Saturday, January 31, 2015

Boat Show Update!

J/122E cruiser racer sailboat(Newport, RI)- In addition to the Seattle boat show taking place this week, be sure to pencil these dates to go see more of the coolest sailboats in the J/Boats line-up in Gothenburg, Sweden and Boston, MA.  
Here is what’s happening at each boat show:

J/70 SCA Racing Volve Race sponsorGothenburg Boat Show- Jan 31- Feb 8
From January 31st to February 8th, the J/70 will be on display at the Gothenburg Boat Show in Sweden.  Like the rest of Denmark and Germany, the J/70s are gaining tremedous momentum throughout Sweden as dozens of new sailors have fallen in love with it!  Plus, talk to Peter at the show about the upcoming Swedish Sailing League in J/70s!  For helpful information, please contact Marstrand Yachts- Peter Johansson at mobile# +46-735-430-800 or email-  For more Gothenburg Boat Show information.

Seattle Boat Show- Go Now!!
It’s the last weekend!  Hightail it down to the indoor exhibition center and check out the spectacular new navy blue J/122E and the mucho rapido J/88 family speedster!  The J’s are comfortably indoors at CenturyLink Field.

Plus, Friday night is “Sails & Ales” Night of Craft Beers! Show-goers can taste and toast the very best in craft beers while shopping for the J/Boat of their dreams or wandering the three acres of accessories exhibits. Free beer with a boat deposit!  Contact Bob Ross ( or Ben Braden ( at Sail Northwest in Seattle, WA.  More Seattle boat show information here.

Boston/ New England Boat Show- Feb 14-22
The boat show is located at Boston’s enormous waterfront Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and will be featuring the J/88.  The show runs from February 14th to 22nd.  Make sure to keep your loved ones in mind for Valentine’s Day!  What better gift from the heart than a J/88 or J/70 wrapped in a giant red bow with roses!  Ask Rich Hill or George Lowden how you can make that happen, contact them at ph# 781-631-3313 or email-   For more New England Boat Show information.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

J/Sailors Named Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of Year!

(Portsmouth, RI)-  Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, and Stephanie Roble of East Troy, WI, were named US Sailing’s 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A total of ten men and seven women had been shortlisted for the 2014 honors based on nominations submitted by members of US Sailing, with these two sailors then selected for the noteworthy distinction by a diverse panel of sailing journalists.

Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport’s ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. The winners will be honored on Thursday, February 26, 2015, during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, when they will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.

Terry Hutchinson- J/24 and J/70 champion2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year
Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of a year that saw him atop the leaderboard at major regattas more times than any other American sailor. The 2014 award is Hutchinson’s second; he previously earned the honor in 2008 following his win of the TP52 World Championship.

One member of the selection panel remarked that Hutchinson “has this magic; he is the lead figure in campaigns for a lot of different classes,” while another noted that he is “committed and passionate about being at the top of his game.”

As tactician on Alex Roeper’s Plenty, Hutchinson won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, capping a successful season that also saw him win the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship and the California Cup and take class honors at the Rolex Big Boat Series. He also reclaimed the World Championship title in the TP52 class, collecting a class win at Quantum Key West Race Week as well as the TP52 U.S. Championship title. His success in one-design classes did not stop there. In the RC44, he won the Oman Cup as tactician; in the J/70 class, he drove to the win of the Fall Brawl in his hometown; and he finished second at the Melges 32 Gold Cup, again as tactician.

“Being honored for this award is just an incredible feeling,” said Hutchinson. “It is acknowledgement of the hard work done in 2014. Knowing that 99% of my season was as a tactician, it also represents the team concept and the process that goes into winning. I am incredibly fortunate to have the support of family and great teammates; not much separates those two entities. In 2014, as always, we were only as smart as we were fast and that comes at the hand of some great helmsmen in Alex Roepers, Ed Baird and Doug Devos.”

“Being awarded the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award for a second time is quite humbling,” added Hutchinson. “It puts me into a group of American yachtsman that I have always respected and admired for their achievements on the water. I am struggling to find the words, as I am incredibly appreciative of those around me. Quite honestly, I am a bit blown away.”

Hutchinson’s record stands best in the Farr 40s and TP52s, among the premier pro-level monohulls in the world. With a transition to the Maxi 72 class, via the Bella Mente Racing campaign, he will soon have that end of the sailing spectrum covered as well. The 46-year-old father of three is a native of Annapolis. He learned to sail at age three in a Dyer Dhow that was attached by a line to his parent’s Concordia yawl. Going back and forth on the end of that line set him on a course to becoming a college star at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) where he earned Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) All-American honors four times (1987, ‘88, ‘89, ‘90) and was twice recognized as College Sailor of the Year (’89 and ’90).

Stephanie Roble- J/22, J/24, J/80 & J/70 champion2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year
Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.) has been named the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. A first-time shortlisted nominee, she was recognized by the selection panel for her versatility; her accomplishments as a skipper and as a crew; and her competitive successes on a variety of platforms, sailing against both men and women. One panelist remarked that Roble “has made bold and courageous choices in her post-collegiate sailing life,” while another lauded her as “the latest in a generation of women sailors who are working hard to make a name and a living at sailing. She is a trailblazer; she is a tremendous ambassador for the sport.”

A member of the Etchells World Championship winning team, Roble also crewed on the seventh-place finisher at the J/70 North American Championship, and the fifth-place finisher at the Melges 20 North American Championship.  As a skipper, she won the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship and placed third at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship.  Based on her 2014 match racing results, she begins the New Year as the top American match racer, with a ranking of number three in the world.

“The nominees for this year were incredibly talented, and I am truly honored to be the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year,” said Roble. “The past year has been a fun adventure and true test of personal determination as I dove into professional sailing. I love sharing my passion for sailing with others and learning more about the sport each day. I was fortunate to be a member of several teams throughout the year, including my own match race team, which allowed me to reach many personal goals. In the end, it was through the massive support of my teammates who pushed me to become a better sailor and ultimately receive this coveted award. I am thrilled to join this admirable list of American sailors!”

The 25-year-old Roble began her sailing career in dinghies and scows from Lake Beulah Yacht Club in her hometown of East Troy.  A successful junior sailor, she twice earned ICSA All-American Honors (2010, 2011) while competing for Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) from which she graduated in 2011.  Roble has made the transition to match racing with a goal of winning the Women’s Match Racing World Championship while continuing to compete in the Melges 20, J/70 and Etchells classes.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

J’s Supreme In 48 North Top 25!

J/105 sailing- Seattle series (Seattle, WA)- Last week we featured one of the premiere season long awards for “most excellent” performances in the greater Pacific Northwest.  This week we get the 48 North/ Fisheries Supply Top 25!  Again, “congratulations” to the top J sailors who took 40% of the Top 25.

