Monday, September 30, 2019

Fantastic J/70 Fall Package Special!

J/70 sailing San Francisco Bay
(Newport, RI)- There is no hotter class in the new millennium than the J/70.  With 1,500 boats sailing in 25+ countries, the worldwide growth of J/Boats’ first ramp-launchable keelboat has been remarkable.

The owner-run J/70 Class is thriving with events for all ages and levels, youth and women’s championships, and includes upcoming World Championships in Marina del Rey, CA (2020), Monte Carlo, Monaco (2021), and Newport, Rhode Island (2022). 

More than just a world-class one-design, the J/70 is FUN to sail, easy-to-own, and easy-to-trailer for that next family adventure. And now, it’s never been easier to get started! From today until October 15, 2019, J/Boats is offering a Fall Special North American J/70 package:

J/70 Fall Package Special:
  • 2020 Model J/70 with standard equipment
  • Selden carbon mast and boom
  • Harken Snubbair low-profile winches
  • Cross-sheet jib cleats and vang cheek blocks
  • Galvanized, single-axle, float off/lift off trailer
  • Companionway spinnaker bag
  • Safety Gear– anchor, chain & rode, bucket, bilge pump, first aid kit, two fenders, two dock lines.
The Fall Package Special is $46,900 (Bristol, RI) for orders placed prior to October 15, 2019.   Please contact your local J/Dealer or J/Boats for more information. Learn more about the world’s most successful sportboat- the International J/70 here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


J/80 One Ocean at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
(Porto Cervo, Italy)- The 16th edition of the One Ocean MBA's Conference & Regatta, organized by SDA Bocconi School of Management and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) with the partnership of the One Ocean Foundation (OOF), got underway today. Taking place for the first time in the beautiful setting of the Costa Smeralda, about 400 students and alumni from the world's most prestigious business schools have gathered to experience three days dedicated to sailing and environmental sustainability.

More than 50 teams representing their respective business schools will face two days of racing divided into three categories. The Open J/24 Class will see 14 teams complete two windward-leeward races daily on board International J/24 one-design class sailboats. The teams will be competing for the MBA's Cup Challenge Trophy.

The business schools taking part in the event are: Cambridge Judge Business School, Chicago Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, ESADE Business School, GOETHE Business School, Harvard Business School, HEC, IE, IESE Business School, IMD, INSEAD, London Business School Simon Male, Manchester Business School, MIP School of Management, MIT SLOAN School of Management, SAUDER School of Business, SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management, TUCK School of Business, WHARTON School of the University of Pennsylvania, YALE School of Management and SDA BOCCONI School of Management.

The highlight of the event will take place on Saturday, September 21st, with the conference to be held at the Colonna Resort the day after the sailing regatta finishes. The conference was designed jointly by SDA Bocconi and the One Ocean Foundation, thanks to the scientific partnership between the two institutions. Spearheading that effort was Prof. Maurizio Dallocchio, Professor of Corporate Finance at the Bocconi University and Past Dean of the SDA Bocconi School of Management.

"Why future leaders need to face sustainability challenges"
The main focus will be on addressing the sustainability challenges that leaders of the future can no longer ignore. The conference, which will explore the impact of sustainability models and how they can help make the world a better place, will be attended by prominent speakers such as the President of Illycaffè, Andrea Illy, and, in his role as an OOF Ambassador, the explorer Paul Rose, as well as the artist Maria Cristina Finucci, founder in 2013 of the Garbage Patch State.

YCCS Commodore, Riccardo Bonadeo, commented on event: "We are happy to be able to host this regatta for the first time under the umbrella of our One Ocean Foundation and to be able to renew and deepen the collaboration with SDA Bocconi Business School, which from the outset has provided scientific supported to our journey with the One Ocean Foundation. I also think there is no more suitable setting than the one provided by Sardinia, in which to reflect together on issues related to sustainability and above all the preservation of the marine environment. I am sure that these will be three intense days which will provide interesting food for thought for the potential leaders of tomorrow."

The Dean of SDA Bocconi- Giuseppe Soda- commented that, "Sailing is a perfect metaphor for management that allows students from the main international business schools to learn very important lessons. Moreover, the partnership between SDA Bocconi and the One Ocean Foundation makes the value of sustainability a crucial issue for the managers of the future."

"The MBA's Conference and Regatta", added Federico Pippo, lecturer in Corporate Finance for the SDA Bocconi School of Management, "represents a further step on a path that we set out on 12 months ago together with the One Ocean Foundation, combining sport with scientific research. We are very happy with the partnership established with the foundation and the YCCS, which allows us to raise awareness among our MBA students, from all over the world, on the issues of environmental sustainability and the Blue Economy. 'Making the future the cause of our present' should be the motto of the event, to push future leaders to build an efficient society that is compatible with our civilization from an environmental and social point of view."

The MBA's Conference & Regatta is an international sailing event created 16 years ago by the Sailing Club of the SDA Bocconi School of Management. More than 4,000 students and alumni of the Masters in Business Administration have participated in the event to date.  For more MBA Conference & Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Annapolis YC Doublehanded Distance Race Preview

J/105s sailing offshore
(Annapolis, MD)- Racing sailboats across a long distance has inspired generations of sailors. The Annapolis Yacht Club announces a new 24-hour race for double-handed crews to start on Saturday, September 28, 2019 off the entrance to the Severn River. In response to the announcement by World Sailing, the international governing body of the sport, that the Olympic Games will host a mixed double-handed, long-distance competition beginning with the 2024 Paris Games, the Annapolis Yacht Club is among the first sailing organizations to create this new event.

The race course will be spread throughout the Chesapeake Bay with a finish line off the yacht club’s dock on Spa Creek. The race is scheduled to last 24 hours, the first boat to the finish line will receive the top prize. The race will be an endurance contest for the crews as they race throughout the night hours. Keeping the boat sailing fast, monitoring weather forecasts, careful navigation, precision boat handling, and physical stamina are a few of the attributes the crews will need to excel in this challenging contest.

The vision for the Olympic Games in 2024 is to feature a race of around 500 miles in a boat of about 30-32 feet in overall length. World Sailing is committed to gender equity in the sport and is encouraged by the tremendous interest throughout the world to compete for an Olympic medal. Early comments by World Sailing suggest that 18-20 countries will qualify for the medal race in 2024. Los Angeles 2028 also intends on hosting a long-distance double-handed race off the Southern California coast during the Olympics.

J/105s sailing offshore
With GPS-based tracking and easy communications with the competitors, the double-handed long-distance race will attract worldwide interest in all time zones 24 hours per day. Racing enthusiasts will be able to follow the Annapolis Yacht Club competitors throughout the race on the internet.

The AYC event will feature two divisions: one for mixed gender crews in J/105s and a second division open to male or female teams in boats of 25 to 42 feet using the Offshore Rating Council handicap rule to score the different size boats.

