Thursday, April 30, 2015

Suda Takes J/24 Vic States

J/24s sailing off Melbourne, Australia (Melbourne, Australia)- Without taking anything away from the excellent Nationals in Adelaide earlier in the year, the Vic States have been warming up to be the real contest of the year. And so it was. Twenty-seven boats at Sandringham YC!  And, yet again, the “Black Prince of Sandringham” took it from the “Young” Sydney Fox with the canny scotsmen third.  What that means in plain English is that Dave Suda (VIC) was 1st, Steve Girdis (NSW) took 2nd and Doug Watson (SA) finished 3rd.

Performance handicap was won by Dave MacKay from Cronulla, our own Stephanie Strong took out second in the Sidetracked youth boat and Steve Girdis was third. Hugo Ottaway, the real Mr J24 and deep thinking scribe takes on the finer details.

“This year’s 2015 Victorian J24 Championship may be remembered by the “could have been champions” as a regatta of lost opportunity. Despite only achieving 4 races due to a 40+ knot squally Sunday, the championship reached a milestone in Australian J24 sailing. Of note is the following: starting at the top, 27 entries including every J24 at Sandringham Yacht Club, 6 entries from NSW and 4 from S.A. Oldest skipper 70+ youngest 23. Two youth boats, four female skippers, two all female crews. A Jury and Race management of National and International standing and possibly up to 50% female participation.”

There many hard luck stories in any fleet, probably about 26 of them in this regatta! But look who we are up against. Hugo continues …

J/24 sailing Vic States in Australia“To ease the pain of the masses, the calibre of the leading bunch reads like a who’s who of sailing. Our winner, David Suda sailing Pacemaker from Victoria has won two J/24 and one International cadet National titles. Second, Steve Girdis (NSW), three J/24 National titles and 5th in the Osaka worlds. Third, Doug Watson (SA) 2nd in the J24 Nationals and 4th in the Sigma 33 Europeans. Fourth Hugo Ottaway (VIC) one J24 and one International Cadet National title, then fifth God himself, David McKay (NSW) one 16 foot skiff and two Moth WORLD TITLES, one J24 , Etchells 22 and 18 foot Skiff National title and 1969 Yachtsman of the year award. Sixth, Simon Grain (VIC) four New Zealand Tornado Catamaran National titles.”

“I am sure as I go down the list there are many others amongst us who also boast similar achievements, however we very rarely acknowledge the pedigree of fellow sailors, to win either a state or national J24 title is tough, hard to come by and first rate.”

So what are the hard luck stories, well the first would be the whole regatta with the sailing on Sunday closed down. That meant we had a series, but no drop and there were many who needed it – badly. Myself for one, going left nicely all day and then going right in the last race – wrong! John Neville, our hard working Vice Pres who has been sailing like a demon all summer, last seen burying his head in a beer in despair after scoring the unlikely bottom double. Next time John! Half the fleet overlaying the top mark in the first race! Holes in the wind in the second race that left the top boats wallowing in nothing within spitting distance of the finish line while boats behind them sailed by – spitting chips maybe! And from Hugo, “finally the best gag of all, watching the class president start at full speed one minute early on a black flag, with no one else around….. great stuff.”

I could go on, but one of our newest owners does, Mike Bond shares his experiences:

J/24s sailing off start at Vic  States“The J24 Vic States had been on the agenda for 6 weeks and we were all very keen to participate after having bought Code Violation. We had only been out once or twice as a team so things were going to be interesting come the first race. In true beginner style we missed the first race completely due to poor clock work. I took the blame for that one as I was the only one wearing watch. The second race was our best of the series and I do believe we were coming 7th around the top mark however we ended up 14th with some poor kite work and some bad tacks. The third race wasn’t great either, we had a good start but just couldn’t maintain boat speed. The last race we came dead last which in the end was quite amusing. We took the wrong side of the course (behind Simon) and got blitzed. All in all, it was great fun and we were a bit disappointed we couldn’t sail on the Sunday due to poor weather conditions but after the 2nd beer we were fine. Special thanks to Simon Grain and the crew on Jet for all their help as well as Hugo Ottaway and David Suda.” That’s the kind of fun the newest guys are having.

The conditions were great sailing for the first two races with a westerly around 12 knots, boats powered up on genoas and the race track full of boats. After the second race the wind died, the sun came out and lunch was served with sails down while we drifted in the tide waiting for wind. The last two races were held in a sputtering and dying westerly as we watched a black roll cloud gather it’s skirts on the southern horizon. The fleet finished and just made it back to the marina as a 40+knot front blew through minutes later!

Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne, AustraliaBack in the bar, we were very lucky to be able to watch our if only’s on the Yachtbot site – no consolation to some, but very interesting for most. YachtBot and CYCSA had been stupendously generous to us both in terms of their time and resources (CYCSA loaning us the trackers for nix and YachtBot set us up as a Pro level registration for free also) If you want to see more or the racing replay, go to and choose a race, or link directly to the races at to 6961. Our thanks go out to all our sponsors, Monjon Security in particular for your continued support again this year, Sailor Sunscreen and Iguana Design. To all our volunteers both on the class committee and SYC, a big thank you for your efforts.