Here is how it all shook out in the end.  Taking 2nd was Bob Brunius’ J/120 TIME BANDIT tied on class score but just 3/4 point back on average fleet score!  In 4th was Jerry Diercks’ J/105 DELIRIUM; 6th was Stuart Brunell’s J/109 TANTIVY; in 7th was Bob Mayfield & Christine Nelson’s J/29 SLICK; 9th was James Geros’ J/105 LAST TANGO; 18th was John McPhail’s gorgeous navy blue J/160 JAM; another spectacular blue boat took 20th- John Tenneson’s J/145 JEDI; Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA took 22nd; in 23rd was the Seattle Sailing Club’s J/105 LIFE IS GOOD; and rounding it all out was Pat Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW in 25th.  Good show all!  Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson   Courtesy of 48 North Digital online

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sails For Sustenance!

North Sails for Sustenance (Chicago, IL)- Join Us for a Fun Night Out!!  Hello J/Sailors! North Sails is proud to host a fund-raising event with Sails for Sustenance on January 28, 2015 at our loft at 1665 North Elston, Chicago, IL. Because many of you have generously donated to this program in the past, you are familiar with the organization. For those who have never heard of Sails for Sustenance, they collect donated sails and take them to fishermen in Haiti to re-purpose for their livelihood.

North Sails- Ken ReadWe plan on a fun evening of food, music, Hawaiian dance lessons, live & silent auctions, and North Sails President Ken Read will give an update on the Comanche project and speak about the Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup - all to benefit Sails for Sustenance. We hope to see you on January 28 for a bit of much-needed Wednesday night sailing fun. And please pass on the invitation to other sailors you know!  By the way, mention to Ken you saw this invite on J/News & Facebook and he promises a free, personal Hawaiian dance lesson!!

Ticket price is $50/person and all proceeds go to Sails for Sustenance. Limited tickets available- Please email questions to

Thursday, January 22, 2015

J/24 Australian Nationals

J/24s sailing Australia (Adelaide, SA, Australia)- “When you've got it, flaunt it! And, that’s just what ‘The Black Prince of Sandringham’ in Pacemaker did in the last race today,” commented Simon Grain. He continues, “With the series win in the bag after two wins this morning they were spectators at the last start, watching the fleet sail off while they cruised home to early celebratory drinks. Well done Dave, congratulations to you and your crew, Herschel, Rachael, Sam and Luke!”

The J/24s in Australia continue to have spirited, fun racing and their grass-roots efforts continue to bring new sailors into the fold in their various fleets that range all over Australia and Tasmania.  The indefatigable, irrepressible, and always amusing Simon Grain provided further insights on the comings and goings of this year’s J/24 Nationals in Adelaide.  Starting on the first day, here is how it all went down “Down Under”.

Day One
“Day one has got off to an interesting start with more protests that races held.  Can you imagine that?!  Come on boys & girls, this is supposed to be fun!

After a very stormy morning today following two 38 deg days previously that have had those preparing their boats spending unusually large amounts of time falling about with heat stress and consuming large amounts of water rather than beer, racing got going with a huge black wall of cloud to the north of the race track. The breeze was a light and variable 13 knots, flat seas and warm muggy temp, champagne sailing really.

Dave Suda won the first race from Simon Grain sailing Code Violation but is on the receiving end of a multi-boat protest at the top mark for a port and starboard in the second race. At least 4 protests are in already and I believe there may be more to come – busy night in the committee room!

Code Violation was leading all the way round the track in the second race before falling into a hole 100m from the finish and having 3 boats sail around them as the breeze died. Brendan Lee took out the second race from Doug Watson, Dave Suda and Code.”

J/24s Australia- sailing under umbrellasDay Two
“Overcast skies all day with a building SE breeze gave the nationals competitors a great day’s racing without the heat and burning sun of the past few days. Around 8-10 knots breeze and flat water for the first race and ending up with the whole fleet on jibs in around 20 knots.

The normal ‘bang the left’ rules applied today with boats getting big lifts along the beach to a top mark down towards Largs. Racing is very close with the top boats getting around in a very tight group and the bulk of the back following closely behind.

Results are not online yet due to a protest. Today’s race winners are Doug Watson in El Fideldo, Brendan Lee in By the Lee and two races to Dave Suda in Pacemaker. Overall leader is Doug Watson, followed by Simon Grain and Dave Suda.”

Day Three
“More overcast grey skies today, suiting the Black Prince of Sandringham perfectly with 3 bullets added to his score. With the first drop coming into effect today, his score of 11 is half that of Brendan Lee (SYC) on 23 points. Doug Watson, Adelaide’s leading skipper is third with Simon Grain (SYC) now forth after an ordinary day. Sandringham boats fill 6 of the first 7 places, so the competitive fleet at SYC shows it’s worth.

The most novel picture was Jeanette Syme sailing around before the start in the rain under an umbrella at the back of the boat.

Today’s first race started in very light conditions with a swing to the left and an increase of breeze to around 18 knots, catching some of the fleet unawares, but giving a fast and exciting kite ride back to the finish. Finishing order was Dave Suda, Doug Watson, Ron Thompson.

Race two and we had a shifty SE breeze of around 15knots. Once again banging the beach proved to be the way to go and even some of the locals didn’t take their own advice on going left. Dougie Watson telling me that for 4 years he has sailed here and knows the left rule like the back of his hand. Why did I go right twice ? he asked me. Finishing order was Dave Suda,  Brendan Lee, Simon Grain.

Race three and the wind had lightened off so much that it was almost a drifter off the start with many people calling it a lottery. didn’t bother the Black Prince though as he scooted off to a 3rd win of the day in a shortened race. The planned race 4 was not held due to the lack of wind and interest.  Finishing order was Dave Suda, Rob Hogan (Cookie Monster), Dave McKay (Stockcar).

Performance Handicap is being lead by Jeanette Syme in Foolish Behavior from Rob Hogan in Cookie Monster and Helen Wilmer in Good Company.”

Day Four- the Grand Finale
“This morning the real race was for second, third and fourth with Doug Watson (El Fideldo), Brendan Lee (By the Lee) and Simon Grain (Code Violation) all in with a chance on second and third. Simon Grain scared the other two enough with two seconds behind Dave’s two firsts in the first two races that they both pounced on the poor blighter from Sandy and after a dump on Simon First leg, Code was out the back. A certain discard for sure and made certain by an unfortunate bottom mark rounding when Lisa on the foredeck got hit by the kite pole and covered the deck and her white top with an alarming shade of red. Retired hurt – but you have to look after the ladies faces! Doug Watson put in a stellar performance to take out the race and the second overall from Brendan with Simon in fourth. A long jump back to Kirsty Harris in Hyperactive and Ron Thompson in Kicking. Rob Hogan coming in 7th making the famous Cookie Monster get up and fly with a best place 2nd in the regatta, “good to see that old sun umbrella kite go Rob” and Dave Mackay from Cronulla, our newest ‘circuit devotee’ in Stockcar coming home 8th.

