Sunday, September 23, 2018

Augie Diaz- from Optis to J/24s to Stars- sailing profile

Augie Diaz medal winner(Miami, Florida)- James Boyd from SailingIntelligence.com wrote an interesting piece on Augie Diaz, titled “Master of the Classics”.  It is an insightful, entertaining story and perspective on how Augie evolved into one of the world’s better sailors, truly a story reminiscent of Robert Frost’s famous poem- “The Road Not Taken”.

For starters, Augie is a Cuban émigré as a child, when his father- Gonzalo “Old Man” Diaz- brought his family to Miami to escape the wrath of the communist dictator- Fidel Castro.

In his early racing days, Augie first met the Johnstone family sailing 470s in the 1973 to 1977 time frame.  At that time in college, Augie had teamed up with a buddy of his from Tulane University- Doug Bull- and sailed the USA 470 National circuit for awhile, achieving good success against the likes of David Ullman (a 4x 470 World Champion) and the two Johnstone brothers (Stu and Drake) sailing USA 600. In addition, Augie had met Bob & Mary Johnstone as well as Rod & Lucia Johnstone sailing 470s and, later, in J/24s.

By 1977, the J/24 had been created by Bob and Rod Johnstone and the first J/24 Midwinters took place in Key West, FL in 1978. Seeing that it was going to be a “hot” class and a lot of fun, Augie jumped in to race his own J/24 against famous names such as Dave Ullman, Ken Read, Mark Ploch, David Curtis, Jud Smith, the crazy Brazilian- Vince Brun, and others (all familiar to most J/Boats sailors for having won multiple J/24, Etchells 22, 470, and Star World Championships). The pinnacle of Augie’s J/24 success was winning the J/24 Midwinters in 1983 on Biscayne Bay, his home waters and hosted by his home club- Coral Reef YC.

Since that time in J/24s, Augie stopped sailing and focused on his family business in the medical supplies business in Florida.  After helping grow the business, the Diaz family sold their healthcare business and, as a result, Augie dove back into sailing his beloved Snipes and Stars.  Here is that story from James Boyd below:

Few boats reward both brains and brawn in such equal measure as the Star. It was partly this that enabled a 64-year-old ‘amateur’ to claim this year’s Star European Championship in Flensburg, Germany.

Admittedly Cuba-born American Agustín ‘Augie’ Díaz was sailing with one of the class’ top crew – in addition to his four Star World Championship titles, Brazilian Bruno Prada scored Star silver and bronze respectively at the Beijing and London Olympics with his long-term helm Robert Scheidt.

But with more than 35 years’ experience and wisdom gained from competing against the world’s best in the class, Díaz is today one of the top helms as he proved when he and Prada became Star World Champions in 2016. The European Championship trophy is the latest silverware for this successful partnership’s trophy cabinet.

Díaz comes from a sailing dynasty. His grandfather sailed and in 1959, his father Gonzalo and uncle Saul claimed silvers for Cuba in the Snipe both at the Pan American Games and at the Snipe Worlds, on the latter occasion to none other than Paul Elvstrøm.

After his parents immigrated to Florida, an eight-year-old Augie took up sailing in the Optimist. While studying mechanical engineering at Tulane University in New Orleans, in 1974 he led Tulane Green Wave sailing team to win the coveted Leonard M. Fowle Trophy for the top scoring overall collegiate team. That same year he was voted College Sailor of the Year.

Despite his success in the Star in recent years, for most of his life Augie has been known, like his father, for racing Snipes. In this 1931 vintage doublehanded dinghy, his record is exceptional. He twice won the class’ biennial World Championship (in 2003 and 2005), something that only a handful of sailors have achieved, among them Torben Grael and Santiago Lange.

He also won Snipe World Masters Championships in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2012, along with countless US and North American titles. Fifty-two years on, he emulated his father winning silver at the 2011 Pan American Games.

So, what is it about boats from the first half of the 20th century that he prefers? “Some of the classes that are popular are more about boat handling and speed, which are also important,” explains Díaz. “But, I prefer tactical sailing where you have to do both – be good tactically, good athletically, and have good boat handling.”

Although he was never selected to go to the Olympic Games, he tried in 1976 and 1980 in the Flying Dutchman and in 1984 made as far as the trials in the Star, but was up against Bill Buchan and Stevie Erickson who went on to claim the gold at Los Angeles.

After that Díaz admits, “My time was passed. I had a fast-growing business and family. In fact I didn’t sail from 1986 to 1999.” This he describes as his “period of slavery…work and Little League coaching!”

His first Star World Championship was in 1983 in Los Angeles but he competed in them again two years later in Nassau, on the very same waters albeit some 30 years on that the Star Sailor’s League Finals are held annually.

The partnership with Bruno Prada began in 2006-7, whenever there was an event that Robert Scheidt couldn’t make – usually the ones in Miami over the winter. “I was very fortunate that I was the same weight as Robert, so Bruno didn’t have to lose any weight,” recalls Díaz. “And for Bruno it was a safe: If we did well it was because of him. If we did badly it was because of me!”

Díaz says that his partner is much more than just a crew. “He is one of the guys in the class who has extensive helming experience in the Finn and in the Snipe when he was younger. He is really a skipper on the boat. Fortunately, our tactical approaches are very similar, so there’s no great discussion.

“There are several classes that are ‘driven by the crew’ – there’s also the 505 and you even see it in the 49er. It is easy to feel the boat when you have the helm, much harder when it is just through your backside! The elite guys like Bruno can do that.”

Personally for Díaz it also coincided with his pulling out of the medical supplies business he’d built up. Retiring into some “real estate and other investment stuff” he had more time on his hands for sailing, until he agreed to sell the MJM line of 35-53 ft long motor yachts designed by Bob Johnstone of J/Boats fame, which has proved more successful (and time-consuming) than he had hoped…

Thanks to his Europeans result, Díaz is currently ninth in the Star Sailors League ranking which guarantees his invitation for the Star Sailors League Finals 2018, the annual event that determines who is the best sailor among the ‘stars’ of the sailing world and allocation of the US$200,000 prize pot. For a sixth year, the Finals will be held in the azure waters of Nassau in the Bahamas, from December 3rd to 8th.

Having been based in Miami most of his life, he knows Nassau well and has been sailing there for decades: “It is one of the world’s premier venues. They say that when ‘God decides to go sailing’ he goes there – the combination of the breeze, which is usually quite strong, plus the waves and water color and the warm climate. And the Nassau Yacht Club is very friendly. You couldn’t find better people.”

Díaz is aware that at 64 his profile doesn’t entirely fit in with that of the Star Sailors League, which aims to recognize the world’s best sailors, but more typically professionals, especially those on the ascent in their careers, but he remains a big fan.