Also a huge thank you to all the interstate competitors who made the effort to come to the regatta, your contribution to our fleet makes the difference to the flavour of the competition.

J/24 Vic States Champs- Dave SudaHugo wraps up a few more stats to finish “Other points to note, three different brands of sails in the top five, both youth boats supplied with new and almost new sails courtesy of their owners, about 25 new sails measured in for the regatta. 135 competitors from 4 states. What I think makes this a great class is the generosity of the members, $800.00 raised during the regatta to help Luke Mathews (Trimmer off Pacemaker) and his family who is recovering from a very bad road accident.”

The class BBQ and free beers, as always pulls everyone together after the racing and enjoyably the stage show that is the prize giving, with a forthright intro speech by the irrepressible Doug MacGregor (VicPres) and the brilliant John Neville doing the raffle draw had everyone in stitches and rounded off a great, if short regatta for both the locals and the visitors – you should have been there if you weren’t !

We don’t say goodbye to our interstate friends for too long, the next regatta is the Macquart Marine Short Course Regatta at Cronulla in NSW on Queens Birthday long weekend, 6-8 June this year. This was brilliant last year (see pics on the CSC site). The NSW States normally held in early November (dates TBA) and then the 2015-16 season biggie, the Nationals at Sandringham on the 4-8 January 2016, where we planning a regatta to attract a fleet of over 30 boats – this one you do not want to miss!

Chris Furey has again taken some great pics of the J24 States in Melbourne on the weekend. See them on the Australian J/24 class website here.

RIO Wins Battle @ Lindauer

J/70 sailing Lake Constance/ Bodensee (Lindauer, Germany)- The first major regatta for J/70s sailing on Lake Constance took place this past week.  Teams from all three countries that surround the lake were participating (Switzerland in the south, Germany in the north and Austria in the east).  The event was called “The Battle @ Lindauer” and twenty boats hit the starting line eager to test their skills against each other.  It was a perfect weekend for the sailors and the hosts- Lindauer Segel-Club ( were able to get in 14 races total, 8 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.  Race Director/ PRO Josef Bitsche said, “you seldom have spectacular weather like this with a cool, brisk north wind- force 4 Saturday and force 3 on Sunday!”

J/70s sailing Lake Constance/ Bodensee regattaAt the end of 14 races, the top boat was Malte Kamrath skippering RIO from VSaW in Berlin, their five 1sts enabled them to win with 25 pts net.  Battling them from the first race was Julian Stuckl’s team on GER 470 from DTYC in Hamburg.  Had it not been for a BFD in race 10, Stuckl and crew sailed a very consistent series posting most all their races in the top three, but could only manage 27 pts net to take second place.  The top local boat was Veith Hemmeter’s crew from Lindauer Segel-club, taking a third with fairly consistent scores in the top five.  Fourth was Florian Troeger on JACKPOT and fifth was Tino Mittelmeier on ESPRIT D’EQUIPE.

What was evident from the regatta was that German teams that had been sailing for two years in the Deustche Segel-Bundesliga had an advantage in terms of boat speed and boat-handling.  Taking four of the top five spots were German teams.  Nevertheless, the steep learning curve for the Swiss and Austrian boats showed they were on the fast-track and were starting to get better finishes in the latter part of the regatta.  For example, Klaus Diem on PFANDER from Bregenzer Segel-Club started slow on the first day with mid-fleet finishes, but managed to sail much faster the second day and post a few finishes in the top six!

Fourteen teams are going for training in Italy at “Lago di Garda” next week- it’s part of the Alcatel OneTouch Italian J/70 Championship circuit.  The next “Battle on Lake Constance” is May 14-16 on the German side of the lake in Langenargen.  For more J/70 class sailing information

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

J/70 Training Germany Update

J/70s sailing Alster Lake, Hamburg, Germany (Hamburg, Germany)- For the third weekend in a row, many of the top sailing teams participating in the 2015 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga were training in J/70s on the gorgeous Alster Lake in Hamburg, Germany.  Sven Jurgensen reports:

“Again, the Norddeutscher Regattaverein did a fabulous job hosting our training event on Alster Lake.  It was a much different weekend than we had in the past training sessions.  On Saturday we had very strong rains, 10 to 27 kt winds, extremely puff and shifty!  Then, on Sunday we had beautiful sunny weather with 10-16 kt winds.  For the second session the following weekend, we were lucky to have nice sunny weather both days with much lighter winds- everything in the 5-10 kts range.

