Friday, September 30, 2016

J/Domination @ YRA LIS Championships

J/105 on Long Island Sound (Riverside, CT)- The Storm Trysail Club and Riverside YC hosted this year’s 2016 Long Island Championships for PHRF handicap classes and the J/70 class on Western Long Island Sound.  Providing Riverside YC with additional help and support for the event were American YC and Indian Harbor YC.  Much to the delight of all the competitors, the weekend weather provided uncharacteristically excellent breeze and lots of racing on Long Island Sound!  The conditions were very much to the liking for J/Teams that won 3 of 4 PHRF handicap classes!

With a dozen J/70’s showing up ready to do battle for LIS bragging rights, everyone expected the racing to be fun and tactically challenging until the final race on Sunday.  As it turns out, the winners were determined by a tie-breaker!  After six races, Madelyn Ploch’s women’s team (SUGAR DADDY) and Kerry Klingler (MENACE) each had 9 pts with the tie-break going in favor of Klingler on countback based on 1st places!  Taking third was Scott & Alex Furnary’s ANY COLOUR with 16 pts net.  The balance of the top five was Scott Bursor’s SLINKY in 4th position and Dan Goldberg’s BAZINGA in 5th place.

In the PHRF handicap world, it was just about a clean sweep of all four classes for J/crews!  In PHRF I, MaryEllen Tortorello’s J/111 PARTNERSHIP took 4th place, losing a tie-breaker for 3rd overall; a fantastic first outing for her as skipper on the famously fast black boat! 

PHRF II class saw J/teams literally sweep the top five.  Winning was Carl Olsson’s J/109 MORNING GLORY, followed by three J/88’s in succession- Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, Kevin Marks’ VELOCITY and Ken & Drew Hall’s NEVERMORE in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, respectively. Closing out the top five was Mark Parry’s J/35 BLUE MOUSE.

Similarly, PHRF III class had Christian Uecker’s J/92 HOUND DOG take overall honors for the weekend.  Next J/crew was Randy Bourne’s J/105 STRANGE BREW.  Finally, in PHRF IV class, Jason Viseltear’s J/80 UPSETTER lived up to her name, winning class with nearly straight bullets!  For more Long Island Sound Championship sailing information

Annapolis Boat Show- See the J/70, J/88, J/112E

J/112E Sports Cruiser sailing under spinnaker
(Annapolis, MD)- J/Boats is looking forward to seeing the Chesapeake/ Mid-Atlantic members of the J/Tribe at the Annapolis Sailboat Show from October 6th to 10th. The J/112E will be making its Annapolis show debut and she will be joining the J/88 family speedster and the world’s fastest growing sportsboat class- the International J/70.

The Famous J/70 Sportsboat- 1,100 Boats Strong!!  The J/70 is J/Boats’ first slipway-launchable keelboat- designed to fulfill the growing need for an easy-to-own, high-performance one-design, that is exciting to sail, stable enough sailboat for the family, and built to last. A natural evolution of its J pedigree, the J/70’s 23 feet of sailing length with high aspect, all carbon rig and deep lifting keel, provides spirited performance and stability that feels like a much larger boat.

J/88 family speedster sailing upwindThe J/88 family speedster has achieved extraordinary performances offshore since launch, including winning her class in the Chicago to Mackinac Race, the Queens Cup Race, the Waukegan Race, the Tri-State Race and the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race.  Learn more about this “pocket rocket” and why she is both fun to sail one-design racing, but an absolute scream to sail fast in offshore planing conditions in just the 8-10 kts wind!

J/112E sport cruiserWhat’s not to LOVE about the new J/112E Sport Cruiser?!  Nominated for European Yacht of the Year 2017, the J/112E is the newest addition to the J/Boats “E” Series of versatile performance sailing yachts. A welcome 36 feet in length, she features a spacious two-cabin accommodation plan and a comfortable, ergonomic cockpit. The J/112E is as well suited for the annual family cruise as she is racing in the local club regatta or short-handing through rough weather. Please visit us in Annapolis to view this gorgeous cruising yacht for the entire family!  For more Annapolis Boat Show information

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Fine Weekend for J/80 UK Nationals

J/80s sailing UK Nationals- Lymington, England (Lymington, England)- Hosted jointly by the enthusiastic Lymington J/80 fleet, the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and supported by the Lymington Town Sailing Club, this year’s J/80 UK Nationals could be summed up by misquoting the most famous Briton ever- “Never was so much packed into so little (time) by so few (organizers)!”

Having dispensed with the analogies, it is correct to highlight the fact that in just three days RLYC PRO Roger Wilson and his team ran 9 near-perfect races, in winds from 0-30kt, tides from 0-4kt, using two very different race areas set 7nm apart.

Meanwhile, on shore, competitors and guests enjoyed a genuinely “crammed” social programme with well-organized and supported functions every evening. To further help things along, organizers and event sponsors sorted out three days of sunshine to accompany the complete range of sailing conditions.

Day One
The excitable 25-boat fleet headed into Christchurch Bay for three testing races, which passed successfully as the wind ranged from 1-16kt knot and shifted around much of the compass. “Nimble but successful” would best describe the race committee’s efforts to run fair courses as the playing field tipped back and forth. At the end of the day’s three races, local boats were in the ascendant, Oly Dunford’s Purple Haze steered by Simon Shaw topping the table from Chris and Hannah Neve’s No Regrets and ‘young’ Ray Mitchell and a team of real youngsters on Checkmate.
Mitchell’s youthful team would go on to have an exceptional regatta, only interrupted when their boat was badly damaged by a port-tack rival in the strong breezes of day 2… God bless redress.

Day Two
The Weather Godz brought the breeze, and lots of it, with four fast races in the Western Solent. By now the two favorites had found their feet, multiple J/80 champion Kevin Sproul’s team scoring 2,1,1,1 and regular J/80 performer John Powell on Betty ending the day with 1,2,3,2.

