Thursday, March 31, 2016

Beautiful SSS Race in San Francisco

J/105 sailing San Francisco SSS Race (San Francisco, CA)- The Singlehanded Sailing Society of San Francisco held their annual springtime ritual this past weekend- the 18nm circumnavigation of San Francisco Bay, a.k.a.- the SSS Race. The event started at 11:00 at the CYC and left Harding Rock to port, Blossom Bell to starboard, Blunt Point to port, South Hampton to one side or the other, Blunt Point to starboard, Harding Rock bell to starboard and back to the finish.

J/105 sailing San Francisco SSS regattaIt is a popular event and attracts a legion of enthusiastic doublehanded and singlehanded teams on boats that range in size from around 20 ft to 50 ft.  J/crews had a fun time and a number of they were successful. Starting on the big boat side of things, in the PHRF 4 Double class, the J/44 ACEY DEUCY, team of Richard Leute/ Steve Taylor took 4th place. In PHRF 7 Single, the J/30 IONE skippered by Peter Jermyn grabbed 2nd position.  In PHRF 8 Double class, the pretty little J/32 PARADIGM sailed by Luther & Robert Izmirian secured 5th place.  The big winner of the day was in PHRF 9 Single, with the J/80 PAINKILLER skippered by Eric Patterson winning followed closely by another SSS veteran- the J/92 RAGTIME in 3rd skippered by Bob Johnston.   Then, he was followed by the J/120 SAETTA skippered by Ludovic Millin in 4th.  Finally, the PHRF 10 Double class had a number of J/105 class veterans in the mix with JAVELIN in 2nd place sailed by the team of Sergie Podshivalov & Charlie Abraham.  Next was AKULA sailed by Doug & Lyndon Bailey in 6th.  10th was RACER X sailed by Richard Pipkin & Mary Mcgrath in 10th.   Sailing photo credits- Erik Simonson   For more SSS Society race sailing information

Team VELEROSA Triumph in 1st Women’s Sailing Cup

J/80s sailing Women's Italia Cup in Chiavari, Italy (Chiavari, Italy)- The first edition of the Women's Sailing Cup Italy 2016 with a triumphant “Goodbye until 2017” from the cheering crowd of women. The event was organized by the Blue Project in collaboration with the City of Chiavari and Marina di Chiavari.

The regatta was created and organized by two women, Anne-Soizic Bertin and Ivana Quattrini of Blue Project, for women to promote women's sailing, raise funds for the Italian Association for Cancer Research and spread scientific information and awareness for female cancers.

Women J/80 sailors- sailing Women's Italia CupIt was a wonderful weekend in Chiavari, marked by a number of celebrations, including the inauguration of the new and elegant promenade of the Port in the presence of the highest authorities.  Adding to those festivities was the great enthusiasm expressed by the thirteen teams participating in the Women’s Sailing Cup.  The event was punctuated by the beautiful garden and decorations around the club, designed by the locally famous Umberto Giorgi Garden; it included a beauty and Zen area and a place for massages before and after sailing!  Then, the women enjoyed a brass band and gala dinner party that supported the AIRC Conference on women’s breast cancer, with a presentation given by the famous oncologist- Dr. Lucia del Mastro.

J/80 VelaRosa sailing team- winners of Women's Italia CupSeventy sailors from all over Italy, a team from Great Britain and one from Lithuania, battled at sea aboard the J/80s of Blue Project.  At the end of a weekend of light wind and lively competitive spirit, climbing onto the top step of the podium and winning the Challenge Cup Trophy was the VELEROSA team comprised of Silvia Gatti, Licia Bologna, Elisa Dompe, Alessandra Gagnatelli and Serena Sicher.  They were well coached by the champion Duccio Colombi of Phi!Number.

Besides the Challenge Cup given by Marina di Chiavari and the Silver Cup given by J/Boat Italia, VELEROSA received the No1 bags by Laboratorio 38, made by the Italian designer Alessandra Lo Monaco, and made especially for them with used sails.  The VELEROSA team also was awarded silver bracelets handmade in the tradition of ancient navigators by Giro di Vento of the Catania creative group- Valentina Zarbo.

Taking second place was the VELADOC team and in the third place was the Lithuanian team- FAIR WIND LADIES. Both teams received a silver cup by J/Boat Italia and the revolutionary watches by W Doubleyouwatch.

Many other prizes were awarded to other teams, including a weekend for two at the Hotel Monte Rosa Chiavari with massages at Eden Beauty & Spa, scarves by W Doubleyouwatch, accessories by North Sails and many other prizes.  In addition, Navionics gave its “iOS/Android” app for free to all participants.

J/80 women's sailing team- ItalyEvelina Christillin, Vice President of the Torino Organising Committee (TOROC) for the 2006 20th Winter Olympic Games in Turin, spurred all the participants during the gala dinner to continue to believe in the project of women sailing and solidarity. The applause to her words left no doubt- when women network together they are unbeatable and this made the new social media hashtag #WSC16 fly around the Internet.

The unforgettable days and the unique atmosphere of the Women's Sailing Cup, the faces of the sailors and of all those who contributed to the realization of the event, can be relived in the videos produced by, the principal media partner of the event.  Here is one of those videos.

Women J/80 sailors at Blue Project in ItalyBesides institutional partners, many companies have supported the project of #WSC16: Chanteclair, Kappa, Concept Events, Laboratorio38, the Wind Tour, Navigando Trade, North Sails, Sail Art, Navionics, Nautica Wellness, Wine La Scolca, Hotel Monte Rosa, Acqua Minerale Calizzano, Pastamatta Creative Food, Ormeggi on Line, Umberto Giorgi Garden, Jammin' Technical Solutions for Events, Helan Laboratori Cosmetici, W Doubleyouwatch, Eden Beauty & Spa, Web Stefana, Noberasco, Hotel Stella del Mare, Tossini and J/Boats Italia.

