Sunday, December 27, 2015

J/30 Triumphs in Key Biscayne Round Island

J/30 sailing Key Biscayne round island race(Key Biscayne, FL)- Carlos Mandiola reports that he and his team on the J/30 SUDAKA sailed the 49th Round the Island Regatta, hosted by Key Biscayne YC.  With a crew consisting of family and friends, Mandiola’s crew managed to walk off with PHRF 2 Class honors!  In fact, their J/30 stars at the end of a short video featuring boats that sailed the race- watch it here.

J/30 captainStarted in 1966, the race has been held in memory of past Commodore Ed Willman of the Key Biscayne YC. The Round the Island Regatta is a fun, competitive event that engages sailboats of all sizes in a race from the waters of Biscayne Bay in front of the Key Biscayne Yacht Club, south through the Stiltsville featherbeds and past Cape Florida, north along the Atlantic coast of Key Biscayne, around a mark at the opening of Bear Cut at the north end of the island, and back to the Key Biscayne Yacht Club.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Glorious Wirth Munroe Race

J/30 sailing offshore of Palm Beach, FL (Palm Beach, FL)- The 59th annual Wirth M. Munroe Memorial Yacht Race is held on the first Friday in December. First sailed in 1957, the race begins the winter ocean racing circuit in South Florida. The course, from Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach, presents challenging conditions as yachts must consider the vagaries of the Gulf Stream and the passing of the season’s first frontal systems.

In 1957, members of the Florida Station of the Cruising Club of America, led by Dick Bertram, decided to sponsor a race from Miami to Palm Beach and to hold it in early December as racing yachts from the north had arrived by then in preparation for the Southern Ocean Racing Conference held in January and February. Over the years, yachts have raced under numerous rating rules, CCA, IOR, IMS, and now sail in three classes, IRC, PHRF, and Multihull. The original course has been shortened and now starts in Ft. Lauderdale to allow the yachts to finish before dark. In the 1960’s the Sailfish Club of Florida became a co-sponsor of the race and hosts the well-known awards party following the finish.

Taking advantage of the good weather conditions were local southern Florida J teams.  The J/30 PAPARAZZI, skippered by Don Lasky from Port St Lucie, FL and member of Palm Beach Sailing Club sailed to 2nd in PHRF B.  In the PHRF A big boat class, the J/125 RAISIN CANE helmed by Frank Atkinson from West Palm Beach, FL and sailing for Coconut Grove Sailing Club sailed to a 6th in PHRF A.   For more Sailfish Club Wirth Munroe sailing information

Blue Project & Phi-Number Launch New J/80 Project

J/80s sailing off Italy (Chiavari/ Genoa, Italy)- For four days over two weekends in February (6 & 7/ 27 & 28), the Blue Project Sailing program will be hosting their J/80 Advanced Racing Clinic designed for experienced racers and teams.  The course will be taught aboard Blue Project’s matched one-design J/80s with no more than four crew members per boat.

Featured for this amazing clinic will be coaching by a famous world sailing champion, Duccio Colombi, founder of Phi!Number (read more here @

J80 cartoonThe class covers advanced regatta skills, sail trim and boat handling, attacking and defending on the start line, powering and de-powering the sail plan, mark rounding, advanced asymmetric spinnaker trim, tactics and strategy around the race course, practical application of the racing rules and principles of an efficient team work (ashore and on board).

Further more, all participants will receive a very special original and precious certificate at the end of the clinics:  a certificate illustrated by the famous Italian cartoonist and sailor Davide Besana.

Soon, Blue Project will also announce the 1° Women’s Sailing Cup in March 2016.  To learn more about these programs, please contact Ivana Quattrini, ph# +39-335-8093904,  To learn more about the Blue Project Sailing program.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dutch Triumphant in 2K Team Race Tour

J/70s sailing team race at YC Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The final stage of the five-event European 2K Team Race Tour was held at the Yacht Club de Monaco, ending a season that started in May.  The format is 2 x 2 team-racing on J/70s provided by YC Monaco.

For the three-day weekend the circuit’s top teams showed up in Monaco for the grand finale. Many of them are young sailors aged 20-30 from northern Europe, all delighted to qualify and take advantage of the mild Mediterranean winter, including the English from the Royal Thames Yacht Club and Germans from the Bayerischer Yacht Club.

The first day of competition on the Friday saw 18 races completed in the first Round Robin, allowing the favorites to establish their positions in the lead. The second day produced a steady easterly with light chop and confirmed the rankings with 19 more races held.

J/70 two on two team racing at YC MonacoThe two-on-two format is exciting. “Last place loses.”  2x2 pits a team on two boats from one club against a team on two boats from another club on short match race style courses with no spinnakers. It’s not about speed, but mastering tactics, techniques and team race rules to out-wit one’s opponents, working as a team and not as an individual boat.

“It’s exciting to watch! Like a scrum in a rugby match.  With the first of a group making a U-turn to help their team-mates on the other boat so they don’t come last, by making life awkward for their opponent team,” commented Jean Lorenzi, one of the YCM’s Judges more used to the classic fleet race format.

Finally, the young team from DMTRA (Dutch Match & Team Racing Association) won this third edition with seven wins out of nine, ahead of young members from the Rome Racing Team (Reale Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo) and the Sardinians from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

It has to be said that the highly motivated Italian teams did not go down without a fight from the start to finish of each race, but it was the Dutch who triumphed, thanks to a steady hand at the helm and exceptional tactical expertise worthy of the best America’s Cup skippers.   For more YC Monaco Team Race series sailing information

Hello Friends of J/World!

J/World J/80 sailing off Puerto Vallarta (San Diego, CA)- We love winters.  The smell of coconut sunscreen.  The warm salty spray on our bare skin.  Drinks served in pineapples.  Our sailing day bag packed with, well, nothing. This doesn't sound like your winter sailing experience?  We are truly sorry and ready to help.

