Saturday, April 30, 2016

Yachting Cup Preview

J/105s sailing Yachting Cup (San Diego, CA)- San Diego Yacht Club’s signature spring regatta, the Yachting Cup, will be sailed for the 44th time April 29- May 1 and many prominent sailors are eagerly awaiting and training for the event. There are eighty-eight boats participating, with thirty-three J/Teams (38% of the fleet) competing in offshore PHRF handicap and four one-design classes (J/70, J/80, J/105 and J/120).

Many of those registered for the 2016 Yachting Cup have a history with the event, including Curt Johnson from California Yacht Club, skipper of the J/80 AVET.  “This is probably our tenth or twelfth Yachting Cup we’ve competed in. The spring conditions in San Diego, in addition to the stellar competition and race management, make it a ‘must do’ event for us. SDYC often adds a new element to keep the regatta fresh and interesting, whether it’s a new format for Friday racing or a new social activity. This all adds up to a terrific experience that keeps us coming back year after year.”

The event will feature three days of racing. One design and handicap racing fleets compete on courses in the ocean or in San Diego Bay, usually in ideal sailing conditions normal for this time of year. After racing, crews gather at race parties at SDYC’s beautiful Club facilities for socializing and planning the next day’s strategies.

Many previous winners of Yachting Cup have their goals set high, especially the regatta’s 2013 winner, Tim Fuller on the J/125 RESOLUTE. "The Yachting Cup is the premier fleet racing event in San Diego, and the Resolute crew will do all they can to fly the winners flag."

J/120 CC Rider sailing Yachting CupSDYC Staff Commodore John Laun, winner of the 2012 Yachting Cup and owner of the J/120 CAPER, is also registered for this year’s race. “The level of competition is typically been very high, in fact, J/120 class winners have been named the overall winners of the Yachting Cup for all classes competing 3 times since 2006. As a SDYC signature regatta, it’s always one we aim for on CAPER every year, and this year will be especially fun and focused since it is essential that we win to be in the hunt for the overall series championship. We always look forward to the close competition and excellent camaraderie in the J/120 fleet.”

Another SDYC Staff Commodore and past winners, Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER, will be chasing CAPER around the track along with John Snook’s JIM, Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN and Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE.  Missing is the Manok’s POLE DANCER since they just completed the Ensenada Race.

J/105 SANITY sailing Yachting CupThe J/105s have nine boats on the starting line and they will be missing some of their friends from the Los Angeles area.  Nevertheless, in the last event, the San Diego NOOD Regatta, it was a duel to the finish in the final race for Rick Goebel’s SANITY and Dennis Case’s WINGS.  Watch for them to get all tangled up again this weekend.  Meanwhile, other fast teams can slip through the fireworks and score some good races, like Steve Howell’s BLINK or the Hurlburt/ Driscoll duo on the bright safety orange-colored JUICE!

Like the J/105s, there could be some “wash, rinse, repeat” scenarios in the J/70 class after the SD NOODs. With several more new teams showing up on the starting line, veteran teams like Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR, Bruce Cooper/ Shawn Bennett’s USA 32, Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT and Eric Kownacki/ Tom Jenkins’ DFZ are hoping to stay in contention for a podium finish.

J/70 sailing Yachting CupFinally, as outlined above, the J/80s will no doubt have a tough time with Curt Johnson’s super-fast AVET, but Suzuki Yusuke on SAVAGE and Wayne Zittell’s J/WORLD I are looking forward to their three-way cage fight for first!

In the offshore PHRF categories, the dueling J/125s, Tim Fuller’s RESOLUTE and Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE, will spar with one another for handicap honors along with the J/46 ANONA sailed by Fred Hawes in the big boat class.  In the mid-sized PHRF class, two 35-footers will be at it hammer and tong, the classic J/35 RIVAL (David Boatner) vs. the J/109 GERONIMO (Gene Pitkin).

The awards ceremony will be held at San Diego Yacht Club after the completion of races on Sunday, May 1 where prizes will be awarded by class.

The Yachting Cup would like to thank its sponsors: Pirates Lair, Ballast Point, SunBum, Helly Hansen, North Sails, North Sails Graphics, SD Boatworks, Tesla Motors, Anchor Gloves and Lemon & Lime.   For more SDYC Yachting Cup sailing information

Annapolis NOOD Regatta Preview

J/70s sailing Annapolis 
(Annapolis, MD)- The end of April has traditionally marked the start of the long racing season on Chesapeake Bay and the principal event that sailors look forward to after a long winter is the Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD regatta, hosted by the trio of clubs around Annapolis- Annapolis YC, Eastport YC and Severn Sailing Association.  As has been the case for years, a veritable J/Navy invades for the weekend to enjoy the warm southern hospitality on offer from the local denizens in downtown Annapolis as well as at the various clubs.

Not surprisingly, the popular event attracts teams from far and wide, Chicago to Maine and upstate New York to Florida.  194 boats will be taking to the water, 146 of them (75% of the total fleet!) spread throughout JBoats’ eight classes (a record number of classes ever in one event!)- J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/30s, J/35s, J/105s, J/111s and PHRF teams (J/109s, J/42, J/110, J/29).

A rather benign weather forecast indicates the sailors may enjoy the rum squalls under the tents more than what happens on the water.  The weather service indicates a light, rainy east/southeast breeze on Friday; a partly cloudy day on Saturday with a strong northerly in the morning, quickly dying and shifting east; and then a nice sunny day on Sunday with a light southeast wind- temps in the high 50s to mid 60s all weekend.  Not bad, but let’s hope those ivory tower weather gurus are wrong!
Annapolis weather
A new feature for this year’s Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD Regatta is the advent of the Helly Hansen Junior Crew team.  Sailing is a pastime that doesn’t discriminate based on age. It’s a competitive outlet where young sail with, against, and alongside elders, as well their peers. And, whereas many youth sports segregate kids to the field of play and adults to the sidelines, sailboat racing does not. Sailing is the ultimate lifetime sport. Ask the outstanding youth sailors selected to be members of Helly Hansen’s Junior Crew, which will compete at the 2016 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Annapolis in May.

“There’s small hole in the pipeline of our sport where kids can fall out after junior sailing,” says Dave Reed, Editor of Sailing World, which owns the 26-year NOOD Regatta series. “They come back eventually, but miss out on great years of keelboat team sailing. This initiative will prove the value of having young sailors on the team. They bring infectious curiosity and energy to every race.”

J/105 youth sailors at Annapolis NOODThese five sailors, aged 14 to 17 will compete in the J/105 class, against national champions and highly experienced teams, putting their dingy skills to use in the big keelboat:

Annabelle Hutchinson, Age 17
Born and raised in Annapolis, Annabelle Hutchinson comes from a big sailing family. She has raced competitively on the St. Mary's High School sailing team since freshman year, and while she loves dinghy sailing, she is very excited to get more experience on keelboats.