We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to the LNI Sec. Chiavari and Lavagna, the LNI of Sestri Levante, the LNI of Santa Margherita, to all the staff who have done an exemplary job at sea, the skippers of the spectator boats and Blue Project to collect funds for cancer research.  Without them, this event would not be possible.

In a magnificent location with breathtaking sunsets, favored by a near-perfect weather, the real beauty was the all the women of the Women 's Sailing Cup Italy 2016 that as a spring wind, with their genuine passion, intelligence, joy, humor, sensitivity and sympathy, thrilled the entire city of Chiavari.

In 2017, we will be in Chiavari with the Women's Sailing Cup Italy again- will you please join us?  Contact Ivana Quattrini at Blue Project- Ph# +39 335 8093904/   Sailing photo credits-

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

J/Fest Southwest 2016- Open for entries!

J/Fest Southwest in Houston, TX- J/80 fleet (Seabrook, TX)- Planning for the 7th annual J/Fest Southwest, hosted by Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook Texas, has begun.  J/Fest Southwest 2016 will be sailed on the waters of Galveston Bay the weekend of Oct 28-30th.  J/Fest Southwest is a celebration of all things related to J/ Boats and sailboat racing.  The October weather in South East Texas is simply wonderful with shirtsleeve temperatures and great wind conditions, especially if one of the early cold fronts blows through.  J/Fest Southwest features multiple Windward/Leeward race courses and is known for top quality race management and intense racing that attracts top competition both locally and from out of state.

We are looking forward to a large turnout of J/ Boats, including the J22, J24, J70, J80, J105, J109 & J/PHRF classes. Cranes and storage for out of town boats are available and there are numerous hotels located near the club.  In addition to a spectator boat for those who want to watch the on-the-water action, J/Fest Southwest 2016 will feature the “LC Roots Band” for Saturday night entertainment & dancing after we consume the traditional shrimp boil (“Frogmore Stew”) dinner.  The J/Fest Southwest website ( is being updated with new information as it becomes available, including an updated hotel list for out of town skippers and their crews.  Seabrook is located half way between Houston and Galveston and there are numerous opportunities for family fun in the area so come on down!  Questions about J/Fest Southwest may be directed to: Dave Christensen/ J/Fest Southwest 2016 Chair/ Lakewood Yacht Club- email-

J/120 Nationals Update

J/120 cruiser racer- sailing regatta (Grosse Pointe, MI)- "The Heavy-Weight Title Fight on the Lake" continues to gain momentum!  According to Detroit J/120 sailor Charlie Hess, “We are now up to 14 boats registered with two more on the way.  I think we will end up with 17-18 boats in total!”

Charlie continues to say, “there is a lot of great sailing on the Great Lakes, and I would like to send the invitation to all to consider a 4 race series out here to make the travel worthwhile:
  • Bayview Mackinac Race - July 16-18
  • Chicago Mackinac Race - July 23-25
  • Little Traverse Bay Regatta - July 30-31 (Harbor Springs, MI)
  • J/120 Nationals - August 19-21 - (Lake St. Clair)
We have a lot of sailing in fresh water, good breezes and great weather.  Plus, we know how to throw a great party and have our own J/120 pier at Bayview YC!”  For more J/120 Nationals sailing and registration information   Follow the J/120 Facebook page here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Cool HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series V2

J/111 sailing Warsash Spring series- sponsor Helly Hansen (Warsash, England)- By the end of racing on Sunday, each Black Group (BG) class in the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series had a different class winner to the first day of racing last week, showing there is some hot competition in the classes even if the temperature was distinctly cold-- like frigid!!

Barring the lack of sunshine, the conditions were much as they had been last week with a NE to ENE breeze mostly 8-15 knots and oscillating to the right and back around 20 degrees or more throughout the day. For the second week in a row, all classes got away cleanly at the start so the recall flag has yet to be used.

J/109 sailing Warsash Helly Hansen spring seriesApart from IRC4, the Black Group start was on the south edge of the East Knoll bank. Courses involved a first windward leg to a laid inflatable mark inshore of Hamble Yacht Services buoy and then a series of running, reaching and windward legs between there and Cowes, finishing at East Knoll buoy. Although the tide was less strong than the previous week, wind and tidal tactics were often at a premium.

IRC1 Class saw the J/111 JITTERBUG skippered by Cornel Riklin take first place, and the J/122 JUNO helmed by Christopher Daniel in third. JITTERBUG is leading the class overall.

J/88 family speedster- sailing Helly Hansen Warsash spring seriesThe IRC 2 class has five J/88s racing each other for one-design honors.  Continuing to lead the 88’s is Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT followed by Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR in 2nd and David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM in 3rd.

The racing in IRC 3 class is a rough and tumbles battle.  Leading the charge after weekend, two is David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO, with a 1-2 in class.  Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK is moving up the leaderboard with a 3rd on the weekend to now sit 4th in class.

In the J/109 class, the second weekend still sees JIRAFFE (Simon Perry) leading with a 1-2 while JUST SO (David McGough) is closing the gap with a 3-1.  JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain Franks) is just one point behind with a 2-3.

Racing in the White Group is beginning to show trends for the leading boats, with the top half of the pack finishing just seconds apart bar the leaders; JESTER (J/80- Mike Lewis) in race four and six, and JENGA 8 (J/70- Andrew Barraclough) in race five, who both managed to pull away from the pack.