Tropical Puerto Vallarta is, well, tropical this time of year, and the sailing is excellent. C'mon down and you can decorate a palm tree for the holidays.  San Diego is likewise beautiful and chock full of sailing activities!

J/World, the Performance Sailing School, has a whole range of classes from Learn-to-Sail and Basic Cruising courses on up to Racing Weeks and Special Events scheduled for the winter.  If you are a sailor or aspiring sailor, we have classes that will advance your skills and give you a thrill.

J/80 J/World training off San DiegoFeb 10-14- SCYA Midwinters Clinic and Regatta
Our immensely popular winter racing clinic will be held February 10-14 in San Diego. Southern California Yachting Association Midwinters is one of the largest multi-class sailing events in North America. The Regatta is supported by 27 SCYA member yacht clubs that participate throughout Southern California and stretching into Arizona. If you are a sailor, you will want to hone your skills preparing your boat and crew for the 2016 season by entering this race. Come enjoy the beautiful year-round conditions in San Diego, and leave faster than your competition.

J/World is offering sailors the opportunity to come play (and learn) during this special event.  At the San Diego facility, we will be hosting a three-day racing clinic prior to the regatta, which will include boathandling, sail handling, strategy, tactics, rules, etc. etc…  all the elements which will contribute to a successful regatta.

Then, it is test time! And, we have the ultimate test- a real regatta!!  Each of our J/80s will have teams of three students plus one coach per boat.  Everyone aboard will rotate through all the positions while getting the positive insights of one of our renowned J/World instructors.

J/70 J/World racing clinicJan 29-31- J/70 Racing Clinics
Learn from the pros. We have this wired, and can get you up to speed quickly.  J/World is offering a series of J/70 racing clinics for competitors looking to develop their skills in the newest hot fleet of one-design sportboats.   These sessions will focus on boat handling, sail handling, sail trim, and tuning.

Each three-day seminar is limited to small groups to insure that everyone gets a high degree of personal attention.  The focus of these clinics will be on the particulars of sailing the J70 to a high degree of efficiency. Topics will include boat setup, tuning, sail trim, sail handling, crew workflow and coordination, etc.   The small group size ensures that we will be able to work with everyone on a personal level…  so bring your questions!

J/105 J/World racing clinicFeb 5-7- J/105 Racing Clinic
Each year, J/World hosts special keelboat racing clinics aboard one-design J/105s.  The intensive format is targeted at getting skippers and crews up to speed.  Central topics include sail trim, sail handling, boat handling, crew workflow, shifting gears, rig setup, and so on.

This is all about the mechanics of getting you around the course faster.  We’ll talk about the how-and-why of shifting gears from point mode to speed mode. We’ll look at the fine points of sail shapes and twist. Spinnaker techniques and sail handling (including sets, gybes, and numerous takedowns) will be thoroughly discussed and practiced.  On-board communication and workflow will be emphasized to insure smooth maneuvers while racing.

The clinic is the perfect event to train new crew and/or to chip the rust off and get ready for the new racing season.  Tired of having messy takedowns? “Shrimping” a bit too often?! Can’t seem to get the boat up to speed quickly after a tack?  Got pointing issues?  Too much chatter on board distracting the helmsperson?  We can help.  Come join our J/105 Racing Clinic.  This is definitely the fastest way to get fast!

March 6-12th- Banderas Bay Regatta
Come join March 6 to 12th, 2016 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the Banderas Bay Regatta clinic. This event is very popular and we have limited space (it always sells out)!

The BBR is a special event held every March at our Puerto Vallarta Sailing Center.  Participants range from flat-out racers, to cruising sailors who have sailed the seven seas to enjoy the wonders of Banderas Bay.  The regatta represents the culmination of the month-long “Festival Nautico” in Puerto Vallarta, and has become a favorite of locals and visitors.  Treat yourselves to the ultimate sailing paradise- Banderas Bay in sunny, lovely, Puerto Vallarta.

Mar 16-20- San Diego NOOD- J/70 Racing
Come to beautiful San Diego for two days in clinic/practice environment with our J/World staff, and then race in the J/70 class of the NOOD Regatta. These regattas are renowned for tight one-design racing at prime sailing venues around the country.  And, racing a J/70 in San Diego is the epitome of the NOOD experience.  Come join J/World for two days of coaching and practice before lining up with the highly competitive J/70 class!  You will get the expert coaching of a top J/World coach and lots of personal attention (only three students per boat!).

Thursday, December 24, 2015

J/22 Jammin Jamaica Wild Wild West Show!

J/22 Jammin Jamaica Wild Wild West party (Montego Bay, Jamaica)- This annual regatta is an open invitation to the global sailing community to bring a crew to Jamaica, race someone else’s boat (with no rental fee), get home hosted (at no cost) and get the ultimate high on a great race track for a very modest entry fee. The perfect regatta for these tough economic times: something to look forward to during the dark winter months of our northern neighbors!

Every J/22 in the country made the appearance this year, thanks to the tireless efforts of Rugie Misir and the Kingston owners Stephen Cooke and Stephen Facey.

J/22 Jammin Jamaica Nina sailing teamThe MoBay YC Commodore personally oversaw the setting of a new permanent mark in 110’ of water for the start committee, which was perfect. What was a challenge for all was the 40 degrees of oscillation in the wind all day Saturday. The shifts were the critical element for the whole weekend.

Commentary from our “Jamin Queen”- Lyn Langford:  “Saturday evening was a rootin-tootin time where the competition of the day was left on the water and the focus for the night was on frolic and fun! Bryan and Lyn Langford once again opened their home for the night and the ‘Wild, Wild, Wild West” came alive! There were ‘cowboys’ and ‘Indians’ all over rehashing the trials and tribulations of the day. There was a delicious smorgasbord of food donated by Mo Bay members and our visitors enjoyed each bite. The highlight of the evening was the country and western singer, Billy Joe, who got us all hoopin’ and a hollarin’ and dancin’ up a storm! Yee-haw! It was a night to remember!

