Sunday, March 31, 2019

Expert J/121 & J/99 Sailboat Reviews- Sail Norwest

(Seattle, WA)- Ben Braden from SAIL NORWEST in Seattle, WA had an opportunity to look over the two latest boats in the J/stable of offshore sailing machines.  Here was his amusing, insightful take on both boats.
J/99 sailing upwind
J/99 Doublehanded Offshore Speedster
This boat is gonna create more temptation in sailors minds then back when Jansson put herring in his favorite cheesy potato dish creating such a delight. She’s been touted as a Market Disruptor by Seahorse Magazine and Versatile & Exciting by Yachting World as she sits proudly on their April 2019 magazine cover.  
The all new J/99, from J/Boats, checks more boxes than any boat they’ve produced in over 30 years, period. After touring the boat this past week in Rhode Island I initially walked away happily amazed at her design, as well as, her bigger sister, the all new J/121. My mind kept harkening back to a time in my youth when we all sailed and raced 25 to 30 foot sailboats and were awestruck and tempted by those massive IOR boats, 50’ and up, sailing ahead of us and finishing before dark on all those mid distance races we knew and loved. Then along came the J/35. Truly an every man’s big boat. A powerful platform that brought with it a sense of the speed and thrills we observed on those big IOR warhorses of the time but in a package that each of us could touch, feel and most importantly a platform that we, the everyday sailor could handle – both race and cruise.

Bill Schanen, of Sailing Magazine, once reported that the appeal of the J/35 “…was its pure hull form, a sweet easily driven shape free of the rating rule-induced exaggerations that made other handicap racers of the 1980s cranky and difficult to sail. With its light weight and long sailing length, big but uncomplicated rig and sensible deck layout, the J/35 was graced with a responsive yet forgiving nature over a wide range of conditions. These endearing characteristics gave the J/35 a parallel life as cruising boat. Easily handled by a family, it offered plenty of space below for accommodations that were plain but practical.”  
While describing his latest new design, Alan Johnstone shares that “The J/99 opens up a wide range of sailing possibilities. The versatile sail plan, balanced hull form and efficient cockpit will work as well for short-handed offshore sailing as for weekend sailing with friends. The J/99 packs a lot of performance and versatility into a manageable size and budget.”

Sound familiar?

After touring the boat on the hard at International Marine last week I was left with a sense of how big it was on deck with a large workable cockpit that blended the sit on the deck aspects of the J/33 with the cockpit seats everyone loves in the J/35 for cruising, daysailing and distance racing. The side decks were spacious, quickly creating images of kayaks or SUP’s on deck for the summer cruise, as well as, hazard free spaces for crew to move freely from bow to stern as duties required. As I walked forward I was reminded of the deck space on a J/120.
J/99 interior      
Stepping below my response was simply wow – a modern J/35 interior. Everything you need to be comfortable cruising with your family or friends, sitting below after a race or regatta bragging with your crew or escaping the weather for a break while on a distance race. Full functional galley, large forward facing nav area, large double bunk aft cabins port and starboard, double drop leaf table center of the salon, two very comfortable settee bunks port and starboard with an enclosed forepeak cabin housing the head and sail storage, and ample storage throughout the boat. It’s even got a headliner! Granted it doesn’t have 6’ 6” headroom like a true cruising boat, she does have a very functional 5’ 10”ish hair draft that for a race boat of her obvious caliber is astounding.

So I’ve touched on the similarities of the space and feel of arguably one of J/Boats best performance cruising designs, the all new J/99 also incorporates many of the desirable modern performance traits of the big fast warhorses of today.

Sound familiar again?
She has a fixed carbon sprit off the bow to easily handle both the A-sails and various code zero type rags that excel in different areas or point to point racing. She also can have water ballast, yep water ballast on a production every man’s boat, approximately 55 gallons per side. Not the type of water ballast that has to be managed constantly to keep the boat upright but water ballast that assists in the boats sail-ability. This type of water ballast, while at its base is weight on the rail, will enable more people to go sailing and perform duties they otherwise wouldn’t be asked to do. Smaller, lighter and less agile sailors can now do the job of that affectionately named deck potato or grinder or can simply stay in the cockpit if they are unable to get out on the rail for a physical reason and the boat can still perform well due to the water ballast holding the rail down.

Seriously, imagine a scenario that you are able to take your 80+ year old grandfather out sailboat racing and benefit from his years of sailing knowledge being shared with you and your 14 year old lightweight kid while they trim the sails and have a chance of competing against that fully crewed deck filled with butt’s race boat. As silly as this sounds it’s a real thing this type of crew assist water ballast enables. Sure you can still pack the rail and use the water ballast at the same time – but your boat would be that much heavier doing so.
J/121 sailing upwind     
J/121 Shorthanded Offshore Speedster Overview
Her big sister, the J/121 – in the vein of Orwell’s 1984 newspeak, if my reaction going below in the 99 was wow, the J/121 invited a quick double wow! This boat is big.  Yeah it’s 40’ on deck but she is wide, open and utilizes every bit of that 40’ for working purposes. Below you can swing your wet foulies around over your head there’s so much space and then quickly wipe the spray off the carbon fiber countertops. A touch that floods the senses, carbon fiber panels trimmed out with teak edging – it’s cool, it’s really cool. Double French doors forward leading into the spacious forward bunk, deep and wide aft cabin to port and open aft head to starboard with easy access to what J/Boat sailors worldwide describe as the garage storage area. Her large crew assist water ballast tanks, similar to the 99’s but more volume, are obvious but trimmed well and every system aboard seems to be easily accessible without compromising fit and finish. The galley with double basin sink, top loading deep frig and double burner stove/oven looks super usable and the large forward facing nav area looks about as usable as you find on a 40’ sailboat with plenty of working space and also room for electronics.