J/70s sailing Helly Hansen Warsash spring seriesThe WG start was once again at Hamble winter series buoy with a combined class start for all three races. Patrick Liardet, (COSMIC- J/70), who is leading the Combined White Group and the J/70 class said at the prize giving: “Despite the wind shifts the start line remained square and the windward leeward courses worked well. Although it was a really cold day we had some good racing, particularly against JENGA 8 who kept us on our toes!”  JENGA 8 won one out of three races and is lying second overall in the J/70 class. Like a “sleeper”, Steve Venables INJUNCTION is sitting in third just 2 pts back.  Six points back is Nick Denny’s JALAPENO in 4th and only two points behind them is Doug Struth’s DSP.

J/80 one-design family sailboat- sailing Helly Hansen Warsash spring seriesJESTER (Mike Lewis) won two of the three races in the J/80 class with BETTY (Jon Powell) only winning one. BETTY remains at the top of the leader board for the J/80 class with a seven-point lead, followed by JUMBLESAIL (Rachel & Robert Hunt) and AQUA—J (Terence O'Neil).

There was a good crowd back in the clubhouse after racing to collect the winners' champagne prizes and warm up with some hot food! Frank Roger Bowden (Nifty) won the Crewsaver Pro Auto lifejacket and Peter Rouse (Voodoo) the Helly Hansen Salt Power Jacket in the prize draw. To be eligible for the prize draw you need to be at the clubhouse for the prize giving.

The Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series is sponsored by Helly Hansen and supported by race partner’s Crewsaver and Rolly Tasker Sails. Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright/  For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Marshall Crowned J/22 Midwinter Champion

J/22 Midwinters- sailing downwind (Fort Walton Beach, FL)- The twenty-six boats sailing the J/22 Midwinters off Fort Walton Beach had three good days of racing, starting out slowly and closing with awesome sailing conditions.  The Fort Walton YC provided great race management and plenty of onshore festivities.  After an eight race series over three days, it was a Rhode Island team that was crowned champion, Mike Marshall’s team (Mike Nicoletti and Matt Schubert) from Jamestown sailed BAD NEWS into the lead on the final day.

Day One
Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY from Annapolis, MD won Friday’s only race to claim a quick advantage in the 26-boat fleet. With Chip Carr and Chris Ryan on board, Todd beat out Sean Clare’s WHITE TRASH and Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 in flukey winds averaging between 5-7 knots at the event. Light breeze prevented the Race Committee from starting any other contests.

J/22 Midwinters- sailing off startDay Two
It could not have been much tighter at the top of the heap after four races were completed on Saturday. Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and Terry Flynn’s TEJAS were tied on points at 11 heading into the closing day of racing on Sunday. Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY was just one point behind. Doyle is dropping an 8, leaving scores of 3,5,1,2, and Flynn has tossed a 6 for a net tally of 5,1,2,3. Todd is counting a 1,3,2,6 (throwing out a 6). Even the fourth and fifth place boats were tied— Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS and Chris Wientjes— with 15 points each.

Saturday began with light breeze around 4-6 knots, as Wientjes snared victory from Chris Wilson’s LIL PUFFY, and Todd took third. It was another photo finish in the next battle as winds picked up to 8-12 kts. Flynn edged Todd by a nose, ahead of third-place Kurt Taken-Holtze’s TURN DOWN FOR WHAT. Chris Doyle handily collected the next win as winds lightened a bit to 6-8 kts, when Flynn and Marshall settled for the silver and bronze spots. In the final contest, Taken-Holtze was DSQ after protest, leaving Marshall, Chris Doyle and Flynn in the money.

J/22 Midwinters- sailing upwindDay Three
The winds piped up to 16-24 kts for the finale on Sunday.  Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS rose to the top of the fleet to capture the title with a 2-1-2 in Sunday’s blustery three races to total 20 net points.

Of the three boats within one point of first place heading into Sunday’s racing, Marshall was not one of them, but the team reveled in the conditions despite being about 70 pounds under the Class crew weight limit. Flynn’s TEJAS earned second place with 22 points, and Todd’s HOT TODDY took third with 24 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 in fourth place and Chris Wientjes from New Orleans YC in fifth position.

J/22 Midwinters- Marshall- first placeBAD NEWS ran into a little bad luck on the opening day when a big shift at the end of the only race left them with a 10th place. Day two brought intermediate conditions where, Marshall said, “I think the lightness of our boat hurt us, and we had to fight for every point.” When several boats struggled in Sunday’s heavier air, Marshall said the team “took about half of the first upwind leg to figure that we needed to do was ease the jib a little more than we thought.”

Marshall also credited tactician Matt Schubert for making a few key calls on where to go. Recalling that most of Sunday’s starts saw them off the line in the top five boats, the team still had to battle to pick off boats and make up the four-point deficit they started the day with. “By being a little forward off the start, we could choose our own destiny. Boats we didn’t pass upwind, we were able to catch up with downwind. The last race we played a covering game,” summarized Marshall.  For more J/22 Midwinters sailing information

Monday, March 28, 2016

Golison Overall San Diego NOOD Regatta Champion

J/120 cruiser racer sailboat- sailing San DiegoGoebel’s J/105 SANITY & Nichols’ J/120 CC RIDER Crush Their Classes
(San Diego, CA)- More than 100 teams competing in 12 classes sailed in San Diego for the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta, the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States. Bruce Golison’s J/70 MIDLIFE CRISIS came out on top, winning its J/70 fleet and the regatta’s overall title. The win earns Golison a trip to the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Helly Hansen NOOD Championship Regatta, hosted by Sunsail.