J/22 Jammin Jamaica Ayahso teamRace 6 was a bit challenging for the ‘Vikings’ from Cayman on ‘JimScreechie’. On the first upwind leg, a gust took them over.... And I mean all the way over! We all watched in amazement- it was worryingly long for an upwind capsize! ‘Defender’, looking for an excuse as to why they were doing so badly overall, turned from her second place at the head of the fleet to the rescue. Fortunately no one was hurt, ‘JimScreechie’ righted herself and began sailing again just as ‘Defender’ got to her. All was well until the last downwind leg when she went over again! Not like the last time, thank goodness, but at this point, I believe spirits were a bit low. However, she came back with vengeance and sailed Race 3! That’s why we love Suvi and her Vikings ~ they never give up!

J/22 Jammin Jamaica- Geronimo teamTracy Snow and her Team Canada (to include our very own, Julia Magnuson-Ford) held their own during Sunday’s races despite the high breeze. Opting not to fly their spinnaker a few times was their course of action and while it didn’t get them in the front of the fleet, they sailed strong! It is always good to have Tracy with us, she always brings her ‘can-do’ attitude regardless of conditions (boat or weather).

All I can say is poor Renegade. In race #6, coming down the last leg, spinnaker flying full, when doing their last gybe into the finish line, the spinnaker seemed to get very twisted around the forestay and just continued to twist, and twist, and twist. She finished the race but couldn’t stop! Mike Hill from Team USA2 was at the helm and we watched her continue to cruise on down the coast. Race 7 had to start without Renegade as she was still in distress (or, was Richard Hamilton in more distress?). Fortunately, no one was any the worse for wear and tear.

At the prize giving beneath MoBay’s waterfront gazebo, each crew member on the first, second and third place boats received fabulous handmade Frank May trophies with a stained timber plaque and resin hulls. Each boat that participated in the regatta received hand painted art by yacht club members. And, everyone who had mucked up on the day received something silly from Ev Harrington, our other Queen of Jammin.

J/22 Jammin Jamaica logoJammin is a regatta of volunteers and amateurs getting together to do something they love. Boats are loaned for the use of visitors, home hosting is arranged for those that need and land based entertainment sorted. The regatta first started in 1989 as the Jam-Am Invitational when there were close ties with the US J/22 sailing fraternity. The regatta was designed as an open invitation to the USA and designed with the emphasis on fun. The regatta evolved into an international invitational open to entries from the entire planet. Jammin’ is now held at the beginning of December ever year for any sailors who are willing to come and enjoy the warm tropical trade winds, sun and the blue waters of the Caribbean. The whole event revolves around having fun on and off the water. The winner of the event by extension is a J/22 Global Champion and obviously a Living Legend as every year the entire world is invited to come and play!

Many, many heartfelt ‘Thank You’s’ to the following:
  • Montego Bay Yacht Club, MBYC Management Committee, Taddy, Heather and Davia, MBYC Dockmaster, Dawson and assistant Anthony
  • J/22 owners who allowed their boat to be sailed by others
  • Bryan and Lynda Langford for the party venue– Landfall! This has become the best part of the weekend!
  • Race committee volunteers Robin Delisser, Lyn Langford and Phil Slow
  • Carole Small for organization of names and food for prize giving
  • All those who donated food and drink for the Wild West Party
  • J/22 owner Frank May for lending his boat while he went back to the golf course again...
  • Frank May – handmade prizes and mark management
  • Evelyn Harrington for all her silly prizes!
  • Sarah Hart for the updated logo
  • Krystian Dear and Sarah Misir for the gorgeous YouTube video
  • Bunny Rose photography, Ian Johnston photography and Hank Brown
  • Montego Bay Yacht Club Restaurant- Robbie Joseph’s Seahorse Grill"
For more J/22 Jammin Jamaica sailing information

GRAND SLAM Dominates Chilean J/105 Nationals

J/105 Gran Slam sailing team in Chile (Algarrobo, Chile)- In the first weekend of December, the Chilean J/105 class held their 4th National Championship on Algarrobo Bay. It was a fantastic turnout for this rapidly growing fleet on the southwestern coast of South America- 18 boats were on the starting line. During Saturday’s racing, the light wind conditions allowed the fleet to sail 2 of the 3 races  programmed for the day. On Sunday and Monday, wind conditions were stronger and all eight races were completed for the championship.

GRAND SLAM and ARCHIMEDES where fighting for the overall lead.  However, GRAND SLAM was crowned the 2015 J/105 Chilean Champion; Patricio Seguel was at the helm with his son Matias Seguel calling tactics and making the decisions along the windward-leeward course (Matias is also the Chilean J/24 Champion).  Father and son were a fast, smart combo, compiling a very steady record, winning four of the eight races for a total of 13 pts net.  Vernon Robert, another Chilean J/24 Champion, skippered ARCHIMEDES and found themselves in a battle for the silver with three other boats towards the end of the series.  In the end, ARCHIMEDES counted 33 pts total to secure 2nd overall.  However, Jorge Gonzalez’s PLAN B nearly caught them, closing fast with a 7-4 to finish with 35 pts net and the bronze on the podium.  The next two boats that rounded out the top five both had “bomber” racers in the 8th and final race.  Miguel Perez’s RECLUTA had a 12th to drop them out of contention for the top three and, as a result, finished in 4th with 37 pts.  By collecting a BFD in the last race, Miguel Salas’ BIG BOOTY also fell out of the fight and took the 5th position with 40 pts.

Formed in 2011, the Chilean J/105 fleet is the fastest growing keelboat class in Chile. Currently there are 32 boats, where 20 of them where imported from the US in the last 5 years.  With strict rules in terms of crews, the J/105 class in Chile has succeeded by focusing and protecting family and amateur crews. Also, it promotes a low budget program for the owners, keeps sail purchases down, mandates that all boats have wheels (so kids can steer) and enforces minimum boat weights.

