Tuesday, June 30, 2015

J/Teams Sweep Dun Laoghaire- Dingle Race

J/109 sailing Ireland (Dun Laoghaire, Ireland)- This is the Irish offshore race that ticks all the boxes. You start conveniently on a Friday night from a harbour which – despite everything that has been done to it in the name of modern architecture – continues to present the classically smooth granite façade of official Dublin-on-Sea. The race is on southward through the night down the east coast, past murky sandbanks that contrast with the luxuriance of the Garden of Ireland beyond the nearby shore. After that, it's round the tricky rock-strewn southeast corner and into the Atlantic, seeking a course between southwest and west along a green and purple coastline with fine mountains beyond, until your next major turn is the Fastnet Rock itself.

Then it's on Round Ireland's most spectacularly beautiful southwestern coastline, past one great headland after another, each more impressive than the last. The final turning mark is reached, a rock so spectacular it's first choice for location shooting on sci-fi blockbusters. Thus is the mighty and mystical Skellig Michael put astern. And then, with the majestic scenery of the great mountains of Kerry setting the style, you head up a splendid inlet and sail through a small and almost hidden gap in its rugged northern coastline.

J/109 sailnig IrelandYou've suddenly entered a secret yet commodious natural harbour, and may find yourself being welcomed by the amiable yet often spectacular resident dolphin. But far from finding you've arrived at a sparse little village which is appropriately dwarfed by the big country about it, on the contrary there's a proper little port town with an air of confidence and cosmopolitan chic, and the aromas of good cooking in the breeze off the land. But the contrast with the smooth metropolitan harbour town you left a couple of days earlier simply couldn't be greater. For you have just finished the 280-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, and all is very well with the world at one of Ireland's best destination ports.

As the fleet sailed into the night, some were doing better than others almost regardless of the wind they found. And the D2D Race Tracker began its work on Afloat.ie to such good effect that within a couple of days its visitor hits had knocked "James Bond in Dun Laoghaire" off the top of the popularity sidebar on their website.

However, through the remainder of the short June night, the two leaders were powering away, and by 0530 they had broken past the Tuskar Rock while the fleet astern found the new flood tide piling up against them to enable Antix to start to assert her position at the top of the leaderboard on IRC. This was what had been expected with the weather forecasts on Thursday morning, when predictions had been that a favorable wind pattern - briskly from the north - might enable Antix to get to Dingle within the 24 hours, with the stratospherically-rated Lee Overlay Partners doing even better.

But by Friday morning the wind expectations and the betting had softened. It seemed there were going to be at least two significant flat patches that would have to be negotiated before they could breathe the Kerry air. In those circumstances, the smart money shifted to boats with middle ratings in the fleet, and where better to settle than on the half dozen ever-reliable J/109s? And within those ever-reliable J/109s, where safer than the Shanahan family with RUTH, the 2014 ISORA Champion?

sailing around irelandIt has to be admitted that with POWDER MONKEY leading the charge for glory in the J/109s in the early stages, RUTH had her backers worried. But by the time they were out past the Coningbeg at 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, the money was looking a little bit safer, for although Antix was still reaching along in glorious style and fine weather with the Old Head of Kinsale the next mark in mind and her still on top of the handicap lead, RUTH was now emerging from the pack and was picking at the lead in the J/109s which had been taken over by the Welsh boat MOJITO (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), while early sprinter POWDER MONKEY had run out of steam and was now well back.

While the northerly breeze lasted, Lee Overlay Partners and Antix were in a race of their own. Horizon job doesn't even begin to describe it. And when the wind did go soft and then drew locally from ahead on Saturday afternoon during an otherwise perfect summer's day, they were better able to cope in clear conditions. But many miles astern, the most of the rest of the fleet were in those messy waters south of the Hook, where head winds in the usual lumpy sea make any progress difficult, and some took desperate tactical gambles.

Yet such is the nature of this race that the more optimistic continued to hope that their time might yet come, and so it proved through Saturday night. The underlying northerly breeze had returned as forecast, reinforced by being the night breeze off the land right along the south coast of West Cork. But for the two leaders ploughing along approaching the Fastnet Rock at midnight, they were sailing into another calm. The Fastnet Rock, legendary emblem of rough water, was no more than a great big pussy cat sitting serenely in its own bed of almost windless sea. Antix came as near as dammit to a halt.

Yet the rest of the fleet, led by the offshore-course-favouring J/122 Aurelia (Chris & Patanne Power Smith), were coming down from the Old Head of Kinsale through the velvet night in considerable style and at a very fine speed. Then through that night, as each cohort in turn came to the Fastnet and found it calm and then had some very slow progress towards the next bit of a reasonably moving air out by Mizzen Head, the corrected time leadership changed almost by the minute, and certainly by the hour.

In such circumstances, with all the benefit of hindsight, we can see a trend emerging. The close racing between MOJITO and RUTH had developed into an exhausting duel. But their heightened performance for that one-on-one challenge meant they in turn were out-performing all others. Oh for sure, from time to time other boats appeared at the top of the leaderboard. But thanks to the MOJITO/ RUTH contest - "a dogfight" was how Liam Shanahan later laconically described it - when anything remotely like reasonable sailing emerged, the two top J/109s were poised to take the lead.

It was at Cape Clear and heading on towards the Fastnet at 6 o'clock on Sunday morning that RUTH for the first time started to show ahead, though only just, when they were only 80 metres apart. But she stayed ahead of MOJITO thereafter, even though like everyone else they spent a considerable time – three hours in the case of some boats – becalmed at the mouth of Bantry Bay. Yet all the time RUTH was somehow nibbling away, and as the northerly returned to give a summer day's beat out past Dursey Head and on towards the big turn at the Skellig, RUTH was building towards having two miles in hand on MOJITO.

She never lost it thereafter, and as the chips were falling exactly the right way for whoever was leading the J/109s, they were able to get round the Skellig and up to the finish at Dingle carrying the port tack all the way, albeit hard on the wind, while those ahead had found things flukey towards Dingle, and those far astern were to find the wind veering to give a beat, and then falling away.

The early overall leader Antix was no longer in a commanding position when she finally finished the D2D 2015 shortly after 2pm on Sunday, having to contend with a local south to east breeze to get across the line. But in the end, she did very well to correct to 8th place overall after a race in which conditions were against her.

Yet not so far behind the two big glamour girls, RUTH took the win with style, finishing at 1945 hrs still that crucial two miles ahead of MOJIYO, which in turn came in twenty minutes later to move into second on corrected time.

It was fairly clearcut in terms of time for the first three places, but fourth slot was a very close run thing. If there was a prize for the most inappropriately-named boat in the race, it would have been no contest for Jay Bourke's J/109 DEAR PRUDENCE. She seemed to be crewed mostly by some of the most colourful characters on the Irish sailing scene. And in those difficult stages to the west of the Coningbeg and Saltees, DEAR PRUDENCE seemed to be taking unsuccessful flyers that belied her name. But as the race progressed, her motley crew – sorry about the cliché, but nothing else will do – began to get their act together, and they fairly milled their way through the fleet.

By the time DEAR PRUDENCE got out of the Bantry Bay calm, she was becoming a contender. Thereafter, the motley crew sailed like men possessed. To get to Dingle as quickly as possible, they made some inspired tactical decisions in the beat up to the Skellig. And then, on the final leg to the finish, they didn't sail an inch further than was absolutely necessary, skirting Valentia Island close inshore with a splendidly cavalier disregard for the supposed perils of doing so, and hounding down boats in front of them like a very hungry lion after his prey.