Andrew Hiller, Age 14
Andrew Hiller has been sailing as long as he can remember, mostly in Optis and a local J/70 fleet on Wednesday nights. He also plays Water Polo for Navy.

Kate Riley, Age 16
Kate Riley has been sailing dinghies (420s and Optis) since she was about six years old and has been racing on her high school's sailing team since 8th grade. She has had some experience with sailing keelboats, but she hopes to have more opportunities to do so as her sailing career advances.

Ben Podlich, Age 15
Ben Podlich has been sailing since he was a little kid, and has been racing at the high school level for the past couple years. He loves sailing in dinghies, but gladly takes any opportunity he can get to sail keelboats, as they are the future in terms of sailing as an adult.

Liam Kennedy, Age 17
Liam Kennedy has been sailing since Optis in 2008 at Eastern YC, has competed in two previous NOOD regattas on J/70s, the AYC Sunday frostbite series on J/88, and sailed J/22s and J/24s on and J/70s in various local fleets. He is excited to sail in the 2016 NOODs here in Annapolis.

They’re not old enough, yet, however, to be given the keys to the Cadillac. Rather, Annapolis YC’s Sailing Director Jane Millman, will oversee the campaign. She will be on board to ensure the safe return of Dr. Alexander’s J/105 MORE COWBELLS!

“I chose sailors who I feel represent what the sport of sailing is about, a Corinthian spirit and willingness to learn in any situation,” says Millman. “By bringing different ages and skill levels together, we will have success in continuing to instill and foster a passion for keelboat sailing at a young age.”

The Helly Hansen Junior Crew is an initiative of the NOOD’s partner, Helly Hansen, which has been making gear for sports and work on the ocean and in the mountains since 1887. They dress world-class sailors, skiers and adventurers with full-protection gear, with the understanding that if you’re not comfortable, you’re not performing at your best. This is especially true on raceboats, so to be sure the Junior Crew are focused on sailing fast and competitive, they will be outfitted with proper Helly Hansen gear.

J/105s sailing AnnapolisWho will the kids be up against in the hot, nineteen-boat J/105 class on the Chesapeake Bay??  A rogue’s gallery of past NOOD regatta winners and podium finishers, that’s all!  Familiar names will be dueling for class honors, including Mark & Jolene Masur’s TWO FEATHERS from Fort Worth Boat Club in Texas, Jack Biddle’s familiar RUM PUPPY from Annapolis YC, Jim Konigsberg’s INIGO, Don Santa’s SANTAS REIGN DEAR, Carl & Scott Gitchell’s TENACIOUS and Andrew Kennedy’s BAT IV.

One of the J/105 skippers from Bermuda offered his perspective on the regatta. “We have learned to enjoy subjecting ourselves to the vagaries of the Chesapeake Bay,” says Bermuda-based skipper James Macdonald. “It’s always a challenge to sail well.”

Macdonald, skipper of the aptly-named, Bermuda-flagged J/105 DISTANT PASSION admits that the class isn’t as active as it once was, but maintains that there are still hotspots for regattas, including Annapolis. In Bermuda, says Macdonald, he generally races between six and eight other boats in their weeknight and weekend racing series. “In Annapolis, we see nearly twenty boats,” he says. “Those twenty are of high caliber as well. When it blows here, the racing gets interesting. When it’s lighter, the J/105 can be underpowered, but that’s when the tweaking and tactics come into play.”

After sailing his first J/105 from Bermuda to Key West Race Week and not enjoying the long haul, Macdonald purchased a second J/105 in 2009, DISTANT PASSION, exclusively for sailing events in North America, like the Annapolis NOOD. When not competing in Annapolis, Block Island, or even Ontario, DISTANT PASSION sits on a trailer in Annapolis, what Macdonald calls a good “jumping off point” for northeast regattas. Conveniently, then, the boat is already in place for this weekend’s competition.

The NOOD is a perfect event for he and his crew, says Macdonald, because the three-day event structure gives them enough time to make the trip worthwhile. Macdonald’s tactician, Jon Corless, also runs his own J/105 program in Bermuda, but the two combine forces for faraway regattas. They bring a variety of crew every year, another option made available by the characteristics of the J/105. “It’s easy to sail in some ways,” says Macdonald. “There are still enough controls for great variation among the fleet, but overall it’s a great way to get new keelboat sailors comfortable with the bigger boats.”

J/70 Wild Child sailing AnnapolisWith forty-three boats on the line, the J/70s will again be the largest fleet sailing in the regatta.  The top foreign team will be none other than 4x J/24 World Champion Mauricio Santa Cruz from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, sailing BRUSCHETTA.  He will be facing a formidable array of local talent as well as visitors from around the eastern seaboard.  Top teams like J/22 World Champion Al Terhune will be racing DAZZLER, along with other Chesapeake Bay area talents like Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY, Jim Allsopp’s MOXIE, Geoff Becker’s PAPA WHEELIE, Dan & Gannon Troutman’s PIED PIPER, Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND, Peter McChesney’s TROUBLE, and Henry Filter’s WILD CHILD.  Noteworthy out-of-town crews include Brian Keane’s MOJITO/SAVASANA (Buzzards Bay), Heather Gregg & Joe Bardenheier’s MUSE (Boston), Marty Mckenna’s RARITY (Youngstown), John Brim’s RIMETTE (Fisher’s Island), Will Welles (Maine/ Newport), Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE (Forth Worth) and Nick & Bodo von der Wense (Wayne, PA).

J/22 sailing Annapolis NOODAlways a popular local fleet is the twenty-six boat J/22 class.  Having been on a winning streak lately, Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS hopes to keep their podium finishes rolling.  Chasing them hard all weekend in the shifty stuff where their circle is located will be Jenn Gaffney’s COMMITTED/ PIRATE PRINCESS RACING TEAM, Julie  Mon’s HOT TICKET, Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, past J/22 World Champion Terry Flynn (Houston), Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 41 (Youngstown), and Brad Julian’s USA 677.

With seven boats, the once super hot J/24 class has dwindled in numbers but they still enjoy fun racing on the Bay.  Virtually all are local teams from Severn Sailing Association or Eastport YC, such as Peter Rich’s BUXTON, Bill Davenport’s JABB, Pat Fitzgerald’s RUSH HOUR or Pete Kassal’s SPACEMAN SPIFF.

Showing a resurgence in class activity in recent years has been a loyal group of local J/30 owners. Many of the boats have been spruced up quite nicely and look virtually good as news with fresh paint jobs, refinished interiors and new sails.  The refrigerators will be filled with cold “cervezas”, but the gloves will be off as the fleet goes to battle over the three days.  Several crews have had a go at each other over the years, including George Watson’s AVITA, Bob Rutsch & Mike Costello’s BEPOP, Pam Morris’ BUMP, Ron Anderson’s INSATIABLE and Tristan & Sheila Keen’s INFECTIOUS SMILE.

