Saturday, February 28, 2015

J/36 PALADIN Sailing Caribbean Youth Team

J/36 Paladin sailing off St Croix, US Virgin Islands with youth sailing team (St Croix, USVI)- The J/36 PALADIN, owned by Stan Joines from St Croix, US Virgin Islands, has been on a mission to introduce young sailors to offshore sailing.  Stan comments, “The crew of PALADIN is a mix of kids.  Five of the crew are from the St. Croix Yacht club; they are in Junior high school at Good Hope Country Day private school, ages 10-13. They are also very active in Optimist racing at the club.  Another of the crew is my son, age 8.  Another four of the crew are from Central High, a public school here on St. Croix, where I teach.  We practice Saturday mornings.  The boat is sponsored by St. Croix Marine on St. Croix.

J/36 Paladin sailing with youth high school sailing team off St Croix, US Virgin IslandsThe J/36 is a good fit because it is still competitive, but can sleep the whole crew aboard when we are at away regattas on the different islands!  The fractional rig is great; with a masthead rig, the kids would have to be handling bigger jibs and downwind sails that could overpower them.

This boat is J/36 #53 and she’s still going strong after much T.L.C.!  We won nine out of nine in our local regatta (St. Croix International, St. Croix, U.S.V.I.) back in November.  It was just non-spin; the kids are too small to manage a gybe with a spinnaker in less than 46 seconds.  Plus, we raced with eight year old dacron.  We look forward soon to the St. Thomas International and BVI Spring regattas!”  Fair winds, Stan

J/36 Sunset Cruising- Sailing The Med!

(Palma Mallorca, Spain)- Norm Curnow’s J/36 JAZZ from the United Kingdom continues its adventures across the Mediterranean.  Like Stan Joine’s perspective above, Norm has been a big fan of his J/36 after sailing her for several tens of thousands of miles both single-handed and double-handed.  Here’s a quick update from Norm:

“Things that make a cruiser-racer worthwhile even after 35 years of sailing my J/36:

Sunset traveling home after a visit to Crete

J/36 sailboat- kevlar jib after storm

The kevlar jib after 50-plus knots of wind

Trophies won in one of the good seasons

At rest at the top of the Straits of Messina

J/36 cruiser sailboat- docked at Palma Mallorca, Spain

Once again in Palma Majorca off Spain

J/36 cruiser sailboat- sailing off Newport, Rhode Island

Finally, were it all started in the USA as Rod Johnstone’s JAZZ.  We won the trophy for the most traveled boat in 2014 at my local sailing club- Saltash Sailing Club! Fantastic!”

Rob and Sandy Butler: Sail Canada Sailors of the Month!

J/88 sailing downwind off Key West, Florida(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)- Sail Canada’s Sailor of the Month award acknowledges sailing achievements by Canadians involved or associated with the sport in all its forms. Here is an excerpt from the January report:

The ever-popular Quantum Key West Race Week delivered picture perfect sailing conditions until the final day of racing where competitors were faced with howling winds and rough seas forcing the top contenders to raise their game in order to claim victory.

The Canadian entry in the J/88 class was Ontario natives Rob and Sandy Butler, sailing on TOUCH2PLAY. TOUCH2PLAY trailed behind class leader DEVIATION for most of the week, eventually capitalizing on DEVIATION’s weaknesses on the final day. The Butler crew racked up three bullets in the heavy air, clinching the overall win on a tie-breaker!

“We kind of put the pressure on (Deviation) by winning the last race on Thursday. We still trailed by two points so we knew we had to come out and win both races today,” Rob Butler said. “Our crew was really dialed in and we had very good boat speed. I’m proud of the team for doing what we had to do in order to win the regatta.”

The Butler’s have an extensive resume of successful titles including a clean sweep of the J/70 open series last March and top Canadian performances in other classes, among other impressive results going back several years. Sail Canada congratulates Rob and Sandy Butler for their Key West title and name the Butler’s Sailor of the Month – January! Sailing photo credits- Tim

Friday, February 27, 2015

Kath Robinson- DIYC's First Woman Commodore- Interview

DIYC Commodore- Kath(Tampa, FL)- Kristen Berry from J/World Annapolis was active at the last of the Quantum J/70 Winter Series at Davis Island YC in Tampa, Florida (a.k.a. “Do It Yourself Club”).  Kristen’s role as “coach” for their two J/World J/70s participating had some interesting insights from the regatta.

In addition, Kristen had an opportunity to interview the Chief Cheerleader at Davis Island YC- Kath Robinson-Malone- ex-Laser sailor, then J/24 sailor, then a “permanent” volunteer including being first woman Commodore for DIYC.   See YouTube sailing interview of Commodore Kath Robinson-Malone here.

What We've Learned From Racing Our J/70

J/70 Junior rounding mark (Youngstown, New York)- Recently, Don Finkle and his son Tim (the upstate New York J/Dealer- RCR put together their collective thoughts and notes after sailing the first part of the J/70 winter circuit down in Florida.  Here is their commentary:

“We’ve done our fair share of racing on the national J/70 circuit and we’ve learned a lot!  We learned from those we’ve sailed with, through trial and error, from listening to seminars, and talking to many of the pros within the fleet.  I am not a professional sailor and I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do pay attention. I thought it would be helpful to those within our fleet to share some of the tips I’ve picked up from all of the regattas done on “Junior”.

These tips can be used in your local fleet or in big events, but nobody gets it right all the time.  The goal is to work toward improvement; don't be intimidated by thinking that you have to learn all of this at once.  The more serious you want to be, the more you need to work at it, same as anything else you want to excel at. Here are some tips and lessons to chew on while you sit inside by the fire.