“The reason the Star continues to grow is because the Star Sailors League started right after we were taken out of the Olympics. The way it is run, where all the elite sailors in the world can get together in one platform and have an incredible regatta – for me you can forget about the America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and all those races, at the Star Sailors League Finals you are sailing against the best.”

He is especially in awe of the next generation such as Paul Goodison and even younger talent like Sime Fantela and Ben Saxton. “It was awesome that Paul could come in and be able to do what he did (winning the 2017 SSL Finals). That was huge for the Star Sailors League. It shows that people from the outside can come and be competitive in the Finals.”

But will they once again get the better of the old timers this December? We wait to find out... Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Fun J/22 & J/24 Alster Regatta

J/22s sailing Hamburg, Germany (Hamburg, Germany)- The Hamburg Sailing Club hosted its annual end-of-summer Alster Regatta on their gorgeous Alster Lake in the middle of Hamburg, Germany. Things were a bit tight on the lake, with two big fleets of J/22s and J/24s vying for “sea room” wherever they went around the race track!

Eclipsing the dozen-boat J/22 fleet with all first-places was the French team on FRA 14444 consisting of Reiner Brockerhoff, Christophe Declerque, and Charles Michaux. Nearly duplicating their feat with mostly seconds, to finish second, was the German crew of GER 14111, led by Andreas Dillmann with crew of Oliver Thies and Julia Auinger.  Third place went to another German team on GER 1390, skippered by Holger Schmitt with crew of Sabine Schoenfeldt, and Thomas Hanf.

A similar scenario played out for the octet of J/24s, with a virtual sweep of the five races by the German GER 5420 team of Emily Kern, Maike Hass Oko, Gesa Goellner, Johanna Richter, and Tom Stryi.  Two points back was GER 5467 sailed by Hauke Krussg, Nils Glockow, Rollo Boehm, Olaf Schmidt, Tina Lulfing, and Torsten Glawisch.  Third was GER 4718 skippered by Jonas Hentschel, with crew of Fabian Blasi, Jonas Franke, and Jannik Barop.  For more Spätsommerpokale Alster Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, September 21, 2018

SANTANDER Wins Act V- Chilean National Circuit

J/70s sailing off Santiago, Chile (Algarrobo, Chile)- The fifth event of the Chilean J/70 Winter Series took place over the September 8th to 9th weekend off Algarrobo, Chile, hosted by the Cofradía Náutica del Algarrobo.

With fifteen boats on the starting line, the conditions on Saturday were cold, but with a great wind of 10 to 14kts from southwest. Each race had slightly different conditions for the swell and choppy seas.  The left side was favored on the windward leg, but also the right was favored on some of the running legs, due to better pressure. So, the race track was quite open for the teams and the smarter tacticians could gain and recover a lot.

J/70s sailing off Santiago, ChileOn Sunday, the conditions were quite unstable. The wind did not show up until 1530 hrs in the afternoon and the conditions were still very random and light. The CNA Race Committee and the PRO decided not to go ahead with the races and the weekend regatta was concluded with 3 races of the 6 programmed in the Sailing Instructions.

As a result, SANTANDER won with a solid 1-1-3, skippered by Pablo Amunátegui with a family crew of two brothers- Felipe & Pablo Herman,  and their father- Lucho Herman.

In second place was TSUNAMI, skippered by Andrés Ducasse, with a 2-2-4 tall for 8 pts.  Third was Matias Seguel’s VOLVO with a 4-5-1 for 10 pts.  The balance of the top five included Juan Reid’s WINDMADE in fourth with a 3-9-2 for 14 pts, tied with the fifth place boat- Vernon Robert’s MORENITA.

In the Corinthians Division, Cristobal Perez’s TRILOGIA won, followed by Francisco Perez’s ELEANOR RIGBY in second, and Felipe Gonzalez’s COLUMBIA in third place.

The standings for the “Circuito Nacional J/70 2018” for Chile are the following after 21 races and 3 discards:
  1. WINDMADE- Juan Reid- 54 pts
  2. TSUNAMI- Andres Ducasse- 57 pts
  3. SANTANDER- Pablo Amunategui- 59 pts
  4. MORENITA- Vernon Robert- 85 pts
  5. PELIGRO- Alejandro Perez- 94 pts.
Of note- for TSUNAMI, WINDMADE, and MORENITA teams, this was the last regatta in the Chilean circuit before the 2018 J/70 World Championship in Marblehead, MA, where the three qualified teams are competing.

J/70s sailing off ChileRemarkably, the Chilean J/70 fleet has grown to thirty-six boats, with the principal activity taking place in Algarrobo- a seaside port 90 miles west of the capital of Santiago at the base of the Andean Mountain range. Algarrobo enjoys a year-round sailing calendar, no matter what the conditions are in the famous ski areas to the south and east in Chile and Argentina (considered some of the world’s best)- “cold” is 45-50 F, warm is 60-75 F in the “winter”.  Doh, so why don’t Europeans and North Americans, and Asians travel to Chile for more fun in the sun!  It is “bucket list travel” conditions- sailing, skiing, and beach weather all at the same time!

The other small J/70 fleet is located on Panguipulli Lake, 900 km south from Santiago, where the J/70 fleet actually started in Chile and the first three J/70 Nationals were raced (2013, 2014 and 2015). They have an extensive schedule for January, February, March summer racing. The enormous 14,000 ft snow-capped mountain peaks, many of which are active volcanos, produce amazing “adabatic” wind conditions all summer long— think of Italy’s famous Lago di Garda and its clockwork-like winds in their European summers…it is no different on Lago de Panguipulli.

the J/70 Algarrobo fleet, ChileAccording to Juan Reid, the J/Boats Chile dealer, “the J/70 fleet will have forty boats by the end of 2018, and more than 20 active boats in Algarrobo. The class is now the largest and most competitive one-design keelboat in Chile, by far. The only class that has had similar success in the past, not surprisingly, was the J/24 class from 1994 to 1998.

Even now, the southernmost one-design class in the world are the Chilean J/24s, with a fleet in Puerto Williams, Chile- a town on Navarino Island in the Beagle Channel, in Chile’s far south. It’s part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, known as a starting point for trips around Cape Horn. For those that love travel, Argentina’s famous town and port of Ushuaia is north and west by 30.0nm, considerably farther away from the fabled Cape Horn and any expeditions that head south to the Antarctica. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Risor SC Crowned Norwegian J/70 League Champion

J/70 Norway winners (Arendal, Norway)- The fourth and final act of the Norwegian J/70 Sailing League took place off the picturesque harbor of Arendal, Norway.  Winning the final event was Asgardstrand Sailing Club.  However, it was Risor Sailing Club’s consistency through all four events (Bodo- 4th, Molde- 1st, Larvik- 2nd, Arendal- 3rd) that enabled them to finish the last regatta in third place and handily clinch the season championship for the Norwegian League with just 10 pts total. Their crew for the finale included Mads and Tomas Mathisen, Morten Røisland and Regine Tronstad.

