

Despite the fact the J/70 Worlds just took place in Newport, Rhode Island, the J/70 Europeans will have a deep and talented fleet from Austria, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Russia and Slovenia.  Some of the notable teams participating have been champions in other leading European J classes.  Perhaps one of Spain’s best one-design sailors, and past J/80 World Champion, is Hugo Rocha, sailing his first major J/70 event and certainly no stranger to racing fast on Lago di Garda.  From France is a cadre of top teams, led by J/80 Champion Ludovic Senechal, Fred Bouvier and Luc Lajoye.  English teams have Joe Woods, Dave Atkinson and Charlie Esse participating, many having sailed on the lake as well in other boats, like M32s and M24s.  The second largest contingent are the Germans with well-known lakes and one-design sailors in their midst like Frank Tusch, Michael Tetzner, Theresa Ober, Yannick Netzband, Holger Neuhaus and Marvin Frisch.  With the largest number of teams, the Italians are hoping their “local” knowledge will be helpful, especially for the J/70 series leader- Carlo Alberini on CALVI NETWORK.  However, they will be pushed hard by Pietro Saccomani, Mario Beraha, Andrea Magni, Vittorio di Mauro and Alessio Marinelli.  Monaco has two teams represented, including Jacopo Carrain and Alessandro Mango.  From the Netherlands comes the past J/22 Europeans Champion, Wouter Kollmann; from Russia are Dmitri Zaritskii and Sergei Ezhikov and from Slovenia is Igor Lah.   For more J/70 Europeans sailing information

Friday, September 26, 2014

J/105 North Americans Preview

J/105 sailboats- sailing off start (Toronto, Ontario)- The J/105 North American Championship will be hosted this coming week by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 27 teams are competing from Bermuda, Canada and the United States. Racing begins Thursday, September 25 and continues through Sunday, September 28.

The fleet boasts an impressive array of home-grown Canadian talent including James Rathbun and crew on HEY JUDE, the 2013 J/105 North American Champion, and Terry McLaughlin skipper of MANDATE, the current J/105 Midwinter Champion and a past runner-up in the J/105 NAs as tactician for Rathbun!  Other leading Canadian teams include Peter Hall’s JAMAICA ME CRAZY, Greg Mezo’s FORRO, Mike Mountford’s LIVE EDGE and THE USUAL SUSPECTS syndicate.

On the American side, there is a “hybrid USA/Canadian” team participating, that is Rick Goebel’s SANITY from San Diego, CA.  Goebel is a native Canadian and so is his famous tactician- Greg Tawastjerna who is now living in Monterey, CA.

Perhaps the top American team may be Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE from San Francisco, CA.  Stone’s team recently won the Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco against the “best of the West” and was also the 2009 J/105 North American champ. Two top Great Lakes teams are participating, including Mac Race J/105 Division winner PTERODACTYL, skippered by Mark Symonds from Lake Angelus, MI and Jim Murphy’s WINDSHADOW from Bloomfield, MI. Finally, a “dark horse” contender that is always a perennial top five finisher in major events is TWO FEATHERS from Dallas, TX, skippered by Mark & Jolene Masur.  For more J/105 North Americans sailing information

Menzner Dominates J/80 German Open

J/80 fleet starting off Germany (Glucksburg, Germany)- The German J/80 Open Regatta was hosted by the Flensburg Sailing Club and the twenty-four teams were provided excellent racing by FSC PRO’s Claus-Otto Hansen and Hajo Andresen.  Eight races were sailed over the two-day weekend event.  Starting fast out of the gate and never looking back was Martin Menzner’s PIKE team to take the overall J/80 German Open Championship title.

From the first day of sailing, it was clear Menzner’s team was on fire.  After posting three straight bullets in as many races, they looked unassailable.  But, an uncharacteristic 9th in race four torpedoed their chances at a near-perfect record.  Thereafter, a 1-5-1-1 enabled them to close with 11 pts net for the regatta.

Not leaving anything to chance was Bjorn Beilken’s PROCEDES DIVA that took second.  After a drama-filled, lousy first race 15th, the team recovered to close with all top three finishes for 14 pts net.

Taking third for the event was Soren Hadeler’s VIVACE with an equally “off-the-wall” roller-coaster scoreline that included a 3-25-8-2-3-4-8-6 for 34 pts net.  Taking fourth overall was Hauke Kruss’ TAK FOR TUREN and in fifth was Martin Christiansen’s WOOLPOWER!   For more J/80 German Open sailing information

Thursday, September 25, 2014

U.S. Adult Sailing Championship Preview

J/22 fleet sailing US Adult Sailing Championship (Fort Worth, Texas)– Top-notch J/22 sailors will put their skills to the test against a talented fleet this week on Eagle Mountain Lake at the U.S. Adult Championship, hosted by the Fort Worth Boat Club.

This historic US Sailing National Championship gets underway this Wednesday, September 22 and concludes Saturday, September 25.  Any sailing community can field a team to compete in the regional area events and national levels.  This year, teams will compete in a J/22 round robin format with a minimum of three crew including the helmsperson.  Ten races are scheduled.

The U.S. Adult Championship honors the traditional club vs. club competition by mixing the best elements of the former Mallory Trophy and Adams Cup events, while recognizing that sailors may be representing a community sailing organization.

A “Texas-style” welcome reception, with a barbecue buffet, will take place Wednesday night. Sailors are encouraged to wear their western attire and two-step to live country music. There will also be a mechanical bull riding challenge!

Out of the ten teams participating, there are some very talented teams that know J/22s well and should be near the top of the leaderboard.  Locals Matt Arno, Craig Johnson and Bryan Dyer from Fort Worth Boat Club are no shrinking violets, nor is the Youngstown YC team, that includes Chris Doyle, Peter Doyle and Mike DeDario.  Toss in Southern YC’s trio of ringers (Benz Faget, Randy Richmond, Tom Sweeney) and you can easily see a battle forming for the top three between them and Youngstown.  Don’t count out some “dark horse” teams like Rush Creek YC’s Jake Scott, Max Scott and Blake Billman or Vineyard Haven YC’s Paul Wilson, Brett Davis, Reilly Scull and Sonya Stevens.  Should be great sailing if the weather Gods and breeze cooperate.   For more US Adult Sailing Championship sailing information

Wayne Zittel's Secrets of Sailing- Rolex BBS!