J/70 sailing off San Diego NOOD regattaGolison, a champion sailor from Rossmoor, California, is relatively new to the J/70, which is one of sailing’s most popular one-design classes. The San Diego NOOD Regatta was the start of a long campaign for Golison, with the ultimate goal being the J/70 World Championship in San Francisco in September. For the NOOD, he assembled a team that included his brother Jay, professional sailor Steve Hunt, and Dan Morris, an Olympic-class dinghy sailor. This was their first weekend in the boat together and after a slow start on Friday, says Golison, they steadily improved, winning the regatta by only two points over Jeff Janov’s team on MINOR THREAT.

“I had never sailed a sportboat before,” says Golison who is more familiar with the J/24 and Etchells keelboat classes, “so the adjustment from pole-back spinnaker sailing to reaching around was a huge adjustment.”

Over three days of racing in perfect conditions on San Diego’s South Bay racecourse, set between Coronado Island and mainland San Diego, Golison’s team had its work cut out for them with the presence of several top teams mixed among the 26-boat fleet. His toughest rivals proved to be Janov and Luis Barrios’ ZUMBALE, with local ace Willem Van Way calling tactics.

“It was actually a pretty tricky weekend,” says Golison. “It was a little shiftier than normal. It was amazing how the three of us took turns beating up each other. I think we each probably only had one race out of the top three. Then we all had at least two or three firsts. There were guys that would mix in that were always tough. It was great racing.”

J/70 one-design sailboat- sailing San Diego NOODWorking with a new team took some getting used to, he confessed, the biggest challenge being communication during the starts. But once Golison and Hunt clicked, their starts were perfect, and in the end, it made the difference. “On the first day they were pretty average. And then yesterday we were better as we got our communication down. And then today, I think we both felt comfortable. We said we wanted the pin, so let’s get the pin, and we had pretty good luck at doing that,” commented Golison.

“We have a real quiet group,” he added. “We all have confidence in each other, which is pretty amazing after one regatta. There is never any questioning. Steve is the leader on the boat. My job is to just sail the boat as fast around the course as I can.”

It was Hunt’s tactical expertise that helped them manage the day’s final race, says Golison. They went into the race with only a 1-point lead. “If Janov won the race, we would have tied and he would have won the tie-breaker, but if he beat us and didn’t win the race, then we would beat him because we would have the tie-breaker,” said Golison. “So, by winning the pin, tacking and crossing the fleet we got the jump on him, and from there, there were times we would slow him up, and times we would herd him.  They are very fast and quite a test for us!”

After the first day, MINOR THREAT’s crewmember Doug McLean commented, “Obviously, we had a great day today with a 2-1-1. It was close racing all day. We were pretty much keeping tabs on Golison and the Mexicans [currently in third overall]. The three of us were dueling it out all day.” McLean says the highlight was a recovery from an OCS start in the first race. “We came back right away and banged the right corner, which got us right back into it. We fought back into second, which was pretty exciting. That could have been it for us.”

In the end, behind Golison and Janov was the Mexican team from Valle de Bravo, Luis Barrios on ZUMBALE in third, Chris Snow’s COOL STORY BRO in fourth and Tom Garrett’s SLOOP JOHN B in fifth.

In the Corinthians J/70 fleet, Garrett’s SLOOP JOHN B won followed by Chris Raab & Dale Williams’ SUGOI in second, Scott Deardorff’s CAKE in third, Chuck Sinks USA 306 in fourth and Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS in fifth.

J/120s sailing San Diego NOOD regattaThe J/105 class saw a near runaway in the form of Rick Goebel’s team on SANITY.  Hopping back into the J/105 after having a rough experience sailing in the professionally crewed Farr 40 Worlds, Goebel sailed fast and managed to win four races in a row to a comfortable win.  Starting and ending with bullets was another class leader, Dennis Case’s WINGS, taking second for the regatta.  Past winner and third place finisher this year, Gary Mozer’s CURRENT OBSESSION 2 from Long Beach, must’ve have wondered where the SANITY and WINGS teams picked up their cans of “whupass” every day.  After handily winning several events in the past few years, Mozer was having to work extra hard to just place in the top five and never winning a race.  The balance of the top five included the Hurlburt/ Driscoll team on JUICED in 4th place and Stew Cannon’s J-OK if 5th.

A familiar team ended up leading all the J/120s home by a country mile!  Chuck Nichols’ crew on CC RIDER started off the first race with an emphatic win and never looked back, repeating that effort for the balance of the weekend with a rare streak of straight bullets!  However, the fight for the balance of the podium was a rough one and was not determined until the final two races.  By closing with a 2-2, John Snook’s JIM took the silver while John Laun’s CAPER crated the last two races to take the bronze.  However, CAPER was fortunate to win the tie-breaker on 22 pts with Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN (who suffered an SCP in race #2).  Just barely sneaking into fifth place by one point was Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/  For more HELLY HANSEN San Diego NOOD sailing information

J/112E Cruising World Review

J/112e cruising world review- sports cruiser (Newport, RI)- “Having spent a few seasons hanging around with CW’s Boat of the Year judges, I can’t step aboard a new sailboat without stopping to measure it up against its design brief. That is the standard that our team of industry pros uses as they survey a broad range of entries each year to come up with winning models. And it makes sense, when you think about it. Each boat is built with a purpose in mind, and the good ones do their jobs flawlessly, year in and year out.

From that point of view, when I stepped aboard the latest addition to what J/Boats calls its Sport Cruising line, I knew exactly what the just-launched J/112E was intended to do: go sailing.