J/70s sailing downwind off Key West, FloridaRacing Tips
This fleet especially likes to set up early on the line.  This can be very tricky in a big fleet.  You can’t afford to be late, even if you have speed, as you won’t have anywhere to put your bow.  This has forced people to get on the line early between 1:30 and one minute, thinking that they will at least have a shot at the first row, now it’s just up to them to defend that spot.  Getting on the line early means you have to maintain position on the line without stalling.  Trying to keep some speed on or you won’t have any punch to start.  With a narrow keel, the flow over the foils must be constant, trying to reestablish a “hooked up” keel isn’t easy in a tight lane.  Plus, when you trim on, especially the jib, the bow will go down and you will likely slide sideways and down the line, using up your nice leeward hole you’ve created.  A space below you to put the bow down and go fast is critical.  In light air, we’ve found it best to have the jib rolled out almost all the time to keep the speed on.  The main is your gas pedal, allowing you to get up the line.  Be careful not to strap it in too tight though in light air, that will stall you as well.  Try not to ever have your mainsheet too far out, you won’t be able to get through all that sheet when the time comes to accelerate.  I might ease the main a little, but not so much that I can’t trim back on quickly.  When we establish where we want to be on the line, we work to protect the “hole” we’ve created.  If I need to slow down, I might put the bow into the wind for a second or do some sharp turning, but not too long that it stalls you out and you can’t regain speed again.  You need to keep communication with your jib trimmer too, he may need to ease and trim depending on what you need at the time  You also have to keep eyes on the boats to windward and leeward of you to make sure you are keeping at least bow even.  Watch for boats dropping in late looking to take your hole, point your bow down or at them to discourage them and force them into finding another spot to start.

J/70 sailing upwind off Tampa, FloridaPinging the line with your Velocitek ProStart
Always do this! It’s such a useful tool for figuring out how far off the line you are.  Unless you are at the boat or pin, you won’t have much of an idea where you are because of the boats blanketing your sight of the ends.  We’ve found the Velocitek to be extremely accurate if pinged correctly.  A good rule of thumb for measuring distance to the line is a meter a second.  This means, in a square start, if your ratio of meters to seconds is 1:1 then you are in good shape usually.  If there are more meters than seconds, you better get going and if you have fewer meters than seconds, you better kill some speed.  There are exceptions though.  For example, in a left shift, a good measure is to go 2 meters a second as you are now aiming your bow away from the line and have to travel further to get to the line.  In a right shift, it’s about 1/2 meter per second as you are pointing closer to the line and it will approach quicker.    Trust the Velocitek, don’t be late to the line.  Unless the line is so favored and you have no choice, go for a soft (less dense) spot on the line.  A good start with speed on the line with a good lane is almost always better than getting flushed out the back with no speed or clear lanes.  In a 50+ boat fleet, starting and getting off the line clean is critical.  You can always change sides of the course if you find it favored, much easier than if you are in the back rows fighting for air/lanes.  If you are in the back, you have limited options and you are likely just heading for one side of the course until you find a lane, you are being dictated to instead of dictating.  In shifty conditions, you want to be clear to tack on that first shift.  If you have a good start, you are free to tack in most cases or to keep going in a straight line for as long as you please.

You can’t roll the boat enough in light air
This is a big area of improvement for many, working to not lose much speed through a turn is the goal.  There are rules and you can’t hang on the shrouds or lifelines, but you can still roll aggressively, just have to get the technique down.  The flattening and trim is a key part of finishing off the tack or gybe, don’t forget that part.

Communication is key
No matter who you are sailing with, you have to establish communication with your crew.  Everyone has a job and everyone has a say in the game, establishing what the assignments and responsibilities are is key.  One of the things that bothers me while driving is when I hear silence for long periods of time.  How is our speed?  Boats around us?  Puffs coming down?  Can we adjust trim?  Body positioning?  If we are blazing speed demons going in the right direction, that is great news, just say so!!

I’ve noticed that the best teams out there and those that do well regatta after regatta are those who sail with the same teams. I know it’s not always easy for those of us without paid crew, but if possible, using the same team allows you to grow together and learn together and gives everyone on the team a sense of ownership.  You are starting from the last event, not from scratch.  Having new people mix in is OK because you can learn from new people and gain other perspectives, but a consistent team for the big events has proven to work best.

Trimming main
In the light air we have found that the traveler all the way up with more twist in the main is faster.  Be careful not to trim the mainsheet too hard, you will end up with the boom above centerline, choking the main.  Look for about centerline for the boom.  In the breeze, I’ve seen boats with traveler up and more twist but easing and trimming the main aggressively opening and closing the top of the sail.  I’ve seen a hard leech, meaning mainsheet on hard and playing the traveler up and down.  If you do that, be careful in the lighter stuff because you can get caught with a tight main and you want it to breathe a bit.  I’ve been told to look at the middle telltale on the top of the sail and aim for it to stall half the time, like it is about to fly but not flowing straight back.

Ask for help
The class has been sailing with 4 people for the most part.  Usually you have a tactician who doesn’t have a trimming role.  Unless you are Tim Healy, I would suggest giving up some trimming responsibilities as the driver.  You have to drive, trim mainsheet, traveler, and backstay.  My suggestion is to hand off the traveler to the tactician through tacks.  You can then worry about rate of turn, roll tacking, smoothly crossing the boat, changing hands, and cracking off the mainsheet through the tack.  In heavier air, I would suggest giving up either the backstay or the mainsheet to the tactician or trimmer (whoever is legs in).  In the puffy stuff, it is critical to shift gears and that means aggressive trim changes.  Full backstay on in puffs, full off in lulls.  Mainsheet trimming would be feet of sheet in and out vs. inches you may do in light air.

Jib Trim
The jib needs constant attention, whether you are using the winch or banjo sheeting, you need to be on it always.  Those small ins and outs make a huge difference.  As for car leads, as a general rule, if you have your leads back, you can inhaul more.  If you have your leads forward, not as much windward sheet.  Many boats are drilling holes between the factory created holes.  They would be labeled as half holes.  I suggest putting tape or whipping on your jib sheets as well as markings on your deck just forward of the jib block.  This will allow for repeated settings.  Just remember that if you untie your sheets the marks on the line will be in a slightly different spot the next time.