The seven-boat J/105 fleet has several famous offshore sailors participating. Among the early entrants is Randy Smyth, a two-time Olympic medalist and winning America’s Cup sailor. He will be paired with his friend Christina Parrson on-board MIRAGE. In addition, Patrick Gavin-Brynes & Evelyn Hull will be sailing AMERICAN OCEAN RACING PROJECT/ BREAKAWAY.

In the ten-boat ORC Division, there are two J/Duos racing; John Loe & Matt Schubert’s J/33 HORNET and Roger Lant & Mike Welin’s J/35 ABIENTOT. You can follow all the sailors on the event website!  For more AYC Doublehanded Distance Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Postcard-Perfect Opener for J/70 North Americans

J/70 sailing at North Americans in Cleveland, OH
(Cleveland, OH)- The Edgewater Yacht Club is hosting the 2019 edition of the J/70 North American Championship for the world’s largest and most popular sportboat class from September 24th to 29th. The thirty-five teams are now sailing on the challenging waters of Lake Erie, famous for its severe chop and rapidly changing winds along their city waterfront.
The fleet was greeted with postcard-perfect conditions on the first day of competition. A south breeze from 12-16 knots and gusts in the 20s meant perfect planing opportunities. Adding in sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, everyone relished the three races to kick off the Championship.

Oivind Lorentzen’s team on NINE (with crew of Lucas Calabrese, Ian Coleman and Will Felder) rocked all three contests to take the early advantage with 6 points, after posting a 1-2-3. John and Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES (with crew of Allan Terhune and Ben Lamb) started with a seventh and added two bullets for 9 points and second place. 2016 J/70 World Champion Joel Ronning on CATAPULT (with crew of Victor Diaz De Leon, Christopher Stocke, and Patrick Wilson) is only one point behind the Baxters in third with scores of 5-3-2.

J/70 sailing North Americans off Cleveland, OH
The second day dawned with grey, leaden skies that ultimately cleared for a spectacular sunny day of racing.  As the front and skies cleared, a strong northwest breeze filled in blowing 15-20 kts, with gusts in the high 20s.  What made the day an epic experience were the monster waves (e.g. giant chop) that made for some hair-raising, double-digit planing speeds on the downwind runs.

Following a redress hearing, Lorentzen’s NINE kept a slight grip on their lead with 8.3 points (2.3-3 on the day). It looked as though Ronning’s CATAPULT had moved into first. However, they now hold second place with 9 points. The Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES fell to third place with two fifths for 12 pts total.

John Brim’s RIMETTE took a bullet for the day’s first race, bringing them to fourth overall at 13 points. Following one point back is Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS.

Ronning, who won the day’s final contest, said, “the Worlds’ swells were very vertical while the swells here are wide and further apart, which led to an amazing downwind sleigh ride. You felt like you were on a cliff floating above the wave sometimes looking 7 feet down. It was a cool experience.”

J/70 sailing fast on Lake Erie
ROSEBUD’s Pamela Rose said she is excited to be one of two women skippers at the Championship, “very exciting, very similar conditions from the Worlds’ experience in 2018. It was exhilarating racing; we clocked 20 kts going downwind!!”

Martin Johnsson’s AQUAHOLIKS crew of Jorgen Johnsson, Lindsay Hernandez and August Hernandez continued to maintain their advantage in the Corinthian division.

Racing continues through Saturday. Photos are available on the International J/70 Class Facebook page.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes   For more J/70 North American sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

New York Yacht Club wins Annapolis 3-2-1 Regatta

New York YC wins Annapolis 3-2-1
(Annapolis, MD)- Yacht Club challenge events are that opportunity for cross pollination among the sailing world, with various racing formats allowing clubs to demonstrate their prowess on the water. Corinthian competition at its finest, and for the bruised egos during the day, the nightly events offer the prospect for redemption.

The three-day event will host teams of six crew representing their home club using boats supplied by AYC. Like a triathlon, there will be three different racing formats on keelboats: 3v3 team race with no spinnakers and two sailors per boat, 2v2 team race with spinnakers and three sailors per boat, and 1v1 match race with all six sailors. This array of disciplines will require a diverse skill set from each team member throughout the multi-day event.

New York Yacht Club won the inaugural Annapolis Yacht Club 3-2-1 Invitational held September 13-15 in Annapolis, MD. Seven teams faced off in 21 flights and 63 races over three days of chamber of commerce weather, with NYYC claiming the historic Sparkman & Stephens Trophy followed by Annapolis Yacht Club 2 in second and Severn Sailing Association in third.

The event format consisted of yacht club teams from around country with six crew that rotated into J/22s and J/30s in three disciplines throughout the each day: team race 2-up in 3v3, team race 3-up in two boats with spinnakers and then rotate onto a J/30 to match race with all six crew.

“This concept– three years in the making– came to fruition this weekend. The competitors were tapped both physically and mentally as they had to switch gears with roles, rules and even which way to round the mark,” said Bill Jorch, regatta co-chair.

Presenting sponsor of the regatta Barbados Tourism Marketing, Inc., donated a trip for two to Barbados including airfare. The lucky winner drawn from a list of all competitors was Rhoan Boucher, a member of “The Rhodies” a team made up of members of Ida Lewis Yacht Club and Bristol Yacht Club.  For more Annapolis 3-2-1 Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Canadian J/105 Championship Preview

J/105s sailing offshore
(Toronto, ONT, Canada)- The Royal Canadian Yacht Club will be hosting the 2019 Canadian J/105 Championship on Lake Ontario from September 27th to 29th. The enormously popular J/105 has continued to grow in Toronto and the fleet will be hosting their Canadian Nationals for a fleet of a dozen teams.

The Canadian fleet is surprisingly deep, with two teams that lay claim to four J/105 North American Championship titles between them; Terry McLaughlin & Rod Wilmer’s MANDATE and Jim Rathbun’s HEY JUDE. They are joined by other top crews like Peter Halls’ JAMAICA ME CRAZY, and Kevin Pask’s FULL TILT.  For more Canadian J/105 Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, September 27, 2019

J/Fest San Diego Preview

J/70s sailing off San Diego, CA
(San Diego, CA)- San Diego Yacht Club is proud to host the 2019 J/Fest San Diego regatta in Southern California – presented by JK3 Yachts- from September 28th to 29th.

J/Boats of all types are invited to the 2019 J/Fest Regatta. Any J/Boat is eligible to participate, and all are welcome to race in One-Design or J/PHRF classes.

The event features two days of racing, a BBQ/party on Saturday evening, and trophy ceremonies on Sunday following racing.

Eighteen teams are entered so far, with one-design classes for J/22s, J/70s, J/105s and J/120s, plus two J/145s entered in the J/PHRF Division.

