Thursday, May 31, 2018

Epic Elite Keel Regatta

J/105 sailing San Francisco Bay (San Francisco, CA)- Sailing in similar windy, gusty weather as the J/22s along the San Francisco waterfront, the San Francisco YC hosted their annual Elite Keel Regatta along the northern side of the Bay near Sausalito for J/70s and J/105s.  The crews reveled in the epic, “blowing dogs off chains” weather, making for mind-blowing, fast rides with spray flying everywhere on the downwind legs- full-on planing mode it was, especially for the J/70s!

Loving the breeze-on conditions was Chris Kostanecki’s San Francisco YC crew on the J/70 JENNIFER, winning the regatta with three bullets in five races!  Second was the trio of Scott Sellers, Geoff McDonald, and Harrison TU on St Francis YC-based 1FA with a 2-2-2-1-4 tally for 11 pts.  Third was Bob Milligan’s RAMPAGE team from Richmond YC.  Rounding out the top five were David Schuman’s San Francisco YC crew on BOTTLE ROCKET and Pete Woodhouse’s ZED team, 4th and 5th, respectively.

In the eighteen-boat J/105 class, it was the first big regatta win for Tim Russell’s NE*NE, posting a 1-4-1-1-4 tally for 11 pts.  Taking the silver was Doug Bailey’s AKULA with a 4-3-3-4-1 score for 15 pts.  Third was Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION with a very roller-coaster scoreline of 2-1-12-6-3 for 24 pts.  The balance of the top five included Eric Stang’s JUJU in 4th and Pat Benedict’s ADVANTAGE 3 in 5th.
For more SFYC Elite Keel Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Cape Crow YC Leads Swedish J/70 Sailing League

J/70 sailing off Malmo, Sweden (Malmo, Sweden)- The Swedish J/70 Sailing League's seasonal premiere took place in Malmö from the 18th to 20th of May. Eighteen teams from across Sweden participated in the event, the first of four competitions that include Jungfrusund on Ekerö, outside of Stockholm from June 1st to 3rd; then Örnsköldsvik from August 24th to 26th, and concluding at Gottskär (outside Gothenburg) from September 7th to 9th. The goal was to have a total of 45 races, which meant each club would sail 15 races on the water.

KSSS (Royal Swedish YC) won the 2017 league.  However, their nemesis for the past four years has been Cape Crow YC. "Our ambition is, of course, to be on top this year again. But, we have new crews at every event this year and we are bringing in new, young talented girls onto the team. Of the 16 sailors we have been in this year, more than half have never sailed in the J/70 sailing league events,” said Niklas Edler, captain of the KSSS team.

Cape Crow YC wins J/70 Sweden leagueAs was anticipated, the two protagonists were at it “hammer & tong” yet again for the 2018 season.  The first round of Allsvenskan was settled in Malmö between the two who dominated the Swedish league in recent years- KSSS (2015 & 2017) and Cape Crow YC (2016). This time, it was Cape Crow YC from Gothenburg that won with the team of Patrik Sturesson, Erik Malmberg, Herman Andersson and Elin Sturesson.

"We have sailed really well and we are, of course, happy with the victory. We are especially pleased with Friday and Saturday sailing. On Sunday, it was a bit difficult, with a lot of shifts and reversals. So, we were sailing a little bit silly, you might say,” commented Patrik Sturesson, skipper of the CCYC team.

Malmö offered glorious summer weather. Before the last race, Cape Crow's crew sat in the sunshine on land to see how the final round would be settled. If the KSSS were to be 1st or 2nd in that race, the victory would have gone to them.

J/70s sailing Swedish Sailing league- Malmo, Sweden“It was incredibly exciting. We thought that KSSS would handle their last race, no problem.  But then, we saw that they started badly, and then we realized we could win,” said Sturesson from CCYC!

In total, there were 15 races for each of the eighteen clubs. Cape Crow won five and was on the podium in a total of 13 out of 15 races, indicating an amazing consistency.

KSSS finished second, while Särö Boat Club came third. And, despite the miss in the last race that cost the KSSS victory, the skipper Niklas Edler was pleased, "It has been a brilliant regatta in amazing conditions, with incredibly smooth and tight races. We sailed basically, very consistent, but with a few bad bumps in our record. We had a short lead before the final race and the total victory had been ours, if we were at worst second in the last race. Such is yacht racing!”  Follow the Swedish J/70 sailing league on Facebook here  For more Swedish J/70 sailing league information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

METLIFE Veterans J/22 Regatta brings together Service Members

J/22 MetLife veterans race- Sail Newport Volvo Ocean Race (Newport, RI)- The MetLife Veterans Regatta, a therapeutic event for veterans of active service duty, brought together 12 veterans from around the country for training and racing at the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover on Monday and Tuesday- May 14 & 15. Racing in Sail Newport's fleet of J/22 sailboats, the veterans' crews also included a representative of race teams Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Team Brunel, Dongfeng Race Team, AkzoNobel and Turn the Tide on Plastic.

Inaugurated during the 2014-’15 Volvo Ocean Race Newport stopover, it is the second time that MetLife and Sail Newport have partnered to host the regatta. Warrior Sailing, a program of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation led by Ralf Steitz, Corey Kapes and Ben Poucher was also involved in recruiting and training sailors for the event.

