Saturday, February 23, 2019

Nikki Curwen- J/105 Doublehanded Star- Coaching for RORC!

J/105 Voador- Nikki Curwen(Cowes, England)- United Kingdom Doublehanded Woman Offshore Star to lead RORC training program- Nikki Curwen from J/105 VOADOR fame!

While mixed two-handed offshore racing is set to be a new Olympic discipline for Paris 2024, closer to home and more immediately, the Royal Ocean Racing Club continues to see a surge in doublehanded participation in its events. Last month entries opened for the club's pinnacle event, the Rolex Fastnet Race and the maximum limit of 340 slots sold out in just four minutes 37 seconds. Of these, 68 are currently entered in the IRC Two-Handed class, a significant step-up from the 57 that competed in 2017.

To acknowledge this trend, the RORC has introduced, via the Royal Yachting Association, specialist two handed coaching for its RORC Easter Challenge training regatta over 19-21 April.

"In the past two-handed crews haven't been able to get involved and we are well aware how important our two handed fleet is," says RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. "So we are offering them coaching at the RORC Easter Challenge for the first time."

Open to all (not just RORC members), the RORC's first race of the domestic season makes coaching uniquely possible as the racing rules of sailing covering 'outside assistance' are relaxed for it. This permits coaches not only to offer advice from their RIBs, but to come on board or for crews to step off their boat and on to a coach RIB to check trim, sail shape, etc -during races.

As ever, the RORC coaching team will be led by the 'legend' in this field Jim Saltonstall, ably assisted by Mason King and former America's Cup coach and sailmaker, Eddie Warden Owen, now RORC CEO, plus the talented staff from North Sails UK.

"A training regatta is the ultimate pre-season warm-up," continues Stone. "It is the opportunity where everyone gets to test their skills out, have them reviewed and look at what changes can be made as they go into the season ahead. Best of all is that it is done in a racing format and we allow our coaches to follow boats and make comments about things to improve. It is more of a relaxed racing environment with a view to coaching and people getting the most out of it while they can, in a racing situation."

In addition to Saltonstall's team, specialist two handed coaching will be provided for the first time, both on the water and in the classroom, by Nikki Curwen.

Curwen was weaned in two-handed offshore race by her father Simon (still Britain's highest-placed Mini Transat sailor) on board the family J/105 Voador. Father and daughter raced extensively in both RORC and Royal Southampton Yacht Club doublehanded events, including the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race. Two years later Nikki won the two handed Figaro class in the Rolex Fastnet Race with top French skipper Charlie Dalin. She has also raced extensively both solo and doublehanded in the Mini class, completing the famed Mini Transat in the footsteps of her father in 2015.

"The two handed fleet is pretty good already, but the coaching will include some of the 'secret little tips'," explains Curwen. Coaching at the RORC Easter Challenge is a mix of generic to all and specific for individual boats (all competitors are encouraged to request specific coaching from the coaches and this can be done by contacting the RORC in advance), so is designed to be equally relevant for newbies to the highly experienced. All can learn.

"For new people coming in it might be breaking down maneuvers, thinking about things early on, pre-planning, etc," says Curwen. "A common mistake is running constantly back and forth between the foredeck and the cockpit. So we'll look at hoisting kites from cockpits. There might be tiny little things like throwing the halyard out the back, which slows the drop down so you don't have to be so quick with your hands. And communication - it is quite different when there's two of you on board to when you are used to having seven or eight."

While the majority of the RORC's two handed racing is in its extensive offshore program, it also organizes the IRC Double Handed National Championship, the first part of which will take place this year on the Solent over 14-15 September. At the RORC Easter Challenge, competitors in this and also the Rolex Fastnet Race have the opportunity to learn valuable skills thereby enhancing their performance.

As usual, the Club's Race Team will set a variety of courses around the Solent and will lay on practice starts and the opportunity for much mark rounding practice and speed testing. The three-day event will conclude on Easter Sunday with a prize giving at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse where the silverware is usually overwhelmed by the hundredweight of Easter eggs that are liberally given out as prizes. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 Midwinters VII Preview

J/70s sailing off Miami, Florida (Coconut Grove, FL)- Since the first J/70 Midwinters in 2013 down at Key West Race Week, the class has continued to attract sailors from across the spectrum of experience, club sailors with family aboard up to world-class programs with some of the world’s top sailing pros on board.  What continues to be a unique experience for the class is the extraordinary degree of “freely-exchanged” information regards what each team believes is working for them, from tuning numbers to tactics to general boat-handling.

The Davis Island YC Winter Series was, essentially, three weekends and nine days of “sail training” for anyone that wished to participate in the Q&A with the sailmakers (Doyle, North, Quantum, Ullman) and the leading sailors like Willem van Waay, Victor Diaz de Leon, Thomas Barrows, Jonathan McKee, Bill Hardesty, and so forth.

Continuing in that tradition of camaraderie and close competition, fifty-six boats are headed to the beautiful azure waters of Biscayne Bay to sail the 7th J/70 Midwinter Championship, hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove, Florida. In addition to many top American teams, there will be crews from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile), Mexico, United Kingdom, and Germany.

Fresh off the Davis Island J/70 Winter Series win will be Brian Keane’s SAVASANA and also fresh off last weekend’s Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Overall win will be Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER.  Both teams will have their hands full with a rogue’s gallery of European, U.K., Midwinter, North American and World Champions from recent years.

Watch out for these crews to be serious contenders on the leaderboard; Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT from Kemah, TX; Mauricio Santa Cruz’s BRUSCHETTA from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT from Lake Minnetonka, MN; Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth, TX; Martin Dent’s JELVIS from Cowes, England; Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS from Long Beach, CA; Kevin Downey’s MR PITIFUL from Seattle, WA; Harm Muller Speer’s PLATOON from Hamburg, Germany; Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY from Rye, NY; and Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE from Fort Worth, TX.  Anyone of these teams are capable of podium finishes throughout the regatta, the question will be, which ones put it together for consistent results! Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com.  For more J/70 Midwinters VII sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, February 22, 2019

SAVASANA Wins Davis Island J/70 Finale & Overall Series

J/70 Savasava (Tampa, FL)- Forty-nine J/70 teams qualified to win the 2018-2019 J/70 Winter Series at Davis Island Yacht Club by competing with the same boat and skipper in at least two of the three events in Tampa, Florida.  Brian Keane’s SAVASANA repeated as Series Champion, including a commanding performance at the final stage February 9-10 with four bullets in seven races. The finale for the Corinthian division was narrowly won by Eddie Keller’s team on KEY PLAYER, nipping Bob Willis’s RIP RULLAH (by one point).

Gorgeous Act III Weekend
The weather for the weekend was considered by many Davis Island Winter series veterans as perhaps the “best ever”.  Saturday’s racing started off virtually on-time on an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day, with winds of 13-20 kts out of the NNE (30-40 deg). It was apparent the shifty, offshore breezes often favored playing the fleet left of middle and, in particular, staying left at the top of the course. Quickly figuring out that formula was Brian Keane’s SAVASANA team that included College Sailor of the Year Thomas Barrows as his tactician.  SAVASANA won the first three races, leaving the fleet in their dust as they planed away downwind in a cloud of spray.  However, by the fourth race of the day, most of the top crews had seen what they were doing tactically and strategically, and SAVASANA had to claw their way back into 6th place to be the leader at the conclusion of racing on Saturday; they were the only boat to post all single digit scores in four races.  Hot on their heels all day were Will Welles’ NEW WAVE from Newport, RI and Kevin Downey’s MR PITIFUL from Seattle, WA.

Sunday dawned with great promise, but as the “locals” all know, any frontal weather system generating northeasterly winds on sunny days often dies out quickly on the second or third day. The forecast was for 10-15 kt winds from the ENE (65-90 deg.), it didn’t last long.  While the first race was fun and exciting, including a combination of planing puffs, wing-on-wing VMG’ing, and even light VMG modes, the next two races started to see massive holes materialize in the middle of the course.  Starting out where they left off on the first day, Keane’s SAVASANA won the first race, then closed with a 6-5 to win Act III of the DIYC Winter Series and also take the Overall Prize for winning the series.

Behind Keane, it was a battle for the balance of the podium between Downey’s MR PITIFUL and Welles’ NEW WAVE.  However, it appeared the “die was cast” after the first race of the day when Welles posted an 8th to Downey’s 22nd.  Then, Welles closed with two bullets to cement their hold on second place, while Downey’s crew posted a 2-3 to also secure the bronze.  Rounding out the top five were John Heaton’s EMPEIRIA from Wilmette, IL in fourth place, sailing with North Sails’ Tim Healey, and Doug Clark’s POLAR from the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT sailing his best regatta of the series by taking 5th place.