In the J/105 class, you have class leaders like Rich Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR, Jan Dekker’s AIR BOSS, and Steve & Lucy Howell’s BLINK participating. And, in the J/120s, many of the top crews are entered, such as John Laun’s CAPER, Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN, Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER and John Snook’s JIM.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/  For more J/Fest San Diego sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

CVVT Top Swiss J/70 Sailing Challenge League

J/70s sailing of Lake Thun, Switzerland
(Spiez, Switzerland)- Over the weekend of September 13th to 15th, Swiss J/70 Sailing Challenge League teams eagerly traveled to the spectacular Lake Thun in the middle of Switzerland to sail off the fairy-tale town of Spiez. Featured on the prominent point is the 15th C Spiez Castle, overlooking the harbor and the pretty, classic, picturesque little Swiss village nestled on the edge of the mountainous lake.

Speiz, Switzerland on Lake Thun
The dozen teams that participated enjoyed light to medium lake breezes all weekend. With light winds in the morning, the fleet simply sat onshore until the “sea breeze” (thermal) picked up to 4 kts before heading out for more rounds of 15-20 minute short-course racing. The regatta PRO managed to run thirteen races; his job was made much easier with the “robot marks”- autonomous marks powered by simple electric trolling motors, run by an Android mobile phone app….move the mark on the map and the robot mark simply drives itself to that spot! Cool!

Swiss J/70 League winners at Spiez, Switzerland
Over the three days, the three podium spots were not decided until the final race. Fighting hard for those spots were four clubs; Cercle de la Voile Vevey la Tour, Seglervereinigung Thalwil, Yacht Club Spiez (the hosts), and Zurcher Yacht Club. After learning the ropes and how to make a J/70 go fast, YC Spiez raced up the standings after being mid-fleet for the first two days, scoring four bullets in a row to end up third on a tie-breaker with Zurcher YC. Winning the regatta was CVVT with just 26 points, scoring virtually all podium finishes. Second was SVT with 30 points.  For more Swiss J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

J/145 Wins Dennis Connor Around Coronados Race

J/145 sailing off San Diego, CA
(San Diego, CA)- This past Saturday, September 14th, the Cortez Racing Association held their annual Dennis Conner Around the Coronado’s Race. It is generally a quick trip of 30.6nm on a fast reach from the start off Point Loma, San Diego out around the Coronado rocks and back. The race was established to honor and commemorate one of the most famous San Diego sailors- the America’s Cup winning Dennis Connor (he was also a multiple-time Star World Champion).

There was a tremendous turn-out for the race, with fifty-four boats registered that included many of San Diego’s notable offshore ocean racers; such as Pendragon (TP52), Staghound (RP50), Blue Blazes (RP 50), Zero Gravity (Soto 40), Cabron (Botin 80), Hurricane (Stealth 11.8), Splendor (Driscol Sloop), and Sizzle (Hobie 33).

Despite the formidable competition, it was a family team on the J/145 PALAEMON that finished 1st in Class and 1st Overall! The boat was skippered by Rudy Hasl, with Phil Hasl as tactician.

“With winds in the 7-11 kts range and calm seas, our J/145 PALAEMON just glided effortlessly through the water, keeping a fast VMC to North Coronado Island and then back to the finish in San Diego Bay,” commented skipper Rudy Hasl. “We just flew past the Soto 40 and were behind the RP 50 Staghound by only 2 minutes! It was an exciting day for us!” Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

J/70 North American Championship Preview

J/70s off starting line
(Cleveland, OH)- The Edgewater Yacht Club will be hosting the 2019 edition of the J/70 North American Championship for the world’s largest and most popular sportboat class from September 24th to 29th. The racing will be taking place on the challenging waters of Lake Erie, famous for its severe chop and rapidly changing winds along their city waterfront.  In the background is the famous Rock & Roll Museum that is located, literally, on the waterfront.

Forty-four teams are participating from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. As one might expect, there are many strong teams participating as they begin to look forward to the 2020 J/70 World Championship in Long Beach, California.  Some of those crews from the USA include Dan Goldberg’s BAZINGA, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT, Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER, Tim Finkle’s JUNIOR, Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS, Gary Warner’s MOAB, Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE, John Brim’s RIMETTE, Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD (with Taylor Canfield as main/ tactician), Brian Keane’s SAVASANA, and John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES. The top non-USA teams include the Mexicans (Fernando Gutierrez’s WOODSTOCK & the Perez family’s ZAQUERO), the Brazilians (Harold Solberg’s VIKING and Pedro Camargo’s MANCHA NEGRA), the Chileans (Victor Lobos’ MEMPHIS and the Ducasse family’s DUCASSE Sailing Team), and the Canadians (Scott Weakley’s REX from Toronto).  For more J/70 North American sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

DIVA Dominates German J/80 Championship

J/80s sailing offshore
(Glucksburg, Germany)- Over the weekend of September 13th to 15th, the Flensburger Segelclub hosted their annual Flensburger Fordewoche for fleets of ORC handicap yachts and also the 2019 German J/80 Championship.  A fleet of eleven J/80s enjoyed good weather and an eight race, one-discard series on the lake.

The surprise winner was Arnet Wilcken’s DIVA team, sailing with two other family members (Karolin & Michaela Wilcken), Thore Hansen and Iver Hadler. They simply started out in first place on the first day and never wavered from their mission to win the German J/80 title for 2019.  Their record included only podium finishes of three 1sts, four 2nds, and a 3rd place that got tossed out! Their final tally of just 11 pts was 10 points ahead of the three-time German J/80 Champion- Martin Menzner’s PIKE. Menzner’s crew (Lars Keilwitz, Nils Beltermann, and Frank Lichte) posted three 1sts and two 2nds, but was inconsistent in the other races; their final score of 21 pts net landed them in the silver medal position. Rounding out the podium was Torsten Voss’ FRIDA with crew of Holger & Moritz Elle and Roland Villasenor; their net score was 26 pts.

Two Danish teams managed to make the trek from Copenhagen, Denmark to sail on the beautiful lake. Coincidentally, together, they rounded out the top five positions. Fourth was Flemming Djernaes’ PROJECT 2 (with crew of Jorn Anderson, Kim Londal, and Soren Bro Mikkelsen) and in fifth place was Johnny Jensen’s BHJ FONDEN (with his team of Soren Brask, Mads Petersen, and Rasmus Lamberts). For more German Open J/80 Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

VSW Dominating German J/70 Sailing League!

J/70s sailing off Germany
(Kiel, Germany)- One month before the big season finale for the eighteen sailing clubs in the German Sailing Bundesliga, the favorites were in top form on the penultimate round in Kiel, Germany from September 13th to 15th. The six event series started in Starnberg, and then went to Konstanz, Travemunde, Berlin, and Kiel in succession. The finale will end in Glucksburg.

J/70 sailing off Hamburg, Germany
The club Seglerhaus am Wannsee (VSaW) may, or may not, be the pre-ordained champion of the 2019 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga, but it would take a near act of God to displace them from the top of the podium for the overall season series in the final event in Glucksburg.

"We will do everything at the final to win, but we know that our chances for the championship title are low. In Glücksburg, we try to secure and expand our second place to be sure of the SAILING Champions League 2020. We do not look at the opponents behind us, but focus on our performance," said Nick Beulke, skipper of the Bayerischer Yacht-Club’s team. Nevertheless, overcoming a 15 pts lead in one regatta is virtually impossible, other than a complete nuclear meltdown and virtual withdrawal by the VSW team.