J/70 J/World Performance Sailing (San Francisco, CA)-  J/World Performance Sailing leader Wayne Zittel (San Francisco, CA) sailed a J/70 for the first time at the Rolex Big Boat Series.  Here’s Wayne’s report on their “most excellent adventure”:

“The 2014 Rolex Big Boat Series September 11-14 in San Francisco Bay was a fairly different experience for me this year.  I've done more BBS's than I can count now, but none like this.

First off, we didn't sail a big boat. BBS has, over the years, grown more inclusive to the point where this year they included the not-quite-23 foot J/70s. Thirteen teams plied the waters of San Francisco Bay, a pretty good turnout considering it was mostly local boats and the event was concurrent with the massively attended J/70 Worlds.

Secondly, I sailed with an infant team. It flies against my instincts to compete in a high level event without significant practice and preparation.  I like to be competitive, and a lack of preparation is a recipe for frustration.  As I said, however, this was a different Big Boat Series.

You see, we had a J/World alumni who just a month ago bought a J70.  It's his first boat.  He's been a great client and his enthusiasm for all things sailing is a real pleasure to be around, so when he expressed interest in jumping right into the 'deep end of the pool' and taking a shot at BBS, I couldn't say no.  If I had really thought about it and considered the fact that he had never driven a boat in a real race (outside of J/World Racing Clinics), or if I had thought about the fact that we had precisely one, and only one, weekend regatta to prepare, maybe I would have passed on the opportunity.  But then I would have missed out on a remarkable experience.

What the fleet lacked in LOA was more than made up for in sheer talent.  Paul Cayard was trimming main and calling tactics for Andy Costello (also owner of the J/125 Double Trouble).  There were at least three sail-makers racing on different boats, and a huge host of talented skippers and crews.  The regatta was seven races over four days.  Each morning, our initial daily race was on a windward/leeward course up the SF city front.  Morning breezes were light (10-12 knots generally) and building, and a good flood tide kept the boats tight up against the shoreline for current relief.  For the afternoon race each day, the fleet went over to the Alcatraz course.  Breezes each day had built to 20-26 knots and the current had only built.  The afternoon races were marathons, some 16nm long, including legs from the Golden Gate all the way down to the Berkeley Circle....and back!!

So, all of that is pretty standard BBS.  So, what was different about this one?  We showed up at the premier sailing event on the West Coast with a new boat, a new skipper, and a new team, and we felt like we were racing sailboats.  We didn't break anything, didn't crash-and-burn (well, ok, there were maybe two good solid broaches!), and didn't get flushed out the back. And we had an absolute hoot.  Our skipper, so new to the sport, was out there with some of the top sailors in the country... and in the world!  And, we could taste the competition, sailing many of the courses and races right in the thick of the pack.  In what other sport could you possibly do that?  And, in what other boat?

The J/70 is easy to setup, straightforward to dial in, and fun to sail.  In the big breeze, they get pretty physical, and while my muscles are still aching after five long days of sailing, it all made sense when we would turn the boat downwind and take off on a screaming plane the full length of SF Bay!  Seriously, we were out-running the Farr 40 World's fleet and other boats with twice the length and four times the crew!  Now if the Race Committee can just comply with our request to have shorter beats and longer runs...

Anyhow, congratulations to Andy Costello for the overall win, and thanks to Dan for a great effort, and a great event.  It really is a ton of fun sailing with him, and he puts up with our antics pretty well.  His progress has been remarkable (a testament to J/World training programs and coaching, if I do say so myself), and we expect great things from him!”

QUANTUM RACING Eclipses J/80 North Americans

J/80 sailing at North Americans- Annapolis, MD (Annapolis, MD)- The J/80 North American Championships were held in Annapolis over the weekend of September 10-14, with Annapolis YC hosting. A total of 32 boats showed up to the line, coming from Texas and Ontario. Out of the 32 boats, 18 were locals.

J/80 setting spinnaker at NAs in AnnapolisAt the end of the day on Saturday, two Texan teams were dominating the top of the standings. Terry Flynn of Quantum Sails from Houston, Texas took his team QUANTUM RACING to the top of the podium with 13 points over seven races, winning four of them. Coming off his East Coast Championships win earlier in the month was Glenn Darden and his LE TIGRE team from Fort Worth, Texas, taking second overall with four 2nds in their seven race tally! And, rounding out the podium was the local team of Will and Marie Crump with Thomas Klok onboard R80.  Paul Parsons’ PARSONS PROJECT was fourth and fifth was local Napolitan rock star, Mike Hobson’s MELTEMI.

The Chesapeake Bay has one of the most active (and talented) J/80 fleets in North America, so it was tough to see so many great sailors lose the battle on their home turf. Discussing the results after the awards party, Nicole Weaver (who sailed onboard GROMIT with James Praley) commented, “We’re all capable of winning races here, but the question is whether we can do it consistently!”

J/80 fleet starting at NA's in AnnapolisThe J/80 North American Championships were the second in a trifecta of J/80 events happening on the Bay in 2014, culminating in the J/80 Worlds hosted by Eastport YC September 28 through October 5. At press time, 35 boats have registered, coming from as far away as Hawaii and France to compete on the Chesapeake.  Darden and Flynn will be back, but so will Brian Keane and his crew on SAVASANA (fresh off taking 3rd in the J/70 Worlds), as well as many other top-notch J/80 racers. The competition is going to be incredibly stiff.  To track the J/80 Worlds competition, please click on http://j80worlds2014.org.
Sailing photo credits- by Dan Phelps.   For more J/80 North Americans sailing information

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Paul Cayard's Secrets Sailing J/70s- San Francisco BBS!