In the Corinthians Division, Keller’s KEY PLAYER won, followed by Willis’ RIP RULLAH in second, and the Mexican team from Puerto Vallarta taking third- Fernando Perez’s BLACK MAMBA.

Close Battle for Overall Championship Series
In the Overall “Open” Division, SAVASANA won with a 3-1 tally for 4 pts. However, the balance of the podium was determined on a tie-breaker at 7 points each, with local DIYC sailor Greiner Hobbs posting a 2-5 to win the tie-break over Downey’s MR PITIFUL that had scored a 4-3!  Taking fourth was Welles’ NEW WAVE with a 6-2 for 8 pts, while Clark’s POLAR scored a 5-5 for 10 pts to take fifth position.

In the Corinthians Overall Championship, Willis’ RIP RULLAH won by a small margin, posting a 6-8 for 14 pts.  Keller’s KEY PLAYER had an 11-7 tally for 18 pts to take the silver, while Peter Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE posted 29-17 for 46 pts to take the bronze.  For more J/70 Davis Island Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

J/Teams Dominate the Surf to City Race

J/130 sailing off Australia (Brisbane, Australia)- Recently, the J/122 JAVELIN and the J/130 RAGTIME competed in the Offshore division of the 26th Queensland Cruising YC Surf to City Race last weekend. The unique race starts at Southport Yacht Club and finishes just off Shorncliffe Pier in Brisbane.

Two fleets competed in the event, with the smaller boats took a 50.0nm route inshore of the Stradbroke Islands, while the bigger yachts took a 95.0nm Offshore course around the outside of the Stradbroke and Moreton Islands, then back across Moreton Bay to the finish. 101 boats participated in total, with 36 taking the offshore course and 65 on the inshore route.

After fifteen hours of racing, Chris Morgan’s J/130 RAGTIME won IRC Division 2 and James and Sally Crowley’s J/122 JAVELIN took 2nd in IRC Division 2 and 2nd in ORCi Overall.

Here is James and Sally’s report:

“The race started off the Gold Coast seaway at 10:00 hrs in 1-3 kts NNE. RAGTIME got an early break with some favorable pressure and their large #1 headsail giving significant advantage. JAVELIN was penned in by a Marten-49 and surrounded by other 40 footers.

As pressure built during the morning to 10-12 kts, the wind rotated to the north, and a tacking duel with a Sydney-39 and First-40 up the coast of Stradbroke island ensued. JAVELIN and the others went tack-for-tack into the surf zone in 5.0 meters of water with 1-2.0 meter swell, then back out to 20.0 meters of water.

As the wind built to 12-14kts and rotated more northerly, JAVELIN changed to #2 headsail and, slowly but surely, overtook the competition. By Point Lookout at the NE tip of Stradbroke Island, JAVELIN had established a small lead on their key competitors.

Going from Point Lookout to Cape Moreton, as the sun was setting over the islands, the wind continued to build to 15-18 kts and the leg was made on a single tack in the growing darkness.

Cape Moreton was made at 19:00 hrs and the 15 deg bear-away to a shy reach gave JAVELIN her legs and by NE2 at the entry to Moreton Bay JAVELIN had established a 30-minute lead on her competitors. By this stage, the wind had died to 8-10 kts due north, and the shallow water in the channel combined with the swell and dead-aft wind made for uncomfortable downwind sailing in the dark, requiring numerous gybes to keep pressure in the A2 kite for the 8.0nm leg.

Our saving grace was the incoming tide giving 1.5 kts assist. Past Tangalooma to the turn off at Cowan-Cowan, the seabreeze became extremely fluky and died before rotating around. As the wind became established off the shore in the NW, the A2 wasn’t able to hold at 90 deg AWA and 12 kts of breeze, so the Code-0 was deployed for the final run to the finish, crossing the line at 01:14 AM.” Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

J/Crews Dominating Top Five @ Grevelingen Cup Series

J/109 sailing off Netherlands (Port Zeelande, The Netherlands)- Over the past four weekends in the Netherlands, there is no question that Marjolein Swiebel and crew keep pushing their J/111 MAJIC in the Grevelingencup Winterseries at Port Zelande.  After a slow start (an 8th), they have won all three races since and are now sitting just one point from first overall.

Sailing an incredibly consistent series has been GGPM van Beers on his J/122 JAM SESSION.  After four races, their 3-5-4-3 tally gives them 15 pts total for a 3.75 race average and are sitting in fourth overall, just 3 pts shy of a podium spot.

Then, while they are currently sitting in fifth place, Martijn Graafmans’ J/109 EAU-J had a very slow start, posting a 9-9.  However, they have now come into their own in the last two races and are finally showing signs of life and a competitive spirit, scoring a 3-5 to race up the standings from the bottom of the fleet!

With at least three more races to go, there is still a good mathematical chance that all three J/crews end up on the podium together!  Follow the Grevelingen Cup Winter Series on Facebook here   For more Grevelingen Cup Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Fassitelli Crowned J/70 Primo Cup Champion

J/70s sailing off Monte Carlo, Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- Over 400 sailors on ninety-three one-design sailboats in five classes made the trip to Monaco for a long weekend of racing in the 35th Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse, from February 7th to 10th.

Launched in 1985, at the instigation of H.S.H. Prince Albert II, a year after becoming the Yacht Club de Monaco’s President, the Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse has established itself as the principal meeting that opens the yachting season in the Mediterranean for Europe’s one-design elite.  It’s no wonder that “Albert” loves to support one-design sailboat racing, for nearly two dozen years, he loved racing his favorite J/24 in the local Monaco fleet amongst “friends and family” in the Mediterranean.

With eight races completed in the J/70 class, the 35th edition lived up to its reputation as a demanding, high quality event that every year draws sailors from all over the world to kick-off the season. With the J/70 World Championship set to descend on the Principality in October 2021, nearly sixty teams turned out for the Primo Cup. In fact, the huge fleet of fifty-four highly competitive J/70s from across Europe and other parts of the worlds included; Monaco (14), Switzerland (11), France (6), Germany (7), Italy (6), Russia (5), Ireland (2), Brazil (1), Great Britain (1), Finland (1), Ukraine (1), and Sweden (1).

J/70 sailing off MonacoTo say the outcome would have been pre-ordained amongst this incredibly competitive group would be considered an oversight.  Anyone could have won the event in the top ten, which is how close the racing was going into the last day.

Nevertheless, lying in third place after the first day, Ludovico Fassitelli’s JUNDA- BANCA SEMPIONE generated the surprise outcome for the event; taking the top step of the podium, without having won a race, but having been the most consistent overall.

“I am delighted for two reasons.  First, because I had the chance to race with fantastic friends, and secondly, what a joy to win at home,” said Ludovico Fassitelli.

Taking second was the Irishman and J/70 International Class President- Ian Wilson (SOAK SAILING), with the Swiss Thomas Studer (JERRY) in third place.

Rounding out the top five were two former winners of the YC Monaco J/70 Winter Series; Andrei Malygin’s Russian crew on MARIA RUS 1405 and Nico Poons’ CHARISMA MON 730, finishing 4th and 5th, respectively. As a result, for the first time in Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse sailing history, there were six nations in the top ten (Monaco, Ireland, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil, & Italy)!  Sailing photo credits- YC Monaco- Stefano Gattini/ Carlo Borlenghi  Follow Yacht Club de Monaco on Facebook here  For more J/70 Primo Cup Trophee Credit-Suisse sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

BYE THE LEE Crowned J/24 Australian Champion

J/24 Australia (North Haven, Adelaide, SA, Australia)- Brendan Lee and his crew on BYE THE LEE won the 2019 Australian J/24 Nationals that was ailed off Adelaide, Australia.  Here is Brendan’s perspective on their experience winning the Nationals for the first time.

“After some confusion as to whether the 2019 J24 National Championships would be held in Adelaide or not, the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia got behind the J24 class and hosted the championships from the 3rd to the 6th of January 2019.

Whilst down on entrants from previous years the competition was just as fierce. A special thank you to the 10 crews that travelled from NSW and Victoria.

Twelve races were scheduled over 4 days of racing with the first discard coming in after race 8 and the second after race 10.