As well as Checkmate’s earlier crash, there was some off-piste action for Fiducial’s crew Al Newton – builder of Iain Percy’s gold medal winning Star boats – who achieved some nice, graceful air when flying overboard during a rather too speedy gybe. While ‘Flipper’s’ crewmates struggled to dowse the kite and turn around, Chris Kirkman’s crew on Jane eventually picked up the (moderately) grateful casualty.

Day Three
The final day was a race officer’s nightmare, but that evening Roger Wilson and his race team were still smiling having completed two good races, now back in Christchurch Bay, almost pulling off one more before the morning’s zephyrs faded completely. Wilson’s patience was rewarded two hours later when the sea breeze finally filled in, with a race win for No Regrets and (more) grey hair for Kevin Sproul, shut out at the start but fighting back to 8th to take the overall win by 4pt from John Powell and Betty.

With Sproul taking his 5th UK Nationals J/80 title and Powell a worthy runner-up, the family Neve– top local boat – slotted in to 3rd overall.

The Corinthian prize duly went to Ray Mitchell in 5th- - - plus giddy merriment for the scorers who spotted some rather too illustrious T-shirts among the amateur entries!

Kevin Sproul’s polished victory aside, a big prize would also have been appropriate for those behind such an excellent event, Jim White and James Harrison, plus the Royal Lymington’s now legendary administrator Kirsty: just hours before the ‘gala’ dinner the club’s two chefs walked out– for good!!  Rather than do what most normal folk would have done, order up 150 Chinese takeaways, Kirsty and a tiny team, with nicely chaotic local support, cooked and served 100 covers exactly as planned. Who wants a grumpy chef anyway!?!

Last but not least, as well as convincing superstar umpire John Doerr to interrupt his global schedule for a weekend of local entertainment, White and Harrison had arm-twisted enough sponsorship for this regatta to run an America’s Cup.  So on their behalf, thank you to those who dug deep- - Skyscanner, Amis Productions, Nick Cox Chandlers with Helly Hansen, Seahorse Magazine, Berthon, Lymington Yacht Charters, North Sails, Rum Jungle, Marston Brewery, Go Ape adventures and Garmin!

The after party was “a blinder”, so to speak!  Thanks in large part to all the wonderful sponsors!  Checkout this extraordinarily slick Amis Productions J/80 UK sailing video summary on YouTube.

Exciting German J/70 Sailing League Act IV

J/70s sailing German Sailing Leauge (Kiel, Germany)- The fight for the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga championship continued this past weekend in the amazingly cool sailing city of Kiel. Hot duels, tight distances and amazing sailing conditions made for fast & furious sailing all weekend long in the “City of Sails”.

The first division fought in Kiel head-to-head for fifteen races with Deutscher Touring YC winning again over a star-studded cast of seventeen sailing clubs from across Germany.  Their team was led by Julian J/70s sailing in Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga at Kiel, GermanyStückl, Patrick Follmann, Jonas Vogt and Luis Tarabochia.  As usual, DTYC sailed strong and confident with consistent performances and a cool head.

"We are very happy that it worked for us again in Kiel! We have a big strong team from which we can draw great sailors and it was nice to win in the end," said Jonas Vogt from DTYC.  In fact, after posting a 2nd in Starnberg, 1st in Kontanz, 6th in Travemunde, and 1st in Berlin, DTYC is now far ahead in the standings and hope to close out yet another DSBL overall title in Hamburg in a few weeks time.

Taking second in Kiel was Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, boosting their chances for a top five finish overall in Hamburg; they currently sit in 6th overall, just 7 pts out of 5th.  J/70s starting at German Sailing LeagueThird in Kiel was Bayerischer YC, moving them into 5th overall and closing the gap to just 4 pts behind Chiemsee YC in the overall series.

At this stage, behind DTYC overall is Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee in 2nd with 22 pts. Third is Lindauer Segler-Club with 25 pts, who did themselves no favors for a shot at the title by bombing their performance in Kiel- a 14th place!  Fourth overall is Chiemsee YC and 5th is Bayerischer YC.  No question, the finale in Hamburg will keep 2nd to 5th place teams pre-occupied with one another as any bad slip will send them down the proverbial mine shaft quickly!   Watch the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga Kiel sailing highlights here on YouTube  For more Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Danish J/70 Sailing League Act IV Finale

J/70 Denmark Sailing League winners (Skovshoved, Denmark)- It was an epic final battle for the Danish J/70 Sailing League title in Skovshoved, Denmark.  The duel between Frederikshavn and Hellerup sailing clubs went down to the wire, with Frederikshavn winning in the end, much to the delight of their delirious fans lining the waterfront on Skovshoved Harbour.

Frederikshavn Sejlklub sailed in Skovshoved with the solid team of Kris Houman (skipper), Rasmus Melsen, Søren Steen and Rasmus Damsgaard.  Hellerup Sailing Club put up a fantastic crew that included Trine Abrahamsen (skipper), Kristian Kvid Sorensen, Ida Hartvig and Nicolas Brandt Hansen.  Not only was Hellerup’s crew a highly experienced league team, but Trine Abrahamsen's big match race experience J/70 sailing league- Denmarkplayed a significant role in their epic duels with Frederikshavn. However, Trine and crew somehow could not get themselves going and firing on all cylinders, missing the cut for the FINAL SIX finale after 14 races and placing just 8th out of the 18 teams, scuttling their chances for the overall league win.

Meanwhile, Frederikshavn Sejklub sailed “lights out”, decimating the fleet with fabulous starts, brilliant tactics and eye-opening boat-handling skills.  They not only won the first round, but cleaned up in the FINAL SIX to win the regatta by one point over KDY and also win the overall Danish Sailing League championship by 7 pts!  Third for the regatta was Faaborg Sejlklub, which also enabled them to finish 5th for the overall series.  Fourth in Skovshoved was Hadsund Sejlklub, which brought them up to 6th overall in the series.