“MetLife is proud to work with Sail Newport to bring this exciting event to our veterans’ community,” said Kishore Ponnavolu, President, MetLife Auto & Home. “MetLife has a long legacy of supporting the veterans’ community through various programs and initiatives and we were happy to help make this racing experience truly memorable.”

J/22 Metlife veterans regatta- Sail Newport Volvo Ocean RaceNearly all veterans suffer some form of post-traumatic stress disorder that, in the worst cases, can lead to the veteran withdrawing from society. The Warrior Sailing program offers great opportunities for the veterans to experience life on the water despite their injuries.

Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking addressed the veterans before racing and stressed the importance of teamwork. Bekking said that his father fought for the Dutch during the Indonesian National Revolution in the late 1940s and also volunteered during the Korean Conflict. Bekking said that teamwork was as necessary for his father in conflict as it was for him as skipper of a round-the-world racing yacht.

“That part of his life was so important to him, especially his mates and friends,” said Bekking, whose father passed away last fall. “Sailing is based on teamwork. Without the team you can’t perform.”

“You have to stay in shape to a certain degree,” says Steitz, a co-founder of Warrior Sailing. “If you let your body go and you become a slave of your body, that’s a bad thing. The couch is not your friend.”

The Warrior Sailing Program has graduated more than 250 veterans since its first Basic Sailing Program in 2013. Two of them, Dan Brown and Brian Stewart, took part in today’s regatta. The electricity in their eyes and the wide smiles on their faces after a day of challenging Mother Nature and their fellow veterans illustrates how well sailing works as an active sports therapy.

Brown, 33, of Dallas, Texas, was a special ops medic with the 1st Marines Raider Battalion. Three years removed from active duty, he suffers brain trauma from repeated concussions. He had never sailed before joining Warrior Sailing, but now has a goal of completing a trans-oceanic passage.

“I love the water. I love Warrior Sailing,” said Brown. “Due to my concussions I lose my train of thought easily if I’m reading. But, with sailing there are so many tactile functions, like grinding winches and pulling lines, that I’m able to focus. It’s great brain exercise!”

Stewart, 36, of Boston, Mass., is a veteran of the Navy who’s been discharged since 2013. He found out about the Warrior program from Corey Kapes, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who joined Warrior Sailing after working with the VA. Stewart and Kapes were on a skiing trip when Kapes mentioned that he was transitioning to Warrior Sailing. Stewart had never been sailing before, but he immediately said, “I’ll try that.”

Stewart has found sailing to be exhilarating and likes that he’s expanding his horizons. “I love the water. I like extreme weather. I love it when the boat heels over. I like learning and moving forward. It’s very aspirational.”

Adapting to sailing is easy for the veterans because of the teamwork required for success. The old adage in sailing “you’re only as good as the guy behind you” holds true in combat. It’s that camaraderie that is especially appealing to the veterans.

“This group learns faster than any other group,” says Hugh Freund, a 30-year-old coach of the Warrior Sailing Program. Freund was diagnosed with bone cancer and lost his leg while still a student. He competed in the 2016 Paralympic Games and won a silver medal as crew with Rick Doerr in the Sonar class.

“The veterans are used to working in small teams,” says Freund. “They are used to problem solving and take accountability for their actions. We go out and practice for one day, come in, discuss what can be done better and the next day they go out and do it. It’s incredibly rewarding.”

Freund and Brown were part of the winning crew along with veteran Nick Trado and Ruben Donne, a project coordinator for the Volvo Ocean Race. There were no losers on the day, however, and with events such as the MetLife Veterans Regatta, group therapy in a sporting contest goes a long way towards healing the men and women who sacrifice their lives for their country. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Nicole Breault Wins US Match Race Qualifier

J/22 winner- Nicole Breault(San Francisco, CA)- It was a weekend of high winds and high wins for St. Francis Yacht Club’s Nicole Breault, who won six out of seven matches at the US Match Racing Championship Qualifier at the St. Francis Yacht Club on May 19-20, 2018. Breault and her crew of Dana Riley, Karen Loutzenheiser, and Molly Carapiet will advance to the US Match Racing Championship in Chicago this October.

San Francisco Bay breezed on strong, producing delays as well as some of the season’s most exciting racing to date. The eight competitors, which included four skippers from StFYC, two from San Diego, one from Alameda CA and one from Boston
MA ventured out in J/22s on Saturday morning with wind speeds already in the high teens and building, accompanied by a steep two to three-foot chop driven by a strong ebb. Match racing, involving tight, rapid maneuvers, has lower limits on wind and wave conditions than fleet racing, and Race Director Jenn Lancaster and Chief Umpire Doug Sloan elected to delay the start. Flood tide diminished the wave height, however wind speeds continued to climb into the high 20s and touched 30 knots. At 3:00pm racing was called off and the sailors had to make do with dinner and libations in the Chart Room.

Sunday’s forecast called for more of the same, so Lancaster set an 8:30am start, at which time winds were already in the mid-teens. The race committee adjusted the start/finish line and weather mark to accommodate the tide, while deciding for each flight whether to permit spinnakers. The sailors did their part by handling the challenging conditions with just a few knockdowns and collisions. The result was a full round-robin with each team racing every other team to determine the overall winner.