All of the teams are looking very hot and they are ready for the first sailing league event on the 1st of May in Tutzing on the Starnberger See.  The teams that trained with us in Hamburg included Flensburger Segelclub, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, Segelkameradschaft „Wappen von Bremen, Kieler Yacht Club, Seglervereinigung Itzehoe, Wassersport Verein Hemelingen, and Blankeneser Segel Club.  Hopefully their training will pay off in the first event!”   Sailing photo credits- Sven Jürgensen   For more Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information

J/Eclipse @ Charleston

J/70s sailing Charleston (Charleston, South Carolina)- Despite light to moderate breeze and a noticeable lack of bikini weather, the 20th Anniversary of Sperry Charleston Race Week proved that CRW is not only here to stay, but that it is one of the most important regattas for sailing in America.  It’s not just the fact that so many serious racers gather here every year; the event seems to attract just about everyone in the sailing industry, and Randy Draftz and CORA are constantly chasing ways to make CRW more modern, more progressive and more fun.  Notably, Draftz and crew have worked hard to attract more one-design and offshore J sailors; the effort has paid enormous dividends over time.  Celebrating the 20 year milestone were 150 J’s sailing in multiple fleets (52% of the total!)- J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/88s and J/111s as one-designs and J/122s, J/29s, J/30s, J/35 and others in PHRF handicap.

J/70s sailing before storm frontSailing conditions were variable light to medium strength throughout the regatta with current direction and strength a dominating tactical factor when starting, calling lay lines and timing your turn at crowded mark roundings.  Weather was “on-off soggy” on Friday, improved with warmth and sun on Saturday after a long postponement, and surprised on the upside without any thunderstorms during Sunday’s racing until buckets poured down in the final minutes of the awards ceremony.

With an early start time Sunday, a moderate but consistent breeze from the Southeast, and a ripping tide pouring out of Charleston Harbor, overall victory and podium finishes were up for grabs through most of the fleets. Unlike Saturday, an early breeze meant three short, intense races in some classes and two in others, allowing a few teams to sew up runaway victories and a few more to make late runs to the top of the leaderboard in the quest for 20th Anniversary silver.

J/22s sailing at CharlestonCharleston is immensely proud of its local university sailing team, and College of Charleston Sailing Team Captain Chase Shaw showed why in the J/22 Class. Shaw and his CofC crew on LOS TRES BIGOTES reveled in the fast outgoing tide on Sunday, grabbing two bullets and holding off a late charge from US Sailing President Tom Hubbell aboard AIR FORCE ONE.  Hubbell said he’d never had an easier time entering a regatta.  “You call up the College, they charter the boat to you, you jump in a plane, show up on the dock, and go race one-design at Charleston Race Week.  Could it be any easier?” said Hubbell, whose team finished just 3 points behind Shaw.  The J/22 Class also featured the Warrior Sailing Team, entirely crewed and helmed by wounded and disabled military veteran and managed by Charleston professional sailor Ben Poucher.  “Sailing with these guys against a fully able-bodied fleet was something we’d been relishing, and watching them put everything they have into it was pretty awesome,” said Poucher.  The Warriors grabbed 8th out of 9th entries.  “It was a victory in every way,” Poucher said.

J/111s sailing off Charleston14 year old Kyle Gamble and MY SHARONA shocked the until-then very tight J/111 fleet with three bullets on Sunday, giving them the easy win despite a hard week.  “We just sailed clean and fast and it’s great to have days like that,” said Gamble, whose father George steers their Pensacola-based boat.  A tie-breaker determined the balance of the podium in this tight class, with Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY taking 2nd and Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF taking the bronze.  Fourth in class was Gary Weisberg’s HEAT WAVE and fifth was Doug Curtiss’ WICKED 2.0.

J/88 sailing off CharlestonOn the same course, the J/88s also had a donnybrook of a duel taking place between Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION and Rob & Sandy Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY RACING.  In some respects, it was a complete replay of their “mano-a-mano” battle that took place at the J/88 Midwinters in Key West.  This time the roles were flip-flopped.  Butler’s team started off winning the regatta after the first two days with three 1sts and two 2nds.  However, on Sunday Vogel’s DEVIATION crew was doubly determined to overcome their deficit.  Sunday proved to be their curtain call, posting a 1-4-1 to win on a tie-breaker over TOUCH2PLAY at 11 pts each!  Hanging in for a good showing for third position overall was Joe & Jeff Pawlowski’s EASY EIGHTS.

The lone Mexican entry in the regatta, the J/70 FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO earned their first Charleston Race Week win with a runaway performance in the stacked 83-boat J/70 Class. But it still wasn’t an easy day for them, despite their dominance. “With the black flag up and the current pushing us over the line, starting was nerve racking,” said tactician Bill Hardesty, one of the most successful American one-design sailors of the decade. “We started in the second row a couple of times, and luckily we had the speed to work our way forward.”

J/70 sailor Jud Smith at CharlestonAlso in the J/70s, Jud and Lindsay Smith on Africa stole a brilliant penultimate race win, setting up a final battle with Eivind Astrup and his Norwegian team on NORWEGIAN STEAM.  Smith found himself stuck in traffic on a crowded port-tack layline; while Astrup judged the speedy ebb current perfectly, sweeping around the final mark in first place and extending to the victory.  “It all came together at the right time, and now that we know the currents, we’ll come back as locals,” joked the skipper – just before singing “Happy Birthday” in Norwegian to celebrate Race Week’s 20th.