Oh, you could certainly sit in the roomy cockpit and soak up the rays in some sunny anchorage. And at day’s end, you’d find everything you’d need in the well-equipped galley to whip up dinner for friends. With two private cabins, there’s plenty of room for the kids or another couple, and settees on each side of the drop-leaf centerline table in the saloon could be turned into sea berths in a pinch.

But what you’d really want to do, if the J/112E was your boat, is get those sails up and go sailing, no matter the size of your crew — which is just what a few of us did aboard hull Number One, on a late autumn afternoon out on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. The breeze was light as we motored away from the dock, but once out in open water, where we had 10 knots or so to work with, the J/112E sprang to life. Upwind, the speedo read 7.2 knots, nearly matching the wind speed. Later, with the asymmetric kite set on the retractable carbon sprit and a bit more breeze, we were rewarded with a few surges of 9 knots and better.  Not bad for a cruising boat!”   Read more of Mark Pillsbury’s review on Cruising World

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Women Sailors Developing Love for Sailing!

J/sailor Annie Haeger(New York, NY)-  After considerable success in 2015 with teammate Briana Provancha, Annie Haeger (left) was recognized as the US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. But, it was just a year earlier her childhood friend Stephanie Roble (below right) had won the same award. Notably, both Annie and Steph were very successful in college sailing (both multiple All-Americans, with Annie winning Women’s Sailor of the Year) and both having proven themselves very competitive sailing on various JBoats- J/22s, J/24s, J/80s, J/70s.  In fact, most recently, Steph was sailing aboard John Brim’s J/70 RIMETTE- placing 5th in the J/70 class at the St Petersburg NOOD Regatta.

Annie’s acceptance speech offered a glimpse on how these two Midwest girls are toppling the sailing world:

Steph Roble“For two years in a row, sailors from a little tiny pond in Wisconsin have won this prestigious award. People were joking when the award was announced: what’s in the water up there? Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s no secret, but just an amazing supportive environment that can only lead to success.

The atmosphere at little Lake Beulah – only 800 acres in size – provided us a platform to love sailing first as a lifestyle and then as a sport. In contrast to this beautiful club, which I am currently a member, LBYC (Lake Beulah Yacht Club) has one big room that combines the dining room, kitchen, and dance floor, plus Lake Beulah’s favorite room, the bar [chuckles].

There were no cooks but loving mothers and fathers making home cooked meals for youth nights, and cooked outs on Wednesday, and judging races on weekends. Learn to Sail classes are filled with laughing kids that can be found chasing greased up watermelons and practicing capsizing.

My drive at a young age was due to the countless local regattas and the desire to bring home the biggest trophy. I swear I am not competitive. For those of us in the ILYA (Inland Lake Yachting Association) who are developing into competitors, there needed to be a platform to continue to succeed. This is when MOST – the Midwest Opti Sailing Team – was created.

Out of the ten sailors on the team, we produced 15 All-Americans at the college level, six National Championship titles and most importantly, an everlasting love for the sport. The MOST team held a competitive atmosphere filled with love and encouragement (Ed’s note- both Steph and Annie helped coach Stu Johnstone’s sons, Hunter & Ford, in their Optimist sailing careers).

The respect we held for our teammates, if they beat us fair-and-square, was not to get upset but to get them back next time. There is no jealousy but an amazing support system through parents, friends and coaches that brought success.

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned during that time was the importance of team work. Together as a team, the information sharing and being able to push each other with compassion and love helped to accelerate our learning.

My early development was a pathway to my future success. Morals and values instilled in me, sailing in the ILYA have morphed me into the sailor I am today. Let’s keep supporting our youth sailors not only through our words but also through our actions and help them develop an unbreakable love for the sport.”   Annie Haeger speech on YouTube

Saturday, March 26, 2016

San Francisco Cup Preview

J/22 sailboats- San Francisco Cup (San Francisco, CA)- Since 1967, St. Francis Yacht Club and San Francisco Yacht Clubs have been “competing for superiority in the same field” at the annual San Francisco Cup, a match race that grants its winner a line on a trophy and a year of bragging rights. In 2014, the Cup went to St Francis YV. In 2015, it was San Francisco’s. It’s 2016 and this weekend’s SF Cup is anyone’s match.

A brief history: The first SF Cup was raced in 1967 to promote a friendly rivalry between the two clubs on the Bay. Since then, it has been raced 44 times and StFYC has racked up 31 victories. But, who's counting? This is a "friendly" rivalry!

In 2014, the two-boat match race format expanded to include six boats and three divisions: Open, Women’s and Youth. As Commodore Livingston reported in 2015, “The result was heaps livelier and more engaging.”

StFYC is bringing three horses to this race: Scott Sellers helming his J/70 1FA in the Open division; Nicole Breault helming a club J/22 in the Women’s Division; and Nolan Van Dine is helming a club J/22 in the Junior Division (19 and under). The St Francis YC teams will be as follows:

Open Division- skipper Scott Sellers with crew of Russ Silvestri, Cam Geer, and Geoff McDonald.  Women's Team- skipper: Nicole Breault with crew of Molly Carapiet, Dana Riley, and Hannah Burroughs.  Junior Team- skipper Nolan Van Dine with crew of Will Paulsen, Leo Findley, and Emiliano Bache.

The San Francisco YC skippers are Craig Healy (Open Division); Vicki Sodaro (Women’s Division); and Romain Screve (Junior Division).