The Qualifier was one of seven being held in the run-up to the Championship at Chicago Yacht Club in October 19-21. Though an Open competition, Breault had an all-women crew of Molly Carapiet, Dana Riley and Karen Loutzenheiser, and was the only female skipper in the event. Breault is a highly experienced match racer, as repeat winner of the US Women’s Championship title from 2016, and also having won the Women’s division of the Nations’ Cup in 2015.  In January, she was also named the St. Francis Yachtsman of the Year for 2017, the first time in the Club’s 91-year history that this has been awarded to a female sailor.

When asked her thoughts about the event, Nicole commented, “This qualifier was definitely a test of boat control. Kudos to all of the teams- they played the match racing game quite well and worked hard to tame the J/22s in high winds and ebb-induced chop. My team, Molly, Karen and Dana, were rock solid and very much the reason we came out on top.”

Race Coordinator Graham Biehl also had his work cut out to sort out the rest of the teams, as three were tied for second and another three for fifth, an indication of just how well-matched these racers were. In the end, the results were as follows, 1st Nicole Breault, 2nd Jeff Petersen and 3rd Domenic Bove. Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray  For more St Francis YC J/22 sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

REACH AROUND Crowned J/70 N.A. Champion!

J/70s sailing Valle de Bravo, Mexico (Valle de Bravo, Mexico)- Thirty-two teams gathered for the J/70 North American Championship at Club de Vela La Peña in Valle de Bravo, Mexico. After four races on a spectacular first day, three American teams topped the leaderboard, commanded by Thomas Bowen’s REACH AROUND with 10 points after posting a 4-1-2-3 (onboard was 4x World Champion and College Sailor of the Year Bill Hardesty as tactician- a.k.a. the Dos Equis “world’s most interesting man”) . Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE held second place with 20 points, followed by Chris Snow’s MEXIGENICS with 23. Ignacio Perez’s ZAQUERO had the advantage in the Corinthian division.

With sunny skies, warm temperatures and breeze around 8 knots, Ricardo Brockmann’s VINCITORRE opened the Championship with a victory, ahead of Yon Belausteguigoitia’s BULLET and Sebastian Halpern’s 707. Winds increased to about 11 knots in the next contest, when Bowen took the bullet, and Brockmann and Perez completed the top trio. Ander Belausteguigoitia’s BANDOOLA earned the race three victory as the breeze amped up again to 13 knots. Bowen and Snow followed.  Lorentzen ended the day on a positive note, while Snow and Bowen flopped second and third.

J/70s sailing pretty lake in MexicoDay Two- Another Glam Day
It was another stellar day for Bowen’s REACH AROUND; following three consecutive bullets Thursday, Bowen added a 2-3 on Friday for a dominating 25-point lead heading into the final two races of the regatta. Bowen counts only scores in the top four of the 32-boat fleet, able to drop an eight, leaving him with 18 net points in 10 races so far. Lorentzen’s NINE maintained the silver position with 43 points, ahead of third place Belausteguigoitia’s BANDOOLA who had 55 points. Now leading the Corinthian division was Hector Guzman Gonzalez’s ESCIPION.

Valle de Bravo delivered winds at a steady 10-14 knots and gusts to 17, with puffs and shifts keeping teams on their toes. Belausteguigoitia’s BULLET lived up to its name in the opening contest, trailed by Bowen and Diego Berho’s BBB. Fernando Stephan Gutierrez snagged the next win, with Snow’s MEXIGENICS and Bowen following.

J/70s sailing Valle de Bravo, Mexico Day Three- Yawn! Picture Perfect, Again!
The daily leader never changed over four days and twelve races. Bowen’s REACH AROUND commanded the 32-boat fleet and earned the privilege of returning to host Club de Vela La Peña in Valle de Bravo Mexico to watch the final race from ashore! With crew Jacolyn Wetmore, Alec Anderson and Bill Hardesty, Bowen won a third of the races and didn’t record a finish lower than 8 to end with 30 net points (discarding a DNC in race 12).

Fellow American Lorentzen’s NINE sailed a solid series, but settled for second place with 46 points. Belausteguigoitia’s BANDOOLA displaced Snow’s MEXIGENICS to snag third place with 71 points.

Winning the Corinthian division was Hector Guzman Gonzalez’s ESCIPION.  It was an all-Mexican affair for the podium in this division, with Perez’s ZAQUERO taking second and Manuel Vazquez’s CHAVORUCOS getting the bronze.

Picture perfect conditions again greeted competitors on Saturday with winds at 10-14 knots. Fernando Stephan Gutierrez seized the first win of the day, with Lorentzen and Diego Berho’s BBB behind him. Lorentzen concluded the Championship on a high note winning the final race, followed by Chris Snow’s MEXIGENICS and Ignacio Perez’s ZAQUERO.  As a result, rounding out the top five on a tie-breaker at 83 pts each were Gutierrez taking the 4th on countback and Snow dropping ignominiously to 5th.  For more J/70 North American Championship sailing information and results Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Host Crushes J/80 Cumberland Cup

J/80s sailing Queen Mary Reservoir- England (London, England)- Yacht clubs from around the world were invited to the Royal Thames YC’s biennial inter-club team racing challenge; the only international yachting event held in the Capital. Teams of eight sailors sailed matched J/80 keelboats in exciting 2 Boat Team Racing for the chance of winning the Cumberland Cup. Racing took place at the Queen Mary Sailing Club from Wednesday 9th May to Saturday 12th May.

