Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hot Rum Race II Report

J/105 sailing Hot Rum Series- San Diego (San Diego, CA)- It was more fun and games for the enormous fleet of 140+ boats that have been racing the infamous San Diego Yacht Club Hot Rum Series.  The second race that took place on Saturday, November 19th proved to be an excruciatingly slow light air affair.  It was a case of “haves” and “have not’s” just about everywhere on the racecourse in the various divisions.  The PHRF “pursuit style” race meant that the small boats (with highest PHRF handicaps) took off in light airs going out the Pt Loma channel to the first mark offshore.  The larger boats that started later, however, were not much better off; they, too, took off in light airs but had just enough extra to play with to dominate the top of the leaderboard.  Having started off so slowly, the small boats took a beating in the early light air going.

As a consequence of the weather conditions, the top J/Teams in the overall standings were the bigger J’s.  Leading the J/crews home was Mark Surber’s J/125 DERIVATIVE in 11th overall, followed by Viggo Torbensen’s J/125 TIMESHAVER in 14th overall, just 45 seconds behind DERIVATIVE and only 8 seconds behind Dennis Conner’s MENACE XXIV.  Third J/team home was John Laun’s J/120 CAPE about 45 seconds back.

J/120 sailing Hot Rum seriesThe current standings in each fleet now see the two J/125s sitting next to each other in the top ten in Class I.  DERIVATIVE’s 8-9 for 17 pts sits in 9th place while TIMESHAVER’s 9-11 for 20 pts is in 10th.

In Class 2, four J’s are in the top ten.  John Laun’s CAPER has a 14-3 for 17 pts to hang onto 5th place.  They are leading on a tie-breaker over Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE that has a 9-8 also sitting at 17 pts.  Next is Chuck Nichols’ J/120 CC RIDER with a 10-11 for 21 pts in 9th place.  Finally, Tim Harmon’s J/124 CIRRUS has a 12-10 for 22 pts to hang in at 10th position.

J/105 Wings sailing Hot Rum seriesThe “J/105” division, Class 3, continues to have four J/105s in the top ten.  Lead boat is Rick Goebel’s SANITY with a 1-5 for 6 pts to hold 2nd overall.  Dennis Case’s WINGS has an 11-3 for 14 pts, good enough for 5th place.  Tim Fuller’s STEADFAST has a 7-10 for 17 pts and is in 7th position.  Then, “Dag” Fish’s VIGGEN is 10th place with a 4-16 for 20 pts.

The “J/70” division, Class 4, also sees near class domination by three J/70s in the top five placings.  Top banana is Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO with two bullets for just 2 pts.  Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR has a 5-3 for 8 pts in third position.  And, Steve Wyman’s NUNUHUNU has a 4-6 for 10 pts to hang in for 5th place.

In Class 5, the overall top five has a pretty remarkable scenario developing going into the third and final race next weekend.  While David Cattle’s J/27 BLACK ADDER is sitting in 8th place with a 7-6 for 13 pts, they are just three points out of third place overall!  Anything can happen in this class, so it will all be on the line next week for the top ten boats overall!  Crazy stuff, that’s for sure!  For more San Diego YC Hot Rum sailing information

J/24 ITALY Winter Series Report

J/24 sailing off Italy (Taranto, Italy)- The J/24s in Italy continue to enjoy their annual winter series in the various fleets spread across the peninsula.  This past weekend, racing continued in Taranto, Anzio & Nettuno, and Portoferraio.  Here are their updates.

It was a good winter series start for Puglian J/24 sailor- Nino Soriano; he returned to racing after a brief absence with his ITA 427 JEBEDEE (co-skippered with Luca Gaglione).  At the end of the first day, they shared the lead with the same score (3 pts) with Thomas De Bellis Vitti’s ENG 304 FIVE FOR FIGHTING.

The racing on Sunday was, in fact, the first of the eight days scheduled (November 20, December 4 and 18, January 22, February 5 and 19, March 5 and 19, for a total maximum of 24 tests).  Eleven J/24 crews are more determined more than ever to contend for the title.

Already, the protagonists for the winter series are rising to the top.  Nino Soriano explained, ”In 2016 ITA 304 FIVE FOR FIGHTING, skippered by Thomas De Bellis Vitti, is riding a wave of wins and are hoping to continue that streak in the 2016/2017 winter series. They are a considerable force, have gotten expert training, and have become a more cohesive team with the highly-acclaimed Andrea Airò at the helm and are currently leading.  They are being chased hard by ITA 450 MARBEA, owned by Marcello Bellacicca and skippered by Tony Macina with 6 pts. Then, not far off the pace is ITA 429 DOCTOR J skippered by Sandro Negro, ITA 301 PICCOLO DIAVOLO sailed by Nando Capobianco, ITA 429 AMBRA skippered by Marc Arata, and ITS 355 BESTIA NERA skippered by Fabio Indovina.

The ideal weather conditions for the first day of the winter series in the Mar di Grande was well-organized and managed by the Circolo Velico Ondabuena Academy with assistance from Molo Sant'Eligio.

“Two beautiful races, lots of adrenaline and fun for the fleet, thanks to the short courses chosen by CVOA PRO,“ commented Nino Soriano.

J/24 sailing off Rome, ItalyPORTOFERRAIO
It was a great start for the second weekend of the Elbe Winter Cup, the offshore sailing championship organized by the Yacht Club Portoferraio.  For the first time, three J/24s are participating from the two historic clubs in Elba- Marciana Marina and Porto Azzuro.