The next event for the Chilean J/105 Class is the Chiloé Regatta (January 23-31st) where 15 to 20 boats are expected to participate, including two top USA sailing teams! The J/105 is by far the largest fleet in the Chiloe Regatta, having eclipsed the Soto 30 and Soto 40 fleets three years ago as the top South American one-design keelboat!  Also, the J/70 will be making its Chiloe Regatta debut in the 2016 January edition.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Miami to Havana Race Announcement!

Havana, Cuba harbor entrance
(Coconut Grove, FL)- Hosts Coral Reef YC and Hemingway International YC of Cuba, along with SORC as Race Committee, proudly welcome your participation in the inaugural Miami to Havana Race. In the past year, SORC competitors have raced to the Bahamas in the Nassau Cup Race, Key West in the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, and to Jamaica in the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race.  Yet, the crown jewel sitting geographically between all of those terrific winter racing destinations, Cuba, remained out of reach.  However, American sailors are once again allowed to race to Cuba.

Havana Race finish lineThe result is the Miami to Havana Race, starting on February 10, 2016, just south of the Miami harbor entrance. Host Coral Reef Yacht Club and Cuban sailors have a long history of association with the former SORC “Southern Circuit” regatta and sailing to Havana.  For example, Luis Vidaña’s CRIOLLO was crowned the Overall Winner of the SORC Series in 1957. Havana played a big part of the Circuit, with the first St. Petersburg to Havana Race in 1930 and last in 1959. We now renew our ties with our sailing neighbors, first with the Miami to Havana Race, the final race of the Islands in the Stream Series, and then on February 14, with a coastal race along the Malecón, with local junior sailors assigned to each boat. An after race awards party will follow at the Hemingway International YC of Cuba.

J/122 Teamwork sailing to Havana, CubaThere are nearly a dozen J/Boats racing from J/105s to J/125s in this exciting event that has fifty-six boats entered!  One of the more famous offshore J’s in the southeastern USA will be making its presence felt on the dash across the Gulf Stream; Robin Team’s J/122 TEAMWORK from Lexington, NC will be competing for class honors in the ORC Division.

There are six J/Teams joining the fun in the massive 40-boat PHRF Class, and they are traveling far and wide to participate in this inaugural race.  For starters, the J/105 GONZO sailed by Ken Ganch and Ed Reagan is headed down from Chicago’s Columbia YC and the J/111 HEATWAVE helmed by Gary Weisberg’s crew Jubilee YC are coming down from Gloucester, MA.  The most “local” boat happens to be Frank Atkinson’s J/125 RAISIN CANE from Coconut Grove SC.  Finally, three J/120s are competing that include some of the usual suspects we’ve seen in the past- Frank Kern’s CARINTHIA from Detroit’s Bayview YC, Bill Terry’s TAMPA GIRL from Tampa’s Davis Island YC and Marcus Cholerton-Brown’s SUNSET CHILD from New York.  That is one incredible collection of diverse, fast, fun, and friendly offshore racing talent.  Perhaps a few more J/sailors will join the party to Havana!   Entry list for the Miami Havana Race 2016.  For more SORC Miami to Havana sailing information

J/70 Monaco Winter Series Report

J/70 sailing off Monte Carlo, Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- YC Monaco’s Sportsboat Winter Series continues to attract a growing international contingent of teams from all across Europe, a record thirty-four J/70s are participating in this winter/s 2015/ 2016 series that ends in March.  Seven countries are represented, including Monaco, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland.

The first weekend of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series got off to a good start in a 6-8 knot easterly breeze.  The Race Committee completed two races before a forecasted strong westerly coupled with a big swell caught up with the fleet and all returned safely to harbor to moor up in the YCM Marina at the foot of the Yacht Club de Monaco.

Leading the 70s after the first day was Monaco Class President Jacopo Carrain (CARPE DIEM) and the German skipper Micki Liebl on MYC 1 led the pack tied on points. Congratulations also for a fine performance by Timofey Sukhotin skippering JALAPENO, a regular on the Smeralda 888 circuit who is just discovering the J/70 and won the first race.

J/70 sailing off MonacoFor the second day of racing, a ferocious north-north-westerly breeze greeted the contestants and challenged them to demonstrate their best skills at navigating the enormous 3-5 metre breaking waves.  The YCM’s PRO knew how to manage the fleet and managed to set a course for the massive wind shifts and gusts coming off the mountains.  However, with increasingly stronger gusts up to 30 knots, a second race could not be held safely and ensure a level playing field for all competitors.

Having already won the first race yesterday, Sukhotin’s JALAPENO won their second race and led the provisional overall ranking.  Of note, was the penalty handed out to Francesco de Angelis (B2) by the Umpires, costing him any hope of a podium finish in the first regatta.

After a very lively start to the weekend, Sunday was much calmer, but tactically more difficult. Sailors had to be on their toes at all times to anticipate and react swiftly to wind shifts on the course and pressure zones across the race area.  Five races were completed for a total of eight races, a fantastic start for the J/70 2015-2016 winter series! Having been black flagged (BFD) at the start of the second race, the German team on UNITED DOMAINS skippered by Jan Numberger lost their chance to win the event, despite finishing the top three in every race over the weekend. In the end, the Swiss team on APROTEC led by skipper Mathieu Cadei were the most consistent, always being in the top ten, and won with 24 points ahead of the German Micki Liebl (MYC 1).  Congratulations to a fine performance by Monegasque skipper Cesare Gabasio sailing TINN 70 who completed the podium.

J/70s sailing off Monte Carlo, MonacoFor the next weekend of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, the J/70 fleet again turned out in force but “old man Neptune” was notably absent- the lack of wind permitted just three races to be sailed for the weekend.  December on the Côte d’Azur lived up to its reputation for mild conditions, with a 7 to 10 knot south-westerly enabling the Race Committee to launch three races on the first day of racing.