J/70 sailor- Gannon TroutmanCongratulations to Gannon Troutman, the truly gifted 12 year old skipper of the 4th place J/70 PIED PIPER who received the Dynasty Award including a new set of Opti Sails from Quantum Sails at the prize giving!  That’s an impressive showing to add to an equally remarkable 5th place at the J/70 Midwinters in Key West!  Fifth was Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT from Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota.

The winner of the J/70 Corinthians Class was Rob Britts on HOT MESS from Tampa, Florida. He was followed by Blake & Lud Kimbrough’s NOSTALGIA in second and Tim Molony’s JOUST in third.

J/24s sailing off Charleston harborThe twenty-one boat J/24 class had a tight podium with local racer Scott McCormack (Mt. Pleasant, SC) and his GIGGITY playing the ebb perfectly today to jump ahead by one point on the last race over favorite Tony Parker aboard BANGOR PACKET from Annapolis, Maryland. Mike Marshall’s PIPE DREAM from Jamestown, Rhode Island was only four points out of second place with a very steady score line.  The top five was completed by Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS in 4th and Jay Adams’ BLIND DATE in 5th.

After firing off four bullets in the first five races, it was pretty clear that Clarke McKinney’s crew on the J/80 USA 788 were not to be denied the gold by the end of the regatta.  In fact, McKinney’s worst race was a 3rd and took their win by 7 pts over Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS.  Taking third was Ken Mangano’s MANGO-mon!

J/122 Teamwork sailing and winning at CharlestonIn the world of PHRF handicap racing, there were offshore buoy races taking place at the same time as “pursuit-style” racing was happening inside Charleston Harbor.  Offshore, it was the mighty J/122 TEAMWORK that again won her PHRF A class led by Robin Team from North Carolina.  Third in their class was Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION.  In PHRF B class, the J/35 ARROW sailed by Willy Schwenzfeier grabbed fourth overall.  Then in PHRF C class, the winner for the third year in a row was regatta sponsor GILL Clothing- skipper David Pritchard from Atlanta, Georgia aboard his J/92 AMIGOS.  Not far behind him in third was Steve Thurston’s J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN from Newport, Rhode Island and in fourth place was a good showing by the J/27 AUDACIOUS skippered by Robert Key.

The PHRF Pursuit racing Spinnaker Division saw the College of Charleston’s J/36 SOLE take second place and just one point off their pace was Bill Hanckel’s J/120 EMOCEAN- both teams were local Charleston boats.  Bob Musor’s J/130 SCEPTRE glided home in seventh overall.  The PHRF Non-spinnaker Division saw Mark Swata’s J/30 LAS BRISAS snag sixth for the weekend.

After top-secret calculations to determine the winners in the most competitive classes in the regatta, Randy Draftz announced that Robin Team and his family-crewed J/122 TEAMWORK had won the historic and beautiful Palmetto Cup for the top PHRF performance of the regatta.  It marks an incredible 3rd overall win in Charleston, something the Teams say they want to try to add their name to the perpetual trophy again next year.

Hank Stewart, the PRO on the most populous racing circle – the 83-boat J/70 course – was relieved and pleased at the end of the day. “I’ve never worked with the fleet split system that we used here (to orchestrate the large number of boats in this class), but it worked really well. I think the tight competition proves it works,” he said.  Stuart says his volunteers and Race Week staff provided terrific support for the Race Committee, but emphasized that he “gives a lot of credit to the competitors. I think across all the classes at the event, the sailors were very gracious, particularly in showing such patience on Saturday when we had that lengthy postponement. And, at least on our course, it was worth the wait because we had two of the best contests of the event that day.”   Sailing Video coverage here.   For more Charleston Race Week sailing information

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fabulous Sailing Les Voiles de St. Barth!

J/109 sailing Voiles de St Barth (Gustavia, St Barthelemy)- All the elements were in place to make the sixth edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth an exceptional event: a magnificent fleet of 70 boats, including some that are quite out of the ordinary; varied and challenging race courses; perfect weather conditions; suspense right to the last tack in the last race for many classes; and a roster of various shoreside events that were fun for the sailors as well as the local population.  A recap with François Tolède, managing director of the regatta:

J/122 sailing St BarthFrançois, what is your final take on this sixth edition?  “It is super positive. This year we had 70 boats of all different categories and we divided them into 10 different classes, which provided a fabulous spectacle on the water. Over the course of the previous editions, we noticed that the performance level was getting higher and higher. The crews are proving to be more and more interested in racing here and on larger and larger boats, some of which are so high-tech they make quite an impression. We hosted such “machines” as Comanche and Rambler 88 this year, which demonstrates that we are attracting sailboats designed to set transatlantic records… This is very positive and nice recognition for us. Conditions on the island impose certain logistics and a relatively large budget, but the regatta offers a multitude of benefits thanks to its “fun-race” format. Those who come to race arrive with their friends and families. They come before the race begins and remain for a few days after the awards ceremony in order to enjoy the island’s legendary “French-touch” lifestyle. Overall, this sixth edition was not only successful for racing but also an economic success, a success in terms of media coverage, and the boats put on a beautiful show. That’s exactly what Luc Poupon and I were hoping for from the very beginning, when we created Les Voiles de St. Barth. And that’s exactly why we really want to set ourselves apart from traditional regattas.”