For the first weekend there were many new faces, with several young crews arriving in Elba that were looking forward to the winter series.  At the start of the day, the racing was postponed due to the fact it was barely reaching 5 kts of breeze. However, by noon it had risen to 12 kts to produce great racing for the teams.

Sailing in the fleet is BE-BEEF skippered by Enrico Gamelunghe; getting the better of ZIO CELESTE sailed by Marco Marmeggi.  As always, BE-BEEF is leading the overall standings.  After a very nice day of racing, the fleet enjoyed their traditional spaghetti dinner at PIER G, accompanied by Elba Bianco Doc La Fazenda, partners of the event.  The next event is Sunday, December 4th.

J/24 sailing off Roma, ItalyANZIO & NETTUNO
The Anzio & Nettuno J/24 fleet in Rome sailed the third stage of their winter series, competing for the IX Memorial Stefano Pirini Trofeo.  The regatta PRO, Mario de Greneti, was able to provide the twenty-three boat fleet with two most excellent races.  The day’s wins were taken by ITA 447 PELLE NERA sailed by Paolo Cecamore and by JUKE BOX skippered by the Hungarian Miklos Rauschenberger.

Provisional results after the first day or racing (compiled after the first 2 races) saw JUKE BOX leading with a 2-1 for 3 pts with PELLE NERA in second.  Third place belonged to ITA 358 ARPIONE sailed by Michele Potenza with a 3-4 for 7 pts.  They are followed by two teams tied on 10 pts each- ITA 333 DAIQUIRI sailed by Fabrizio Sabatini with a 4-6 and ITA 487 AMERICAN PASSAGE with a 5-5.

The following day, it was a milder day with nearly calm seas.  The steady breeze of 10 kts from the southeast permitted three races to be sailed.  Three bullets by Ignazio Bonanno’s ITA 416 LA SUPERBA (with crew of Simone Scontrino, Alfredo Branciforte, Francesco Picaro and Vincenzo Vano) jumped into the overall lead for the regatta.  An increasingly determined ITA 447 PELLE NERA, owned by Paolo Cecamore and skippered by the 2014 Soling World Champion Farkas Litkey from Hungary, consolidated their second place position with a record of 1-4-3-4-3 for 11 pts net.  Leaping into third from sixth place the day before was ITA 428 PELLE ROSSA, skippered by Gianni Riccobono and sailing with tactician Sergio Strippoli, garnering a record of 10-5-2-2-4 for 13 pts.  Meanwhile, slipping from 3rd to 4th place was ITA 333 DAIQUIRI sailed by Fabrizio Sabatini and sitting in 5th place was Rome J/24 fleet captain Paolo Rinaldi.

The racing in the Gulf of Anzio will continue for the Trofeo Lozzi on December 4 & 18, January 15 & 29, February 12 & 26, and March 12th.  For more Italian J/24 class sailing information

SAILING Champion Leagues 2017 Program

J/70s at Sailing Champions League (Hamburg, Germany)- All thirteen National Sailing Leagues have finished racing for 2016 and planning for next season is in full swing. Three events have been scheduled for the SAILING Champions League 2017. The provisional dates are as follows:
  • Act 1: 4 – 6 August or 11 – 13 August, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Act 2: 1 – 3 September, Segel-Club St. Moritz, St. Moritz, Switzerland
  • Final: 22 – 24 September, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, Italy
Due to the high demand for places in the SAILING Champions League, the International Sailing League Association (ISLA) has decided on a modified qualification mode for the 2017 season. Sixty-four clubs will have the chance to qualify for the Grand Finale in Porto Cervo, Italy in September– only the hosting club and the reigning SCL champion will automatically qualify for the SCL final.

J/70 Sailing Champions League scheduleOver 300 clubs are now competing in the thirteen National Sailing Leagues that have been established all over Europe since 2013.  Here is how the SCL championship breaks down for next year:
  • 52 clubs, being the top 4 clubs from each 2016 national league, qualify for the SAILING Champions League 2017. These clubs will be assigned by lottery: 26 (2 from each nation) to each Act.
  • 32 clubs will compete in each Act.
  • 1 place at each Act is given to the hosting club (St. Petersburg Yacht Club in Russia and Segel-Club St. Moritz in Switzerland).
  • 5 places at each Act are wild card spots that will be awarded to clubs from nations that are currently founding their National Sailing League, plus additional states (e.g. Malta and Monaco).
The finale in Porto Cervo will be for 32 teams: the top 15 clubs from each Act, plus a team from the host club (Yacht Club Costa Smeralda), and the current SCL champion (Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club from Germany).  For more SAILING Champions League sailing information

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sea Kings Win High School Nationals

J/70s sailing high school nationals- ISSA (St Petersburg, FL)- The inaugural ISSA (Interscholastic Sailing Association) National Keelboat Invitational Championship was held November 19 - 20 at St. Petersburg Yacht Club in St Petersburg, FL with sailing taking place on Tampa Bay. Ten high school teams from across the country competed in a new fleet of matched J/70 one-designs for the Mendelblatt Trophy. Conditions ranged from 10–18 knots over the weekend and the fleet was able to enjoy a full rotation for ten races in total.  In the end, the two teams from Newport Beach, CA dominated the regatta.  Winning was the Corona Del Mar High School “Sea Kings” with the team of Robert Garrett, Max Mayol, David Wood and Cameron Wood; second was taken by their cross-town rivals, the Newport Harbor “Sailors”.

