Sunday, May 31, 2015

J/24 Ace- VOR Sailor Charlie Enright Inspiring Youth Sailing!

Charlie Enright- skipper of Volvo 65 ocean racer- Alvimedica(Newport, RI)- J/24 ace Charlie Enright and crew aboard Team ALVIMEDICA had yet another good Inshore Race as part of the Volvo Ocean Race festivities in last week’s stopover in Newport, Rhode Island.  In what became a parade after their awesome start, Charlie’s crew made the most of his local knowledge of current and wind patterns to earn an easy 2nd place.

On Sunday, May 17th, the fleet started at 1400 hrs and took off over the horizon to Lisbon, Portugal after doing a windward-leeward course in Narragansett Bay.  ALVIMEDICA's On-Board Reporter, local Newport sailor and photographer Amory Ross, had this to say about their Newport stop-over:

“We were legitimately speechless, looking at the hundreds of boats lining the racecourse and the thousands of fans along the Newport shore, and when we rounded Castle Hill and the spectator fleet converged to lead us back into the Atlantic I saw nothing but smiles in every direction!

Never did we expect that kind of a turnout during a chilly May weekend in Rhode Island, but instead we were treated to a Narragansett Bay mob maybe bigger than it ever!? Alby thinks he finally knows what it feels like to be a “footballer.” Housty says it was the most impressive sight he’s seen in three Volvo Ocean Races. Nick imagines it as busy or busier than Newport in the 80’s, during the America’s Cup glory days his father always reminisces about. It was almost overwhelming--the energy and enthusiasm that everyone showed for this little event of ours--and even if just for a few hours you made us feel like rock stars. Thank you!!

We are so proud of Newport, of sailing in America, and for the unrivaled passion and excitement that we all experienced during our short stay there. Sailing is alive and well in the Ocean State and while we of course relish the return to racing, it was very, very, hard to say goodbye.

Youth Inspiration at Volvo sailing off Fort AdamsOn a personal note, I was blown away by the amount of kids walking through the village, and by how much they knew. Even a surprised Will, dressed in plainclothes and very much hoping to fly under the radar, was stopped to the tune of Mr. Oxley and a cheering class of 4th graders. I am out here because I love sailing and because I love sharing our adventures, and to meet so many young kids who are following along, who say they want to someday grow up to sail in this race, and who ask the guys only one question: how do I get to where you are? It makes everything that we do worthwhile. To inspire others is as worthy a task as there ever was.”   Follow Team ALVIMEDICA's sailing experiences here.   Watch this sailing video clip- “Inspiring the Next Generation of Sailors”.

Susan Hood Trophy Race Preview

J/109 sailing Lake Ontario (Port Credit, Ontario, Canada)- A long time ago (back in the 1950’s), the vast majority of what we now call racer/cruiser yachts were custom built, usually of wood, and at the west end of Lake Ontario the only measurement handicap system was the Cruising Club of America (CCA) Rule. There were two major drawbacks to this rule: (1) you had to have your yacht weighed, and (2) in almost all cases you had to have a set of plans. Tough nutters those old handicap guys were, eh??

In the spring of 1955, Doug Hood, a member of Port Credit Yacht Club, approached George Cuthbertson (of C&C Yachts design fame) and offered to put up a trophy if someone would produce a simple measurement system for handicapping yachts. They decided to try it out with Doug donating the trophy named after his brand new bouncing baby daughter Susan (e.g. the namesake of the Susan Hood Trophy Race). Approximately 25 boats were measured and the first race was held in early June. The course was Port Credit to Oakville to Port Dalhousie and back to Port Credit. In spite of a fire on one yacht, very little wind, and Doug winning his own trophy (in a Cruising 6 Metre “Junge”), the race was a great success.

Today, the race continues in that grand tradition of breaking new ground and welcoming all forms of offshore sailing to the event in the first great race of the Lake Ontario sailing season. This year’s race runs on Friday, May 29th from Port Credit YC. Boats typically are back at PCYC mid-day or during the afternoon of the following day.

Over the course of time, the race has continued to attract passionate followers that count on getting their boats ready for their inaugural race of the offshore season.  The race can be anything but a “cakewalk” across the lake course.  It can as benign as a cruise around the track in gorgeous spring conditions- 70 deg days, sun and 12 kts of breeze and an evening on the lake watching the Northern Lights dancing in the evening skies while your sails are lit-up with a spring monster moon.  Or, it can all be in fog, like the year one famous Canadian sailor, Terry McLaughlin, spent with his partner figuring out how to make a J/105 go fast.  Or, it can be a hair-raising, beyond fresh-to-frightening ordeal fighting a massively fast-moving frontal system whipping off the Midwestern prairies with God’s light-show blitzing your retinas every few seconds while you try to rationalize why you even bothered to start the race in the first place with the prospect of 1” hail and 45 knot gales blowing down the companionway hatch and exploding your $500 Kaenon sun-glasses!  "Aahhh," say those hardy Midwestern and Canadian folk, “that’s just the way it is, eh??”  Such is the mentality of ice hockey players used to playing pond—hockey in sub-zero gales and frozen-lake iceboat sailors once it’s time to sail the soft-water stuff.  It is a different world for those northern types.

Loving every minute of it are a certain breed of fun-loving, living-it-on-the-edge J sailors who relish the chance to hop in their boats just after Lake Ontario has melted (meaning un-frozen) and begin to carve new trails of adventure across their beloved lake.  The IRC Class of fourteen boats has three veterans taking on some of Lake Ontario’s best offshore teams.  Nevertheless, Murray Gainer’s J/109 LIVELY from Toronto can more than hold their own against them.  In addition, Leszek Siek’s J/35 JAEGER has proven that “classic” can also mean fast; the same can be said for Andrew Sharp’s J/92 SWITCH from Olcott YC in New York.

Sailing the Solo PHRF Fleet will be Geoff Cornish’s J/124 ROULEUR from Royal Canadian YC in Toronto. In the PHRF FS-FC1 Class is past race winner, Bob Eckersley’s J/109 BLUE STREAK from Toronto as well as Graham Tom’s J/120 THE CAT CAME BACK.  In FS-FC2 class is a quartet of fearless J/105 teams such as Peter Wolniak’s ANOTHER HAZARD, Geoff Clarke’s CASUAL ELEGANCE, Tom Accardo’s SOTTOVENTO and Ed Berkhout’s ALI-KAT.  Finally, in the NFS-FC1 class is Wendy Northcotte’s J/30 NORTH CAUGHT from St Catherines, Ontario.  For more Susan Hood Trophy Race sailing information

Is Ken Read worth his sailing salt??

Ken Read- North Sails- at Volvo Ocean Race Newport, RI (Newport, RI)-  Maybe.  More importantly, he took a graceful dive worthy of an Olympic Gold Medalist diver!  How did that happen, one might ask??  The President of North Sails taking a dive into the freezing cold salt water of Narragansett Bay?

Well, some clever people at Sailors for the Sea dreamt up the crazy idea to get sailors to donate cash to their organization to support the Sailors for the Sea's “No Trash No Trail No Trace” Ken Read diving off Team Brunel- Volvo Ocean Race- Newport, RIcampaign and get North Sails President Ken Read to jump off Volvo Ocean Race boat Team Brunel at Leg 7 start!