Behind FSK and HS for the overall series was KDY in third overall, followed by Kerteminde in fourth position.  Watch the Danish Sailing League highlights here on Facebook video   For more Danish J/70 Sailing League information

Epic Sailing @ Rolex Big Boat Series

Spinnakers at Rolex (San Francisco, CA)- The record-setting 52nd edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series got underway last Thursday under leaden skies and cool temperatures. But with a westerly wind of 10 to 20 knots blowing, the fleet of 127 boats banged out at least two races on three racing circles.

In classic Big Boat Series fashion, the race committees sent the 11 classes on long courses around San Francisco Bay with the second race finishing off the St. Francis Yacht Club. The formula for success was hard to fathom because the tide shifted from flood to ebb between races, meaning that the side of the course that played in the first race didn’t hold true in the second.

J/105s sailing Rolex Big Boat SeriesWith 26 entrants, the J/105 Class was the second-largest in the regatta and it was frequently in close quarters. The first windward mark rounding saw Ryan Simmons’ (Sausalito, Calif.) BLACKHAWK lead and then quickly throw in a jibe to port. With 20 other boats coming in from all angles, shouts of “Starboard!” were heard frequently. In the end, BLACKHAWK scored two firsts in the tightly contested class. Rick Goebel’s (San Diego, Calif.) SANITY was second with two 2nds and Tom Kennelly’s (San Rafael, Calif.) WONDER was in third with 8 points on finishes of 5-3.

Other leaders with double bullets included David Halliwill’s (New York, N.Y.) PEREGRINE in the J/120 Class.

J/70s at Rolex Big Boat SeriesIn the J/70 Class, the largest class in the fleet with 36 entrants, Joel Ronning’s (Excelsior, Minn.) CATAPULT and Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s (Valle de Bravo, Mexico) FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO gained slight separation on the pack with some stellar racing. CATAPULT led with 4 points on a scoreline of 1-1-2 and was 1 point ahead of FLOJITO, which posted a 2-2-1 scoreline. Third place was held by Bob Hughes’ (Ada, Mich.) HEARTBREAKER, which had 10 points on a 4-3-3 scoreline.

“Those two are going to be tough to beat,” said Chris Snow (San Francisco, Calif.) racing on fifth-placed COOL STORY BRO. “Flojito is the reigning world champion. Catapult has John Kostecki as tactician and they’ve been practicing a lot. It’s all about the build-up to the Worlds next week.”

The J/70s sailed three races all on the Berkeley Circle, where the class will hold its World Championship beginning Sept. 24. Kostecki, a past world champion in many classes, said they had good starts and good boatspeed, which allowed them to get to the head of the pack. “When you’re in the front of the pack in a big fleet, life is easy,” said Kostecki.

Kostecki, who’s been sailing on San Francisco Bay all his life, said that the Berkeley Circle racecourse levels the playing field. “Compared to some of the other courses on San Francisco Bay, the Berkeley Circle doesn’t lend itself to local knowledge. We sailed three races in flood tide, slack tide and ebb tide, and there was no set game plan. Sometimes the right worked and sometimes the left worked. It was a tricky day.”

J/88 sailing San Francisco Rolex Big Boat SeriesSecond Day- Classic Windy 25-32 kts!
After Thursday’s opening day in grey conditions, Friday saw the marine layer over San Francisco Bay burn off early and that enabled the westerly breeze to increase into the high 20s, with gusts to 32 kts, by the end of racing. With an ebb tide running in the afternoon, a short chop kicked up that made the downwind leg to the finish off the St. Francis Yacht Club a wild ride with broaches aplenty.

All class leaders, however, continued the consistent form that propelled them to the top of their class yesterday. After winning both of yesterday’s races, Halliwill’s J/120 PEREGRINE finished 2nd in the first race followed by a 1st in the second race and led the J/120 Class by 3 points over Barry Lewis’s (Atherton, Calif.) CHANCE, which had a 3-2-1-2 scoreline.

J/88 sailing fast- Rolex Big Boat SeriesThe J/70 Class continued to be a battle between FLOJITO and CATAPULT. Led by world champion tacticians Bill Hardesty and John Kostecki, respectively, the two crews were tied with 9 points at the end of the day, each with three 1sts and three 2nds. FLOJITO, however, won the final race and therefore held the tiebreak advantage.

These two crews have connections that run deeper than San Francisco Bay, and the thread is Hardesty. Hardesty sailed with CATAPULT for two years, including the inaugural J/70 Worlds three years ago. He also was tactician for Neckelmann last year when he won the J/70 Worlds. Additionally, Hardesty raced Lasers against Neckelmann 20 years ago, when both were training for the Olympics.

Hardesty said that whoever gets to the right side of the racecourse on the Berkeley Circle and rounds the windward mark in the lead is able to extend. “I think there’s a shaft of wind coming off of Angel Island that makes the right favorable,” he said.

Besides watching the wind, Hardesty has been keeping a close eye on Kostecki. “He’s sailed here all his life. He knows this place like no one else,” said Hardesty. “So if I see he’s tacking one way or the other, we’re going to tack soon after.”

FLOJITO won the day’s final race in such fashion. “We lined up to start at the boat end but had a general recall,” said Hardesty. “We saw that Kostecki was starting at the pin end. So, in the second start we were at the pin end. We had a long beat all the way across the Bay to the city front. Because we started at the pin, we were able to nose into the ebb tide first and then just got swept out the Bay. Good thing we had a general recall!”

J/105 Sanity- Rick GoebelIn the J/105 Class, Goebel’s SANITY overtook the lead from Simmons’s BLACKHAWK. Simmons placed 12th in the first race and 3rd in the second while Goebel finished 3-5. Although Goebel is the only class leader to not win a race, he leads with 12 pts to Simmons’s 17 pts.

Goebel is another veteran racer at the Rolex Big Boat Series, but hasn’t competed here since 2011. In fact, his history on San Francisco Bay stretches back to the mid-1980s when he was a crewman for the Canada II syndicate for the America’s Cup and they were in town training against Tom Blackaller’s USA syndicate.