J/35 sailing Annapolis NOOD Another old classic that has seen a revival at previous Annapolis NOODs are the J/35s, with a nice half-dozen boat fleet led by a perennial class leader- Jim Sagerholm & Jerry Christofel’s AUNT JEAN.  Who will knock them off the top of the podium this year??  Certainly giving it a try will be Chuck Kohlerman’s MEDICINE MAN, Bruce Artman’s T-BONE and Masci/McGonigle’s WINDEPENDENT.

A strong showing of twenty-two J/80s will produce tight racing and tough mark roundings for this popular Bay class.  Participating will be a top five crew from the 2014 J/80 Worlds- Will & Marie Crump sailing R80 from Annapolis.  They will be chased by other Worlds Top 20 teams, like David Andril’s VAYU, John White’s USA 1162, Ken Mangano’s MANGO, Bert Carp’s ELEVEN, Chris & Liz Chadwick’s CHURCH KEY, Les Beckwith’s FKA and Bill Blank’s BLIND SQUIRREL.

J/111 Velocity sailing Annapolis NOODAfter braving wild conditions off Charleston Harbor for the Charleston Race Week Regatta, seven J/111s are looking forward to the “billiard-table-flat” waters of the Bay (at least compared to Gulf Stream-type breaking 10 footers offshore!).  The top three boats could very well include local champion Martie Roesch’s VELOCITY, Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE crew from San Diego, CA, and Doug Curtiss’ WICKED 2.0 team from Buzzards Bay.  However, some stalking horses that could upset that apple cart may be David McCreight’s DARK HORSE or Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND.

The world of PHRF offshore racing includes the PHRF 50-75 fleet that looks more like the ninth J one-design class since it has four J/109s in a five-boat class!  So, without further ado, the J/109s are all fast boats, including Bob Schwartz’s NORDLYS from Long Island Sound, Francis Albert’s RESOLUTE from Manassas, VA, Rick Hanson’s ROSALITA from Avondale, PA and multiple class champion Bill Sweetser on the famous RUSH!

The North Sails Rally Race take place on Saturday only and they will be praying for breeze!  Hopefully, the big norther hangs around for a while.  Since it’s a pursuit race, the earlier starts may enjoy a bit of an advantage.  Nevertheless, all will certainly have fun on their “Bay Tour”.  Looking forward to that adventure are Paul & Sue Mikulski’s J/42 FULL CIRCLE, Bob Dymond’s J/29 GABRIELLE and Joe Laun’s J/110 LADY GREY.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside ImagesSailing photo credits- Dan Phelps.  For more Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/46's cruising all over the Caribbean!

J/46 Bravo sailing Caribbean (Tortola, British Virgin Islands)- According to Tom Babbit, the happy owner of BRAVO (J/46 #24), “after a raucous offshore leg to the Caribbean, we have encountered no fewer than six J/46s that are down here for the "season”!  Holy Smokes!  What fun!  Great folks and great celebrations everywhere we go, one of the major benefits of being part of the J family!  We look forward to reconnecting with at least some of these folks this summer in Camden!  Please contact me at-”

According to Tom, those enjoying the steady sun and breezes include:
  • Rob and Melanie Shaw on #14 Jazolo (UK)
  • Glenn and Elsa Gustafson on #25 Windara (Michigan)
  • Herni Van Miele on #40 Jent (Dutch)
  • John and Anne Burnett #43 Folie a Deux (San Francisco)
  • In Nanny Cay, #23 (USVI)
  • Tom & Jane Babbit, Bravo, #24 hailing from Camden, Maine

J/111s Loving Benelux Series!

J/111 sailing Van Uden Reco regatta- Netherlands (Stellendam, The Netherlands)- Last weekend saw the start of J/111 One-Design Racing in the Benelux region at the Van Uden Reco Regatta in Stellendam.  And, what a great start it was!!

The conditions on Saturday were very tricky, to say at the least. The conditions saw very tight, close racing, demanding everything from everybody on the boats; resulting in some very exhausted crews at the end of the day.

But, what great racing! Three races, three different winners with the top three boats (Zwijnenburg’s SWEENY, Sigg’s LALLEKONIG and Vroom’s RED HERRING) all in a three-way tie on equal points!  As a result, that meant the racing on Sunday was going to be anyone’s game to play for. Both de Liedekerke’s DJINN and Burkert’s TOP JOB were playing “catch-up”, learning a lot every turn around the course and getting closer and closer to the top 3.

J/111 fleet sailing Benelux seriesOn Sunday, the wind kicked in like a hammer, beating the boats with brutal force all day long. This ended up with TOP JOB (broken Jib#3.5) and LALLEKONIG (injured person on board) needing to retire before the racing actually began. Thankfully, they are both in good shape and will be ready to resume racing at the next J/111-event in two week’s time.

The two races sailed that day had two different winners: Zwijnenburg’s SWEENY and Vroom’s RED HERRING.  The outcome again left both boats on equal points, tied for the lead.  However, as ISAF-rules apply (best result in the last race is decisive), this made Vroom’s RED HERRING the winner of the first event. De Liedekerke’s DJINN showed great progress that day by catching up on the two leaders to take third overall.

All owners and crews were very enthusiastic and looking forward to the next J/111 Benelux One Design event- the North Sea Regatta in Scheveningen from May 13th to 16th.  Then, all participating boats in the races in the Benelux countries will also participate in the J/111 World Championship in Cowes (UK) in early August!  Thanks for the report from Paul Gladdines!   For more J/111 Benelux Van Uden Reco sailing information

Friday, April 29, 2016

German J/70 Sailing League Act I Preview

J/70s sailing German sailing league (Starnberg, Germany)- On a beautiful lake in Bavaria, 25 kilometers southwest of Munich, will begin the 2016 season for the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga (DSBL).  The fifth largest lake in Germany, it is most notorious for the scandalous drowning death of King Ludwig II in 1886.  While this bit of trivia may be lost on the sailors, there is no question the 36 teams and nearly 200 sailors participating in DSBL’s inaugural 2016 event will try to avoid tragic performances themselves as they all seek the coveted silver plate, emblematic of the Overall DSBL Championship.

The long weekend starts with a qualification series from April 27th to 28th for six teams on the DSBL’s matched fleet of International One-Design J/70 class sailboats.  The pressure is immense since it is the only time these teams can hope to participate in the “premiere” division of the DSBL- League I.

J/70s sailing German Sailing LeagueThe Düsseldorf Yacht Club (13th), the Segelkameradschaft (14th place) and the Yacht Club Berlin-Grünau (15th place) want to confirm their status in the Bundesliga I. Their competitors from the Bundesliga II division want to replace them!  That includes the Hamburger Segel-Club (No. 4), the club at Rupenhorn (No. 5) and the Blankeneser Sailing Club (6th place).  Every point will count and no one will give a millimeter as the teams fight to either stay in, or climb into, League I.