Day 1 and with a forecast top of 41 degrees, race management decided to put up the “AP” and keep the fleet in the shade until the sea breeze kicked in. Race 1 eventually got underway in about 6 knots of wind with the official sea breeze announcing itself part way up the 3rd leg with a massive starboard lift. Those that decided to go to the left gate and out to sea prospered. Those that did not, paid a hefty price, except for “Team El Fideldo” who charged out to sea and picked up the generous lift to record a bullet in Race 1.

If anyone was watching from the shore they would have been curious as to why there was often someone hanging over the back of the boats. This was to rid seagrass from the rudder. Unfortunately, arms were not long enough so it was just a case of putting up with it and assuming that everyone was “in the same boat”, so to speak. As for the keel, well there was little that could be done other than sailing backwards which would not only have been costly but likely pointless as it would have just been a matter of time until more accumulated. I understand “Wildfire” did in fact execute the backwards move mid race. The following morning a number of brooms showed up on various boats with “Vice Versa” and “By The Lee” targeting the same Bunnings at the same time.

With the first race out of the way and, hopefully, an early discard, the hammer went down and “By The Lee” picked up Race 2.

Race 3 and it was “Stamped Urgent” recording the win, successfully defending off “By The Lee” which at times were just 4cm behind and doing everything possible to get by. A shoulda-coulda moment for sure.

By the end of Day 1 and with 3 races sailed it was “Stamped Urgent” showing the way on 7 points with “Tinto” and “Two Dogs” on 10 points and “By The Lee” lying 4th on 11 points.

Following the day’s racing, it was the usual stories and banter about what coulda and shoulda been enjoyed over a BBQ put on by the South Australian Association. Thank you to Jim and Robyn for bringing it all together and Andrew and others for doing the cooking in almost 40-degree heat.

Sponsors “Dog Ridge Wines” joined the party by giving away 60 bottles of Rosé to be handed out to the top 3 places on ‘One Design’ and ‘PHS’ for each race and a new Genoa from Peter Stevens, representing a new Chinese Manufacturer “Loong Sails” for the median placed PHS boat overall.

Day 2 and the forecast Strong Wind Warning was spot on. St Vincent’s Gulf was recording in excess of 25 knots. With no wind abatement in sight, race management called off the day and after just 3 races the fleet was rewarded with a lay day. Some chose to go to the wineries and others decided to race go-carts to blow off the adrenaline built up from Day 1. All in all, it was in fact a great J/24 community day with many teams coming together and having fun.

Day 3 and the wind had moderated to 12-15 knots. Race 4 was set in at 0.6nm, however I think the race officer underestimated the speed of a J/24 and subsequently set Race 5 at 0.8nm and Race 6 & 7 at 1.0nm. With a big incoming tide the upwind legs on the last race was seriously hard work.

Race 4 and 6 were taken out by “By The Lee” with “Stamped Urgent” picking up Race 5 and their second win.

Onto race 7 and the final race of the day and it was a new boat at the top “Wildfire”, which I think started a few minutes ahead of the rest, as this is how it ended up. I think Ron and the team were in the bar by the time the second boat crossed the line. Well done!

So, at the end of Day 3 it was “By The Lee” and “Tinto” at the top on 20 points with “Stamped Urgent” just 6 points behind.

With Day 2 being blown out, race management decided to get things underway an hour early on the final day so the stage was set for a 10am start and up to 4 races scheduled. The championship was far from decided.

Day 4 and “By The Lee” knew what they needed to do, stay ahead of “Tinto” in every race. Race 8 got underway in about 8 knots of breeze it was “By The Lee” rounding the top mark in first place with “Tinto” a few places back. However, in true Steve Wright style the competition was picked apart and in the end it was “By The Lee” followed by “Tinto” in second. With 8 races sailed, the first discard came into play, and the finishing positions were starting to take shape with “Stamped Urgent”, “Wildfire” and “Two Dogs” all eyeing out a podium finish.

Race 9 and it was “By The Lee” first at the top mark, however, this was short lived after a massive spinnaker wrap which took a full 3 minutes to come free, allowed “Tinto” and “Vice Versa” to sail through. With “By The Lee” going toe to toe with “Tinto” for the entire regatta any placings between the two was huge, so in this case it was +2 to “Tinto”.

Race 10 and “By The Lee” had “Tinto” sucking dirty air off the line. However, a short tack out to sea and back over to starboard, saw “Tinto” cross the fleet, which left “By The Lee” wondering what the hell just happened. “Tinto” recorded their second win and once again, the gap narrowed by a further 2 points with “By The Lee” coming home in 3rd.

With 10 races sailed and the second discard now in place, it was a showdown in the last race with just a two-point spread between first and second place. A good upwind leg on Race 11 saw “By The Lee” round the top mark first with “Wildfire” hot on their heals. “Tinto” was a bit further back, but again this was short lived. Another less than ideal spinnaker launch saw “Wildfire” sail over “By The Lee”.

With a close eye on “Tinto”, defensive mode kicked in. “Wildfire” extended their lead and the fleet closed in on “By The Lee” with both “Tinto” and “Stamped Urgent” getting past. Provided the gap was no more than 3 placings and a result of 5th or better, “By The Lee” was okay.
The next thing I saw was “Tinto” doing a gybe upwind which I later understood was as a result of contact being made with “Stamped Urgent”.

With a generous port lift, “By The Lee” crossed ahead of “Stamped Urgent” and, as a result of the penalty, “Tinto” was back in 6th.

At the end it was “Wildfire” recording their second win, “By The Lee” coming home in second place and securing the championship with “Stamped Urgent” crossing the line in 3rd which also resulted in being awarded 3rd overall by one point over “Wildfire”. A very consistent effort across the 11 races saw “Tinto” drop their 6th place, finishing second just 3 points behind “By The Lee”.

And, so it was.  On to the prize giving with a traditional dinner overlooking the beautiful North Haven Marina. The last few bottles of Rosé were handed out and the winner of the Genoa was awarded to Jack Fullerton on “Two Dogs” who sailed an excellent regatta finishing 5th overall, just five points off the podium.

After seven attempts, it was Brendan Lee, Rory Groves, Dan Cave, Peter Lee and Keren Reynolds on “By The Lee” picking up their first Australian J/24 National Championship!

In usual J/24 style, the night went on with plenty of laughter and cheer. The 2019 championship was a great success. A special thank you to the CYCSA, J/24 SA organizers and volunteers and to the sponsors “Dog Ridge Wines” and “Loong Sails” for their support.

We look forward to seeing you at the Victorian Championships regatta in Victoria being held on the 30th and 31st of March 2019.”  Thanks to Brendan Lee for his story.  For more Australian J/24 Nationals sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Fabulous Semana de Vela Santander Regatta

J/80s sailing off ChileGorgeous Sailing for J/One-Designs on Lago Llanquihue
(Frutillar, Chile)- From January 19th to 26th, the Semana de Vela Santander took place on Lago Llanquihue, the second largest lake in Chile, for fleets of J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/105s, and IRC handicap boats.  The event was hosted by Club Nautico Oceanico, the Chilean Navy, and Cofradía Náutica Frutillar; it was the first time in the history of Chilean sailing that a fleet of forty-three keelboats have ever assembled together for a week-long event on the lake.

Lago Llanquihue and the Valdivia villages were first settled by German colonialists in the 1850’s, led by Manuel Mont, and supported by then Chilean President Pérez Rosales. The principal strategy was to settle the area by giving away 2 hectares to each family to farm and make a home in a region that was sparsely populated.  However, due to the heavy rains and dense rain forest during the winters, the best mode of transportation by far was using boats on the lake!  Even to this day, there are many ferries that run back and forth between the coastal towns as principal commercial service on what is also one of the deepest lakes in all of South America (1,500 ft)!

The opening ceremony of the regatta took place at the famous “Teatro del Lago”, one of the most important public theaters in all of South America, located literally on the Frutillar shorefront. In the background of the 300 sailors attending the festivities were the famous “tres-amigos”- the enormous 12,000 ft-plus volcanic, snow-capped mountains of Osorno, Puntiagudo and Calbuco.

J/105s sailing in ChileThe sailing conditions started out a little light in the beginning of the week. For the long distance race between Frutillar, Puerto Octay and return to Frutillar, it was longer than what most anticipated.  After a one-day break, the fourth day of racing was the 18.0nm distance race from Frutillar down south to Puerto Varas, a long slog to windward for the entire fleet!

The last three days of the regatta were in Puerto Varas at the southern end of Lago Llanquihue.  The southerly offshore winds were shifty, puffy, and made it difficult on the tacticians to decide where to go for the next wind shift.