J/111 JBoss sailing St Barth regattaThe first responses from sailors are extremely positive. That must be very satisfying for you…
“Yes, we have had some really great response, from the sailors, the owners, and the locals. The race village was open permanently with free access for everyone. Our desire was to make sure that people felt comfortable there, and that was certainly the case. We had a great mix of people. And we tried to create a varied schedule of events including live music, fireworks, and a day off that the sailors really enjoyed. Today, we don’t see any reason to change a formula that works. The only question we ask ourselves is, “How do we make things even better?”

The last day’s single race for each of 10 classes sailing at Les Voiles de St. Barth determined overall winners and left an indelible impression on all the sailors.  It was simply a spectacular day, strong 15-20 kt winds from the East shifting from 88 to 110 degrees across the race track since most of the course took place in the leeward portion of the islands off the southwestern tip.

J/125 Hamachi sailing St Barth regattaIn both CSA Spinnaker Racing 1 and 2 classes, minor collisions impacted boat performances.  In Spin 1, Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 HAMACHI was hit on the second start after the first general recall.  They retired from the race but, sadly, were not granted YMP points for the incident.  As a result, after starting off with a promising 3-2 they had to count an OCS penalty and a DNF to finish in 4th place overall.

In CSA Spin 2 class, Rick Wesslund’s J/122 EL OCASO had a 3-2-1-2 scoreline and finished just 2 pts out of first place overall. Their team was beginning to learn the vagaries of the winds that whistle around the headlands of St Barths, not a bad showing for their first time at Voiles de St Barths! Finally, in CSA Spinnaker 3 class, the J/109 POCKET ROCKET from Ireland skippered by David Cullen and the women on the J/109 La’Feminine had a rough go of it as the smaller boats on a much bigger boat start line- often having to fight for clear air most of their first beats.   The Voiles des St Barths summary sailing video.  For more Voiles de St Barth sailing information

Storm Trysail Club Hosting Key West!

J/111 sailing Key West Race WeekQUANTUM SAILS Remains Title Sponsor
(Larchmont, New York)- Quantum Key West Race Week will continue thanks to the organizational expertise of a new ownership group and the on-going support of its title sponsor – Quantum Sail Design Group.

The Storm Trysail Club (STC) is pleased to announce that it has taken over ownership and management of the prestigious regatta. Established in 1938, the club is well known for running Block Island Race Week, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer. STC also organizes the Lauderdale-to-Key West Race that has long served as feeder for Key West Race Week.

“Key West Race Week is a terrific bookend to the club’s long-standing Block Island Race Week,” Storm Trysail Club Commodore Lee Reichart said. “We believe we will be able to utilize our experience at Block Island to ensure that Key West remains the most prominent winter big-boat event in North America.”

Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 will be held Jan. 18-22, 2016 with many of the same elements that made the regatta so popular remaining in place.  Quantum Sail Design Group came aboard as title sponsor of Key West Race Week in 2012 at a time when its future was uncertain. Quantum and its backers provided the financial support that enabled Premiere Racing to continue organizing the regatta.  “We recognize Key West Race Week is the flagship regatta in this country and has been for well over two decades,” Quantum President Ed Reynolds said. “This midwinter, big boat regatta is very important to North American and international sailboat racing.  STC is uniquely qualified and we’re excited about the future of the event under its direction.”

Yachting Magazine founded Key West Race Week in 1987 and seven years later brought Peter Craig aboard as race chairman. At the time, it was a single division regatta with 112 boats. Craig took over as event director in the late 1990s and under his leadership Key West Race Week evolved into an iconic international keelboat event.  Craig and assistant Jeanne Kleene, the two principals of Premiere Racing, are happy to hand off the event to capable new stewards.

J/70s sailing Key West Race WeekSTC members are in the process of contacting old and new sponsors. J/Boats, a worldwide leader in high-performance sailboats, has pledged its support to the event.  Hundreds of J/Boats sailors have competed at Key West Race Week over the years, either in one-design, PHRF or IRC classes. “Key West Race Week has been a favorite for J sailors since its inception 20-plus years ago,” said Jeff Johnstone. “We’re very excited to see Storm Trysail Club take the helm and we encourage all of our sailing industry peers to join us in supporting this great event that means so much to the sailing community. We’re looking forward to being back in sunny, breezy Key West next January.”