The regatta started out fast for the Sea Kings, winning the first race and closing out their first four races with two more bullets for a clear lead in the overall standings.  Behind them, it was a pretty radical games of “chutes & ladders” for the top five, with the “Sailors” posting a 3-4-5-4, the Falmouth Maine High School “Yachtsmen” a 5-BFD-3-5, the Archbishop Spalding High School “Cavaliers” a 4-1-4-8, the Annapolis High School “Panthers” an 8-3-8-3 and the Severn High School “Admirals” a 2-9-2-6.  In short, after the first four races, these five teams were virtually tied on points.

ISSA J/70 High School Nationals winners- Sea KingsHowever, the “tale of the tape” changed quite dramatically for the balance of the six races.  The Sea Kings continued to dominate, despite a fifth race 7th place to close the regatta with mostly top three finishes to win the overall title with just 28 pts- a 2.8 average for ten races- that is quite an accomplishment!  Behind them, chaos ruled for most teams.  The exception was the “Sailors” from Newport Harbor, the only team to post all top four finishes to secure second place overall, but not without some anxious moments.  Here’s the reason why- the “lobstermen” from Maine went on a tear starting in race 5, rising like a phoenix from the ashes.  They posted a 1-1-1-2 over the next four races to scream up to the top of the leaderboard and were hoping to maintain that pace.  In fact, had the Yachtsmen been able to post that average going into the last two races, they might have won!  However, the “song of the sirens” befell them, dramatically crashing onto the proverbial shoals, and closing with a profoundly earth—shattering tally of 8-9 to end up just three points back from second.  Despite those anxious final moments, the Falmouth Maine HS Yachtsmen team, consisting of Daniel Denison, Hanna Brydon, Kurban Ali, Cameron Delgado, were proud of their ability to bounce back and take the bronze.

Rounding out the top five were the Annapolis HS Panthers in fourth with 45 pts and the Severn HS Admirals in fifth with 46 pts.  What was interesting was that many teams had their chance at basking in the limelight, with schools placing all the way down to eighth place in the field of ten to have at least one or more top three finishes; that was a great indicator of each team’s potential!  In fact, the 8th place St Ignatius College “Wolfpack” had to be ecstatic with their closing races, posting a 3-1 in their last two races- a great way to close the regatta!   For more ISSA High School Keelboat Nationals sailing information

J/111 JOUST Wins Lipton Cup Australia

J/111 Joust sailing Lipton Cup
(Melbourne, Australia)- Despite earlier results, indicating that the winner of the Lipton Cup Trophy was another boat, a scoring review was taken on Monday morning following the announcement of the results on Sunday. It was determined that there was an anomaly in placings - this was then rectified, subsequently changing the overall results.

As a result of the review, the finish time of the J/122 JAKE was altered for race 1, and there was a net effect on the fleet results. As a result, Dr Rod Warren's J/111 JOUST wins the Lipton Cup Regatta off Melbourne, Australia!  Congratulations on the great sailing to the JOUST team!

The 2016 Lipton Cup Regatta came to an end after a weekend of gorgeous, beautiful blue skies and light winds.  Needless to say, the racing was very close.

Official Lipton Cup photographer- Bernie Kaaks- was hard at work over the course of the regatta. The images are  available for viewing and purchase through Bernie's Flickr page.  If you'd like a copy of any photographs, please contact Bernie by email (, quoting the name and details of the photo you'd like to order or go to the website.  For more Lipton Cup sailing information

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hamble Winter Series VII Report

J/92 sailing Hamble winter series (Hamble, Great Britain)- Saturday's miserable autumn rain cleared up in time for the weather gods to deliver a day of champagne sailing for Sunday's Hamble Winter Series race.

A very shifty northwesterly welcomed competitors to a game of “snakes and ladders”, with oscillating windshifts providing plenty of opportunity for position changes in the large fleets. From a start line near “ buoy”, fleets beat up towards the Hamble, with the bigger boats using Hamble Point as their windward mark. IRC 3 and 4 rounded Bald Head as their first mark, with the nearby shoreline adding some extra tactical challenges.

In IRC 1 class, Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL and Christopher Daniel's J/122 JUNO are still neck-and-neck in the standings, with KESTREL sitting in 6th overall and JUNO now dropping to 8th position.  At this stage, with two good races left, it is still possible for Bamford’s KESTREL to crack the top five, sitting just four points back from fifth position.

J/92 sailing off Hamble, EnglandThe “J/109 division”, e.g. IRC 2 class, close racing continues between the top boats. After posting second place last weekend, Simon Perry's J/109 JIRAFFE still lies in second overall, four points back from the lead with 14 pts total. The second J/109 is Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN and the third is Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN, respectively, with 42 and 50 pts each.

The “Cinderella story” of the HWS IRC 3 class (and the overall series) so far has to be Robin Stevenson’s J/92S UPSTART.  His team continues to sail brilliantly, maintaining their overall lead, 3.5 pts clear of the next boat.  The top five saw a “flip-flop” occur in the standings between the next two J/teams.  By virtue of taking a 4th place in their last race, Annie & Andy Howe’s J/97 GBR 97X- BLACKJACK II- has 31.5 pts total to stealthily move into 4th place overall, just a half-point clear of David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO with 32 pts!  The drama and excitement are building steadily race-by-race as these two also have a chance for the top three in the series!