Backstay legs
We shortened our back stay leg that has the adjustable lashing.  In the light air it’s not a big deal because you generally don’t put a lot of backstay on.  In the heavy air, you want to have the lashing very tight.  If the leg is too long, you will bottom out and you won’t have enough pre-backstay on and when you pull on the trimming line, it doesn’t put enough tension on.  Most times, boats are stuck not being able to get enough backstay on in heavy breeze.

Changing gears
ALWAYS.  There is no sitting still with body weight or trim.  The breeze and seas are always changing, so should you!

Keep the boat flat upwind and down
Heeling means sliding sideways.  Keel is narrow but deep.  Get it as deep as possible, which means flat.  In heavy air, this should be your biggest focus as a driver, making sure you are depowering, adjusting trim, pinching slightly, all with the goal to flatten the boat as much as possible.  Having your crew call out puffs is super important so you can be proactive to the puff and not reactive, which would be too late.  Over-tacking and flipping the boat over is no good either, more sliding ensues.  One exception, too flat in light air and the boat will stall.

Crew weight
Lighter has seemed better and better to me.  I like the way the boat feels light and responsive with a lighter crew.  In most events, we have light air and that helps upwind and down to be lighter.  In heavy air, you can’t really hike much (per class rules) and the boat can be depowered quite a bit with the controls given.  Downwind, you are able to get up on a plane quicker, especially in that range where you are deciding between displacement or planing mode.

J/70 sailboat- in planing mode sailing downwindDisplacement or Planing?
As a general rule, we’ve found that if you are fighting to plane, then you are better off going for VMG.  Distance lower to the mark is best.  In lighter air it is always about going as low as possible while keeping good speed, not falling off a cliff speed-wise.  If you have speed and can burn it down, drive the boat slowly down.  When you reach the point where you need to heat it up, do so quickly, even if it means more tiller.  As for planing, usually around 15 knots of breeze and 10 knots of boat speed is when you can jump up on the “step” as they say.  If you can plane, definitely go for the plane, it can be 5 knots faster and boats will pass you by if you don’t join them!

Body Weight
Forward is usually better upwind and down in most conditions, especially flat water.  In the heavier air with waves going upwind, move weight slightly back to keep the bow up and not burying in waves.  As we learned at Worlds “seaweed on your headstay is not fast”.  Downwind it is a constant game of shifting weight forward and back.  Downwind in light air is forward and flat.  When planing, you are shifting weight back to keep the bow from plunging into the wave, but in the bigger waves sometimes you need to jump forward to get the bow over the crest of the wave to shoot you down the wave, then back before you crash into the next one!

Rig Tune
Use the guide, but remember it is just a guide and every condition calls for small adjustments depending on your boat’s setup.  Can’t set it and forget it.  Two boat testing as much as possible to check different settings is very important.  Make sure you ask someone before heading out for the day, preferably someone who has the same sail designs as you. Check all settings before and after races.  Make sure you know your turns on the rig, keep a chart somewhere on the boat.  Write down every change you make through the day and the regatta so you remember where you are at all times.  Having one person designated to the rig tune is probably wise for consistency sake.

Headstay, what to do?
More and more boats are experimenting with headstay length, going with a longer headstay in light air which allows you to point and gives you a more balanced helm instead of lee helm.  The problem is that class rules don’t allow you to change your setting once you leave the dock.  If the breeze looks like it could pick up, you might want to be more conservative.  Remember, all boats and sail designs are different.  North is different from Quantum, which is different from Doyle and Ullman, etc. etc.

Boat Maintenance Tips:
Cut your lines to proper lengths.  With all the moving around and especially at the corners and during maneuvers, extra line just leads to snags and snarls in the lines or catching on a foot or stepping on a line, etc.  Measure the absolute lengths needed, mark them and cut them.

To help save your jib, I like to go downwind when furling.  Downwind prevents the jib from luffing and flapping while trying to roll.  If you are in light air, sometimes having the halyard too loose doesn’t allow for a nice furl.  Put some tension on the jib Cunningham and then furl, then immediately take tension off again.  Make sure you have McLube One Drop or an equivalent on the furler.  The salt can really gunk up the furler and it won’t spin freely which kills a furl.  I purchased a tapered furling line and that has helped a lot too.  The jib can really get beaten with bad furls.  When on the dock, release the jib Cunningham to take tension off, this will reduce stretching.  I’ve debated taking the jib down overnight and some people do but most do not.  I think the putting up and taking down does more damage than leaving furled for a few nights.  I wouldn’t leave it up for long periods, but for a regatta it seems ok.  When I’m home doing local stuff, I put a jib sock on my practice jib to keep the sun off the sail.  I always ease the tension of the halyard too before leaving the boat.

Get a non-stretch main halyard, too often we see mains not up all the way, a few inches will hurt your ability to go upwind.

Rolling the main from the bottom.  During a regatta, I like to roll the main from the bottom as it comes down.  This will result in less wrinkles than just “dumping” it.  It also makes for a nice tight roll and it will go up the next morning and unroll itself as it goes up.  When storing between events, I usually roll it normally from the head (folded at the first draft stripe) because it fits in the bag better.  I have heard mixed results on taking the battens out.  I think if you take tension off, then they can stay in the main.  Jib battens must come out to roll because of the vertical batten.

Label all of your stuff.  With 50 or more boats all in close vicinity, there are parts and pieces and bags all over the place.  J70 stuff all looks the same, especially if they’ve been purchased from Sail22.  It’s easy to misplace or someone may accidentally take your item thinking it was theirs.