On deck everything at first glance looks well thought out. From her hybrid mainsheet system that leads through the deck to the port and starboard mainsheet winches to all the very raceable control lines led to easily accessible areas along with her outboard twin wheels to get you the visibility you need to react and respond to all inputs for optimal control while sailing. While standing behind the wheel at the true aft end of the boat looking forward I couldn’t help but think how similar everything looked and felt in size and function to being at the helm of the J/145 and I expect this boat to outperform that amazing vessel both on the course and with her accommodations below while cruising.

With these two designs J/Boats is bringing the modern performance aspects of the big amazing performance machines like the TP 52’s and the offshore Open 40’s to the yacht club near you in a package that will keep your crew list long while also impressing your non-racing family and friends when they hang out in the cockpit while daysailing or enjoy the accommodations below while on a cruise sailing from port to port rather than motoring simply because you can, because the design enables it.
We were able to view these boats while back east for the J/Boat dealer meeting held at the Harken offices in Middletown, Rhode Island in March 2019. Dealers from across the country and as far away as Alaska made the trip to spend the day with the Johnstone’s discussing what J/Boats is doing currently and is planning on doing in the future. Everything from the current models and their build schedules and demand to some great new ideas for smaller and larger models and fleet purchases that are being considered by the family and their network. Exciting stuff actually, and some very promising ideas for what is coming in the near future. For a company founded by the everyday sailor that built itself into a successful family business now on it’s second generation of leaders J/Boats continues to move forward with designs that incorporate modern attributes in attainable platforms accessible for the every day sailor, their families and friends. A model that will never lose it’s market appeal.

Celebrating the Life of Paul Heys

Paul Heys sailing new J/99
(Hamble, Southampton, United Kingdom)- The sailing world paid tribute to one of its own on March 19th as 500+ sailors gathered at Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble, UK to celebrate the life of Paul Heys- husband, father, brother, friend, colleague, sailing mate, and sailing entrepreneur (pictured above on the newly introduced J/99 in England).

A dock walk thru Port Hamble Marina and Hamble Marina Services only scratches the surface of the impact Paul’s love and dedication for sailing had on the greater sailing community. J/Boats of all sizes and vintages are around every corner, from early model J/80’s and J/105’s to last year’s IRC World Champion J/112E and the newly launched J/99 Hull #1.
Paul Heys on new J/121 off Bristol, RI
Paul only had one speed, and that was full speed ahead (like steering the first J/121 above off Bristol, RI). He woke earlier and worked later, and in between, managed to accomplish more in a day than most do in a week. Whether on a boat or in the boatyard, he inspired everyone around him to “do the job right” and along the way gave many young sailors their first opportunity to work in the sailing industry. He went the extra mile to make sure everyone was having the most fun possible with their boats. Sailing couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador.

Paul will forever be part of the J family and the J story. He and Marie-Claude were there for the first J/80 Worlds in 2001 in Newport, and for so many subsequent firsts including the launch of J/122 hull #1 in 2006, and the more recent hull #1 launchings of the J/121 and J/99. The face of one-design keelboat racing in the UK is forever changed thanks to the J/80, J/109, J/88, J/111, and J/70 classes that Paul and his J/UK team incubated and supported, not to mention the many other J designs he introduced to the UK market and successfully campaigned at the highest levels. The annual J/Cup regatta, founded by Paul, is one of the most prestigious keelboat events on the UK schedule. The 2019 J/Cup, slated for July 18-20 at Royal Southern Yacht Club, is expected to be the biggest yet.

Paul’s lifelong devotion and passion for sailing was second to none, and his legacy will live on through everyone who knew him, the numerous J/one-design fleets and annual J/Cup regatta he founded, and the many other thousands of sailors he inspired along the way. Paul would have wanted to share the credit with his incredible team (both past and present) at J-UK / Key Yachting. He was after all the consummate teammate. We will miss you Paul. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Doublehanded Farallones Race Preview

Farallones Islands (San Francisco, CA)- This coming weekend marks the start of one of the most famous offshore shorthanded races in all of California- the Doublehanded Farallones Race. Hosting the event is the San Francisco Bay Area Multihull Association (SF-BAMA). Fifty-seven teams are taking up this epic shorthanded challenge.

Farallones Race coursesFrom the start inside San Francisco Bay alongside the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the fleet heads out to sea and around the Southeast Farallones Island, leaving it to port, and then to the finish- a distance of approximately 58.0nm.