As a result, the winners were determined on a tie-breaker sitting on 17 pts each.  Taking that tie-breaker with a 3-3-11 scoreline was Sweden’s Ingemar Sundstedt on ROCAD RACING, settling for second place was Monaco’s Irina Travadel sailing with her crew on LIBECCIO- a great performance for her, with a 10-4-3 record.  Third for the weekend was the German BREZE team led by Oliver Oczycz.  Rounding out the top five were Italy’s Mario Beraha on SASHA GREY in 4th and the German crew on UNITED DOMAINS skippered by Julian Autenrieth.

The next events hosted by YC Monaco include:
  • Jan 15-17- Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series- Act 3
  • Feb 12-14- Primo Cup Trophee Credit Suisse
  • Mar 4-6- Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series- Act 4
  • Mar 18-20- Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series- Act 5
  • Jul 2-3 Challenge Inter-Banques Trophee ERI
For more YC Monaco J/70 Winter Sportsboat Series sailing information

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

RORC Transatlantic Race Update III

Grenada's Port Louis harbor (Port Louis, Grenada)- Grenada is one of the most spectacular islands in the Caribbean and is called the “Spice Island” for good reason; cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg, chili and cloves are very much part of the economy. Grenada is just 21 miles long and 12 miles wide and has 40 beaches with sugar-like sand. Virtually half of the island is verdant tropical forest, rising up to nearly 3,000ft with spectacular vistas and enchanting waterfalls. The scenery both on land and at sea is absolutely stunning.

It’s not surprising that sailors have taken the “discovery route” from Europe, down through the Canary Islands, and powered by the steady trade winds on the south/ southwest course down to “the Windwards” in the Caribbean island chain.  Grenada has so many sun-kissed white sand beaches with blue water so crystal clear that boat hulls cast shadows upon the ocean floor - perfect for resting for your aching bones after an exhilarating hike around a tropical volcanic crater lake, or a long trans-Atlantic sail!

Still working their way to the finish line is the J/120 NUNATAK sailed by Elin Haf Davies and Chris Frost from the United Kingdom.  They’ve had their fair share of thrills and quieter moments.  Here are their latest reports, always entertaining and insightful:

J/120 Nunatak- Elin Haf Davies and Chris Frost“December 11th
Well it’s been a funny old time here. Wind is just ever so slightly too high for us to be able to fly our kites safely (especially in pitch black nights). We’re therefore going dead down wind just on black sails, and seem to be ticking off the miles okay. Less than a 1,000 miles to go ...

We’re down to sharing one cup of coffee between us at morning and night.

In other random news, last night while on watch, I was admiring the stars when an UFO certainly appeared, and started circling around us. It stayed with us for ages, with bright colours of red, green and white. Petrified I was about to call on Chris (thinking he might have to rescue me from being abducted by aliens), the UFO promptly disappeared again, and the only thing left in the night’s sky was the boat’s windex and tricolour ...

Yes. I think that cabin fever might be setting in!

December 13th
Sorry for no blog update yesterday, we were kidnapped by aliens and had to enter difficult negotiations for our release.

At the same time our comms stopped working, and took some time to re-set – thanks to Roger.

Day 13 at sea was a challenging one for us with nothing quite going right. As night came we got the twist in our A2, and dropped her for an A4. I think I’ve said before, but helming in this pitch black where you can really see nothing is a nightmare. Soon after a squall came and we had to go for a quick drop. Sadly our drop line had dropped under the pole so it wouldn’t work. We had to revert to using the lazy sheet to get her down, which was a mammoth effort. After that we decided to revert to just a conservative sail plan of just black sails over night. Not ideal, but allowed us both to get some good sleep in.

There’s so much seaweed in the ocean now that we must be getting close to land. Seen quiet a few other yachts, and had a chat with a couple.

Been pondering a lot on whether flying fish breath in and/or our of the water? Anyone know?

Other than that, all is going well. We’re both really struggling to cope with the heat– me in particular. Celtic blood was not designed for such climates, that’s for sure.

Off to do some needlework repair, which I’m sure will make my mother proud.

December 14th
We hear that all the other boats are now in! A huge congrats to all, I hope that you enjoy much deserved land celebrations– but please do save some rum for us!

Even accounting for boat size/ design/ crew size it’s fair to say that both of us are a little bit disappointed that we are last boat to finish by sooo many miles. Having said that our objective for this race was always about just getting across, and getting the experience for future campaigns – which has been just perfect. We now expect to be in by the 17th and our prize will be getting there in time to party at prize-giving night as Louay has promised that he’ll buy all the drinks!

Our other objective was to raise much needed awareness about our nominated charity, Findacure ( As mentioned before Findacure work to support patients with rare diseases, and to facilitate drug re-purposing as a way of discovering cures in an affordable way. There are nearly 7,000 rare diseases, but currently there are only 103 drugs authorized to treat them in Europe, and only 37% of which are being reimbursed by all health care agencies. The approach used by Findacure is instrumental to finding affordable treatments. Please support them!

December 15th
Well, our adventure continues as we search for favourable winds that will take us to Grenada. We’re struggling to make the progress that we would like, which is frustrating. But I remind myself that compared to the 77 days 7 hours 37 minutes it took me to row across the Atlantic our current pace is super speedy. I came in last in that race too, and as I keep telling Chris, someone always has to come last.

To pass away the time yesterday we played ‘hangman’. After much initial confusion about the exact rules of the game and whether we were playing in English or Welsh we had quiet a giggle for about 5 minutes before deciding that it probably wasn’t the game for us after all.

To celebrate reaching the 500-mile mark we opened a chilled bottle of Spanish sparkling water. Lush it was too. And, of course, no major celebration would be complete without a bag of Haribo sweets! Yesterday we had the Frenzy Edition! Living on the edge that we are.