Unless you trim the jib with the winch, I suggest padding and taping over the winch, unless you like those bruised hips and butt.  Few use the winch for the spinnaker, from what I can tell.

Bring two radios, the weight of an extra radio outweighs not having one if it dies or breaks (or goes overboard).  Also bring your foul weather gear no matter what.  You can afford an extra pound or two; you are pretty useless if you are shivering the entire time.

If it is windy, wear your lifejacket!  It should be a habit, why would you risk something bad happening.  Life jackets are comfortable nowadays.  Go buy yourself one that fits well.  A good PFD vest also keeps you warm, especially when it is windy and wet.

Check the forward compartment in the bow.  On a windy, wavy day you can get water through the pole or the furling drum and water can accumulate there.  I sponge it out every day after racing, or at least check it.

Raptor Deck – Get it!  Or some soft deck equivalent.  Everyone loves ours and I won’t ever go back if I have another race boat.

Measure over and over again.  Don’t be lazy or assume anything.  Before you go out, check your settings and tuning numbers.  Use a caliper for your shrouds to repeat settings!

Fix things when you have the time – If you know you have something to fix or replace, don’t wait because it will likely become a problem at some point.  In other words, don’t procrastinate.  Make a list after each event of what needs fixing or what to buy.

If you have an onshore AP, go work on your boat.  Or ask others about what they’ve done to their own boat.  Great time to pick up tips.

Make sure you have a clean bottom.  If you don’t want to pay a diver, then get a “Cheap Diver” that is basically a mesh net that you can floss the bottom with.  It is not perfect, but it is better than nothing.  A coating of slime on the bottom is not fast.

Bring extra batteries for the Velocitek.  I tape new batteries in threes so I know they are new.  I’m sure everyone at some point has looked at a battery and wondered if it was new or old?

Hose your boat thoroughly with fresh water, salt can do a number on the hardware.  A clean boat is a fast boat.

If you can, put a dehumidifier in the boat overnight, but only if it’s safe to do so.  A dry boat is a fast boat.

Make a checklist before each regatta and check off as you pack everything.  We can send you a copy of ours if you wish. Nothing worse than leaving something at home.  Send a note to Tim Finkle at RCR Yachts (

Additional thoughts:
Keep your own log of data – Many people leave this to the tactician, but what happens when you are constantly changing tacticians and crews?  The tactician will take his/her notes with them and that doesn’t do you much good.  Keep your own notes, during the regatta and after, of course asking your crew and tactician for input.  Over time you will see trends, what your rig settings are, what works and what doesn’t.  Also, if you learn something during a race, write it down immediately after.  You will likely forget when you get back to the dock and the rum starts pouring.

Until you are getting into the top of the fleet, just do what the pros do, don’t invent on your own.  They sail constantly, some over 100 days a year.  They have seen the sail design models, they have tested everything and done the research, it’s their job!  Ask them questions, they are there to help you.
Don’t forget or ignore what you’ve already learned.  When you sail with a new crew or hot shot tactician, it is easy to just shut up and listen to what they say.  But, in the case where you’ve spent a lot of time in the boat, don’t forget your own lessons learned.  It is painful to say after the race, I knew that would happen, just didn’t want to overrule what the others are saying.  If you know something to be true, stand by that.  We always want to learn and try new things, but don’t create a new problem by trying to change something that wasn’t the cause.  Sailing photo credits- Tim

If you want more good advice from Don or Tim, please call them at RCR Yachts (716-745-3862) or email-

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Women J/24’s Steal the Show!

J/24 woman skipper- Melbourne, Australia (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)- The premier lady skippers race on Port Phillip Bay Melbourne Victoria is the Jennifer Goldsmith Memorial Trophy regatta – this year swept by J/24 teams!

In memory of Jennifer, a keen sailor, all the entry fees were donated to Melanoma skin cancer research.  In its 24th year, the JGMT attracts Melbourne’s best female sailors from all the major keelboat clubs in the bay.

This year the race began in very light, sunny 34 degree (93.3 degrees Fahrenheit) conditions, which quickly changed with the arrival of a southerly breeze reaching 12 knots, on what was a beautiful day for sailing.  Amongst a fleet of 30, the boat size ranged from 44 footers to the smallest, two J/24s.

Woman J/24 skipper in Melbourne, AustraliaDespite their disadvantage in size, the J’s had crew members who had competed at the highest level with both boats representing Australia in the J/24 Worlds in Sweden in 2011 and Bruschetta VI also in the Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge New York 2014. HYPERACTIVE, skippered by Kirsty Harris with her all female crew, and BRUSCHETTA VI, skippered by Paulina Matilla with her male crew, excelled in the light conditions.  By picking the wind shifts and changes in the freshening breeze, this resulted in both being in the top 10 boats over the finish line. HYPERACTIVE, who had an AMS rating, won the AMS division.  However, the overall award was won by BRUSCHETTA VI with HYPERACTIVE second.

Paulina Matilla was awarded the Jennifer Goldsmith Memorial perpetual trophy and a beautiful Tiffany & Co necklace. Paulina who lives and sails in Finland is currently working in Australia, explained during her acceptance that in Finland its -15 degrees with a maximum of 4 hours of light per day, a far cry from the sun drenched shores of Port Phillip Bay.

The J/24’s excelled against the competition, taking the major and divisional trophies. The class has a strong local fleet of 20 active boats with the current and past Australian Champions amongst it.  The J/24 has experienced a strong following in Australia and with results like these; it will only encourage more to take up J sailing!   For more Australian J/24 sailing information

Spanish J/80 Teams Prep For Worlds

J/80 sailors in Spain- sponsored by TRIG Money TRIG Money Sailing Team announcement
(Santander, Spain)- “The Wheelhouse” at the Real Club Maritimo de Santander, was the venue chosen by the newly minted TRIG MONEY Sailing Team, for the presentation of their racing calendar for 2015 and its new sponsor the Swedish multinational TRIG MONEY.