Racing will commence in the Olympic Circle this Saturday at 1130 hours. The first team to accumulate 11 points over three divisions wins. If one team accumulates seven points before the end of racing on Saturday, racing will be halted and will recommence Sunday at 1100 hours.   For more San Francisco Cup sailing information

Doublehanded Farallones Race Preview

Farallones Islands rocks race- San Francisco(San Francisco, CA)- This weekend marks the start of a West Coast double-handed offshore classic- the Bay Area Multihull Association’s Doublehanded Farallones Race.  It is a race that has challenged some of the best offshore sailors in California and is legendary for producing outrageous sailing conditions offshore.

The biggest obstacle is not necessarily rounding the foreboding pinnacle of rocks known as the Farallones, but making it through a body of water known as “the Potato Patch” just offshore of the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  Imagine what happens when several million gallons of water per minute are ebbing at 5-6 kts, emptying all of San Francisco Bay beneath the majestic Golden Gate Bridge at depths down to 330 ft.  Then, just over 4nm offshore, all that water encounters the infamous Potato Patch Shoal, a four fathom bank (24 ft) loaded with kelp and massive great white sharks, that forces enormous Pacific swell driven by distant gales in the north Pacific (up to 15 ft or more in height!) to crest and break all over your boat!  If it’s a blustery day in the 20-30 kts range, the waves and crests can be precipitously steep and foreboding, more like a tsunami of water!

Looking forward to that challenge are an intrepid collection of J/crews, most of them have sailed the Farallones Race in brutal conditions before and are hoping for a more benign version this weekend.  Starting off with sixty-six boats in the fleet are J/120s, J/105s,  a J/88 and J/90.  Those teams include a trio of J/120s- Mike O’Callaghan’s PEREGRINE, Sean Mulvihill’s JAMANI and Ludovic Milin’s SAETTA.  The triple J/105s include John Robison’s LIGHTWAVE, Rich Pipkin’s RACER X and Dave Miller’s BALD EAGLE.  Joining them is Jim Hopp’s J/88 WHITE SHADOW and Trig Liljestrand’s J/90 RAGTIME (Rod J’s old boat!).
For more BAMA Doublehanded Farallones sailing information

Eight Bells: Jim Allsopp- Sailing industry leader

Jim Allsopp- North Sails Annapolis, MD (Annapolis, MD)- Jim Allsopp died after a 4 year battle with brain cancer on March 12 in Annapolis, MD. Jim was 72 years of age.

Jim Allsopp was a sailing legend that has personally and professionally influenced many sailors. Jim was one of those naturally talented sailors – he won the 1975 Star World Championships, beating Tom Blackaller, Pelle Petterson, Malin Burnham, and Bill Buchan. He followed that up by winning the 1976 Star European Championships in Marstrand, Sweden.

Jim most probably would have continued winning in the Star Class had Lowell North not seen enough of his talents to ask Jim to be the trimmer on his 12 meter Enterprise for the 1977 America’s Cup Defender Series. That was followed up by an offer from Lowell for Jim to run the new North Sails loft in Annapolis. Jim accepted and his loft became one of the most successful in the company.

Through his work with North Sails, Jim became an ambassador for sailing in Europe.

Jim survived the stormy 1979 Fastnet Race where 15 people died and 5 boats sank. He was sailing Ricardo Bonadeo’s 50 footer "Rose Selavy" and brought his rookie team back home safely. Italy and Spain were just breaking into the international sailing scene and Jim was a frequent invite during the 1980’s on the Italian Sardinia Cup and Admiral’s Cup teams. Jim brought his sailing talent and good humor to those teams who were hungry to learn from the best.

In the 1990’s, Spain’s fledgling big boat group called in Jim to help get them up the ladder. Jim often sailed with King Juan Carlos and was a regular helmsman and tactician for the Spanish maxi, one ton, and Copa Del Rey teams.

Meanwhile, Jim kept his hand in the America’s Cup and sailed as navigator on the 12m Eagle in the 1987 edition in Perth, Australia and as mainsail trimmer on Russell Long’s 12m Clipper in the 1980 Defender Series. Not one to take a break, Jim sailed in the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race on George Collin’s entry- the Whitbread 60 called Chessie Racing.

After stepping down from running North Sails Chesapeake, Jim later managed North Sails’ marketing department and influenced the company’s worldwide image. He owned a succession of boats and most recently raced his J/70 with his two sons as well as being a highly sought after tactician in Superyacht circuit, primarily on the schooner Elena and J-Class yacht Shamrock.

Jim will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

J/Sailors Stars in Bacardi Cup!

J/70 sailor Paul Cayard in Miami- Bacardi Sailing Week (Miami, FL)- J/Sailors led the 70-boat Star class in a variety of ways during the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week.  In fact, against a star-studded group of sailors that are preparing for the upcoming Star World Championship held by Coral Reef YC on Biscayne Bay, the J/sailors left an emphatic impact on the top ten, taking five spots.  Leading the charge was local knowledge expert Augie Diaz (a past J/24 Midwinters Champion), landing on the podium in 3rd place.  Immediately behind him was the world-famous Paul Cayard taking 4th (he recently raced J/70s in the Rolex Big Boats Series, winning with Andy Costello on DOUBLE TROUBLE 2.0 and is sailing the 2016 J/70 Worlds in San Francisco with Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK).  Less than ten points separated the next three J/70 sailors- Peter Vessella (owner of WILD CHILD) took 7th, George Szabo was 9th and Eric Doyle placed 10th.  As Szabo explained, “it’s fun sailing J/70s because there are so few strings to pull, which makes it a tough class!  But, then again, if you know which ones to pull on a Star, you really go fast!”