Thus from being an also ran going nowhere, DEAR PRUDENCE came in a commendable fourth, albeit by just 50 seconds ahead of Alchimiste. It was an astounding performance. And it added yet further lustre to the J/Boat sweep of the results, as they now took five of the first six places. Overall is was the Shanahan’s J/109 RUTH in first followed by Peter Dunlop & Vicki Cox’s J/109 MOJITO in second, Chris & Patanne Power Smith’s J/122 AURELIA in third, Jonathan Bourke’s J/109 DEAR PRUDENCE in fourth, and James & Sheila Tyrrell J/122 AQUELINA in sixth.  For more Dun-laoghaire to Dingle Race sailing information

Monday, June 29, 2015

MY SHARONA Crowned J/111 World Champion!

J/111 starting J/111 Worlds off Newport, RI (Newport, RI)- According to skipper George Gamble of MY SHARONA, “the most nervous day of preparation we have had was for the last day of racing of the J/111 Worlds.  The sailing conditions were so variable, we felt anything could happen.  And, with so many boats so close in a breeze that was unpredictable even for local sailors, we knew it was going to be a difficult last day.”

In the end, Gamble and his crew on MY SHARONA demonstrated yet again why they are such a good team.  Never taking any flyers and trying to stay in the hunt, they managed to take a 3rd place in the first race of the last day to seal the deal and win the 2015 J/111 World Championship off Newport.  They did not have to sail the last race.

The weather forecast for the finale on Friday was unusual as a weak frontal system was approaching Newport offering up WSW winds in the 8-12 kts range with the expectation of afternoon showers or thundershowers.  Typically, such forecasts can be way off.  With skies clearing for a period of time, the Newport seabreeze machine asserted itself for a period of time fighting the frontal gradient over the land and nearshore waters.

J111s rounding mark- J/111 Worlds off Newport, RIIda Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard setup the course east of the R4 red bell and sent the fleet off on their first race on an upwind course of 235 degrees for a 1.8nm first leg- four times around.  The starts were not without a bit of drama and after several general recalls, the final start went off with an “I” and “Z” flag.  Leading the fleet right after the start was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF and after rounding the first weather mark first, they managed to maintain their lead to the finish.  Second was Richard Lehman’s WIND CZAR and third was Gamble’s MY SHARONA.

The final race of the series was even more complex than the first race.  The impending frontal system played games with the winds and an enormous black cloud kept diminishing and reforming over the western end of the course.  Winds varied from 7 to 12 kts and from 235 to 255 degrees.  With an outgoing ebb tide from Narragansett Bay, it was anyone’s guess how any strategy would play out.  Ultimately, it was the Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer team on KASHMIR that rounded the windward mark first and led the fleet wire-to-wire to win race 9 in impressive fashion. Taking second was Marty Roesch’s crew on VELOCITY and third was Carl Desgagnes’ VOLTEFACE from Quebec City, Quebec.

In the end, Gamble’s MY SHARONA won with a 31 pts score followed by the KASHMIR crew from Chicago YC in second place.  Third was Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT from Rochester, New York that normally races on Lake Ontario.  Fourth was Richard Lehmann’s WIND CZAR from Harbor Springs, Michigan and fifth was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, Ohio.  There’s no question there was a bit of a “theme” here, many of the top J/111 teams were all Midwest/ Great Lakes boats from J/111 Fleet #1 in Chicago and the surrounding area.

It didn’t start that way.  After the exciting first day, it was the British team JELVIS that led the way. With twenty-five boats on the line, it was anyone’s guess what would happen when you mixed the current J/111 World Champion and leading UK teams lined up against the top American, Canadian, Australian and Caribbean teams from across the world.

J/111s sailing worlds off Newport, RIThe weather forecast was not promising.  An overcast day with a dying northerly that was supposed to see a gradient/ seabreeze combination develop in the middle of the day into the 6-10 kts range with the breeze filling in at 200 degrees and veering to the 230 range.  As it turned out, it was not that far off.  After a postponement, the Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard fired off the first race in a 6-9 kts breeze in the 210 range.  By the time the second race took place at 1600 hrs, the wind had veered further right into the 220 to 240 deg range and from 9 to 12 kts TWS.

Leading after the first day was the British team of Martin Dent sailing JELVIS from Cowes, Isle of Wight with a 1-6 tally for 7 pts total.  Second was Richard Lehmann’s crew on WIND CZAR with an 8-3 scoreline for 11 pts (the current J/111 North American champion).  And, third was David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP with a 3-10 score for 13 pts.

So close was the racing that an average of a 10th was good enough to place your team in the top ten.  Even more remarkably, only ten points (well within a mid-fleet finish) separated teams from 3rd place to 15th place!  It’s quite possibly the tightest regatta that anyone has seen amongst the top teams after the first day of racing.

By the end of Day Two, a new leader emerged in the form of George Gamble’s MY SHARONA. The teams were treated to a “Newport Chamber of Commerce” day for their second day on the race track.  Starting off with the captain’s meeting at 9am Wednesday morning, the Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard announced to the fleet that it was going to be an “inside the Bay Day” and to be prepared to sail two races, a first race windward-leeward followed by the long distance race “Bay Tour”.

The morning dawned with a gorgeous sunrise, winds howling out of the north at 20-30 kts.  The forecast was for winds to ultimately diminish into the 10-18 kts range by the start at 11am from 30-40 degrees and veer to the east, in an oscillating-persistent shift to 90 degrees or so by late afternoon.  As it turned out, the forecast was not far off and it made for a spectacular day of sailing on Narragansett Bay.

J/111 sailing World Championship off Newport, RIThe starting area for the first race was immediately west of the northern end of Gould Island and the famous “US Navy torpedo range” buildings.  Fast off the start was Chris Jones’ WILD CHILD, nailing the starboard end start and covering the fleet going off on starboard tack. One of the first boats to flip onto port tack was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF.  Ultimately, it was the right move as they led the fleet off to the right hand corner of the first weather leg to lead the fleet around the first mark and win the race.  Second was George Gamble’s MY SHARONA and third was Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT.

The second race was the Navigator’s Long Distance Race.  The fleet was given a long 3.5nm windward leg to the green gong in the straits formed by the southern end of Prudence Island and Dyer Island on the northeastern part of the Bay.  This was followed by a reach to the red bell of the NE corner of Jamestown (Conanicut Island), then a spinnaker reach, then a fetch east across the Bay, then a long run down to the green Clingstone Rock bell and to the finish off Fort Adams.  The race was such that the first beat determined the pecking order for most of the fleet.  It also meant choosing which side of the Bay to hit a corner, go left up along Conanicut Island and play shifts into the green buoy or go right to the Portsmouth shoreline for current relief and perhaps large right hand shifts off the shore.  Off the start, the British team on WILD CHILD skippered by Chris Jones again nailed the RC committee boat start and took off to the right leading the fleet.  Another pack of boats started towards the left end of the line (including Gamble’s MY SHARONA, Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT and David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP) and played a completely different wind/current strategy to the far left hand side of the race course.  At the first windward mark, that pack remarkably led the fleet around the first mark.  First in from the right hand side grouping was Jones’ WILD CHILD.  From there on end it was essentially a parade around the marks to the finish line.