With the presence of Jaime Yllera (President RCMS), Julia Casanueva (President of the Cantabrian Sailing Federation), Antonio Gorostegui (Olympic medalist), Juan Carlos Castro (Director General of TRIG) and Juan Dominguez (Director of the Municipal Institute of Sports), the sailing team led by Ignacio “Pichu” Camino and Armando Gutierrez Mendoza, along with the rest of his crew Jose Luis Gomez, "Cospe" Juan Valle, Pablo Cuervas and Miguel Merino, presented their racing schedule for the summer which included three prominent regattas- the 2015 J/80 World Championships in Germany, the Spanish J/80 Championship and Copa de Espana.

The Swedish company, TRIG MONEY, through Juan Carlos Castro, explained that it has made a very strong commitment to sport in Spain, sponsoring nearly 50 teams in different specialties and is particularly enthusiastic about supporting sailing.   Through its TV channel- TRIG TV- the company aims to promote its e-commerce payment system for merchants and consumers in Santander by broadcasting “live TV” of the various J/80 championship sailing regattas.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gorgeous St Petersburg NOOD Regatta!

J/29 sailing off St Petersburg, Florida (St Petersburg, Florida)- The largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States, the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta series, opened its 28th season in St. Petersburg with nearly 130 teams competing on Tampa Bay, vying for individual class trophies as well as the regatta’s big prize—an invitation to the Helly Hansen NOOD Championship Regatta in the British Virgin Islands in October, where they will face overall champions from NOOD regattas across the country in Sunsail bareboats.

With 10 to 15-knot winds and bright sunshine on Tampa Bay, it was a full day of races on Friday, the 13th.  Some teams were luckier than others.   According to Dave Reed, SAILING WORLD’s Editor, “All in all, PROs on three circles got in more races today than we sometimes do an entire J/70 sailing off St Petersburg, Floridaweekend, so it was good one to start with. We know Tampa Bay can be a fickle S.O.B., but the local ace professional today was Marty Kullman. He was fazed, but unfazed, by the 40-degree shifts. After four races, Kullman’s team on NEW WAVE led the 20-boat J/70 fleet, the largest class of the event. NEW WAVE finished second in its first two races and won the next two to establish a comfortable overall class lead in the three-day series.”

“Today was incredible.  It was sort of a rare day for St. Petersburg, with strong winds and big shifts,” says Kullman. “When the wind direction changes as much as it did, right or wrong, one mistake can be dramatic. There were times when we were on one side looking terrible, but then it would come back- - pretty amazing, actually. Our results were about being patient, and that’s credit to Steve Liebel [the team’s tactician].”

Kullman adds that the squad he has this week is the same that got fourth at the J/70 worlds, and that has been the difference between NEW WAVE and Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT, lying second. “We’ve sailed together as a team for a long time and that, too, was a major factor in being able to react quickly to changes. It’s really hard for me as a tactician to be driving and not constantly chirping, but Steve is good at controlling it,” said Kullman.  Kullman’s team also includes Mark Liebel, and Judah Rubin.

On Saturday, favorable conditions yielded a full day of racing on the second day, with winds starting out in the 10-knot range before dropping off before day’s end.

J/29 sailing upwind off St Petersburg, FloridaRaymond Mannix, skipper of the J/29 SEMPER FI, put in an outstanding performance in his PHRF 2 division, winning the day’s first two races and finishing second to St. Petersburg YC Commodore Harvey Ford in the second. After seven races, SEMPER FIT holds an 8-point lead over Ford’s J/29 WILDKAT, a good cushion with which to carry into Sunday’s final races. Lying third is yet another J/29, Robert Wetmore’s FAMILY CIRCUS.

“We had some a few exciting starts,” said Mannix, of Largo, Fla. “We got hit in the first start and got tangled up, but we got back going and ended up crossing the starting line right on time. In the second, the boat next us was called over early and had to go back; fortunately we were able to start clean and just popped out and crushed everyone.

“Today was a good day for tactician,” Mannix added. “We really played the shifts. It was shiftier than yesterday; more consistent; the lighter it got in the end, the harder it got. Playing the shifts and getting it right was the key. It helps that we’ve sailed this boat for 17 years and know how to make it go.”

For the final day on Sunday, the fleet was blessed with perfect racing conditions; a great test of the crews with a number of fleets experiencing high speeds, wipeouts, and horizon jobs.

PHRF 2 class saw a J/29 sweep.  Ray Mannix’s crew on SEMPER FI continued their winning ways and took PHRF 2 Fleet honors with just 12 pts after nine races, counting only six 1sts and three 2nds in their scoreline!  Second, was StPYC’s Commodore, Harvey Ford’s WILDKAT with 22 pts and third was Wetmore’s FAMILY CIRCUS with 34 pts.

J/24 sailboats- sailing off St Petersburg, FloridaThe twelve-boat J/24 class had close racing for the top five, with just 16 pts separating the group at the end.  Hanging on by a thread on the last day was Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER with a total of 23 pts.  Sailing fast and consistent was John Poulson’s LONG SHOT just 3 pts back with 26 pts total.  And, just another 3 pts back was David Ogden’s BUCKAROO with 29 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Carter White’s SEABAGSJ24.COM and Evan Petley-Jones’ LIFTED in 4th and 5th, respectively.