Paul Cayard- sailing J/70s at Rolex Big Boat Series(San Francisco, CA)- Paul Cayard Reports (http://www.cayardsailing.com) on his experiences sailing the J/70s in the Rolex Big Boat Series on San Francisco Bay with Andy Costello on the "mini-me" J/70 DOUBLE TROUBLE.

“Friday: this was a very good day for us on Double Trouble.

In the first race we were on the Fort Mason race course with about 10 knots of wind. We were over the start line early and had to go back and restart putting us last in the 13 boat fleet. The current was "flooding" (coming in the bay) and our first mark was up toward the Golden Gate Bridge. The whole fleet was tacking back and forth in a very narrow band, about 100 yards wide, along the shore, to stay out of the worst of the adverse current. This makes it very difficult to pass because there is a lot disturbance of the wind for boat that are downwind of the pack.

Andy Costello steering, Nick Catley the jib sheets, James Clappier calling the wind and me on the main sheet, all did a great job of working the shoreline and getting "out of phase" with the boats ahead of us. After about 30 tacks on the two windward legs and smooth sailing downwind in the favorable current, we finished second! Nice Comeback!

For the second race, we moved out to the Alcatraz race course. The wind built to 15 knots by this time. The current was still flooding hard out there in the middle of the bay but there was no shoreline to close enough for the length of the first leg. This spread the fleet out a lot more than the first race. We had a good start nearly the left end of the line and were in the lead the entire race. It is much easier when you do it that way!

We are all pretty tired after a day like that. These small boats are very physical, especially in the conditions on SF Bay.

Today's 2-1 scores put us in first place overall, one point ahead of "Bottle Rocket".

Saturday: Once again we started the day on the Fort Mason race track. The committee signaled a three lap windward-leeward course in the eight - ten knot southwesterly breeze. The current was 'flooding' once again so it was all about hitting the beach for relief.

We had a good start and rounded the first mark fourth. We passed a couple boats on the next lap but could not get past DFZ, who was sailing great and won the race. Our second place finish further solidified our lead in the series.

The second race was a marathon of three hours! 15 miles in a big flood tide is a long course for J/70’s!!

We were over early at the start, but did not hear our sail number called for more than a minute after the start. Needless to say, we were deep on the first leg. Then, we got in a big entanglement at the first mark and felt we fouled. So, after rounding we did two penalties and once again, we were second to last.

The course was a marathon all around the bay, and there were a couple of opportunities where we went a different route to some of our competitors and made some gains. The wind picked up to 22 gusting 25 knots. Our speed was good and Andy did a great job driving, especially downwind!

In the end, with the help of the leaders having a few problems if their own, we managed to work through the fleet for the win.  Tomorrow there is just one race and it will be long for sure.

Sunday- the Bay Tour:  One race was scheduled for today. After a brief postponement waiting for wind, the race started at 11:30 under blue skies and a moderate 12-knot breeze.

The course for all the fleets on the Fort Mason race track took us outside the Golden Gate Bridge for to a buoy off Pt. Diablo. It's always impressive to sail out the Golden Gate. And even more fun to sail back in!

From there, we went all the way east to Berkeley and back up to the bridge before finishing in front of the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Tom Jenkins and his DFZ did well again today and won the race. On Double Trouble, we battled hard to finish second today. That capped off a great week for us winning the J/70 Class at the 2014 Rolex Big Boat Series!

I really enjoyed the J/70! Great boat, challenging and fun at the same time. It really is a dinghy and all the subtleties make a difference.

I also really enjoyed my teammates, Andy Costello who did a great job steering, Nick Catley on the sheets and James Clappier (aka Hippie) on the bow.

Jeff Thorpe from Quantum Sails helped us a lot last week by coaching us and getting us up to speed in the boat.

Next race for me is the Bart's Bash and Leukemia Cup next Sunday. I am sailing again with Andy and Hippie on Andy's J-125. Thank God Andy has so many boats! If you’re not involved in these two great events, go for it and get aboard a boat!”

Thrill-A-Minute @ 50th Rolex BBS!

J/70 Double Trouble- Andy CostelloJ/70s, J/105s, J/111s & J/120s Flying Downwind in Clouds of Spray!
(San Francisco, CA)- Wait, did any of the crews sailing in this years’ 50th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series not have fun??  After enduring the long beats to the various windward marks, it was pretty clear just about every sailor on every J sailing in this year’s event couldn’t wait to pop the big kite and simply “send it” down the Bay on insanely fast, planing runs zig-zagging around Alcatraz Island as they worked there way down 4 to 6nm runs!  Most spinnaker trimmers reported their arms got so long, friends from the San Francisco Zoo mistakenly reported seeing giant chimpanzees hanging around the docks with bottles of beer and Advil in hand!

A year after the contest for the 34th America’s Cup, world-class sailing is still alive and well on San Francisco Bay. Having developed stadium sailing long before the America’s Cup made it a local colloquialism, the St. Francis Yacht Club ensured fast fun for spectators as well as competitors by designing each day’s second race (always sailed in a blustery afternoon breeze) to finish within cheering distance of the clubhouse’s famous second-story race deck that commands attention east to Alcatraz Island and west to a sun-drenched (sometimes fog-enshrouded) Golden Gate Bridge.

J/111 Madmen in San Francisco BayIn the J/111 class debut for RBBS, Dorian McKelvy’s (Portola Valley, Calif.) MADMEN looked to be the favorite in the J/111 class for the Atlantic Perpetual Trophy and the Rolex Submariner watch, but after two days of leading, the team succumbed to Rob Theis’s (Los Altos, Calif.) AEOLUS, which wound up only one point ahead of MADMEN in the final standings.