Seven J/Teams are participating in the race. Leading them all should be the group of five J/120s; including Mike O’Callaghan’s PEREGRINE, Sean Mulvihill’s JAMANI, Timo Bruck’s TWIST, Ludovic Milin’s SAETTA, and Bridgitt Ahern’s ALCHERA.  Joining them will be Jim Hopp’s J/88 WHITE SHADOW and Chris Kim’s J/105 VUJA STAR.  For Doublehanded Farallones Race entries and race results   For more SF-BAMA Doublehanded Farallones Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/24 North American Championship Preview

J/24 women's Seabags Sailing Team 
(Valle de Bravo, Mexico)- Hosting the 2019 J/24 North American Championship this coming weekend from March 28th to April 1st will be the Club Nautico Valle de Bravo on their gorgeous lake in Valle de Bravo, Mexico.  The twenty-eight boat fleet consists of all Mexican and American teams, with most of the top crews participating from both countries.  Sure to be amongst the leaders of the Mexican contingent will be past Mexican J/24 National Champion Kenneth Porter’s “S”, sailing for the host club- CNVB.
J/24 North Americans Mexico 2019
The leading USA contenders should include Mark Laura’s BABA LOUIE from Seattle YC in Seattle, WA; Tony Parker’s BANGOR PACKET from Annapolis YC in Annapolis, MD; Will Welles’ BOGUS from Portsmouth, RI; and top woman helm- Erica Beck Spencer’s SEA BAGS WOMEN’S SAILING TEAM from Portland YC in Portland, ME.  For more J/24 North American Championship sailing information

Friday, March 29, 2019

Russians Win Barcelona J/70 Winter Series

J/70s sailing Barcelona Winter series
BRIBON MOVISTAR Eclipses J/80 Series
(Barcelona, Spain)- Sixteen boats sailed the 2018- 2019 winter series in Barcelona, Spain; the event was hosted by Real Club Náutico de Barcelona. The sixteen teams hailed from across Europe- Cyprus, Great Britain, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Russia, and Italy.

Winning the overall winter series was the Russian crew of AMAIZ SAILING TEAM with Egor Terpigorev, Sergey Dobrovolskiy, Victor Serezhkin and Slava Martynov from Cyprus Yacht Club. Their winning record was 5-1-1-4-1-1-10-7 for 20 pts.
J/70s sailing off Barcelona, Spain
Tony Hayward’s SERIOUS FUN from Great Britain, skippered by Mark Lees from Royal Thames YC, was DSQ’d in the last race to lose the regatta by just 1 point.  For Hayward’s team, it was serious training for the 2019 J/70 World Championship that will be hosted in Torquay, England.

The balance of the podium and top five were all hot, fast Spanish crews.  Third was Pablo Garriba’s RCN Barcelona team on TENAZ with 26 pts. Fourth was another Spanish crew on Luiz Martinez Doreste’s FORTY-FIVE with 30 pts. Fifth place went to David Marco’s Spanish crew on REBUFF from Real Club Nautico Barcelona with 36 pts.

In the J/80 Winter Series, Marc de Antonio's J/80 BRIBON MOVISTAR won the series handily. Taking the silver was MIKAKU, sailed by Rosa Artigas (also top woman helm) and Luis Corbella.  Rounding out the podium in the bronze position was AKEWUELE, skippered by the second woman helm- Silvia Ravetllat.
For more Barcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Center Sound Series Finale- Three Tree Points Race

J/105 sailing off Seattle, WA (Seattle, WA)- The third and final race of the Center Sound Series took place this past weekend on Puget Sound. In the end, the Corinthian YC of Seattle managed to run three good, challenging races, giving the sailors all they could bargain for- from fast drifting, to hiking hard in 15-25 kts breezes.  Overall, the J/Teams faired well, collecting a significant amount of silverware and pickle dishes for their trophy rooms. 

In the “big boat” PHRF 0 Class, it was another strong performance for the J/160 JAM, the only certifiable “cruising” boat in a division largely populated by offshore racings machines like TP52’s and other 44 to 55 footers.  In the end, the Fox/McPhail duo on JAM managed a 4th place, but was just one point shy of 2nd place! It was very close racing amongst the big boats.

The PHRF 2 Class was populated by a quartet of well-sailed J/80s, sweeping their class.  First was Phil Dean’s RUSH, followed in second by John Sezer’s RECKLESS, third was David Schutte’s TAJ MAHAL and fourth was Rick Demmler’s TASTES LIKE CHICKEN.

PHRF 4 CLASS was the one-design J/105 class.  The top five saw a familiar face at the front of the fleet, showing their transom to everyone else most of the series.  Winning was Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE, followed in second by Bucky Rezabek’s RACERS FORMALLY KNOWN AS HERE&NOW, then Chris Phoenix’s JADED in third, Tom Kerr’s CORVO 105 in fourth, and Allen Hughes/ Shauna Walgren’s CREATIVE rounding out the top five.

PHRF 6 Class was treated to J/35 domination; proof an old warhorse like the 35 can sail fast on all points of sail.  Winning was Don Leighton’s J/35 TAHLEQUAH, while Tyson Varosyan’s J/35 SOLUTION placed fifth.

Finally, the battle of the 40-footers took place in PHRF 8 Class.  Placing fourth was Dougherty & Andrews J/125 HAMACHI and fifth was Andy Mack’s J/122 GRACE.   Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson  For Corinthian YC Seattle Center Sound Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 Sevastopol International Cup Announcement!