The J/24 class was dominated by Team VALDIVIESO, sailed by Felipe Molina and Fernando Gonzales, posting nine 1sts in eleven races to win with just 12 pts total.  Second was Team GUAMBLIN, sailed by the Escuela de Grumetes I team and taking the bronze on the podium was Team MARISCAL sailed by the Escuela de Grumetes crew.

J/70 and J/80  in ChileFor the J/70s, it was a battle royale to the finish line. In the end, it was Manuel Urzua’s crew on PATIO LV that took the title with 18 pts, followed by their erstwhile competitor, Francisca Cisterna’s UROBORO with 19 pts total. Rounding out the podium in the bronze position was Paulo Molina’s ALBATROSS with 28 pts total.

Like their compadres in the J/24 class, the J/80s were treated to another near “white-washing” of the class.  Ezequias Alliende and Alfredo Valdes had one bad blemish on their record of near all first places, posting a DSQ in race 3, to finish with just 14 pts.  Taking the silver was Anton Felmer’s COSACO with 22 pts, followed by Gabriel Jordan’s CUMBERLAND YACHT CHARTER with 26 pts.

Finally, the J/105s had quite close racing over the course of the week. In fact, their class had the closest racing of any of the handicap or offshore classes. Wining the event with just three 1st places was Jose Tomas Errazuriz Grez on WICHITA 4 with 26 pts total.  In a nose-to-nose horse race to the finish line were four other boats, anyone of which could have take the silver based on their final race positions! Taking the silver on a tie-breaker at 35 pts each was Jorge Gonzalez Correa’s PLAN B over Patricio Seguel’s GRAND SLAM.  Fourth was Daniel Gonzalez and Claudio Leon’s TRICALMA just one point back with 36 pts.  And, yet only three points in arrears to claim 5th place was Miguel Perez’s RECLUTA with 39 pts.  Fantastic racing for all J/105 crews over the course of the week’s racing!  For Semana de Vela Santander Regatta photos  More photos on Semana de Vela Santander Regatta on Facebook   For Semana de Vela Santander Regatta Results Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, February 18, 2019

J/22 U.S. Youth Match Racing Announcement

J/22 Youth sailors (San Diego, CA)- Come one, come all!  All youth sailors between 16 and 20 years old are invited to apply for the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship (“USYMRC”) to be sailed in matched J/22 one-design sailboats from June 26th to 30th, hosted by San Diego YC in San Diego, CA!

The “USYMRC” for the Rose Cup is an invitational event. The Championship features world-class coaching and race management and serves as an outstanding training ground for young sailors who are passionate about match racing and focused on competing at the next level.

The online form to request an invitation to the 2019 USYMRC is now available to prospective sailors. Requests for invitations received by April 1, 2019, will receive preference, and selected skippers will be notified by April 7, 2019.  If you wish to participate, please go to the online application here.

Please note- competitors must have reached their 16th birthday, but not their 21st birthday during the calendar year in which the event is held. Teams will consist of crews of four (4), with at least one male and one female, and a maximum crew weight of 680 lbs.  The event is expected to be a World Sailing Grade 3 Event. Teams may be composed of members from other yacht clubs or sailing associations.

Championship History
The Rose Cup started as an invitational youth match racing event in 2010. It was founded by members of Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach, California, and the Newport-Balboa Sailing & Seamanship Association (“NBSSA”). Its mission is to assist in the promotion of youth match racing in the United States and improve the quality of US competitors in national and international competition. Thanks primarily to the efforts of US Sailing Match Racing Committee Vice-Chair and five-time US Match Racing Champion, Dave Perry, US Sailing made the event one of its three match racing championships, and it officially became the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship in 2015.  For more J/22 U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

RORC Caribbean 600 Race Preview

J/122 sailing in Caribbean (English Harbour, Antigua)- Seventy-eight yachts have entered the eleventh edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, where in excess of 700 sailors from six continents and yachts from over 20 nations will compete in the thrilling race around 11 Caribbean islands starting on Monday 18th February. Winners from the Olympic Games, America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and multiple world champions have gathered in Antigua and will be competing alongside passionate Corinthian sailors, both young and old.

Two offshore thoroughbreds from the “J” stable will be participating in the event in the IRC Division.  Sailing for the first time will be Roger Gatewood’s J/145 KATARA from the USA; given the right conditions, her enormous asymmetric sails and her ability to excel in a long upwind slog (154 degree for 190.0nm) from the northeastern point of Saint Maarten (Ile Tintamarre) to the southeastern tip of Guadeloupe (Iles de Saintes). Similarly, Pamala Baldwin’s Antiguan crew on the J/122 LIQUID will be participating for the third time in this “bucket list” race; her team has proven time and again they can race against the world’s best sailors in their Caribbean “backyard” and her “homies” can get the job and get on the podium!  For more RORC Caribbean 600 sailing information and tracking Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Islands Race X Preview

Islands Race off San Diego, CA (San Diego, CA)- The San Diego Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club are celebrating the 10th annual Islands Race on February 15-16, 2019. The decade old, 134.0nm race is a signature SDYC offshore regatta co-hosted with Newport Harbor Yacht Club. An expected 25+ boats will start from Long Beach Harbor, make way around Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands and finish in Point Loma.

As the first race of the 2019 Southern California Offshore Racing Calendar, many competitors will be using this event to prepare for the NHYC Cabo Race later in the Spring. The NHYC Cabo Race is an 800.0nm, 3-4 day, intense offshore competition. The Islands Race, involving only a single overnight at sea with various offshore wind and sea conditions, is a good opportunity for sailors to get ocean experience while still remaining relatively coastal.

Islands Race CourseCompetitors in the Islands Race will head offshore in west to northwest trade-winds that flow southward down the coast. Boats will typically encounter better sailing winds in the evening as they get further into the trades, and round Catalina and San Clemente islands. However, as they pass to windward of these islands, they are exposing themselves to larger swells and wind waves that are not blocked by the islands.

SDYC Waterfront Director Jeff Johnson explains the challenges with these offshore winds. “As the winds flow down the coast, they continue south even as the coastal shoreline recedes to the east. This creates a gap between those trade winds and the coastline, over most of Southern California. During the day, the thermal effect pulls those offshore winds into the coast. But, at night, coastal waters are largely calm. However, the trade winds continue to flow, just further out to sea. The Islands Race course places competitors among those night-time winds and gives them valuable night-time offshore sailing experience.

Taking up that challenge in the ORR 1 Class are Seth Hall’s famous navy blue J/124 MARISOL, with crew from Newport Beach, CA.  In addition, Viggo Torbensen’s race-winning J/125 TIMESHAVER from Dana Point YC will be hoping to set the pace offshore and overcome notorious competitors like the SC 52 Horizon.

In the ORR EZ5 Class, Paul Stemler’s pretty J/44 PATRIOT from Newport Harbor YC will be taking on all comers with speed, grace, comfort, and elegance.  Sailing photo credit- JOYSailing.com  For more Islands Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Helly Hansen St Pete NOOD Regatta Preview

J/70 sailing off Tampa Bay (St Petersburg, FL)- The 2019 edition of the Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta will be taking place from February 15th to 17th, hosted by St Petersburg Yacht Club, with sailing on Tampa Bay. Continuing the trend from past years, the J/family of sailors continues to grow across the spectrum of experience and competition.  Of the 162 boats registered, 106 are keelboats, and of that 34% (or 36 boats) are J/Boats crews.  In terms of “sailor participants”, the J/crews number over 50% of the regatta, at least 250 sailors that are on J/24s, J/70s, J/88s, J/111s, & J/PHRF teams!  Yet another “de facto” J/Fest for enthusiasts across America.

Fresh off their last weekend in the Davis Island J/70 Winter Series are fourteen J/70 crews from Canada (Port Credit, ONT), Maryland, Florida, Minnesota, Georgia, New York, and Connecticut. Watch out for Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER crew form Rochester YC in New York as well as Maddy Ploch’s team on USA 88 from the greater Tampa Bay area (includes her Dad- Mark Ploch, first time J/24 Midwinter Champion in 1978)!

The half-dozen J/88s will square off again after their Midwinter Championship over two weeks ago.  Will Mike Bruno’s WINGS crew duplicate their remarkable feat of five bullets?  Or, will Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION and Andy & Sarah Graff’s EXILE exact revenge and turn the tables on everyone? That outcome may be “condition-specific” as certain teams have proven to be faster in some conditions versus others and, as a result, may become a war of attrition to the very end!