J/70 German women's sailing team
In last weekend’s DSBL Kiel event, VSW won the regatta quite convincingly, even dominating last year’s DSBL winner- Norddeustcher Regatta Verein. That remarkable outcome sealed the deal for VSW’s remarkable season that started off with a 1st place in the first event in Starnberg. They followed the fantastic performance with a 4th in Konstanz, a 4th in Travemunde, and a 1st in Berlin.

J/70 German sailing league winners
Meanwhile, Bayerischer Yacht-Club, Wassersport-Verein Hemelingen and NRV are locked in a huge battle for the last two spots on the podium, as a mere three points separate them all! What goes down in Glucksburg will determine the silver and bronze Medallists on the podium… anything can happen between these three high-octane, incredibly competitive teams. For NRV, it is an opportunity for redemption, to dig themselves out of the basement of despair and live to tell another story of triumph.  For WSH, it is a story of ultimate triumph and glory for a team that has never been on the podium overall. For BYC, accustomed to battling NRV for the all-German J/70 club honors, it is a battle for consistency to remain relevant at the top of the leaderboard.

The big season finale for the 36 clubs of the 1st and 2nd Sailing Bundesliga will be held in Glücksburg at the Flensburg Sailing Club from 17th to 19th October.  Follow the German J/70 Sailing League (Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga) on Facebook   For more German J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Brando Seglare 1 Lead Finnish J/70 Sailing League

J/70 sailing off Finland
(Espoo, Finland)- This past weekend, the Finnish J/70 Sailing League sailed their first of three events in Espoo, Finland for the twelve sailing clubs from across their cool Scandinavian nations. The regatta was blessed with a cross-section of weather, challenging the sailors from light to breezy conditions.

J/70 Finland winners
In the end, it was Brando Seglare 1’s amazingly consistent performance that earned them their first well-deserved win. Their record was simply remarkable- nine 1sts, eight 2nds, and just two 3rds to win with a total of just 32.5 points. Behind them, it was an all-out battle for the silver position on the podium. With just six boats sailing each heat, there was lots of room for rapid losses and gains that are even more rapid. Feeling the heat of such roller-coaster racing were Nylandska Jaktklubben and Alandska Segelsallskapet 1 teams.  The outcome of their titanic struggles was determined in their 20th and final heats! Taking the silver by just one point was Nylandska Jaktklubben over Alandska Segelsallskapet 1.  Follow the Finnish J/70 Sailing League on Facebook   For more Finnish J/70 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, September 23, 2019

KSSS Crowned Swedish Sailing League Champions

J/70 sailing off Sweden
(Vasteras, Sweden)- For the eighteen Swedish sailing clubs that participated in the 2019 Allsvenskan (Swedish J/70 Sailing League), there was no question the outcome of the four event series (Strängnäs, Malmo, Örnsköldsvik, Vasteras) was nowhere near predictable.

Winning the first two regattas in near “runaways” was SFS Hunnebo. However, an incredibly disastrous 13th place performance in the Örnsköldsvik event proved to be their undoing. Despite an amazing rebound to take a third in the final event, it was not event to top the leaderboard, but sufficient to bronze overall.

J/70s sailing off Sweden
The Hjuviks BK sailing club was not considered by the “betting parlors” to be a top team at the beginning of the season. But, after a 3-5 in the first two events, everyone took notice the HjBK team was an incredibly competitive crew to contend with. Despite a 7th at Örnsköldsvik, the HjBK team bounced back with a vengeance to take second in the final event and secure the silver for the overall series, much to the surprise of the other top teams from the previous season.

J/70s sailing off Sweden
If HjBK was a surprise, the stunning performance of the SFS Hunnebo team simply came out of “left field”. Who? The team won the first two series in Strängnäs and Malmo quite handily. They, like their  HjBK colleagues, simply sent their fortunes “down the mineshaft” at Örnsköldsvik, finishing 13th— ouch, like almost last!! In the finale, they redeemed themselves as a team and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to secure a third in the finale to take the bronze overall! A thrilling finale for the SFS team!

KSSS wins Swedish J/70 Sailing League
The ultimate winner, KSSS (Royal Swedish YC), started off with a humbling 4th place finish in the first event in Strängnäs. However, like a team and train gaining steam and strength in every event, their 2nd in Malmo, 2nd in Örnsköldsvik, and winning the finale in Vasteras sealed the deal for what became a very, very strong team in the end. Congratulations to the KSSS team- Hugo Christensson, Mathias Hermansson, Björn Hansen and Jenny Hammersland. Plus, congrats to all the other team members during the year- Mikael Lindqvist, Pontus Meijer, Liv Gyllfors, Mathias Bredin, Niklas Edler, Hedvig Liljegren, Carl Johan Leuckfeld, Fredrik Liljegren, Hampus Appelgren, and Linnea Floser.  Follow the Swedish J/70 Sailing League on Facebook  For more Swedish J/70 Sailing League sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Epic Finale @ Rolex Big Boat Series

J/70 sailing San Francisco Bay
(San Francisco, CA)- Seventy-nine teams gathered on San Francisco Bay to sail the 55th edition of the St. Francis Yacht Club’s annual Rolex Big Boat Series from September 11th to 15th. The regatta format is unique in that it offers enormous challenges to the most experienced skippers, tacticians, and crews. Their is a premium on getting good starts, divining the swift moving currents, and executing perfectly on teamwork to get into and out of the corners of the random leg race courses; the StFYC PRO has over forty-three courses to choose from depending on breeze direction and strength and factoring in the current that can often hit 5.0 kts in some places in the Bay! This year, the contingent of J/Teams virtually took over the Rolex Big Boat Series, with five boats sailing ORR Division and fleets of J/70s (14), J/88s (6), and J/105s (23) sailing one-design courses in the morning (windward-leewards), and the random leg course in the afternoon to finish off the fable finish line off the StFYC Race Deck! That was a total of forty-eight J/Teams, about 61.0% of the total fleet!

The 2019 edition posed a few new challenges for the sailors this year as the first two days were warm and light, while the second half of the regatta on Saturday and Sunday provided classic SF Bay conditions- the famously epic, “fresh to frightening”, “blowing dogs off chains”, 18 to 30 kts of cold Pacific Ocean breezes from the west underneath the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. Here are the daily reports on what went down over the four days and some of the carnage some unfortunate J/teams endures in the big breeze.

sunset on San Francisco Bay
Day 1- Dawn Glass-out to Afternoon Cruise Around
If nature abhors a vacuum, sailors have detested windless conditions since the days of ancient mariners. Historically, there is little reason to sing the lack-of-wind blues, given the Bay’s notorious reputation for delivering breeze-on racing. Unfortunately, for these same sailors, Thursday delivered one of the Bay’s rare, windless mornings forcing the StFYC’s Race Committee to make the difficult decision to downshift from the day’s two planned races to a single afternoon race, allowing the slowly building sea breeze to develop and overcome the unseasonably warm onshore temperatures enshrouding the city.  