Sailing in Hamble Winter Series, EnglandFinally, “los tres amigos” leading the highly competitive nine-boat J/88 class continue to do battle with a bit of a dramatic twist this past weekend!  Kirsty and David Apthorp's J-DREAM won the race to lengthen their lead to a somewhat comfortable 12 pts total, now 6 pts clear of the next two boats.  However, the anxiety is brewing like a tempest in a teapot for the silver and bronze.  Gavin Howe's TIGRIS posted a 2nd place to close-out the weekend with 19 pts total for the series, just one point back from Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT.  ESJR had a battle with Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR in the last race, dropping to 4th place and, thus, holding onto second place for the series with 18 pts, but closing the gap quite dramatically with TIGRIS.

There are two races remaining, and everyone is hoping that the gales currently forecast for next weekend abate in time!  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ and Hamo Thornycroft  For more Hamble Winter Series sailing information

J/121 Project Update #3

J/121 offshore speedster- hull plug at Symmetrix (Newport, RI)- The J/121 hull plug is taking shape at Symmetrix Composite Tooling in Bristol, RI as the Poseidon 5-Axis milling machine performs its first “pass” this week.

Next week the foam hull form, supported by its steel backbone frame, will be reinforced with glass/epoxy before a thick epoxy milling paste is applied over the hull surface. Once the milling paste is cured, the Poseidon will perform a second and final precision machining operation to take the hull to its final surface. This is followed by a multi-stage sanding process to achieve 800 grit finish and a final buffing to a mirror shine. Just in time for the Happy Holidays! One big 40 ft present from Santa for passionate, offshore J/sailors!  You can watch this fascinating process here on J/Boats YouTube page.
For more J/121 Offshore speedster sailing information

Sunday, November 27, 2016

J/111 Flying Off Melbourne!

J/111 Joust sailing off Melbourne, Australia (Melbourne, Australia)- Way, way Down Under, the spring flowers are blooming, winter series have wound down and summer series are on the verge of winding up!   

In Melbourne, New South Wales, on the southeastern cape of Australia, the J/111 JOUST is enjoying fresh late spring conditions.  Owner Dr Rod Warren provided a quick report on their latest outing offshore:

“We were racing in 30-plus knots on a choppy Port Philip Bay this past weekend.  Our J/111 JOUST hit 22 knots to cross a Beneteau 45 and claim line honors at the Club Marine Interclub Regatta!  Needless to say, the J/111 Joust sailing race off Melbourne, Australiacrew was jubilant and high-fives were celebrated all-around!!

We were using the techniques we learned on the Solent this past summer at the J/111 World Championship from our pit boss- Stu J!  We matched the big boats upwind (something we had never done before) and smoked them off the breeze, hitting 20-plus knots under a full Main, J4 and A2 kite.  Big wind, big sails!!  And, big grins all around!”

J/109 Sailor- Don Dwyer Interview

J/109 sailor- Don Dwyer- sailing his boat (Guilford, CT)-  Don Dwyer & J/109 “GUARDIAN J” were featured in WindCheck's September 2016 issue- On Watch section.  He talks about sailing his J/109 Guardian J with family, crew, and friends.   Read the original article from WindCheck Magazine at this link.

Don Dwyer isn’t exactly new to sailing, although his path to becoming an avid sailor is somewhat unique, as is his approach. “I grew up in Cheshire, Connecticut, only 20 minutes from the water, but somehow sailing was never something I thought about,” says Don. Having lived in the Midwest for 20 years, he and his family returned to Connecticut a few years ago and settled on the shoreline. “We live in Guilford and keep our J/109 Guardian J at Brewers Bruce & Johnson’s Marina in Branford,” says Don, who is enjoying his fourth boat, three of which were purchased in succession over the past three years!

“It’s funny it took so long to become a sailor,” Don continues. “We actually bought a Capri 14.2 in 1989 when we lived here, but then I got transferred. The only time that boat got wet was when it rained trailering it whenever we moved! We finally auctioned it off at a charity event. We didn’t think about becoming sailors until we moved back. My oldest son Doc suggested we learn to sail. We always enjoyed sports together, such as skiing, golf, climbing, running and flying [Don is a co-owner of Guardian Jet, one of the larger corporate jet brokerages in the world, based on the Green in Guilford, CT.] He wanted to sail, so he, my son Chris, my wife Jan and I took a weekend of lessons together. Doc and I bought a Hunter 27 because we thought we needed a boat to accelerate our learning. Doc and I were flight instructors at one point in our careers, and we were amazed at the lack of structure to the learning process. After a weekend of poor instruction, it was basically: buy a boat and have at it.”

Looking for ways to make their learning experience as efficient as possible, Don and Jan signed up for a week at J World in Key West. “When we started, we felt like we had to be proactive in searching solutions for our desired pace of learning,” he explains. “I know now there are a ton of resources out there but it wasn’t apparent or even clearly defined for us when we started.”

“It was great starting the first year with an older boat because with the minimal investment it was okay to bounce it off docks as we all learned. The second year, we bought a Pearson 33.2. It was a great boat, but whenever we raced we’d do well at the start and watch all the other boats walk away from us.”

“Our big leap came when I met [WindCheck Contributing Editor] Joe Cooper at a Safety at Sea seminar. We had sailed for a season, and had just bought the Pearson, and were thinking of racing. Joe came on board to get us up to speed on safety first, then taught us the skills to participate in regattas. Our goal was to get ready for last year’s Block Island Race Week. We trained all spring and early summer with Coop, and competed in the regatta. Coop is still our coach. I consider him a great sailor but more importantly, a gifted teacher, good friend and trusted advisor.”