The J/111 class will see the addition of the popular WICKED 2.0 crew, skippered by Doug Curtiss from New Bedford YC in South Dartmouth, MA.  Their pretty black and green boat will be put to the test by the previous J/111 Midwinters leaders- Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH; Ian Hill’s SITELLA from Chesapeake, VA; Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK from Cleveland, OH: and Andrew & Sedgwick Ward’s BRAVO from Shelter Island, NY.

The octet of J/24s will enjoy good racing, as they usually do in the friendly confines of Tampa Bay. Do not be surprised if the top of the leaderboard sees Robby Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM from Davis Island YC dueling for class honors with Carter White’s YOUREGATTA from Portland, Maine.

The PHRF 1 Racing division has grown, yet again, with 25 boats on what could be a very scary starting line. This year, two J/105s will be on hand- George Cussins’ FIRE & ICE from Apollo Beach, FL and David Arata’s J-HAWK from St Petersburg YC.  Joining them in the fray will be Ray Mannix’s J/29 SEMPER FI, a past class winner!

Finally, the NORTH SAILS RALLY for Racer Cruisers includes David Mendelblatt’s J/24 USA 4159 from St Petersburg YC, going for a “family cruise” with the hopes of collecting some silverware along the way.
Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ OutsideImages.com   For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, February 15, 2019

J/70 @ Austrian Boat Show- BOOT TULLN

J/70 sailboats offshore (Tulln, Austria)- The Austrian Boat Show– BOOT TULLN- continues its success story! The biggest and most comprehensive boat and water sports trade fair in Central and Eastern Europe, the show takes place from March 7th to 10th, 2019.

The trade fair city Tulln on the Danube River has been presenting the Austrian Boat Show for 45 years. More than 45,000 visitors with substantial purchasing power come each year from Austria and abroad to enjoy the attractions of the trade fair and its host city.

On display will be Europe’s most popular sportboat- the internationally famous J/70 one-design sailboat.  The class has truly taken over Europe by storm, with nearly 1,000 boats on the Continent.  That activity has been driven by the famous SAILING Champions League, in which 20 nations are taking part from across Europe in the incredibly popular sailing league programs that has mostly standardized on J/70 sailboats. Austria has been an active participant in that growth for “club sailing”, bringing aboard most all of Austria’s top sailing clubs. Come on down and learn more about the J/70 in Austria and how you can participate in European J/70 events.  For more BOOT TULLN show information

To meet J/Boats Austrian representative Richard Gebetsroither-Haslinger from Yachtservice Gebetsroither GesmbH, please contact them at mobile +43 664 211 68 33/ email- office@yacht.co.at/ or web- http://www.yacht.co.at Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

WINGS Rises to New Heights at J/88 Midwinters

J/88 Wings sailing off St Petersburg, Florida 
Five Bullets Guarantees The Title in St. Pete
(St Petersburg, FL)- Taking on a new sailing challenge is nothing new for Mike Bruno. Through nearly three decades of racing he and his team have raced, and succeeded, in several different boats. So, when the J/88 launched onto the scene, Mike jumped in and the Wings program had a new sailing challenge to conquer.

Fresh of their recent win at J/Fest in St. Petersburg, the North Sails Team wanted to know more about the Wings team and their thoughts on their 3Di sails.

NORTH: Mike, first of congratulations to you and your team on Wings for your continued success in the J/88. Can you share with us a little bit about your sailing background and how long have you been sailing in the J/88 class?

BRUNO: Thanks! We are having fun with Wings and continue to learn more and more about sailing the J/88 fast. Insofar as how we got this far, I started out as casual cruising sailor and began racing about 25 years ago. I would say that in the past 15 years or so we have gotten fairly serious about racing and being competitive. We had a Jonmeri 40 named Karjala that I raced for many years, then a series of “Wings”.

First was a J/124 I raced for two years. It was a nice boat, but we found it to have a tough rating to sail to, so we traded it for a J/122.

The J/122 really was a great step and I successfully campaigned that boat, with a few partners, for eight years as a one-design. The J/122 program brought us some great results, including winning the North American title twice and a Rolex award at a New York YC regatta. That brought us to the current Wings, the J/88, which I bought the 3 years ago. We have really enjoyed this program and had great wins including the inaugural J/88 North Americans as well as a big J/88 class win at Key West Race Week.

J/88 Wings setting spinnaker at J/Fest St Pete
NORTH: The pictures from the J/Fest Regatta in St. Petersburg made it appear that you had good breeze for the event. Did the conditions match up with the pictures throughout the championship?

BRUNO: St. Petersburg Yacht Club runs excellent events and Tampa Bay can be a bit “challenging”, so you really never know what you will get on any given day, especially in the winter. That said, the sailing conditions at the J/Fest were certainly fair. Across the entire event, I’d say the breeze ranged from 8-20 knots. I think the cooler conditions (locals may call it “unseasonable”) played a role in how much pressure we had throughout the weekend. Also, Tampa Bay is quite shallow so there was a reasonable amount of sea state but the very steady breeze overall and significant shifts kept every team on their toes and working hard looking for opportunities to be gained via tactics and gear changing.

NORTH: Can you tell us a little bit about your team, who does what, and how long have you all been together?

BRUNO: The team is really made up of a large group of great friends and awesome sailors and, like many others, we find we are rotating in and jumbling pieces for any particular event to make sure we, not only do well, but have fun.

For J/Fest Midwinters I helmed and had Chris Morgan, a local Floridian, trim main and work with me on our overall speed. Stu Johnstone was our tactician and he really had a great feel for the bay the entire weekend. Tim Randall ran the pit for us while Mike Booker did all the headsail trimming and Stephen Yip ran the bow.

NORTH: Looking back through the weekend what were the keys to your success at the Midwinters?

BRUNO: It’s a great question, as it forces me to look back and try to pinpoint a few things I think we did really well.

1. The biggest thing was we were just able to sail a bit higher and faster than the fleet much of the time. A lot goes into that for sure. The team really worked hard on proper rig tune and working the sails and trim constantly to maximize the boats potential but our new sails were probably the most significant difference in our ability to make that happen. 

2. Our crew work was excellent! As a skipper knowing that your team can execute any maneuver at a seconds notice and pull it off without a hitch is a huge confidence builder for the entire boat. It seems that at almost every mark rounding we seemed to gain 1-3 boat lengths.

3. I mentioned earlier that Stu Johnstone called tactics for the weekend; he was really on tactically this regatta, just incredible! Stu didn’t miss anything, which also gave us terrific confidence. We did make a few mistakes in the event, including being over early at the start in two races. In the last race, we were over (again) and we re-started, probably, 300 yards behind fleet. But, Stu got us back in the game, and we kept using our boat speed and crew work to do all we could to gain distance. Remarkably, we still nearly won the race- just a 1/4 boat length off! I guess maybe the new saying is “When you have a great team and fast sails it’s never over until it’s over!”

NORTH: What are your 2019 sailing plans for the J/88?

BRUNO: Wings has a very full 2019 sailing calendar. We have already done the Egmont Key Race and St. Pete J/Fest. Up next in February is the St Pete NOODs, and then we head up to Charleston Race Week in April. From there the team will go back north for the American Yacht Club Spring and Fall Series, Cedar Point One Design Regatta, Block Island Race Week, possibly the New York Yacht Club 175th Regatta, as well as J/Fest in Newport, with a focus on the J/88 North Americans in mid-October at Larchmont YC.

NORTH: Thanks Mike and congratulations, again. Sounds like you have a full schedule set with an awesome team. Good luck the rest of the year, have fun and sail fast!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Casales Leads Sardinia J/24 Winter Series

J/24 Italy off Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy (Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy)- In the waters of the Golfo di Poetto, the Windsurfing Club Cagliari hosted the first event of their winter series on the beautiful waters off Sardinia for a fleet of ten boats. Prior to the start of the series, mistral-like conditions buffeted the island with steady 30 knots of winds, gusting to 45 knots.  However, by the weekend, the Race Committee of the WCC, chaired by Betty Lai, managed to run three races on Saturday.

The starts were close, tightly packed, and the first windward legs were, in particular, very shifty, making it hard for boats to remain consistent race to race. The one exception appeared to be Andrea Casale, an Italian J/24 Champion and also two-time J/24 World Champion. His team managed to round all marks in the lead and start out the series in first place.

J/24 Italy fleet sailing off Sardinia, ItalyBehind Casales’ team on ARIA DELLA LNI OLBIA in the first race was Aurelio Bini’s VIGNE SURRAU in second and Giuseppe Taras’ DOLPHINS in third. In the second race, DOLPHINS took second followed by Sergio Contu’s NEW MOLLICA in third place.  In the last and final race of the weekend, NEW MOLLICA took second in a close duel with Casales, with VIGNE SURRAU taking third.