Unfortunately, after an enormous effort in training and preparation program prior to the nationals our Victorian President Doug MacGregor got a hit from the boom and has now gained a few stitches but lost a couple of teeth, tough luck and a bad end to a good campaign, but Doug will be back with that Scottish vigor and determination we all see in him. Our thoughts are with you Doug. Maybe a trip to Thailand coming up – I hear the teeth are good and cheap there.

The Performance Handicap winner is Janette Syme with a well-deserved win over newcomer Steve O’Rourke and his crew of grandkids (well done Steve, your competitive spirit and attendance at the regatta is much appreciated by the class and we look forward to see you again in the circuit). Janette arrived in the heat before the regatta and rubbed the black antifoul off the bottom of Foolish Behaviour prior to the start – our own little coal miner!  Go Janette – we love you sailing the J’s with us. Next big gig is the Vic States – 18th April. (SA States possibly the last weekend in Feb, but yet to be confirmed). Rob Hogan in Cookie Monster took out 3rd from Helen Wilmer in Good Company in fourth.

The class showed a great deal of appreciation for the efforts of SA President Jim Townsend and wife Robin and his team in putting the regatta and the class back together in SA – we can’t say enough thanks for all your effort. Thank you to all the CYCSA members and volunteers in helping to put the Nationals together and making it a well run and smooth operation.”   Australian J/24 Nationals sailing information   For Australian J/24 Class information

NEW WAVE Triumphs In J/70 Q-II

J/70s sailing Tampa Bay, FL (Tampa, FL)- The second stop of the three-event Quantum J/70 Winter Series attracted 52 boats for the seven race regatta hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL. Setting the pace from their opening race bullet was Marty Kullman on NEW WAVE, posting only one score out of the top three to win by 12 points over Will Welles’ RASCAL team in second.  Taking third was Al Terhune’s DAZZLER, 4th was Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING and fifth was Henry Brauer’s SCAMP team (they also won Corinthian’s Division).

Conditions were light to medium air both days allowing seven races to be completed. Many teams arrived in time to get some practice time in Friday including a practice start/race program sponsored by Quantum Sails and J/World Annapolis.

The weekend started out on the colder side with all competitors looking more like they were heading to the ski slopes than out on the bay for a day of racing in sunny southern Florida!  On Saturday, the Davis Island RC was able to run 4 very good races in winds ranging from 8-12 knots out of the Northeast.  Most starts required an I Flag or I over Z to keep the aggressive fleet on the pre-start side of the line.   But with the Patriots vs Ravens football game starting at 4:30, both New England and Annapolis football fans had more to worry about than finishing ahead of the pack.

On Sunday, the weather man gave the crews hope to enjoy some warmer weather albeit with less velocity on the race course.  Once again, the DIYC/RC did a masterful job of coping with a fluky breeze that could not decide if it wanted to be a Northeaster or an Easterly.  Winds ranged from 6-10 knots most of the day with some decent shifts on each leg.  Three races were sailed for a complete series.

Behind Brauer’s SCAMP, Chuck Millican from Bermuda sailed one of his best series to date, taking 2nd overall Corinthians onboard his ELUSIVE.  Third was past Corinthians winner Rob Britts on HOTMESS.  Rounding out the top five were Pete Tuite on CURRAGH in 4th and Andrew & Melissa Fisher on BUTTON FLY in 5th.  For more Quantum J/70 Winter Series sailing information

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Boat Show Time Again!

J/122E cruising racing sailboat
(Newport, RI)- In addition to the London, Toronto and Chicago boat shows taking place this week, be sure to pencil in a date to go see more of the latest, greatest and hottest sailboats in the J/Boats line-up in Dusseldorf, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.  Here is what’s happening at each place:

J/70 Denmark- sailing leagueJan 17-25- Boot Dusseldorf
Taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany, on display will be the spectacular new J/122E Euro-styled cruiser-racer and the highly popular J/70 that has, literally, taken over one-design keelboat sailing in Germany.  Due to the extraordinary popularity of the “Deutsche Segel—Bundesliga (learn more here) and the fact the Lake Constance sailing association (made up of 100+ clubs on the Bodensee) chose the J/70 as their next-generation one-design keelboat, the J/70 is poised to become the dominant factor in German sailing for the next decade.  Learn more about the new J/Boats “E” series cruising boats (J/97E, J/112E and J/122E) from the fantastic team at Mittelman’s Werft (Henning Mittelman & Bo Teichman) and from the J/Europe Team of Fred Bouvier/ Didier Le Moal and J/Boats’ Jeff Johnstone.  For more Boot Dusseldorf boat show information.

Jan 22-25- San Diego Sun Road Boat Show
The team at JK3 Yachts keeps expanding as the enthusiasm for J/Boats in Southern California continues to grow.  Be sure to catch up with Jeff Brown, President of JK3 Yachts, and his terrific crew to talk about the new “E” series cruising J/Boats as well as see on the display the fast-growing fleet of J/70s in SoCal (host of the 2015 J/70 North Americans); the “new kid on the block” taking lots of SoCal offshore silverware- the J/88; and enormously successful offshore/ one-design speedster- the J/111.  For more San Diego Sun Road boat show information

J/88 family speedster- CanadaJan 22-25- San Francisco Boat Show
An ever-growing and popular boat show in the greater San Francisco Bay area has become the January boat show that is held on the waterfront, right between Pier 48 and the AT&T Ball Park- home of the San Francisco Giants!  On display this year will be a trio of boats- the J/70 that has been enjoying tremendous growth on the Bay (and home for the 2016 J/70 Worlds); the new J/88 family speedster (a California offshore flyer with two monster wins under its belt); and the J/111 (continuing to expand its presence on the Bay with over a dozen boats now sailing one-design).  On hand to guide you through the process of Q&A regards these fun-to-sail boats will be the dynamic duo at the SAIL California office- Norm Davant & Pat Nolan.  For more San Francisco Boat Show information.

Jan 23- Feb 1- Seattle Boat Show
As the largest boat show on the west coast, Seattle convention center will have the J/122E and J/88 on display- Friday, January 23rd to Sunday, February 1st.  Be sure to catch-up with Bob Ross and Ben Braden at Sailboats Northwest.  Said Bob, “Unless the Seattle Seahawks are in the Super Bowl, in which case the show will end a day early on Saturday January 31st, we look forward to seeing you’all there!”  For more Seattle Boat Show information.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Battle of the Kites

J/122e sailing off Mumbai, India (Mumbai, India)- The “Raja Maharaja Talpade Cup” is a combined class regatta that saw a variety of new sails sported by many of the boats; including the unfurling of the new spinnaker for the J/122E SKADOOSH!!