J/105 Sanity- Rick Goebel- San DiegoGoebel trailered his boat to San Francisco from San Diego because they’re ultimately headed to the East Coast for the J/105 North Americans later next month and needed practice. As he noted, eight of the 26 entrants are past class winners.

“It’s a ton of fun to travel to San Francisco and race in the big breeze,” said Goebel, who’s originally from Edmonton, Canada. “It’s a different world here from San Diego, with the waves and chop. You always have to be conscious of the current. There are some areas that are hard to handle under the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s like a washing machine.”

Third day- more epic winds!
The marine layer hovering over San Francisco Bay took a while to burn off early Saturday, causing a slight delay to racing. Once it cleared, a strong seabreeze gusting upwards of 30 knots filled for Day 3.

J/70 MUSE sailing Rolex Big Boat SeriesThe conditions have been typical for this time of year that has allowed RBBS veterans to rise to the tops of their classes. While experience is paying off for the classes racing off the city front, the J/70 class is racing on the Berkeley Circle in the eastern Bay. There, local knowledge is less of a factor because the current flows more uniformly.

In one of the more compelling battles of the regatta, FLOJITO laid down the hammer on the day, winning all three races to open an 8-point lead over CATAPULT. The two boats had traded 1st and 2nd through the first two days of racing, but CATAPULT tripped up in the first race, placing 6th, followed by a 2-3.

Holding 3rd place in the J/70s is Chris Kostanecki’s (Ross, Calif.) JENNIFER, which has 63 points and trails FLOJITO by 51 points. Still, Kostanecki is happy with his crew’s performance. “Practice is paying off,” said Kostanecki, who grew up in Darien, Conn., sailing on Long Island Sound. “We’re getting off the line without drama. The first two minutes of the race are critical. It’s so important to get poked out and we’re holding our own.”

Kostanecki was buoyed today because they were trading tacks with FLOJITO. “We almost got them one race,” he said. “We came to the windward mark with them but they got inside us and just sailed away. They’re so quick changing modes from upwind to downwind. The good thing is we learned what they’re doing downwind: rocking the boat to windward and getting the angle to the waves.”

In the J/120s, Halliwell’s PEREGRINE continued to put forth a solid performance. PEREGRINE had accumulated a scoreline of four 1sts and two 2nds for the low score of 8 points, good for a 3-point lead over Lewis’s J/120 CHANCE.

J/120s sailing Rolex Big Boat SeriesPEREGRINE helmsman Mike O’Callaghan is another veteran of the RBBS, having raced at least 20 times. He grew up sailing on the Bay and has raced with some of his crew since he was a teenager. “We’re putting the boat in the right place on the racecourse, getting off the start line well and holding our position.”

CHANCE won the first race, but PEREGRINE bounced back for the win in the second race. “Chance is no slouch. They got on us in that race and kept driving us back. It’s fun stuff. In another race, we passed them on a reach going about 1.5 knots faster, just sailed right over the top of them. We hit 16 knots on that leg! That’s a lot for this boat!”

The lead also changed hands in the J/105 Class, which is the closest class in the regatta. Philip Laby’s (Oakland, Calif.) GODOT started the day in fifth place but leapt to first after posting a 1-2. GODOT had 29 points, good for a 2-point lead over Simmons’s BLACKHAWK. Bruce Stone’s (San Francisco, Calif.) ARBITRAGE was in third with 32 points and Goebel’s SANITY was in fourth with 33 points.

J/111 - Peter Wagner at Rolex Big Boat SeriesFourth day- Pretty, Gentle Breeze for the Finale
The regatta drew to a close on Sunday in splendid late-summer sailing conditions. After a two hour delay waiting for the breeze to fill, a seabreeze of 15 to 18 knots arrived and brought with it decidedly warmer temperatures. For the first time in four days, crews shed their foul weather gear and fleeces as they took to the racecourse.

Tim Fuller’s (Murrieta, Calif.) J/125 RESOLUTE won the City of San Francisco Trophy, one of the two golden spades used for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933, for winning ORR B. Peter Wagner’s (Atherton, Calif.) J/111 TOPZY TURVY finished second and also was the top-scoring J/111 in the fleet. Completing a sweep of the podium by J/crews was Viggo Torbensen’s J/125 TIMESHAVER from Dana Point, CA.  Taking 5th was Dick Swanson’s J/111 BAD DOG.

The Atlantic Perpetual Trophy, a ship’s bell from the schooner Atlantic, which established a transatlantic record in 1905 that stood for 92 years, was presented to Philip Laby’s (Oakland, Calif.) Godot, winner of the J/105 Class. In a seesaw battle that came down to the seventh and final race, Godot scored a 1-point victory over Simmons’s BLACKHAWK.  Never recovering from a scoring penalty in race 3 and a broken sprit pole while winning a race by a 1/4 mile was Goebel’s SANITY, having to settle for 3rd place.  Rounding out the top five was Stone and Breault’s ARBITRAGE in 4th and 5th was Jeff Litfin’s MOJO.

J/70 Rolex Big Boat Series winners- FlojitoThe Commodore’s Cup Perpetual Trophy was awarded to the winner of the largest one-design class in the regatta, the J/70 Class that had 36 entrants. The top-finishing J/70 was Neckelmann’s FLOJITO.  The win did not come easy as they posted their worst finish of the regatta in the first race of the day, an 11th, while Ronning’s CATAPULT took a 4th. Winning the first windward-leeward 1.6nm leg race was Jud Smith’s AFRICA.  With one point separating the two, CATAPULT had to put one boat between them and FLOJITO to win the regatta in the final race home.  The last race was started near red bell #2 on the east side of the shipping channel and course #37 was chosen by PRO Jeff Johnson (San Diego YC), a long 4.6nm beat to a drop mark next to Blackaller Buoy in the shadows of the southern tower of Golden Gate Bridge.  After a port rounding, it was downwind to the finish line at StFYC.  Both leaders started at the port end of the line, hoping to be the first to drop their bows into the building ebb along the city front, south of Alcatraz Island.  Though CATAPULT got into the 3 kt ebb first, FLOJITO was close enough, and fast enough to win the first cross.  Thereafter, FLOJITO kept CATAPULT covered all the way to the mark to win the race.  Meanwhile, Heather Gregg & Joe Bardenheier’s MUSE team sailed fast, played the shifts off the shore to pass CATAPULT on the final leg home to take 2nd in the race.  As a result, FLOJITO won, with CATAPULT second.  Taking third was Kostanecki’s JENNIFER, fourth was Smith’s AFRICA and fifth was Brian Keane’s SAVASANA.