Norway J/70 seriesIn the Arendal regatta, Åsgårdstrand Sailing Association (with Jostein Grødem, Karl Otto Book, Trym Markussen and Lena Louise Vinje-Christensen on board) nearly ran the table on the fleet, posting seven 1sts and three 2nds in ten races to easily win the event.  Their performance vaulted them up the season standings into 5th place.  Brevik Sailing Club’s second place enabled them to breathe a sigh of relief, earning them the silver medal for the season championship.  Finally, RAN Sailing Club’s 5th place enabled them to hold onto the bronze medal on the podium for the season.

Norway J/70 start"There is no doubt that the level in the elite series has increased tremendously this season. It is no longer possible to come with an inexperienced crew or to trust in a good helmsman. In order to have a good team, you have to be focused on the competition in the sailing sport league, the teams get better every year, it is incredibly competitive,” said Magnus Hedemark, who is Project Manager for the Norwegian Seilsports League.

Like the other rounds of the sailing sport league, the finals in Arendal were also transferred directly to Facebook. Magne Klann and Thomas Nilsson conveyed what they observed with photos, videos, and the SAP SAILING graphics.

J/70 sailing Norway"We had four times as many viewers on our Facebook page than the average in the previous rounds. One of the reasons is, of course, that it was the final round. But, the interest has been increasing. Not least because the associations and sailors participating have been good at sharing on Facebook. We have now become a "community" that works very well,” said Hedemark, who hopes to be able to professionalize the sailing sport league further next year.

"The goal is to be the leader and an example of how the sport of league sailing can be communicated and displayed in Norway," he said.

“There is such strong interest in the Norwegian J/70 League that an additional half-dozen sailing clubs have requested to participate.  As a result, after the season this year, we will sell this year's five league boats to interested associations and we have received several inquiries from associations interested in buying, which indicates that both interest and ambitions are growing around sailing Norway," said Hedemark. “For next year's sailing season there will be five new J/70s that will be added to our fleet!”   Follow the Norwegian J/70 Sailing League here on Facebook  For more Norwegian J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

CAVITICA Wins J/80 North American Championship

J/80 sailing downwind (Marion, MA)- The Beverly YC and the local J/80 Buzzards Bay fleet hosted twenty-five teams for their 2018 J/80 North American Championship held on Buzzards Bay.  The fleet was challenged by a wide variety of wind and weather conditions over the three-day event that ran from Saturday to Sunday. In particular, Saturday and Sunday the fleet enjoyed ENE winds in the 15-25 kts range, making for fun, fast planing-mode rides downwind in most races.

In the end, thirteen races were held over the three days, making for exhausted, but happy crews dizzy from having 4+ races of double windward-leeward courses per day.  It was hometown hero Chip Johns and his crew on CAVITICA that was crowned 2018 J/80 North American Champion, winning by a convincing margin of 11 pts with five bullets.  Taking the silver was the duo of Kevin Hayes & Jeff Kirchhoff sailing MORE GOSTOSA and rounding out the podium in the bronze position was John White’s USA 1162 from Annapolis, MD.  The balance of the top five included J/80 class veteran Gary Panariello on COURAGEOUS from San Francisco Bay, California in 4th and Maine’s Ken Colburn on GHOST in 5th position. For more J/80 North American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Doran Smokes J/24 Great Lakes Championship

J/24 sailboats rounding a mark (Sandusky, OH)- A good turnout of eleven J/24s participated in the 2018 J/24 Great Lakes Championship, hosted by the Sandusky Sailing Club, and sailed on the choppy, puffy waters of Lake Erie.  What may be the most entertaining aspect of this particular regatta were the usual “off-the-wall” and quite goofy names that are attributed to various boats in the fleet.  The winning boat was called OSWEGO NY (no kidding), then others were FUGUE STATE, FOR SALE: $5000 (seriously?), NO B.S., HALL PASS, SUICIDE BLONDE, ORANGE WHIP, GREEN HORNET, and WIND MONKEY(?).  Too amusing for words.

At the end of five races over two days in a one-throwout series, it was Tom Doran’s OSWEGO NY team that quite literally ran the table and smoked the fleet with four straight bullets, dropping a second, for a total of 4 pts net.  Kevin O’Brien’s FUGUE STATE had mostly seconds, winning the last race, dropping a 3rd, to take the silver with 7 pts net.  Rounding out the podium was a tie-breaker on 15 pts net each, believe it or not. On countback, the bronze went to Ryan Lashaway’s FOR SALE: $5000 (does he really want to sell it?).  Losing the battle was Park McRitchie’s NO B.S.  Rounding out the top five was Mike Palmer’s BOOYAH, taking that position based on yet another tie-breaker at 19 pts net each.  For more J/24 Great Lakes Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

San Diego J/Fest is Back!

J/105s sailing off San Diego, CA in J/FEST (San Diego, CA)- J/Boat owners and sailors are invited from up and down the West Coast!  And all you J/sailors from San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties have no excuse- just a daysail away (or less) to come enjoy the camaraderie of sailing and socializing with fellow J/Lovers!

The following one-design fleets are invited to participate- J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80, J/105, J/109, and J/120.  Plus, there will also be a J/PHRF fleet. Each of these classes is extremely well-established in the region and offers sailors some of the most elite yacht racing in Southern California.

Racing will take place from September 29th to 30th, either on San Diego Bay or on the Pacific Ocean (depending on the class breaks).

Join us after racing each day for social events- a fun BBQ J/Fest party on Saturday evening, and the awards party on Sunday afternoon. All events are hosted at San Diego Yacht Club’s fabulous waterfront facilities.  For more San Diego J/Fest sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

KSSS King of Swedish J/70 Sailing League

J/70s sailing Swedish league (Gottskär, Sweden)- The KSSS (Royal Swedish Sailing Club) team of Patrik Forsberg, Sandra Sandqvist, Lukas Bergman and Anders Mårtensson took home the Gold Medal on Sunday afternoon, winning the Allsvenskan (Swedish J/70 Sailing League) on the windy waters off Gottskär, Sweden. Their record was Malmo- 2nd, Ekero- 1st, Örnsköldsvik- 1st, Gottskär- 7th for a total of 11 pts, 6 pts clear of the second place team GKSS.