At the end of the racing, the J/24 crews met to talk with the Genovese champion- Casales- who, in addition to describing the sails he represents, gave excellent advice on the boat's handling and on the tactical choices to be competitive in conditions like those on the weekend. The arrival of pasta and delicious Sardinian wine offered by the WCC gave the right conclusion to a beautiful day at sea and sport.

The overall standings (after the first 5 races) have ITA 443 ARIA DELLA LNI OLBIA leading with a 6-2-1-1-1 record, followed by ITA 405 VIGNE SURRAU from the Circolo Nautico Arzachena with a 3-1-2-9-3 tally in second, then Giuseppe Taras’ ITA 401 DOLPHINS sitting in third with a 2-6-3-2-5 scoreline.

The next event for the Sardinian J/24 fleet is scheduled for February 16th and 17th.  For more Sardinia J/24 fleet sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

J/133 JACANA Wins off Cape Town

J/133 sailing off Cape Town, South Africa
(Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa)- In the southern hemisphere, most sailors are familiar with the extensive one-design and offshore racing taking place in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay) and the Antipodes (Australia and New Zealand). However, an active offshore fleet continues to enjoy the often-spectacular conditions sailors experience off the famous landmark known as the Cape of Good Hope. In fact, there are more than a dozen J/teams sailing those waters ranging from J/24s to J/27s, J/30s to J/105s, and even a J/133.

Recently, the J/133 Team HOLLARD JACANA (owned by the trio of David Munro, Patrick Holloway, and Neil Gregory) was the overall winner of the Class 1 Division in the 2019 Fling Regatta, the first amateur team to win in five years.
J/133 Jacana winning crew
Patrick commented on their performance, “racing was incredibly close, as was the overall result. Our crew had one 1st, three 2nds, a 3rd and a 4th in the six-race regatta, for a total of 10 points, after a one-race discard. The regatta was sailed in Table Bay over the weekend of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd February 2019.

The event was the third and penultimate round of the Western Province Inshore Championships, which the team continues to lead. Previously, we won the False Bay Spring Regatta (September 2018) and finished 2nd in Table Bay Race Week (December 2018) by the narrowest of margins on a tie break.” Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Grenada Sailing Week Report

J/24s sailing Grenada Sailing WeekJ/24 Fun, J/122 Offshore Success
(St Georges, Grenada)- Long-time J/sailor, Hilary Noble, has been on the pointy end of many top teams over the years in J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, and J/88s.  This past week, she was down in the Caribbean sailing in the first major event of the winter season “down island”- Grenada Sailing Week.  Here is her report on the proceedings.

“The Caribbean racing season is now underway with the 6th edition of Grenada Sailing Week that was held from January 28th to February 1st.

A record fleet of 40 boats gathered at Port Louis Marina, and it being my first year racing in this event, I was really excited to see what this so-called “friendly island” was all about. Just as I expected, the competitors brought their A-game and race officials and volunteers had one goal in mind: great racing, hospitality, and tons of fun!

Racing began on Monday, on the south end of the island just west of the airport, off the pristine Grand Anse beach. Local knowledge played a key role in staying in pressure and setting up for what new pressure was to come. Most of the local teams played the shoreline often, giving them the famous “elevator lifts” to easily one-tack the top end of the race course.

If you could break away from the pack and get into the pressure first, you had a great chance of leading around the windward mark. The wind was pretty shoddy on the south end, with the land breeze mixing with sea breeze funneling over the huge mountainous terrain.

This created huge puffs and huge holes, something to really keep an eye out for! We dug into a lot of puffs, but we may have found a hole where it seemed like our world stopped, while the rest of the world kept spinning. Thankfully, we weren’t the only ones to find it.

Day two was very similar, presenting puffy conditions that made the racing fun and unpredictable. It reminded me of college sailing, with the auto-tacks and huge lifts that would give you 30-degrees more point than the boat just to leeward of you.

The last race on day two was a 12-mile race and a downwind start. We checked our angles to assure that our starting line plan would be successful – and boy was it ever! Instead of leading our fleet in, we tailed the competition and right as we started we executed a perfect jibe-set, hoisting our code zero.

Being one of the last boats to enter the starting area by the RC end allowed us to fulfill our higher angle with ease after our set, while some boats chose to use their A2, making it impossible to get to us. At that point, it was full-steam ahead.

As we approached the tip of the runway, a massive JetBlue airliner came in hot, landing right over us.  That was exhilarating and got my adrenaline pumping for the next leg. At that point, you could see the land clearing ahead where our next mark was for us to honor and head upwind.

There was a 10-knot increase around the end out in the open on the east end of the island that made for the freshest upwind leg we had yet. We had a last minute call to change our headsail, we had 30 seconds to plug and hoist before we could get our code down.

We had one hell of an epic takedown with the wind howling and waves crashing on our port side, we got her in and we were headed uphill, keeping an eye out for the next mark. We hadn’t seen the other end of the island yet and WOW, she was beautiful. Finishing off the point of Prickly Bay, I thought to myself, after the salt water shot under my sunglasses, this just doesn’t get any better!

On our lay day, we left our Port Louis and stopped just outside to snorkel the underwater sculptures. We headed over to the beach after that and went ashore to the spice market and had lunch. After loading up on some local fare, we casted off and motored around the point to relocate our mother ship, a 50-foot catamaran to the east end of the island in Secret Harbour where racing would commence the remainder the week.

The last two days were just fantastic. Excellent racing, fun courses, and stiff competition. The courses were interesting and kept it fun and exciting for the pointy end. Our team vibe was great all week long and we all had a blast racing together.

The Caribbean circuit is unlike any other racing circuit in the world. Sailors from all over the world come to experience new cultures, taste the amazing food, and make new connections. For most, it’s a vacation in itself. Living in Rhode Island these days, I appreciate the aspects of warm-weather sailing more than I ever have before.

For this event, I had the pleasure of making new friends and teammates. A few of the crew I’ve known for years and have spent a lot of time on the water racing and some were new crew to the program that meshed really well with the team and were fun to sail with. This regatta was a great experience and I highly recommended it to those who want to escape the winter and get a taste of some really fantastic sailing. I can’t wait to sail in Grenada again!”

Living it up and enjoying their entire week was a well-known crew from Antigua, Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID.  Sailing in the largest class of the event, the thirteen-boat CSA Racing Division, Pamala and her crew sailed by far the most consistent series of any boat on the water.  LIQUID’s worst race was a 4th (their toss race) and all the rest were 1st, 2nd, and 3rds, finishing on the podium to take the silver in their first outing in the Caribbean winter circuit!

Meanwhile, one wonders if it was a case of sheer joy or pure exhaustion for the half-dozen J/24s that sailed off St Georges for the entire regatta.  After eighteen races (!) it was quite apparent that the top of the leaderboard was going to be determined by a “war of attrition”.  In the end, Fred Sweeney’s ATTITUDE from St Lucia never broke down, never lost focus, and never finished worse than 4th place! Amazing! Consequently, ATTITUDE maintained the pressure on the fleet after winning the first three races to take the J/24 crown. Second was Robbie Yearwood’s DIE HARD from Grenada; posting nearly as many 1sts, 2nds, 3rds as Sweeney’s crew, but not nearly enough, settling for the silver.  Rounding out the podium was Stephen Bushe’s HAWKEYE from Trinidad, taking the bronze- a truly international podium.  Thanks for contributions from Hilary Noble and Scuttlebutt Sailing Newsletter.  Follow Grenada Sailing Week on Facebook here   For more Grenada Sailing Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

US J/24 Class Awards Third Annual Boat Grant

J/24s sailing off Miami, Biscayne Bay(Apollo Beach, FL)- The US J/24 Class Association has awarded the third annual Kelly Holmes-Moon J/24 Boat Grant to Matt Miranda from Ronkonkoma, New York. The Program is named in honor of Kelly Holmes-Moon, a long-time supporter of the J/24 Class Association who served as US Class President and as the Copyright Holder’s Representative.

For the 2019 season, the boat will see weekly action at Sayville Yacht Club with J/24 Fleet 182. The Boat Grant team plans to participate in a number of events including the US Nationals in Rochester, NY, Changing of the Colors Regatta in Lake George, NY, Charleston Race Week in Charleston, SC, and they are applying to be the Under-25 team at the World Championship in Miami, FL. Class members will mentor the young team, as well as the other individuals who applied for the Program.