“The forecast is uncharacteristically light this week because of the nice weather,” said Graham Biehl, the StFYC’s Race Director, who explained that, typically speaking, high temperatures in the city equate to light airs on the Bay. “So, we have plans to run shorter races. It’s the reason that we have so many courses to choose from,” he said, adding that he and his team have 43 racecourse permutations available. “We don’t like to shorten courses— this is tricky for the racers,  So, we choose courses that are on the shorter side.”

While the AP flag flew for several (atypical) hours from the RC boat, all competitors and organizers understood that the pain was ephemeral.

“Compared to a lot of other places that lose days to too little wind, too much wind or lightning storms, we have it really good on the Bay,” said Susan Ruhne, Regatta Chair for the 55th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series. “But I always tell people that days like this are a really good test of a crew’s ability to shift into action when the wind fills in. Good boats are able to just go into race mode so that when the wind fills in, it’s game on.”

That is exactly what happened at approximately 1400 hours, local time, when the call was made to send the eight fleets out for a single race, which started in light airs developed into great racing late afternoon.

Once the sea breeze finally arrived, the Race Committee selected courses that were heavy on tactical challenges but relatively shy on miles. This smart move ensured great racing on an afternoon when the ebbing tide opposed the westerly breeze, making for sluggish upwind and downwind legs.

“We always say that, while we can’t control the weather, we can deliver world-class race course management,” said Ruhne. “Today was a great example of this. We didn’t like skipping the day’s first race, but it was worth it to ensure fair and even racing across the Bay.”

Winning the first J/70 race was Peter Cameron’s KANGAROO JOCKEY, followed by Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER and John Brigden/ Chris Snow’s COOL STORY BRO.  In the J/88s, Jim Hopps’ WHITE SHADOW started off strongly with a bullet, with David Britt’s SPLIT WATER and Steven Gordon’s INCONCEIVABLE rounding out the top three.  In the heated J/105 battles, it was Tim Russell’s super J/105 NE*NE winning the light airs race over Ryan Simmon’s BLACKHAWK and Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault’s ARBITRAGE (the recent winners of the J/105 North Americans). In ORR C Class, David Halliwill’s J/120 PEREGRINE took the win, followed by fellow J/120 CHANCE (Barry Lewis) taking the deuce.

J/105s sailing San Francisco
Day 2- More Chesapeake Bay-like weather- hot and flat!
Generally speaking, Fridays that fall on the 13th don’t enjoy a strong reputation for events unfurling smoothly, and when it coincides with hot, onshore temperatures in San Francisco, the situation on the Bay can become light, patchy, or even downright breathless. Such was the case today for the crews on Friday morning. The morning dawned bright, blue and warm, with barely a cat’s paw aggravating the Bay. While this certainly wasn’t the lucky start that many competitors were hoping for at a regatta that does not drop races, the day’s silver lining was a weather forecast that promised breeze by mid-afternoon. The AP flag remained hoisted with sailors idling ashore until 1400 hours when enough sea breeze arrived to allow the race committee to score a single race.

“The high temperatures ashore make it difficult to run races,” said Graham Biehl, StFYC’s Race Director, noting that today played out much like the first day of racing at this high-level event, with a single—albeit high-quality—race scored in all eight fleets. “But, the good news is that Saturday and Sunday look to be typical San Francisco Bay conditions.”

Competition was plenty stiff in ORR-B. “It’s a competitive fleet and the boats are exciting, with sport boats and sport-boat-like boats, so it attracts some great talent,” said Rich Jepsen, who is serving as vice president of US Sailing and as tactician aboard Dick Swanson’s J/111 BAD DOG (USA 103). “We’re an amateur crew, so we’ll be happy to stay in contact with the best boats, such as another J/111 that we spar with- SWIFT NESS.”

In ORR C Class, the J/120s continued to perform well, with Lewis’ CHANCE and Halliwill’s PEREGRINE scoring a 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The J/105 class was witnessing a strong leader emerging in the form of Ryan Simmon’s BLACKHAWK, adding a 1st to their tally to lead with just 3 pts. However, behind them it was evolving into a dogfight between three boats- Russell’s NE*NE, ARBITRAGE, and Jeff Litfin’s MOJO.

J/105s on San Francisco Bay
Day 3- Classic, Epic, Fresh to Frightening Winds… Finally!
After two days of light-air racing, Mother Nature finally flipped the fun switch on day three, giving the big-air fanatics a huge dose of the classic Bay breeze. After starting in a beautiful morning breeze from the west of 10-12 kts, by the time the Race Committee’s finishing gun fell silent, gusts of 25+ knots were reported by the Golden Gate Bridge.

“The breeze came back!” said Graham Biehl, StFYC’s Race Director, the relief from the last two days of AP flags and wind holds visible on his now-happy face. “Thankfully the forecast materialized and we got in two races in a row.”

While breeze-on conditions are especially helpful to the heavily ballasted Classics class and the larger ORR-A and ORR-B boats, the same relief visible on Biehl’s face was evident on the expressions of J/70, J/88 and J/105 sailors, all of whom were more than happy to abandon their cerebral, light-air skills for the kind of heart-pounding, adrenaline-filled downhill rides that draw these One Design teams to this regatta, year-on-year.

“The Rolex Big Boat Series is a World Championship qualifier for the 2020 J/70 Worlds, and it’s good to see a big fleet,” said Biehl. The winning Open and Corinthian J/70 teams will both receive berths to the 2020 J/70 Worlds (July 27-August 2, 2020), which is being hosted by the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, California. “We haven’t seen much J/70 action on the Bay since the 2016 Worlds, which we hosted at StFYC, so it’s good to see them lining up again.”

Christy Usher, co-owner and co-skipper of CHRISTINE ROBIN, explained that while some J/70 teams competing have already qualified for the 2020 Worlds, their prize berths transfer to the next fastest finisher if an already-qualified team wins top honors in either the Corinthian or Open divisions. “No mercy is being shown out there,” said Usher, adding that every J/70 team entered the regatta to win, plain and simple. “Everybody wants to go to next year’s Worlds because it’s local—there’s no hassle of traveling to Europe or the East Coast, so these berths are first and foremost in everyone’s minds.”

Scott Sellers, one of three owners of 1FA (USA 534), which is one of five Corinthian entries amongst the 14-strong J/70 fleet, re-emphasized what makes late-summer sailing on the Bay so special. “Tight competition and screaming spinnaker runs all over the Bay are the most memorable parts of Big Boat Series,” said Sellers. Harrison Turner, another one of 1FA’s co-owners, agrees. “This venue is one of the most unique in the world that always delivers high quality racing,” said Turner. “It takes a lot of local knowledge to sail the Big Boat Series…it really places a premium on doing your homework and drawing on previous BBS experiences.”