"One of our strengths is that we have a good and broad squad. In total, we have used seventeen sailors this year and no one has sailed more than one round. Certainly, we have an advantage in being a big club. But, we take Allsvenskan seriously and always send good teams. We always want to fight hard and well," said Niklas Edler, Captain for the KSSS team.

Swedish J/70 Sailing League winnersThe weekend in Gottskär had tough conditions that tested the sailors and equipment. Friday provided winds around 10 to 17 kts.  But, on Saturday it was really windy. In the morning, a round was run, but then the boats began to break in the hard wind. When the wind rose to closer to 20 to 30 kts, sailing was canceled for the day.  On Sunday, the wind was still strong, but manageable. Nevertheless, the PRO made the decision to sail main & jib only, no spinnakers.  As a result, that changed the strategy a bit for the best crews on the water.

Those who mastered the toughest conditions were Malmö SS; their team included Martin Starnberg, Johan Lindell, Björn Jönsson and Alexandra Wikström. They were extremely stable, fast, and had excellent boat-handling.  In twelve races, they finished 1st or 2nd in eleven of them! Theirs was a very impressive performance for the very windy weekend to win the weekend at Gottskär!

J/70s sailing off Sweden"It has been a tough weekend. It was swiftly completed in Gottskär, thanks to the big winds and excellent RC team.  There were many islands on the race track (meaning boats broached on their sides) we had to avoid, especially for a bunch of Öresund sailors like us! But, we enjoyed the hard wind and our strength is the start and planing downwind- which we love,” says Malmö SS skipper Martin Starnberg.  Sailing photo credits- Daniel Stenholm   Follow Swedish J/70 Sailing League on Facebook here  For more Swedish J/70 Sailing League informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

GUT FEELING Cruises J/109 East Coast Championship

J/109 sailboat (Newport, RI)- After a long summer of racing up and down the eastern seaboard, the J/109 Northeastern fleet gathered together for their 2018 East Coast Championship, hosted by Ida Lewis YC, in Newport, RI.  The fleet of nine boats enjoyed six races over their two days of racing from September 8th to 9th, 2018.

After starting off with three bullets, the question was whether Ted Herlihy’s North American Championship winning crew on GUT FEELING from Buzzards Bay could repeat as the 2018 East Coast Champion? The answer was quickly forthcoming, in the form of a 2-1-3 closing tally to toss a podium 3rd place finish to end with just 6 pts net.  Domination?  A “schooling”?  Perhaps.  Nevertheless, it was an eye-opener for the balance of the J/109 teams that were assembled for their end-of-season finale.

Giving their all in a run for the gold was Tom Sutton’s Houston, TX crew aboard their bright-red LEADING EDGE, posting a steady 3-4-3-1-3-1 for 11 pts net. Closing out the podium, and also winning the Corinthians Division, was Albrecht Goethe’s HAMBURG with a 2-2-4-3-5-8 scoreline for 16 pts net.  Top woman skipper was Brook Mastrorio’s URSA in 4th place.  Past regatta winner, Carl Olsson’s MORNING GLORY YCC crew took 5th position.  For more J/109 East Coast Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, September 17, 2018

ANGELS Soar To USA J/24 National Championship

J/24 USA Nationals winners (Falmouth Foreside, ME)- This year’s J/24 U.S. National Championship, hosted by Portland Yacht Club in Falmouth, ME, saw a very strong and competitive fleet of forty-eight teams assembled from across the USA and South America (Argentina).  Starting off slowly, but closing fast in the final race, it was Robby Brown’s ANGELS OF HARLEM that snagged the 2018 USA J/24 title.  Here is how it all went down over the three days of the regatta.

Day One
It was worth the wait for the anxious fleet. After several hours of anticipating the wind to settle, it came in at 6-8 knots, and then increased to 8-10, allowing two long races to go in the books on Casco Bay.

At the close of the day, two races were held, and two teams were tied at 5 points each- Nicolas Cubria’s ELVIS from Buenos Aires, Argentina and Tony Parker’s BANGOR PACKET (a long-time “local” in these Portland waters). Cubria registered a 4-1, while Parker took a 3-2. Local Carter White’s YOUREGATTA.COM held the third spot with 11 points.

Natalie Harden’s GIGGLES (a top woman J/24 helm) commenced the Championship with the opening bullet, in advance of White and Parker. Cubria then took line honors in the second race, as Parker moved up to second and Aidan Glackin’s Mental Floss made the top three.

Day Two
Along with the wind being shifty on Saturday, so were the standings. Parker’s BANGOR PACKET claimed the overall advantage after posting a pair of thirds, giving him a consistent record of 3-2-3-3 in the four races thus far (11 points). Robby Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM shot up to second place with 20 points after rocking a 1-2 amongst the 48-boat fleet. Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS cracked the top three with 38 points.
J24 startFickle winds around 6-8 knots made for a long day on Casco Bay. Brown started his leap up the leaderboard with a bullet in race three, trailed by Matt Coughlin’s FUDGIE and Parker. Evan Petley-Jones’ LIFTED earned the next victory with Brown and Parker again in the top three.

Day Three- Finale
By way of a second-place finish in Sunday’s final, and only, race, Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM clinched his first J/24 US National Championship. The Florida-based skipper came into Sunday nine points behind Parker’s BANGOR PACKET, but Brown’s second, paired with Parker’s 12, gave him the Championship by a single point over Parker in the five-race series.

Breeze on Casco Bay looked promising at the start of the day, but lightened throughout. The Race Committee waited two hours in hopes of starting a sixth race, but the wind Godz did not cooperate. Aidan Glackin’s MENTAL FLOSS took the bronze spot on the podium with 42 points.

Joining Brown on the ANGEL OF HARLEM crew were Mark Liebel, Ron Hyatt, Arthur Blodgett and Brian Simkins. Liebel shared that the team prefers light air, which the Championship saw plenty of. Regarding Sunday’s race, Liebel summarized, “We had a very good start at the boat and tacked right away into the current. We played the current, instead of the shifts, both upwind and downwind. We sailed our race, and the end result worked out!”

Rounding out the top five were Natalie Harden’s GIGGLES (the USA Women’s J/24 Champion) in fourth place and Petley-Jones’ LIFTED took fifth.  For more USA J/24 Nationals sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

ARTTUBE Wins Italian J/70 Cup- Trieste

J/70 winners Italy circuitCALVI NETWORK Crowned Series Champion
(Trieste, Italy)- The fourth act of the Italian J/70 Cup series took place off the beautiful, exotic eastern Italian Riviera on the Adriatic Sea off the port of Trieste, Italy. Hosting the twenty-boat, four nations fleet (Italy, Poland, Russia, & Switzerland) fleet was the YC Trieste based at Portopiccolo.  The weather Godz were not cooperating at all for this season-ending finale, with just four races counting for the regatta and series totals.