The J/105s made up the largest fleet this year, and Bruce Stone’s (San Francisco) ARBITRAGE held the lead every day, earning the team the Commodore’s Cup plus the Rolex watch (the third Rolex for Stone). “This is the toughest fleet in the country I think,” said Stone, who missed winning last year by a narrow margin. “We felt that the courses were really interesting compared to the past, and St. Francis Yacht Club did a really excellent job,” he said.  “For us, it was all about keeping the boat moving with all the lulls and gusts and changing of conditions and tides.”

J/120s sailing San Francisco BayIn J/120s, a tight race between David Halliwill’s (New York N.Y.) PEREGRINE and Barry Lewis’s (Atherton, Calif.) CHANCE tilted to PEREGRINE’s favor for the Rolex watch that was awarded in that class.

Then, the J/70s saw a familiar face racing DOUBLE TROUBLE- J/125 owner Andy Costello sailed with some of his “big boat” crew and added in the famous Paul Cayard as mainsheet trim/ tactician, to lead the fleet from day one and never relinquish their firm grip on the number one spot.

The fleet was blessed with truly epic, fresh-to-frightening sailing conditions all week long.  Stone reported that the average breeze was 18-25 kts and in one race where the J/105s went further east than most fleets to the Berkeley Circle, registered puffs up to 35 kts!!

It was a “rip-roaring” start for the fleet on their first day of racing on Thursday, September 11th.  With two races scheduled for 10 classes (three handicap-rated and seven one-design), the morning started out relatively slow, with J/120s, Farr 40s and J/105s having to abandon their first race on the “Circle” Course (farthest north on the Bay) due to frustrating eight-knot winds across a four-knot flood current. It just took some patient waiting, however, and “Big Boat normal” was back, with plenty of heft in the conditions to fulfill the first day’s racing plans.

McKelvy’s J/111 MADMEN started off on the right foot, turning in finishes of 2-1 to top a seven-boat fleet. “The wind was consistent and less than in the Bay,” said McKelvy when asked about his second race’s upwind leg to Pt. Diablo (west of the Golden Gate Bridge). “[Outside the Gate] was a welcome place to be after all the strong breeze we had experienced.”

J/111 BIG BLAST sailing Rolex Big Boat Series- San FranciscoMcKelvy added that this was his first Big Boat Series and first big event period; he bought the boat in 2011 and sailed it just for fun with kids and family. In the last year and a half, with the help of his sail makers and tactician Geoff Thorp, he has gone from family mode to full-on rocket mode. “It has been an outrageous experience,” he said. “Today was just about the fastest I’ve ever gone on a boat with a spinnaker, so there was a little bit of perspiration and nervousness, but it was great. I’ve been an observer (of this event) for years, and it seemed way outside my comfort level, so to be here is a dream shot. It is a ‘bucket list’ kind of thing and everything I ever heard it would be.”

Racing on Friday saw more of the same scenario, lightish in the morning but the nuclear winds roaring down the Bay and into the Valley beyond kicked in hard by noon time.  The fleet again arrived home exhausted, but elated.  In the J/120 Class, Lewis’s CHANCE has a reputation for making it on to the podium, and this year the team has protected its first place position that it initiated yesterday. “Each day the margin of error gets smaller and smaller at this event, and each boat steps up their game a little more,” said Lewis, adding that there is a strong fleet of competitive boats that race each year, including Halliwill’s PEREGRINE which was biting at his heels, only one point behind in second.

“This year we have some new boats racing, including the Japanese team onboard JULIAN, which is super-fast and very competitive,” commented Lewis.  “In this fleet, if you make a mistake it will cost you big. Our game plan moving forward is to minimize mistakes, sail fast upwind and get great starts.”

Saturday’s racing was, yet again, a near carbon copy of the previous days.  It blew 20 knots and above for a third straight day, and with six races under their sailing belts, many of the classes were counting on one last race (the traditional “Bay Tour”) Sunday to either seal their deals or steal into top-three positions where bragging rights are as treasured as the trophies to be presented.   “It’s all-on for Sunday,” said Norman Davant, the event’s co-chair. “This has been awesome sailing. Controlled chaos is a very good way to describe it,” said Davant. “We wanted to do something different on the land and the water, so we put a mark one mile west of the Golden Gate Bridge where we normally don’t go, and yesterday our class went to it twice.  Last night, we brought food trucks in and had a great party for the sailors.”

J/125 Hamachi sailing San Francisco Big Boat SeriesAfter the two races on Saturday, it was Greg Slyngstad’s (Sammamish, Wash.) J/125 HAMACHI, in first overall in the HPR Division.

Sunday dawned again with fog, which then cleared, then the wind-machine was turned on— “wash, rinse, repeat”!  And, again it blew 18-25 kts for the famous “Around Bay Tour”, a favorite amongst the Rolex Big Boat Series cognoscenti for decades.  No one was disappointed with the fabulous, sunny, windy conditions.  In the end it was all well worth it for many “newbie” sailors in some classes.  The J/70s happened to have at least three, including Andy Costello & Paul Cayard on the J/70 DOUBLE TROUBLE and Wayne Zittel on the J/70 J/WORLD PERFORMANCE SAILING.

Here is Costello’s report from DOUBLE TROUBLE:  “The 70 is an awesome little boat.  We had a solid 25 knots gusting to a bit more on the bottom of the course towards the top of the Berkeley circle on Saturday and we hit 19 knots over the bottom on the Velocitek GPS. We joked afterwards that must be a J/70 record, but probably not. There were some 70's or two washing their Windexs in the bay.... some halyards didn't hold etc, on that late afternoon run in typical SF Bay breeze. The boat and the rig feel pretty bomb-proof.  We stuffed it hard into some big waves a few times, when we couldn't go over the top of them. I thought the rig was going to come down, but no way! Great job with the Southern Spar!