The Hamburger Segel-Club (HSC) is a “repeat offender” for the start of the season.  For the second year in a row, the club from Alster Lake is in the qualification round and has to fight for the rite to be in League I. The second time, they hope, things should finally work out:

J/70 German sailing league start"We have trained hard on the Alster Lake and, yet, we are completely relaxed. I think we have a good chance in light winds. Since we have two league newcomers to the Starnberg qualifiers, we will still need for better coordination in our crew, but we are getting better. This past weekend, we practiced one last time our maneuvers.  Now, it’s time to get serious. We know that the other clubs have also trained and at the end, little things will decide how we place. It is an intense competition, a fight to the end that will be exciting and something we look forward to,” said HSC skipper- Silke Basedow.

The qualification races start on Wednesday, 27 April at 1100 hrs in front of Munich YC in on Starnberg Lake. Twelve races are planned. The minimum number of five races must be completed to ensure the qualification to be officially valid. If there is no official rating, the table from last season remains.  Thursday, April 28 is scheduled as a make-up day, just in case.

Then, from Friday through Sunday, the League I teams will be sailing as many races as weather permits!  Truly, the “horses will be on the track” working hard and hoping to establish an early pecking order amongst the top sailing clubs throughout Germany.

The Sailing Instructions, the schedule and, most importantly, LIVE SAP SAILING Analytics Tracking can be found here.   For more Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information

JBoats Founders Honored at Mystic Seaport Museum!

Bob Johnstone (Mystic Seaport, CT)- Bob and Rod Johnstone to be honored by the Mystic Seaport Museum this October 22nd!  Mystic Seaport will present its 2016 America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats. Given annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.

The Johnstone’s will receive the award Saturday, October 22, at a gala dinner held in their honor at Mystic Seaport. The gala will be the first and only dinner held in the Collins Family Gallery of the new Thompson Exhibition Building prior to its ongoing use to display exhibits. The Rod JohnstoneAmerica and the Sea Award Gala is the single largest fundraising event for the Museum. Proceeds from the event benefit the mission of the Museum to inspire an enduring connection to America’s maritime heritage.

“Over the past 39 years, the Johnstone family and their company have influenced American yachting and sport of sailing in incomparable ways. They have established a record of accomplishment that few will ever challenge, and they have instilled in countless Americans a passion for enjoying time on the water with family and good friends aboard good boats,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “For these reasons and many more, Mystic Seaport is proud to bestow its America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats.”

To purchase tickets or a table, or to inquire about corporate sponsorship or dockage for the event, please contact- or call 860.572.5365.  More information on Mystic Museum website here.

J/Sailors Cruise Les Voiles de St Barth

J/111 JBoss at Voiles de St Barth (Gustavia Harbour, St Barths)- From the 11th to 16th April, the beautiful French island of St Barths played host for the 7th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth.  This year’s event was notable for what it lacked, namely plenty of wind!  Unusual conditions prevailed for the sailors as much lighter winds than forecast jinxed the fleet, making for an exasperating week of sailing for most boats.  One day was even canceled due to no wind!  While the beach parties raged, other prayed for breeze to round out the week, but it never happened.

J/105 sailing Voiles de St BarthIn CSA 3, Eddy Chalono’s J/111 J-BOSS from Martinique managed to post a strong comeback after taking an 8th place in their first race, sailing fast & furious to post two deuces and take the bronze in class.  Similarly, the J/120 JAGUAR sailed by Vladimir Kulichenko from Moscow, Russia also had a slow start in race 1 with a 9th, but came back with a 3-5 to finish a respectable 6th overall on a tie-breaker over Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID team from Antigua.

Like their classmates in CSA 3, the J/109 POCKET ROCKET skippered by David Cullen from St Barths/ Ireland took 4th in CSA 4 class with a scoreline that showed improvement every race.  Peter Lewis’ J/105 WHISTLER from Barbados sailed consistently to take 6th in class.   For more Les Voiles St Barth Regatta sailing information

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gorgeous Puget Sound Spring Series!

J/105s sailing Seattle Puget Sound series (Seattle, WA)- It was one of those rare weekends that everyone dreams about sailing on Puget Sound.  The famous local sailing photographer, Jan Anderson, commented about the weekend, “first, the wind forecast helped us choose which day to show up, and then Mother Nature delivered a gorgeous weekend! And hey, those that came out sailed their hearts out … what fun! Hope you enjoy these images!

J/109 sailing Seattle Puget Sound seriesHosted by Corinthian YC Seattle, the sailors came out in droves to experience a sunny weekend with nice breeze both days.  The J/105 class had a great turnout and it was Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE crew that took class honors with three 1st and two 2nds in their scoreline.  Second was Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO with two 1sts, two 2nds and a 3rd.  Jerry Diercks’ team on DELIRIUM were, indeed, delirious with glee winning the last race to snag third overall.  The rest of the top five included Chris Phoenix’s JADED in 4th place and David Cohen & Lance Rummel’s INCONCEIVABLE in 5th position.

In the PHRF handicap world, we find Stu Burnell’s J/109 TANTIVY place third in Class 2 with Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA taking 5th position.  They were followed by Brian White’s classic J/35 GRACE E in 6th place.

In PHRF Class 5, it was the battle of the “29s” yet again!  This time, it was Patrick Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW taking the silver just one point back from first place! Fourth was the Kaplan/ Erickson/ Moynihan/ Sandler crew on the J/29 WINGS.  Four J/80s were sailing, with David Schutte’s TAJ MAHAL snaring 6th and Lek Dimarucot’s UNDERDOG in 7th place.   Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson/ JanPix   For more Puget Sound Spring Regatta sailing information

Mexican J/24 Nationals in Yucatan!

Mexican J/24 Nationals Yucatan (Cancun, Yucatan, Mexico)- Hold on to your hats!  A soon to be famous sailing venue is being championed by none other than the J/24 class off the famous old fishing village of Cancun in the Yucatan.  Now a famous resort, but even more incredibly, a fantastic place to be sailing literally on the edge of the cobalt-blue Gulf Stream that goes whistling by offshore less than a mile from the harbor entrance.  With spectacular tradewinds that start pumping hard in late spring, early summer, the J/24 sailors from across Mexico, the USA and Europe will revel in the wavy, windy, warm weather conditions on offer in this special place in the world.  Truly, it is an undiscovered, under-appreciated place to hold major regattas!

Register NOW for the Mexican J/24 Nationals and, better yet, get a crew organized and ask J/24 Yucatan Fleet Captain Jorge Ojeda for a borrowed boat to go sailing on for a week!  Contact Jorge here- Facebook J24 Yucatan.