Gamble’s MY SHARONA won the last race and became the new leader of the J/111 Worlds with a 9-8-2-1 for 20 pts and the only boat with all single digit finishes.  Taking 5th in that race and lying second overall was Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF with an 18-1-1-5 tally for 25 pts.  By virtue of their second in the last race, Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT was now third overall with a 10-12-3-2 for 27 pts.  Jumping into 4th overall was the Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP with a 3-10-10-4 for 27 pts and in 5th was Martin Dent’s JELVIS with a 1-6-14-7 for 28 pts.

J/111 World Champions- George Gamble's MY SHARONA from Pensacola, FLOn the third day of racing, MY SHARONA extended their lead with solid, conservative sailing. The weather forecast for Thursday’s racing was benign enough- winds of 6-9 kts from the SSW all day with skies clearing in the afternoon. After about an hour postponement, the seabreeze filled in from the classic southerly direction offshore. Once the winds averaged 5 kts, Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard sent off the fleet on the first of three windward-leeward races.  By the late afternoon, the breeze had built into the 8-12 kts TWS range, making for excellent, incredibly tightly-packed racing.

Sailing the best record of the day was none other than Gamble’s MY SHARONA, extending their lead with a 4-3-1 scoreline for a total of 19 pts overall and a seemingly unassailable 15 point lead over the rest of the fleet.  Behind them, it became a war of attrition for many teams hoping to crack the top five overall.  By virtue of their 3-4-20 finishes, Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT had now taken over second overall with 34 pts.  However, only one point back was the Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP; their first race horizon job drove them into contention with a 1-7-11 score for the day.  Sitting in fourth was the trio of Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer on KASHMIR, posting the second best scores for the day with a 5-6-3 for a total score of 39 pts.  After being in striking distance for the lead after the first two days, Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF had a rough go of it on Rhode Island Sound with a 19-10-5 scoreline to drop into fifth overall with 40 pts total.  Only ten points separated 5th from 10th place in this close-quarters racing.

Thanks to the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Commodore Gary Lash, Event Chair Pat Connerney, PRO Peter Gerard and their amazing team of volunteers that helped make the J/111 World Championship a resounding success.  Finally, thanks go out to all the sponsors that helped support the event, including Gold Sponsors North Sails and B&G electronics and also Industry Sponsors that included Bacardi, J/Boats, MJM Yachts, SEABlade, Quantum Sails, V Sport and RaceQs.com.  Sailing photo credits- Cate Brown.  For more J/111 Worlds sailing information

Sunday, June 28, 2015

History Continues for Canadian Sailing Family- the McLaughlins

Canadian J/24, J/105 sailors Terry McLaughlin of Toronto, ONT, Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)- The McLaughlin name is a staple in the sailing world with generations of success dating back to the 1940’s in Canada. The family history will continue this year as two generations represent Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games on July 12-19 in Toronto, Canada.

In the J/24 class, Terry McLaughlin will compete in the Games with crew David Ogden, David Jarvis and Sandy Andrews. Terry’s son, Evert, has teamed up with Alexandra Damley-Strnad to earn the bid in the Snipe class.

“I cannot describe how cool it is to compete at the same Games as my father,” says Evert. “It is quite incredible to sail a sport where one can be competitive for so many years of their life. For this reason, I think it’s quite unlikely a father-son duo has tackled the Games before, let alone in their home country and home waters. Who knows, we may be bunk mates in the Pan Am Village!”

Terry, a sailing icon, won an Olympic silver medal in the 1984 Olympics – a pinnacle moment in his career. Terry’s achievements also include first place finishes at the 2011 and 2013 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, as well as being a two-time winner of the Sail Canada Rolex Sailor of the Year.

When it comes to sailing at major competitions, Terry is undoubtedly a seasoned expert. He advises those competing in their first Major Games experience “to sail as if it isn’t their first Games. Don’t be in awe of the whole scene. Don’t get all caught up in the noise. Focus on your own sailing. Don’t take chances that you wouldn’t normally take on the race course.”

Terry does not take any of it for granted saying, “It is great to have my son Evert at the same Major Games. My father, Evert’s grandfather, sailed in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics for Canada. His and my Olympic sailing experiences certainly did not overlap.” Terry’s brother, Frank McLaughlin, is also an Olympic bronze medalist.

Beyond the Pan Ams, Evert has his eyes on the Rio 2016 Olympics, hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps and earn a medal for Team Canada. “The Pan Am Games represent a stepping stone on the pathway to Rio 2016. The competition and overall experience of the Pan Am Games will give me knowledge and confidence moving forward and I hope to carry the momentum through the Olympic Trials.”

The Pan Am sailing events will be held on several race courses on Lake Ontario, including a downtown course on Toronto Harbour in the shadow of the CN Tower, on July 12-19.  For more Pan Am Games J/24 sailing information

Offshore J/Teams Sailing Trans-Atlantic to Europe

J/42 sailing in the Med (Newport, RI)- A number of long-distance cruising and racing J/Teams have been getting ready for this year’s RORC Trans-Atlantic Race; they include two J/42s that have thousands of miles under their keels already and a J/122 that has probably gone around the world once or twice already in terms of total number of offshore miles.

Steve Berlack has entered his J/42 ARROWHEAD into the Transatlantic Race.  Steve is the Men's Alpine FIS Coach at Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, Vermont- a school famous for breeding some of America’s top alpine ski racers in slalom and giant slalom events.

Here is Steve’s commentary prior to the start of the event next week:  “Arrowhead is running in the IRC Racer/Cruiser Class 4 Division with a total of 4 crew. Our group can use the autopilot hence the smaller crew. Arrowhead has been set up as a double-handed Bermuda Race boat, but only the Class 40 boats can run double-handed in this race.

Arrowhead, formerly Howie Hodgson’s “True” and designer Rod Johnstone’s “Ragtime” has a serious offshore racing pedigree for a “cruising” boat. Well, all J/Boats are really race boats at heart and Hull #62 has never missed a Newport/Bermuda race since coming out of the mold in 2002. This, in addition to a couple of Marblehead Halifax stints, puts her in solid company with other experienced offshore racer J/Boats.

Given that the boat is raced almost every year in a serious offshore contest, not much was needed to prepare the boat for the Transatlantic Race. We added a Spectra 150 water maker, and put diesel heat in the boat for the north of 50 degree route. We also built a new main sail out of Dimension-Polyant Black X Tech 25 cloth so as not to wear out our sweet Doyle Stratus Bermuda Race Main. The BX25 is a heavy, performance oriented cloth that should hold up well in the variable north Atlantic conditions. Chris Howes and Robbie Doyle have both been very helpful in helping with the best inventory to sort out our performance goals. Our largest genoa is a 138% #2 made out of DP BX20, we also have a high clew yankee #3/4 made out of the same cloth. We are carrying two asym chutes, one extra heavy weather jib, storm jib, and storm trysail.

We secured some outboard sheeting padeyes for better reaching performance with the two genoas.

Technology-wise, we implemented the Expedition software package on an Apple Mac-Mini with a solid state hard drive. We are also propagating AIS and all the NMEA 2000 data to some Apple iPads via a Digital Yacht wireless router. Our plan is to power down the Raymarine displays, and run the iPads as the primary nav screens.

The crew is Mike Chapman, Jon Bixby, Gian Criscitiello, and myself. You can track us on Yellowbrick and the gun goes off on June 28th. We are hoping for 17 days!”