After Block Island Race Week last year, we started looking for a boat better suited to racing. The J/109 is perfect for us. I can race with a full crew, and it’s an easy boat for Jan and me to daysail or cruise. A good light wind boat is not a bad idea for our part of the Sound, so we got the 109 just in time for the Vineyard Race last year and we are having a ball with it.”

“When I wanted to get into ocean racing, I joined Essex Yacht Club and was lucky enough to meet Frank Flores, who has done seven or eight Bermuda races on his Alden 44 Checkmate. Frank invited me to race with him to Bermuda. He is a great skipper and program leader. His love and devotion to seamanship is contagious and I have learned tons by being a part of his crew. We trained through the winter and spring, either by working on the boat, sailing Ideal 18s for crew coordination or sailing Checkmate. We were one of the 50 or so boats that pulled out on the day of the race because of the forecast, but the training was one of the best experiences of my life.”

“Currently, I race with my extended family. We are extremely lucky that they live nearby, and Jan and I are taking full advantage. The racing community is very supportive. We feel welcome everywhere we go. The Wednesday night league in Branford is a ball, and if I have a question there are a bunch of skippers who jump in and help. We have also enlisted the help of North Sails since buying the J/109. Jack Orr [a member of the sales team at North Sails East] has been fantastic in getting the boat to go fast, setting it up, and teaching us how to trim. My only excuse now is my ability!”

“For me, the most important lesson so far is to be the architect of your experience. If you are open and honest about your experience level, it is amazing how many people in this sport and industry will help,” says Don. “I’m not big on giving advice, but I would say to someone looking for a way to keep doing stuff with the family, racing sailboats is amazing. If I said to the kids, who all have very busy lives, ‘Let’s go sailing Sunday,’ I’m not sure who would show up. But racing means we get together a lot.”

Don recounts, “We had friends visiting from Kansas who did the Essex Rum Challenge with us. I was sitting on the rail with my buddy, who remarked about how much fun I was having. I looked around the boat, and the entire crew was my extended family and friends. That’s the best part!”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A "Pied Piper" Wins Mexican J/70 National Championship

J/70s sailing on Valle de Bravo, Mexico (Valle de Bravo, Mexico)- Twenty teams sailed in the J/70 Mexico National Championship, held November 11-13 in Valle de Bravo, Mexico. After ten races, American Gannon Troutman’s PIED PIPER took the title, edging out Julian Fernandez (MEX) by four points. Fernandez was the top Mexican team.  Meanwhile, winning the Corinthian title on a tie-breaker was Ignacio Perez (MEX) over the top Women skipper- the American Mandi Hardesty!

Mandi Hardesty- 2nd Corinthians- Mexico NationalsThe fleet enjoyed three days of racing on the lake.  It was light at times, but good breezes always seemed to materialize, permitting the Club Campestre’s PRO to run ten races for the enthusiastic sailors!  After five races, it appeared, again, that Julian Fernandez’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO was going to run the table, posting a 2-3-1-1-2.  Not far off the pace was the young American skipper, Gannon Troutman, sailing PIED PIPER to a scoreline of 1-5-2-2-1.  Hanging in there was famous Mexican offshore yachtsman, Lorenzo Berho, sailing PELIGROSO “mini-me” to a strong 4-1-3-6-7 tally for third position.  Meanwhile, Danel Belausteguigoitia’s PURA VIDA, with a 5-4-7-3-3 tally, was only one point back in fourth place after five races.

However, the remaining five races produced hangovers for just about everyone!  What goes up, must come down.  And, vice versa.  Talk about a wild game of “snakes & ladders”, everyone in the top five just about swapped positions!  In the end, Troutman’s crew on PIED PIPER sailed the most consistently to win the regatta.  Fernandez’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO was second.  Third was Von Belausteguigoitia’s BULLET.  Fourth was PURA VIDA.  And, fifth was Berho’s PELIGROSO.  The Top Women skipper and tied for 1st in Corinthian fleet was Mandi Hardesty’s OHANA with her amazing crew of Jon Pinckney, Justin Law, and Joe Markee!  For more Mexican J/70 Nationals sailing information

J/30 North Sails Interview- Scott Tonguis

J/30 North American winners(Annapolis, MD)-  Scott Tonguis and team ZEPHYR won four of the seven races at the 2016 J/30 North American Championship in Annapolis, MD.  North Sails  spoke with him shortly after the event.

1. What conditions did you encounter at this event and how prepared were you and your team?
ST- We saw winds of 3-20 knots. We were armed with new North Sails designed by Benz Faget. We were the top fundraising team in the nation for the Leukemia Cup Regatta series (we raised $127,000), so the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and North Sails awarded Zephyr a 25% discount, which helped us purchase a great set of sails from Benz.

2. What was the biggest contributor to your success in winning this regatta?
ST- Great sails along with proper rig tuning. Having a least seven loaner boat J30 NAs under our belt. Our past experiences have proven that you can take a boat that may not have seen the race course in quite a while and clean the bottom, check the rigging, tune the rig, host some new North Sails, and go give ‘em a hand full. So, we were confident that we would be in the hunt.

3. What was the most important part about your boat set up?
ST- Making sure the rig tuning was close to optimum so the sails could do their magic. If the rig tune is right, then the sails are working great. If the sails are working great, then the boat is going fast. If the boat is going fast, then the crew can get their heads out of the boat to look around the racecourse for wind shifts and fleet management. If you are going fast, you can keep your lane. If you keep your lane, you can go to the side of the course you think will be favored.