John Brigden’s COOL STORY BRO beat Usher’s CHRISTINE ROBIN and Kostanecki’s JENNIFER across the line for the day’s first race. Brigden had a repeat performance during the day’s second race, besting Cameron’s KANGAROO JOCKEY, followed by CHRISTINE ROBIN. After a total of four races, COOL STORY BRO tops the J/70 class leaderboard, followed by CHRISTINE ROBIN and 1FA.

While the J/88 class isn’t wrestling for berths to their Worlds, they are competing for top bragging rights in their second running as a One-Design class at the West Coast’s most competitive regatta.

“We definitely feel the pressure, every other team has been working hard to come get us,” said Gary Panariello, skipper of COURAGEOUS and the 2018 winner of a Rolex timepiece and the Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy.

Still, experiencing pressure and having fun are by no means mutually exclusive entities.

“The best part of racing at the Rolex Big Boat Series is the wildly varying conditions,” said Panariello. “Breeze on and more on, water flowing in every direction, heavy metal (ships) moving down through the middle of the race course and lots and lots of boats trying hard to get to the same spot.” And then there’s the matter of managing sight lines and real-time tactics while negotiating a six-strong fleet of identical boats. “Driving the boat downwind in big breeze is super exciting,” continued Panariello. “The big challenge driving is that it's hard to see anything other than the big kite! You need to have great faith that the crew is keeping all eyes out of the boat.”

Sadly, faith didn’t keep Gordon’s INCONCEIVABLE mast vertical during the day’s second race, as the fleet got pounded by heavy conditions on the inside of the Golden Gate Bridge. After losing her rig over the side, INCONCEIVABLE had to retire from the race and the regatta. But, looking outside of the lifelines helped COURAGEOUS out-sail Britt’s SPLIT WATER and Jeremy Moncada’s JUNO to take the day’s first bullet. Then, the leaders flip-flopped in the second race, with SPLIT WATER claiming top honors, followed by COURAGEOUS and Jim Hopp’s WHITE SHADOW. At day’s end, WHITE SHADOW and SPLIT WATER were tied on points, with COURAGEOUS 2 pts back.

Meanwhile, amongst the 23-strong J/105 class– the regatta’s largest One Design class and racing for StFYC’s Commodore’s Cup perpetual trophy and accompanying Rolex timepiece– competition was as stiff as ever. This began with the day’s first starting line sparring in the Treasure Island starting area, and it continued through two races to culminate in a series of fast, close, downwind finishes off of the StFYC’s Race Deck.

“It was really interesting and variable out there today,” said Ryan Simmons, skipper of BLACKHAW, who reported seeing a puff of 30 knots when they were just to the east of the Golden Gate Bridge. “By the second leg of the second race we were seeing winds in the mid-20s, with bigger puffs. Driving was very intense and was all about turning down in the puffs downwind.”

BLACKHAWK’s crew proved they are equally adept at winning in a breeze as they are in the light stuff by taking the bullet in the day’s first race. BLACKHAWK was joined across the finish by Ian Charles’ MAVERICK and Phillip Laby’s GODOT, in 2nd & 3rd, respectively. In the second race, Russell’s NE*NE earned the win, followed by BLACKHAWK and Rolf Kaiser’s DONKEY JACK. After four races, Blackhawk led the chase in the J/105 class, followed by NE*NE and Littfin’s MOJO.

Sadly for the crews of Laby’s GODOT and William Woodruff and Sergey Lubarsky’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE, the gusty conditions during the second race proved stronger than their rigs, which succumbed to classic West Coast air loading. Thankfully, no injuries were reported at press time, however, there’s no question that this mishap will sadly prove detrimental to both teams’ hopes of seeing their names etched onto the Commodore’s Cup.

J/70 winners- Cool Story Bro
Day 4- More Epic, Breeze-on Weather for the “Bay Tour”!
Cool onshore temperatures, ebbing fog, flooding waters and a gathering sea breeze greeted the sailors on the final day. That is usually a recipe for a massive breeze to build by early afternoon. The day’s course selection allowed all teams to strut their big-air skills while enjoying a stadium-style finish in front of cheering fans ashore on StFYC’s Race Deck.

ORR B Class sailors raced for The City of San Francisco Trophy, which consists of one of the golden spades used during the 1933 groundbreaking ceremony for the Golden Gate Bridge. After a total of five races, Zachery Anderson and his J/125 VELVET HAMMER took the silver while Reuben Rocci’s J/111 SWIFT NESS just missed a podium finish by 3 pts in the epic final race, taking fourth place in the end.

ORR C Class saw the two J/120’s land on the podium, but not the in the way Lewis’ CHANCE team wanted to end the regatta. Going into the last race, CHANCE was leading the class by one point. However, they had their hands full taking on a well-sailed Swan 42 and their colleagues on the J/120 PEREGRINE. In the end, a disappointing final race 4th place ensured CHANCE of the silver, but no Rolex Submariner watch to add to their collection (they have won their class before!). Taking third was Halliwill’s PEREGRINE.

StFYC’s Commodore’s Cup is awarded to the regatta’s largest One-Design fleet, an honor that once again falls to the 23-strong J/105 class. Simmons’ BLACKHAWK crew showcased their big-fleet-management skills to win this proud trophy and accompanying Rolex timepiece; they were joined on the J/105 class podium by Russell’s NE*NE and Charles’ MAVERICK, in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

While these four classes competed for perpetual trophies and timepieces, the racing was just as tough in other classes. For example, the J/70 class saw 14 boats on the starting lines, making it the regatta’s second-largest One Design class. Bridgen’s COOL STORY BRO demonstrated regatta-winning strategy and skills to take home the top prize in this popular class. They were joined on the podium by the 1FA team (Scott Sellers, Harrison Turner and Geoff McDonald) and Tracy and Christy Usher’s CHRISTINE ROBIN.

Additionally, the top Corinthian and Open J/70 teams at this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series also competed for berths at the 2020 J/70 Worlds (July 27-August 2, 2020), which is being hosted by the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, California. 1FA and Cool Story Bro. emerged as the Corinthian and Open winners; however, because 1FA already earned their Corinthian berth, this slot will go to the Usher’s CHRISTINE ROBIN.

The J/88 made its Rolex Big Boat Series debut in 2018, and the newly-launched class returned this year with even more polished skills and tactics, not to mention racecourse strategies honed during last year’s regatta. Ultimately, David Britt’s SPLIT WATER took first-place honors, followed by Panariello’s COURAGEOUS and Hopp’s WHITE SHADOW, who took home second and third place finishes.