Winning the final event was the Russian team on ARTTUBE RUS-1, skippered by the famous Russian woman helm- Valeria Kovalenko from the Taganrog Sailing Club. Considering the high-level of competition, she posted a remarkably steady scoreline of 1-5-5-2 for 13 pts total.  Taking second was Luca Domenici’s NOTARO TEAM with a 4-4-2-6 tally for 16 pts.  Third was Mauro Brescacin’s SOCIETE NAUTICA GIGNANO with a 15-2-1-3 for 21 pts total.  In fact, tied on points at 21 with Brescacin’s team was the Russian crew of Dmitriy Shunin on GOLDEN WING, the Konakovo River Club team settling for 4th after countback.  Fifth went to Gianfranco Noe’s CALVI NETWORK with a 12-10-4-1 tally for 27 pts.

J/70s sailing ItalyThe final results for the season series (Sanremo, Porto Ercole, Malcesine and Portopiccolo) show that it was the crew of CALVI NETWORK (Gianfranco Noè, Karlo Hmeljak, Giulio Desiderato, Irene Bezzi, Sergio Blosi) that won the 2018 Italian J/70 Cup- a 4 event, 26 race series, for the second consecutive year!

Gianfranco Noè, owner and driver of CALVI NETWORK, commented, "We could not hope for a better result: when at the beginning of the season we started planning, we said it would have been fantastic to put the seal on the circuit also winning the act of Trieste: this event was in fact particularly important for me because these are the waters where I was born and grew up as a sailor. It was a pity that there was no Enfant Terrible to duel with us until the end, because at the beginning of this leg, after twenty-two races, we were only divided by 5 points in the seasonal ranking".

Taking second overall for the series was the two-time European Champion, Claudia Rossi of PETITE TERRIBLE- ADRIA FERRIES.

J/70 Italy Corinthians winnersThe European Champions on ENFANT TERRIBLE-ADRIA FERRIES, led by skipper/ owner Alberto Rossi, did not participate in the last act of the circuit, but nevertheless closed the season in third position, thanks to the excellent placings scored during the season, including the victories in Sanremo and Porto Ercole.

LA FEMME TERRIBLE, with co-owners Paolo Tomsic and Mauro Brescacin, and crew of Emanuele Noè, Giuliano Chiandrussi and Francesca Pagan, won the Italian J/70 Cup Corinthians Division.  The silver medal went to NOBERASCO DAS skippered by Alessandro Zampori and third place went to WHY NOT- #SLAM sailed by Alessio Zucchi.  Sailing photo credits- Zerogradinord   Follow Italian J/70 Cup on Facebook here  For more Italian J/70 Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

J/88 Planing mode- Sweden’s Tjörn Runt Regatta

J/88 Planing mode in Sweden’s famous annual Tjörn Runt Regatta on the Swedish west coast.
Blowing 20-30 kts with A3 reaching kite up!  Thanks for video from J/88.SE and the crew of Jocke Cordaly, Mans Lundberg, Carl Fjallman, Johannes Tegern, Fredrik Eliasson, and Jonas Dyberg.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkiteyy80P8
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“The Joy of Sailing a J”- by Gaston Moonen

Gaston Moonen sailing his J/145 offshoreGaston Moonen- is a current owner of a J/27 and J/145 in The Netherlands and his family has a J/120, too. 

Enjoy Gaston’s story about how they fell in love with sailing a long line of J’s over time.

“If there is anything that got my family and me into fast cruising it is J/Boats. I started sailing at the age of nine when my father, an agricultural entrepreneur in the most land-locked province in the Netherlands, took his family– with five children- on a two-week sailing course. A few weeks after, he purchased two dinghies and the subsequent winter he ordered his first yacht, a Van der Stadt Design.

My mother, not feeling comfortable on any boat, showed greatness in allowing this, something she has continued doing until the present day, including never lacking interest in the tales of sailing adventures we bring home.

I got to know J/Boats when I was studying at the University of Minnesota and saw J/22s competing against each other on Lake Minnetonka in 1990. I have never lost that image!

That same summer of 1990, my father, my brother Martien and I test-sailed several sailing boats of different makes in the Netherlands. This included the J/35, which a dealer had just brought to Dutch waters as an example of J/Boats’ bigger models.

It did not take us too long to decide in favour of a brand new J/35, Then, and actually for every subsequent boat purchase, we used three main selection criteria: first, the boat had to be fast - no speed, no fun. Second, it had to be rock solid, both in build and equipment. And third: when, after a weekend’s sailing, you took a last look at the boat, the boat should make you think, each and every time: ‘What a beauty!’ Although we did not know it then, this last criteria is very much in line with what I once heard in person from Rodney Johnstone, saying: ‘Half the joy of owning a boat is looking at it.’

Moonen's J/35 Jam SessionFast cruising is what we mainly did with our J/35 Jam Session. This ranged from trips to Normandy, including the Channel Islands, to fjords in Norway and also doing a ’Round Britain,’ but then in cruising mode, enjoying the shore’s great beauty. Most often we shared, meaning that one crew would do the first half of the trip, another crew the other half, always with at least a few family members on board. We truly loved our J/35, and not only because we were overtaking boats that were much bigger. We loved it also because it was such a comfortable boat to sail, which may come as a surprise to those who have only seen a J/35 and not sailed it. There was comfort in its stability, comfort in its straightforward set-up, also on the inside, and comfort in its ruggedness. While we pushed it hard occasionally, nothing broke, everything did what it was supposed to do. It had the finger-tip control in combination with thrilling responsiveness to wind and sea conditions that we knew from dinghy sailing.

While fast cruising was its main destiny, we occasionally raced. I really got to know how much fun this was when I studied and worked in Manhattan in the early nineties and was a crew member sailing in Long Island Sound with skipper Dominique. Great fun, on a J/35 in a one-design fleet of about 20 boats. That’s where I got hooked on one-design racing, truly boat-to-boat racing. On my return to the Netherlands, this translated into the purchase of a J/22 and taking part more and more often, together with my wife Anne Marie and two friends, in J/22 one-design races, culminating in joining the 1995 J/22 Worlds in the Netherlands. While our results were poor, the fun we had and our learning curve were steep.