J/70s sailing off Sevastopol, Russia
(Sevastopol, Russia)- From September 19 to September 22, 2019, a brand new and grand sailing event will be held in Sevastopol - the first international regatta for J/70’s in Russia- the Sevastopol International Cup. The project organizers promise participation by international teams from Europe, Asia, and across the world.  Simply apply to the National Sailing League in Moscow, see links below. You do not have to bring your own boat, just fly in with your crew!

Given the fact that the regatta will become the main part of the program of the Sea Festival known as the “Sailing Week of Sevastopol,” the event will be truly unforgettable.  For those international teams interested, there will also be a serious prize fund for the event for the podium finishes as well as daily prizes. Winning teams can either keep the cash prizes or donate them to their favorite charities.

In fact, as a “sailing league” style event, the supplied J/70’s will be racing in the spectacular bay of Sevastopol, on the warm, azure blue waters of the Black Sea. There are several spectacular seaside spa resorts nearby for regatta participants- like Sevastopol Hotel & Spa or Aquamarine Spa & Hotel.
Sevastopol, Russia
Note- the event will also be broadcast across Russia, Europe, and the rest of the world with “live” feeds over the Internet.

The sailing league is growing and growing, and now the National J/70 Sailing League has their blog on Russia’s national sports portal. As a result, all sailing news from the various regattas taking place in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Sevastopol, and Vladivostok can now be found on Russia’s largest sports resource. You can follow their rapidly growing fleet of J/70s at the links below!
J/70 Russian Sailing League
Russian J/70 Sailing League on SPORTS.RU here  Follow the Russian J/70 Sailing League here  Russian J/70 Sailing League promo video (nicely done)  The Russian National Sailing League site is here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival Preview

J/122 sailing off Virgin Islands
(Road Town, Tortola, BVI)- Hosted by the Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club and sailed out of the spectacular Nanny Cay Marina, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, has grown back bigger than it has been in recent memory.  It is a fitting tribute that a dozen boats showed up last year to go racing, including members of the J/Tribe that sailed on two J/122s, a new J/121, a J/111, and J/105s.  The 48th edition of the regatta in 2019 will have 60-plus boats and the crews are excited to be sailing in sunny BVI. This year’s regatta runs March 25th to 31st.

The Race week schedule will include the traditional Round Tortola Race for the Nanny Cay Cup, followed by Scrub Island Invitational on day two of racing in the Sailing Festival. Then, three great days of racing follow for the 48th BVI Spring Regatta.

There’s plenty to love about Spring Regatta beyond the spectacularly blissful break it gives from the winter doldrums, especially the mix of international crew and range of boats that participate. The fleet includes owners and crews from USA, Germany, BVI, USVI, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Canada, Antigua, Belgium, Barbados, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.

It’s also a guaranteed good time when many of the fleet is returning for their multiple BVISR events, including the four J/crews in CSA Spinnaker Racing class. Topping that pack is Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID from Antigua and also Tony Mack’s British crew returning to sail the infamous J/122 TEAM McFLY/ EL OCASO!  Joining them will be Peter Lewis’ J/105 WHISTLER, the recent winner of their CSA 4 class at Heineken St Maarten Regatta; and Mackenzie Bryan’s J/100 BAD GIRL from St. Croix YC.

“We are very open, very ready, and very excited to welcome sailors from around the world who are returning or making this their first BVI racing experience,” Judy Petz, Regatta Director said. “The energy and spirit of sailing in the BVIs takes more than category five hurricanes to keep people from coming back to sail and race here!”   BVI Sailing Festival sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

ROSEBUD Tops San Diego NOOD Regatta!

J/70s sailing off San Diego- Helley Hansen NOOD Regatta
(San Diego, CA)- The 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego was sailed from March 15th to 17th for the nearly 130 teams that were sailing for the weekend.  As has been the case in past years, the J/Teams and their dozens of sailors predominated in the event that saw classic sunny San Diego conditions. Pamela Rose’s J/70 team on ROSEBUD from Chicago/ San Diego emerged as the top team in a talent-laden class and was selected as the San Diego NOOD Challenger for the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship!  Here is what happened over the three-day weekend.
J/105s sailing Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta- San Diego
Day 1- Picture Perfect Sailing
There was plenty to play for on the first day. Friday’s action was focused on the regatta’s San Diego Bay course with four races conducted by the Coronado and San Diego Yacht Club race committees.

In the J/70 fleet, typically laden with professional sailors, skipper Chris Raab’s team on SUGOI of amateur sailors from Long Beach, California, emerged as the top boat, winning two races to lead the 15-boat fleet by 2 points over Pamela Rose’s ROSEBUD.

Raab’s team includes close friends Rob Lindley, Kelley Jane Paradise and Erik Lidecus. With winds shifting throughout the day, Raab and his teammates had to focus on their competitors and their positioning on the racecourse.

“It was a pound the paint kind of day,” Raab said. “We had to sail through some lulls to get to the next puff. If we over-tacked the boat, it was a problem and the sides would tend to get us. We had to be patient, that’s for sure.”

Whenever an amateur team outshines professionals, it’s a sign of the fleet’s depth. As a winner of 43 national championships, Raab’s career has been nothing short of prolific, but he still leans on the professionals in the fleet for advice.