P.S FOR SALE- six tins of Spanish meatballs– still in original packaging - open to offers! Haha!

December 16th
Shame wind has died to slow our final approach but what a great sail Elin and I have had so far.  We have seen wind from 0 to 38 knots, lost count of the number of spinnaker peels and gybes we have done. Thank goodness for the easy-to-gybe asymmetric spinnaker!

Almost everything has gone to plan and Elin and I are still talking (just). I have lost count of the number of times I have woken thinking we have sailed into a fog bank with a symphony of fog horns only to realize it is Elin singing along to her iTunes.

Oh bollocks!  As I type, a big bang as the second spinnaker halyard block explodes.  Damn.  Kite down.  Rapid repack.  Hoist this time on the jib halyard.  Will have to go up later to run a second halyard.

I have to congratulate Elin on bringing the dog food meatballs which have made the freeze dried food seem simply divine!

Dwi yn hoffi hoylio efo Elin…”

As you read this, it’s likely that NUNATAK will have finished.  Congratulations to Elin and Chris on the TransAtlantic Race adventure and their entertaining blogs!  For more RORC Transatlantic Race sailing information

VINEYARD VINES Vanquishes Tampa Winter Series I

J/70 Vineyard Vines sailing Tampa (Tampa, Florida)- This past weekend marked the beginning of the Quantum J/70 Winter Series on Tampa Bay, hosted by Davis Island YC.  The fleet of fifty-one entries was treated to some of the best sailing conditions yet in the two-year history of the event.  With good breezes on both Saturday and Sunday, the DIYC PRO managed to run a total of seven races for the enthusiastic fleet of sailors.  The regatta produced a number of pleasant surprises, including the first ever win in their first ever regatta sailing a J/70- John & Molly Baxter’s VINEYARD VINES from New York YC.

J/70 Vineyard Vines team“We flew to Tampa, FL this past weekend to compete in our first J/70 regatta since buying the boat a few weeks ago.  This was the first of 3 events in the Quantum J/70 Winter Series,” said Molly Baxter, bow-girl on #901 VINEYARD VINES.  Molly continued to say, “We didn’t get any real practice in before arriving to Florida and since this was the first regatta in our new boat, we were not sure what to expect, but we knew we had to learn fast since the entry list included numerous National and World Champion competitors. There were 7 total races and the breeze ranged from 5 to 15 knots in tricky conditions throughout the weekend.  We finished the first day in second overall after 4 races and were 19 points behind John Brim’s first place team “Rimette” and only 10 points ahead of Jud Smith and Allan Terhune’s team’s, who were tied.  Day two brought more breeze overall with gusts averaging around 15 knots and we were able to secure the top spot by finishing our races with an 8th, 1st and 2nd place finish to win by 7 points.

We are so excited to be a part of this class.  Everyone was so helpful and friendly- - we are impressed with the camaraderie of the fleet and the well-attended discussions on what worked/ what didn’t after racing in an effort to help everyone get better throughout the event.

J/70 Vineyard Vines crewWe could not have done it without our crew Willem Van Waay and Chad Corning, and Collin Leon that did a great job of helping set up our boat prior to the event. We are excited to race the remainder of the Quantum series in January and February, and to keep racing our new boat as much as we can in 2016!”

In the “Open” division, behind the VINEYARD VINES team was John Brim’s RIMETTE from Fishers Island YC in New York.  Kudos to John and team for sailing their best major regatta to date and grabbing the silver for second overall.  Just after them was current J/70 North American Champion Jud Smith skippering AFRICA from Marblehead, MA.  Rounding out the top five were two Annapolis YC teams- Al Terhune’s DAZZLER in 4th place (a past J/22 World Champion) and Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND in 5th place.

The Corinthians Division produced some surprises for those who follow the J/70 class.  It was an incredibly talented team that took the overall title- Mark Foster’s NO-PRO team from Corpus Christi YC in Texas.  This was also a “first” ever regatta for the NO-PRO boys.  For those unfamiliar with Foster’s crew from Corpus, TX, they have been past 470 and J/24 Champions in the 80s and 90s that have decided to come out and play again— “something wicked this way comes!”

Yet another champion J/24 and J/105 sailor from the past few decades has also hopped into the class and also posted a strong “first ever” performance- St Petersburg YC’s very own John Jennings sailing SNAP-ROLL into 2nd place.  Then, Sunfish North American Champion and J/24 and J/105 Bermudian Champion Chuck Millican and crew from Bermuda sailed ELUSIVE into 3rd place in Corinthians!  Past winner Rob Britts from the host Davis Island YC sailed HOT MESS into 4th place with another champion veteran, Mark Gorman on PAZZI taking 5th place.  Britts must’ve thought he was in a “hot mess” with all the good’ole boys sailing around him— the average age of the skippers in the other 4 boats in the top five were pushing 60+ (to be fair, a number of them were College All-Americans, too)!

The next two regattas on the Quantum J/70 Winter Series are:
    Jan 9-10- Quantum J/70 Winter Series II- Tampa, FL
    Feb 6-7- Quantum J/70 Winter Series III- Tampa, FL

Many of these teams will also be sailing the Quantum Key West Race Week in the third week of January as well as the J/70 Midwinter Championship hosted by St. Petersburg YC in St Petersburg, FL from February 25th to 28th, 2016- learn more about sailing the J/70 Midwinters here.   For more J/70 sailboat information

Monday, December 21, 2015

Don't Forget To Give Your 2016 J/Calendar Today!

2016 J/Sailing Calendar- the ultimate sailing gift for friends and family (Newport, RI)- A sailing calendar is a great gift for loved ones, family, friends and crew.  Order yours today and get it in time for the holidays!

For 2016, we have created another beautiful calendar for J sailors who love the joys of sailing a J in some of the most spectacular harbors and waters of the world.  Whether you are a cruising, racing or armchair sailor, these stunning sailboat photographs will transport you to wonderful sailing experiences in far away places.