J/70 Double Trouble- Andy Costello and Paul Cayard sailing San Francisco Big Boat SeriesMy crew for the regatta was awesome!! Two of my crew were from my J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE- James Clappier (a.k.a. “hippie”) on bow and jib trim downwind and Nick Catley (from New Zealand and currently on the World Match Race Tour) on jib trim upwind and spin trimmer downwind.  We then had Paul Cayard on tactics and mainsheet (a Star World and Volvo Ocean Race champion), with me driving.

We had two days before the event to sail for some practice; none of us had stepped on to a J/70 beforehand.  We learned a lot over the Regatta and really progressed over the six days of sailing.

I'll be purchasing my own boat soon! Mark Howe let me use his J/70 for the RBBS and we had Sharon Green from Ultimate Sailing out on my Protector RIB shooting some awesome photos!

The J/70 fleet was competitive and the racing was incredibly tight.  It was my most enjoyable Big Boat series in the 10 years that I have done it!! Go figure, and it was on the smallest boat!!”

The final standings in each class were the following:

J/70 fleet sailing San Francisc Bay in Rolex Big Boat SeriesIn J/70s, Costello’s team ruled the roost, taking an 8-1-2-1-2-1-2 for 17 pts to win class by a comfortable margin.  However, it was a battle royal for the balance of the top five behind them.  Hanging tough in the last race was Chris Andersen’s PERFECT WIFE, posting a record of 5-3-6-2-4-7-4 for a total of 31 pts to take the silver.  Just missing out was Geoff McDonald’s 1FA, starting out slowly but closing with a flourish with a 7-7-1-8-3-3-3 for 32 pts, taking the bronze on a tie-breaker over David Schumann’s BOTTLE ROCKET that had a “snakes & ladders” record of 3-2-4-4-11-2-6 also on 32 pts.  Fifth was Tom Jenkins & Eric Kownacki’s DFZ with 39 pts.

J/105 Arbitrage- Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault- sailing Rolex Big Boat SeriesIn the J/105s, Stone’s ARBITRAGE sailed fast and finished with three 1sts, plus 2-3-4-5 for a total of 17 pts.  Staying close but not able to close the gap was Scooter Simmons’ BLACKHAWK, taking a 5-1-3-5-5-1-1 record to the finish for 21 pts.  Third was Phil Laby’s GODOT with 27 pts, then 4th was Jeff Litfin’s MOJO and 5th was the DONKEY JACK trio (Shannon Ryan, Rolf Kaiser, & Ken Turnbull).

As noted earlier, the big upset for any class leader took place in the J/111s.  After leading the first five races, McKelvy’s MADMEN simply went mad and went off the deep end on Saturday, digging themselves a big hole with a 5-8 after posting a fleet-leading 2-1-3-1 Thursday and Friday.  On Sunday’s Bay Tour, MADMEN won the race but could do nothing to stop Theis’ AEOLUS from finishing in 3rd place to take the trophy and the watch!  Also having a mathematical chance at winning was Roland Vandermeer’s fire-engine red BIG BLAST!, posting a 5-2-1-3-6-2-4 for just 23 pts to take third on the podium, only 3 pts out of first— the last race being the determining factor!  Fourth was Dick Swanson’s BIG DOG and fifth was Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS.

J/120s sailing into finish- Rolex Big Boat SeriesThe J/120s saw both veterans of the BBS scene as well as fresh new faces in the crowd competing hard for class honors.  While Halliwill’s PEREGRINE won with just 14 pts, the next four spots were close enough that where you finished on Sunday’s Bay Tour determined the class pecking order.  Steadily sailing in the top three was Lewis’ CHANCE, taking second with 19 pts.  Class newcomer, Yasuhide Kobayashi on JULIAN from Tokyo, Japan, took a well-deserved third overall with 24 pts, even winning two races along the way.  Fourth was the familiar dark-green machine, Steve Madeira’s MISTER MAGOO, and in fifth was Timo Bruck’s TWIST.

Finally, in the HPR Class, it looked like the J/125s were going to do it again and sweep the top spot in HPR/ IRC for the third straight year at RBBS.  After Saturday’s racing, Slyngstad’s Seattle, WA crew on HAMACHI were indeed winning class. However, the “ultra-reachy” (meaning jibs, not spinnakers) Sunday Bay Tour for their particular class proved to be their undoing, settling for second overall.  Sailing photo credits- Rolex/ Daniel Forster and Erik Simonson/ PressureDrop.us and Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing

T2P-TV video Sailing highlights
Thursday- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTu-s61h4mg
Friday- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_2JZFu8LlY
Saturday- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2z0fiWVq1c
Sunday- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRn6THPhlOU
Summary Music Video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oal51ayxDjE
Dock Talk with crews- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fbN6Mk0uxo
For more Rolex Big Boat Series sailing information

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tim Healy's Secrets of Sailing- J/70 Worlds

Tim Healy from North Sails One-Design (Newport, RI)- Tim Healy offered some perspectives on what it took to win the J/70 Worlds.  Here is Healy’s commentary from the Scuttlebutt Sailing interview with Craig Leweck.

Ever since the J/70 made its debut at the 2013 Key West Race Week, the class momentum has been historic. Tim Healy won that first 38-boat one design event, and has been riding the wave of class growth ever since. Last week Healy won the inaugural J/70 World Championship in Newport, RI, topping 86 teams representing 14 nations. Here Healy comments:

Keys to victory?
“Newport in September is good for breeze and we raced in a number of different wind strengths and directions. Prior to the event, we spent a few weekend days training outside the bay on Rhode Island Sound. Spending time out on the ocean and getting a handle on the boat moving through the chop was key. We didn’t know how important that was going to be at the time, but it proved valuable because we ended up with three days of 3-4ft chop during the regatta. We constantly focused on keeping the boat going, and making sure our rig tune and sail trim were spot on; it made a big difference.”

Training for the event?  
“We trained on the weekends leading up to the regatta. Once per week we’d sail as a team after work, and we arrived to the regatta this year in time for at least one training day. Getting to an event in advance gets the crew comfortable; a few of us also sail J/24s together and generally spend time together as a team. I’ve been sailing with Gordon Borges since 2000, Geoff Becker and Paul Abdullah since 2010. We’ve clocked about 30-40 days sailing together in 2014.”