STC announced that longtime member John Fisher will serve as event chairman for Key West Race Week. Fisher has been involved with Block Island Race Week since 1999, serving as chairman for three editions of the biennial regatta. “Key West Race Week has long been the best winter venue the U.S. has to offer, given the consistency of conditions and obviously the incredible weather,” Fisher said. “Veteran competitors at Key West have come to expect top-notch race management and that will not change! Storm Trysail Club is a proven commodity when it comes to on-water organization.”

In other good news on the logistics/ management side of the event, Dick Neville, another STC veteran, has been appointed race committee chairman. Neville has been working Key West Race Week for nearly two decades as right-hand man to Division 2 principal race officer Dave Brennan. Neville is expecting to conduct starts in most of the classes that have traditionally competed at Key West.  Furthermore, Fisher said Nick Langone will serve as shore-side committee chairman while John Storck Jr. will oversee mobile marina logistics.

The Storm Trysail Club hopes to retain the services of numerous dedicated volunteers that worked for Premiere Racing for many years.  “It is important to point out that many Storm Trysail Club race committee members have been involved with Key West Race Week over the years. So we are not novices when it comes to this particular regatta and its unique elements,” Fisher said. “Because of the accumulated knowledge available to us, I expect the transition from Premiere Racing to Storm Trysail Club to be very smooth.”   Sailing photo credits- Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing. For more Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 sailing and registration information

Monday, April 27, 2015

Champagne Warsash Spring Series IV

J/111 sailing Warsash Spring series (Warsash, England)- 164 boats racing and over 60 races were laid on the water over the opening weekend (18/19 April) of the Brooks Macdonald Crewsaver Spring Championship and the Warsash Spring Series.  The Black Championship Group were racing windward-leeward courses out in the Solent, with starts based near Flying Fish buoy. Peter Bateson, Series Chairman “It was an incredible weekend’s racing. We have more boats entered this year for the Championship which, combined with the weather has led to some really close and challenging racing this weekend”.

J/70 sailing fast on SolentSaturday saw 22 knots of wind that started in the NE and gradually swung to the SE and back again by the end of the day. Sunday had a generally steadier ENE breeze of 8 to 10 knots with gusts in the low teens and the occasional drop to 5 knots.  The Black Flag had to be dusted off for Sunday’s races with the initial wind against tide pushing the normally conservative IRC4 fleet across the line; resulting in a general recall and the black flag to ensure they got away cleanly at the second attempt.

The J/70’s followed and similarly were recalled and got away at the second attempt, but four boats at the pin end did pick up a disqualification. The J/80s spotted the problem and managed better.

By the start of the second race the tide was beginning to turn and with it the starts improved as boats were being pushed down the line rather than across it. A drop to just 5 knots and the wind shifting around by 30 degrees at the end of the day led to some rather tight approaches to the leeward gate as boats misjudged the strength of the tide.

J/70 sailing Warsash Spring seriesIn the White Championship Group Ian Atkin’s J/70, BOATS.COM looks set to repeat his winning performance from last year having gained podium places across all the weekends races bar one.  So far, Atkins’ team has accumulated just 16.5 pts after seven races.  Newcomer to the fleet Russell Peters is sailing fast, as he should being a former UK International 14 Champion.  Peters’ comfort with the J/70 was such that he peeled off three straight bullets in his last three races! On that pace, the BOATS.COM boys had better keep a close watch on their rear view mirror!  Just off the pace behind these two is Jamie Arnell’s LITTLE LOUISE with 41 pts.

BETTY’s (Jon Powell) dominance of the J/80 fleet in the Spring Series extended on into the Championship with a good lead of 6 points over Mike Lewis’s JESTER.  Ali Hall’s BOYSTEROUS is giving the boys a run for their money, too.

J/88 JiFi sailing Warsash Spring SeriesThe dynamic duo of Stew Hawthorn & Paul Heys on the J/88 JI-FI continue to show pace and smarts, leading the J/88 one-design fleet with just 8 pts in six races.  Constantly nipping at their heels and waiting to pounce have been Paul Ward’s crew on EAST SLEEP J REPEAT with all 2nds and 1sts for 10 pts, just 2 pts back from the lead.  Third is Ivan Trotman’s JOJO sitting on 19 pts.

As they’ve done for quite some time, David Mcgough’s J/109 JUST SO started the championships off slowly, but they’ve found 2nd and 3rd gear and have rapidly ascended the standings to be winning on a tie-break with 20 pts.  Second is Chris Copeland & John Smart’s JUKE BOX and just 3 pts back is Paul Griffith’s perennial contenders on the JAGERBOMB!

The J/111s are just starting to get warmed up for the season and showing good form early is Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG, posting 5 bullets in just 6 races to hold a 3 pt lead.  Second is Chris Body & Andrew Christie’s ICARUS and third is Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEMAKER II.