The regatta takes place from June 30th to July 3rd, hosted by Club Marina Sureste in the main harbor of Cancun.  They are supported by the Mexican Federation of Sailing, the Yucatan Tourism Office and supported by sponsor Sherwin Williams Paint.  Up to three windward-leeward races are planned each day starting no earlier than 1100 hours.  A throwout race occurs after five races sailed.
According to Jorge, “we have beautiful sand and weather, but, especially a solid wind all the year, so its a great place for sailing!!  We expect at least 25 J/24s.  The three top Mexican teams are planning to attend and we hope to attract some American, Canadian and European teams, too!  Please contact me, we have good boats available to sail!”   For more Mexican J/24 Nationals sailing information

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Warsash Spring Series IV Report

J/111 Jitterbug sailing Warsash series (Warsash, England)- Competition in the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring continues over the past few weekends.  Here are the latest reports.

April 10th weekend
Crews and skippers alike had their work cut out with a SE to ESE wind of 19-24 knots, gusting 28-29 knots and a big spring tide in the Solent, the fourth day of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series.

Black Group classes, except for IRC4, started racing near mark 'Deloitte Sailing Club' and followed a largely windward leeward pattern to and from the Ryde Middle Bank and then up the North Channel for further legs before finishing at East Knoll.

In IRC1, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG was the only one of the three boats leading the class to finish the race. JITTERBUG finished first, with Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL taking second.

In IRC2, the J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT sailed by Paul Ward loved the heavy weather conditions and won her first race in the series.

In IRC3, David Greenhalgh's J/92 J’RONIMO took second by just three seconds and continues to hang on to second overall.

J/109 sailing Warsash Spring seriesFor the J/109 class, it was David McGough’s JUST SO taking the win over Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX in second and Chris Copeland & John Smart’s JUKEBOX in third place.

Racing did not go ahead for the White Group because of the conditions. Some competitors were seen hoisting their spinnakers as they headed back to the River Hamble, only to find themselves sailing horizontally.  One boat broke their mast and they had to be assisted into port. Back at the clubhouse, Chief Race Officer for White Group Peter Knight was heard to say that he was 'comfortable' with his decision!

Hats off to the Spring Series race officers out on the committee boats where conditions at anchor were less than comfortable!  WSC Commodore Nigel Russell presented Champagne and prizes.

April 19th
It was tight racing for the first weekend of the Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship; 110 boats were competing with around 850 people on the water!

A NNW wind dominated in the Solent over the weekends racing. Saturday was largely grey and cold with the wind generally 8-10 knots, dropping away for a time during race three to 5-7 knots and coming up to 12-15 knots at the end of the afternoon. Sunday bought sunshine but a very light breeze from between the W and NNW. Fluky and between 3-7 knots.

J/88 sailing Warsash seriesBlack Group start area was towards the eastern end of the Ryde Middle bank near the 'Roger Swinney' buoy. The four races on Saturday and two on Sunday were mainly windward / leeward courses around laid inflatable marks for the six classes; Fast 40+, IRC1 to IRC4 and the J/109. The race course was swung for each race to suit the prevailing conditions; lots of work for the four people on the two mark laying RIBs!

The J/109 class had several new boats all sharing the lead in a three-way tie on 11 pts each; Robert Stile’s DIAMOND JEM, David Richards’ JUMPING JELLYFISH and Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE!  Sitting 5 pts back is David McGough’s JUST SO and another 4 pts further back is Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX.

The IRC 1 Class saw stiff competition, with Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II posting all top five scores to hang on to 5th position.

IRC 2 saw Paul Ward’s J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT take a fourth position.  Ward said of the weekend's racing: "Courses were all very good and the four race format is exactly what we need to get the boat handling sharpened up at the start of the season. With the wind up and down and swinging around there were a lot of decisions for the race team and from what we could see you got them right and gave us all a really good and challenging day on the water".

J/70 RAF Spitfire sailing Warsash seriesWhite Group saw the first Black Flag of the year raised when the 24 strong J/70 class was too eager to start in the third race and the middle of the fleet pushed out over the start line. The Group raced four races on Saturday but the faltering wind meant only one race could be run on the Sunday despite moving the start inshore from to the Royal Southern buoy.  Russell Peter’s BOB is leading the J/70 class with just 13 pts, winning two races in the process and having all top five finishes.  Second is the J/70 Worlds Corinthian Champions, Simon Ling’s TEAM RAF BENEVOLENT FUND SPITFIRE and third is Ian Wilson’s GILL RACE TEAM.  Rounding out the top five is Jon Calascione’s HARLEQUIN in fourth and in fifth is Nick Phillips’ CHAOTIC.

Mike Lewis’s JESTER is leading the J/80 class, followed by Rachel & Robert Hunt’s JUMBLESAIL, third is Terence O’Neill’s AQUA-J.

Peter Bateson concludes, "Next weekend is the last of both the Series and the Championship. If the advance weather forecast of force 3-4 breezes proves correct, there should be some great sailing conditions to make a climax to this year's event."

April 19- Part 2
For the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series, Peter Bateson, Series Chairman, commented that, “the competition in some of the Black Group classes has really heated up now with many boats which had been leading the series in their class finding themselves in second place this week. The points are really tight between the boats and so it's all to play for as we head into the final races of the Spring Series next weekend".

J/111 Jitterbug - Cornel Riklin sailing Warsash seriesThe weather had provided a complete reversal of racing conditions in the Solent from last week leaving competitors searching for wind on day five (Sunday 17 April) of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series.

The forecast NNW wind of 5-10 knots shifted around 105 degrees extreme to extreme, causing the first race - and in the end the only race- of the day for White Group to be AP'd as the wind had shifted dramatically to the left.

Black Group's start area was around the eastern end of the Ryde Middle Bank with windward / leeward courses laid by inflatable marks. IRC4, which normally starts with the White Group, was moved into the Black Group start area due to the light winds.

In IRC 1 class, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG has maintained her overall series lead with an astounding 10-point gap to second place. However, JITTERBUG sustained some damage in an incident with another competitor and was not able to race on the Sunday. Hopefully, she will be out next Sunday.

J/88 spinnaker reach at Warsash seriesPaul Ward’s J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT continues to climb the ladder for the series in IRC 3 Class and now sits in third overall.  Richard Cooper’s J/88 JONGLEUR has been doing the same, is tied for fifth place, and has a good chance for a top five finish.

David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO is now leading IRC 3 Class with 11 pts.  Meanwhile, Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II took a 2nd in her last race and has an excellent chance of hopping into 3rd overall with a good finish next week.

The J/109s still have the same top three boats leading the class, McGough’s JUST SO in 1st with 9 pts with Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX in 2nd with 11 pts and Perry’s JIRAFFE in 3rd with 12 pts.  Who beats who in the last weekend will determine the final outcome of this trio?  Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN’ is 4th with 22 pts and David Richards’ JAZZY JELLYFISH is 5th with 33 pts.