While all racers care about their results, they also care about sailing on clean, plastic-free water, and StFYC took some significant steps to make their signature regatta a significantly more sustainable event. “I was proud that the StFYC received Sailors for the Sea’s Platinum-level status for this year,” said Ruhne. “Seeing refillable water-bottles and the West Marine-sponsored water bottle stations was great. We significantly reduced the amount of single-use plastic waste at this regatta, which is a win-win situation for everybody involved.” Sailing photo credits- Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing.  For more Rolex Big Boat Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What Makes Sailing So Special

J/24 Nationals
J/24 Team: Josh Toso, Marty Gallagher, Elisa Schneider, Beau DeLapouyade, Valerie Bucholtz

Josh Toso's Reflections from J/24 Nationals
A week before the start of J/24 Nationals I was presented with the opportunity to hop on a crew for the regatta. A buddy of mine, whom I have sailed against for many years and a couple times on his J/24, was in dire need of crew as his had bailed and he was contemplating just bagging the event altogether. Having not raced in a major regatta in over 3 years, although I grew up racing and campaigning J/24s through high school, college and into my late 20s and early 30s, I jumped at this chance to get back in the saddle again. Our final result was not exactly what we had hoped for, finishing around mid-fleet, however just being at the event, I was reminded how absolutely amazing the sport of sailing truly is and how special the J/24 class is. There are certain things that differentiate our sport and set it apart from almost every other, and those virtues were on full display this late August weekend in Rochester, NY.

New Friends become Old Friends
Because my driver’s entire crew had bailed, we ended up scrambling to fill out our crew. I was slated to trim the genoa upwind and the spinnaker downwind, but we still needed to find a bow, mast and middle/tactician. As we turned our sights to the crew-boards, we were able to secure three women to complete our crew. Not only were these three women from completely different parts of the country (Florida, Upstate New York, and Montana) and all different ages (20s, 30s and 40s), but they had also never met each other and never met my driver or myself. In fact, the first time we all met each other was on Thursday afternoon for the practice race and we didn’t even meet our mast girl until Friday morning, about 2 hours before the first warning signal of the regatta. Our expectation was that it would probably take quite a bit of time for us to get to know each other and become a cohesive crew, working in tandem to get the boat around the racetrack as fast as possible. However, what we experienced was five people operating completely in sync with almost flawless crew work, right from the get-go. We were even asked multiple times at the after-racing parties how long we had all been racing together, as others couldn’t believe that we had all met just the day before.

The outstanding crew work and somewhat respectable finish, although unexpected, was not the most surprising thing our crew experienced. From the minute we all met on Thursday, and meeting our mast girl on Friday, the whole crew just clicked, and we were all instantly comfortable with each other…like we had known each other for years. It didn’t take long for inside jokes to develop and friendships to form and an amazing time was had on and off the water. When I asked our driver, Marty Gallagher (Scituate, MA), how he felt about going to the crew-board and finding random people to sail with who he’d never met before he mentioned, “Some adventures require a real leap of faith. Racing in big regattas is definitely an adventure because you never really know what will happen. I’ve found when you’re short of crew and reach out to the J/24 community for help, hands just start going up…racers from all over eager to join a team. You know they are adventurers too.”

A special relationship that was formed out of this adventure was that of the three women on the boat. Having never met each other until the day before (or day of) the regatta, they instantly connected, and their friendship quickly blossomed. By the end of the first day they were acting more like sisters than people who just met the day before. By the end of the event, the bond they had built was extending their relationship into the future with talk of joining together on an all-women’s crew for the Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco. Valerie Bucholtz, our middle/tactician, said of this newfound friendship, “Sailing attracts a certain style of person, its people who want to feel alive and exhilarated. I had no doubt that I’d like everyone on the crew and that we’d become friends. The next level of having each other’s back, laughing, teasing and sharing was a bonus and is what makes it so great and special.” There is no doubt in my mind that these three ladies will forever be friends and have many more adventures together…and the sport of sailing is what made it all happen.

The Sea Bags Women Sailing officially arrived at this year’s J/24 Nationals and put the whole J/24 Class on notice that they are here to compete on the national stage and here to stay. Their development, growth and advancement can be directly attributed to their perseverance and hard work and they epitomize what makes our sport so great.

The Sea Bags Women’s Sailing Team has been campaigning their J/24 for the past five years. The team got together after Erica Beck Spencer went to Worlds in Newport in 2014 and got frustrated that there were only 2 all women’s teams out of 79. Jess Harris and her parents bought the boat in February of 2015 and their first event was that year’s Midwinter Championship at Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida. The team has had a number of women come and go over the years, but they tend to have about 11-12 ladies who rotate in and out and compete at about 9-10 regattas per year.

I have seen this amazing team of ladies progress throughout their time together, first meeting them at the 2015 Downeast Regatta in Portland, Maine. Although they like to have fun at the regattas as much as the next boat, their sights are always on improvement, looking for and seeking out every opportunity they can to get better. They make sure to attend every daily debrief, every dock talk, and are consistently one of the first boats out to the racecourse testing the wind conditions and honing their crew work and skills. They are always the first ones to ask questions at the pre-regatta local knowledge talks and are never shy to approach the pros and elite armatures under the regatta party tent to absorb every bit of information they can. I have followed the growth of this team throughout the years, and with every regatta they participate in they continually improve their skills and knowledge, and in turn, their results. This year they took first place in the J/24 fleet at the Sailing World’s Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD Regatta and placed 13th at the J/24 National Championship, only 7 points out of the top 10…by far their best finish at a national regatta. They were in the lead pack all the way around the track in almost every race, mixing it up with the Pros and the top J/24 sailors in the country.

Following the regatta, I caught up with Erica Beck Spencer, co-captain and skipper of Sea Bags Women’s Sailing Team, to understand the work they have put in and to what she attributed their continuing success. “I couldn’t have been more proud of our team at this year’s J/24 Nationals. All year we’ve been focused on getting off the starting line with speed. After this year’s Midwinters we focused on practicing our approach to the starting line way before the line was even set. We ping an imaginary starting line, we set a timer and we imagine we are in traffic and work on accelerating. We try to do this several times before the actual start. This goal really paid off this year and has reflected in our results. At Nationals, we were able to get off the starting line with speed in every race. Our tactician, Hillary Noble, could really decide where we wanted to go instead of needing to bail out and get to clear air. Our travel team has been sailing together for many years now, and this helps tremendously. We show up to every dock talk with questions and my notebook to make it possible for us to learn as much as possible and to retain that information. We channel a growth mindset and constantly want to improve.”

As Erica went to the stage to receive the Top-Female Crew award she thanked her whole crew and the work they had put in, but also made sure to give thanks to the rest of the fleet as well…for it’s because of them and their openness to share stories, best practices and knowledge that has allowed her team to elevate their performance and helps to improve the entire class. Erica gave a specific shout out to the Pros of the J/24 Class, thanking Will (Welles), Mike (Ingham), Carter (White), Travis (Odenbach), Tim (Healy) and others for supporting her and her team and for constantly being approachable, friendly, welcoming and always willing to share and help. She attributed much of her team’s success to the guidance and support of these individuals and of the rest of the fleet.