The Mumbai sailing club’s Race Committee planned a “butterfly course” around the harbour for the fleet.  The race handicap system was designed for a close racing day. The small boats all started and went off onto the shorter Under 22-foot course and the larger keelboats went onto their long and fun course. The boats all started with their given timings.

According to Sunil Lobo sailing aboard the J/122E SKADOOSH, “We were the last boat to start. After a close bow to stern rounding at the next mark SKADOOSH started to hoist the “doppelganger” A3 sail and introduce it to the fleet sailing off Mumbai Harbour. With the girl’s team working smoothly to make sure it was flying beautifully, we were steadily catching up to the top of the fleet.

Harbour sailing always has its moments with ships moving in and out; make (or cross) one ship, then you sometimes have to drop everything and go for the duck on another! We were one of those unlucky few that had to drop our spinnaker and head up to clear the ship!  Ugh! However, we were somewhat lucky and others were not so lucky.  The Beneteau First 35 tried very hard to cross in front of one ship, but the ship had to slow down almost to a dead halt and alter course to avoid a collision!

J/122E sailing off Mumbai, India- rounding markAt the second mark rounding (actually an enormous oil rig), we had fun as we executed the rounding well and were on the inner most position gaining ground to the next mark. We realized that with 4 boats right on our wind, the only way to shake them off was to roll them!  So, we powered up and went for speed and before we knew it one by one they fell in behind us!  Thank goodness.  But, we still had a long way to go to catch up to the J/24 helmed by Shahid Basher leading the entire fleet!

The third mark was a clear rounding for us (no boats around), with kites going up and heading downwind on our next leg. The wind was slowly dying away and coming in patches, it was to our luck that we found a nice wind patch and caught yet another competitor called Tengi.  We decided to pass them to leeward since we didn’t want our enormous kite to cover their rig!

The 3 “big boys” were now in the battle for Mumbai offshore supremacy.  It would take shrewd tactics on the final leg of the race to the finish.  With the J/122E rapidly over-hauling the leaders, the J/24 SHEIKIN was next boat to fall into our cross-hairs. The J/24 ELMO, which had been in the lead for most of the race, was thrown off course by another ship and lost his long lead over the two of us.

Before we knew it, all three boats were neck-to-neck, lunging for the finish line. This kind of struggle for the finish line at the end of a nice “cruising race” is always heart-warming. The J/24 ELMO crossed first with their crew smiling.  Then, the J/24 SHEIKEN and the J/122E were closing quickly for 2nd place boat-for-boat; the honors going to SHEIKIN’s bow crossing ahead of SKADOOSH by a mere 2 meters! Rajan, our race officer on the committee boat, had a huge smile on his face, happily giving the finishing whistle to each boat as they passed by in quick succession.

The race was a lot of fun and left everyone eager to see what the verdict was on the overall results. Everyone sailed well.  However, in the end the J/24 ELMO came out with their second win of the season in the keelboat class, followed by SHEIKEN and then TENGI. Even though we didn’t place for various reasons, we look forward to the next pursuit race coming up!”

NW Yachting J/122E Review

J/122E cruising interior (Seattle, WA)- Recently, Bruce Hedrick of Northwest Yachting magazine had the opportunity to jump aboard a brand new J/122E, the queen of the new “E” series fleet focused on exciting, performance cruising.  Here is some of Bruce’s commentary:

“The J/122E is a development of the already wildly popular J/122, the perfect blend of all-around J Boat performance with interior cruising luxury. The “E” is for elegance and evolution in performance design. Why settle for less than sailing where and when you want to in comfort, style and speed?

From its sailor-friendly cockpit with optimized sail handling to the spacious, naturally lit two or three cabin interior, the J/122E is as easy to sail offshore as she is entertaining guests for dinner. Responsive, stable and pure magic to steer, the J/122E is what sailing is all about.

The J/122’s have quickly set the performance standard for dual-purpose 40 foot racer-cruiser sailing yachts both inshore and offshore. Most recently she was the overall winner of the 2014 Rolex Middle Sea Race and class winner of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race. Locally the design has taken the 2012 Swiftsure Cape Flattery Race Overall, 2013 Oregon Offshore Overall, 2013 Swiftsure Cape Flattery Race 2nd Overall (with a broken boom) and the 2014 Swiftsure Cape Flattery Race Overall, all followed by cruising the Pacific Northwest in style.”   Read more about Hedrick’s J/122E review here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Organized & Ready To Get Busy?!

J/111s in J/Sailing Calendar 2015(Newport, RI)- Order your J/Calendar 2015 now!  It’s not too late to get yourselves scheduled for the New Year! 2015 promises a lot of fun sailing and wonderful times to kick back, relax and socialize with friends both on and off the water.

For 2015, we have created another beautiful calendar for J sailors!  Whether you are a cruising, racing or armchair sailor, each month will transport you to wonderful sailing experiences in far away places.  Even better yet, use it to make sure you get to those sailing events to create those wistful memories!

The 2015 sailing calendar features photos of J/70s flying off Monte Carlo & Lake Garda; J/24s dueling off Sweden, Newport & Seattle; surrealistic J/80s off Santander, Spain; J/120s gliding off San Diego; J/111s serenely sailing on the Solent; J/22s sailing off the Netherlands; and other gorgeous images of J/105s and J/122.  See gallery here. Order your 2015 J/Calendar today here!

Quantum Key West Race Week Preview

(Key West, FL)- The trend continues to show that J sailors love to head south during the winters in the northern hemisphere and attend their favorite hotspots.  Some like it really warm and windy and head straight down to the multiple Caribbean events that are starting soon (such as the Montego Bay YC’s Pineapple Cup Race).  Others keep it closer to home and dive down into either sunny SoCal or to Florida.  The most notable kick-off event for the year is sailing’s version of “Woodstock”- Quantum Key West Race Week.  The regatta has evolved over time, but one thing is certain, it has been taken over by J/Teams!  As last year, the J/70s are by far the largest fleet in the regatta and the exciting new development that both J/88s and J/111s, the “new kids on the block”, have one-design starts this year!

The prognosis for weather appears to be favorable, in fact it should be nearly Caribbean-like with breezes mostly in the easterly quadrants (NE/ E/ SE) all week, sunny to partly cloudy and 60s to 70s F all week!