J/42 CANTY wins silverware in the MediterraneanJ/42 CANTY Mediterranean Report
Paul and Martha Rogers have been sailing their J/42 CANTY in Europe and in Mediterranean waters.  According to Martha, “it seems that we placed 3rd in the double-handed category in the Brindisi-Corfu Race. That's what the smallest trophy is for. The middle-sized trophy is awarded to participating foreign yachts. The largest trophy is for the yacht coming the furthest to race.  We are still deciphering the race results in the various categories so I can't give you any times. There were four boats in our category.  Our satisfaction in the result is not diminished with a 3rd place vs 1st. It was a great race and we have had an amazing time.  Check out the website- http://www.brindisi-corfu.it/en

J/122 RESOLUTE sailling the Bermuda RaceJ/122 RESOLUTE Report
Scott Miller’s J/122 RESOLUTE (the 2013 Newport Bermuda 1-2 Overall winner) is already heavily into preparations for this year’s Newport-Bermuda 1-2 event.  His sailing program in the next few months is worthy of any Volvo Ocean Race team training and racing program.  Scott is planning to singlehand from Maine to Newport shortly.  Then, he is racing the N2B 1-2.  After getting back to Newport, he heads directly to Marblehead to do the Marblehead-Halifax Race in the Double-handed Divisions.  Then, he plans to cross the North Atlantic singlehandedly to Cowes, England in time to sail the Fastnet Race in the IRC Two-handed Division!  Then, the plan is that he will then singlehand the boat back to Maine before wintertime!  ALL on his J/122 RESOLUTE!  According to Scott’s friend Tom Babbit from Portland, Maine, “Scott provisions for N2B 1-2 by walking across the street in Newport and picking up a six pack of Subway subs- - he is a retired but extremely energetic former investment banker!”  Goodness gracious, that is an ambitious program for anyone!  For more J/42 info (http://www.jboats.com/j42) and J/122 info (http://www.jboats.com/j122).

Kieler Woche Preview

J/70 sailing off Kiel, Germany (Kiel, Germany)- Considered one of the world’s largest sailing events, Kiel Week will be taking place from June 20th to the 28th and playing host to 1,500+ sailboats and over 5,000 sailors for the week long event.  The city of Kiel is also promoting Germany’s application for the Olympics 2024 as Hamburg’s partner for hosting the sailing competitions.

In its 133rd edition, Kieler Woche will once again deliver a massive fireworks display celebrating the sport of sailing.  “Sailing in Kiel will be broadcast live at the AUDI- SAP Sailing Arena at the Olympic marina Schilksee, including a stage for interviews and prize giving ceremonies,” says Johannes Polgar, project leader for sailing on the sports marketing team at AUDI AG. Being a partner of the Kieler Woche in the sixth year, AUDI furthermore supports the TV channel "Kieler Woche.TV", which is bringing the sailing action to the fans with modern camera technology and GPS tracking.

Another partner of the Kieler Woche, SAP, is making another step in presenting the sailing sport to the spectators ashore. "With the Race Committee App, fans can view the official race results from all race courses almost in real-time in the SAP LiveCenter. Maybe one of the most interesting innovations will be the display of the perfect course, SAP Sailing Analytic,” stated Milan Cerny (SAP Sailing). The design was optimized and navigation for the user is now easier. At the daily debriefing session, sailing experts and TV presenters will provide a summary of what happened on the water- the SAP Sail Cube, which is normally following the Extreme 40 series around the world, will be located in Kiel.

Three J classes will be featured at Kieler Woche- the J/24, J/70 and J/80.  For the J/80s, the event is considered by most of the participants as their J/80 “Pre-Worlds”, as they will be sailing the J/80 Worlds at the same venue two weeks later.  Twenty-four J/80s from Germany and Denmark are registered, including most of the top German teams; such as Andreas Rose’s TRUE GRIT, Bjorn Beilken’s PROCEDES DIVA, Inken Braunschmidt’s JOY TOY, Martin Menzner’s PIKE, Sven Vagt’s BOOTSWERFT WINKLER and Torsten Voss’ FRIDA.

The J/70 fleet has a fantastic turnout of thirty-one boats with teams participating from Russia, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands.  The Russian teams include Alexander Markarov’s MOJO and Dmitrii Zaritckii’s JUNO.  The Spanish team is the Olympic Medallist Hugo Rocha on NEW TERRITORIES.  The top Swedish team is Oscar Lundqvist sailing THE PURE CIRCLE and the Netherlands crew is led by Wouter Kollman sailing NED 293.  The balance of the teams are comprised of German crews from around the country, many of whom have been sailing in the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga over the past two years.  Some of those skippers include Carsten Kemmling, Class Lehmann on TRE MAKRELLER, Fabian Gielen on FRITZ, Frank Schonfeldt on DER GERAT, Frank Uwe Fuchs on DUFTe DJUDJU, Gerd Knospe on TOKIO, Jens Ahlgrimm on GRUN SOFTWARE, Max Nickel on JUKEBOX and Uwe Barthel on ROSAROTER PENGUIN.

The biggest J fleet happens to be the thirty-four J/24s vying for class honors, with teams participating from Germany, Monaco, Sweden, The Netherlands, Hungary and Great Britain.  Leading German teams include Andreas Dillmann’s ALICE, Frank Schonfeldt’s HENK, Frithjof Schade’s JJONE, Jan Kahler’s UNITED 5, Johann Huhn’s HUNGRIGER WOLF, Manfred Konig’s VITESSE, Peer Kock’s GISCHT & GLUT, Stefan Karsunke’s SULLBERG and the women’s team led by Stephanie Kopcke’s VEGA RAGAZZA.  The top visiting crews are Ian Southworth’s IL RICCIO from Great Britain, Liselotte Sjoberg’s FOR FUN from Hungary, Mathias Sonnemans’ J-STRIPE from The Netherlands, Per-Hakan Persson’s FRONT RUNNER from Sweden and Peter Langhans’ OSTE STROLCH from Monaco.  For more Kiel Week sailing information

Saturday, June 27, 2015

J/24 Europeans- The Jardine Report

J/24s sailing Europeans off Crouesty de Arzon, France (Crouesty de Arzon, France)-  Duncan McCarthy from Poole in Madeliene GBR 4265 has won the J24 European Championship at La Crouesty, Arzon, France and Mike Ingham from the USA retaining the J24 European Open Championship. The 2014 European Champion, Frank Schonfeldt in Henk GER 5412, was 3rd European overall this year. The 2nd Overall team in the European Championship was Daniel Frost from Germany in SG Power Solutions GER 5475.

There were seven on the limit windy but sunny races completed, over the first 3 days, the wind was off the shore fortunately permitting the Race Officer John Coveney to set up excellent courses where he could avoid the very rough seas further off shore. On the last day, the wind cut off completely with a flat calm and no racing possible.

J/24s sailing European Championship off Crouesty de Arzon, FranceThe Brazilian and top Italian Teams Bruschetta BRA 37 and La Superba ITA 416 both found the conditions a little too much finishing 8th and 9th with the Irish under 25 team Killcullen helmed by Cillian Dickson finishing a very creditable 10th and taking the under 25's Trophy. The Ladies trophy was won by the all ladies team from Germany in GER 5313 skippered by Ragna Thonnessen in 22nd position.

Duncan McCarthy said, "A great week of windy and well organized racing keeping the fleet on their toes. Wind predominately off the land created challenging shifty conditions at the top of the course. The top of the fleet were all making small adjustments each day to find the extra edge in boat speed, much needed in this quality fleet."