“[Pro sailor] Willem Van Waay was super helpful this morning,” Raab said. “He scrubbed the bottom of my boat and told me my rig was too loose, so we developed a new base setting and that speed difference was super helpful.”
J/120s sailing Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta- San Diego
Day 2- More Picture Perfect Conditions
Racing continued on the second day, with the addition of one-design keelboat fleets on the ocean course, there was plenty of action in the waters off San Diego. While competitors inside San Diego Bay continued their series from Friday, the San Diego Yacht Club race committee set its first race course 2 miles south of Point Loma, where classic Southern California sailing conditions provided an action-packed day of racing for six different classes.
J/70s sailing off San Diego, CA
Day 3- Regatta Photo Finish
The third and final day showcased plenty of tight racing across all one-design fleets. The regatta’s Ocean Course was set south of Point Loma and the two Bay Courses were set on South San Diego Bay. With light and shifty winds, racers had to stay focused throughout the challenging final day.

Going into the final race of the J/105s, a 2-point margin between the top-three boats produced a winner-take-all showdown. After two races, Chuck Driscoll and his team on JUICED emerged victorious.

“This win is important to us,” said Driscoll, of San Diego. “My partner, Tom Hurlburt, and I have been sailing this regatta for twelve years, and we’ve come second many times. This was the first time we’ve been able to put it together for a win.

"The Driscoll family has a long history with the San Diego Yacht Club. My grandfather was commodore here in 1939. My father won the Star Worlds in 1944 and was the skipper of Intrepid in the America’s Cup trials. My father also won the Lipton Cup, along with my brother and I. Our family has been involved in boating my whole life. We’ve been very fortunate.”

Rounding out the podium in the J/105s were Stewart Cannon’s J-OK with 16 pts in second position and Steve Howell’s BLINK in third place with 18 pts.

In the J/120s, John Laun’s CAPER took class honors with a near whitewash. They won five of six races to take class with just 7 pts total.  Second was Chuck Nicholls’ CC RIDER with 15 pts and then Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN secured third with 16 pts.
J/70 Rosebud sailing team- winners
Pamela Rose’s J/70 team on ROSEBUD emerged as the top team in a talent-laden class and was selected as the San Diego NOOD Challenger for the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship.

Each stop of the 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta series produces a challenger for the Caribbean NOOD Championship with Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in late October. This year’s San Diego challenger is crew of Pamela Rose’s J/70 ROSEBUD. Sailing with Rose was Willem van Waay, who accepted the trophy on her behalf.

“I’ve had this regatta snatched away from me more times than I can remember,” said Van Waay, of Coronado, California. “Pam did a great job steering. The conditions were challenging each day, and consistency was key. We’re excited to head to the British Virgin Islands later this year and we should be competitive.”

Rounding out the top five in the J/70 class were Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT with 35 pts, easily posting the best record in the last six races with four 1sts in their tally. Third was Raab’s SUGOI, winning Corinthians as well.  Fourth was Mexico’s Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO and fifth was Steve Wyman’s NUNUHUNU.

The balance of the Corinthian Division podium included Tony Collins’ FLY and David Hochart’s TANGAROA.

In the NORTH SAILS RALLY, Tom Fisher’s J/105 VIGGEN took third place amongst a widely varying fleet of day sailors from across San Diego Harbor.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside For more Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Sailing Regatta information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Irish Luck @ Monaco J/70 Winter Series- Act V

J/70s sailboats- racing off Monte Carlo, Monaco
Yacht Club Monaco Team Wins Overall!
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)– The 6th Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series held from October 2018 to March 2019 ended in style this weekend with the fifth and final Act taking place in spring conditions (sunshine and wind) to the delight of the J/70 contestants that set up their winter base in the Principality.

Organized by the Yacht Club de Monaco, in collaboration with technical clothing supplier SLAM, the regattas were important for J/70 one-design teams to prepare for the season.  Already, many of the crews from Europe and the rest of the world are focused on the 2021 J/70 Worlds in Monaco.  That was evidenced by all the foreign teams, some from across the Atlantic.  Among the favorites in the J/70 fleet was the Brazilian sailing star Marcelo Ferreira, loyal teammate of Torben Grael, two-time Olympic gold Medallist and bronze Medallist in the Star class.
J/70 sailboats- starting off Monaco
In the J/70 class, it was only fitting that on St Patrick’s Day, victory went to Marshall King’s Irish team on SOAK RACING, led by the International J/70 Class President. The team dominated the weekend with two race wins and always in the vanguard, despite determined Swiss opposition on CDE CH, helmed by Nicolas Anklin. Russian Sergey Sobolev on RUS 1271 took 3rd, although two poor results cost him dearly, as fewer than two points separated him from his pursuers all the way down to 7th place. Notably, SOAK RACING also won the Corinthian category, ahead of the Swiss armada.

For the fourth season, the YC Monaco Race Committee, managed by PRO Thierry Leret, managed twenty-nine races. Amazingly, they averaged nearly six races a weekend. It was a notable accomplishment by YC Monaco’s commitment to provide world-class sailing all winter long to their J/70 fleet.  It was greatly appreciated by sailors across Europe, Russia, and the rest of the world. Can anyone imagine that the vision of YC Monaco’s yacht racing evangelists (including HRH Prince Albert- himself an active J/24 sailor for decades) four years ago would lead to sixty-one teams participating in the 2018-2019 winter series?
J/70s sailing with spinnakers off Monaco
In the final overall ranking for the 2018-2019 season, it was clear that HRH Prince Albert and his team at YC Monaco are producing great outcomes supporting their sailors on the European and International J/70 circuits.  Consistency and competitiveness paid off for Ludovico Fassitelli’s JUNDA BANCA DEL SEMPIONE. It was a successful return to the J/70 for the YC Monaco member, which bodes well for the J/70 World Championship in Monaco in October 2021.