Class growth
“This event means the J/70 Class has achieved ISAF status and is now an internationally recognized class. One thing that really illustrates how rapidly this class has grown is that this first World Championship had more participants than any other inaugural world championship in any other J/Boat class ever.

What do I think this signifies? Continued growth. The boat and class are very strong. South America, Europe, the west coast of the United States, and Asia are the next growth areas. We’ve witnessed a steady expansion of participation here in the US, especially on the east coast. The class is organized and well-run and therefore poised to embrace decades of great international competition.”

HELLY HANSEN Crowned J/70 World Champion

J/70 Helly Hansen/ Tim Healy winning Worlds (Newport, RI)- The 2014 J/70 World Championship, presented by Helly Hansen, was the largest inaugural World Championship of all the J classes since 1977.  86 boats and 14 countries were represented and the event was hosted by New York YC and staged at Sail Newport in the Fort Adams Sailing facility.  Twelve races were conducted over five days in mostly moderate winds and big seas, challenging the top sailors from around the world.

Crowned as the inaugural J/70 World Champion was Tim Healy’s HELLY HANSEN team (Geoff Becker- tactician, Gordon Borges and Paul Abdullah) from Newport, Rhode Island.  Winning the J/70 World Corinthian Championship and taking 5th Overall was Heather Gregg-Earl’s team on MUSE (Stu Johnstone- tactician, Joe Bardenheier and Stu Saffer), all New York YC members and Tufts University Jumbo sailor alumni.  Silver Fleet Champion was Mark Ploch’s crew on SUGAR DADDY from American YC in Rye, New York.
The win for Healy’s crew did not come easy, for they were challenged from the outset by Joel Ronning’s incredibly capable crew on the famous CATAPULT.  Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ronning is accustomed to sailing fast boats, apparent wind-machines like E-Scows, A-Scows and M32s.  Sailing CATAPULT with long-time crew Victor Diaz DeLeon of Venezuela, and San Diego sailors Willem Van Waay and Bill Hardesty (the latter the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year & current Etchells 22 World Champion), Ronning won three out of three races sailed on a lumpy Rhode Island Sound on the first day of racing!

The NYYC RC, led by PRO Tom Duggan, started the fleet (43 boats per flight) in an 18-20 knot ENE breeze that moderated slightly over the subsequent two races.  Between the strong breeze and the sea state – the swells did not subside until the tide change late in the day during the third and final race – competitors were given a healthy workout.

Ronning’s CATAPULT team led the fleet overall with only three points (three bullets!) over Healy’s HELLY HANSEN crew that posted a consistent 2-2-2 for six points. Said Healy after racing, “Everyone is willing to share ideas on how to sail the boats better and how we can make a stronger J/70 class. The competition is fierce but the focus for sure is to have fun racing and to make good friends along the way.”

Healy summed up the hurdles facing competitors racing in Newport for the championship.  “The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to sail the boats in the open water of Rhode Island Sound.  The current is difficult to figure out (I am not sure anyone has it figured out) and predicting the wind shifts is also difficult.  In early September, we usually have good wind but it can come from just about any direction. Air temperatures can be anywhere from the high 50s to the low 80s.”

J/70 Savasana- Brian Keane2013 BACARDI® Miami Sailing Week class champion Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., at the helm of SAVASANA, was one point behind Healy, in third overall, followed by Brazil’s Mauricio Santa Cruz on BRUSCHETTA with 15 points.  Rounding out the top-five was San Francisco’s Jim Cunningham on LIFTED with 16 points (current Etchells 22 National Champion).

After the second day of racing, both Ronning’s CATAPULT and Healy’s HELLY HANSEN were tied on points overall.  With 86 boats racing, the fleet had been divided into four color-coded groups for the first two days of competition.  Each group sailed two races on Wednesday, which, when added to the three races sailed on the opening day, allowed each team to count the best four out of five to determine whether they will sail in either the gold or silver fleet starting Thursday.

Winning the final race of the day was Brazil’s Mauricio Santa Cruz on BRUSCHETTA, who stands fourth overall with 13 points after finishes of 5-[6]-4-3-1.  Santa Cruz has only been racing the J/70 for a short time – in fact his first regatta was the J/70 North American Championship this past July in Rochester, where he placed fourth in a fleet of 71 boats.  He is, however, a familiar face on the top of the podium, especially in the J/24 class in which he holds four world championship titles (2012, 2009, 2007 and 2006).  He is racing in Newport for the first time since sailing a Tornado here during Olympic campaigns that resulted in his twice (2004, 2000) representing Brazil at the Olympic Games.  That he was sailing the J/70 Worlds with a crew that he never previously raced with (all members of the Rio de Janeiro Yacht Club) clearly does not slow him down.

TEAM CATAPULTRonning’s CATAPULT crew remained at the top of the overall standings after sailing to a 1-1-1-4-[8] for seven points.  His three-point lead over Healy’s HELLY HANSEN was eroded Wednesday with Healy posting 2-2-2-1-[3] to tie things up on points. Keane’s SAVASANA crew retained third overall on finishes of 1-3-3-2-[11] for nine points, just four points ahead of Santa Cruz.  NEW WAVE’s Martie Kullman, of St. Petersburg, Fla., rounded out the top-five with 17 points on finishes of 6-[24]-6-3-2.

After two days of qualifiers, the fleet was split into Gold and Silver divisions, the former competing for the World Championship for three days- Thursday to Saturday.  Day three was postponed ashore in the morning until a thunderstorm threat had lifted.  The competitors were once again sent out to do battle on Rhode Island Sound. Under partly cloudy skies, with breeze ranging from 12-18 knots out of the southwest, competitors were tested by another day of swells and seaweed that did little to help their results.