The Yacht Club Crouesty Arzon organized a great event both on and off shore under the leadership of Aorelian Garcia who managed 14th overall in Jaguar FRA 4934.

The 2016 European Championships will be held next year at Plymouth in mid-August, Duncan's win should boost all the UK Class to start working hard to ensure we retain the Trophy and more than equal this year's success.  For more J/24 Europeans sailing information

Round Island Race Preview

Round Island Race(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The annual JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organized by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island situated off the south coast of England. The race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.

Competitors come from all over the UK, other parts of Europe and as far away as the USA to follow the 50 nautical mile course round the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the fleet races westabout, to The Needles, round St Catherine's Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.

This year’s race starts on Saturday, June 27th at the crack of dawn.  The weather forecast is for the high pressure to move south, providing good weather that follows the typical summer pattern of light variable winds early in the morning and a sea breeze developing in the afternoon.  There is however a low 600nm west of Ireland and this will change weather fronts cross the country on Friday. These will push the high to the SE but as the fronts come up against it they will lose some of their intensity and what will be a heavy rainband in Cornwall and will be showers by the time the front reaches the Isle of Wight.

The last of these showers should clear the Solent late on Friday afternoon or early evening and Saturday will be a mainly sunny day as the high pushes back in and we get a moderate south westerly wind. As the land heats it will help to enhance the gradient wind which will increase to 15-20 knots and a little stronger around St Catherine's and where the wind is funnelled in the western Solent.

Looking forward to the wonderfully benign conditions are a variety of J teams that range from J/70s and J/24s up to J/133s.  The J/80s are sailing as a class with 13 entries that include top boats like AQUA J (Terence O’Neill) and MOJO (Jim White).  In the J/70 sportboat class, there are sixteen entries that have notable teams like Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8, Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY, and David Mcleman’s OFFBEAT in the mix.

In IRC 1A Class, there are six J/111s like Martin Dent’s JELVIS, Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBURG, and Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II.  In addition, six J/122s are in the mix including Sergey Senchenko’s JOLOU, David Cule’s MINT JULEP, and William Avery’s JACOBS LADDER.  The J/133s include Eric Gicquel’s BLACK JACK from France and David Ballantyne’s JINGS!

In IRC 1C Division class there is a variety of boats, including the J/120s ASSARAIN III sailed by Chris Masterson and Richard Bagnall’s NUNATAK, the trio of J/88s such as Dirk Van Beek’s SABRIEL JR, Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR, and Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT.

The IRC 2A Class includes J/109s such as Jean Lockett & Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX and Mark Hollis RED ARROW from the Royal Air Force.  Also in the class are David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J/88 J-DREAM and the famous J/35 KNIGHT BUILD Ltd from Ireland.  Several other J/109s are sailing in IRC 2B class, such as Christopher Palmer’s J’TAIME, Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB, David Richards’ JUMPING JELLYFISH, and RUAG WHITE KNIGHT 7 sailed by Major Rob Hammond, owned and sailed by the soldiers of the Royal Armoured Corps of the British Army.

In the IRC 2B Class are a number of J/105s, like William Newton’s JELLY BABY and Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe’s KING LOUIE.  Joining them is James Bedford’s J/92S BOJANGLES.

The IRC 2D Class has a raft of J/97s that include Andy Howe & Annie Kelly’s BLACKJACK II, Rob Orr’s JACKAROO, James & John Owen’s JET, and Nick Angel’s ROCK LOBSTER.  For more Round Island Race sailing information

Quigley Is King of J/24 Short Course Regatta

J/24 off Cronulla Sailing Club- Sydney, Australia (Sydney, Australia)- The Macquart Marine Cronulla J24 Short Course Regatta was conducted in the clean clear waters of Bate Bay, Cronulla over the Queens Birthday long weekend 6-7 June.  The event was a huge success again and enjoyed by 17 crews, including three from interstate (Simon Grain and Hugo Ottaway from Victoria and with smiles and the odd ‘discussion’, Robin and Jim Townsend from Adelaide)– well done guys!

This year there was a definite buzz about the club from a few days before, with excitement growing as the interstaters rolled in. With lots of help from the enthusiastic locals, boats were rigged, dropped in the water, and berthed on the club pontoon “three shakes of a skippers tiller” from the club bar. What a magic setting– drinks in the sunset and the promise of a great weekend to come.

Bucko, the nation’s most relaxed RO gave us the briefing on Saturday morning, how refreshing to hear some sensible race management outlined – there will be no protests! Sort it out on the water.

With breezes between 0-5 the race committee did a fantastic job in achieving 3 races on the first day. With temps at 22 deg C, a glorious day of sailing was had and a following swell upwind, made interesting sailing for those not used to ocean sailing.

The first race was won by Local Legend, Dave McKay by 30 sec to Victorian Hugo Ottaway and Stephen Quigley a further 30 seconds behind. The short course format, with works no more than 800 metres ensuring close competition for all.

J/24s sailing off Sydney, Australia in Cronulla Sailing Club regattaSecond Race was won by Stephen Quigley in a dying breeze who picked the shifts and extended to win by some 3 minutes to Simon Grain of Victoria and local Cronulla Sailor Barry Ryan.

The third and last race for Day One was conducted after waiting for a 5 knot breeze to re-establish from the east and in a dying breeze Barry Ryan again showed his local knowledge to lead out by 30 seconds to Robin Townsend from South Australia and Hugo Ottaway in Bruschetta IV from Sandringham Yacht Club.

Racing was completed for the first day with Barry Ryan in Pinot leading from Stephen Quigley and Dave McKay equal in second. The Day One BBQ was huge, these guys know how to be hospitable with a vengeance, great conversation between all competitors and lots of new friends being made with the visitors going into the night in preparation for day two. In fact many competitors further increased their preparation at local night clubs just to make sure they were ready for the off in the morning.

Again, the balmy winter conditions continued with a slight increase in wind strength experiencing 5-10 knots for the 4th race of the series. The ‘Mexicans’ (Victorians took both 1st and 2nd) with Simon Grain and Hugo Ottaway followed by the ever consistent Stephen Quigley coming in third.

A quick turn around by the race committee saw race 5 commence and the pattern of finishes becoming clearer Barry Ryan followed by Stephen Quigley and Hugo. This was undoubtedly the closest race of the series with the first 5 boats finishing within 40 seconds, the next 4 within 40 seconds and the next 6 within 30 seconds. Fantastic close racing 2 laps, over in 27 minutes and all boats finishing with 4 minutes!!!!!

J/24s sailing AustraliaRace 6 commenced under the black flag after 2 consecutive general recalls. Julie McKay on McKay Marine, Jared Macquart on Macquart Marine, Matthew Short on ShortFaced and Lia Darby on Starpac all broke the start and where disqualified from that race. Final result in a dying breeze was Simon Grain, the consistent Stephen Quigley and Barry Ryan in Third.

Race 7 proved to be the final race of the series in testing conditions and a breeze continuing to decrease. Simon Grain rose to the occasion with a 3rd bullet for the day followed again by Team Cini O’Bryan and StockCar.

Results were tallied back at the Cronulla Sailing Club as the sausages cooked and the drinks where poured. Another huge BBQ and drinks and drinks and- - -

The same Bucko, now the master of ceremonies and laughter, gave out the prizes and everyone got one, if you didn’t win one you got one given to you. What a good night.