In the end, the donation goal was matched and sure enough, Ken hopped into a comfy drysuit and just after passing Castle Hill Light, he jumped off the transom of the Volvo 65  Team BRUNEL- not a bad dive for a card-carrying member of the A.A.R.P.!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

MADELEINE Dominatrix Sailing @ J/24 Spring Cup

J/24s sailing Spring Cup off Poole, England (Poole, England)- The J/24 Spring Cup, hosted by Parkstone Yacht Club, is the first regatta of the season and a great opportunity to catch up with other J/24 sailors, both on and off the water, since the last regatta in October. With two major European Regattas over the coming year, the scene was set for two days of competitive sailing as we re-acquainted ourselves with windward-leeward courses. Poole gave us near perfect conditions, with a fair breeze and sunshine for our first day.

The first race saw conditions of 20 knots plus and the whole fleet on jib; the race committee gave us a great first course despite shifty conditions. Whilst we raced closely, there were some familiar names in the leader board, taking the right lifts and spotting the right side of the course. By the end of Race 2 the inconsistent breeze had most of us thinking that we could change up to Genoa but it wasn't until the start of Race 3, when the wind dropped that teams knew a mid race, downwind sail change could be the difference between a top placing and a mid fleet finish. MADELEINE’s start in Race 3 was hampered by the tide, however, skipper Duncan McCarthy not only performed a flawless sail change but also sailed through the fleet to finish first.

Dominica Lindsey, new to J/24 helming on her boat PHOENIX, sailed a great regatta with an impressive 3rd in the 3rd race. William Lack is admired for his tireless enthusiasm encouraging the youth sailors on VINYL SOLUTIONS. Simon Lack sailed an impressive Race 5 and came a close 3rd to two of the fleet’s top helms. Whilst it was clear that both Roger Morris’ JOLLY ROGER and Andy Taylor’s HITCH HIKER are still in a 'developmental phase', they gave a flash of their potential, each with 1st place finish by the end of the regatta.

Everyone agreed the conditions were incredibly changeable, which led to some tough calls on which side of the course was favored. However, the leader board showed that our top crews consistently made the right calls over the 6 races. Congratulations to McCarthy’s crew on MADELEINE (Steve Phelps, Spencer Whitworth, Hannah McCarthy & Charlie Fisher) for their simply brilliant performance with a 1-2-1-1-2-4 scorecard and just 7 pts net.  They fought a closely-matched series of races against Matt Hardy’s CHAOTIC crew (Hugh Styles, Tom Montgomery, Joanna Bainbridge, & Ian Henry) that collected a 2-1-2-3-6-2 tally for 10 pts net.  Lying third on the podium was Roger Morris’ team on JOLLY ROGER (Paul William, John Sparrow, David Sparrow & Nina Squire), improving every race (literally) to post 9-6-4-2-1-6 scores for 19 pts.

A hearty “Thanks” to the Race Committee for a great weekend racing and Parkstone YC for hosting the hungry sailors and providing delicious food and cold beer! A special mention too, to local Mark Bennett’s “Patisserie” for consistently brilliant, yummy sandwiches!   For more UK J/24 Spring Cup sailing information

Cal Race Week Preview

J/109 sailing off Southern California(Marina del Rey, California)- Participation at Cal Race Week continues to be a highlight for many boats as more and more racers discover the pleasure of late spring sailing in Marina del Rey, with afternoon breezes in the low to mid-teens and perfect temperatures for racing around the buoys.

CYC expects many one-design classes to return in 2015 including the J/70, J/80 and J/109 classes.  In fact, of the fifty-four boats registered to date, 23 of them are J/Teams from the SoCal region (nearly 50% of the fleet).  In addition, several J’s are sailing in the SoCal PHRF handicap fleet.

California Yacht Club has won US SAILING’s St. Petersburg trophy for excellence in race management three times in recent years! Multiple venues with separate start/finish lines will minimize interference between boats in different classes and insure that most of the time on the water will be spent racing.

The weekend’s hospitality will be a fitting complement to the on-the-water competition. There will be entertainment both days, with “hosted” beverages on the docks delivered by friendly, beautiful hostesses and a no-host BBQ on Saturday.  Then, on Sunday at trophy presentation there are more complimentary beverages with the most amazing spread of hors d’oeuvres seen anywhere in the world.  If you have never experienced this type of “red carpet” treatment before (similar to San Diego YC's largesse), you owe it to yourself to enjoy CYC’s gracious hospitality at least once in your life! 

Many of SoCal’s leading J/109s will be participating over the weekend, including Alice Leahey’s GRACE O’MALLEY, Bryce Benjamin’s PERSISTENCE, John Shulze’s LINSTAR and Tom Brott’s famous yellow-bottomed boat- ELECTRA.

The J/70 class continues to expand in SoCal, in particular because the J/70 North Americans will be held in San Diego at San Diego YC later in September.  It seems that every major event is attracting a field of strong J/70 teams as that event date gets closer and closer.  New teams like Chris Raab & Dale Williams’ SUGOI will be contending with class veterans like Karl Pomeroy & Patrick Powell’s ZERO TO 60, David Schumann’s BOTTLE ROCKET, Justin Kromelow’s LOOSE LUCY and Craig Tallman’s JAYA.  Woman skipper Beverly Burr’s crew on VIVACE are moving up the learning curve quickly and hope to give “the boys” a run for the roses, too.

The top SoCal J/80 team will be in attendance hoping to defend their crown, Curt Johnson’s AVET from the hometown Cal YC.  They will be joined by Peter Boland & Erik Pavelka’s ACQUE VELOCE and David Angers’ MISS DEMEANOR.

Making a go of it in the PHRF handicap world offshore will be Glenn Griley’s J/111 STAMPEDE from King’s Harbor YC and Rich Festa & David Navon’s J/120 PRIVATE RESIDENCE from PCCA.  For more Cal Race Week sailing information

22 To Many Sailing Newport- Volvo Ocean Race!

J/22s sailing with American war veterans(Newport, RI)- “22 Too Many” is volunteer organization that helps American war veterans adapt & re-integrate into society.

In Newport, these veterans had a great time at the Volvo Ocean Race Village and, more importantly, they had a chance to socialize with real ocean-racing sailors and sail with them on the fleet of Sail Newport’s J/22s off Fort Adams.

Their experience was highlighted here in this sweet sailing video.   Watch the “22 Too Many” YouTube sailing video here:

Friday, May 29, 2015

PNW One Design Regatta- Sailing Was Awesome!

J/105s sailing off Seattle, WA on Puget Sound 
(Seattle, WA)- Yes, the first time the Pacific Northwest One-Design (POD) Regatta was run, and hosted by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle, it can safely be called a success! Just three months after the spark of an idea, over 60 boats came out for this inaugural event. None of this would be possible without the exceptional leadership of our Fleet Captain, Noj Henderson, a capable cadre of volunteers, and our great staff. A huge "shout out" goes to the co-chairs, Steve Sponar & Michele Henderson for taking care of the myriad of details necessary to pull off a regatta on short notice. Special thanks to Phil Nieman, who designed the brilliant POD logo from a couple of scraps of paper hastily drawn at the Boat Show.