After starting out the first day in the lead, Kullman’s NEW WAVE managed to hang on to their lead and win the class by the significant margin of 15 pts.  After faltering in the last Quantum J/70 Winter Series regatta, local St Pete/ Tampa Bay expert Kullman came roaring back, posting four 1sts in his scoreline and a total of just 22 pts in 10 races.  After taking a rest from the J/70 Midwinters, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT jumped back into the fray and sailed a solid series to take second overall.  Also sailing a consistent regatta was Will Welles’ RASCAL, taking third just 2.5 pts back from CATAPULT.  Racing one of their best series to date was Trey Sheehan’s HOOLIGAN: FLAT STANLEY RACING, winning a race and posting several top three scores to snag fourth overall.  Top woman skipper was Madelyn Ploch on SUGAR DADDY, taking 5th overall and even winning a race herself.  Of note, two-time J/111 North American Champion, Richard Lehmann, hopped into his brand new J/70 WIND CZAR and pulled off a top ten finish in his first regatta, taking 7th overall.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images.   For more Helly Hansen St Pete NOOD Regatta sailing information

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Green Flash @ J/70 North Americans!

Green Flash Brewery sponsoring J/70 North Americans (San Diego, CA)- Have you ever witnessed the brilliance of a “green flash” along the horizon at sunset? Have you had the pleasure of enjoying a tasty Green Flash beer? Now is your chance to experience both!  Visit sunny San Diego for the J/70 NAs!

Green Flash Brewing Co. has signed on as the title sponsor of 2015 J 70 North American Championship to be held at San Diego Yacht Club, September 24-27. We are extremely excited to have Green Flash and their team on our side. They are the most important part of our promise to provide sun, wind and beer!

J/70s sailing off San Diego BayHeadquartered in San Diego, Green Flash Brewing Co. was established in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley – avid sailors and San Diego Yacht Club members. Together, they lead a talented team of craft beer enthusiasts, who embrace their brand vision with serious passion and zeal. Green Flash Brewmaster, Chuck Silva has developed an award-winning assortment of specialty craft ales that are celebrated by their loyal following of craft beer fans internationally.

In the fall of 2014, Green Flash nationally released “Jibe Session IPA” – a new beer named after the sailing term. A “session IPA” is an emerging and popular beer style that is lower-in-alcohol than traditional IPAs, while remaining as flavorful as most traditional IPAs. For years, Green Flash has been known for brewing very bold double and triple IPAs. Upon making the decision to release a session beer, Green Flash changed J/70s sailing upwind off San Diego, Californiacourse. True to the definition of the beer style, Jibe Session IPA is a refreshing, flavorful 4% ABV beer with a vibrant character -ideal for an afternoon at sea. Jibe Session IPA is perfectly suited to complement what we anticipate will be the best J/70 North American Championship to date. Green Flash is honored to be the title sponsor of this year’s event.

Green Flash will be a part of our “Tune UP” regatta on September 12/13 and for all of the North Americans. The Opening Ceremony, “Theme” parties and live music are all being planned. Look for more information this summer as our plans get finalized. Learn more about Green Flash at-   As you read this, there’s just six to the North Americans in San Diego, have you made your plans yet? The J/70 NA Facebook page is here.   For more J/70 North Americans sailing and N.O.R. information

Monday, February 23, 2015

RORC Caribbean 600 Preview

J/145 Spitfire sailing RORC Caribbean 600 race (English Harbour, Antigua)- An amazing fleet of yachts from around the globe has come together for a spectacular Caribbean rendezvous. Fort Charlotte, Antigua will be the starting and finishing point for a sensational 600-mile yacht race around 11 Caribbean islands that starts on February 23rd.

Since 2009, the RORC Caribbean 600 has been growing in popularity and the seventh edition boasts an extraordinary range of yachts: record breaking high performance racers, magnificent schooners, elegant classics and fast production yachts. World-class sailors will be taking part, rubbing shoulders with royalty, captains of industry and passionate Corinthian amateurs.

The course meanders through the stunning central Caribbean affording amazing scenery, but the RORC Caribbean 600 is not just a joyride. Competitors can expect little sleep as the myriad of corners create many maneuvers and opportunity to make large gains (or losses). The racing is electric but the high-speed action in tropical heat can be exhausting. At the finish, the welcome party for the crews has become legendary. Every boat is cheered in, regardless of the hour, for a cold beer and a warm welcome.

Competing in this year’s race will be the J/122 LIQUID skippered by Pamala Baldwin.  J/122s have been strong performers in the race; its all-around capabilities have kept them in the trophy hunt virtually every time since the race course is a combination of beating, reaching and running.  Joining her will be the J/145c SPITFIRE, sailed by Jonathan Bamberger and crew.  There will be “live” 24 hour race-tracking of the entire race, so be sure to check in on their progress!   For more RORC Caribbean 600 sailing information

Sunday, February 22, 2015

SCYA Midwinters Preview

J/70 sailing off San Diego, California(San Diego, CA)- Over the February 21-22nd weekend, the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) will be hosting the famous SCYA Midwinters at over four yacht clubs in four different venues across the region.

The event’s history is packed with legendary sailors and their boats from the early days to the present. In 1928, SCYA and the LA Junior Chamber of Commerce teamed up to sponsor the first Midwinters which was promoted as an example of the sports “paradise” that Southern California offered in the winter. As expected, the event attracted boats from the Great Lakes, Atlantic Coast and the rest of the Pacific Coast, and some of the best-known yachtsmen in America, including Clifford Mallory, John Alden and Herbert Stone, editor of Yachting have participated over time.

A number of J/Classes are participating; in the San Diego area the J/70s are sailing at Coronado YC and San Diego YC is hosting J/80s, J/105s, J/109s and J/120s.  In the Los Angeles area, the PHRF Classes will be at King Harbor YC and more J/109s will be hosted at California YC.   Sailing photo credits- Bronny Daniels/ Joy  For more SCYA Midwinters sailing information

Saturday, February 21, 2015

J/27 Midwinters Preview

J/27 one-design sailboat- sailing downwind (New Orleans, LA)- The J/27 class continues to flourish as a result of the passionate, committed owners who love to sail the 30+ year old 27 ft classic sloop.  With its long, narrow, easily-driven hull and enormous cockpit, the J/27 has gained its share of J aficionados over the course of time.  Two regions in particular, western Lake Ontario and the northern Gulf of Mexico are enjoying a bit of a renaissance sailing beautifully maintained and restored J/27s.