This year’s regatta was comprised of seven teams and their guests from across the globe- RTYC, Eastern YC (Marblehead, MA), Gamla Stans Yacht Sallskap, New York YC (Newport, RI), Royal Perth YC (Perth, Australia), Southern YC (New Orleans, LA), and Yale Corinthian YC (Branford, CT).

J/80s sailing Cumberland CupPerhaps the biggest draw for the event is the famous, and very extensive, social program; a Reception at the RTYC London Clubhouse, drinks and tours of the Houses of Parliament and the Gala Dinner and Prize Giving in the Coffee Room overlooking Hyde Park!  Such an experience made for many memorable moments for the teams as they explored the city and one of the oldest seats of government in the world.

As for the racing, the sailors experienced a good variety of winds, from less than zero to over 15 kts, making for challenging racing in the cramped quarters of the reservoir.

Royal Thames YC win Cumberland Cup on J/80sNot surprisingly, when one looks at the outcome after eighteen races sailed for each team, it appeared it was the host inviting the lambs to the slaughter by the wily coyotes of the RTYC Team Racing crew!  RTYC won sixteen of those eighteen races to win by a comfortable margin.  Behind them, it was a tie on points between NYYC and YCYC, with the tie going to who-beat-who most; giving the silver to New York and the bronze to Yale Corinthian YC.   Royal Thames YC Cumberland Cup Facebook page here   Summary of the results here   For more Royal Thames YC Cumberland Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/Doublehanded Crews Sweep North Sea Regatta!

J/122E AJETO crew- John van der Starre and Robin VerhoefElsink Dominates J/80s, Holtrop Tops J/22s
(Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- The North Sea Regatta completed the “inshore” portion of its ten-day long event.  Hosted by the Jachtclub Scheveningen, the North Sea Regatta is the largest event hosted in the Netherlands each year for a host of one-design classes (like J/22s and J/80s) and offshore ORC/IRC classes.

The event kicked off on May 8th with the Vuurschepen Race, a North Sea Regatta Feeder Race that goes from the starting line off The Hague (Scheveningen) and goes across the North Sea to Harwich in the United Kingdom.  After a two-day layover, the fleet raced back in the RORC North Sea Race from Harwich to The Hague.  After a short breather, all keelboats including the J/22 and J/80 classes sailed from May 18th to 20th, Friday to Sunday on all inshore, round-the-buoy courses.

J/122E Ajeto winning North Sea RaceDay One- May 18th
It was a nice first race day today. The wind was stable with 10 to 12 knots. Three beautiful races could be sailed. With 60 boats on course A divided into 4 classes and 60 boats on course B also divided into 4 classes, it was great racing for all.

Starting the 4 classes directly after each other, occasionally a general recall in between, the sailors had to pay attention not to miss their class’s turn to start. With a current that ran from North to South and the wind coming from the North, it was difficult to exactly time the starting line. In the first race of the event, all the teams had to get used to the circumstances. By the second race, you already notice that it was going a lot better, and the third it was like you had never done otherwise.

J/109 sailing North Sea RaceDay Two- May 19th
The starting boat for course A left the harbor early to get into position and to assess offshore conditions. The weather was a little gray and little wind, too little to start well and be able to lay out a good race course. The postponement flag (answering pennant) was hoisted. The first start was planned at 10:00. After a long hour of waiting, there was enough wind for to start. The IRC/ORC Two Handed Class started at 11:30 with a coastal race.

Day Three- May 20th
Waking up you had to check whether the boat next to you was still there because of the thick fog, usually a sign of little wind. The starting boat of course A quickly powered outside into the thick fog to assess whether the sailing yachts should go out for the races. Offshore it seemed good, but once all boats were out, it was difficult for the starting boat to find them. After an hour of waiting, a nice coastal course for J/109 sailing North Sea Regattathe IRC/ORC Two-handed Class was laid out and their fleet started at 1100 hrs sharp.  Thereafter, it was impossible to start the other classes since you could not see the finish marks!  So, racing was canceled for the day.

In the ORC/IRC Two-handed Class, it was a sweep of the podium by the leading all-star J/crews!  Winning class was none other than the most famous Dutch two-handed team; Robin Verhoef & John van der Starre’s J/122E AJETO. Their sistership took the silver, Chris Revelman & Pascal Bakker’s J/122 JUNIQUE/ RAYMARINE.  Completing the sweep in the bronze position was Wim van Slooten & Jochem Hamstra’s J/109 FIRESTORM!

Afterwards, Robin Verhoef from the J/122E AJETO commented, “A wonderful closure of two weeks great sailing in the North Sea Regatta! For us, it was the 3rd time in a row to win the Dutch Two-handed Championship! In spite of today's fog, we still managed to J/22 sailing North Sea regattafind all the marks and our fifth race in a row! AJETO is amazing, a great boat!”

In the ORC/IRC 2 Class, it was Alain Bornet’s J/109 JAI ALAI that took second place.  And, in the ORC Sportboats, Rikst Dijkstra’s J/70 NED 964 placed third in their fifteen-boat class.