Jenn Whitsett from the Seattle Aquarium and Carl Buchan started the weekend off with talks about orca whales and improving sailing success. Both talks were fantastic!

Massive thanks goes to Geoff Peas (this man deserved a medal and GOT ONE), who jumped in at 5 minutes before committee boat launch to serve as PRO on the south course. Our talented and fabulous race committee volunteers, Deb Prince, Joan Chandler, Jeanne McNeil, Joel Highet, Christine Bounds-Poulin, Bob Combie, Paul Carter, Stan & Joyce Buchart, Lorraine Carter, Frost Keaton, and Chuck Stevens were outstanding. Tim Adamson proved to be an exceptional addition to the volunteer staff, and served as a whaler driver. Our staff PRO, Charlie Rathkopf, and scorer Catherine Picha were great, as always.

Our volunteer bartenders included three Commodores! Thanks to Brian Watkins, Jerry Diercks, and Denny Vaughan, along with members Jeff Pullig, Howard Ferguson, and Sarah & Daniel Diaz. A thirsty crowd kept them very busy!  Office staff Beth & Celeste handled last minute drama smoothly and efficiently, per usual, and Chef Jeromi rocked it with the tasty snacks.

We were fortunate to have the lovely and talented Jan Anderson and her Boat Boy Skip out to document the event – they are truly wonderful people – go support them with your event photo purchases!  Click this link here

Without this stellar cast of characters, this event would not have been possible! THANK YOU, ALL!

On the sailing side of things, there was a nice turnout of J/105s and J/80s.  Taking the J/105 class was Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO with a 1-2-2-1 score for 6 pts.  Second was Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM with a 3-1-1-3 record for 8 pts.  Then, in 3rd overall was David Cohen’s INCONCEIVABLE with a 2-3-3-2 for 10 pts.

The J/80s saw a runaway as their class leader, with Lek Dimarucot’s UNDERDOG (appropriately named, eh) scoring only four 1sts to win by a country mile.  The race for the balance of the podium was not so easy; in fact, it was a bit of a dog fight the whole way with both boats earning virtually identical scores and points.  By beating them the last race, Steve Moe’s CRAZY IVAN scored a 2-3-3-2 for 10 pts to grab 2nd.  Losing that tie-break was Mike Poole’s JOLLY GREEN with the inverse scoreline of 3-2-2-3 for 10 pts, too!  For more CYC PNW One-Design sailing information

3 BIG DOGS Chomp J/24 Westerns

J/24s sailing with spinnakers J/70 PRIME NUMBER Sweeps Elite Keel Class
(Belvedere, CA)- The beautiful San Francisco Yacht Club, situated on Belvedere Cove facing the famous Raccoon Straits inside of Angel Island, hosted their annual Elite Keelboat Regatta and the J/24 Western Regional Championship from May 16 to 17. The J/70 class had eight boats racing on the Berkeley Circle along with the fleet of twelve J/24s.

As a Worlds Qualifier regatta, the J/24s were the headliner class for the weekend.  Sailing like a rabid dog going after the last bone on Earth (e.g. like the MadMax movie), Pat Toole’s Santa Barbara YC team on 3 BIG DOGS (past J/24 North American Champions) proved they still had all the skills necessary to be top dog for the weekend, posting four bullets and a 5th to win with 9 pts.

Not surprisingly, another J/24 class leader, the ultra-suave team on TREMENDOUS SLOUCH from Corinthian YC in Seattle, WA, were whipped into a frenzy of energy and uber tactics-calling by their chief cook, bottle washer and skipper- Scott Milne; they posted four deuces and a trey to easily grab second overall for the event.

Rounding out the podium was Paul van Ravenswaay’s FERAL ROOSTER with just 23 pts.  Behind them in fourth was another CYC Seattle boat, Carl Sheath’s SUSPENCE with 25 pts.  Fifth place was decided by a tie-breaker with James Baurley’s CRITTER taking it over Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR.

The all SF Bay J/70 class was pretty well dominated by Peter Cameron’s PRIME NUMBER; their 2-3-1-1-1 scored them just 8 pts.  Starting quickly but fading into the fog and haze was Geoff McDonald’s 1FA with a 1-1-3-2-2 for 9 pts.  Then, the consistent Chris Kostanecki on JENNIFER posted all 2nds & 3rds to grab third place with 13 pts.

Just behind the top three, it was a complete free-for-all with nothing getting settled for the next five boats until the last race or two.  Winning this heart-stopping, anxiety-ridden roller coaster was Tom Thayer’s RAMPAGE, taking fourth place by a whisker with 25 pts.  Only one point back in fifth place was John Brigden’s COOL STORY BRO.   For more Elite Keel/ J/24 Western Regionals sailing information


J/80s sailing GPEN in Camaret, France (Camaret, France)- At Camaret, the J/80 Class has always been very loyal to the Grand Prix Ecole Navale France Championship Monotype habitable. Camaret even organized the J/80 2006 European Championship. It is this year, again, the largest class at GPEN are the J/80s; with 58 boats it also marked a participation record for the event. While starting off very slowly on the first day of racing, it was Martin Bertrand’s CHARLY Team (Xavier Lara, Thomas Haddouche, Julien Lebru, and Amelie Grassi) that closed with a flourish of top five finishes to win by 9 pts.

For the first day of racing on the harbor waters of Brest, it was anything but easy for many of the top teams. The sailing conditions were ideal (8-9 knots in the morning, 12 kts in the afternoon from the WNW with a strong current and sun!).  It allowed the Race Committee, chaired by Alexandre BOUCHARD, to launch three races, including two starts under the terrible black rule.  Overall, no crew really dominated for the day, the differences were small and the standings changed dramatically virtually every race.

The overall standings after 3 races were PIERRE OCEANE (Herve Leduc) in first, followed by GAN’JA (Luc Nadal) and COURIER JUNIOR (Eric Brezellec) in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

J/80 GPEN winnersLike the day before, the J/80 teams started their first race a little before 11:00 am. The Race Committee was able to launch four races in ideal conditions: 8-16 kts of WNW breezes oscillating somewhat evenly and, again, with lots of sun! The general recalls resulted in black flags, including the last race that was fatal for many teams. Because of the adverse current on the line, about fifteen boats were BFD.

The overall standings changed dramatically after the first day.  At this point, CHARLY leapt into first overall, followed by PIERRE OCEANE in 2nd and Brezellec’s team hanging onto 3rd.  Crashing hard and fast down the standings after two BFD’s was Nadal’s GAN’JA.  The most startling advancement up the standings in this game of “snakes & ladders” was ECOLE NAVALE sailed by Frederic Hauville, posting two bullets in the last two races to climb into 4th overall!

For the final day, the RC got the fleet out early for a 0930 hrs start.  However, light winds were the enemy of all good planning and efforts.  Unfortunately, the Race Committee was unable to launch races because the weather conditions were too light: 2-4 knots of wind oscillating between 300 and 350 with lots of current, bright sun, and perfectly smooth water!  As a result, the RC sent the fleet home just before noontime.