J/70 MUSE- Corinthians Division winnersWinning Corinthians Division was Gregg/ Bardenheier’s MUSE (and finished 10th overall), followed by the San Francisco team of 1FA skippered by Scott Sellers in second and the Newport Beach team of SUGOI (Chris Raab & Dale Williams) in third.  Fourth in Corinthians was Pat Toole’s Santa Barbara team on 3 BIG DOGS and fifth was Jim Cunningham’s LIFTED.

Halliwell’s Peregrine won the J/120 Class with the low score of 9 points, accumulated on five 1sts and two 2nds. Lewis’s CHANCE placed second with 13 points, followed by Steve Madeira’s MR MAGOO in third.  Taking 4th place was Timo Bruck’s TWIST and 5th position was Tom Grennan’s KOOKABURRA.

Sailing PHRF Sportboat division was a trio of J/88s taking on a Soto 30, M32s and Farr36s.  In the end, it was Marc McMorris’ M-SQUARED taking third as top J/88, while Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS and Jim Hopp’s WHITE SHADOW finished 6th and 7th, respectively.  Sailing photo credits-    Rolex/ Daniel Forster- danielforster.comLeslie Richter- Sharon Green/ UltimateSailing   Facebook Rolex Big Boat Series sailing video summary  For more Rolex Big Boat Series sailing information

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

MANDATE Man-handles J/105 Canadians

J/105s sailing off Toronto, Canada (Toronto, ONT)- The J/105 Canadian Championships took place at the Royal Canadian YC from September 15th to 18th. A total of seven races were sailed over the three-day event for the eighteen-boat fleet. As usual, the RCYC staff ashore and their RCYC PRO did an amazing job hosting the J/105 sailors.

Picking up where he left off in the 2015 J/105 North Americas, Terry McLaughlin and his friend Rod Wilmer sailed MANDATE to a crushing win over their fellow Canadians.  Basically, they never let off on the gas pedal, blazing around the track in fine form, taking four 1sts and two 2nds on their way to a stunningly huge victory- 27 pts to be exact!!

The battle for second, however, was epic and that was where all the action took place while MANDATE sailed away over the horizon.   Past J/105 North American Champion Jim Rathbun on HEY JUDE had an amazing duel all regatta with Ian Farquharson’s SONIC BOOM.  Both teams sailed roller-coaster scorelines going into the last day, trading places the entire time.  Not until the seventh and final race did Rathbun’s HEY JUDE crew get it altogether to take a bullet and the silver for the regatta.  SONIC BOOM placed 4th and, consequently, earned the bronze.  Rounding out the top five was Peter Hall’s JAMAICA ME CRAZY in 4th place and Felicity Rodness’ ROUNDING ERROR in 5th position.

With this “training” event behind them, many of these crews are packing up and headed south to the 2016 J/105 North American Championship being sailed in mid-October at Larchmont YC in Larchmont, New York.  For more J/105 Canadian Championship sailing information

First Premiere Sailing League Great Success!

J/70 Premiere Sailing League- Detroit (Detroit, MI)– Showcasing the stadium sailing concept that the Premiere Sailing League USA is working to bring to the U.S.A., the league held its first-ever event at Detroit’s Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC) on September 10 with ten teams of four sailors racing J/70s. In just over four hours the 10 boats rotated through the 18-race exhibition event: each team sailed a total of nine races and watched the action for a total of nine while mingling with spectators.

“This was a good first step in changing how we view sailing,” said Wally Cross, Sailing Director of GPYC. “The format is proof that you can watch our sport and make it entertaining. This was a test, and based on the success of this event we plan to have another major stadium sailing event next summer at GPYC for the Premiere Sailing League USA.”

J/70 Premiere Sailing League- Detroit startCross feels the format is a new direction in sailing – and entertainment. “This is new, fast paced and entertaining,” explained Cross. “In my opinion, our sport takes too much time to do and takes time away from family. With the Premiere Sailing League’s concept, you can sail from noon to 4:00, watch for a couple of hours and have your family come down to be a part of the action. The total time of the regatta is equal to one round of golf. Someone can come and watch the action and talk to the competitors while viewing the races.”

GPYC is the first of over a dozen planned venues with which Premiere Sailing League USA will partner to stage sailing in a stadium-style setting; each regatta will be held close to shore and will utilize the latest social media technologies to engage both live and virtual audiences.   For more detailed information on the Premiere Sailing League, please contact via email or visit

Monday, September 26, 2016

The ALCATEL J/70 Worlds Preview

Alcatel J/70 Worlds (San Francisco, CA)- For starters, the expectations for the 2016 ALCATEL J/70 Worlds are truly phenomenal.  In fact, they are off the seismic charts!  The stage is simple- San Francisco Bay- the infamous Berkeley Circle.  The setting could not be more spectacular.  Surrounded by the magnificent city waterfront of San Francisco and its skyscrapers to the south, the engineering marvel known as the Golden Gate Bridge on its western approaches, the gorgeous hilly and fashionable northern suburbs of Sausalito/ Tiburon to the north, the “brainiacs” occupying the University of California- Berkeley campus on the eastern mountainsides, and, of course, the extraordinary vibe of the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs vibrating all around you, it is inescapable that you are living a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail amongst the world’s best sailors.