Tied on points to start the day, Ronning’s CATAPULT and Healy’s HELLY HANSEN, the story looked to be a replay of the previous days when Ronning finished 1-2 to Healy’s 2-1 in the first two races.  However, Healy went on to win the third race of the day while Ronning used his drop race on a 14th-place finish. Healy’s HELLY HANSEN was now the overall standings leader with 11 points, while Ronning sat in second overall with 18 points.

“The NYYC RC was watching a line of thunderstorms that dissipated as they got closer and actually passed to the north of us, so they just were on the safe side,” said Healy of the morning’s postponement. “With the breeze expected to be good in the afternoon they didn’t have a problem with waiting a little bit and we ended up getting three really good races in, so it worked out. It probably maxed out around 15-16, so it was in the range of 12-16 knots from the SSW.”

J/70 planing downwind at Worlds in NewportWith the sea state factoring in again, Healy believed the swells with cross-chop on top were giving the fleet more of a workout than they might have anticipated. “Upwind it was really choppy. The boats are only 23 feet, so the key is to keep the momentum up and keep powering through the waves. If you can do that and keep the boat moving then you can extend a little bit and have good speed. The problem is you really can’t escape hitting bad waves. You’re going to pound a wave whether you like it or not every once in a while and then getting the boat back up to speed as fast as possible is a big deal. There also was a lot of seaweed out there and steering around the clumps of seaweed and making sure to keep your keel and rudder clear of it was also a big deal. Downwind it was perfect surfing conditions so working hard and getting the whole team to work together to catch waves really made a big difference, too. Not only catching a wave but staying on it helps downwind and made an enormous difference in speed.”

For the penultimate day of racing, the NYYC PRO Tom Duggan elected to go north into Narragansett Bay.  It was a tough choice, but with few options left for the fleet— one of the reasons the large fleet was split into groups of 45 boats.  A 90 boat start line in the Bay is impossible, but it could be done with a 45 boat start.  Given that option, the NYYC RC worked to get the competitors racing before the northerly breeze died.  In roughly 10 knots of breeze, two races – one each for the gold and silver fleets – were run before the breeze ultimately ran out.

It was a complete change of pace for the competitors who had faced big breeze and rough seas for the first three days of the series; picking the correct side of the course and factoring in the ebb tide was the key to doing well.

For series leader, Healy’s lone race would become his drop as he picked up a 13th-place finish (and that was after a huge comeback on the second windward leg after being deep in the upper 20s at mark two in the race).  Despite crossing the finish behind his closest rival, Ronning’s CATAPULT in 10th place, Healy retained the lead position heading into the final day.  Healy’s lead over Ronning (14 points vs 28) was not insurmountable for Ronning, in light of an earlier start for the final day and the Race Committee’s plan to get in three races.

Keane’s SAVASANA was the winner of the lone gold fleet race, which helped to slightly close his points gap on the leaders.  With 41 points, Keane had also improved his margin over Kullman’s NEW WAVE, who had 55 points and was fourth overall.

Team MuseAfter a meteoric ascent from 24th into 5th overall in the standings on Thursday’s Championship Gold Fleet races (with a 5-4-3 score), 2013 J/70 North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl’s MUSE kept the momentum going with a second-place finish in Friday’s race.  MUSE now retained the fifth spot on 60 points and continued as the top Corinthian team in the series.

“We’re pretty happy about our position considering the talent in the fleet,” said Gregg-Earl.  “We are super excited about where we are in the standings so far; it’s a really deep talent pool and to be in the top-15 in the regatta was our goal and, luckily, we’re achieving that so far.”

Gregg-Earl was sailing with Joe Bardenheier (Boston), Stu Johnstone (Newport, R.I.) and Stu Saffer (New York, N.Y.).  All four are not only alumni of Tufts University Sailing Team (Medford, Mass.), but also members of New York Yacht Club and it was through NYYC’s Team Racing program that the four came together.  “We are all friends and having a great time sailing together,” said Gregg-Earl, explaining that they’ve been able to keep a Corinthian team and still do well.

In the silver fleet, Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor, on CACHONDO, moved up from third to first overall with 104 points after finishing fifth in today’s lone race for that fleet.  Following CACHONDO was a three-way tie on points – 106 – between Mark Ploch of the Bronx, N.Y., on SUGAR DADDY, Newport’s Blake and Lud Kimbrough on NOSTALGIA, and Geoffrey Pierini of Rumson, N.J. on SURGE.

For the final day, the NYYC RC brought the fleet back out to Rhode Island Sound where three races were run in 8-17 knots of breeze from the ENE.  It was tricky day of sailing.  The wind was flicking back and forth from the NE to East with tremendous variations in velocity and enormous wind streaks on one side of the course or the other.

Winning the first race of the day was Ronning’s CATAPULT.  With Healy’s HELLY HANSEN crossing the line in fourth, Ronning was able to chip away at the deficit and, in race two, the margin was further cut to seven points when Ronning finished fourth and Healy finished eighth.  However, in the final race, won by Keane’s SAVASANA, Healy crossed the line in second with Ronning back in sixth, earning Healy’s HELLY HANSEN team the championship title on 28 points to Ronning’s 39.  Keane retained third overall with 61 points, while Florida’s Kullman, on NEW WAVE, and Boston’s Heather Gregg-Earl, on MUSE, were tied, respectively for fourth and fifth, on 83 points.  Gregg-Earl and the crew on MUSE were also the World Corinthian Champions.

“It was a fun week,” said Healy.  “The nice part is there was wind the whole time; we enjoyed that, but because there’s wind you have to work hard and at this point everybody is tired but also excited at the same time.”  This was Healy’s third world championship title as he adds the J/70 title to two he has won in the J/24 class (2013, 2010).