4. Name three things that you and your team did during the races that proved to be fast.
ST- here is what we focused on:
– Rig tuning
– Due to the shifty winds, we seemed to sail most of the regatta with our bow down trying to speed across the course to the next shift. Whenever we were fortunate enough to find ourselves on the inside of a lift, we would press the bow down to speed to the next shift. Most of the time it worked out quite well.
– The J30 does not really like to accelerate, so while sailing downwind you want to make sure you use some of a header to build boat speed before turning a little deeper. Do not get it slow!

5. How long have you been sailing in the J/30 class?
ST- I cannot believe it has been this long: 30 years, 3 decades! I was a senior in high school when my family purchased the original Zephyr, which was destroyed in Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. We hope to have a 30 year Zephyr reunion in late Oct. 2017 down in New Orleans, in conjunction with the J30 NA’s on Lake Pontchartrain at New Orleans Yacht Club. It is quite humbling to realize the Zephyr program is still very relevant after thirty years. I guess we are doing something right. I have been blessed to meet some wonderful people along the way, many of whom are my best friends and mentors.

6. What were your strengths on the racecourse? Which leg did YOU favor the most?
ST- I know the strengths and weaknesses of the boat. I guess that is where thirty years of experience on the boat comes into play. If you are able to keep the boat out of its areas of weakness, you are usually able to avoid a bad situation on the racecourse.

7. What was your most memorable moment of the regatta?
ST- I can tell you my least memorable moment, the first start, it was bad! Luckily, we were able to tack to port just after the start and rumble over to the right side. Great boat speed along with a little righty got us back in the race.

Otherwise, my most memorable moment was catching up with friends! I no longer live in New Orleans, so I do not get a chance to spend too much time with my good friends who just happen to be my crew. Traveling to the NAs is special for us because everyone is away from the distractions of home, work, and family—a four-day hall pass to hang with the boys.

Copa Mexico J/24 National Circuit Report

J/24 sailing Valle de Bravo, Mexico (Valle de Bravo, Mexico)- The J/24 sailors in Mexico have always enjoyed their Copa Mexico J/24 National Championship circuit.  The series is comprised of six events, the Dia de la Marina at Club Nautico Avandaro, the Regata de Independencia at Club Nautico Valle de Bravo, the Copa San Gaspar at Club San Gaspar, the Oktoberfest at Club Nautico Avandaro, the XXII Copa Scotiabank at Club Marina Azul, and the Mexico Nationals at Club Campestre on Valle de Bravo.  The circuit is based on low-point scoring, not high-point (which would reflect higher scores for more participants- like the RORC Season Points Series).

At the current time, the clear leader is Roberto Himmelbauer’s YAMBO with a 1-3-2-5-3 tally for 68 pts total.  Roberto’s team is the only boat to have placed in 4 of 5 events.  Holding onto a strong second place is Manuel Romero’s CAPITAN ALATRISTE with a 5-5-1-2-3 for 80 pts.  Rounding out the podium is Candida Velazquez’s LA FRAGATA with a scoreline of 6-6-3-3-5 for 107 pts.

The two teams that could “upset the apple cart,” so to speak, are Ken Porter’s COMEX and Luis Alvarez’s TA’LENTO.  In the two regattas they entered so far, Independencia and Oktoberfest, Porter’s COMEX won with nearly all firsts.  Similarly, Alvarez’s TA’LENTO placed 2nd and 1st in their two counters- Independencia and Scotiabank.  It’s all to play for in the Nationals, coming soon to a website near you!
For more Mexico J/24 fleet sailing information

Friday, November 25, 2016

BANKS ESPERANZA Top Barbados J/24 Nationals

J/24 sailing Barbados nationals (Bridgetown, Barbados)- It has been a busy year for the Barbados J/24 sailors, by far the largest fleet on the Caribbean island and also by far their largest yacht/ sailing club!  The 2016 Barbados J/24 National Championship saw spirited competition amongst the fleet of nearly a dozen boats.

Barbados J/24 sponsorsIn the end, it was Ian Mayers’ BANKS ESPERANZA- BAR 4396 that were declared the winners of the 2016 National Title!  Here is the photo of Erving Rosario and Paul Croney, representing the lead sponsors Suzuki Caribbean Marine and Carter's Fisherman's Corner, presenting Ian’s crew with the championship trophies.

J/24s sailing off BarbadosIn a great team effort with a lot of renewed energy, Charlie Gloumeau led his enthusiastic crew on SCOTIABANK BUNGA BUNGA- BAR 2420 into “the chocolates” as well, taking the silver medal for 2016!

Rounding out the podium in the bronze position was WILLIAMS INDUSTRIES HAWKEYE- BAR 3145, led by Robert Povey.  Perhaps the big surprise of the regatta was that the winner of the LUCKY HORSESHOE Regatta back in June, Robbie Yearwood’s DIE HARD, did not make podium!

Finally, SCOTIABANK BUNGA BUNGA was voted as the “Most Improved J/24 Team” for their outstanding performance during the year, finishing no lower than fourth place in any regatta!  For more Barbados J/24 sailing information

Britain Wins J/22 Germany 2K Team Race

J/22s team racing in Hamburg, Germany (Hamburg, Germany)- From the 21st to 23rd October, The Hamburg Sailing Club (HSC) set up an internationally 2K team race for the fourth time. Seven teams with sailors from England, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Bavaria and from Northern Germany took part.