Team Cini O’Bryans was consistent throughout the series and proved solid with a series score of 3, 1, 7, 3, 2, 2, 2 for a total of 13. Simon Grain, sailing Arthur Crother’s Kaotic (with the boss on board) went home with the wheelchair prize.

Once again the level of female participation is very encouraging, with three female skippers and many women amongst most of the crews.

The organizers and competitors would like to thank the sponsors of the event, Macquart Marine, Wet Tech Rigging, Ian Short Sails, Cronulla Marina, The Lapstone Hotel, Loaf Cafe Cronulla, OZ Jet Boating Sydney, PriceLine Cronulla and Secret Scent Aromatherapy. And a big thank you to the volunteers and members of Cronulla SC for making this great regatta possible. Thanks also to Fiona Campbell, Rob Croucher, Clinton Hood and Dave Mackay for hosting the visitors – it makes the trip all the more affordable and strengthens new and old bonds in the class.  Thanks for the story, as told by Mick Reynolds and Simon Grain.  For more Australian J/24 sailing information

Friday, June 26, 2015

Opening Sailing to the Community

Women's J/22 sailing in Cayman Islands (Neenah, Wisconsin)- The city of Neenah in eastern Wisconsin is about 45 miles from Lake Michigan but located adjacent to Lake Winnebago, which is where you’ll find the members of Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club (NNYC) and Fox Valley Sailing School (FVSS). Jonathan Coultas shares this report on how the locals are sharing their sailing passion…

We just hosted our second annual Sailing Open House on Saturday, June 13. NNYC had done a similar event in the past called the Sail Expo, but it was smaller and the “expo” name made it seem more like an event just for sailors. So in 2014, to coincide with our 150th anniversary, we tweaked the event and it has since become our signature summer event.

Calling the event the Sailing Open House eliminated the perception of something only for those who already sail. To attract an attendance, we schedule it on the same weekend as a popular 3-on-3 street basketball tournament in town and promote it with flyers. We also get the word out through our Facebook page and website and use local family activity guides, the Parks and Recreation department, and newspapers to further market the event.

Once people arrive we have organized lots of activities for both kids and adults, with the local Boy Scout troop on hand with concessions.

Bouncing beach balls on spinnakers, racing foam boats in gutters, nautical face painting, knot tying, and much more keep the kids entertained. The local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla brings “Coastie”, the robot safety boat, to teach kids about water safety in an exciting way.

We line up club member’s boats on the seawall for tours, offering a variety from J/22s to 30-foot cruisers to a F27 trimaran for people to sit on and learn about. However, the big draw and popular activity is sailboat rides through the harbor.

Using the Flying Scots from FVSS training boats and NNYC fleet member boats, we took close to 200 people for rides last year, and despite the threat of rain this year, we still had 150 people out on the water.

Once people get on the water, you encourage them to take photos. They are smiling, getting great images of their families or selfies while sailing, which they are then putting out on social media.

For many it was their first time on a sailboat. Others came back after taking a ride at last year’s Open House and some fondly recalled sailing at summer camps in their youth. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provided loaner life jackets for our passengers with a briefing on PFD fit and safety.

The months of organization and commitment of our volunteers from NNYC and FVSS is paid back instantly when you hear a kid recapping in a rush of excitement how they got to steer the boat during their boat ride through the harbor.

This free and fun event serves a few purposes. It brings our members together for a common cause, while promoting NNYC and FVSS to help pick up new members and students. But most importantly, it exposes sailing to a new and wide audience and gives us a chance to connect with and share our passion for the sport with the community.

I hope other clubs are getting out there and doing similar things in their communities to experience the satisfying rewards and also help grow the sport!

Challenging Sailing @ Chicago NOOD

J/70s sailing on Lake Michigan at Helly Hansen Chicago NOOD Regatta (Chicago, IL)- The Chicago YC again played host to this year’s HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD Regatta sailed from June 12th to 14th.  The fleet experienced an enormous variety of conditions over the three days, from crazy, almost surreal weather on Friday to easy-going, classic Lake Michigan gentle breezes over the next two days. The Chicago NOOD had one-design fleets of J/70s, J/105s and J/109s and a variety of J/Teams sailing in both PHRF Class and the North Sails Rally on Saturday.

Friday’s sailing brought wet and crazy conditions to the fleet of 135 boats. Overcast skies accompanied the inaugural race day with winds topping out at 14 knots, making for a competitive regatta from the beginning.  Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club member Martin Johnsson and his crew aboard the J/70 AQUAHOLIKS won all four of their races. Going into the second day of racing Saturday, Johnsson was the one to beat in the 13-boat class. John Heaton’s EMPEIRIA was in second place, and John Arendshorst’s 20/20 was close behind in third.

J/105 sailing Chicago NOOD RegattaPeter Priede’s J/109 FULL TILT lived up to their name by putting in an excellent day of racing that won them three first place finishes in their class. The small, but competitive, fleet of five boats were the first boats to start racing Friday. Tied for second after the first day were David Gustman’s NORTHSTAR and Kevin Saedi’s MOMENTUS- both former winners of the Chicago NOOD regatta!

Tom and Gyt Petkus on their J/105 VYTIS had a similar day to their J/109 colleagues.  They are leading their fleet and took home a 1-1-5 while Clark Pellet’s SEALARK was tied in second on 9 pts with Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM.

Chicago surrealistic morning before the start on Lake MichiganAfter the racing on Saturday, the Sailing World crew caught up with the J/88 RAMBLER crew on the docks.  A pretty laid-back crew they are! So laid back, in fact, they hadn’t even checked the results of the North Sails Rally PHRF 2 class! “Oh wow, we won? Holy sh*%$!” said skipper Benjamin Wilson.  The crew, made up of Wilson’s J/105 and J/111 racing buddies from year’s past, sailed the 20.7 nm course in shifty, light breeze and sunny conditions— unusual for early summer sailing on Lake Michigan. “The conditions were challenging today,” said Wilson. “For us, we have to be really good with our upwind sailing and our point. Sometimes, we weren’t accomplishing that.  We tried to go to a Code 0 to the first mark, but that didn’t work out well. We made some adjustments, and once we started getting to the points on the course where we can start reaching and running we do a lot better.”  Wilson, who is a volunteer assistant volleyball coach for the Loyola Ramblers men’s Volleyball Team, plans to take the J/88 RAMBLER offshore for the Chicago-Mac next month. “It’s a solid team, we’ve all known each other forever and we keep sailing together. I’m cruising, I get to hang out with my friends- - RAMBLER just keeps rambling.”

J/105 sailing Chicago NOOD RegattaSunday provided the fleet with yet another nice day of sailing.  In the end, the first day’s results didn’t change for the top three in the J/70 class.  Johnsson’s AQUAHOLIKS team kept rolling and won by a significant margin.  Second was Heaton’s crew on EMPEIRIA just holding off a late-minute charge by Arendshorst’s crew on 20/20.  Fourth was Bob Willis’ team aboard OLE TIPSY THREE and fifth was Blane Shea skippering GEMINI.

A similar scenario held true for both the J/105 and J/109 classes.  Winning the J/105s was the husband-wife team of Tom & Gyt Petkus sailing VYTIS.  Second was Pellett’s SEALARK and third was Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM. Filling out the top five was Ken Ganch’s GONZO and fifth was Sandy Curtiss’ ROCKING HORSE.