In the world of one-designs, it was Auke Holtrop’s NED 1223 that won the J/22 class with crew of Lotte Brasser, Sipke de Man, and Janneke Kampherbeek.  Second was NED 1514, skippered by Jesper Overbeeke with crew of Christiaan Feij, and Michelle Koopmans; it was a struggle for them to overcome a DNF and DSQ.  Third, just one point back, was NED 1295, J/80 sailing North Sea regattahelmed by Dirk Jan Verdoorn with crew of Rosemarijn Verdoorn, Liselotte Verdoorn, and Kim Bos.

It was Nick Elsink’s J/80 NED 1137 that dominated their class with his crew of Jildau Horst, Pascal Meijer, and Wouter Toornstra.  Second place saw Otte Jan Golverdingen’s NED 838 crew of PP de Vries, Yves de Block, and Hans Edwin de Bruin win a tie-breaker on 17 pts each over Gerwin Jansen’s NED 8905 team of Douwe Broekens, Jolbert van Dijk, and Wouter Sonnema.  Sailing photo credits- Sander van der Borsch
Follow the North Sea Regatta on Facebook here  For more North Sea Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, May 28, 2018

ROCKNROLLA Team Wins J/70 Russia league Act III

J/70s sailing Russia league (Moscow/ Konakovo, Russia)- The third act of the Russian J/70 Sailing League took place at the gorgeous, modern facilities of the Konakovo River Club on the northwest side of Moscow for the twenty-seven teams that are participating in the 2018 season series.  After a very competitive series with one of Russia’s top J/70 teams (Valerya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE RUS1 sailing team) it was Andrei Kirilyuk’s talented crew on ROCKNROLLA Team that won the honors at Konakovo with his supremely talented crew of Dustin Baldeiva, Alina Dotsenko and Alexei Bushuev.

Russian J/70 sailors having funDay One
On the first day of the competition, the Race Committee managed to run only nine races, which meant that each team had only three races to sail on the day. As has been the case for the two events that were held in Sochi on the Black Sea earlier in Acts I & II, there were some pleasant surprises in the standings.  In the top six after the first day, the leading crews were ROCKNROLLA Sailing Team, DC TEAM, Black Sea Team, Konakovo River Club, Region-23 and Sail Lord-Europe.

Day Two
On the second day, the Race Committee crew managed to run fifteen more races for the 27 teams. At the end of the day, there were 24 races in total for eight teams. The first day leader- ROCKNROLLA Sailing Team continued sail well and confidently. Their skipper- Andrei Kirilyuk- now had 20 points (four 1sts, two 2nds, one 3rd, and 9th place).

Day Three
On the final day, the Race Committee managed to run twelve more races, for a regatta total of 36 races! An amazing achievement considering the tough (e.g. light) weather conditions they had to contend with.  However, only 19 teams had 12 races for the regatta. Therefore, eight teams were not lucky, and had to have an average added to their team scores.

Russian J/70 RocknRolla team win Konakovo regattaAs a result, the “rock stars” on the ROCKNROLLA Sailing Team won- skipper Andrey Kirilyuk, Dustin Baldeiva, Alina Dotsenko and Alexei Bushuev carried the lead from start to finish. Literally - from start to finish! The team won the first race of the regatta and won its final race- a total of six 1sts! Bravo!

In the fight for the podium, there was no question who would get the silver (as they were just two good races shy of winning!).  Valeria Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE RUS1 team of Alexandra Bozhko, Igor Lisovenko and Denis Rozhkov sailed “lights-out” on the last day. On the decisive day, they showed calmness and composure, collecting a 1-2-1-4 to nearly pull-off an overall win. Their silver only confirmed the championship level of the team and, of course, strengthened their leadership in the overall standings of the 2018 season. In the first three regattas, ARTTUBE RUS1 has finished second each time, amazing consistency, and hard to beat!

Russia's J/70 ARTTUBE team- Valerya KovalenkoFinishing third in the Konakovo event was the NAVIGATOR Sailing Team, skippered by Igor Rytov with crew of Anton Sergeev, Konstantin Besputin and Vyacheslav Martynov. It should be noted that the team spent the starting day of the regatta as they were in a coma; an 8-8-3-6 was nothing to write home about, as they say!  However, after that they “woke up” and accumulated five 1sts, a 2nd, and 3rd enroute to a meteoric, phoenix-like rise up the standings from 21st place to third overall in the final tally!  “Holy moon-shot,” said Robin to Batman, “where did those guys come from?!”

Rounding out the top five only one point behind on a tie-breaker at 42 pts each were LEVIATHAN TEAM, skippered by Maxim Titarenko with crew of Vadim Yahinson, Michael and Maxim Sheremetyev and PIROGOVO Team skippered by Yezhkov, the countback going to LEVIATHAN.  Just 0.5 points back was REGION 23 Team skippered by Eugene Nikiforov.  Some great highlight videos from the Russian J/70 Sailing League marketing team on Facebook  YouTube sailing videos-  and   Follow the Russian J/70 Sailing League here on Facebook.  For more Russian J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Challenging RORC Vice Admirals Cup

J/111 Jelvis sailing RORC Vice Admirals cup
JELVIS Jams J/111s, JIRAFFE Jumps J/109s
(Cowes, IOW, England)- The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s first round-the-cans event each spring is the Vice Admiral’s Cup.  Hosted by their RORC Cowes clubhouse, the sailing takes place on the sunny, ferocious Solent waters, notorious for fickle winds and outrageous 2-4.5 knot currents just off the equally famous “the Castle” (home of the Royal Yacht Squadron).  This year, the J/109 and J/111 classes were invited to participate, with both showing up with strong fleets. Here is how it all went down over the three-day bank holiday weekend in England.