Moonen's J/120 sailboatHaving started families of our own, we decided it was time for something bigger and time to join the J/sprit revolution that J/Boats triggered in the nineties. As a sailing family we looked for a boat with ease of sail handling downwind, while still applying the other three criteria mentioned above, the first one having become even more nuanced, i.e. we were not only seeking passage-making speed but also excellent performance in upwind conditions. Our experience had shown that when sailing on the North Sea, beating against the wind somehow occurred more often than sailing downwind, and that pointing high was so much fun when gaining on other boats while enabling you to keep your engine hours low. So early this century we roamed boat shows and all the family members involved came to the same conclusion: it had to be a J/120. To get a good idea of the details of our newly-ordered J/120 we visited the J/Composites shipyard in Les Sable d’Olonne in France, just as we had visited the TPI shipyard on Rhode Island for our J/35 in the nineties. Besides the warm welcome we received from the Johnstone’s and others, this gave us amazing insights into how J/Boats is able to blend innovative new techniques with solid craftsmanship.

What makes sailing on a "J "so typically "J"? A few reasons that leap to mind are:
  • ‘Feeling’ the wind through your boat: every puff is translated into speed and/or higher pointing;
  • Staying in touch with the elements: the low freeboard/topsides at cockpit level contribute tremendously to sailing, feeling close to the water, yet remaining dry;
  • Walking on the deck of any J you feel the solid ‘build’ of the boat;
  • The set-up of things, be it on the deck or inside, makes sense. One quickly relates to this ‘common sense,’ reflected in design and execution, built on experience. This common sense approach is also the stepping stone for innovation, the Johnstone family not only thinking about changing a product but how people relate to sailing, how that changes and what this requires to optimize the joy of sailing;
  • Whenever I see a J it is a joy for the eye and it gives you a great feeling to sail on one of these gems yourself! After all, who wants to sail on an ugly boat?
Moonen's J/145 and J/27 in The NetherlandsStill today, our J/120 does what we bought it for: providing many enjoyable family sailing hours across generations, with my father at the age of 85 still sailing on it, or my brothers and sisters, and our children, cousins or the like-minded, joining in. And every trip is a new adventure.

Probably my wife and I are the worst infected by the J-fever, having bought a J/27, called Jiggy, in 2004. We use Jiggy both as ‘get away from work’ on a nearby lake and as a pocket racer in winter race series in the Netherlands, leading to pleasant podium ascents with a boat of 35 years in mint condition.

For a good two years now, my wife and I and our three children are also the proud owners of the J/145 Ilderim, the fifth J in the family of J/boats we have sailed extensively. While providing more space, more speed, and also more draft, our J/145 ticks by far all the boxes we are looking for in a sailing boat - and even more, providing a fast, robust and comfortable yacht of timeless and striking beauty that offers an excellent and safe basis for memorable family fun sailing adventures.

From the very beginning, the Johnstone family has understood what it takes to make this happen for our family, and many others. Enjoy your J!”

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Big Boat Series Preview

J/105s sailing Rolex Big Boat Series (San Francisco, CA)- If it’s the third week of September, it must be that time of year for the bucket-list worthy, most famous, Rolex Big Boat Series sailing on San Francisco Bay from September 12th to 16th!  Will it “blow dogs off chains” or will it be a benign cruise around the Bay?! Whatever the case, the St Francis YC’s PRO and RC teams will ensure the big fleet will have a most excellent time racing on the Berkeley Circle in the east Bay as well as offer epic battles up and down the amazing San Francisco waterfront, as teams try to buck the powerful tides rolling in and out of the Bay at speeds up to 5 kts!

Not surprisingly, the J/105s have by far the largest fleet in the regatta, with twenty-eight boats the J/105 Fleet #1 has become the veritable “backbone” of the regatta, without which there may not be a Rolex Big Boat Series! All of the top teams will be prepared to do battle along the spectacular San Francisco city waterfront in the afternoon races and down in the Berkeley Circle for their morning races.  The teams that should feature at the top of the leaderboard include Doug Bailey’s AKULA, Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault’s ARBITRAGE, Ryan Simmons BLACKHAWK, Rolf Kaiser & Shannon Ryan’s DONKEY JACK, Phi Laby’s GODOT, Chris & Phil Perkins’ GOOD TIMIN, Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION, Ian Charles’ MAVERICK, Jeff Litfin’s MOJO, and Tim Russell’s NE*NE.

Sporting their biggest attendance yet in the RBBS are the J/88s on San Francisco Bay.  Eight teams will be competing for class honors on the same race tracks as the J/105 fleet. Fresh off his 4th place at the J/80 North Americans on Buzzards Bay is Gary Panariello, sailing his COURAGEOUS with a crew of local hotshots that have won their class before at RBBS.  Challenging them will be crews like Aya Yamanouchi’s BENNY, Marc McMorris’ M-SQUARED, Steve Gordon’s INCONCEIVABLE, and Paul Recktenwald’s LAZY DAWG.

In the ORR handicap world, J/crews will be sailing in two classes.  In ORR B are a trio of J/111s and a trio of J/125s, should be a fascinating dogfight between those teams on handicap time! The J/111s include Dick Swanson’s BAD DOG, Dorian McKelvy’s MADMEN, and Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS.  The J/125s have Richard Ferris’ AUGUST ICE, Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER, and Zach Anderson’s VELVET HAMMER.  At the end of the day, the Las Vegas odds in this class favor a J/111 or J/125 to win class, if not a complete class sweep, such is the talent in this offshore fleet!

The ORR C class includes a trio of J/120s, most of whom have won their one-design class in the past.  Those teams are Barry Lewis’ CHANCE, Steve Madeira’s MISTER MAGOO, and David Halliwill’s PEREGRINE. Despite sailing on ORR handicap, do not be surprised this trio of J/120s sweep their class.
Sailing photo credits- ROLEX/ Daniel Forster. For more Rolex Big Boat Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

What it takes to win the J/111 Worlds

J/111 World Championship winner- Martin Dent's JELVIS It was a repeat win for Martin Dent’s JELVIS from Cowes, England.

Twelve teams battled throughout the weeklong J/111 Worlds in Breskens, Netherlands, where big-breeze speed was the key to success. Martin Dent and his team on JELVIS scored nine straight bullets and a second out of 12 races, an impressive scoreline!

North Sails expert Ruairidh “Rory” Scott , main trimmer and crew captain onboard JELVIS, says the team did a great job with boat handling.

 “Our crew made sure our hoists, spinnaker jibes and douses were on time and very tidy. This resulted in huge gains and the ability to overtake boats when the pressure was on.”

They also matched headsail choice and mode to the conditions, Rory continues. “Most of the races were on the crossover between the J2 and J3. As the waves got bigger, we felt more comfortable on the J3 as a wider range of steering angles was possible. On Friday, the waves were a little smaller and so we went back to the J2, which allowed us to sail a little higher at the same speed.”

Downwind, it was important to sail the correct mode. “We were usually the first boat to sail a higher angle, which was faster downwind. The crossover was around 17 knots, and we also kept the jib up to maximize efficiency. As soon as the wind dropped below 16 for any length of time we would drop the jib and put the bow down.”