For the weekend of February 18th to 21st, the J/27s will be having their first Midwinters down south in a long time. The host will be Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, Louisiana.  A fleet of eight boats has registered for the event; five are member of the local SYC J/27 fleet and visitors include three boats from the Barefoot Sailing Club in Suwanee, Georgia.  Hopefully, some boats from Ontario make it down, too, and shake off all that snow and ice from their boats and head south to warmer climes!  You can watch “live” and in 3D replay the Midwinter action on   For more J/27 Midwinters sailing information

J/24 Midwinters Preview

J/24s sailing off starting line(Tampa, Florida)- After hosting the three event J/70 Winter Series, the Davis Island YC continues to roll out the red carpet for J sailors this coming weekend.  From February 20-22nd, the DIYC will be hosting the J/24 Midwinters for a solid fleet of twenty-seven boats on Tampa Bay.

A number of new faces continue to surface in this venerable class as well as many class veterans will be participating.  The teams will be getting a workout in light air speed and tactics as the current forecast shows NE breezes swinging SE with winds ranging from 4 to 8 kts all weekend.

A number of local hotshots will be on the starting line, including Robby Brown’s USA 799 and John Poulson’s LONG SHOT.  Current J/24 World Champion Will Welles’ COUGAR will be hoping to add another feather in their cap; working hard to displace them will be a long-time arch nemesis, Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images. For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information

J/70s- The Winner’s Edge: Interview with Carlo Alberini

J/70 Calvi Network sailing off Key West (Key West, FL)- Allan Terhune, Quantum One Design Director and current J/22 World Champion, had a chance to catch up with the winner this year’s J/70 Midwinters- Carlo Alberini from Italy. Of note, it was a “first” in the J/70 class to have a European win in American waters and is an excellent indication that 70 sailors around the world are moving up the learning curve quite rapidly.  Allan’s interview and his commentary are below:

“Quantum Key West was the host of the J/70 Midwinter Championship, which provided the class with an awesome venue for a top-rate event. We were so fortunate this year to have some of the best weather I have ever experienced, as well as some top-notch racing in a variety of conditions.

The winner this year was Carlo Alberini and his team from Italy on the CALVI NETWORK. They are the reigning European Champs and I was able to catch up with Carlo to get some of his impressions on Key West and the J/70 class.

AT: Carlo, Congrats on your win! How long have you been racing the J70?
CA: Thanks for the compliments but the big credit goes to Branko and crew. We started sailing in March 2014.

AT: How did you approach training for this event?
CA: Our approach was to study the difference with the USA fleet; we especially concentrated on studying the different rig.

AT: What are the differences in racing fleets in the US from racing fleets in Europe?
CA:The level of the USA fleet is higher than Europeans because they started sailing two-three years ago.

AT: What was your daily plan once you left the dock?
CA: We start every day with zero tuning and before arriving on the race field, we sail with the other competitors, changing the tuning according the sea and wind conditions.

AT: The fleet sets up very close to the line, making starting difficult. How did you approach the starts?
CA: Branko (Brcin, Tactician) placed us in a perfect area of the start line every time and as you know, is not easy to stay there perfectly any time because the other competitors are very good. On average, we went where we wanted.

AT: With so many races in a regatta, it is difficult to be consistent. Did you make any decisions on regatta/race management to reduce risk for the entire event?
CA: For me, is more important to do a lot of good placing rather than win a single race; it is the final result that matters.

AT: Downwind – how do you decide when to plane and when to sail low?
CA: The edge is around 15th knots.

AT: What weight are you sailing at?
CA: We were too heavy right now (350kg). In fact, we are more heavy than last year by 20 kilos! It’s important for us to reduce it to around 325kgs or less.

AT: What did you think of Key West?
CA: It was a great venue, with great competition; we cannot wait to sail again in Miami for Bacardi Race Week.”

In addition to this interview with Carlo, Allan has some additional commentary:

“One of the highlights of the week was the panel discussion on Tuesday Night ( please see YouTube video here ). One of the strongest aspects about the J/70 class is that everyone is willing to share and help each other out and grow the sport. There were also many opportunities to learn from class experts as well as great coaches, like Ed Adams and Ed Baird, who shared their knowledge throughout the week.

I was fortunate to sail with Bob Hughes on HEARTBREAKER for the week. Looking back, here are a few things that I took away from the event:

- We started out the week with light to moderate air. This put a premium on weight placement in the boat and sail trim. As the breeze went up and down it was critical to adjust the sheets to keep the boat tracking through the chop and to keep the boat at the proper heel angle to stay powered up. If you got too flat, the boat would stall; if you were too heeled, you would slide. It took a lot of effort to keep it constant, but if you did, there were high rewards.

- Windy upwind: It felt much faster to sit with the weight a little bit aft to get the bow up over the waves.

- Downwind the last day, there were big gains to be made in the big breeze if you had space to let the boat rip. If you got caught in traffic and didn’t have the ability to steer where you wanted and keep the boat on a plane, you would lose out to the boats that had their own water.

Lastly, it was easy to see some boats had good days and some bad; the key to long events is being able to stay even and always keep working for points. The boats that were good at treating the event like the marathon that KWRW is, did the best.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

An Enchanting Cruise on Montego Bay Race!

J/145 Vortices sailing Montego Bay off Jamaica and CubaLovely Seabreezes off SE Shore of Cuba!
(Montego Bay, Jamaica)- For the start of this year’s 2015 Pineapple Cup/ Montego Bay Race, the fleet faced classic MoBay Race conditions.  A stout northerly breeze expected to deliver a challenging Gulfstream crossing, before shifting eastward in the following days, go light, then pick up again as the fleet encountered the trade winds in the famous Windward Passage just off the eastern tip of Cuba.