J/109s sailing RORC Vice Admirals CupDay One
A long wait for a sea breeze gave way to a glorious afternoon of racing in sparkling sun for the opening day of the Vice Admiral’s Cup.

It was a day of super-close racing, especially for the smaller boats. Racing for the seven classes was run from two committee boats in the central Solent. For the faster boats, PRO Stuart Childerley set windward/leeward courses starting on the southern edge of the Hill Head plateau, initially in a west southwesterly breeze of 10 knots that built to give gusts in the mid-teens.

The second start, for the two one-design J/Classes, had the potential to be more congested, but many were line shy in the strong ebb stream that was carrying the fleet over the line. Tony Mack’s McFLY led the J/111 fleet into the first windward mark, 27 seconds ahead of Chris Jones’ JOURNEYMAKER II, who lost out through over-standing the layline. Hans Zwijnenburg’s Dutch crew on SWEENY rounded third, barely a length behind JOURNEYMAKER, neatly gybe-setting to head towards tidal relief in the shallow water of the Bramble Bank.

While the leading group of Performance 40s judged the tricky cross-tide layline into the leeward gate accurately, the J/111s found it more difficult. McFLY again led into the mark, but approached against the tide at a low angle, giving scope for JOURNEYMAKER and SWEENY to eat into the leader’s advantage.

By the end of the race Martin Dent’s JELVIS prevailed, ahead of SWEENY and McFLY. Dent also won the second race, ahead of Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG and SWEENY.

The J/109 fleet saw, Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE win both races, with Christopher Preston’s JUBILEE second in both and David Richards’ JUMPING JELLYFISH third.

J/111's off Cowes, EnglandDay Two
After a relaxed start, the second day delivered yet more top-notch racing in bright, sunny weather. With a light east-south-easterly sea breeze established by lunchtime, the first of the day’s races got away just after 1300 hrs.

The day was characterized by short, sharp races that proved a thorough test of both tactics and boat handling. Tight mark roundings and close finishes, including exact ties, were the order of the day.

The J/109 fleet saw boats yo-yoing up and down the standings. In the first start Christopher Preston’s JUBILEE was well-placed mid-line, while David Richards’ JUMPING JELLYFISH and John Smart’s JUKEBOX were closer to the committee boat, with JELLYFISH hitting the line with speed and popping out ahead in clean air.

Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE, which won all three races yesterday, was buried and tacked away onto port. Royal Navy Sailing Association’s JOLLY JACK TAR rounded the windward mark first, along with a gaggle of back markers in the J/111 fleet, with JUBILEE following close behind and JIRAFFE some six lengths back in third place. Perry continued to climb the fleet on the next lap of the course, to pull out a big lead on JOLLY TACK TAR by the second windward mark to win by an impressive margin. John Smart’s JUKEBOX took third place to gain his first podium finish of the event.

In the next race, which was shortened at the leeward gate as the wind swung towards the south-west, saw Roger Phillips’ DESIGNSTAR 2 take the winner’s gun, fractionally ahead of JUBILEE, with JUMPING JELLYFISH taking another third.

JIRAFFE went on to win the fifth race of the series, but at the start of the longer final race, much of the fleet misjudged the strength of the building ebb tide, with the result that a slew of boats, including JIRAFFE, were called OCS. Perry was able to discard his fourth in this race, but a win for Christopher Preston’s JUBILLE put the two boats only two points apart going into the final day. Speaking from a buoyant after-race party on the dock Preston said, “We had great racing today, in brilliant conditions,” and thanked the race team an excellent job in getting the racing away cleanly on both days.

Martin Dent’s JELVIS, the 2016 J/111 World Champion, had a commanding start to the regatta, winning both races on the first day. Not everything went his way today, but he was generally at the front of the fleet when it mattered, winning three races and taking a second in the other. Hans Zwijnenburg’s SWEENY held a comfortable second place, with a seven-point margin on Chris Jones’ JOURNEYMAKER II.

J/109s sailing off Cowes, EnglandDay Three
The Vice Admiral’s Cup has a long-standing reputation for providing exceptionally close competition. The final day of racing this year saw further intense racing, with most classes going to the wire, in a building southeasterly sea breeze.

In the J/109 class Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE dominated the early part of the regatta, winning the first three races. However, Chris Preston’s JUBILEE led a strong challenge on the second day, leaving the leaders just two points apart at the start of the final day. In the first race, JUBILEE started with the upper hand and still held the lead at the end of the first lap. However, she lacked pace downwind and slipped to fifth on the final lap. JIRAFFE then went on to win the last race, finishing the series on nine points, with JUBILEE second on 15 and David Richards’ JUMPING JELLLYFISH third on 23 points.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend in a very competitive, but friendly, fleet,” said Perry. “We first started racing against JUBILEE in Lendy Cowes Week last year– they are very quick, but we managed to stay ahead of them today, although they worried us this morning. We’ve got the boat going well, especially downwind, where we are deeper and faster. We also have a balanced crew that have sailed together for some time, which means the mechanics of maneuvers have been working really well.”