The talent?  Mind-blowing, truly.  World-class talent from across all spectrums of the sport of sailing.  The short list of the fleet’s credentials?  America’s Cup winners, Olympic Gold Medallists (and everything in between), World Champions, European Champions, North American Champions, and any number of National Champions (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Sweden, Norway, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong- China).  There are more, we know, but we lost track!

For the seventy-nine teams entered, it’s like visiting the Holy Grail of Sailing and living to tell the tales to your friends and children (grand-children in some cases) after the experience.  By default, it may be the world’s biggest reunion of so many top sailors; perhaps one could describe it as the “Woodstock” of sailing since so many rock-stars are participating!

Alcatel J/70 Worlds sailing past markFrom September 27 to October 1, sailors can expect some of the finest annual conditions this world-class venue reliably delivers.  San Francisco Bay enjoys a storied reputation for breeze-on summer sailing.  Late September, however, usually offers Indian Summer conditions, featuring warm days with slightly moderated airs.  Along with breeze, the Bay is notorious for its currents and tides, which have challenged world-class professional sailors racing everything from powerful keelboats to foiling catamarans. Fortunately, the Berkeley Circle racecourse is located on shallow, tide-protected waters, out of the slippery influence of the swiftest-flowing current that rake the Bay’s deeper waters.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  As some have discovered over the “course” of time! It is an “ebb-tide” event, which produces some extraordinary anomalies on the Bay!  Some will figure it out, some will not.

“Expectations are high for this event,” said Lynn Lynch, St. Francis Yacht Club’s Race Director. “Model sailing conditions, world-class talent, top-level race management and unbelievable socials will all come together to result in a World Championship worthy of the fastest-growing fleet in the world of one-design sailing. The anticipation is palpable, and we are expecting people to come ready for some serious competition.”

J/70's sailing Alcatel J/70 World ChampionshipA glance at the 2016 ALCATEL J/70 Worlds entry list reveals star-studded boats from 15 nations, including former J/70 World Champions, Tim Healy (HELLY HANSEN) and Julian Fernandez Neckelmann (FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO); former J/70 North American Champions Jud Smith (AFRICA) and Joe Bardenheier/ Heather Gregg (MUSE); as well as former J/70 European Champions Carlo Alberini (CALVI NETWORK) and Claudia Rossi (PETITE TERRIBLE). Additionally, this impressive list also includes world-class tacticians such as local San Franciscan John Kostecki, the only sailor to have ever won an Olympic medal, the J/24 Worlds, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race!  John is sailing with Joel Ronning’s incredibly talented team on CATAPULT that includes crew like Patrick Wilson from Charleston, SC.  Joining him in on the course are two former US Sailing Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year winners- Bill Hardesty (2011) on board Julian Fernandez’s crew on FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO and Paul Cayard (1998) on Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK; the former having won two Etchells 22 World Championships and the later the Star World Championship and the Volvo Ocean Race!  In other words, these teams have tremendous depth!

“The class’ level is going up very fast, with more talented sailors joining every year,” said 2015 J/70 World Champion and 2016 J/70 North American Champion, Julian Fernandez Neckelmann; a former J/24 Mexican National Champion from Valle de Bravo (west of Mexico City). While this surge in numbers and skill levels could overwhelm some classes and hosting clubs, there’s a reason this hugely popular class chose its hosting partner. “The St. Francis Yacht Club and the J/70 class will certainly provide excellent race management,” continued Neckelmann. “San Francisco is one of my favorite racing scenarios in the world… It would have been hard to choose a better place!  Plus, you cannot beat Mel’s Drive-In for breakfast in the morning- a San Francisco classic!”

Alcatel J/70 Worlds in San Francisco, CAIf that group described doesn't perform, there are any number of “mercenaries” that could displace them quite quickly given an even chance across a broad spectrum of weather conditions.  For example, past US Team Racing and Coronado 15 Champion Jacko Franco on 3BALL JT from Kemah, TX; J/24 North American Champion Pat Toole on 3 BIG DOGS from Santa Barbara, CA; Michele Galli’s B2 from Italy and Moscow, Russia (Francesco D’Angelis as tactician- J/24 Worlds and America’s Cup winner); Per Von Appen’s BLACK SAILS from Chile (National Champion); Mauricio Santa Cruz’s BRUSCHETTA from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (4x J/24 World Champion); Matthieu Salomon’s CHARIOT PLUS- VANNES UTILITAIRES from Elven, France (French J/80 Champion); the Nevin/Chris Snow team on COOL STORY BRO (skipper is USA Collegiate Sailor of the Year); Makoto Uematsu’s ESMERALDA (yes, same guy who started TP52 offshore class from Tokyo, Japan with a number of TP52’s by the same name); Bob Hughes’ HEARTBREAKER from Ada, MI (Farr 40 Great Lakes Champion and Chicago-Mac winner); Martin Dent’s JELVIS VII from London, England (J/111 World & Cowes Week Champion); Jose Maria “Pichu” Torcida’s NOTICIAS from Spain (2x J/80 World Champion and Europeans winner); Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY from New York (Etchells 22 Champion); Peter Vessella’s RUNNING WILD from San Francisco (Star World Champion); Jim Cunningham’s LIFTED (Etchells 22 Midwinters & National Champion); Brian Keane’s famously fast team on SAVASANA from Boston (2x J/105 Midwinters and J/80 World Champion that includes USA 49er Olympian Stu McNay as tactician); Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE from Ft Worth Boat Club in Texas; Chris Raab’s SUGOI from Newport Beach, CA (Lido 14 & Snipe National Champion and USA National Team Race and Master’s Team Race Champion); Simon Ling’s TEAM RAF SPITFIRE from Poole, England (2015 J/70 Worlds Corinthian Champion and JP Morgan Round Island Race winner); and that is just to name a few in the talent pool!