The 2016 sailing calendar features J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/88, J/105s, J/111s and a J/42 sailing in many of the worlds most popular sailing areas- Cowes (the Solent), Newport (Narragansett Bay & Rhode Island Sound), San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, Les Sables d’Olonne, Biscayne Bay, Lake Michigan, Kiel, Santander and Travemunde!   See the gorgeous J/Calendar sailing photo gallery here.    Order your 2016 J/Calendar today, click here!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Help disabled military and veterans learn sailing!

J/22s sailing with Warrior Sailing disabled veterans in Newport-, NY)-  A fantastic gift from the heart! The Warrior Sailing Program is focused on introducing active military and veterans with disabilities to sailing, learning to sail and basic sailboat racing. The program is for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces from across the U.S.A. and available to all persons within the targeted audience- regardless of age, gender and race.

The Warrior Sailing Program Basic Training Camp highlights the skills needed to manage a boat on the water as well as societal skills, which may translate to personal and job skill development. The program is open to wounded, ill or injured service members of the Armed Forces; active duty or retired.

Ben Poucher- sailing director at Warrior SailingAccording to Ben Poucher, Sailing Director for Warrior Sailing, “we’ve had a good discussion with our Team (who is made up of graduates from our basic and advanced camps that are competing in regattas throughout the US) and we were discussing our tentative schedule for 2016.

One of the items we are discussing is figuring out what classes and where we are going to have a presence. Our thoughts right now are to sail mainly in J/22 class events around the country, as well as other boats like the Sonar.  We have developed and built adaptive equipment for the J/22 class.

For you J/22 sailors and owners, if you have a boat that we can borrow for even one regatta, please be sure to contact me- Ben Poucher- or ph# 269-598-7119!”   Learn more about Warrior Sailing here.

Warrior Sailing program- using J/22s for disabled veterans & military active dutyWarrior Sailing has worked in partnership with the Vessel Outreach Foundation; they support non-profit organizations that provide leadership training, vocational development and support marine research through the use vessels and other waterfront assets donated to the VOF.

From the national champion Warrior Sailing program to the internationally recognized Florida Biodiversity Institute the Vessel Outreach Foundation provides our Strategic Partners with the vessels and expertise necessary to achieve their highest aspirations.

Ralf Steitz- director at Warrior SailingAccording to Ralf Steitz, President of the VOF, “the resources of VOF have allowed Warrior Sailing to quickly expand nationally. Warrior Sailing now offers Open Regattas for veterans who want to learn how to sail, as well as advanced racing clinics.

The expertise of the personnel at VOF led to recent successes at the recent Para-Olympic Nationals, as well as an adaptive sports grant from Veteran’s Affairs Administration.  Any and all help is appreciated. Plus, if you have a boat to donate that could help the disabled veterans and military, please let us know!”  Learn more about Vessel Outreach Foundation here

Friday, December 18, 2015

RORC Transatlantic Update- Just 1,128nm 2 Go!

J/120 Nunatak sailing for in RORC Transatlantic race Donate Now to!
(Tenerife, Grand Canary Islands)- The J/120 NUNATAK, skippered by the United Kingdom double-handed duo of Elin Haf Davies and Chris Sharp, are flying down the offshore trade-winds wave trains in the second edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race.

As of Thursday, December 10th, NUNATAK was sitting on first in IRC 2 Class, first in IRC Double-handed class and fluctuating between 1st and 4th in IRC Overall depending on the latest predictions!  They are competing against world-class Class 40 teams in the double-handed division.

Elin’s story is both remarkable and heart-warming.  How she came to be on the J/120 NUNATAK and why she’s so passionate about supporting the FIND-A-CURE FOUNDATION is a worthwhile read.  Here were Elin’s comments:

Elin Haf Davies- sailing J/120 Nunatak in RORC Transatlantic race“Escaping to the sea!?  Yes!  On Saturday (Nov 28) I’ll be heading off across the Atlantic as part of the RORC Transatlantic yacht race.  Eight years exactly since I last set off across the big pond in a little rowing boat.

I can’t begin to explain what a journey the last eight years has been for me, and how different my life is now compared to what it was then. I was in a pretty dark place back then, going through a divorce and deserted by a couple of people that I had thought were my friends. My row across the Atlantic in 2007 gave me the opportunity to escape from my troubles on land, and to re-boot my life. It gave me the chance to start again.

During that adventure across the waves, and in my journey since then I have discovered what my passions are, what true friendships are, and most importantly, what I want (and don’t want!) from my life. Going to sea this time, therefore, is very much about living my passion, which is what makes me feel alive!”

You can learn more about Elin’s personal voyage here at JUSTGIVING.COM.

J/120 NUNATAK Daily reports
Since last week, Davies and her co-conspirator, Sharp, have made it their quest to do better than they’ve ever imagined.  So far, so good.  They are sailing beyond expectations on their “cruiser”.

December 5th
“AWESOME!!  Were did that week go?! A 1,000 miles down. We had saved first packet of Haribos for that milestone which tasted great- although Elin insisted on eating all the yellow and ginger men!! Its been a great 7 days; the only issues being with weather communications (gribs) on first couple of days and some chaffing of sails (put right by a quick trip up the rig). Other than that NUNATAK is holding up well.

Elin and I might not be the fastest two-handed co-skippers, but we do it with a smile!! The speed in which Elin has learnt the skills of two-handed sailing is incredible. However, her decision to experiment with Spanish tinned meat has been less impressive and I never would have believed that freeze dried food would seem so appealing! :0

A packet of Jelly Bellies awaits at the 1500 mile mark….”

Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies- sailing J/120 Nunatak in RORC Transatlantic raceDecember 7th
“Hi all.  Hope all is well and that you’re partying hard in Grenada. Hope all our blogs have been coming through, sorry about limited photos but we don’t have the right software to compress.