Anyone looking at the overall results might assume that Martin Dent’s J/111 JELVIS had an easy ride to victory, thanks to his six race wins. However, the scoreboard belies the effort that went into those results. “Many of the races had multiple lead changes,” he said, “and we rounded almost every mark in company, which was really exciting. It’s a competitive fleet, with good sailors and well set-up boats, so you have to fight for every inch.  We’ve had a really enjoyable Vice Admiral’s Cup. It’s a key event in the J/111 calendar, with good courses for one-designs and great race management. They did a fantastic job in getting all eight races away with no wasted time, despite a minimal pressure gradient and spring tides.”  For more RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Swiftsure International Yacht Race Preview

J/160 sailing Swiftsure Race (Victoria, BC, Canada)- The third Memorial Day classic has to be the premiere offshore race in the Pacific Northwest- the world-famous Swiftsure International Yacht Race!  Starting on May 26th off the waterfront park in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, 171 yachts will be doing their best to achieve fame and fortune on one of the three races- the classic Swiftsure Lightship Race of 138.2nm, the Hein Bank Race of 118.1nm, the Cape Flattery Race of 101.9nm, and the Juan de Fuca Race of 78.7nm.

Cape Flattery Race
By far the most popular choice for the thirty-five J/crews participating (20% of the fleet) in the overall event is the Cape Flattery Race, twenty-six in total going the 101nm sprint around the Juan de Fuca Straits!  Six of them are J/105s, with most of the top teams sailing, such as Doug Pihlaja’s ABSTRACT, Doug Schenk’s FREE BOWL OF SOUP, Chuck Stephens’ PANIC, Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO, Chris Phoenix’s JADED, and the 2017 Fleet Champion- Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE.

Swiftsure race coursesSimilarly, there are five J/109s racing, including Mike Picco’s WILD BLUE, Jim Prentice’s DIVA, Tolga Cezik’s LODOS, Mark Hansen’s MOJO and Tom Sitar’s SERENDIPITY.

Sailing in one big division will be some very experienced offshore crews, such as Alex Smyth’s J/111 65 RED ROSES II, three J/120s (Bob Brunius’ famous TIME BANDIT, Justin Wolfe’s SHEARWWATER, & Chris Johnson’s WITH GRACE), two J/122’s (Tom Kelly’s ANAM CARA & John Murkowski’s JOY RIDE), Ron Holbrook’s J/133 CONSTELLATION, and Scott Campbell’s J/46 RIVA. 

J/120 sailing Swiftsure RaceFinally, in this race will be a fleet of classic J’s, including three J/35s (George Leighton’s TAHLEQUAH, Jason Vannice’s ALTAIR, & Andrei Vassilenko’s AORANGI), Willie Wong’s J/36 HARWAR, Tom Keffer’s J/42 VELOCITY, Ron MacKenzie’s J/37 FUTURE PRIMITIVE, and Phil Wampold’s J/92 ZAFF.

Hein Bank Race
There is only one J/team that will be participating in the second longest race, the 118.1nm Hein Bank Race; that is the famous navy-blue J/160 JAM sailed by John McPhail’s race-winning crew from Seattle and Gig Harbor YC.

Juan de Fuca Race
There will be four J/crews sailing in the 78.7nm Juan de Fuca Race.  Two of them are J/30s (John Collins’ SPUD and Colin Bishop’s REDUX) and others are Adrian King-Harris’ J/33 “J” and Walt Meagher’s J/35 SUNSHINE GIRL.

Inshore Racing
Finally, in what amounts to some fun and frolic along the buoys that skirt the pretty Victoria Harbor waterfront will be three J/teams; Tom Kerr’s J/105 CORVO, Ed Pinkham’s J/109 JEOPARDY, and Bart Blainey’s J/30 LIMELIGHT.  For more Swiftsure Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Eight Bells for J/22 Sailor- Julie Goetschius

Julie- J/24 sailor(Houston, TX)- Eight Bells: Julie Goetschius- A long time member of the J/22 fleet, she passed away in Houston, Texas on May 6, 2018 at the age of 63. Julie led the J/22 Fleet 6 as Fleet Captain for many years, chaired countless events, and never missed the opportunity to teach new sailors.

She was the first woman to hold the title of Houston Yacht Club Champion in 2013, competed in the Adams Cup finals 4 times, the J/22 Worlds in Holland, the Harvest Moon Regatta (winner of the Luna Trophy in 2006), the US Sailing Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, and many other circuit and national events.

Julie always included new sailors in her crew, no matter how big the event, and always gave back to the sport through supporting the fleet, coaching the Special Olympics Sailing Team at HYC, and being part of the local sailing community.

She was a counselor at Houston Yacht Club’s Windward Bound Women’s Sailing Camp every year, and so many women across Texas took the helm or flew a spinnaker for the first time on Julie’s boat, CRAYOLA. In 2017, she won HYC’s Fairfax Moody Women’s trophy with, as always, a new sailor as crew.