Healy continued to say, “The key to doing well is time spent in the boat.  From day one when Jeff Johnstone called and said ‘we have the first two boats ready to go, are you interested in doing some sea trials?’ I jumped on it.  As soon as I sailed the boats I knew the class was going to be huge.  I think it’s the simplicity of it.  Anybody who grew up sailing dinghies or got into small keelboat sailing can go down and look at a J/70 and say ‘I get it.’  They can look at the rig and see that it’s simple, and how the spinnaker works and how the main works, the deck layout is totally simple and clean and it’s easy to handle.  The boat performs really well upwind; downwind it’s exciting and it’s planing.  It’s got just about everything for the typical sailor looking for a fast one-design boat that’s easy to sail.  And it performs well.  The younger sailors can handle it and sail it, same for older sailors and it’s a good fit for women’s teams also.”

The youngest competitor on the race course was 13-year old Julian Sudofsky of Marion, Mass., who missed a week of eighth grade at Old Rochester Regional to race with his father Mike Sudofsky on CARLOS.  The young sailor was not simply enjoying a week off from school; as a veteran in the J/70 class he has twice raced in Key West Race Week, along with events in Annapolis and Cedar Point.  “Even though we didn’t do too well, we had so much fun because everyone was top competitors,” said Sudofsky who handles the bow on CARLOS.  “I just got to see Tim Healy, and Brian Keane is also my neighbor,” he added.

J/70 RAFBF SPITFIRE- Simon LingFrom their patriotic hats to their colorful spinnaker, one team garnering lots of attention on the course was Team RAFBF Spitfire from Great Britain, captained by Simon Ling of Burford.

“Team Spitfire was formed about six years ago,” explained Ling.  “We’re made up of serving, ex-serving members of the Royal Air Force and a couple of civilians as well.  We basically look to sail as competitively as possible but also to promote the RAF charity: the RAF Benevolent Fund.  The name Spitfire comes from the iconic airplane that was built in the south where we sail in The Solent, and it seemed the perfect name for an RAF team.”

Having done the UK national circuit, this was the first time Team RAFBF had been overseas with the boat.  “It was absolutely fabulous.  What can you not enjoy about Newport?,” said Ling.  “It’s my first time here, we’ve all fallen in love with the place; the race organization has been second to none, the racing has been fabulous and we’re really pleased with our result (12th overall and second Corinthian team).”

Ling as owner/helm switched to the J/70 last year after three years in the J/80.  “It’s been a fabulous boat; we love it,” said Ling ticking off the attributes of the J/70:  “The class has taken off, it’s new, there are 90 boats here at the first worlds, its great fun to sail, they’re demanding to sail, and they put a smile on your face.  What’s not to like about that?”

Seeing 86 teams, representing 14 nations, on the starting line for any sailing event is significant.  For those 86 teams to be contesting the first-ever world championship of the J/70 class is a testament to the popularity of the boat that was introduced just over two years ago, and even more notable was the mix of sailing royalty that was peppered throughout the fleet including: 2008 Finn Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey of Clearwater, Fla., 2004 Tornado Olympic Silver Medalist John Lovell of New Orleans, California’s 1996 Soling Olympic Bronze Medalist Jeff Madrigali, 2013 America’s Cup winning strategist and 2012 Laser Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Slingsby of Australia, 2011 Lightning Pan Am Games Silver Medalists  Jody Lutz of Brick, N.J., and brother Jay Lutz of Houston, who is also a four-time world champion in the J/80 and Lightning classes, 1984 Windsurfing Olympic Silver Medalist Scott Steele of Annapolis, Olympian and two-time Star World Champion Phil Trinter of Richmond, Va., 2013 Star World Champion John MacCausland of Cherry Hill, N.J., 2001 Sonar World Champion Mark Ploch of The Bronx, N.Y., and 2007 Snipe World Champion Tomas Hornos of Boston.

Kalle Coster and Annemieke Bes, both of whom represented The Netherlands three times at the Olympic Games were in the fleet, as was Vermont’s 2012 Olympian Trevor Moore, along with New York’s Cory Sertl and Jody Starck, both of whom have won the  Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award multiple times.  Top-ranked USA #1 match racers Taylor Canfield and Stephanie Roble, 2005 J/24 World Champion Anthony Kotoun and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Eric Doyle were all onboard as was 2006 Audi Etchells 22 World Champion Jud Smith of Marblehead, 2013 J/22 World Champion Allan Terhune of Arnold, Md., and 2014 J/24 US National Champion Will Welles of Portsmouth, R.I.

In the World Championship Corinthian Division, Heather Gregg-Earl's MUSE team comfortably won the division with 83 total points.  Taking second was Peter McChesny's Annapolis, MD team on TROUBLE, completing the series with 151 pts.  Third was Simon Ling's crew on Team RAFBF SPITFIRE from Great Britain sitting on 167 pts, fourth was Martin Johnsson's AQUAHOLIKS with 173 pts and fifth was Jim Cunningham's LIFTED crew with 190 pts.  Also of note, Heather was named the "Top Woman Skipper" award, the first recipient of the Helen C Johnstone Memorial Award for the J/70 World Championship.

The Silver Fleet was won by Mark Ploch on SUGAR DADDY after finishes of 3-1-3 allowed him to edge out Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor, on CACHONDO, with 113 points versus 121. Taking third overall was Geoff Pierini on SURGE.

Finally, thanks to all the sponsors and supporters of the first J/70 Worlds!  Most especially, to HELLY HANSEN along with NORTH SAILS, Harken, Marlow, Southern Spars, Triad Trailers, Newport Storm, Performance Sail Tools/ Seadek, and Torqeedo!  In addition, kudos to Tom Duggan, Beth Duggan, Brad Dellenbaugh, Ned Jones, Kendra Muenter, Brad Read and other volunteers that made it all happen from NYYC, J/Boats and Sail Newport.  That 86 boats went through rigorous measurement including boat weight, rudder & keel, hull check, deck equipment, sails, etc in just two days was quite a feat. The measurement team included ISAF International measurers and an ISAF Technical Committee Member— it was an unprecedented effort with most boats passing through measurement in 12-15 minutes!   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images   For more J/70 World Championship sailing information.