J/70s off Key West- Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing photoLeading the way in the enormous 54 boat J/70 class may be some familiar faces from past major regattas.  Certainly the lads at Ladbrokes in London will be betting on the fact that Tim Healy’s famous HELLY HANSEN will be a 1.5:1 favorite (!) but there is evidence that at least a dozen other wannabes to the throne of Midwinter Champion will be breathing down there necks.  Taking a random walk down the list of entries, you should see many of these American teams in the top fifteen at some point or another; such as Jud Smith’s AFRICA, Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING, Stu Williams’ CLOUDSOURCED, Bob Hughes’ HEARTBREAKER, Craig Tallman’s JAYA, Dave Ullman/ Doug McLean’s LATIS RACING, Jim Cunningham’s LIFTED, Kirk Reynolds’ MERLIN, Cole Allsopp’s MOXIE, Heather Gregg’s MUSE, Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, John Brim’s RIMETTE, Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND, Pete Vessella’s RUNNING WILD, and Jack Franco’s USA 3. 

For the J/70s, the number of foreign entries has also grown as many teams are preparing for the J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle, France in July 2015.  There are some familiar faces (e.g. “blasts from the past”) who have excelled in other large J/one-design classes coming in from Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Sweden, Mexico, Italy, Brazil and Russia/ Cyprus.  Perhaps the most renowned teams are the Italian Champions, Carlo Alberini sailing on CALVI NETWORK and the Brazilian J/24 Champions- Mauricio Santa Cruz and Haroldo Solberg on VIKING.  The two teams from Sweden include their J/80 Champion Mikael Lindqvist sailing ROCAD RACING and Magnus Tyreman skippering ZOUNDS HEARING.  The Bermudians are led by Chuck Millican on ELUSIVE; the Mexicans are well-represented with FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO skippered by Julian Fernandez Neckelmann with uber-World Champion tactician Vasco Vascotto aboard from Italy; the Russians have LIVE SAIL DRIVE sailing with Igor Raspopov and Val Schestopalov from the MARC Sailing Club; and the Cayman Islands have favorite son Peter Cunningham back out on the track with Tony Rey on POWERPLAY (Peter’s had a J/29 and TP52 by the same name).

J/111s starting Key WestThe J/111’s are looking forward to spirited one-design racing and the teams that have shown up have all proven over time to be just about equal in speed!  Scary movies, I must tell you!  Good Lord, just about every boat has either won major regattas or placed in them over the past few years- and these include huge events like Key West Race Week, J/111 North Americans, New York YC Regattas, Edgartown Race Weeks, Chicago-Mackinac’s, Chicago NOOD’s, and so forth.  Most are experienced offshore veterans, as well as mercenaries around-the-buoys.  The newest team to get tossed into the frying pan must certainly be Gary Weisberg’s HEAT WAVE.  In past years, Gary’s team sailed a J/109 by the same name, won lots of their fair share of silverware, and will certainly not be “shrinking violets” in this crowd.  Bob Hesse returns again to Key West with LAKE EFFECT after decimating most of their rivals on Lake Ontario.  George Gamble’s MY SHARONA is sailing for the first time as well, but they are wily veterans of the Gulf of Mexico and are top dogs in Pensacola offshore events.  Rob and Ryan Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF won last year and are hoping for a two-peat in 2015!  Brad Faber’s UTAH is a Lake Michigan/ Lake Huron speedster, as is Bill Smith’s WOOTON from Chicago.  WICKED 2.0 is back for their third year, led by Doug Curtiss and are hoping to crack the podium yet again.  As mentioned earlier, no way to handicap the horses in this crowd, on any given day any boat can win!

The J/88s are as excited, if not more so, than their stablemates to be sailing in Key West as a one-design fleet.  Boats have come from Canada, the Midwest and the East Coast, easily trailered by their family SUV’s!  The teams are all experienced one-design and offshore sailors.  The New York contingent are showing up with four boats, including Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, Joe & Jeff Pawlowski’s EASY EIGHTS, David Betts’ INSTANT KARMA and Richard Lohr’s NIGHT OWL.  From Detroit comes the NIGHT OWL team led by Chester Kolascz and his daughter Sarah.  Then, with a brilliant, eye-opening black and hot pink color scheme is Rob & Sandy Butler’s new TOUCH2PLAY RACING from Hamilton Harbor YC in Ontario, Canada!

PHRF 1 Class figures to deliver unique, somewhat eclectic, competition as the fleet of eight boats covers a wide range. Joining the fray this year are five 28-30 ft sportboats (actually carbon wedges of cheese), an old Farr 30 and a pair of race-winning J/122s.

TEAMWORK, a J/122 skippered by Robin Team of Lexington, North Carolina, placed second in PHRF 2 a year ago. Team has been coming to Key West since 1994 and will be racing the J/122 for the eighth straight year. He earned PHRF Boat of the Week honors in 2003 aboard his previous TEAMWORK, a J/120. "It will be interesting to see how we match-up with the sport boats. I think when all is said and done it's going to be very close racing," Team said. "The sport boats are going to perform a lot better downwind, especially in planing conditions. However, we'll have a big advantage going upwind, particularly if there are waves."  Joining them is Rick Wesslund’s famous EL OCASO team from Miami, FL- a group that just about dominates every event they sail in the Caribbean regatta circuit- twice winning that series overall!

In PHRF 2 Class, it’s just about as eclectic a fleet of boats, but for sure they will all have fun!  J/Teams include Jon Weglarz’s J/105 THE ASYLUM from Chicago, IL and Henry DeGroot’s WIRED from New Bedford YC.

To account for the differences in performance characteristics among the boats entered in both PHRF classes, the RC has implemented a Time-on-Time rating system. This format was introduced last year with entries receiving three different ratings based on the wind speed. This year, each boat's rating will also alter based on whether the course has an odd or even number of legs (e.g. finishing upwind or downwind). Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal and Sharon Green/  For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brazilian J/70 CLOUD NINE First Sail!

J/70 Cloud Nine sailing in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)- here’s a recent video-clip report from friends in Brazil- Phil Haegler: “My J/70 Brazil #650 arrived about two months ago here in Rio de Janeiro, and I am loving it!! This is a really fun, easy boat to sail fast!

Look at the video I did the other day. Unfortunately, it was overcast and gusty, but still, the clip was OK, right?!”

We couldn’t agree more with Phil’s upbeat assessment of their sailing experiences on the site of the 2016 Olympic Sailing venue with the famous view of Sugarloaf Mountain and “Christ The Redeemer” statue in the background.  Watch it all unfold their in nicely done HD video.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lauderdale- Key West Race Preview

J/125 sailing Lauderdale Key West Race (Ft Lauderdale, FL)- This year’s race promises to be a run down the reef, playing gybe angles until you can hang on starboard late Wednesday evening to circle the Keys down to Key West.  A light Northerly breeze awaits competitors in the 40th Annual Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race. A weak low-pressure system is lingering over the race course, forecast to give way to a front on Thursday night.

The traditional “feeder race” for the old SORC days is now a “feeder race” for the Florida & Caribbean circuits coming up this winter.  Some boats will sail the race to participate in Key West Race Week, while others will do the Pineapple Cup- the classic race from Lauderdale down around the Bahamas, past Cuba, to Montego Bay, Jamaica. For the latter, this leads them to the RORC Caribbean 600 Race that starts the winter season of racing in the islands.