Friday, March 25, 2016

SPI Ouest France Preview

J/80 sailboat- sailing SPI Ouest France regatta(La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The 38th Spi Ouest-France destination Morbihan begins this Thursday off the beautiful and quaint seaside village on the Bay of Biscay known as La Trinite sur Mer.  360 boats have registered to race for four days over the Easter Holiday weekend.  Organized and hosted by Société Nautique de la Trinité-Sur-Mer, the sailors can expect wonderful hospitality, great racing and the enduring support of the famous news media organization- Ouest-France.  The regatta is also emblematic of the opening of the tourist season along the western coastline of France.

As the largest regatta hosted in France, the event has achieved enormous notoriety both in Europe and worldwide, especially amongst the offshore yachting fraternity.  Many of the famous names in Vendee Globe and Route du Rhum races assemble in Trinite to catch up with sailing friends and celebrate the start of a new summer sailing season.

This year the throngs of sailors will be rubbing shoulders with such famous names as Dee Caffari (the first woman to have completed a round the world sailing east to west without assistance & 6th in the Vendée Globe 2008-2009 and racing a J/80 for Oman Sail Team); Bernard Stamm (the Swiss Breton); Bertrand De Broc (now in full preparation for the next Vendée Globe), Marc Guillemot (another Vendee Globe veteran) and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (one of the oldest shorthanded sailors from The Netherlands).

The sailors will be treated to a fairly benign, almost ideal, conditions for sailing.  The weather looks pretty mild for the weekend, with cool temperatures in the morning with sunny to partly cloudy skies and nice winds from the west.

The growing tribe of J/sailors in France continues its upward momentum, with 105 J/Teams participating in one-design fleets of J/70s and J/80s and IRC/ OHS classes across the range (fully one-third of the entire fleet!).  The J/70s have grown to a 20 boat class in this year’s SPI Ouest and the fleet is loaded with talent.  Top teams include Luc Sambron’s HEMON-CAMUS from APCC Voile Sportive, Herve Leduc’s JIBE SET- PIERRE OCEANE from SR Rochelaises, Hugo Rocha’s NEW TERRITORIES from St Petersburg YC in Russia, Jose Maria’s NEW TERRITORIES from RCN Barcelona in Spain, P. Jesus’ PETITE PALACE HOTELS from RCN La Coruna in Spain, and R. Hurdiel’s VOILE AMBITION DUNKERQUE from Dunkerque YC in France.

The J/80s again have the largest fleet in the entire regatta with sixty-seven teams on the starting line.  A crowded and aggressive group, the J/80 teams will enjoy tight racing all weekend.  Familiar names from past J/80 Coupe de France series are in attendance, including Thierry Launay’s AVEVA from CN St Cast, Luc Nadal’s GAN’JA from NDCV Angers, Yannick Tabarly’s JIBI from Sportboat Regatta SC, Jose Maria van der Ploeg’s NAUTICA WATCHES from CN Hodarribia in Spain, Dee Caffari’s OMAN SAIL, Simon Moriceau’s SAILING FRA 29, Andrew Hurst’s SEAHORSE MAGAZINE from Keyhaven YC in the United Kingdom, and Simone Pellissier’s VOILERIE ALL PURPOSE from Virtual Regatta YC.

In the offshore handicap world, we find E Gicquel’s J/133 BLACK JACK from Sn Baie St Malo racing in IRC 1 Class.  In IRC 2 Class are four J/crews, including the brand new J/112E J-LANCE 12 sailed by Didier Le Moal, the J/109 CNP1 J’VOLE skippered by P Barouch, the J/120 HEY JUDE helmed by P Girardin and the J/120 LADY JANE skippered by P Tostivint from CN Pornic.  The lone J/team in IRC 3 Class is B Fagart’s J/97 MISPICKEL VI.  Two J’s are sailing in IRC 4 Class- T Bidon’s J/92S DR JEKYLL and J Croyere’s J/92 RUBAN VERT.

In the OHS handicap classes, there are three teams sailing OH1 Class, P Guennal’s J/111 J4F, E Kerscaven’s J/88 PL YACHTING, and P Jomier’s J/105 J-SQUARED.  Finally, in the OH2 Class are four classic J/24s- B Le Marec’s EL NINO, A Garcia’s INSULARIS, F De Herce’s MAJIC and V Maldonado’s REGATTA COPA MEXICO EUSKADI.   For more SPI OUEST France sailing information

J/125 MEXORC- The Agony & Ecstacy!

J/125 sailing MEXORC fast! (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- The challenge and joy of racing in Bahia de Banderas is one to experience.  Gorgeous waters, 75 deg temperatures and reliable sea-breezes that pipe in at 10-18 kts around noon make for some epic racing and even more mind-blowing memories.  After all, it’s not uncommon to see manta rays leaping about, big fat whales spouting all over the place in their annual spring mating rituals and thousands of fish leaping into the air to avoid getting eaten by some giant bluefin tuna rampaging below the surface.  Such is life in the tropics during the spring off Puerto Vallarta’s famous coastline— one of Mexico’s premiere resort areas.

As part of those spring rites of passage, sailors themselves congregate to participate in the Bahia de Banderas Regatta, long a favorite of the cruising crowd.  In recent years, the event has grown the cruiser/racer division and this year’s classes saw some spirited competition.  Here’s a report from Keith Magnussen from Ullman Sails Newport Beach, CA:

“It seems like a long time has passed since I wrote about the build up to the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta race and MEXORC Regatta on the J/125 “Timeshaver”.  An abundance of adventuring has occurred and it is only natural that we choose the highlights to talk about.

First off, let us revisit the SD-PV Race.  The forecast was initially giving our navigator much distress.  Was it going to be windy?  Not windy?  Really windy?  No one really had a firm grip on what mother nature would bring us, all I knew was that I was sailing 1000 miles south regardless of the conditions.  It seems that this mindset helps me function at a higher level when the race finally does start.  In my mind, I am ready for anything and will work on making the boat fast in all conditions.