J/70 sailing reach at Warsash seriesThe White Group course was moved inshore from a start at buoy to a start from Royal Southern buoy and the racing was able to finally got underway. But with the wind dying steadily competitors found themselves struggling around the windward mark because of the strong tide. Nevertheless, the racing was tight, with the three J/80's rounding the gate mark within three boat lengths of one another.

BETTY (Jon Powell) continues to lead the J/80 class with a sizeable 16-point lead over JUMBLESAIL (Rachel & Robert Hunt) in second place with 26 pts.  Third for the series is Terence O’Neill’s AQUA-J with 34 pts.

In the J/70 class, COSMIC (Patrick Liardet) is holding on as series leader with just 15 pts in 9 races counted.  INJUNCTION (Steve Venables) is holding onto second place after posting three bullets in three of the last four races.  Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8 is sitting tenuously in third position with 34 pts, just 4 pts clear of Nick Denney’s JALAPENO in fourth.  Fifth overall is Doug Struth’s DSP.

Annabel Shove presented Champagne and prizes from Rolly Tasker Sails who have provided the winner's champagne throughout the Series.   For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series and CrewSaver Spring Championship sailing information

Premiere Sailing League Debuts in Detroit

J/70 sailing league start (Detroit, MI)– The Premiere Sailing League USA (PSL USA) announces that Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC) as the first official “stadium” for the sport’s first American-based sailing league. The inaugural demonstration event will take place from September 10th to 11th at Grosse Point YC in their brand-new fleet of six matched J/70s.  Founded in 1914, GPYC is one of the country’s premier yacht clubs and a prominently visible landmark located on Lake St. Clair, less than 30 miles from downtown Detroit.

“We are looking forward to hosting this event for the Midwest,” said GPYC Commodore Thomas Lauzon.  “The partnership with Premiere Sailing League USA will not only help promote the growth of youth sailing in the greater Detroit area, but also serve as a symbol of the economic revitalization of our region.  Our fleet of J/70s is creating tremendous enthusiasm within our membership as well as encouraging other Detroit area clubs, like Bayview YC, to join in on the fun!”

Grosse Pointe YC hosting J/70 sailing league“Grosse Pointe YC is doing an amazing job with their youth and high school programs and will make good use of their boats in between sailing league events,” said Benjamin Klatzka, the President of PSL USA.  “Integrating with the programs of our partner sailing clubs is one of the important concepts PSL USA will implement to further support the sport.”

As a long-time supporter of sailing on the Great Lakes, Wally Cross, President of Ullman Sails Midwest, is excited about the PSL USA program. “This sailing league program will get the kids involved big-time and help us grow sailing as a family and school activity in the region.”

Grosse Pointe YC and PSL USA are inviting yacht clubs and community sailing programs from across the greater Midwest to participate in the exciting sailing league format.  Eighteen club teams, comprised of four crew each, participate in a college-style sailing format with teams rotating through six boats.  Teams are invited to participate from: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. If you wish to participate, please contact Ben Klatzka at cell# 617-480-8775 or email here.   For more information about the Premiere Sailing League USA

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fabulous, Epic Charleston Race Week

J/88s sailing Charleston Race Week (Charleston, SC)- Event Chairman Randy Draftz said that nature smiled on the fleet for Charleston Race Week’s 21st birthday.  “This is a dream forecast with our strongest group of sponsors, supporters, and competitors ever, and it’s fitting that our birthday present is the same thing that made Charleston such a world famous sailing destination: Great wind.”

With three courses in Charleston Harbor and one outside the jetties, Sperry Charleston Race Week welcomed competitive sailors of all skill levels, from the highest ranks of Olympic and America’s Cup crews to the newest jib-and-main racer looking to get their toes in the water.  Skippers and crews hailed from some 27 nations, while boats ranging from 19 feet to 84 feet raced in seven mixed/handicap fleets and 11 one-design racing classes.

J/70 sailor Terry HutchinsonTerry Hutchinson was one of those America’s Cup stars, and he said there are few things better than April on the water in Charleston. “I don’t get to come to Charleston every year, but when I do, it starts the whole season off perfectly,” said Hutchinson, who raced aboard Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT in the 72-boat J/70 fleet. The former ARTEMIS Racing skipper and his team arrived early enough to put in two extra days of practice, which Hutchinson said would be essential for his team to do well in Charleston. “The competition level in the J/70 class is no joke, and this will probably be the biggest J/70 regatta all the way until Worlds in 2016. We could use even more practice, but we’re ready to get out there tomorrow and make good things happen.”  Those were prophetic words coming from a J/24 World Champion and two-time College Sailor of the Year.

With high-levels of competition in both the offshore handicap and one-design world, it is notable that the top two most prestigious trophies in the regatta went to J/crews.  Winning their fourth Palmetto Cup, the perennial trophy for best overall handicap racing performance, was Robin Team and the family-filled J/122 TEAMWORK program. As a result, they became the winningest boat in Sperry Charleston Race Week’s 21-year history. Then, on the one-design front, Julian Fernandez’s J/70 FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO, producing a “two-peat” performance, took home the Charleston Race Week Trophy for the best overall performance in a one-design class.  Here is what happened over the weekend.

J/80s sailing Charleston Race WeekFriday
The first morning came on like a winter blast, with cold, driving rain and a brisk northeasterly breeze greeting the more than 2,000 sailors ready to do battle for the day. With dangerous surf at the harbor’s edge and a building wind forecast, all offshore racing was canceled before 8:00am.  Event Director Randy Draftz said that while he hated to see the big boats lose a day, it wasn’t a difficult call.

“After looking at wind readings and wave reports from private boats and the US Coast Guard, and consulting with our Race Officers, we decided safety was far more important than racing, especially in potentially boat-breaking waves,” Draftz said. “There was definitely relief on most of the skipper’s faces after we called the offshore racing off.”

Meanwhile, the shelter of Charleston Harbor meant the inshore fleets – eight of them on three separate courses – had powerful but very manageable conditions, with all classes finishing three or four races in winds under 18 knots.

J/70 sailor Gannon Troutman on Pied PiperJust under 70 teams were racing in the J/70 class, with more America’s Cup, Olympic, and Championship racers than one can easily count. After three races, no professionally driven and crewed boat was beating 13-year old Gannon Troutman on PIED PIPER, whose crew includes his Dad- Dan. “We put a lot of time into getting faster and progressing over the winter, and it’s definitely showing this week,” said Troutman, who said his biggest focus when he’s out on the race course is— - - focus!

“I work on keeping distractions to a minimum and doing my job– driving– the very best I can, all the time,” said the teen, who added that he’s rarely intimidated even when being shouted at by sailing superstars. “They’re just trying to mess you up, so it’s best to ignore them and just sail fast,” he said, with wisdom far beyond his age.