With such an extraordinarily diverse group of sailors from across the planet, it can be safely said that everyone will have a fun, competitive time!  No question, the StFYC bar afterwards will be full of “sea stories” about how they navigated a 79 boat starting line and went the right (wrong) direction!  Time will tell the tale soon enough!  Watch this space next week, starting on Tuesday!   For more information about ALCATEL  For more ALCATEL J/70 World Championship sailing information

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tjorn Singlehanded Race- the BLUR Experience

J/111 Blur in Tjorn Singlehanded Race (Tjorn, Sweden)- Continuing on his adventures of sailing the Tjorn Runt on his J/111 BLUR.SE, Peter Gustafsson made the absolutely inspirational decision to tackle the Tjorn Singlehanded Race at a moment’s notice.  Here is his amusing story:

“Quite often sailing can be spontaneous and simple as it is fun. That tedious journey which suddenly became a race, or that holiday race in which you won a beer at the bar afterwards.

One of those experiences was to sail solo around Tjörn on Sunday after Tjörn Runt!  Now that was a spontaneous idea!  The desire to be free, to get out onto the ocean, that fantastic feeling of freedom with 100% focus on your own sailing.

This year we 27 boats had registered for the race, but only 18 came to start, which is quite ok. It is not surprising that some felt a bit of concern or adversity when the alarm clock rings early in the morning to get you rolling to the start and it's ‘pea soup’ fog outside the harbor entrance. But, for those who adventured forth, it would be better soon ...

The wind direction was SE for the start, just like Saturday's Tjörn Runt. So, it felt safe to come out in the fjord east of Bratton. Here, many boats chose to go "all in" and take the far east.  Meanwhile, myself and three others pushed southwards as soon as we could.

My analysis was that the pressure was standing in the middle of the fjord, and the sooner I could get there the better. The balance was to run near Tjörn to avoid current or position yourself for the wind to fill in from the east (or south).

J/111 Blur sailing upwindI started off with the J0 (e.g. a “Code Blade”) hoisted to the masthead and attached to the middle of the fully extended pole.  It looked a bit odd, but in the light wind, I could get good VMG upwind and it worked fine.  Plus, I can solo faster with this combo, going between this, the Code 0 and the jib in a sensible, easy way.

At Soa and Galten, I got out of phase with several competitors and I could take a long tack into the middle of the fjord for better wind. It was slightly more out there, about 4-5 m/s.  So, I could quickly change over to the jib and stretch south in a wind that slowly turned eastward. Perfect timing for a passage at Gråholmarna!  I passed my chief rival Jonas, who had to tack and follow me in my wake.   With a little drop in the breeze, I could then change over and roll out the Code Blade again and extend my overall fleet lead towards Dyrön.

At Tjörnekalv, I could hoist the big A2 gennaker.  Some boats that I passed must have wondered what they were doing, but I got away without broaching with the big gennaker and I was leading everyone (even early starters) out of the Bredbåden.

A good jibe quite far west placed me on the west side Härön with a good angle. Qixi went into Kyrkesund but was way behind. Cheetah 3-4nm distance behind, but with good angles on Qixi.

I had a safe drop of the gennaker with the snuffer.  Now, it was back to the Code 0 and charge eastwards, further extending my lead.  God I love this J/111!  So easy to sail fast!  My bigger competitors must have been quite frustrated by now.

But at the Horse Cut turning point, I realized that something was not quite right.  I could see across the island archipelago that an Arcona 380 (on the way to Ellos about 3 legs behind me, I assumed) was sailing in a much different wind. East wind? Or, is something else happening?  As I start to think about it more, minute-by-minute the wind quickly subsides to nothing.  A complete calm.  A glass out!  Oh no!  What is going to happen next?

After half an hour, I see Cheetah come rushing up behind me very quickly.  However, soon we are both in ‘the dead zone.’  No wind, or very, very little. Drifting, really.

Then, more and more boats begin to appear behind us, one by one, until the entire fleet of boats is concentrated again.  Crap!  A complete restart 2/3 the way into the race.  So much for my gigantic lead and all that hard work!

We begin to see a black sky forming off to the northwest. Does that mean something?  Squall?  Or, just rain and no wind?  Honestly, I’d prefer a storm by now!

It's quite tricky sailing towards Skåpesund, so I decide to drive safe and sail conservatively. I know I am hopelessly last in the SRS Handicap scoring right now because of the “fleet compression”.  So, I take the spinnaker down in good time, and I go directly to the jib.

It's pitch black all around us behind the bridge, and I look for more breeze on the water in front of me.  Nothing.

J/111 Blur sailing Tjorn Singlehanded race upwindThen, I turn around and look behind me. The whole fleet is coming at me with spinnakers up.  Don’t panic, I remind myself.  Wait.  Something is about to happen.  Looking at the black sky again, I can see the wind is ticking rapidly around the clock and increasing in speed even more rapidly!  White caps form fast.  The wall of wind hits Cheetah, not good.  She goes into a massive broach with the spinnaker up, I can see the skipper with the tiller under his chin in an attempt to bear off.  It’s not working, a big problem when you are single-handing!  The proverbial ‘crap’ has hit the fan!

I turn around for one last time to look at the peaceful, colorful panorama of boats with their spinnakers filling the horizon behind me.  It’s a spectacular painting- color, sun, black clouds advancing, white caps building rapidly behind and around them. Now, I know that it's much too late for those boats to get a nice takedown...  I wish I had a time-lapse video of the carnage behind me- spectacular wipeouts everywhere.  I hope they are OK.

Sometimes it plays to be safe, right!? :-)

The black squall made for a very messy short cross under the bridge.  It was blowing at least 8-12 m/s and gusting even higher to 15 to 18 m/s.  Chaos everywhere.  Torn sails. Broken boats.  Bruised egos.  Oh well, that’s sailing.

I am home safe and sound.  I didn’t win, but in spirit I had won.  I sailed fast, was first boat on elapsed time against much bigger competitors, sailed safe and lived to tell the tale!  I still got 11th overall on corrected time despite the madness going on behind me!"  Follow more of the J/111 BLUR.SE's adventures here.