Although there was not a lot of wind all weekend, the HSC PRO Stefan Roth was able to run almost 40 races until Sunday noon. The sailing for the 2-on-2 format took place on one-design J/22 class sailboats.  What is unique about this form of team-racing is that “last place loses”, so the incentive is to “fight back” all the time!

J/22 German team race winnersIt was a beautiful event, organized by Manuel Huensch and supported by Hansestadt Hamburg (the sports group based in Hamburg) and many volunteers on land and on the water.

In the semi-finals on Sunday, the British Team Serpentine and the Italian Team Banana, were clearly a level above the rest in terms of their boat-handling, tactics and strategies.  In the Grand Finale on a beautiful autumn day in downtown Hamburg, it was the British Team Serpentine that won 2 races to 1 over the Italian Team Banana.  The winner of the Petite Finale was Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, claiming the third spot on the podium.    Sailing photo credits- Pepe Hartmann   For more J/22 Germany 2K Team Race sailing information

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Parkstone Yacht Club Ladies J/24 Day!

J/24 women sailors- at Magenta ProjectMAGENTA PROJECT Breaks the Mold on Ladies Tea!
(Parkstone, United Kingdom)- Watch out traditional ladies days!  The high heels and questionable dress codes of Ascot, Cheltenham and Goodwood, and all of the yacht club teas called “ladies days” are getting the rules rewritten- by the amazing women leading The MAGENTA Project!

J/24 women's sailors- Magenta ProjectAnnie Lush and her team at the MAGENTA Project are using their experiences on the Olympic circuit, Volvo Ocean Race, M32 World Match race series and GC32 Extreme Series to prove that ladies are not just supporting men sailing, but doing it themselves, so no excuses for the Parkstone Yacht Club “ladies.” For many years, the Club, under the cheerful guidance and enthusiasm of member Nigel Pearce, has had a large group of ladies racing and training in a variety of single-handed boats from Picos to Lasers. Annie, a Parkstone member, organized a highly acclaimed and enjoyable day introducing 31 women and 8 youth sailors to keelboat sailing. The local J/24 fleet kindly lent eight boats with their owners, and Kate Macgregor (London 2012 Olympian and Team Magenta match racer) and Abby Ehler (twice a Volvo Ocean Race sailor and Magenta project director) joined Annie as on-the-water coaches.

The day started with a dockside introduction to the J/24, and as the new teams motored out in bright sun and zero wind, the Magenta Magic started with a warm southerly gently increasing through the day. Learning to tack and gybe (encouraged by coaches and owners) was quickly followed by various drills, with the crews rotating positions, and ended with a pre-lunch race. The Club hosted a lunch whilst the Magenta girls entertained the children, relieving the fathers of baby-sitting duties for a while, with tales of racing and sailing.

J/24 women's sailors- Parkstone Yacht ClubThe girls were joined by two-time Paralympic medalist Alex Rickman. Top job was being medal monitor as Alex kindly let the children hold her medals, guaranteeing some disbelief in various Poole schools show-and-tell sessions. Lunch was followed by Saturday J/24 racing, and the new crews volunteered to join the owners and some of their team for the race. The wind increased to a strong breeze as the rain lurked over the Purbeck hills, but the race officer shortened the course just in time so the J’s were safely back in the marina before the skies opened. The happy teams returned to the Clubhouse for a Magenta tea party and prize-giving.

Thanks to the J/24 owners, the Club’s super supportive Commodore Bryan Drake, Roam photography, and Spinnaker Watches, Musto and Team SCA for great prizes. A women’s team has already formed to race next year on the J/24 ZAPHOD, and another team is keen to use one of Parkstone’s three Club-owned J/24s for evening racing. The J/24 Class has a great resource of good new crew, and everyone enjoyed the teamwork and new skills (no shouting, no tears, just huge smiles). Well done Magenta! You have to come back and make this an annual event.   Sailing photo credits- ROAM Photography

Hamble Winter Series VI Report

J/109 sailing Hamble Winter series (Hamble, Great Britain)- The Hamble Winter Series continues and the hardy souls taking a swing out into cool Solent waters were able to get in their 10th race of the series in six weekends of sailing on the incredibly capricious waters of the Solent.  Last weekend was marked by ultra-high tides, causing insane currents and tide lines moving swiftly around the Brambles Bank and the Southampton Water.

IRC 1 saw Christopher Daniel's J/122 JUNO sail another good race to take fourth in class.  And, Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL managed a 6th place.  As a result, with just two races left in the series, these two boats are literally neck-and-neck in the standings, with KESTREL sitting in 6th overall and JUNO in 7th position.  With two good races left, there is still a good mathematical possibility for Bamford’s KESTREL to crack the top five, sitting just five points back from fourth position.

The “J/109 division”, e.g. IRC 2 class, has seen very close racing between the top boats. After posting yet another third last weekend, Simon Perry's J/109 JIRAFFE still lies in second overall, still three points back from the lead. The second J/109 is Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN and the third is Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN, respectively.

Robin Stevenson’s J/92S UPSTART continues to sail brilliantly in IRC 3 class.  Their 3rd place this past weekend kept them in the overall lead, 3.5 pts clear of the next boat.  Still lying in fourth place is David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO with 27 pts.  However, just a half-point back sitting in fifth overall is Annie & Andy Howe’s J/97 GBR 97X- BLACKJACK II! A lot can happen with the top five in the next two races if the crews are not careful about their race strategies!