Molly and John Baxter sailing Vineyard VinesTroutman’s youthful confidence may be brimming, but there’s another, far younger J/70 sailor looking to put a dent in the 13 year-old’s game plan; Connecticut couple Molly and John Baxter were racing their J/70 VINEYARD VINES at the regatta, despite expecting their new baby in just four months. “It’s early in the regatta, but we hope to have the first prenatal Charleston Race Week Champion crowned on Sunday,” Molly said!

Youthful exuberance abounds in the J/70 fleet, while experience and tradition filled the J/24 fleet– a Charleston staple. Local racer Mike Palazzo and his team on JO’MAMA sat in 10th place after three races, and he was all smiles in the afternoon, even before his first Gosling’s Rum Dark-n-Stormy. “We had a middle-of-the-pack day, but it was still a ton of fun out there racing in the best place there is. Everyone started the day with blade jibs, and the smart guys transitioned to bigger headsails for the second and third race when the wind dropped. Unfortunately, we didn’t make that move, and paid for it,” said Palazzo.

J/80s sailing Charleston HarborSaturday
Friday’s wintery conditions were barely a memory after Saturday’s picture-perfect Day 2, with 15-20 knots of wind inshore and over 20 kts outside the jetties. The conditions allowed for racing across all the courses despite seas that ranged from ‘bumpy’ to ‘scary’ according to crews returning from the offshore race course.

Sailing in handicap racing Class B, Frickie Martschink and Bill MacKenzie’s crew on board their J/105 RUM FRONT out of Charleston said the racing was great. “The ride out was pretty rough, but once on the course, conditions were not easy, but good for racing,” said Martschink, who said the highlight of his day was rounding the top mark and setting the asymmetrical spinnaker. “Once we got that set, we were smoking, and what a blast- - - well, until we had a little issue getting the kite down.”

Among Martschink’s competition in the 10-boat class was his brother Miles, who helms an identical J/105 named SKIMMER.  “We’re going to make sure our crew work is clean and quick tomorrow so we can be sure to beat my brother,” said Martschink.

Overhead waves against the tide caused problems for even the most seasoned sailors, but it was the crew of the Circle 5 Race Committee boat that faced the biggest challenge on Saturday.  After the first race of the day, a huge wave launched the 36-foot offshore fishing boat into the air, seriously injuring two crew. With transfer to a safety boat impossible in the rough water, the race officials were forced to return to shore, ending the day for Circle 5 after one race.

Meanwhile, on the inshore course in the biggest class ever assembled at CRW, 13 year-old Gannon Troutman continued to lead the huge J/70 fleet despite blowing up a spinnaker.  “A little hole at the top mark held until the very end of the last race, and it tore to pieces in seconds,” said Troutman. “We still got first place, though,” he said.

J/70 winners- Flojito y Cooperando at CharlestonSunday
Certain boats seem to thrive in Charleston’s breezy, tide-wrought conditions, and this year provided the perfect weather for them. Perennial favorites and past champions battled adversity to rise to the top once again, while new faces joined the podium in several classes.

For the third straight day, the wind provided plenty of power for the nearly 250 boats racing out of Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, and in the biggest and most competitive class– the 67-boat J/70 fleet – 13-year-old Gannon Troutman was poised to wrap up an amazing victory after leading this tough fleet all week. From Mexico City, helmsman Julian Fernandez Neckelmann – the reigning J/70 World Champion – had other ideas for his crew on FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO. In what turned out to be the final race of the series for their flight, it was a battle for the top five all race.  After rounding the weather mark first, Brian Keane’s SAVASANA rounded the leeward gate even with FLOJITO.  On the next weather leg, it was nip and tuck with FLOJITO leading and Troutman’s PIED PIPER passing boats to move into third position.  At the windward mark, FLOJITO rounded first and took off on starboard gybe, J/70s sailing Charleston Harboronly to get into a relative hole of wind of less than 12 kts (displacement mode) in the middle of the course.  Rounding in second was Keane’s SAVASANA, who immediately gybed onto port into a massive string of 18+ kt puffs to ultimately plane around FLOJITO to win the race at the downwind finish.  Meanwhile, FLOJITO’s crew nervously gybed back to the left hand side of the course to protect their lead over PIED PIPER.  In the end, FLOJITO took second in the race and edged out Troutman that took third in the race.  As a result, the duo tied at 21 points after nine races. By virtue of Fernandez’s number of first-place finishes, the youngster from Fishing Bay Yacht Club lost the tiebreaker, but neither Troutman nor his parents seemed disappointed at all.

“We just tied for first in big breeze against the guy who won this regatta last year, and he’s also the World Champion, with his full World Championship crew. We’re feeling pretty good about that,” said Gannon’s proud Mom. FLOJITO’s team not only won their class, but also took home the Charleston Race Week Trophy for the best overall performance in a one-design class.

Rounding out the top five for the J/70’s were an amazing performance by the Baxter family- John + Molly + new kid almost on the block!  As winners of the Quantum J/70 Winter Series in Tampa Bay, Team VINEYARD VINES were one of the few crews that had yet to sail against a comprehensive set of the top competitors in the class.  They proved to be up to the task, at one point winning two races in a row and finishing only 3 pts out of first!  Fourth was the formidably-talented team on Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT with multiple World Champion and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson on board.  Fifth was Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE team with yet another College Sailor of the Year aboard- Morgan Reeser.

Stephanie Roble sailing J/70 Rimette with John BrimIn the “Master’s Division” of skippers over 60 yrs old, it was Joel Ronning winning, with John Brim’s RIMETTE in 2nd place with Steph Roble on board as tactician (a Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year winner).  Third in Master’s was Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY Racing from the Cayman Islands with yet another multiple Collegiate All-American onboard- Tony Rey from Newport, RI.  As Tony remarked after racing on Saturday, “I’ve never sailed in a regatta that had as many College Sailors of the Year in one event- Terry Hutchinson- 2x, Bill Hardesty- 1x, Morgan Reeser- 2x, Stu Johnstone- 1x. Peter was more than pleased to feel competitive in such company to take an 11th in his first regatta, particularly after having raced his J/29 POWERPLAY for years and more recently his TP52 POWERPLAY! By the way, he loves sailing his J/22 at Cayman Islands Sailing Club!”

In the “Corinthians Division”, it was Rob Britts crew on HOT MESS that sailed a solid series to win by a significant margin, proving that practice makes perfect after having sailed the entire Quantum J/70 Winter Series in Tampa.  Second was Jack Jorgensen’s LAYLA. Third was Andrew Fisher’s team on BUTTON FLY with the B-SQUARED gang of Bryan Cameron & Bryan Elliot in fourth, followed by Alex Meleny’s TRUCKIN’ in fifth place.