Matt has more than a decade of J/24 experience, having crewed on multiple World Championship campaigns, numerous District and national events, and has skippered at US Nationals and local Fleet 182 series racing. His team will consist of a mix of younger J/24 sailors and seasoned veterans, who will surely help them grow over the next year. “I am incredibly honored to receive the grant boat this year! Excited to see some new faces, and some old, as we travel around to our nine or more scheduled events. Come say hi if you see us! I would like to thank the US J/24 Class and the Boat Grant Committee for making this possible and for helping me achieve a lifelong dream.”

The Kelly Holmes-Moon J/24 Boat Grant Program encourages talented young sailors to gain first-hand experience racing within the J/24 Class of one-design sailboats at virtually no cost. Dave Eggleton donated the boat, USA 423, to the program, providing the Scholarship Boat recipients with the experience to escalate their level of competitiveness and inspire them to accomplish great things in the sailing world. The team is in need of contributions to help fund their campaign. To find out how you can help, e-mail director@j24class.org. 

The application process for the 2020/2021 Kelly Holmes-Moon J/24 Boat Grant Program will begin in the fall of 2019. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Davis Island J/70 Winter Series III Preview

J/70 sailing Tampa Davis Island series (Tampa, FL)- In the third and final regatta of the J/70 Davis Island Winter Series, fifty-five J/70 teams are hoping to sail in the forecasted winds of 10-20 kts from the northeast this coming weekend. Should that happen, that would more than make up for the fact that in the two previous events there was only one good day of racing both times; ironically both on Saturday, with Sunday being washouts for either no wind or storms.

Who will ultimately triumph in the 2018-2019 edition of the DIYC J/70 series?  It is all up for grabs, that is for certain.  Teams only have to count all races in their two best regattas.  Given the somewhat “yo-yo” scorelines for most teams in the first two events, virtually anything can happen for the overall standings.  Current leaders include Travis Odenbach’s B-SQUARED team; Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING from Houston, TX; Kevin Downey’s MR PITIFUL from Seattle, WA; and local Tampa rock stars on Greiner Hobbs’ DARK HORSE.

In the Corinthians Division, Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY and Bob Willis’ RIP RULLAH appear to be significant players to remain at the top of the leaderboard after the battlefields clear over the weekend.  For more J/70 Davis Island Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 Primo Cup- Trophy Credit Suisse Preview

J/70s sailing off Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The premiere offshore one-design keelboat event of the spring, the very popular Primo Cup- Trophy Credit Suisse, will be taking place this weekend for a huge fleet of fifty-four highly competitive J/70s from across Europe and other parts of the world. Those teams hail from Monaco (14), Switzerland (11), France (6), Germany (7), Italy (6), Russia (5), Ireland (2), Brazil (1), Great Britain (1), Finland (1), Ukraine (1), and Sweden (1).

As they have for years, the Yacht Club Monaco is welcoming the enormous fleet with their extraordinary red carpet treatment, welcoming all sailors to their gorgeous setting on Hercules Bay.  The tempo and the competitiveness level of the J/70 fleet continues to increase as many teams are increasingly focused on the fact that YC Monaco will be hosting the 2022 J/70 World Championship.

Based on what happened in Act III of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series for J/70s two weekends ago, most competitors will be wondering if the theme of “the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming” will repeat itself in the face of heightened competition.  Surely, the winner of both the Open and Corinthian Divisions, the Russian Andreï Malygin skippering MARIA, will be doubling down their efforts to stay atop the leaderboard.

And, the balance of the top five that included two YC Monaco crews (Loïc Pompée’s ALLO III and Ludovico Fassitelli’s JUNDA- BANCA DEL SEMPIONE), two Swiss crews (Florian Geissbuehler’s ATTAQUE and Laurane Mettraux’s CER APROTEC VILLE DE GENEVE), and the top Irish team (Marshall King’s SOAK RACING) will all battle hard to remain in the top five.  For more J/70 Primo Cup Trophee Credit-Suisse sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

LA SUPERBA Leads Italian J/24 Winter Series

Italian J/24s racing off Rome, ItalyAMERICAN PASSAGE Leading the Lozzi Trophy
(Anzio & Nettuno, Rome, Italy)- With two beautiful days of sailing with moderate breezes, the Roman J/24 fleet enjoyed great racing on the Gulf of Anzio southwest of Rome.  The fleet was sailing for the Lozzi Trophy on Saturday and the Anzio & Nettuno Winter Series on Sunday.

Shifty Saturday @ Lozzi Trophy
Saturday’s sailing was marked by partly cloudy skies, plenty of sun, and very shifty offshore winds for the ten-boat fleet.  Three races were completed by the end of the day. Victories went to ITA 458 ENJOY 2 sailed by Luca Silvestri, ITA 487 AMERICAN PASSAGE skippered by Paolo Rinaldi and to ITA 36 FLETCHER LYN sailed by Stefano Renoglio.

As a result of Saturday’s racing, leading after six races in the overall Lozzi Trophy standings is AMERICAN PASSAGE with a 4-3-1-2-1-2 scoreline for 9 pts.  The balance of the top three overall includes ENJOY 2 in second with scores of 3-2-2-1-2-4 for 10 pts and, in third place, is FLETCHER LYNN with a tally of 2-5-3-5-5-1 for 16 pts.

J/24 sailing off Rome, ItalyPretty Sunday for Winter Series
The second day of sailing produced three more races for the twenty-one J/24s on the Gulf of Anzio.  The day started off spectacularly, but menacing black clouds loomed on the horizon as the fleet, again, sailed in easterly winds of 10-13 kts.

Winners on Sunday were determined by who completed the podium behind the domination of ITA 416 LA SUPERBA; their performance was unstoppable, posting three straight bullets! Skipper Ignazio Bonanno from the Italian Navy and his crew of Vincenzo Vano, Francesco Picaro, Alfredo Branciforte and Francesco Linares were delighted with the outcome, further lengthening their already insurmountable lead in the overall Winter Series- now counting 9 bullets!

In the first race, behind LA SUPERBA was ITA 428 PELLE ROSSA sailed by Gianni Riccobono and ITA 447 PELLE NERA helmed by Paolo Cecamore, second and third, respectively.  In the following race, it was AMERICAN PASSAGE and ENJOY 2 in 2nd and 3rd.

After ten races in the overall Winter Series, LA SUPERBA continues to lead by a substantial margin. However, the balance of the podium is currently tied between two boats at 43 pts each; ITA 385 J ARMED JUDGE (Riccardo Aleandri, Antimo Bruno, Fulvio Marchionni, Fabio Di Bartolomeo, Vito Esposito and Fabiana Onori) and Luca Silvestri’s ENJOY 2.

Sunday ended with the traditional pasta and wine party on the terrace of the Circolo Della Vela, a celebration greatly appreciated by all twenty-one teams!  For more Italian J/24 Class sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, February 8, 2019

M*SAILING TEAM Leads Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League

Russian J/70 Sailing League winners at Sochi (Sochi, Russia)- The 2019 Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League has been racing off Sochi, Russia (site of the 2014 Winter Olympics) with sailing taking place in the eastern parts of the Black Sea.  A huge summer resort, Sochi has continued to grow as a base for lots of winter activities in the mountains north of the city. A fleet of a dozen J/70s are based at the Sochi Sailing Center, managed by FGBU “Yug Sport”, so that the thirteen teams from across the far reaches of Russia can compete on the water and sail a lot of waters in a short amount of time. 

Russian J/70s sailing off Sochi NSL Winter Series III
Ten teams took part in the third event from January 12th to 13th. The fleet was not blessed with good weather conditions. In fact, it was downright miserable.  The yachtsmen were met with cold, torrential rain and just moderate winds.  On the first day of racing, all sailing was canceled after just two races due to a lack of breeze.  However, despite more rain on Sunday, there was more than enough breeze to hold up to six more races for each of the crews.

“The New Year threw us a monkey wrench,” joked the Chief Judge of the competition, Nikolai Yushkov. “But, in principle, everyone was happy. True, on the first day we barely managed to hold two races. Although it was pouring rain, the wind was only good for two races. But, it all worked out on the second day, when a very good wind was blowing- up to 30 knots in the bigger gusts! Well done to all the participants, they all coped with the challenges on Sunday. The only damages we could see may have been a few egos! There were no crashes, no protests, either.  Amazing! The teams sailed well, it was wet and wild for them!”

The third stage of the NSL series was the most difficult so far of the three events. A number of boats suffered some severe broaches, but survived to tell the tale; most importantly, with no ripped spinnakers. Others managed to “submarine” up to the mast in the steep, choppy waves off the Sochi waterfront!