Priede’s J/109 crew on FULL TILT kept pressing on regardless and won two more races to close out a win in their class.  Gustman’s NORTHSTAR was second, followed by Saedi’s MOMENTUS in third, Jim Murray’s CALLISTO in fourth and Scott Sims’ SLAPSHOT in fifth (yes, he’s a former hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks- this year’s Stanley Cup Champions!).

In the North Sails Rally divisions, David Hughes’ J/100 BARRACUDA took third in ORR Cruising divisions.  IN the PHRF Offshore I class, Frank Giampoli’s J/120 JAHAZI was second and Jim Gignac’s J/130 SALSA finished third. As mentioned above, Ben Wilson’s J/88 RAMBLER won PHRF Offshore 2 going away.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images.  For more HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD sailing regatta information

Thursday, June 25, 2015

J/70- The New Youth One-Design Sailboat!

J/70 youth sailboat- for youth sailing programs(Marion, MA)- Julian Sudofsky has been racing the J/70 CARLOS with his dad, Mike Sudofsky.  Here are some of Julian’s observations after racing the J/70 in the past year on the J/70 circuit in the USA:

“Since 2013 I have been racing the J/70 around the country with my dad. In my perspective, I think there’s no better way for a father to raise his son to love sailing. For the past two years this has been the best experience for me.

I’ve been able to travel to multiple places on the East Coast such as Key West FL; Miami, FL; Charleston, SC; Annapolis, MD; Cedar Point, CT; and Newport, RI. I have learned so much from all the world-class sailors in the fleet. I think that I’ve learned a combination of team chemistry, rig tuning, boat balance, and mark rounding skills that have helped me become a better sailor.

In the past few regattas we have seen boats from Norway, Brazil, Bermuda, France, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Japan, the U.K., and Peru. It has been great to sail against all these other teams. We have personally made friends with a Mexican team and a Brazilian team. Competing in these world-class events, I’ve been able to have conversations with famous world- class sailors like Terry Hutchinson, Jeff Johnstone, and Tim Healy.

I have competed in two Key West race weeks and a J70 World Championship, and in these regattas it’s not unusual to have 100 boats. With this amount of boats in our fleet, it creates very exciting regattas. Sometimes the starts can be very hectic with all these competitors screaming at each other, all not speaking the same language.

Overall, this has been a great experience. I have learned so much from so many intelligent sailors. A normal start for our team in the J/70 is starting somewhere in the middle of the line with clean air and using midline sag to our advantage. During our upwind leg we focus on keeping the boat flat and maintaining an open lane. The downwind legs are the most fun! Our top speed on this boat was 19.3 knots downwind. Due to the shape of the keel, the boat starts to make a high pitched hum when planing. I’m looking forward to competing in this summer’s 2015 J70 Worlds in La Rochelle, France!”

RORC De Guingand Bowl Report

J/109 sailing in the Channel offshore of France and England(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- A good mix of 89 British and French yachts started the Royal Ocean Racing Club's De Guingand Bowl Race on Friday evening, heading (eventually) to a sunny Cherbourg. The race committee led by RORC Racing Manager Nick Elliott, set a 146-mile course for the De Guingand Bowl Race. Starting between two committee boats, east of Cowes, the fleet headed east out of the Solent past No Man's Land Fort, Owers and Rampion Met Mast before returning to Owers then past St.Catherine's Point. Along the south side of the Isle of Wight, the fleet encountered a variety of wind conditions, on their way to the Needles Fairway Buoy, before heading south to cross the English Channel.

Said one of the top skippers in the race, “It was a great race with a beautiful start, we were under spinnaker all the way to Brighton. We had a good upwind course around the Isle of Wight to the Needles. This race did suit the smaller yachts, as most boats arrived in Cherbourg at maximum speed with the tide; but judging the tide in the Channel is very difficult as the wind can vary so much. The course was excellent for this race, perfect for the conditions."

The seven J/109s in IRC Three class had very tight racing amongst each other.  Leading that fleet home was John Allison’s JUMBUCK finishing at 19:59:09 corrected time and taking 3rd in class, narrowly beating classmate David McGough’s JUST SO by just over one minute!  Third J/109 and 5th in class was Chris Palmer’s J-T’AIME.

In the IRC Two-Handed class, it was Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J posting yet another good finish, taking 4th in class and improving their RORC Overall Series standings in Two-handed.

Finally, in IRC One Class, it was David Ballantyne’s J/133 JINGS taking fourth in their class after a nice spinnaker reach home to Cherbourg.

After the race, an informal Prize Giving was held at the Yacht Club de Cherbourg attended by over 200 sailors. Bottles of Champagne were given to prize winners by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd. Racing for the RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the East Coast Race from Burnham to Ostend on the 12th June.  For more RORC De Guingand Bowl sailing information

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

LA SUPERBA Winner of J/24 Trofeo Ciccolo

J/24 La Superba team from Italy (Cala Galera, Italy)- After the first four events of the Italian J/24 National Championship series (consisting of Trofeo Nettuno, Pasquavela Santo Stefano, Trofeo Academia Navale Livorno and Cala Galera), the best Helmsman-Owner of the first half of the season- the Francesco Ciccolo Perpetual Challenge Trophy- is again ITA 212 JAMAICA owned and skippered by the President of the Italian J/24 Class, Pietro Diamanti.  In second for this division is AMERICAN PASSAGE sailed by Paolo Rinaldi and third is CESARE JULIO skippered by Pietro Massimo Meriggi.

La Superba- Italian J/24 winnerMeanwhile, the winner of the Trofeo Ciccolo, emblematic of the leader of the first half of the season overall, goes to Ignazio Bonanno’s crew aboard LA SUPERBA from the Marina Militare in Livorno.  They are followed by MOLLICONA sailed by Massimiliano Biagini and skippered by James Black.  In third is AVOLTORE owned by Massimo Mariotti and skippered by Ettore Botticinis.

"We are obviously very pleased," said the skipper Ignazio Bonanno, "to have won this trophy which also has a sentimental value as it was established to remember a President that has marked the history of the Italian J/24 class."  For more Italian J/24 sailing information

J/Teams Lovin’ Rolex New York YC Regatta

J/111 MY SHARONA sailing New York YC Annual Regatta sponsored by ROLEX(Newport, RI)- The 161st New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and when the three-day event concluded after a day of around-the-island racing (Friday, June 12) and a weekend of around-the-marks competition (June 13-14), there was plenty of satisfaction to be had.

For Event Chair David Bush-Brown, there was satisfaction that the Annual Regatta, robust-as-ever with 169 entries, had successfully upheld its keen sense of tradition, which for well over a century and a half has kept the New York Yacht Club at the forefront of sailing. “A lot of changes have happened to our sport and the regatta over 161 years,” said Bush-Brown, “but one thing remains the same: spirit of competition and camaraderie.”

New York YC Annual Regatta Saturday eveningThat spirit was evident on Saturday night when the New York Yacht Club hosted over 1,000 sailors for cocktails and dinner on the expansive grounds of its waterfront Harbour Court clubhouse. It was also evident during Sunday’s two-hour postponement ashore when the Newport Shipyard, where many of the boats were docked, felt less like a paddock area for preparation and more like a venue for a class reunion, with long-time friends as well as newly-established acquaintances swapping war stories and discussing what lies next on the sailing horizon.