Another YC Monaco member took 2nd place, Loïc Pompée’s ALLO III, who continues to progress and will be a team to watch out for in the next J/70 Europeans. The Swiss Corinthian team, Bruno Zeltner’s QUARTER 2 ELEVEN team, hung onto their 3rd place and 1st in the Corinthians after nearly 30 races.

Following the Swiss team in the Corinthians were two Russian teams; second was Dimitri Zaritskii (RUS 1271) and third was Andreï Malygin’s MARIA. Notably, MARIA had no worse than a 2nd in the middle two regattas of the series, winning both of them easily.

Dates have already been set for the 7th Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series with five Acts and more than seventy boats are lined up to participate.
  • Act 1: November 7-10, 2019
  • Act 2: December 5-8, 2019
  • Act 3: January 16-19, 2020
  • Act 4: February 6-9- 2020- (Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse)
  • Act 5: March 5-8 2020
For more Monaco J/70 Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Not Fake News! BAD NEWS Wins J/22 Midwinters!

J/22s sailing Midwinters off Florida
(Fort Walton Beach, FL)- Perhaps it was more like a story of “The Incredibles”! Three J/22 World Champions joined forces at the J/22 Midwinter Championship this year, and they didn’t need much luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day to take home the title. On BAD NEWS, New York Yacht Club’s Mike Marshall, with crew Zeke Horowitz and Todd Hiller, never finished lower than fifth in the 30-boat fleet, and were able to hit the docks early to let their fellow competitors battle it out for the remaining places. Marshall won the J/22 World Championship in 2016 in Kingston, ON Canada with Hiller as crew, and Horowitz won as skipper last fall in Annapolis, MD. Their win was well-deserved against the remarkably hot competition in sunny southern Florida.
J/22 sailboat racing off Florida
Day 1- Dead Heat Flippin’ Friday!
Thirty-one J/22s convened on the starting line for the J/22 Midwinter Championship at Fort Walton Yacht Club in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Three races took place on the inaugural day in winds between 6-12 knots.

Two teams dueled hard and both ended up at 8 points each, both logging identical finishes of a 1-2-5. Those protagonists were Kevin Doyle’s MO’ MONEY and Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS. Needless to say, those two boats are quite familiar with each other and are often thrashing it out at the top of the leaderboard.  Just behind was Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, resting in third with 14 pts.  And, just five ticks back in fourth was Chris Princing’s Team Award & Sports/ Evil Dr. Pork Chop from the greater Midwest J/22 fleet.

Marshall got off to a successful start in race one, as did Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and David Muller’s CALL THE BALL. Casey Lambert’s BLACKBURN MARINE RACING took line honors in the middle race, ahead of Kevin Doyle and Jeff Todd. Then, it was Kevin Doyle’s turn for the win, with Marshall and Todd on his tail.
J/22 sailboats- starting line at Midwinters
Day 2- Shifty, Horizon-job Saturday
A shifty weather pattern that followed a cold front challenged the fleet. In winds between 10-15 knots Saturday, Karen Glass’ PAYASO opened triumphantly, with Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP and Doug Weakly’s HNL next. Marshall then earned his second of three bullets thus far, in advance of Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 and David Muller’s CALL THE BALL. Closing out the day’s final top three were Marshall, Vincent Ruder and Jeff Todd.

Marshall’s BAD NEWS flourished in the conditions, posting a 4-1-1 on the day for 9 net points in six races, a horizon job in the last two races. Discarding a 5th from race two, the 2016 J/22 World Champion not only broke the day one tie for first place, but secured a HUUUGE (not fake news) 14-point advantage for BAD NEWS over their closest competitors— Todd’s HOT TODDY.

The balance of the top five were all within five points of each other, heading into the final day of competition on Sunday. Following Todd was Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP, whose solid day shot him into third place. Then, just one notch behind him was Lambert’s BLACKBURN MARINE RACING and Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1.
J/22 Midwinters winners- Mike Marshall
Day 3- Bad News Eclipses Fleet, Or Not?
The final day produced more good winds. That was good news! Taking advantage of their tactics, speed, and confidence, the three J/22 World Champions on BAD NEWS started the day with a 4-1, then sailed home knowing they had clinched the title.  Todd’s HOT TODDY from Annapolis YC posted a 5-13-3 to secure the silver.  Meanwhile, Lambert’s BLACKBURN MARINE RACING sailed a solid 9-2-4 to finish just three points back and take the bronze.  While they were hot on the trail for a podium finish, Doyle’s Youngstown YC crew faltered on the last day, posting a 1-8-10 to finish fourth. Then, past J/22 World Champion (another one??) Mark Foster and his crew on PRESSURE DROP (with Rod “Caracas” Favela and Travis Odenbach as crew) from Corpus Christi YC rounded out the top five.
J/22 sailboats- sailing downwind at Midwinters
Marshall credited his team for doing “99 percent of the work.” He explained, “Zeke called stellar tactics upwind in a super shifty venue. Todd called breeze downwind and talked about how we were doing relative to other boats. So, I could change what I needed to if we were going slow or keep trying to do what I was doing if we were going fast.” Marshall said all the competitors would be happy to come back to Fort Walton Beach again, summarizing it was “great sailing, flat water, really shifty and a super inviting yacht club.”  For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

St Thomas International Regatta Preview

J/122 sailing off Virgin Islands 
(Cowpet Bay, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- If your bucket list includes having a drink at one of the Favorite Yachting Bars in the Caribbean, then tick that box for the St. Thomas International Regatta. Announced in 2017, 50° North (creators of Wight Vodka) and Scuttlebutt Europe announced that the STIR-host (St. Thomas Yacht Club) won its annual contest in a special Caribbean category.