North Sails expert Jeremy Smart helped Tony Mack’s McFly finish second overall and kept an eye on JElvis, noticing all the things they were doing right. “Their speed was unmatched as the breeze came up, when boat handling became crucial.”

“The biggest gains were made downwind,” Jeremy continued. “They were able to sail hotter angles to extend, leaving their jib up and maintaining control while planing. Surfing waves was really helpful, which they were very good at, making them unbelievably fast.”

    “3Di has a great edge in breeze because it holds its shape very well,” Jeremy added. “Since it doesn’t stretch, the power that is put into the sail is transferred straight into the performance of the boat. The speed is unparalleled.”

JElvis used North Sails standard sail designs for the 2018 Worlds. For more information on our World Championship-winning sails, please contact a North J/111 class expert.

Gorgeous J/122E @ Southampton Boat Show!

J/122e sport cruiser (Southampton, England)- J/Boats United Kingdom dealer- Key Yachting Ltd- will be exhibiting the gorgeous J/122E cruiser-racer at the Southampton Boat Show from 14th September to Sunday, the 23rd. Step aboard at their exhibit on marina berths M427-433.

The winner of IRC1 at last week's Dartmouth regatta, the J/122E is a versatile 40 foot cruiser-racer, with comfortable live-aboard accommodation, a refined deck layout, low VCG keel with a moderate 7.2' draft. The hull & deck are built using superior infusion molding technology to maximize durability and long-term value.

An IRC-friendly cruiser/racer, the J/122E offers a completely furnished interior, a simple to manage balanced sail plan, head turning sailing performance and great looks; perhaps the ultimate 40' day sailing, weekending, racing and cruising sailboat?

The J/122e on display at the show is a pre-owned model, currently listed for sale with Key Yachting. Learn more about the J/122E here.   For more Southampton Boat Show information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken Jr., and Terry Hutchinson?

J/24 and J/70 sailor- Terry HutchinsonHmmm.  Good guys, all.

Bill Wagner from The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD had an interesting chat with Terry Hutchinson recently. 

For the un-initiated, Terry was a 2x College Sailor of the Year at Old Dominion University, a J/24 World Champion, a J/70 East Coast Champion, and a great family guy.  That he's won the Farr 40, TP 52, and Maxi 72 Worlds with other teams is merely an asterisk to his J/24 accomplishments (the foundation of many of the world's best sailors worldwide).

As a kid growing up in Maryland, Terry Hutchinson couldn’t wait until weekends. Most Saturdays and Sundays were spent on the West River where his father Phil berthed a Concordia Yawl at Hartge Yacht Harbor in Galesville.

“We would go down there on the weekends and I would always beg my dad to rig up the dinghy so I could go sailing,” Hutchinson recalled. “I’d spend all day out on the water. It felt like my own little place of freedom.”

That love and passion for sailing that was instilled at a young age would become a guiding force in Hutchinson’s life. He attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia primarily because it boasted a strong sailing team.

Hutchinson was named College Sailor of the Year in 1989 and 1990, establishing a reputation that would lead to a career he never envisioned. He graduated from Old Dominion with an education degree, but wound up working for Ed Reynolds out of a Shore Sails loft in Traverse City, Michigan.

“My job was as much about promoting the product as selling,” Hutchinson said. “The J/24 class was wildly popular at the time and was a target market for our loft.”

Hutchinson sailing J/24So Hutchinson hit the J/24 circuit and quickly ascended to the top, reaching the pinnacle by capturing the 1998 world championship off San Francisco.

Twenty years later, Hutchinson is still competing at the highest level of the sport. Last month, the veteran professional led Quantum Racing to the TP52 World Championship out of Cascais, Portugal.

That was just the latest in a long line of significant accomplishments for Hutchinson, who ranks among the greatest sailors in the long history of the sport. The 1986 St. Mary’s High graduate has been part of five America’s Cup campaigns and has been named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year twice (2008, 2014). He has claimed a total of 15 world championships in five different classes as either a skipper or tactician.

Hutchinson’s legendary career as a professional sailor was recognized when it was recently announced he was a member of the 2018 induction class into the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame. The Harwood native becomes just the second sailor ever selected for the state shrine, joining Annapolis resident Gary Jobson (2016 inductee).

Hutchinson on J/70 in Annapolis, MD“When you look at all the notable people who are members of the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame it is really humbling. I don’t look at myself in the same manner as someone like Cal Ripken,” Hutchinson said. “To be considered on par with so many great athletes is a tremendous honor.”

Hutchinson was particularly proud to represent the sport of sailing and happy the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee gave it equal consideration to more mainstream pursuits such as football, basketball, baseball, golf and tennis.

Hutchinson’s professional career is far from complete and he is still chasing the one dream he’s held since boyhood. The 50-year-old is serving as skipper and CEO of American Magic, the New York Yacht Club’s challenger for the 36th America’s Cup.

Hutchinson came close to hoisting the Auld Mug in 2007 as tactician for Team New Zealand, which reached the finals of the 32nd America’s Cup. It was one of the greatest matches in America’s Cup history with Switzerland-based Alinghi Racing beating Team New Zealand 5-2.

“I don’t really want to sit back and reflect on my career right now because I haven’t achieved the greatest goal I set for myself,” Hutchinson said. “I want to become an America’s Cup champion, so there is still work to be done.”

The induction ceremony will be on Nov. 8, 2018.  As J/Boats, we always wish him well! :)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Inaugural J/80 Asian Championship Announcement!

Asian J/80 Championship- Xiamen, China (Xiamen, China)- J/80 production in China started in 2008. Since that time hundreds of J/80’s have been built in China and supplied around Asia and many into new Chinese fleets. This year production has been steady at 1 1/2 boats per week, non-stop.

New fleets have developed in Qingdao, Sanya and Suzhou in 2018. The J/80 Chinese Class has been established and is now the only class in China that is working with a complete set of World Sailing class rules; including boat weight equalization, sail measurements, safety gear checks and crew weight limits being enforced.

This year’s J/80 Asian Championship will be raced out of Wuan Bay in Xiamen, from December 4th to 10th, 2018. The class anticipates the fleet will be 40-65 boats with teams from around Asia.

The first twenty new charter boats will be pre-checked on boat weight and safety gear. Sails and the safety gear list will be checked prior to registration. Three days planned for checking boats and practice. Priority will be given to international teams not based in China up until October 1st.

The racing area is not far from the docking areas and the plan is for two to 4 races per day over four days of racing. This will be an open J/80 event, so no issues on professional sailors in the class rules. Each driver will need to be a member of either the international or national class association. This can be done at registration.