The forty-two boat fleet is set, and ready to race the 40th Annual Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club.  The early forecast shows a mixed bag, with light northeasterlies at Wednesday afternoon’s start giving way to stout northwesterlies on Thursday, then northeasterlies during Wednesday to bring the fleet home.  As it did last year, the timing of that shift will play a major role in determining which team has the biggest night at Friday night’s Awards Party at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill and Brewery (beginning at 17:00).

Sailing in PHRF A is Frank Atkinson’s J/125 RAISIN’ CANE from West Palm Beach, FL and Chris Saxton’s J/145 VORTICES from Plymouth, MI in the Great Lakes.  This group is sailing against a bit of an eclectic bunch of boats like a Swan 80 and two Melges 32s.  Weird, but it should provide for some good stories at the end of the day.

The toughest fleet appears to be those boats sailing PHRF B. In that fleet are a quartet of competitive J/120s that include some notable offshore veterans like Frank Kern’s CARINTHIA from Bayview YC in Detroit, MI; William Terry’s TAMPA GIRL from Davis Island YC in Tampa, FL; Marcus Cholerton-Brown’s SUNSET CHILD from Performance Yacht Racing in New York, NY; and Kristen Berry’s EUROTRASH GIRL from Annapolis, MD.  Giving them a serious run-for-the-roses will be Gary Weisberg’s J/111 HEAT WAVE from Gloucester, MA.  Considering the J/Teams are around half this fleet, one hopes the podium will be swept by this list of contenders!  For social media Facebook Key West Race sailing info.   For more Ft Lauderdale to Key West sailing information

J/36 JAZZ Sailing Cruising Saga Continues

J/35 Jazz- sailed by Norman Curnow from United Kingdom(Palma Majorca, Spain)- The J/36 JAZZ continues her experiences three decades after she left Stonington/ Newport- it was originally Rod Johnstone’s boat for summer-fun sailing in 1983.  Her current owner from the United Kingdom, Norm Curnow shared this recent update:

“I must share something with you and fellow J/sailors around the world about my trip back from Crete, where I got caught up in a squall of  37-50 kts!!

As some of you know, I have sailed many thousands of miles in my sailing years- 100,000nm plus!!  So, I left Majorca early just as the light lit the sky, no wind, motoring about 6 kts along the north of the island.  Two to three hours out, I am now passing Dragonero.  Still no wind.  But then, there it is! Off with the engine, out with kevlar jib and already had carbon main up with full battens!  Mistral in clear air??  Maybe.  Time to roll!

JAZZ soon had her skirts up, 6-7 kts and going great, then 9-10 kts no problem.  Hello!  Looks dark over on the horizon, SE wind blowing now, then from NNE.  Going along nicely.

Onward another 5 miles.  Then, bang! The boat was healing to her gunwales under the water.  I dumped the main.  Got to get that jib in. Pulled like hell, can't move the thing.  Too much wind.  Then it starts, lumps of sail start flying, kevlar about 6 inches square.  Oh no!!  Forget the jib, save the main. Pulling it down.

The next problem. Hail as big as marbles, starts striking me on the back of hand, every strike was like breaking bones. I grab the dinghy floor that I cover my gas (petrol) tanks with; I slide down into the sole of the cockpit, still dumping the mainsheet! Modern man’s version of comfort while in Hell!

The pain is unbelievable.  I'm feeling sick, still dumping the mainsheet, got to save that main.  Thank goodness, the autopilot is steering well; dipping the boom ever so often.  This is about the worst condition I've ever been in.

I slowly get myself out of the cramped cockpit.  I roll in the jib, the only thing left was the clew-reinforced part of the sail and the luff and foot cords.  It had taken at least a third of the sail.  Main was OK, only the 4th batten poked through and disappeared in the wind.  What did I do next? Swore and cursed and motored to San Antonio 50 miles away! More on this story soon!”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Eight Bells: Lambert Lai- J/24 enthusiast!

J/24 sailor Lambert Lai at peace on the helm(Rochester, NY)- “The J/24 Class, and all who knew him, lost a great friend. Lambert Lai passed away on December 30, 2014 at the age of 66 years.  We will miss him dearly.

Lambert began his love for sailing and the sea in his native Hawaii as a young man. He arrived in upstate New York after his service to our country as an Army Medic in Vietnam. He finished his schooling and became a Physician’s Assistant. He joined Sodus Bay Yacht Club (Sodus Point, NY) and became an active participant in racing J/24s. He later joined Rochester Yacht Club (Rochester, NY) and purchased his current J/24, Dr. Feel Good, which he campaigned in District 7 and along the East Coast.

He sailed in all major regattas including two J/24 World Championships, three North Americans, several Midwinters and Charleston Race Week. He campaigned his boat in all District 7 events. Lambert was also a friend to big boat sailing, never missing a chance to help out others. Lambert also served on Race Committees for many events including women’s match racing, frostbiting and several other regattas.

He served as the President of the US J/24 Class, and represented Rochester Yacht Club as organizer of the 2012 J/24 Worlds as well as many other regattas. Lambert has won many sailing awards over the years, but his commitment to District 7, the J/24 Class, to sailing, and to his many friends was the gift he gave to us. A stranger to Lambert was just a friend he had never met.

Lambert leaves behind his lovely and dedicated wife of 31 years, Lynne Lai. We will all miss him dearly. Aloha, Buddy!” – thanks for this tribute from Jack DePeters and David Stoller

Corporate/ Club J/80 Sailing in Cyprus!

J/80 sailing fleet- Cyprus (Limassol, Cyprus)- Interested in racing one-design J/80s in the beautiful waters off Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean? Ten perfectly-matched J/80s are available for regattas and training in the Mediterranean for corporate, group or club charters.

The SAIL FIRST team will be represented at Boot Düsseldorf. Join them in Dusseldorf at Hall 13/ Stand C03, starting from January 17 to 25, daily from 10 am to 6 pm. If you want to get a free ticket invitation, please send a request to- “”.

After hosting several J/80 regattas and being official partner for the ISAF World Youth Championship in 2013, SAIL FIRST are open to hosting sailing events of any difficulty level and for any range of sailing experience (beginners to ISAF Group 3 Match Racers). Apart from sailing, the SAIL FIRST team offer complete “turn-key” first-class concierge services, providing you logistics help, coordination and reservations for accommodations, opening and closing ceremonies and entertainment for sailors and their families.

Cyprus offers variety of magnificent places to visit and it's hospitality is world-renowned. More than 320 days of sun and wind are available for sailing, making Cyprus a perfect sailing spot all year round.