The 811nm jaunt through the Bahamas, around Cuba, to Montego Bay, can be fast & furious or frustratingly slow going at times.  This year, the fleet faced just about everything.  Four J/Teams were participating this year, two J/120s (MISS JAMICA and TAMPA GIRL), Mark Jordan’s J/122 MISS MARIS and Chris Saxton’s J/145 VORTICES.  Not soon after the start, TAMPA GIRL unfortunately retired, while the other three pressed on.

J/122 Miss Maris sailing off Jamaica and CubaBy Saturday morning, 18 hours into the race, the majority of the fleet was either just past or just approaching Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.  As Sunday morning dawned, the fleet continued to make good progress as well, with most past the eastern side of Cat Island on the eastern side of Bahamas Bank.  By late Sunday, the J/145 VORTICES was past the southern end of Long Island and chasing them were the J/122 MISS MARIS and Montego Bay YC favorite, the J/120 MISS JAMAICA not far behind. Light wind was beginning to be a factor for this trio of boats overnight as they entered the Windward Passage.

By Monday morning, MISS JAMAICA, with the race’s youngest sailor Zoe Knowles aboard, rounded Cape Maisi on her way through the Windward Passage, and was on the last leg to Montego Bay.  A number of boats ended up working the southern shore of Cuba hard on Monday, looking for land breeze and a bit of leverage over fleet.  Some sailed right past the infamous Guantanamo Bay, the American military base on the ESE tip of Cuba.  Many reported stunning tropical views which many of us have never seen, gorgeous landscapes with not a house or boat in sight along the coastline!  The J/145 VORTICES was one of those boats that played the “Cuba card”, a strategy that ultimately played out well in the end since it gave them a better gybe angle on port tack going into the finish line off Montego Bay.

J/120 Miss Jamaica sailing Montego Bay Race off Cuba and JamaicaTuesday morning dawned with VORTICES finishing by 3:16am; enough for the experienced Great Lakes crew from Detroit, Michigan to take 3rd in class and 5th overall.  It also found the J/122 MISS MARIS and the J/120 MISS JAMAICA still out on the race-track with about a day of sailing to go.  Both boats were tracking around rhumbline to the Montego Bay finish line off what is known locally as “Doctor’s Cave” buoy.

Finally, the J/122 MISS MARIS finished just after 5:00pm on Wednesday, good enough to take 4th in class and 7th overall.  This set the stage for undoubtedly the most anticipated arrival in Montego Bay, that of local favorites MISS JAMAICA.  On Thursday at just after 1:00pm, the hometown gang aboard MISS JAMAICA crossed the finish line to close out the finishers in the 32nd Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race and arrive home at the docks to a jubilant celebration with family and friends at MoBay YC. Congratulations to Team Easy Skanking on the J/120 MISS JAMAICA and all competitors who completed the course and arrived to the warmest welcome in racing. A job well done by all. Enjoy Montego Bay!  Here is the Montego Bay Race Facebook page.  For more Pineapple Cup/ Montego Bay Race sailing information

Thursday, February 19, 2015

J/88s- Sailing Fast @ Key West- Winner's Tips & Tricks

J/88 sailboats tuning off Key West (Key West, Florida)- Long-time J sailor Kerry Klingler, the Quantum J/Boat Division Leader and a J/80 World Champion, had an opportunity to sail in the new J/88 class at Key West on-board Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION.  For most of the week, they were class leaders until the last heavy air day on Friday when their colleagues aboard TOUCH2PLAY RACING (Rob & Sandy Butler) seemed to dial-in a 5th gear in the big breeze and wrestle their lead on a tie-breaker!  Very, very exciting racing for those two boats. Here is Kerry’s commentary on how it all went down off the Florida Keys:

“My perspective and role on-board was not only that of tactician and trimmer on the J/88 DEVIATION, but also to help our customers get up to speed in any way possible and facilitate the flow of information between good boats.

FJ/88 sailboat sailing off Key West, Floridaor the J/88 class, Key West is the second largest regional regatta for a new boat. This makes for some unknowns in regards to how fast your sails and boat are compared to the competition. For our crew on Deviation the goals were simple. First, get to the regatta early, set up the boat, work on slight boat improvements, and go sailing. Second, practice, try to line up with the competition, and see how fast we were.

One of our advantages on Deviation was the season of sailing we had under our belt. The disadvantage was the fact our sails were one season old. Last year, I raced with owner Iris Vogel at Block Island Race Week and as a result, instituted some sail development improvements now part of our current products.  Rob Butler on Touch2Play benefited from these improvements in his newly purchased sails.  To overcome this, Deviation’s sails were brought into the loft for service and were adjusted to current designs wherever possible. The biggest change was made to the A2 Asymmetrical, where the head of the sail was replaced. This adjustment was made to increase twist in the sail and make the head slightly deeper.

J/88 sailboat- sailing upwind at Key WestDuring the week, Touch2Play and Deviation proved to be the fastest J/88s out there. We worked with daily debriefs on what we thought were fast combinations. Details were exchanged on rig settings, in-haul amount, and sheet tension. Overall, the boats proved to be very close in speed. An important thing we learned was that the main could be sheeted with the boom above centerline in the lighter winds. Our tuning guide was pretty accurate, and the headstay length seemed to work well.

In light winds, we were between 1.5 and 2 steps below base setting. In the windy conditions, we were two steps up. In the last few races we did not realize that our shims fell out of the rudder pintles and two bolts backed out, causing trouble after the last race. I am sure we were slowed down the last day because of this. Other owners should check their pintles and bolts to insure they are properly installed and working well.

In the end, Touch2Play and Deviation tied with 19 points, with Touch2Play winning on the tie-breaker. The next closest boat had 34 points. Between the two boats, they won 9 of the 10 races. From where I sit, that’s nearly a perfect ending!