If you or your team are interested in participating this December please contact- Jim Johnstone at J/Boats China- email- jimjboats@icloud.com Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/111 North American Championship Preview

J/111s sailing offshore(Macatawa Bay, MI)- Hosted by Macatawa Bay YC, the 2018 edition of the J/111 North American Championship will be taking place from September 18th to 21st, Tuesday to Friday, on the beautiful, but capricious blue waters of Lake Michigan.  An excellent turnout of sixteen teams are participating that includes past World, North American, Midwinter, Chicago-Mackinac, Bayview-Mackinac, and Chicago NOOD class champions- a remarkable collection of talent for just 16 boats!

Hoping to lead that charge will be World Champion Peter Wagner with his San Francisco-based crew on SKELETON KEY.  Two Midwinter and Key West Champions from the Cleveland, OH and Lake Erie circuit will be up to the challenge of squaring off with the top West Coast team, they are Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF and Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK.

The local Chicago/ Midwest superstar teams include the trio on KASHMIR (Brummel, Henderson, Mayer), Kevin Saedi & Raman Yousefi on MOMENTUS, John Kalanik’s PURA VIDA, Rich Witzel’s ROWDY and Brad Faber’s UTAH.  From the East Coast are two strong teams, Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND from Annapolis, MD and Andrew & Sedgwick Ward’s BRAVO from Shelter Island, NY.  For more J/111 North American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

J’s Sweep Seaflower Reef Race

J/92 Thin Man - winner Vineyard/ Seaflower Reef Race (Stamford, CT)- New England's classic Labor Day weekend offshore race has to be Stamford YC’s annual Vineyard Race.  The 238 nautical-mile adventure starts off Stamford Harbor, and takes racers down the length of Long Island Sound to Buzzard's Bay Light Tower (passing it to starboard), then back to Block Island (also passing it to starboard) before again sailing the length of Long Island Sound, back to the finish just inside the harbor. The Stamford YC race committee also starts the 143 nautical mile Seaflower Reef Course that includes two PHRF Divisions.  Both races are popular with J/Crews from all over the northeastern seaboard.

However, this year’s race may go down in history as one of the longest ever. Winning PHRF Class 11 and Overall PHRF was Bill & Jackie Baxter’s J/111 FIREBALL; their victory took just under 48 hours to complete the course- an average 4.95 kts over 238nm!  Ouch!  Second in their class was another J/111, Abhijeet Lele’s VARUNA.

Taking 2nd PHRF Overall and winning PHRF Class 9 was Dan Nash’s J/109 MISTRAL.  They led a sweep of their class by other J/teams; 2nd was Don Dwyer’s J/109 GUARDIAN J, 3rd Mike Greene’s J/35 LOBLOLLY, and 4th was Cao Deambrosio & Chris Nicholls’ J/109 RHIANNON III.

Winning PHRF Class 10 was Bill Ingraham’s J/124 TENEBRAE, with John Greifzu’s J/109 GROWTH SPURT in 3rd place.  Then, showing their class, commitment, and perseverance was the J/105 YOUNG AMERICAN (sailed by the Young American Youth Sailing Academy Team from Rye, NY), taking a 4th in PHRF Class 8.

In the IRC Class 12, the J/44s have done it again, with Len Sitar’s VAMP winning class with Chris Lewis’ Texas crew on KENAI taking fourth place.

J/109 sailing Vineyard RaceSimilar to the dominant performances of J/crews in the Vineyard Race PHRF divisions, the same scenario played out in the 143nm Seaflower Reef course that takes place all inside Long Island Sound.  Sailing their 10th anniversary race was Todd Aven’s J/92 THIN MAN, celebrating appropriately by winning both PHRF Class 5 and also PHRF Overall- being awarded the Cotton Blossom Performance Trophy.

Here was Todd’s commentary on their race:

“That was definitely one for the history books! We had a great start in very lumpy conditions... Easterly wind at about 15 knots. The wind increased, the wind decreased, it shifted left, and it shifted right. We started with a full main and the #2 jib. When it got windier, we put in a reef. When it got lighter, we shook out the reef. When it got lighter still, we changed (bare-headed) to the #1 jib. Then, the wind started building again. Time to put the reef back in, but only temporarily since the wind is going to drop soon (right?).  At 22kts, we decided enough abuse for the #1 and switched to the #3 (bare-headed). That was good for a while, but then, the wind did drop and we switched back to the #1.

With the Easterly wind, the waves were pretty big and we were getting plenty of water over the deck. Then, the instruments shut off completely! It's really hard to drive in waves without a boat speed reading. I found a couple of bad connections right away, one of which was for the automatic bilge pump. That helped, since it now pumped some of the water out of the cabin, but still no instruments. Since it wasn't an easy fix, I went back to driving (without instruments) for an hour or two. Then, I went back to working on the instruments and got the wiring problem fixed.

The race was tough, a windward beat directly into the waves for most of the day, followed by some close tacking near the Connecticut shore in the night approaching Seaflower Reef. Once around the mark, we set the spinnaker and it was a gorgeous sleigh-ride all the way home.

When I got my "new" J/92 THIN MAN in 2007, I immediately set my sights on the Vineyard Race.  I didn't know the boat well enough the first year to be comfortable jumping in right away, so we devoted ourselves to sprucing her up for 2008.  Incredibly, we started off with a fleet and class win that year.  Here is how we’ve done ever since:

  • 2008 - Cornfield Point - 1st in class, 1st in fleet
  • 2010 - Cornfield Point - 1st in class, 1st in fleet (and boat speed record of 21 knots)
  • 2011 - Seaflower Reef - 1st in class, 1st in fleet
  • 2012 - Seaflower Reef - 2nd in class
  • 2013 - Vineyard Double-Handed - 4th in class
  • 2014 - Seaflower Reef - 1st in class
  • 2015 - Seaflower Reef - 1st in class
  • 2016 - Seaflower Reef - 1st in class, 1st in fleet
  • 2017 - Seaflower Reef - 5th in class
  • 2018 - Seaflower Reef - 1st in class, 1st in fleet
Every time is different, and every time is GREAT!  Thank you to everyone  on our crew, you are the ones that makes it so much fun and so memorable!”

Besides, the J/92 THIN MAN winning PHRF Class 5, Frank Conway’s J/105 RAPTOR took the bronze, Ken & Drew Hall’s J/88 NEVERMORE took 4th, and Justin Scagnelli’s J/88 ALBONDIGAS place 6th.

In addition, winning the PHRF Class 4 Doublehanded was Greg Imbruce’s J/109 JOYRIDE.

A great showing overall for the J/Tribe in the various Vineyard Race events!  Follow the SYC Vineyard Race on Facebook here   For more Vineyard Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.