The title of “Champion of France Monotype habitable” was awarded to the young Rochelais crew of CHARLY sailed by Martin Bertrand. "This is our first victory in J/80 and only our second competition on this level after the Spi Ouest France Intermarché. We are a young crew (average 23 years) from the 470 class. Our goal this year is the World Championship in Kiel early July. This is a bay that we know well as we often sailed 470s there. We look forward in any case to the Championship of France organized here in GPEN; it was good preparation for the Worlds,“ commented Bertrand.

The runner-up was PIERRE OCEAN skippered by Herve Leduc and his team of Loic Avram, Etienne Luenau, Alexandre Goyer and Nathalie Giloy. The crew of COURIER JUNIOR (Herve Corlay, Morgan Riou, Julie Richeux, Nicolas Richard) steered by Eric Brezellec completed the podium.  Fourth went to ECOLE NAVALE, notable for Hauville’s incredible comeback feat on Saturday.  Fifth was APCC EQUIPE JEUNNE helmed by Hugo Abeguile.

A big thank you for the excellent organization of this event, especially Alain DAOULAS (and teams), Nautical Commissioner of the race, Alexandre BOUCHARD (and his team), Chairman of the Race Committee, for its professionalism, and the city of Camaret (and volunteers) for the fantastic welcome.

Of the nine women skippers in the event (nearly 10% of the boats), the top two women’s teams finished in the top ten!  They were Maxime Rousseaux on CN ST CAST/ GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES in 7th place (notably posting a 5-2-1 scoreline in the middle of the series!) and Maxime Mesnil’s CO-PILOTES in 10th place.   Sailing photo credits- Pierrick Contin   For more Grand Prix de l'Ecole Navale sailing information

Thursday, May 28, 2015

JUST IN TIME Winners @ Wannsee Woche

J/70s sailing Wannsee Woche in Berlin, Germany (Berlin, Germany)- As the first major J/70 regatta of the season hosted by Potsdamer YC on the Wannsee in Berlin, it was the team of JUST IN TIME skippered by Gordon Nickel (including Sebastian Rocke, Fiege Nils-Mathes, Nils Merten Farber) that took the thirteen boat fleet overall honors.  As they say in America, they were first to “punch out” on the time-clock after a weekend of long hard work!

The event had two days of racing with six total races- three each on Saturday and Sunday.  Both days were just about spectacularly perfect— 8 to 18 kts of breeze, some of the best sailing conditions anyone could imagine for the middle of Berlin’s beautiful lake (one of the coolest cities in the middle of Europe!)

J/70s sailing Wannsee in Berlin, GermanyFor the first day of sailing, the crew of DUFTe skippered by Frank-Uwe Fuchs was the runaway leader with a 1-7-1 tally.  Tied for second were Nickel’s JUST IN TIME team with a 6-6-2 and Maxmilian Nickel’s team on JUKEBOX with a 4-3-5.

The second day of sailing brought more good breezes, more sun and even shiftier, puffier breezes!  In the end, it was Nickel’s JUST IN TIME crew that closed out the regatta with a strong series of races and won with a scorecard of 6-6-2-2-2-1 for 13 pts net.

In what seems to be a rather normal scenario for incredibly close J/70 one-design racing, the next two boats on the podium ended up tied on points for second overall.  Winning the tie-breaker with a record of 1-7-1-5-6-4 for 17 pts net was Fuchs’ DUFTe from Yacht J/70 Berlin- Germany- Wansee Woche winnersClub Berlin Grünau.  Third was Max Nickel’s Berliner Yacht Club team sitting on a 4-3-5-1-4-5 record on the same 17 pts net (note- they were the only team in the top three to score all top five finishes).

Also of note was the family team aboard QUICKLY BEE- GER 728; Jürgen Freiheit sailed with his wife Birgit Freiheit and their son Oliver Freiheit and his girl-friend Martje Uecker.  After just taking delivery of their boat, this was their first major J/70 regatta and they managed a 3rd in their first race and a first in their 5th race of the regatta!  Perhaps more good news from this family effort in the near future!  For more Germany J/70 sailing information

J/111 RIPS North Sea Race!

J/111 Xcentric Ripper sailing North Sea RaceJ/105 PANTHER Top Women's Duo!
(Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef's Dutch J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER was the winner of the 18-strong IRC Two-Handed Class, winner of the ORC Two-Handed Class, second ORC Overall, third in IRC 2 Class and fourth IRC Overall! Talk about filling up your trophy shelves in just one race!  FOUR trophies in ONE race for ONE boat!  This was the tenth North Sea Race for John van der Starre and by far their closest finish. After time correction, Xcentric Ripper won the class by four seconds.

"It was a tough but very nice race for us. There was lots of reaching, which was perfect for a J/111. Winning the Two-Handed Class against very good opposition was very satisfying,” commented John van der Starre. "These days with AIS it is possible to see how well you are doing but you don't know how the weather will change for the boats J/111 Xcentric Ripper winners- Robin Verhoef and John van der Starrebehind you. In the delivery race to Harwich, Vuurschepen Race, the wind held up for the boats behind us but for the North Sea Race, that didn't happen. Myself and Robin have been racing together on the boat for four years, so we know our strengths and weaknesses. From the weather forecast we knew that we would have a point where there would be totally no wind on that first night but we know that would give us a good opportunity to gain on the opponents, we decided to stay more to the west, while our opposition went more to the east. The tactic really worked well for us with some good shifts. The wind was picking up, we were planing with about 12 knots of boat speed, it was fantastic but we did have one scary moment, as there were some large navigation marks which were not lit and we passed one by just 30 metres. When we got to Smith's Knoll Buoy, we knew we were in a strong position but to win by just 4 seconds! One little mistake and we would have been second, the Two-Handed Class at the Rolex Fastnet Race is going to be incredible but, having won the class for the North Sea Race, 2015 is already a success for us!”

On the way over to Harwich port, the Vuurschepen Race was good practice for all the crews.  In ORC 2 division, a duo of J/109s were racing, with JAI LAI (JC Bornet) taking 2nd in class and MAJIC (Arnout Joorritsma) in 8th place.  In ORC Two-Handed Class, there were seven very well-sailed and prepared J/Teams. Top J team in this race was the J/109 FIRESTORM (Wim van Slooten/ Jochem Hamstra) in third place and their sistership ARETHUSA (Kees Mijs) was 11th.  The J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER (John van der Starre/ Robin Verhoef) was 7th, followed by the J/122 JUNIQUE RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM (Chris Revelman/ Pascal Bakker) in 8th place.  Just behind was the J/105 PANTHER sailed by the women’s team of Yvonne Beusker/ Edith Voskamp finished 9th.  After leading the race for a while, the J/133 BATFISH (Bart Desaunois/ Gerard de Boer) took 12th place and in 14th was the J/120 MAVERICK (Chris Schram).