J/24s sailing at Charleston Race WeekIt’s a testament to the level of competition in the fleets that tiebreakers would decide other titles as well.   The J/24 fleet was just as close as local Charleston skipper Scott McCormick’s GIGGTY held off a late charge for the second straight year from Aidan Glacken’s NY-based MENTAL FLOSS to take the back-to-back class win on equal scores.  Third was Carter White’s SEABAGS SAILING TEAM from Portland, ME.  Chris Stone’s VELOCIDAD was fourth and Ron Medlin’s BASH fifth.

On the same race course were the J/22s and J/80s.  In J/80s, Gary Panariello’s crew on COURAGEOUS proved their ORC Handicap win in Quantum Key West Race Week over Farr 280s was no fluke.  Posting virtually straight bullets, they won class quite handily.  Perhaps the heartwarming story of the week on the family front (other than the Gannon’s in the J/70s) was the successful performance of father Bill Lockwood crewing for his skipper daughter- Shannon.  That combo proved quite formidable, taking second overall in J/80s. Third was Vince Kalish’s WHITE LIGHTNIN’, with Alex Kraus’ COOL J in 4th and Senor MANGO in 5th- Ken Mangano and crew.

J/22 Warrior Sailing Team at Charleston Race WeekThe J/22s saw John Mossman’s CYC crew win with Dan Lawless’s SLIPPERY WHEN WET take second for the series.  However, the “winners” for all J/22 crews concerned was the nice performance by the WARRIOR SAILING TEAM’s first major regatta of the year.

Skippered by Sammy Lugo, a handicapped American war veteran, they managed to prove those with disabilities can be competitive.  Coached by Ben Poucher, the team members arrived a little late to the awards party and Poucher was immediately waylaid by a reporter from Charleston’s Post & Courier. The team had been attracting local media attention all weekend, but he didn’t mind it at all, because they were on hand to collect their third-place trophy in the J/22 Class. “We’re all going up on stage,” said Poucher, referring to skipper Sammy Lugo, and crew members Scott Ford and David Carras.

“Today turned out to be our best day at the event for both of our crews,” said Poucher. “The guys really jelled and had the boat going well. It’s gratifying to see them do so well.” And gratification is what local sailing organizer Guy Mossman offered when he took the stage at the awards presentation to acknowledge the third place finish by the Warrior crew. “The Warrior Sailing Program is such an admirable initiative,” said Mossman to the crowd. “It introduces injured and ill veterans and active service personnel to the sport of sailing. These are people we should all be grateful to. They make up less than one percent of our population, but they defend this nation all over the world, and allow us all to live free.”

On the offshore side of things, it was getting a bit fraught. Fortunately, there was a very, very cool solution to the issue.  With no end to the brutal wave conditions offshore, Event Director Randy Draftz and his principal race officers decided early in the day to bring the Circle 5 fleet inside the harbor, but where would they go? “It’s tough to find space with 200 boats already racing in the harbor, but with the help of the Harbor Pilots Association and the US Coast Guard, we came up with a solution that seemed to work,” said Draftz.

That solution was something never before tried at Sperry Charleston Race Week – a fourth inshore course inside the Wando River. “We weren’t sure it would work, but thanks to great communication between all the local agencies, every offshore boat got in three good races in perfect conditions in the river,” Draftz added. One offshore racer, Phil Garland who crewed aboard Steve Thurston's second place J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN, said that sailing north of the Cooper River Bridge was "just like frostbiting in Barrington. River sailing with current and tide just like back home– we all thought it was pretty cool.”

As a result, after counting only one race offshore on Saturday, the offshore divisions may have, ultimately, decided en’masse to only sail Charleston in the Wando River from now on end after sailing three quick, tight, extremely competitive races.  After all, the thermals are strongest in the river and when it’s from the north, it’s also fun and much shiftier.  Plus, many crews were heard to say, it was so much more fun to think of the possibility of having breakfast with their friends before sailing at a Caribbean-like 11am start!  Hmmm.  Interesting possibilities for the future.

J/111s sailing Charleston Race WeekTaking advantage of that inshore situation were crews accustomed to short, tight, tactical scenarios with strong current.

Scenario #1- J/111s.  Peter Wagner’s supremely talented crew on SKELETON KEY from San Francisco, CA that won Quantum Key West Race Week simply ran the table with straight bullets.  In a battle for second was Bill Smith’s WOOTON from Chicago, IL and Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH.  That duel was settled by tactical, closed-course strategies- advantage WOOTON.  Fourth in the fleet was Bennet Greenwalds’ PERSEVERANCE and fifth was Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY.

Scenario #2- J/88s.  After posting an offshore 1st, Rob Butler’s crew were going to have to deal with a talented short-course crew on Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION.  After a 1-1-2 on Sunday, it was clear Iris’s crew were loving her ability to get off the starting line, steer fast, and hit the shifts.  Hanging tight despite a few miscues was Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY RACING with a 5-2-3 on the last day.  The “big mover” happened to be the DNF on Saturday’s racing- Doug McKeige’s JAZZ.  Their final day posting of 3-4-1, with an emphatic final race win, was good enough for the bronze.  Mike Bruno’s WINGS Key West Race Week winning team took 4th place in the challenging conditions and Brian O’Malley’s crew on BLUE were fifth position.

Robin Team's J/122 Teamwork wins CharlestonWinning PHRF A and the Overall Offshore Palmetto Trophy was Robin Team’s extraordinary crew on his J/122 TEAMWORK. Taking 4th in class and struggling a bit on the inshore course was Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION.

In PHRF B, it was an extraordinary performance for J crews, ultimately taking five of the top six! Tops was Rick Moore’s J/120 MOOSE DOWN in 2nd, followed by Fred Martschink’s J/105 RUM FRONT in third, Willy Schwenzfeier’s J/35 ARROW in fourth, John Keenan’s J/120 ILLYRIA in fifth and Miles Martschink’s J/105 SKIMMER in sixth.

Ultimately, in PHRF D it was a matter of attrition by several top boats.  However, in the end it is pretty damn hard to beat a well-sailed J/29 masthead boat.  Steve Thurston’s MIGHTY PUFFIN pulled off their class win with a 1-2-1-2 tally.

The Pursuit Racing Division had two races around the inside of Charleston Harbor while the “offshore boats” had to deal with contentious conditions.  In Pursuit Race Spin 1, Bill Hanckel’s J/120 EMOCEAN took third overall and Bob Musor’s J/130 SCEPTRE was fifth place. In Pursuit Race Spin 2, Bob Key’s J/27 AUDACIOUS was 4th.  In the Pursuit Race Non-Spin division, Mark Swatta’s J/30 LAS BRISAS was 6th.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes-
J/70 weather mark video   More CRW sailing video here   For more Charleston Race Week sailing information