Finally, the three musketeers that have been leading the J/88 class continue to got at it hammer-and-tong!  Making their bid for the top of the leaderboard was Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, winning the race in convincing fashion. They are now 3 pts back from the series leaders- Kirsty and David Apthorp's J-DREAM.  Gavin Howe's TIGRIS scored a third, so they are now three points back from Ward’s ESJR.  Who will be the spoiler next weekend?  Stay tuned.

It is still all to play for with two races left to sail in the series in these four classes!   Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ and Hamo Thornycroft  For more Hamble Winter Series sailing information

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

CARRERA Crowned Buenos Aires Week J/24 Winner

J/24 sailing off Buenos Aires, Argentina (Buenos Aires, Argentina)- Over the first two weekends of October, the Buenos Aires fleet in Argentina hosted their friends from Chile, Uruguay and Brazil in their prestigious and traditional Buenos Aires Week hosted by Yacht Club Argentina.  Eleven teams were participating with many looking forward to sailing the Argentinean Nationals at the beginning of November and the J/24 South American Championship at Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The first weekend of racing saw six races conducted over the two days, a total of ten are scheduled for the entire series.  It was readily apparent to everyone that Matias Pereira’s CARRERA was light years ahead of the fleet all weekend, posting six straight bullets to establish a big lead for the series.  Doggedly pursuing them was the Uruguayan team lead by Pedro Garra on PANTERA; their scores of 2-6-2-2-2-5 kept them in the hunt.  Just behind them was Sebastien Halpern’s MORRUCHO with a 3-5-3-3-3-2 tally.

J/24 sailing Rio de La Plata off Buenos AiresThe “song remained the same” for the following weekend.  It was truly a battle for the top three podium positions, but it was again clear that Pereira’s CARRERA had the upper hand on their competitors.  In the first race on Saturday, Pereira picked up where they left off the previous Sunday by winning the first race quite handily.  The big disappointment was for Garra’s team, posting a 6th, while their arch rivals, Halpern’s MORRUCHO, took a 2nd.  Then, in the second race of the day (the 8th of the regatta), it was Garra’s turn to win a race while Halpern’s crew faltered and posted a 7th!  The drama continued in the next race and the anxiety level could not have been higher for Gara’s and Halpern’s crews.  In race nine, CARRERA won and locked up the regatta, not having to sail the last race.  Meanwhile, Halpern took 2nd with Garra in 4th, leaving them tied going into the final 10th race.  However, that would not take place until Sunday!

The final day dawned beautiful and bright with a nice wind.  CARRERA stayed ashore, celebrating their good fortunes.  Meanwhile, it was a grueling match race between Halpern and Garra to determine the silver and bronze positions on the podium.  In the end, Halpern got the upper hand, posting a 4th to Garra’s 5th to seal the deal for the silver.  The top of the leaderboard  in the last race saw a complete “flip-flop” of the fleet; winning was Alejandro Rossi’s SHARK AMANSO RELOADED with Federico Weidemann’s SEX SYMBOL in 2nd and Guillermo Aporszegi’s CALA in 3rd.  For more J/24 Buenos Aires Week sailing information

2017 J/80 World Championship Announcement

J/80s sailing Worlds (Hamble, United Kingdom)- The Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC) is delighted to announce that online entry for the J/80 World Championships in 2017 is now open!  The Championships are open to the Members of the J/80 Class as defined by the J/80 Class Rule (C3.3) and entries will only be accepted via the event website: The closing time and date for entries is 23:59 on Friday 12th May 2017.

“It is very exciting for the UK fleet that the J/80 Class will have its first Solent-based World Championship next year and we are looking forward to great racing against some of the world’s best sailors,” said Kevin Sproul, a 5-times J/80 UK National Champion.

Claire Montécot, owner of French J/80 Startijenn, sits on the French Class Committee and is working with the UK J Boats agent Key Yachting to help promote the event in France.

J/80s sailing off EnglandClaire said: “At the recent J/80 Nationals in France, Joe Lacey and I presented at the Class dinner to make sure everyone was aware of the Worlds in Hamble next year. We also shared a video about the Royal Southern YC and handed out flyers to all competitors. I was delighted to hear that a lot of French sailors are planning to come and I will be keeping them updated on both the Worlds and French J/80 class websites.”

The Royal Southern YC, based at Hamble, which is organizing the Championships in conjunction with the J/80 UK Class Association, has published the Notice of Race (NoR), which is available for download, along with information on accommodation, travel, etc, on the event website. Regular updates will be posted to the site, which has already had more than 300 visitors with more than 55 expressions of interest being received.

The organizers are always grateful for the support of sponsors and are particularly pleased to accept the early commitment from Grapefruit Graphics and Brittany Ferries.

Grapefruit Graphics is a sports branding company, offering a broad range of services from sail graphics to hull wraps. They are world leaders in vinyl application and will support the Championship event by providing race decals and some terrific prizes for competitors. In the run up to the regatta, teams who have submitted their entry will automatically be entered into a draw to win bespoke branding for their boat, in a bid to be the best looking J/80 at the Worlds!

Brittany Ferries are offering competitors a reduction of 20% from the public fare at the time booked for travel on their Cross Channel services on daytime crossings only for the period June 30-July 19 2017. Brittany Ferries has created a unique landing page for customers wishing to take advantage of this discount offer by clicking here.

The Championships take place from 8-14 July. Those wishing to charter or for more information on the J/80 Worlds, contact: or please visit the J/80 World Championship website.