J/80 sailing Warsash Springs on SolentAs we head into the final Sunday (26 April) of the Warsash Spring Series we see that Body & Christie’s J/111 ICARUS in IRC 1 have extended their lead with 10 pts, followed in 2nd by Riklin’s JITTERBUG with 17.  In IRC 2, the J/88 JI-FI is lying 4th and is easily within reach of the top three.  Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II is sitting in 6th but only 7 pts from third place.  Griffiths’ J/109 JAGERBOMB leads their class with Owain Franks & Jean Lockett’s JYNNAN TONNYX tied with Joe Henry’s JOLLY JACK TAR for second & third place.

The massive J/70 class of 24 boats is having a scream in the final stages of the Spring Series and Arnell’s LITTLE LOUISE is leading after 9 races with 30 pts net.  In a close second is Dave Mitchell’s JUMANJI 4 pts back.  A duel for third has two boats tied on 48 pts net- Patrick Liardet’s COSMIC and David Mcleman’s OFFBEAT.   For more Brooks MacDonald Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Gorgeous New J/97E Interior + Cockpit

J/97E walnut interior
(Les Sables d’Olonne, France)- Following her bigger sister- the J/122E- the J/97E is a dramatic new configuration of the extraordinarily successful J/97.  Having proven itself as one of the most successful 29 foot IRC offshore keelboat designs ever, many avid J aficionados wished to have that “big boat” feel in a pocket rocket cruising boat.  Renowned for its capacious, wide-open interior, the new J/97E features a J/97E new cockpitnew high-end, modern interior design comprised of walnut woods and off-white trim and ceilings.  Add in the large hull windows and the feeling is one of “bringing the outdoors in”!

In addition to the wonderful interior enhancements, the cockpit has been completely re-designed to include the famous J/111 cockpit ergonomics- nice long seats that permit you to stretch out in comfort combined with a floor-mounted mainsheet and a large diameter steering wheel on a pedestal in the wide-open aft cockpit.  Look for the new J/97E in this year’s fall boatshows.    For more J/97E performance cruiser sailing information

Sunday, April 26, 2015

JAZZY Jazzed Over French J/22 Open

(Nantes, France)- For the second year in a row over the Easter weekend, the German-French team led by Reiner Brockerhoff sailed the mighty yacht JAZZY to first place in the French J/22 Open in Nantes.

With only 16 points after 12 races, an amazing DSQ-2-1-1-1-1-3-1-3-1—2-3 record permitted this fast team on JAZZY to win by 13 points ahead of the second place EUROPEAN HOMES.  For more French J/22 sailing information

Saturday, April 25, 2015

VROON Wins J/80 Netherlands Winter Series

J/80 Benelux fleet sailing (Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- The J/80 fleet in The Netherlands continue their annual program of hosting a Winter Series as part of their fleet building initiatives.  This year it was unusually good weather most of the time and over the course of several weekends the fleet managed to get in eighteen races.

For the second year in a row, after winning 13 races, the champion was yet again Laura Vroon.  Taking a solid second place for the series was the NJOY team.  Also, sitting on third place was another familiar face, the JUUL team, always dangerous but not as consistent as the other boats.

Now, the Netherlands J/80 fleet is preparing for their famous Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta and the J/80 World Championships in Germany will follow that soon after.  For more Dutch J/80 sailing information

N2E Race Preview

J/120 sailing Newport to Ensenada race (Newport Beach, California)- The 68th annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race will see more than 40 classes of boats cross the start line this Friday, April 24 from 11 a.m. until noon.

Hosted by the Newport Ocean Racing Association, the beloved N2E is an eclectic mix of serious sailors campaigning multi-million dollar yachts racing alongside recreational cruisers. With more than 205 boats entered, N2E is again one of the world’s largest international offshore yacht races.

The inaugural Transpac Qualifier route will send larger yachts and experienced sailors around San Clemente Island then South to Ensenada, Mexico.  Also new this year is the Open Class; a showcase for ultra-modern foiling sailboats that can potentially complete the 125-nautical mile course before dark.

J/124 sailing Ensenada RaceFirst run in 1948, the N2E has a storied history of mixing professional racers, celebrities and recreational sailors to become a time-honored steeped in tradition event for Newport Beach, the city of Ensenada and sailing enthusiasts who come from across the country to compete.  More than 40 trophy categories in monohull, multihull and cruising classes give this a race a wide appeal. In recent years, great winds have tested and challenged the skills of crews, many who only sail overnight on this race.

In fact, the weather may end up being the story of the race much like it was last year.  For those with short memories, the 2014 edition of the N2E was the first start this century that started off with a windward beat in 15-20 kts winds dead on the nose from the SSE.  As a front moved through, the wind died and swung SW, then ultimately NW with the arrival of the front with speeds hitting 20-30 kts at times during the night.  This year the fleet is hopeful the forecast holds true.  At the start, it should be around 8-12 kts SW shifting to W 10-15 kts in the evening and by midnight to the NW with a slight chance of showers with the passing Low (depression). By the Saturday morning, the fleet should be well down track towards San Diego and Ensenada and with any bit of luck the forecasted 15-25 kts winds, gusting to 30 kts, from the NW kick in for a super fast, fresh-to-frightening sleigh-ride under spinnakers or code zeros to the finish!  It has the makings of a record run for many boats.