If you wish to get more information about SAIL FIRST Sailing Club, please contact Anastasia Marinskaya at phone- +357 99168818, e-mail-, or website-

Thursday, January 15, 2015

J/22 Odyssey- California to Jamaica & Beyond!

J/22 sailing off Panama (Kingston, Jamaica)- Nik Hawks wrote an entertaining article for the June 2002 SAILING magazine about his adventures of sailing a J/22 (December 2000 to June 2001) from San Diego, California down through the Panama Canal, up to Key West, Florida, across the Bahamas Banks, south past Cuba to Kingston, Jamaica!

We learned about this story because that very same J/22 is still racing in Kingston today by two characters called Steve and Rugie!  They were sailing in the 2014 Jammin’ Jamaica Regatta being held at Montego Bay. It would be hard to imagine another J/22 having sailed so far and still going strong!  Here’s Nik’s story courtesy of our friends at SAILING- the Schanen family (owners of the J/145 MAIN STREET on Lake Michigan-

“Once every 24 hours, for a scant 15 minutes or so, waves break on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. The break is less than 200 yards from the moorings.  I was easily visible when I paddled out to seek solace, and perhaps a wave, at the change of the tides. Every night somebody would approach me at the Balboa Yacht Club bar wondering if I was the man who had been surfing those little waves, laughing, falling and standing up in the chest-deep water. I would say “yes,” and wait for the inevitable next question: "Are you the guy on the J/22?" "Yes." "Where did you sail from?' "San Diego.” And, off we'd go into conversations about small boats and big MOMS, keels caught in fishing nets, homemade boats pitch-poling in the Bering Strait and that love of the ocean that pervades every time sailors' speech. I would tell my story of how I got into sailing, how long it had taken to reach Proxima, who I had for crew, if I had running water, what fish I was catching-- answering the questions all sailors ask each other.

I grew up on the East Coast; then moved to Indiana when I was in high school. Later, I enlisted in the Navy.  I got out of the Navy in September 2000, and bumped around Australia with a friend for two months before flying back to San Diego and deciding to sail to Virginia in a small boat. I had been on a sailboat a few times with my aunt and uncle in England and a few times with friends of mine on San Diego Bay. Originally, I wanted to do the trip in my Lehman 12, but was talked out of it by friends, most of them professional sailors. I settled on a J/22 and bought “Synchronicity” eight days after I returned from Australia. I renamed the boat “Apocalypso” and 14 days later set sail with Jason Bell, a man who would end up being one of my closest friends.

J/22 sailors- sailing past Costa RicaThe two weeks between the purchase of the boat and casting off from the dock of the Coronado Yacht Club were a maelstrom of organizing, buying and attaching various instruments to the boat.  I bought a Siemens 75 solar panel to supply the boat with power and a 12-volt marine battery. I also purchased a Garmin 162 GPS that never failed; a tiller autopilot failed constantly; a Standard Horizon VHF that kept me in contact with other boats at anchorage and intermittently provided me with garbled voices at sea; and an Alpine CD player with Bose 151 outdoor speakers to keep morale high. I had another reef put in the main (for a total of two) and had a used genoa re-cut to fit the J/22.  I took one main, two kites, a genoa, a racing jib and a working jib. The main, working jib and spinnaker saw me through to the Panama Canal.  After that I used only the main and jib for the slog north.

Jason and I left Coronado on December 27, 2000.  So much for Christmas, eh!?  We slipped away from the dock and our families and friend, headed out of San Diego Bay and pointed south, Panama bound!  As soon as we got out of the bay, we put up the chute and took off doing 7 knots down the waves and enjoying our newfound freedom. That first night was amazing for me. It was the first time I'd been night sailing on the ocean, and I was aboard the smallest sailboat I'd ever been on this far offshore. There was a northeast wind blowing 12 to 14 knots, the chute was up happily pulling us along.  Scattered clouds passed over the moon and I had the first watch. What a life! We cruised down the coast, harbor hopping along the way. We were usually doing 300 miles at a crack, and occasionally doing more, with a longest distance of 500 miles that took us five days. We got caught on kelp, watched the big Baja sea lions playing in our wake and we saw things to satisfy your soul. I watched dolphins yawning in the bow wake, felt the colors of sunsets on my face and the whip of the wind as it cracked my lips. I grew tan as only sailors can and built muscle from working the boat. I grew lean and strong on fresh fish, fruits, nuts and vegetables and learned to live and breathe with the wind in the sail.  I connected with the ocean on a level I have felt at no other time, a bond that will always pull me back to the freedom of the sea.

Sailing a J/22 offshoreEleven days after we left, we coasted into Cabo San Lucas. Mexico, spotting in the harbor on the way in an orca (a.k.a. killer whale).  Two nights later, we raised anchor and headed south and east- the stench of packed humanity too much for us in Cabo.  A north-northwest wind blowing 15 to 20 knots dared us to throw up the chute, so the fun began. We screamed across the Sea of Cortez in 52 hours, chute up the whole way, the roar of water racing by the hull putting us to sleep every three hours.  When it got bad, Jason would come up and switch with me if I was on watch and I would open food packets and feed him while we talked. When I accidentally jibed in the dark and tangled the chute around the forestay, I had to wake him up to untangle it.  He freed it so fast and easily I felt foolish.  But as he crawled back into the musty cabin, cackling in his Scottish accent, I realized he must have done it a hundred times while teaching at work.  By the time he left me, I felt comfortable do everything by myself, but until I understood the basics, Jason worked overtime with me.

We stopped in El Salvador and northern Nicaragua for emergency anchoring, ignoring what the guidebooks said about the dangers of Central America. We explored an almost untouched world, where pleasure boats are seldom seen and where beer and stories flow freely. It was an awakening of sorts for me, to realize that most people still have hope and joy.

Two months into the trip, I lost Jason as crew when we pulled into southern Nicaragua and he was offered a job as skipper of the Farr 63 “Northern Winds.” While the friendship we had forged could not be broken, the lure of a steady paycheck took him away.  It took me a month to get the boat together—we had taken a fearsome beating between Puerto Madero and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.  But, after I had gotten all my parts shipped to Ricardo's Bar in San Juan del Sur and installed them on Apocalypso, I soloed to Playa del Coco, Costa Rica. It was my first solo sail, and the steady wind and never-ending tasks brought me the discovery of joy in a day’s loneliness at sea.

In Playa del Coco, an adventurous blonde named Laura signed on as crew. I didn't tell Laura until we were well on our way that I have only been sailing for three months— it just didn't seem to be the best thing to say. Although Laura did not know how to sail, she was willing to learn and showed a great interest in boats that fueled my love of the ocean and sailing.  Laura stayed with the boat through the Panama Canal and as far as Key West. Florida.  She must’ve died of laughter many times listening to my fluent Navy cursing when our four-horse engine died. Nevertheless, we were sharing the life of a “bon vivant” when we swam with pilot whales and explored hidden anchorages.  In one anchorage, on the east side of the Golfo de Chirique, we met the hermit of Bahia Honda and rediscovered an island town where the natives whispered about Laura's naturally white-blond hair and gave us dried fish and beer.