J/24 World Championship Update

J/24 Worlds- Wakajama, Japan (Wakayama, Japan)- It has been a slow start for the forty-four J/24 teams attending this year’s J/24 World Championship in Wakayama, Japan.  With a tropical storm heading toward the area, it was the calm before the storm on day one of the J/24 World Championship.  The J/24 teams representing Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Peru, Singapore, and the USA kicked off the Championship in winds of 4-6 knots over two races.

Daniel Frost’s JJOne of Germany mastered the conditions with a 1,2 to grab the early advantage in the five-day event. Demichi Kousuke’s Ichimokusan of Japan held a slim lead on second place, just one ahead of Peru’s Javier Arribas on Hawky. The day’s race winners were Frost in race one and Naoto Kitazume’s Maril in race two.

For day two- Tuesday- the slow-moving tropical storm dampened the day’s proceedings.  The entire fleet was kept ashore with the AP flag flying all day as heavy rains and stormy winds blanketed the area.

Day three- Wednesday- dawned with great promise.  Following yesterday’s tropical storm, winds calmed to 5-8 knots over today’s three races. Keiji Kondo’s Fox of Japan won the opening race, trailed by Demichi Kousuke’s Ichimokusan (JPN) and American Will Welles on Cougar. JJOne earned their second bullet of the regatta in the day’s middle battle, trailed by Fox and Mark Laura’s Baba Louie (USA). Einosuke Morita’s Wailea (JPN) won the final duel, with JJOne and Kato Fumiya’s Lull of Japan rounding out the top trio.

With five races now on the books, the German team on JJOne had strengthened their lead over the highly competitive fleet. Daniel Frost’s crew now tallies just 6 net points, able to drop an 11 in race three and keep a skinny tally of 1,2,1,2. Kondo’s Fox moved up to second overall after a solid 1,2,4 for 15 net points. Kousuke’s Ichimokusa rests in third with 22 pts.

Two more days of racing to go and there is no question that JJOne’s fans in Germany are cheering wildly for them to be the first German World Champions ever in the J/24 class!    For more J/24 World Championship sailing information

Saturday, September 24, 2016

J/34 IOR Crushes Green Islands Race

J/34 IOR boat Knee Deep sailing off Cleveland (Cleveland, OH)- The J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP just keeps on ticking, too!  Recently, Brett & Katie Langolf’s KNEE DEEP won the 2016 Green Islands Race hosted by Port Clinton Yacht Club. 

According to Brett, “The race was sailed in very light air- we were very thankful for our YETI cooler keeping the drinks cold!!

Overall, the boat had great boat speed up and down the course to outpace the other PHRF boats.  Thanks to our guest skipper,  Ryan Kyle!”  Sailing photo credit- Shutterglo

SAILING Champions League Preview!

J/70s SAILING Champions League (Porto Cervo, Italy)- Europe´s top sailing clubs will compete in the finale of the SAILING Champions League in Porto Cervo, Sardinia from 23rd to 25th September (prior to the J/70 World Championships for some of the team members!). The aim is to win the sought-after silver trophy by Robbe & Berking and earn the title of Europe´s "Best Sailing Club".

Thirty-two teams representing some of Europe's most respected yacht clubs will meet at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda this weekend for the final showdown. Clubs from twelve nations, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden will gather in Sardinia to attempt to take the title from defending champions the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club. The teams competing in the grand final in Sardinia are champions that have qualified over the past year via their national leagues as well as the best clubs from the preliminary round held in St. Petersburg, Russia (Act I) in August!

J/70s- SAILING Champions League- YC Costa SmeraldaTop sailors from various Olympic classes will feature amongst the crews on board the J/70 one-designs provided by the YCCS in this international competition for the European title. Short, fast fleet races are scheduled to take place from the 23rd to 25th of September on the renowned regatta course off Porto Cervo.

The 2015 European final was also held on the waters of the Costa Smeralda and the winners, Royal Norwegian Yacht Club, will certainly be one of the teams to beat. The team representing hosts the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will also be one to watch as will Russia's Yacht Club Navigator Team, their crews placed second and third, respectively, last year.

Technical partners for the event include AUDI MOTORSPORTS, SAP SAILING and QUANTUM SAILS.  For updates on social media- #bestsailingclub #sclportocervo #yccs.  Sailing Photo credits- Francesco Nonnoi   For more SAILING Champions League sailing information

Australian J/70 Fleet Growing!

J/111 JOUST- owner Rod Warren (Melbourne, Australia)- The J/111 owner of JOUST in Melbourne, Australia- Dr Rod Warren- recently sent a nice note to J/HQ Newport this past week.  According to Rod,

“We just ordered a new J/70 for practice!  We can’t wait to get out on her soon!  We are also looking forward to San Francisco next year for the J/111 Worlds!

We also wanted to let you know that we had the pleasure of sailing with two of the Johnstone family at the recent J/111 Worlds in Cowes, England. As the Australian team, we needed to get some local knowledge of the tricky conditions on the Solent. We were surprised and delighted that Stu Johnstone was suggested, until we heard that he had lived there for five years while setting up J/Boats Europe and won many events! But, there was an even better bonus!  We got Stu’s lovely wife Julia to come along, another brilliant sailor, and a huge help on organizing the pointy end of the boat!

From the get go we had a blast, from trying to fit an entire J/111 crew into a Jeep, to sharing a house in Cowes and, of course, the sailing. This was a windy regatta (about 15-25 kts, gusting 30) and we had great downwind speed, thanks to Stu’s planing lessons!

One of the great things about J/Boats has to be the family that makes the boats we love. Stu & Julia’s willingness to join our crew, sight unseen, and contribute so generously, and with such great humour, sets them apart.  Stu’s stories about sailing with his friends Heather and Joe on their J/70 MUSE was inspirational.  So, we just bought a J/70 as a practice boat for our J/111!  We hope we can also help grow the J/70 fleet in Melbourne to sail against some of our Sydney friends, too!”