The largest offshore one-design fleet ever assembled in New York YC Annual Regatta history was the J/111 class of nineteen boats.  Sunday’s sailing, when it got going by mid-afternoon in an easterly of 10-14 knots, delivered even more color than Friday’s and Saturday’s held in relatively lighter air, and when all was said and done, winners in 19 classes were the most satisfied of all that they had shined on the stages of Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound for a rotating mix of stadium-style, drop-mark and navigators-course competition.

George & Kye Gamble winning J/111s at New York YC Annual Regatta in Newport, RIIn particular, J/111 winner George Gamble (Pensacola, Fla.), steering MY SHARONA, hoped he saw his future for the J/111 World Championship scheduled for next week in the same waters. “We raced against 19 J/111s this weekend and will compete against 25 in the J/111 Worlds, so the New York YC Annual Regatta was a great event for the team,” said Gamble. “It allowed for us to practice against a majority of the same players and get us better acquainted with the local conditions. The competition was off the charts, and there wasn’t one boat that won a race more than once all weekend.”

Gamble said his team’s victory came down to a tiebreaker with Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT, “We both had a first, a second, a fifth and a sixth at the end of the regatta, so we had the exact same scores. The tiebreaker was who did better in the last race, which was us. Winning this regatta keeps team momentum going, which is really important, and we have a better feel for our speed and how we are against the other boats in different conditions, which is huge.”  Third behind them was the Chicago J/111 team on KASHMIR skippered by Mike Mayer and Steve Henderson.

In the IRC 3 class, Paul Milo’s ORION (from NYYC and Leesburg, VA) took 2nd overall and Mike Bruno’s WINGS (a past NYYC winner from American YC in Rye, NY) finished 4th overall. Jim Bishop’s modified J/44 WHITE GOLD took 6th in IRC 2 class.

The IRC 4 class featured many leading 35 footers from the J drawing board. Winning the class over CARINA (New York YC Commodore Rives Potts’ famous 48 footer) was the incredibly competitive Bill Sweeter and his “take-no-prisoners” crew aboard the famous J/109 RUSH.  Flying up the learning curve in the J/109s is Carl Olsson’s crew aboard MORNING GLORY.  As a top J/105 team, they have adapted quickly the J/109 and after taking 3rd overall in IRC 4 Class, they and the RUSH team are looking forward to their J/109 North Americans being held at Storm Trysail Club’s 50th Block Island Race Week.  Behind this duo, the J/35 LEADING EDGE sailed by Tom Sutton from Houston, TX finished 6th overall.

J/111 PHRF winner at New York YC Annual Regatta- Kenn FischburgIn the PHRF Spinnaker Divisions, the J/Teams swept the top positions.  In PHRF 1, Kenn Fischburg’s J/111 WILD CHILD took three bullets to win their class in convincing fashion.  In PHRF 2, the three top J/105s took the top spots with Fred Darlington’s TONTO in 1st, Don Santa’s SANTAS REIGN DEAR in 2nd and Mark & Jolene Masur’s TWO FEATHERS in 4th. In PHRF 3 Non-spinnaker, the J/160 TRUE sailed by Howie Hodgson placed 4th in class.

The classic first day of the NYYC Annual Regatta is always the Round Island Race, a 20nm circumnavigation of Conanicut Island, sailing around beautiful Narragansett Bay, underneath the two huge bridges (Jamestown and Newport) and passing by numerous islands that always pose a navigational/ tactical challenge for the fleet (Dutch Harbor Island, Gould Island, Halfway Rock, Rose Island).  The numerous J/Teams that participated walked off with more than their fair share of trophies.  Because the light northerly died in the morning, the NYYC PRO wisely sent the fleet up north into the Bay with the building seabreeze and the flood tide to get the race going.  Downwind starts are always challenging and many boats chose to split around Gould Island as they headed north to the first turning mark, the red gong off the NE corner of Conanicut Is.  From there, the long beat back down the Bay on the west side of Conanicut Is. and the mainland shore was a tactical nightmare for many.  The smart money played one or two shifts underneath the island before streaking across to the west side of West Passage before the Jamestown Bridge.  From there, the light, variable seabreeze had little punch to it and, again, the smart choice was to avoid the flood current on the nose and duck inside Dutch Harbor to then short-tack the beat to the shortened course finish at Beavertail Bell off the southern end of Conanicut Is.

J/111 WILD CHILD crew at New York YC Annual RegattaIn the IRC 3 class, the J/122 WINGS sailed by Mike Bruno won their division again. In IRC 4 Class, Tom Sutton’s J/35 LEADING EDGE placed first while Bill Sweetser’s J/109 RUSH took 4th and Brook Mastrorio’s J/109 URSA finished 6th.  In the tough J/111 class, Kenn Fischburg’s team (at right here) of family sailors aboard WILD CHILD “schooled” their fellow J/111 teams on how to sail the Round Island Race, finishing 8th boat-for-boat in the entire fleet of 135 boats.  Taking second was Bill Smith’s crew on WOOTON from Chicago, IL and in third was George Gamble’s MY SHARONA from Pensacola, FL.

In the PHRF Classes, the J/120 SUNSET CHILD sailed by Marcus Cholerton-Brown placed 3rd in PHRF 1.  Then, in PHRF 2, it must have seemed it was a J/Armada that had taken over as four of the top six teams were J/Crews.  In second was Dawson Hodgson’s J/100 GRIMACE, followed by EC Helme’s J/92S SPIRIT in 3rd, Brian Kiley’s J/29 MEDDLER X in 4th and Mark & Jolene Masur’s J/105 TWO FEATHERS in 6th.  For more Rolex New York YC Annual Regatta sailing information

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Netherlands & Slovenia Join Sailing Champions League

J/70s in European Champions Sailing League (Portoroz, Slovenia)- The national sailing league format is spreading further around the European Community of nations. With the Netherlands, another traditional nation joins the “Sailing Champions League Family”- “Eredivisie Zeilen“ is starting in 2015 with 18 clubs in two pilot events.  The Dutch sailing clubs are getting their own club competition according to the model of the national German sailing league “Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga”. It’s not anymore about the competition between individual sailors or teams, but about defending the club’s honor on a national and international level. The sailing league shall make the sailing sport more popular for a wider audience and strengthen the position of the sailing sport in the Netherlands.

The “Eredivisie Zeilen” is organized by the Dutch Association (Watersportverbond) and the sports marketing agency “Marvin & Miles”. The association is in close contact and permanent communication with the German founders. The agency Marvin & Miles is responsible for the organization, communication, partnerships and the marketing of the sailing competition.

J/70s sailing Netherlands Sailing LeagueFor the first year of the Dutch sailing league, two events are planned in October and November. They will be sailing on J/70 this year – just like in many other countries. 15 clubs already announced their participation and six further clubs have shown big interest; the league will consist of 18 clubs. The winner of the “Eredivisie Zeilen” will be able to call themselves the Dutch Champions!

Following Poland and Russia, Slovenia is the next country from Eastern Europe to join the expanding “Sailing Champions League Family“. The first two sailing events for the “Slovenian Sailing League” are planned for this summer.

The Sailing Club J/24 and the company CLEANPORT are preparing to organize and run the Slovenian Sailing League, a club sailing competition on a national level intended to be part of the SAILING Champions League.  At the moment, an effort is being made to evaluate the possibility of running two events during summer 2015 with a sufficient turnout of sailing clubs on an existing well-proven fleet of J/24 sailboats.  The Slovenian Sailing Federation will cooperate as a partner with the founders of this project in Slovenia at all regatta events of the Slovenian Sailing League.  For more Sailing Champions League sailing information