For the return trip in the RORC North Sea Race, the reaching conditions found favor with many of the J teams.  In the IRC Double-Handed division, behind the winning duo on the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER was the J/122 JUNIQUE RAYMARINE SAILING TEAM in 4th place, followed by the J/109 FIRESTORM in 5th, then the J/120 MAVERICK in 7th, the J/133 BATFISH in 10th and the women on the J/105 PANTHER in 12th.

Incredibly, the J/111 as a double-handed team took 3rd place in IRC 2 Class with fully crewed boats!  Angus Bates’ J/133 ASSARAIN IV took 5th place while Richard Fawcett’s J/120 JAMEERAH took 6th. The J/122 JUNIQUE took 7th and the J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER sailed by Donall Ryan from the British Army Sailing Association placed 8th.  10th was the J/120 MAVERICK.  Not a bad showing for J’s in this class, just 6 of the top 10!

Yvonne Busker sailing J/105 PantherYvonne Beusker on the double-handed women’s team on the J/105 PANTHER provided this report on their collective experience:

“Home sweet home! Preparation is everything.  Or, as they say, diminishes the worry of unexpected fixes. Edith and I have prepared in wintertime during North Sea IJspegel Trophy winter competition in Scheveningen after our thorough refit/upgrade.

What a feast!  So, there we are, participating in the first Two-Handed Nationals ever held in the world. Not an easy one, I must say as these duo's have committed to 3 consecutive races, starting with:
  1. 130nm offshore Vuurschepen Race from Scheveningen to Harwich/Woolverstone, with 1 day recovery; then
  2. starting the next 200nm offshore North Sea Race from Harwich back to Scheveningen; and then
  3. four days of inshore racing during North Sea Regatta!
Basically, you must be mad to do all the work that full crew teams undertake with only two!  And, well, if we're mad anyway, let's have these duo's really push it to the max with way much more races then any other nationals before so they can actually call themselves the national champ!

Ready to start the Vuurschepen Race on Tuesday evening 12 May. Always a bit more excited as you start the race going directly into the night while crossing one of the busiest seas with commercial vessels in the world! If you want to know how a rabbit feels crossing the highway... well here's a good one. We knew to start with a lot of wind, which would completely vanish at dawn. It would cover such a large area that it was impossible to escape. Not a good combination for sailing yachts especially if you add the strong tides to it. In short: the ladies managed to not perform well at the start and when it should have been relatively easy, but kind of outperformed when it tactically became outrageously difficult. These light winds made the race take up about 25.5 hours, much more time then we'd ever sailed it before. Smaller boats obviously arrive later, and the combination small boat plus long period of no wind allows for less time recuperating for the start of the North Sea Race.

So, traditionally Thursday after the Vuurschepen Race and before the North Sea Race, there's the Pinn Mill lunch, followed by the prize giving at Royal Harwich Yacht Club/ Woolverstone. This leaves for only a few morning hours of repairing and preparation for the race starting the day after. Noordzee Club's lunch at Pinn Mill is famous. Always good to be among those 'chosen ones' and peers with the same experience; and well, what happens in Pinn Mill Stays in Pin mill?!  ;)  If you've never been there, well it's hard to explain. So why not try to attend next year?

Then, the North Sea Race. Traditionally always good to have extra competition from our UK, Belgian and French sailing friends. To our British friends... why are you sailing straight back to the U.K.?? Don't you know the 3rd largest inshore sailing event of West Europe, the North Sea Regatta, is about to start in a few days? Need to work? Well, leave the boat in Scheveningen and book a return on the Harwich ferry?

J/105 Panther sailing Dutch Two-handed NationalsAgain, we prepared for a medium wind start, preparing for a no wind treat in a few hours time. We noticed that we had less time to recuperate and prepare then we'd wish for. It's always difficult when sailing with only two, to schedule for rests and the duration for them. We're human, so we need it.  However, with two you can't schedule by the clock, as no wind ever sticks to regular working hours. That's one that needs emphasis in our further practice. After the start, we sailed up to black deep buoy, always a difficult one with the tides around the sand bank. We sure miscalculated the current around buoy!  Those were very, very expensive extra minutes we lost and made us in a lesser position entering the no wind zone. We were quite keen on changing headsails, spi's in a timely matter, which was a good heads-up.

With all the action, you basically burn calories like crazy. As for the food? To sail on you need high-energy food and munchies like nuts and high fiber dried apricot and so on. There's so much good freeze-dried food available. We had great flavors with us, and a few test versions... let's say, not all the test versions have passed the test for further use.

So back to the race: it was a long one, by dawn welcoming us with cloud covers and rain. With Scheveningen in sight, we had the sun welcoming us back home.

Something that wasn't the case for Luctor3, CoinCoin and Jazz. During the night all 3 hit a buoy, unlit and not located where it was supposed to. We hope that the actions undertaken by the Dutch and English authorities against the owner of these buoys to avoid any further accidents in the future.  We feel sorry for you guys. Thank you for your sanity after the accident and warning the fleet behind you of these unlit buoys adrift.

So, now waiting for the price giving for the North Sea Race in a few hours. We congratulate our Two-Handed class winners, with a well-deserved spot.

So, let's talk about those Two-Handed nutheads, which cover one-third of the fleet. It's not just about testosterone. Let's not forget the female die-hards of the Vuurschepen Race: Astrid de Vin– skipper 'Il Corvo', Jessica Wegener– co-skipper 'RoaringX', Els Besse– co-skipper 'Windsprint' and, of course, the Panther team with co-skipper Edith Voskamp and skipper Yvonne Beusker. We challenge other women sailors for more girl-power and girl-competition!

Preliminary scores mention 9th place overall. I guess, we can say we've won 1st prize in the all-women skipper class and also became winner of all female duo's class!! Too bad there's no prize for that!! :)

Suggestion to the Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA- can you support more women’s offshore sailing and set a prize for that?? So, Team SCA, just send me a PM/text and we'll arrange it! :)

Sore muscles.  Very tired.  A long list full of improvements.  But, also satisfied we've also got more good news. With the completion of these races and races last September, we've more than qualified ourselves as a duo for the Fastnet (Rolex Fastnet Race) starting August 2015!!  Yipee!!  Watch out boys, you may be in trouble yet!”   For more North Sea Regatta sailing information.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Calling all J/Boat sailors!

Summer Sailstice 2015Come sailing with us!
(Newport, RI)- We are inviting all J/Boat sailors worldwide to come sailing 'with us' as part of the Summer Sailstice global celebration of sailing.  We want to show off the best of J/Boat sailing and you can help us do it by entering your sailing plans for this once-a-year event held annually on the weekend nearest the summer solstice.  This year the June 20th weekend.

Everyone signed up and sailing is eligible to win a $100 gift certificate to the J/Boat store plus a one-week BVI charter from Sunsail and numerous other prizes.  You can participate if you're racing Block Island Race Week, the Marion Bermuda Race, Cleveland Race week or cruising the Med or just out for an afternoon sail.  Sign up, hoist your sails and celebrate J/Boat sailing.

Sign up at  This allows you to post your sailing plans, publicize a fleet event, invite others or see what other sailors are doing in the area.  Participants can host a cruising rendezvous, hold a race or sail however you like for the Sailstice holiday. There’s no better way to start the summer and the ideal way to connect with all J/Boat sailors around the world.  Ideally, we'd love to have all 14,000 J/Boats in all four corners of the globe all sailing 'together' in this worldwide celebration of sailing!