J/22 offshore cruiser!We left Bahia Honda with the boat full of coconuts that we picked by climbing high palm trees and as we sailed south down the Peninsula de Mikao with the fading sun to starboard, the gentle clunks of loose-rolling coconuts brought us out of our daydreams of reaching the Panama Canal. The night before our arrival at the Panama Canal shook my faith in my ability to sail and navigate. We kept getting tangled in fishing nets in the light and variable winds and the compass was difficult to read in the hazy light of the moon. To top it off, I was tired from three days of little sleep as I went over the side on three separate occasions to cut the boat free of fishing nets that stretched down into green-gray depths, surrounded by spooky shadows thrown by my tiny underwater light.  After getting out of the cold Humboldt Current the last time, I told Laura I was going to bed and didn't want to be woken until the sun was shining and we were making 4 knots directly toward the canal.

I woke up to the sound of the engine and hazy pale sunlight on my face.  I looked out of the cabin at the clean, glassy water of the northern stretch of the Golfo de Panama and knew the peaceful relief found at the end of a nightmare. Arriving at the canal was a victory for me.  It meant I was more than halfway through my journey, it meant that I had gotten across Tehuantepec and past the Papagallos, and it meant I could skipper a boat!

After staying on the Pacific side for two weeks, we finally got all our paperwork together and shot through the locks in a day. From Cristobal we headed north, stopping at Isla Providencia where we experienced true Caribbean hospitality and the friendliest port captain I have ever met, and townspeople that could not have welcomed us more warmly.

J/22 in Panama CanalFrom Providencia we flew on fast reach to Roatan, stopping only long enough to resupply before heading north for Isla Mujeres off the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The draw of returning home became more powerful the closer we got to Key West, erasing from my mind the life I would have to lead upon return to the States and a “normal” job. We took a six-day beating from Isla Mujeres to Key West rather than sit in the anchorage scaring myself with weather reports, and only now realize the luxury of being concerned merely with physical survival.

We pulled into Key West on May 14, 5 1/2 months after leaving San Diego. Those 150-odd days were the richest of my life and I looked for a way to squeeze in one more journey before selling the boat.

I found my buyer on the Internet, but I would have to deliver the boat to Kingston, Jamaica!!  After enlisting the help of a fellow I met in a Publix grocery store, I hoisted sail and again surrendered myself to the sea.  Frank was from Berlin, Germany and between his heavily accented English and my high school German, we laughed our way through muddled conversations about girls, beer, toxic chlorinated American water and sailing. We stopped in Nassau, Bahamas, then swept down the Exuma chain to Georgetown.

From Georgetown, we headed southeast to the tip of Little Exuma where we ran aground on crystal white sand.  Far from our finest moment, it ended after bumping over six sandbars and grinding into the seventh.  With no other course than to turn up the music, jump over the side and take a long saltwater bath, we waited for the tide. When it finally rose late in the evening, we dried off and headed on port tack for Cuba, the Windward Passage, and my final port of call.

We made landfall in Jamaica at 7 am, June 28, seeing the lighthouse at Point Moran. We drifted along the shore, smelling land in the smoke of hearth-fires and waiting for the huge convection machine of Kingston Harbor to start cranking. We were sucked west along the southern coast until we turned into the harbor where we had to beat upwind to the yacht club.  That was the worst part of the trip!!  It wasn’t from the feeling of ending a journey, but because the wind really pumps down the harbor! I recorded at least 30 knots on my anemometer.  As I pulled up to the gasoline dock at the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club, I saw four men sauntering towards me down cracked concrete stairs.  They eased up next to my boat as a group, and their questions broke the silence of a voyage completed.  "Are you the guy on the J/22?"

J/70 Monaco + Italian Riviera Spring Circuit Announcement!

J/70 sailing off Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The two fleets that perhaps boast two of the most exotic locations on Earth to sail are the J/70s in Monte Carlo, Monaco and San Remo, Italy.  Together, the Monaco Fleet Captain (Jacopo Carrain) and the San Remo Fleet Captain (Vittorio DiMauro) invite all J/70 sailors from across Europe (or anywhere!) to come join them for what may become the “most excellent” spring sailing series anywhere.

Basically, they’re offering the opportunity to all European J/70 teams to sail five regattas with one single road trip to the Mediterranean- the Monaco Winter Series last three events are also part of the Italian Circuit’s first three stops on their tour.

With simplified logistics, beautiful warm temperatures and fabulous places to enjoy with friends, why not escape the grips of the “polar vortex” and enjoy nearly four months of weekend racing on the Med’s famous Riviera! With all 18+ boats from the Italian fleet and the 16+ boats from the Monaco fleet show up on the starting line, that’s 30+ boats flying offshore for some excellent training prior to the J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle, France!  For more J/70 YC Monaco fleet sailing information

The regatta dates and venues are the following:
  • Feb 6-8-    Monaco Primo Cup
  • Mar 6-8-    Monaco Winter Series
  • Mar 28-29-  Monaco Spring Cup 1/ Italian Circuit 1
  • Apr 25-26-  Sanremo Spring Cup 2/ Italian Circuit 2
  • May 16-17-  Sanremo Italian Circuit 3
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact either Jacopo ( or Vittorio (

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

J/111 BLUR 2014 Report

J/111 BLUR 2014 season (Stockholm, Sweden)- Over the past few years, an experienced and well-regarded J/Sailor from Sweden, Peter Gustafsson, has pushed the envelope of offshore sailing in various J’s- both fully crewed and shorthanded (single and double).

As some of you may know, Peter is the founder of (, his website/ blog about all things happening in the sailing world across Scandinavia.  His experiences are followed by thousands of sailors in the far north of Europe.  Racing all the famous races in the region (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark) Peter has pioneered and promoted sailing to his friends worldwide.

Thanks to the “global synapse” we know as the “Internet” (think of your mind and how it works), Peter has pushed the physical, mental and psychological limits of the human experience taking his boats to their logical limits sailing offshore as well as “around-the-cans” racing.

Recently, Peter explained, “here are some of our highlights from 2014.  Besides lots of fun sailing, we managed to win the three biggest offshore races, in three different disciplines (fully crewed, double-handed and solo) in three different countries. It took a few years to get 100% out of our boat, but with great support from our partners and a committed team we’re finally there.  Now we’re ramping up for Fastnet Race next year.  Have a great new year and a fantastic 2015!”  Watch Peter’s 2014 J/111 BLUR.SE summer sailing summary here