What a contrasting 24 hours. We’ve barely had any wind and making very slow progress as a result. Highlight of the day has been bilging the water from the forepeak.

Not sure Chris will appreciate me sharing this with the world, but I think it’s funny to share (the caring nursing instinct in me coming out). You see, Chris has a little problem – ear wax! Which generally means he whispers (thinking that he’s talking normally), so I can barely hear him. In response, I have to talk at the top of my voice, which he still barely hears. It makes for an amusing conversation when we’re discussing which flavour noodles to have for lunch. Not so much when I’m on the bow and he’s on the helm though. Makes for having to use a lot of hand gestures! Not all of them suitable for day-time TV viewing!!

As a result, I spend most of my time plowing through the medical kit wondering what I could use to attack his ears with. Chris, on the other hand, seems more than happy to be only hearing only 50% of what I have to say. I can’t possibly imagine why ...

Despite our minor on board inconveniences, we both feel extremely lucky to be able to have the chance to do this race. Extremely lucky that our health (minor temporary hearing loss aside!) allows us to do it. Luck not granted to all.

As with all my adventures, I hope that my two-handed sail across the Atlantic will raise awareness about the amazing charity that I passionately support in my work – FIND-A-CURE. Findacure works to support patients living with rare disorders. There are around 7,000 different rare disorders, affecting around 32 million patients in Europe. 50% of them being children. Collectively, therefore, they are not rare.  Findacure works to promote patient empowerment and drug repurposing– that is, research to the use of already available drugs for different conditions, but because of the small number there is not enough commercial incentive by big pharma!

In the pre-Christmas build up, if you could spare a couple of pounds and donate, I’d really appreciate it! I have set a target of £3,000 (a £1 a mile), which would be enough to run three patient group workshops. More information her on

Off to make another scrumptious dinner of wax flavoured noodles.”

December 8th
“Well, it’s all happening here on NUNATAK as we finally crossed the halfway mark! HOORAY! But, boy it was a long time coming.

Yesterday morning was particularly hectic as we had two squalls hit us in quick succession. Not sure if I’ve already mentioned, but we don’t use snuffers, and drop our kites via the letter box. Which obviously means completely repacking each one each time. On a good drop, I can manage to get the kite down the companion way all by myself. On a bad one, Chris has to jump from behind the helm (in Ninja-style!) to help me out. The second squall resulted in a particularly bad drop which required a major effort by us all...! Thankfully, with no damage to kite or boat.  But, my morning porridge did fly across the deck and land in my already very smelly deck shoes. Yuck!

In other news, the nights are now becoming a little bit lighter, and we’re able to see an amazing galaxy of stars. Including a lot of shooting stars. I saw one spectacular one last night, and made an extra special wish– that Chris would let me eat all the halfway celebratory jelly beans to myself! Not all shooting stars make your wishes come true it seems!!

My cooking skills have also reached new heights. For lunch today, we had a tablespoon of Nutella and a handful of salted cashew nuts. I was able to persuade Chris that it was the right combination of protein, carbohydrates, sugar and salt to count as a nutritious meal for all top-performing sailors...!

Wind is all over the place, in terms of direction, but grib files promise that it should be better soon. Keeping everything crossed for a faster second half.

P.S any Guardian readers out there – keep an eye out for Wednesday’s edition, where my digital health start up “APARITO” is featured as one of the Nominet Trust Top 100 Tech Social Enterprises!! Thrilled to hear the news, if a bit disappointed to be missing out on the party!!”

Elin Haf Davies and Chris Frost at RORC Awards dinnerDecember 9th
“Hmmm... I have been inundated with ideas on how to improve my hearing from olive oil to offers of grand parents hearing aids. However, I have chosen to ignore these suggestions so I can continue to enjoy a level of peace and quiet on this trip. :)

As Elin has spent 155 days of her life aboard rowing boats living on nothing other than freeze dried food, I had expected the level of catering to improve once we moved onto our freeze dried rations.  However, I was sorely disappointed as I was presented with Chicken Korma soup last evening. Not the standard of curry night I am used to!!

The highlight of the day was devising a new preventer system. I was very excited, but surprised, by Elin’s comment- “you mad duck”. Apparently, a preventer system is not something normal people get excited by...

Being pushed along today by a strong NE breeze.  Getting very bored of 80 degrees TWD, mind you, and starting to wish we had a land-yacht that would go down the 180 freeway!  Must be getting delirious!

We sailed past a French yacht yesterday who chatted on VHF for a while and said how grande NUNATAK looked. Have to say, she feels a little petite compared to the other competitors in this race. Has everyone else finished yet?

I really can’t get bored of the flying fish displays we see regularly. Although, a couple of them have had the misfortune of landing on deck. Elin’s not been so great at getting them back to sea in time to save them.  Off to do some sailing”

J/120 sailing downwind on RORC Transatlantic raceDecember 10th
“Yesterday was an amazing day surfing under the A4. I won fastest surf, getting an 11.6 kts surf in while Chris only got an 11 kts surf in! Yeah! #SmallThings

Chris’s Welsh lessons haven’t progressed much last few days as we probably realised that it was more important to concentrate on my sailing lessons. Having said that he’s very good at saying “Dwi yn hoffi coffi.”  Speaking of which, we’re getting close to having a critical shortage of coffee on board, which really could be a major disaster as both Chris and I are very grumpy without a constant supply of caffeine.

We’re eating down the miles and getting very ready for Grenada, some rum, fun and beer (as promised by Louay). To be fair, my hair has been ready for the Caribbean fun for days, with Afro dreadlocks well and truly in place.

Chris is shouting for his lunch so I best go muster something.  Ciao for now.”   RORC’s TransAtlantic Race Facebook page   Here is the RORC Yellowbrick fleet tracking   For more RORC Transatlantic Race sailing information and NUNATAK blogs