All events can be posted on this map.  Individuals can enter their sailing plans to show up here.

We're looking forward to sailing and celebrating 'with you' on Summer Sailstice 2015!  Where will you be sailing your J/Boat for Summer Sailstice?   Fair Winds,  The Newport J/Team

Joyous J’s Sail Vice Admiral's Cup

J/111 sailing on Solent seriesJ/111 McFLY & J/109 JELLY BABY Victorious
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK)- This year’s Vice Admiral’s Cup Regatta could not have been more fortunate with the sailing conditions all weekend long.  With the extraordinary PRO and RC work from the host Royal Corinthian Yacht Club’s team, the sailors managed to enjoy nine races over the weekend’s racing from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th May. Since its introduction, the event has gone from strength to strength with its simple close-racing format and the fun social program made it exceedingly enjoyable for the competitors. Reveling in the on-water and onshore repartee’ was Tony Mack’s McFLY winning the J/111 class and Ian Nagle’s Irish team aboard the J/109 JELLY BABY.  Here is how it all went down on the usually tricky Solent weather conditions.

Day 1:
The opening day saw a 35 strong fleet enjoy three exciting light to moderate airs races. Initially, a lack of wind forced Race Officer Rob Lamb to call for a two-hour postponement ashore. His timing and assessment of the conditions proved to be spot on and by the revised start time of 13.30 the fleet was in the race area and a light west-south-westerly breeze was building.

Although the conditions were cooperating and the teams were ready to go, circumstances beyond the race committee’s control saw one of the mark laying boats briefly out of action with technical issues and another called away to assist with a May Day rescue.  To allow time to get the mark boats back on station a further 15-minute postponement was made and the race committee set up a compromise windward leeward course using Solent marks to reduce waiting time for the competitors.

For the first two races the J/111 and J/109 fleets were combined and made a spectacular sight as they crossed the line. Although spectacular, the combining of the fleets made life quite challenging for the J/109s who not only had to battle each other, but also find clear lanes behind the slightly faster J/111s.  For race three, all four fleets raced independently, which made life much simpler for the tacticians aboard the now, separate J/111s and J/109s.

All three races were run on windward leeward courses.  After his opening Solent marks based course, Rob Lamb was able to run races two and three on laid mark windward/leeward courses with varying leg lengths, start line lengths and finish line configurations giving great racing and keeping everyone on their toes.  The wind continued to build, eventually topping out in the mid teens by the end of the third race.

J/111 sailing Solent regattaTony Mack and his crew aboard “McFly” dominated the J/111s.  This experienced and well-practiced team took two race wins and were only narrowly beaten in race two by Stuart Sawyer’s “Black Dog”.  Racing throughout the rest of the fleet was tight with plenty of place changing and close action.  “McFly’s” consistency gives her the overnight lead by three points from “Black Dog” who added a fourth and second to their race win to end the day a single point ahead of third placed “Jitterbug”, owned by Cornel Riklin.

Ian Nagle’s J/109 “Jelly Baby” emulated “McFly’s” success by also posting a 2, 1, 1 scoreline.  Their nearest rival, the Royal Naval Sailing Association’s “Jolly Jack Tar” started off the day with flying colours and a first and second place, but struggled in the third race finishing sixth, so that overall “Jelly Baby” now leads “Jolly Jack Tar” by five points.  Third place overnight is filled by Paul Griffiths and his team aboard “Jagerbomb”, who took sixth in the opening race but then picked up to add a pair of third places, leaving them on twelve points overall and three points adrift of “Jolly Jack Tar”.

Day 2:
After the opening day’s cold and grey conditions, the sun made a welcome appearance on the second day. It was joined by a lovely northwesterly breeze that kicked off the day in the high teens with guests up towards 25 knots, and gradually dropped to around 10 to 12 knots for the later races.  The sparkling conditions enabled the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Race Committee to run four more windward leeward races making the total number sailed so far seven and bringing the discard into play.

The first race of the day, race four in the series, was the windiest and there were plenty of thrills and spills to entertain the spectators, particularly amongst the notoriously tippy Quarter Tonners.  Although several boats did spin out there were no serious incidents and everyone made the most of the stunning conditions. For the most part the fleets were very well behaved on the start line with just a few individual recalls, although the J/109s did blot their copybook in race five by forcing a general recall. Fortunately, the race committee had them turned round again within minutes and they were all clear at the second time of asking.

J/111s sailing under spinnaker on SolentThe J/111s continued to be dominated by Tony Mack’s “McFly” who faltered only briefly in race four with a second, but then went on to win three straight races giving them a six point margin over their nearest rival. Stuart Sawyer’s “Black Dog” was the boat that got the better of “McFly” in race four and they went on to add a neatly sequential second, third and fourth to their card giving them 13 points overall.  “Black Dog” now lies second overall and has a comfortable twelve point cushion, but the battle for third place is going to be a close one with “Mustigo”, owned by Scholefield/McDonald/Thomas just a single point ahead of both “Icarus”, owned by Andrew Christie & Chris Body, and “JElvis”, owned by Martin Dent, who both count 26 points going into the final day.

The J/109 class saw the fiercest battles of the day with three different winners of the four races.  By far the most consistent performer with a 1, 3, 1, 2 score was Ian Nagle’s “Jelly Baby” who continues to lead the class and has extended their margin to 13 points.  Yesterday’s second place “Jolly Jack Tar”, owned by the Royal Naval Sailing Association, did not find the winder conditions to her liking and dropped down from second to fourth place.  Leapfrogging over her was Robert Stiles “Diamond Jem”, who won race five and is now on equal points with Paul Griffith’s “Jagerbomb”, which continues to hold third place on count back. Both boats are counting 21 points and discarding a seventh place.  In fact just four points separate second to sixth place in the J/109s with Tony Dickin’s “Jubilee” fifth with 23 points and David Rolfe’s “Shadowfax”, winner of race seven, sixth overall on 25 points.  Tomorrow’s final day is going to be an exciting one for the J/109s.

After racing a delighted Robert Stiles of second placed J/109 “Diamond Jem” commented, “It was fantastic sailing today.  Good wind and the race officer did terribly well in keeping the races rolling.  We’re very glad we got four races in.  We’re an all amateur crew of weekend sailors from Brighton Yacht Club and we’ve come up to the Solent for this event that gives great class racing for us.  Neil Angel is our tactician and his experience as a past winner of Cowes Week in the 1720s is invaluable. It’s all to play for and as always seconds count and it will no doubt be like that tomorrow.  It is the most challenging racing and the whole crew enjoys the sheer excitement that the J/109 class always generates.”

Day 3:
Perfect Solent Conditions For The Finale!  When the Solent is on form it truly is one of the world’s great sailing venues and today’s conclusion demonstrated this perfectly.

As forecast, the day opened with light airs and overcast skies so Race Officer Rob Lamb initially held the crews ashore giving them time to enjoy a relaxed Sunday morning coffee. By noon the sun was out, a classic Solent sea breeze was building from the south west and racing was underway for the first of two windward leewards for all classes, races eight and nine of the series.