The crew of the M*SAILNG Team XO saw a new crew member for the regatta- Mikhail Poslamovsky.  He took third place in the first stage of the series as part of the M*SAILING Team, but took on a new role for himself, this time as skipper. Despite the difficult weather conditions in which the regatta took place, he considered the experience a success; the results speak for themselves. In the last three races, his team had two 2nds a 3rd.

"I felt great, even comfortable! I would like to sail another couple of races in order to improve my result," said Poslamovsky. “Our team has already improved, we feel that we are ready to go further. Compared to other big boats, the J/70 seems much better, much more comfortable. It is more maneuverable, it accelerates faster. It is much more interesting to race the J/70 than other racing yachts! In general, there is no comparison! We plan to continue to race in the Winter Series, then hopefully go to the Premier Division and win!”

The winner of the stage was again the “leading” crew from Rostov-on-Don, the M*SAILING Team. This was not surprising, considering their record of three 1st, three 2nds, and one 3rd for a total of only 12 pts in 7 races! According to the team members, their performance was a result of constant training.

Russian J/70s sailing off Sochi in league regatta“Before this stage, Andrei Malygin and I worked out here on the Laser,” said Alexey Borisov, the Captain/ Coach of the M*SAILNG Team. “We had a training program, we worked hard. And, we wanted to learn more about the winds in Sochi.  Andrei has a good understanding of the wind, an understanding of how the boat goes and everything else. At the present stage, I have him focusing only on tactics, not just boat speed. The training we did gave us a lot experience. And, of course, for this regatta, we do not exclude an element of luck; it is always present in sailing. We are lucky again. We plan to continue to increase the pace; it is good to complete the NSL Winter Series and the J/70 Winter Series in Monaco. In general, we have ambitious plans. We want to work harder, we strive to win, and I think everything will work out.”

Second place in the January regatta went to the crew of WILD DIVISION, skippered by Alexander Bozhko, representing the Chechen Republic. The team, which debuted in the series at the last stage and took second place, again lost only to the winners of the regatta. This time, the crew was strengthened by the President of the Chechen Sailing Federation- Hasan Khadzhiev.

“This was not our first time on the J/70.  Both myself and crew have trained on them.  However, this was our first time in such crazy, cold, rainy, windy conditions,” said Khadzhiev. Laughing, he said, “I promised my crew sun and fun in Sochi and a nice warm beach with beautiful women! But, it turned out the opposite- cold, rain and no sand, no women anywhere! Hahaha. In general, it was a test of myself and the crew. We did a good job on the coordination of our team for our upcoming regattas in the National Sailing League.”

Khadzhiev continued to explain, “the Federation of Sailing Sports of the Chechen Republic has only existed since December 2016.  Since that time, we have not just entered sailing, we have burst onto it! We have won prizes in both Russian and international competitions.  When they announced our team for this Russian J/70 National Sailing League as "the team of the Chechen Republic", people no longer have a panic in their eyes! Instead, they say, it’s amazing they came here to sail, and they look at us as genuine rivals on the race course! Of course, none of this would happen without the support of the President of our Chechen Republic- Ramzan Kadyrov. He has drawn attention to our sport, is promoting it in our republic, and helped us develop the sailing program. Now, our main task is to pay attention to sailing within the republic itself. Until we have children on the water, until we have our own sailing school, it’s difficult to talk about the future of the sailing federation. Nevertheless, we will grow sailing for everyone!”

The bronze medals were won by the crew of THREE 2 Sailing Team, skippered by Alexandra Peterson. Their team won the first stage of the NSL Winter Series, but unfortunately, missed the second. However, another successful performance in Sochi gives them a good chance to fight for the overall victory in the series.

Russian J/70 sailing off Sochi setting spinnakerNSL Winter Series IV
The fourth stage of the Russian J/70 Winter Series was, again, sailed in Sochi and hosted by FGBU “Yug Sport”.  Thirteen teams attended the event.

For the first time in four stages, the crews did not have to freeze and soak in the rain. Optimism abounded across the fleet as a great breeze filled in for the first day of racing on Saturday. The sailing was so good, the organizers managed to hold eight races. The participants of the Winter Series also pinned great hopes on Sunday, but the weather again brought a surprise.

“On the second day, we decided to start the race earlier,” said Nikolai Yushkov, the main judge of the competition. “However, the start had to be postponed from 1030 hrs to almost 1200 hrs.  The morning wind died.  Then it went into a 360 and it was very, very difficult to catch at least some stretch of wind so that you could carry out a race. As a result, we miraculously managed to hold four races, and the fifth had to be canceled because it shifted and died again.”

In the fourth stage, the struggle for victory in the series reached a new level. Many teams decided to strengthen their line-ups and trained with special diligence- everyone wanted to beat the crew from Rostov-on-Don, the M*SAILING Team that was in the lead after three stages. And, the efforts actually bore fruit for some team. For example, the East-West team, which was eighth in the last regatta, dramatically improved its position this time, taking fifth place.

“For us, this was actually a great result,” commented Andrei Zuev of the EAST-WEST team. “To bypass such pre-eminent and famous teams- it's great! It was possible to achieve success through training with an experienced and famous yachtsman- Konstantin Besputin. Before, we did a lot of things a little bit wrong. Kostya made fine-tuning a focus of our team. And, the results were fantastic. We got two 1sts in eight races- for us it's just super! We will definitely improve further, train further. We hope that in the final we will not look bad.”

Changes occurred in the crew of MATRYOSHKA. For the first time, Leonid Tarasov acted as a helmsman. And, the team immediately took seventh place- beating many experienced teams.

Russian J/70s sailing downwind under spinnaker“Wonderful training programs helped us,” said Leonid Tarasov. “But, of course, we still have to learn a lot more. The first time we race, we tanked and it sucked for us. Now, we were absolutely delighted with our improvements. The steering is cool. Of course, I want to continue skippering and learning how to go faster. It is good if we manage to keep the lineup that we had here, along with our coaches- Musikhin and Yuri Popov. I feel comfortable with them, they seem to be happy with me, too. The result is, of course, from a lot of hard work. And, I understand that I will try to improve our performance, somehow. Everything was very calm. Once there was a false start, but that race was canceled!  Thank goodness. And so, for us, a wonderful stage! We loved Sochi- cool weather, much better than all three previous stages. We will participate in the following regattas and develop!”

To develop and train is what both Rostov crews are set up for. And the plans and ambitions of Rostovites are very serious; already they plan to take part in the Premier Division of the National Sailing League and win. The fact that these are not just words, but a specific task is indicated by the serious progress of the teams in the NSL Winter Series. The debutante of the last stage- the crew of the M*SAILING XO Team- has already managed to bypass ten strong teams in their second event to take the third place.

“We trained a lot and prepared for this stage. And, most importantly, we were mentally/ psychologically tuned,” said Mikhail Poslamovsky, the helmsman of M*SAILING XO.  “It was mentally difficult, it is very hard to sail calmly and focused when rivals are near you, for me at least. I want to do more driving, to learn how to go fast, stay calm, and get ahead. But, in general, everything was very positive. I treat this as a workout, adjusting myself so as not to get upset. Well, it turns out to be happy sometimes. My team is on fire. We will further develop, train and achieve results. To more victories!"

Russian J/70 sailing upwindThe silver medals of the stage were won by the crew of BATTLESHIP I with Vladimir Lyubomirov on the steering wheel. Their tally of five 2nds and three 3rds was by far the most consistent of any team in the regatta.  Only a disastrous Race 7 where they posted a 7th ruined their chances for the overall regatta win.

Winning only two races, but keeping very steady top three race results, were the ultimate winners for the third regatta in row- the M*SAILING Team from Rostov-on-Don.

“Probably, it is lady luck or dumb luck, that we manage to win everything,” commented skipper Andrei Malygin, laughing at himself. “We try to stay out of trouble and, hopefully, we try to win further. The next stage of the Winter Series will be missed because we are going to the J/70 races in Monaco- to participate in the famous Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse. In Sochi, there will be only one of our crew - M*SAILING Team XO.”

The absence of a three-time winner of the NSL Winter Series stages at the next regatta will give opponents a chance to close the gap on the leaders.  Sailing photo credits- Elena Razin  Russian J/70 Sailing League information   Follow Russian J/70 Class here on Facebook   Follow Russian Yachting Federation here on Facebook   Follow the Russian J/70 Sailing League on Facebook here Add to Flipboard Magazine.