One thousand miles can appear like a long trek, unless you are on a J/125 with some good breeze.  Our first three days consisted of just that.  A couple of the new guys to the boat were used to a Santa Cruz 50 and their eyes lit up as the boat took off in 20 plus knots of wind.  By the end of the first day, we were into our 4A planing spinnaker, which means we are having fun.

As the race progressed, we found ourselves leading the charge.  We were leading the charge until the dreaded turn around the tip of Baja California.  This was actually one of my favorite parts of the journey, even though we ended up getting passed.  We decided to skirt Cabo San Lucas closely, and by close, I mean we were in the bay dodging pangas and Para Sailing tourists!  The view was spectacular as we glided across the bay and jibed away only to get stuck in some light air.  Oh well that it sailboat racing.
We ended up second in class with disappointment and a sense of “what if” surrounding the camp.

A few days of rest and contemplation ensued as we prepared for the week-long regatta that follows the bi-annual PV race.  The MEXORC regatta was a good opportunity for us to prove ourselves after falling short in the PV race.

The J/125 was put together in a class with three Farr 40’s and two Santa Cruz 50’s.  Racing was split between W/L and random leg racing which gave all the boats a chance to sail within their best conditions. Our first day was marred by a very unfortunate result for my football team.  Sailors are superstitious in nature, but I have one thing going against me.  Anytime Arsenal FC loses, I have a bad day on the water.  Arsenal lost and we placed fifth in the first race of the MEXORC series.  Monday was a different story.  No football games to mess me up!  Four races later, we had straight bullets and were leading the regatta.

Two days were spent doing random leg racing and it was here that the little J/125 really shined.  In the pursuit race, we marched to a victory well ahead of the nearest boats.  It was a crucial spinnaker change from the 2A to the 5A that helped us cross the finish line at 16kts of boatspeed while most of our competitors jib reached the final few miles.  It is a good feeling to see TP52’s, SC-50’s and a plethora of other yachts behind you at the finish.

Same scenario happened in the second random leg race.  Finished doing 16kts with the 5A up and correcting out on the nearest boat by a good 6 minutes or so gave us confidence that the regatta was ours.

We ended up clinching first place with one day to spare.  It was a great relief and we sailed the final day with a sense of ease.  The only thing that marred the day was some unscrupulous actions from the “professionals” on some other boats that were truly taking advantage of our laid back approach to the race.  Such is sailboat racing that it brings out the worst of a person’s ego.  We did not let it ruin our day, as we knew that our actions and clean sailing was the core to our success.

I would again like to thank Viggo Torbensen and the entire Timeshaver team for working hard and sailing cleanly through two weeks of tough racing.  For me the trip was another adventure in this book of life and another opportunity to learn about myself and the nature of competition.  Always a fun time and I look forward to more.  K-Mag out.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

J/Sailors Cruise The Islands Race

J/Boats weather model! (Newport Beach, CA)- After a whirlwind of speculation and decision making regarding the official course for the 2016 Islands Race, the boats all finished safe in port after their 130nm adventure around the islands (Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands) from Newport Harbor to San Diego.

The Friday start featured sunny skies and a disappointing southerly wind at just 4 knots! Not to worry - the front that the Organizing Authority and Race Committee was anticipating ripped through the start area not long after the start as the Race Committee boat was traveling back to Newport Harbor. Lighter winds followed the initial squall, then built steadily as the backside of the front filled in.

Smaller sea states with 6-8’ swells and significant wind chop marked the hours following the start. Winds varied between 20 and 30 knots with gusts. According to crew member Stuart Bannatyne, “It rained hard. It was a point-to-point race, yet the way the wind was shifting made it really challenging. But it was that kind of challenge that made it an enjoyable race.”

There was plenty of other race gear casualties though. Consider one of the smaller boats out there, BLUEFLASH, a J/88 who placed second in Division 4. According to crew member Sean Grealish, whose father Scott Grealish was skippering BlueFlash, “We shredded two sails because of a bad broach. We were sailing at 18 knots boatspeed which is amazing for this size boat!”

Others weren’t as phased by the squalls. Jeff Brown onboard the J/65 MAITRI thoroughly enjoyed the rough weather and had a different idea on how to best cope with bumpy conditions and damaged gear. “This was our first time on the new boat and we were having an absolute blast. We were eating lasagna and salad from Old Venice right when our first kite blew up. So, we then we started going 10 knots with our main alone all while still enjoying our lasagna.”

Event chair Wayne Terry commended the Islands Race staff for their decision-making skills. “I think the Organizing Authority did an exceptional job with excellent leadership. We appreciated the patience from competitors as we waited to watch forecasts and tried to make the best decision.”

Upon finishing, many sailors reported that they celebrated the challenging day the only way they know how- by rushing straight to the warm, dry bar!  In fact, one of the first teams to the bar had to be Tim Fuller’s team on the J/125 RESOLUTE- they took 2nd in PHRF 2 and 2nd Overall in Fleet. Then, in ORR 2 Class scoring, they were 1st class and 2nd overall!

Another winner was Paul Stemler’s J/44 PATRIOT, taking 1st in PHRF 3 Class and 1st in ORR 3 Class scoring, too!

Finally, the aforementioned J/88 BLUE FLASH actually did remarkably well considering they blew up two sails.  Grealish’s crew managed to secure silver in PHRF 4 Class and also a 2nd in the ORR 4 Class scoring!  For more Islands Race sailing information