J/120 sailing start on Ensenada RaceThe J/120 Class has seven boats with many of the top boats from the SoCal region looking forward to the heavy reaching conditions.  Top teams include Peter Bretschger’s ADIOS, John Laun’s CAPER, Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY, Tom & Terri Manok’s POLE DANCER and Gary Winton’s SHENANIGANS.

The seventeen boat PHRF A class has some of the hottest offshore boats in the 40-60 foot range.  Chief amongst that group are a twin J/125s- Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE and Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER.  They will have to contend with some very fast reaching offshore J/Teams in the form of Carolyn Parks’ J/145 RADIO FLYER and two J/160s- Paul Margis’ INDIGO and John Lyon’s INNOCENT MERRIMENT.

J/122 sailing Newport to Ensenada RaceIn the fourteen-boat PHRF B class, two J’s will be going at it, John Raymont’s J/122 T.K.O. and Seth Hall’s J/124 MARISOL (the famous kid’s boat!).

The ten-boat PHRF D class promises some interesting match-ups, the old versus new and the very experienced versus the new kids on the block.  Three J/109 one-designs are racing that all have some pedigree to them, such as Jon Turner’s PATRIOT, Jack Mayer’s ZEPHYR and Milton Santos’ LINSTAR.  A veteran and sailing a classic J/35 is Eric McClure’s MACS.  All of them will be chased hard by the J/88 BLUEFLASH skippered by Scott Grealish.

The lone J in the 15 boat PHRF E class is Juan Lois’ J/105 ROCINANTE.  Finally, the lone Transpac Qualifier race entry for J’s is Robert Pace’s J/46 ANDIAMO.

Tom Siebel (the new J/125 owner of STARK RAVING MAD IV from San Francisco, CA) will be racing the mighty ORION, a MOD 70 that is identical to Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 PHAEDO IV that just won the multihull class at Voiles des St Barths (Lloyd is owner of one of brother Peter J’s Gunboat 62s by the same name- PHAEDO III is also sailing in the N2E).   Sailing photo credits- Rockskipper Photography   For more Newport to Ensenada Race sailing information

Friday, April 24, 2015

MARINA CORUNA Wins J/80 La Coruna Winter Series

J/80 sailing Spain (La Coruna, Spain)- The third and final act of the J/80 Winter Series hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of La Coruna was blessed with nice stable winds from the west at 10-12 kts. In this third act - the seventh day of racing in the series- it was a final battle between BIBA (skippered by Miguel Fernández Vasco) and MARINA CORUNA (led by Pablo Martinez) that determined the final outcome of the midwinter series.

The Race Officer, Alberto Bolívar, and his team of volunteers were able to set good courses all weekend long and provide the sailors some excellent racing.

In the first race, Carlos Pampín and his crew had a spectacular race, but suffered a controversial disqualification for a premature start.  The MARINA CORUNA team rounded the weather mark in second with BIBA hot on their heels.  However, MARINA CORUNA blew their spinnaker hoist, “shrimping” it into the water and ended up finishing 4th in the race.  Meanwhile, BIBA took off and won the race comfortably followed by MELTEMI (Guillermo Blanco) and MOURA (Jacobo Penide), to complete the podium.

In the second race, BIBA won again with a huge lead thanks to effective maneuvers at mark roundings and excellent tactics.  MARINA CORUNA crossed the line in second place, enough to preserve their lead for the series, followed by MELTEMI and MOURA.

The third race was a duel between the two series leaders. After a closely contested first beat with stable wind direction, but very gusty, MARINA CORUNA rounded the first windward mark in first place and this time did not fail in their maneuvers. From there, BIBA challenged them hard throughout the whole race but MARINA CORUNA managed to hang on to their lead, followed by BIBA and MOURA.

At the conclusion of racing, MARINA CORUNA sailed the 18 races and collected just 26 pts, to safely win the Winter Series.  For its part, BIBA had a spectacular 1-1-2 in the final act, taking the victory of Act III and taking 2nd overall for the series with 30 pts.  Carlos Pampín and crew on MIUDO from the local sailing school sailed to a very creditable third place overall with 55 points.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Columbian J/88 Sailing off Cartagena

J/88 sailing Cartagena, Columbia(Cartagena, Columbia)- A J/88 recently landed in Cartagena, Columbia, that beautiful harbor and city on the northern coast along the Caribbean Sea.  Her new owners, Fuad and Sam Navarros, apparently love the boat and their family is having a wonderful time sailing her in local events!

The J/88 is the second J “speedster” to join the ranks of fast offshore boats in Columbia’s offshore racing community.  The first one was Cesar Rojas’ J/111 that sailed in Key West in 2011.