Tony Mack and his crew aboard J/111 “McFly” were once again on flying form and took a very confident win in race eight to secure the series.  They were enjoying the racing so much that they stayed out for race nine and cruised to third place which they promptly discarded as their worst result.  Stuart Sawyer’s “Black Dog” secured second place overall by taking third in race eight and second in race nine to finish the series eight points behind “McFly”.  The battle for third was a close one with “Mustigo”, owned by the Scholefield/McDonald/Thomas partnership, Andrew Christie and Chris Body’s “Icarus” and Martin Dent’s “JElvis” separated by just a single point going into the final day. “Mustigo” declared her intentions from the off and finished race eight in second place, with “Icarus” fourth and “JElvis” sixth.  As they lined up for the final race “Mustigo” now counted 27 points, “Icarus” 30 and “JElvis” 32.  “Mustigo” had the bit between her teeth though and stormed to race victory to secure her place on the third step of the J/111 podium.

Asked after racing for the secret of their success Tony Mack, owner of J/111 “McFly” wryly said; “Firstly it was lovely weather, it didn’t rain! Also, I think we just got lots of things right, which in the past we haven’t always.  We seemed to get the rig settings right for each race for the sails.  Playing the right wind shifts helped and we just got further and further ahead.  Jeremy Smart is our tactician and he got us simply brilliant starts in all but one race.  I think in fairness to the other competitors we’ve done it where we’ve got everything wrong. I think that’s why everybody goes sailing to hope that they get a weekend like this, one where everything just comes together.  Our class rules allow us one professional, who is Jeremy, but everyone else is an amateur.  We’re quite a small crew physically, so we can sail with nine people within the weight limit and the crew range from a student, an IBM Executive and a windsurfing instructor to my wife and various friends. We’ve sailed together a lot which I think is half of it and we make sure the boat is one that everyone likes to sail on so they want to come back.”

J/109 sailing on solentIn the J/109s Ian Nagle’s “Jelly Baby” put the final stamp on their already impressive lead by adding a third followed by a win to secure first place overall.  Whilst the victor was a foregone conclusion the same could not be said of the remaining podium positions with just four points separating Robert Stiles’ “Diamond Jem”, Paul Griffiths’ “Jagerbomb”, the RNSA’s “Jolly Jack Tar”, Tony Dickin’s “Jubilee” and David Rolfe’s “Shadowfax” overnight. The tension was palpable as the boats came to the line and it was nip and tuck from start to finish of race eight.  “Shadowfax” took her second race victory of the series and was followed across the line by “Jagerbomb”, “Jelly Baby”, “Jubilee”, “Diamond Jem” and then “Jolly Jack Tar”.  A quick recalculation of the points revealed that “Jagerbomb” now lay second on 23 points, “Shadowfax” and “Jolly Jack Tar” were both on 26 points and “Jubliee” and “Diamond Jem” both had 27 points. Right from the final warning flag, the boats were jockeying for position and there were plenty of places changing on every leg of the course.  At the line, “Shadowfax” crossed second behind “Jelly Baby”, “Jubilee” was third and “Jagerbomb” fourth. “Jolly Jack Tar” could only manage an eighth, their worst result of the series, and “Diamond Jem” was ninth.  Overall that meant that “Jagerbomb” took second place overall by a single point from “Shadowfax” with “Jubilee” fourth, “Jolly Jack Tar” fifth and “Diamond Jem” sixth.

Having travelled all the way from Cork to compete in this year’s Vice Admiral’s Cup regatta was “Jelly Baby’s” owner Ian Nagle.  He was “pleasantly surprised” with their success. “We’ve done pretty well in Ireland, we’ve won a couple of ICRA Nationals in 2012 and 2014 and we won the Irish J/109 Nationals last year, but this is our first time out of Ireland.  We’ve come from Cork and are staying to do the J-Cup as well. We genuinely didn’t know how we would fare against the English boats. There are no J/109s in Cork so we weren’t sure how we were going to do, but I think after race 3 we felt might be on the pace. We were very happy with the race management.  That kind of fast turn around was great, its lovely to race and start again quickly, that’s what its all about really.  He [Rob] did a great job as there was so little wind on Friday so to get the three races in that day was magic. We were full of praise for him. After that we’re mad for more!”

After racing the crews gathered at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s delightful Cowes clubhouse for the prize giving where RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine presented the prizes to the luck crews and thanked all the competitors for attending and once again making the Vice Admiral’s Cup a resounding success.  He also paid tribute to Rob Lamb and his Race Committee for their sterling work and thanked the club's volunteers and staff for their excellent support.   For more Vice Admiral’s Cup sailing information

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NOTARO Team Leads J/70 ALCATEL OneTouch Trophy

J/70s sailing Alcatel OneTouch Italian Nationals off San Remo, Italy (San Remo, Italy)- Twenty-five teams from three countries contested the second leg of the J/70 ALCATEL ONETOUCH Italian Trophy this past weekend, May 16 and 17. Classic San Remo gentle breezes, varying in direction from 230 to 235 degrees and generally averaging between 7 to 12 knots graced the two-day, five-race event hosted by Yacht Club San Remo.

J/70 Alcatel OneTouch San Remo winnersAt the halfway mark into the Alcatel OneTouch J/70 Italian National Open Championship, top honors went to NOTARO Team helmed by Luca Domenici. After taking the lead on day one, thanks to the positive scoreline of 3-2-1, the Domenici’s NOTARO Team stayed on the top to claim the final victory of the act. Landing second, five points back, was Alessio Marinelli's UJI UJI while the third place on equal points went to CALVI NETWORK helmed by the reigning Italian and European J/70 champion Carlo Alberini. Local San Remo sailor Franco Solerio on L’ELAGAIN, with tactician Gaetano Figlia di Granara, finished fourth followed by the Swedish Ingemar Sunstedt's ROCAD RACING in fifth and the Monegasque team on CARPE DIEM skippered by Jacopo Carrain in sixth.

Despite the fact the second leg of the J/70 ALCATEL ONETOUCH Italian Trophy ended up with an all-Italian podium, the Swedish ROCAD RACING continues to keep the chase for taking the top spots on the overall leaderboard. Top team overall is NOTARO Team with 35 pts, followed by L’ELAGAIN in 2nd with 39 pts and 3rd is UJI UJI with 53 pts.  ROCAD RACING is 4th with 60 pts and CARPE DIEM is 5th with 75 pts.

Finally, with two events and 15 races sailed in the circuit, the teams are now looking forward to the next appointment to be held in Cervia, Ravenna (June 12-14) before moving towards La Rochelle for the J/70 World Championship in July!   Sailing Photo credits- Fabio Taccola   For more Italian J/70 sailing information

J/111 BLUR Crushes Skagen Offshore Race

J/111 Blur sailing SkagenRace (Skagen, Denmark)- The Skagen Race is the offshore season premiere in Scandinavia. A quick 120nm overnight dash from Norway to Denmark over a cold, and sometimes rough, Skagerrak sea. But it’s usually worth it and the reward is the famous weekend party in the little Danish town of Skagen. Sun, cold Danish beer and late night boat parties attract crowds from far away!