For those who have never visited, Cowpet Bay is a beautiful place to finish a race and the Club and its bar are located on the beachfront, literally. Plus, for those that are long timers, think back to your first Caribbean regatta and what a great experience it was. The club offers the same vibe year after year, with an emphasis on ‘simple fun and great sailing’. That’s why sailors love it!

There is no question many sailors are answering that siren call! For those that enjoyed Caribbean racing in the 1970s and 1980s – or heard the stories and wished you were there– this year’s St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 21st to 24th, is the place to be!
J/122 sailing Virgin Islands
A dozen boats are registered for the fourth annual Round the Rocks (RTR) race on Thursday. This one-day event, whose course is a 19 mile circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John, is a great way for teams to tune up for the main event starting on Friday. Boats sailing in the Round the Rocks race will start off St. Thomas’ east end off Cowpet Bay, sail counterclockwise around St. John, and finish off St. Thomas.

“By popular demand, we brought back the Round the Rocks race last year. This sprint around St John is both scenic and tactical. It’s a great way to kick-off STIR, especially with Rock City Brewing Company sponsoring the race and after-racing Happy Hour,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield.

CSA Spinnaker Racing class has four J/crews.  Topping that pack is Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID from Antigua.  Joining them will be Peter Lewis’ J/105 WHISTLER, the recent winner of their CSA 4 class at Heineken St Maarten Regatta; Mackenzie Bryan’s J/100 BAD GIRL from St. Croix YC; and Mike Felerabend’s J/24 BRAVISSIMO from St John YC.  For more St Thomas International Regatta sailing information

Friday, March 22, 2019

Light Airs Big Daddy Regatta

J/105 one-designs sailing San Francisco
J/120 Smokes Class, J/105s Battle!
(Richmond, CA)- The Big Daddy 2019 Regatta marks the 34th year of mark racing on Saturday and a Pursuit race on Sunday hosted by Richmond YC.  All mono-hulled keelboats with a Northern California PHRF rating of 280 and below were invited. Fleets over 5 boats may be given one-design starts on Saturday. The Sunday Pursuit Race is always a scream.  Then, après’ racing is perhaps the most popular part of the regatta; a great dinner and party with live band on Saturday night and breakfast for all on Sunday morning!

The sailing on San Francisco Bay in the late winter/ early spring is often not something to write home about.  It can be light, foggy, drifty, cloudy, ugly, rainy. Or, it can be simply a spectacular 10-15 kts sunny day at 70 degrees!  Such is the rights of spring-time weather on the infamous Bay, where “summer” in July can be 52 deg on the water blowing 30 kts (e.g. windchill way, way lower than light air cool days in the spring!).

Enduring the challenging scenarios were a flock of J/crews ranging from J/24s up to J/111s.  In the PHRF B “big boat” class, it was David Halliwill’s J/120 PEREGRINE from San Francisco YC that took class honors with straight bullets.  Second was last year’s class winner, Nesrin Basoz’s J/111 SWIFT NESS from Richmond YC that took three deuces to secure the silver.

In the J/105 one-design class, Chris Kim’s VUJA STAR from Richmond YC swept the series with straight bullets. Taking second with all deuces was Eric Patterson’s KESTREL from San Francisco YC and taking the bronze was Dick Maclay’s YELLOWFIN from Berkeley YC.

George Sirogiannis’ J/35 MOJO from Richmond YC sailed consistently to take 5th place in PHRF C Class.

Then, in PHRF E Class, the J/70s were doing battle with other sportboats, with the J/70s ultimately ruling the roost.  Winning was Mark Thomas’ J/70 KANGAROO JOCKY from Richmond YC with a 1-2-2 for 5 pts, with Tom Thayer’s J/70 RAMPAGE from Richmond YC posting a 7-1-1 for 9 pts to grab the bronze.

Finally, a classic J/24 won PHRF F Class!  That honor went to Richard Stockdale’s FROG LIPS taking the gold with a 1-2-1 for 4 pts. Sailing photo credit- Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo.  For more Big Daddy Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Newport to Cabo Drift-A-Thon Update

J/125 sailing Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas Race (Newport Beach, CA)- The 20th running of the 800.0nm Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race started this past week. So far, it has proven to be such an anti-climactic event, with such light airs, that nearly all of the last fleet to the starting line on Saturday (the Maxi’s and Super Maxi’s) have dropped out!! And, over a third of the rest of the fleet have done the same, “turning and burning” under their “iron gennies” to head back to home.