Julie’s love for the sport and mischievous sense of humor will be missed on Galveston Bay.  Thanks to Marie Wise for this tribute. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Spinnaker Cup Offshore Race Preview

J/125 sailing Spinnaker cup (Belvedere, CA)- This weekend, the 3rd running of the California Offshore Race Week will start the first of the three leg California Offshore Race Week.  The Spinnaker Cup, an 88nm sprint from San Francisco to Monterey departs May 26. Then, boats will embark on Monday May 28th for the 204nm gear busting Big Sur Tour, a.k.a. Coastal Cup that takes the fleet to Santa Barbara YC where they will relax for a short stay. The event concludes with the 245nm SoCal 300 that will lead them through the Channel Islands and down to San Diego, beginning on Thursday May 31.

J/111 rounding Golden Gate Bridge- San Francisco, CASince the CORW is comprised of 3 offshore legs with an evening beer-can race tossed in at Santa Barbara YC, the majority of the entrants will participate in just one or two of the legs. In fact, there are eight J/Teams all sailing in just the Spinnaker Cup Offshore race from San Francisco Bay down to Monterey Bay.

Sailing in PHRF D Division will be Richard Pipkin’s J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS.  Sailing in PHRF E Division are Jeff Thorpe’s J/111 MAD MEN, Tracy Rogers’ J/120 HOKULANI and Timo Bruck’s J/120 TWIST.  Finally, in PHRF F Division, two J/105s (Sergei Podshivalov’s JAVELIN and Chris Kim’s VUJA STAR) will be competing with Jim Goldberg’s J/109 JUNKYARD DOG and Kevin Mills’ J/36 DAWNS EARLY LIGHT for class bragging rights.  Thanks for contribution from Erik Simonson  For more California Offshore Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The FIGAWI Race Preview

Nantucket Harbor lighthouse finish line (Hyannisport, MA)- The other annual right of spring for sailors in the northeast is the amazingly fabulous and fun-loving pursuit race called “the FIGAWI”.  It is serious fun, camaraderie, sailing, and most of all, charity… that is what FIGAWI is all about.

The Race attracts over 150 boats each year. Thousands of sailors convene for the New England’s first major regatta to kickoff summer. The Figawi Charity Race is recognized as a premier sailing event not only on the east coast but is known nationally as well as internationally. The Charity Ball is held the weekend before the race. A premier event featuring a live band, great DJ, a sampling from eleven local restaurants, and a fabulous silent auction and raffle.

Figawi race courseThe race starts on Saturday morning, May 26th, just outside of Hyannis Port harbor mouth.   The fleet of 180 sailboats (of which 20 are J/teams’s) will all have a pursuit-style start, meaning the first boat (with the slowest rated PHRF handicap) takes off promptly at 0900 hrs and about three hours after that, the last and fastest boat starts.  In years past, J/Crews have had more than their fair share of silverware in this race.  It often can be a wild and woolly fast 23.5nm reach (~ 155 deg heading) across Vineyard Sound to the finish line at the picturesque lighthouse at the opening of Nantucket Harbor.

Eight of the ten boats in PHRF S1 Division are J/crews.  Four J/120s will be taking on their J/colleagues- Dave Follett’s GLORY, Rich Pierce’s MOOSE, Mark Verville’s ISURUS, and Coleman Brown’s RUCKUS.  Their three larger, faster members of the J/sable include Jimmy Maseiro’s J/122 URSUS MARITIMUS, Dave Southwell’s brand new J/121 ALCHEMY (her inaugural race!), and Chris Lund’s J/133 JUMP.

J/105 sailing Figawi RaceThe same scenario holds true for PHRF S2 Division, with six of seven boats being J/crews!  Five J/105s will be going across the starting line at the same time (!), including Joe Lloyd’s Nantucket High School Sailing Team on PRIMA, Andrew Reservitz’s DARK’N’STORMY, Mary Schmitt’s HARDTACK, Ed Lobo’s WATERWOLF, and Francis Dougherty’s LYRIC.  Fighting them off from crossing before them will be Andrew Meincke’s J/97 ADRENALINE (they will start with only a 4.75 minutes advantage).

In the “big boat” PHRF A Division will be Dick Egan’s beautiful (and successful) J/46 WINGS.  In PHRF B Division is Mike Hersey’s J/35 RESILIENCE.  PHRF Division C will have to contend with the classic offshore speedster- Ira Perry’s J/29 masthead called SEEFEST (a past race winner).  Racing a bunch of other cruisers in PHRF G Division will be Bill Jones’ J/40 SMITTEN from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA. Tom Ellis’ J/34C COVERAGE will be cruising fast in PHRF H Division.  Mark Barrett’s J/30 MOJO is hoping to terrorize PHRF M Division.  For more Figawi Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/109 Junkyard Dog Offshore Sailing Video

J/109 sailing offshore(San Francisco, CA)- Jim Goldberg, owner of the J/109 JUNKYARD DOG has another video out of a recent ocean race outside of San Francisco.

As Jim says, “This was another wild one, bad, big swells and big winds.  Truth in advertising, we didn't catch any of the spinnaker run on video, too busy trying to the keep the boat sunny side up so I forgot to turn the camera on.  Still some decent footage though! Enjoy!”   Watch the JUNKYARD DOG sailing video here on YouTube. Add to Flipboard Magazine.