Peter Gustafsson and his crew on board J/111 Blur³ are preparing for the Fastnet Race in August and decided to get the most out of the race. They started with a 140nm delivery to Norway in full-on “race mode”; 26-30 knots of wind and massive seas were a decent shake-out for both the boat and the crew.

Skagen Race course”It was unbelievably wet. Just before dark we hit some monster waves that just flushed the crew along the deck and down in the cockpit. Starting a boat delivery with a headcount felt a little strange. But the boat stayed dry, and we managed to get into our routines,” explained Peter.

As they got to Norway the wind dropped, and Oslo Fjord was picture perfect. Race registration, some lunch and the team was ready to go again.

In a light northerly breeze, the J/111 really showed some good pace; easily leading it’s start and overtaking earlier starts. Later that night, it was all about timing a big wind shift from NW to NNE and working hard to keep the speed up.

”We worked through the inventory, rotating A2, A3 and a Code 0. We timed the shift ok and had a comfortable lead at the mark at Väderöarna,” commented Peter.

J/111 BLUR winning teamIn the morning the fleet left the Swedish coast for the final sprint to Denmark, BLUR kept a loose cover on the competition (so much easier when everyone has AIS). Working the shift they extended the lead to a huge, mind-numbing, ego-crushing 33 minutes margin for an epic class win.

”We won the class big with the J/109 in 2010. To be able to come back for a repeat performance in a faster class with the J/111 is just fantastic. It was also very valuable to get a 48-hour shake down and to get into offshore mode with rotation, food and sleep,” concluded Peter.  His crew consisted of Andreas Turesson, Mats Björk, Magnus Hansson, Mattias Bodlund, Simon Kindt, Pelle Pedersen, Patrik Månesskiöld and David Johansson.

In addition to BLUR’s amazing win, the J/109 JUBLE sailed by skipper Jon Holm (Oslo Seilforening) took 3rd in NOR 2 Class.   Sailing Photos here courtesy of BLUR Sailing Team.   For more Skagen Race sailing information (in Swedish).

Monday, May 25, 2015

Spectacular, Sunny Swiftsure Regatta Hot Racing for J/105s, J/111s and J/120s
(San Francisco, CA)- The St Francis YC played host to the Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta last weekend for fleets of J/105s, J/111s and J/120s.  Not surprisingly, the San Francisco Bay conditions delivered in spades with the StFYC PRO able to run five races on the western end of the Bay between Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge- a.k.a. “the city front course.”

Perhaps the most surprising element of this year’s event was the fact that despite tremendous parity between the top teams in all three J classes, it was a set of new (or re-invented) players that simply dominated their fleets.  Almost as if on cue, the top boats all managed to avoid bad races in the no-throw-out series.

J/105 MOJO sailing San Francisco BayWhile many of the usual suspects in San Francisco’s famous J/105 fleet populated the top five, it was Jeff Litfin’s MOJO team that experienced a resurgence of speed and smarts for the weekend.  Yes, they truly got their “mojo” going with an amazing record of 4-1-6-1-1 for 13 pts, winning by the enormous margin (for the J/105 class, that is) of 12 pts!  In a distant second place and fighting hard to stay there was one of the class leaders, Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE.  In a four-boat fight for the top five, ARBITRAGE hung on by a whisker to post a 2-2-5-11-5 for 25 pts.  Just two points behind them was the trio of Steve, Paul and Gregg Kent on PERSEVERANCE with 27 pts.  The rest of the top five included Ryan Simmons’ every-present BLACKHAWK in 4th and Doug Bailey’s AKULA in 5th.

J/111s sailing on San Francisco city front courseThe J/111 class on SF Bay was in for a bit of a shocker.  Winning their first major regatta in a thoroughly convincing fashion was Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY.  Sure is hard to beat five straight bullets for a mere 5 pts!  Equally convincing in their consistency was a newcomer to the J/111 class, the San Diegan team on PERSEVERANCE skippered by Bennet Greenwald; their 5-2-2-2-3 was good enough for 14 pts and second overall.  Dick Swanson’s BAD DOG sailed fast and consistent to snare a 2-5-4-4-4 scorecard for 19 pts and third place.  Lying 4th was Nessrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS and 5th was Dorian McKelvy’s MADMEN.

Like the 105s and 111s, the J/120s had a relatively “new” team at the top of the podium after the fog of war cleared on Sunday.  With an amazing 1-2-1-1-3 for just 8 pts, David Halliwill’s PEREGRINE team was ecstatic with their win, one of the more dominating performances in the J/120 class in quite some time.  Second was Steve Madeira’s MR MAGOO with a more “normal” class score of 4-1-2-4-1 for 12 pts, such is the closeness of the fleet.  Third was Barry Lewis’ CHANCE with 14 pts. Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray.   For more St FYC Swiftsure Regatta sailing information

Kiel Week J/70 Announcement

J/70s sailing in Germany(Kiel, Germany)- The first J/70 German Open Championship will be held in conjunction with the famous Kieler Woche event, one of the world’s largest one-design regattas.  Running from the 20th to 28th of June, it’s a tremendous opportunity to enjoy not only great sailing but also fantastic shoreside festivities that include rock concerts, symphonies, a zillion different “craft beers” and a smorgasbord of delicious foods.

So far, over eighteen entries have registered with many teams representing the J/70 fleets in Berlin and also Lake Constance.  In addition, there are boats from The Netherlands and from Russia.  Top names in the European class include Claas Lehmann, Jurgen Waldheim, Thomas Studer, Christian Soyka, and Wouter Kollmann.

Mark you calendars now and join the fun in Kiel!  It’s a memorable regatta and an opportunity to make new friends from across Europe sailing J/70s!  For any questions, please be sure to contact Sven Jürgensen at email- or mobile-  +49(0)171/683 5555.   For more Kieler Woche sailing information

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Grand Prix du Crouesty Preview

J70, J24, J80 sailing Grand Prix CrouestyJ/70 & J/24 French Nationals!
(Crouesty de Arzon, France)- For the upcoming holiday weekend in France, the Yacht Club du Crouesty Arzon will be hosting their famous annual regatta- the Grand Prix du Crouesty.  The event is held for three days out of Port Navalo with racing taking place on Bay de Morbihan.  From May 22nd to 24th, YCCA expects over 250 boats to participate in a multitude of one-design classes.  What makes it a fun event is that it is also very family oriented- this year’s theme is “Destination Cuba” and will feature Caribbean Pirates and other entertaining programs.

The French J/24 Class is hosting their French Nationals as part of GP Crouesty.  It’s an especially J24 and J80 sailing GP Crouesty, Franceimportant event for this class since it will serve as precursor to J/24 European Championship being hosted from the 6th to 12th of June.  In addition, the J/70s in France are hosting their first Nationals as well.  The turnout expects to see some of the best teams in France participating since the J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle are just over a month away.  Finally, the GP Crouesty also serves as the fourth act of the French J/80 Coupe de France series.   Watch their entertaining promo sailing video here.   For more Grand Prix du Crouesty France sailing information