It is still a downwind race, with winds fluctuating from the northeast to northwest, as the fleet ever so slowly crawls down the Mexican coastline, literally! For the three J/Teams still on the race track offshore, they may be suffering anxiety attacks as each zephyr of wind rolls down from the heavens above to power them down, euphemistically speaking, to their ultimate destination in Cabo San Lucas.  Those three boats are Scott Grealish’s brand new J/121 BLUE FLASH, Viggo Torbensen’s J/125 TIMESHAVER from Dana Point YC, and Seth Hall’s J/124 MARISOL from Newport Beach, CA.  Live YB Tracking of the race here.  For more Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Team MBR (McGuffin Brothers Racing) Racing a J/24 to Alaska!?

J/24 Race 2 Alaska team McGuffin Brothers
It was in 2018 that four brothers in their late teens/20’s stopped whatever activity they were doing on Salt Spring Island (British Columbia), stared at the R2AK Race that swarmed around their island, and reached a collective conclusion: “There is an undefinable but compelling reason that we are drawn into this adventure,” and Team McGuffin Brothers Racing was born out of its own name.

At ages 18, 19, 19, and 22 years old, they are dead even with youngest team to ever enter.  The team members include Cianan McGuffin, Finn McGuffin, Callum McGuffin, and “brother in arms” Conner Ekelund.

Who are these ripped young’uns from the generation Millennials? Combined, they are sailors who dinghy train on 49ers every week, paddle a SUP 40 miles at a clip, hike the trails, paddle dragon racing canoes, amongst many other outdoor activities.

Short version: these guys aren’t waiting for life to happen, they’re happening to life.

Our favorite part: their goal is to use their soon to be R2AK-glory to springboard themselves into the world of professional sailing.

Their words: “We don’t see how Oracle Team USA could refuse us after we’ve completed this race!”  Two words: Larry Ellison.

While their guidance counselor might have just drank the other half of the bottle, she can rest easy on her desktop knowing they at least chose a boat well-suited as any for taking them to the land of salty opportunity. The J/24 might be the world’s most ubiquitous racing sled for this or any race.  Its got a keel to keep the wet side down, flared sides to keep the saltwater off the dry side, and a tiny cabin to create a bubble of sleepable moistness between the rain and sea.

There are over 5,400+ of these things charging around the buoys worldwide.  If you run the numbers, like we didn’t, literally at any given moment there are no less than seven J/24s sailing or nearly sailing, somewhere around Mother Earth!  That’s astounding! As far as we know, so far not one of them has gone engineless to Alaska!? Cool.

Note- these guys will be using oars, or maybe propellers driven by bicycles, in addition to other things to propel themselves along the tortuous route to the finish line.

Follow Team MBR and their sailing exploits on Facebook here  For more McGuffin Brothers Racing Team information  For more Race 2 Alaska sailing information

J/145 KATARA Flying Across the Caribbean!

J/145 sailing Caribbean 
J/145 #9, now called KATARA, is returning to her racing roots under new owner Roger Gatewood from Tampa, Florida. 

She will be flying the Davis Island Yacht Club flag out of Tampa Bay. Their 2019 schedule includes the Pineapple Cup, the RORC Caribbean 600, the Heineken St Maarten Regatta, Antigua Race Week, and culminates with the Transpac Race in 2019 that is celebrating its 50th year!

So far, they are getting faster and faster. In the Caribbean, they raced the CSA rating rule measured with a 157% genoa! Yikes, that has not helped their cause in the 15-25 kt trade winds! They are now getting re-rated for a 105% #3 jib like all the other competitors for their final Caribbean event.
J/145 sailing off St Maarten
Sean Motta, navigator of KATARA, explained they were first at every windward mark in the Heineken St Maarten Regatta and the fact they had no time to re-rate her for the CSA Rule after getting her shipped J/145 Katara training on Tampa Bayfrom the Pacific Northwest USA to Antigua.  Nevertheless, a quick “back of the napkin” calculation by Motta indicated they could have won “the Heineken” with their #3 jib.

After Antigua Race Week, KATARA will head downwind in the easterly tradewinds to Panama.  Transit the Panama Canal, and continue their delivery up to Los Angeles for the start of the Transpac Race on July 10th, 2019. They will get rated for ORR for the Transpac Race. Thanks for this heads-up from Sean Motta, navigator of KATARA!  Enjoy their Tampa Bay sailing video here on YouTube

J/120 Nationals Announcement!

J/120's sailing off Detroit (Cleveland, OH)- Edgewater Yacht Club is pleased to announce the 2019 J/120 Nationals will be held in conjunction with the popular Cleveland Race Week. The Great Lakes J/120 Fleet looks forward to sailing on Lake Erie from June 14th to 16th, 2019. This is a great opportunity for J/120 owners on eastern Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Lake St. Clair to meet in the middle and enjoy the late Spring sailing that is part of the legendary Cleveland Race Week.

For those needing a tune-up and a great kick-off to the season, head to Bayview Yacht Club for the Bayview One-Design Weekend, and then travel to Toledo Yacht Club for the ever-popular Mills Race and then head to Cleveland for the J/120 Nationals.

As host of the J/120 Nationals, Edgewater YC will provide convenient dockage for all J/120 teams and great racing on the open waters of Lake Erie.  The Notice of Race is posted here.  For more J/120 Nationals information and Cleveland Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.