Mixing it up with the Pros
I think you’d be hard pressed to find many sports where amateur athletes have the opportunity to compete against the pros in their sport on a consistent basis. Sailing is special in that way, where the lines between pros and amateurs are somewhat blurred and grey and because of that, a special relationship is built between the two. I play in a men’s ice hockey “beer league” and a handful of other adult sports leagues, and even at the highest level, the closest we ever come to competing against a pro is possibly having an opponent (or someone on our team) who maybe once played a year or two in the minor leagues, or maybe coached (or is coaching) a lower level college team or high level high school team. For the most part, the pros and amateurs don’t mix and do not compete against each other.

However, in sailing it’s a little different. It’s common place that National, North American and World Championships, in whatever class you are competing, have a combination of professional and amateur sailors competing against each other…and the amateurs even beat the pros from time to time. Heck, it even happens quite often in the local regattas as well. In sailing, the pros are just as much a fabric of our sport as the weekend warrior or “beer can” sailor…not necessarily these athletes on a pedestal to which you could never compare or unapproachable celebrities. They are part of the sailing family and want to help and see all the sailors they come in contact with improve…albeit sometimes to sell more sails, parts or boats…but for the most part, to ensure the health of the sport we all love and see it grow and encourage continued participation.

These interactions and relationships were never more apparent to me than at this year’s J/24 Nationals. With no less than nine pro boats out of the 46 competing, 20% of the fleet was comprised of people who make a living racing sailboats. However, you wouldn’t know it out on the racecourse or by looking at the standings as amateur sailors were constantly in the top pack, finishing in the top 10 of each race and even finishing in the top 10 overall. Under the tent, this reflection became even more clear as I observed pros and amateurs swapping stories around the keg and bar, laughing with and learning from each other, and genuinely enjoying each other’s company…whether they were longtime friends or just met at this regatta. This type of relationship isn’t exclusive to the J/24 Class, it happens all around the country at almost every major regatta. But in my estimation and humble opinion, the pros in the J/24 Class are some of the most friendly, kind, approachable, and all around great people that our sport has to offer. It is truly a special relationship and one that I am thankful I get to experience at every regatta I attend.

Race Committee – The Unsung Heroes
In any sport, it’s usually said that if you don’t notice the officials or referees, then they are doing their job correctly. In sailing this can be true as well and, in our sport, the Race Officials are truly the unsung heroes of any big race. With racing conditions and elements out of their control, it is up to the Race Committee to ensure that the racing is as fair and even as possible as well as to maximize the opportunity for racing on the constantly and ever-changing field of play. Some days with steady and consistent breeze, it’s as easy as setting the course and just running the starts. But other days can be more challenging with increases and decreases in velocity and oscillating wind shifts. It takes a well-trained and coordinated crew to overcome some of these challenges where communication is key, and execution is paramount.

At this year’s J/24 Nationals, I witnessed one of the best Race Committee crews doing what they do best. The Race Committee was headed up by PRO Matt Hill (Race Administration Director of US Sailing) but also had International Race Officers Hank Stuart, a local of the Rochester area, and John Strassman…two of the best Race Officers not only in our country, but in the world. Matt, Hank and John were joined by an elite team of volunteers who exceptionally communicated with each other and with the competitors and executed flawlessly. The three-day regatta experienced a wide range of racing conditions with winds as low as 3 knots and as high as 15-17 knots. At some points racers experienced oscillating 30-degree wind shifts as well as the wind just shutting off mid race, making it extremely difficult to even finish. But the Race Committee did its job by adjusting the course in direction and length almost every leg to ensure that each upwind and downwind was as true as possible. The Race Committee also understood the competitive nature and depth of this J/24 fleet, and as such, set a long first windward leg in order to separate the fleet before mark 1 and subsequently shortened the second windward leg to complete each race in a timely fashion. As expected with this aggressive fleet, many boats were pushing the line at each start, but the Race Committee did a masterful job through many general recalls utilizing the U and Black flags to control the start line.

Following the event, when asked about the work of his Race Committee, PRO Matt Hill said, “It was a pleasure working with such a professional and efficient Race Committee team. It’s the mark boat work that makes the race committee look good, and the mark-set team brought their A game. The pin boat set fair lines, the gate boat made sure the gates were square and properly sized, and the windward mark-set boat crew got a workout moving the marks left, right, up and down to keep the course balanced in the varying wind. Aboard the signal boat, Rochester Yacht Club Race Committee veteran Shirley Shumway kept us on our toes and well fed, junior sailor Tomas Riccio kept the flags going up and down at the right time, and IROs Hank Stuart and John Strassman brought their deep experience and expertise. I felt fortunate to be able to work with such a capable, fun team.”

I am sure we can all say that we’ve raced in some regattas with suspect Race Committee work, and in those events, we definitely notice it. I know the goal of any official is to not be noticed, but in this regatta, the unbelievable, professional and excellent work by the Race Committee was very much noticed…and appreciated. I can only hope that the next regatta I race in has half a good Race Committee as this J/24 Nationals.  From all of us…“Thank You Race Committee!”

All in the Family
Sailing is truly a family sport and activity. The passion for sailing is often passed down from generation to generation and is enjoyed by families together throughout our country and around the world. So, it is by no accident that you can often see families participating and competing together at regattas.

I am a product of a sailing family, albeit a second-generation sailor. My father learned to sail in his early 30s in Boston at Community Boating Inc. on the Charles River. He purchased a J/24 when I was 2 years old and thus started my love for sailing. I grew up sailing on and racing the J/24 with my father, campaigning our boat “High Five” at various local regattas as well as some Midwinter, National and North American Championships. After graduating from college, my father bought an Etchells and my friends and I purchased the “High Five” from him and continued to race it for the next 6 years or so. I have always thought of the J/24 as a “family” boat, both in racing and cruising terms. In fact, I can remember one time Jeff Johnstone told me that when his father created the J/24 he had the idea of family in mind…he wanted a boat that he could not only race with his family, but that could sleep 4 people so they could have overnight cruises and even put a hibachi grill on the back.

This notion of family was reinforced in my mind at the J/24 Nationals. Most of my friends in the fleet, many of whom I hadn’t seen in some time, knew me through racing with my father all of those years. As I was leaving Rochester Yacht Club after awards, no less than 10 people made sure to tell me, “tell your father I say hi”. And as I looked around at the compilation of different boats throughout the fleet, I saw other boats with father/son crews, which made me think about how that racing experience will help to shape their sailing lives as well. And it’s not just the child/parent relationship that takes form at these events, lifelong partners and entire families are created through sailing. Multiple husband and wife teams were represented at this year’s Nationals creating a whole new dynamic on and off the water. This concept even makes its way through the pro ranks with the likes of Carter and Molly White who have been campaigning their J/24 since I was a little tyke running around the Portland Yacht Club, and was even present on the National Champion boat Buckaroo (helmed by Will Welles) that included Chris and Monica Morgan. Chris and Monica met through sailing the J/24 and their 5-year-old Oliver, “Regatta Baby”, has been at almost every regatta I have seen them at.

The one other thing I came to realize is that the idea of family is not exclusive to genetically or legally connected individuals. I know it is true at many other regattas, but it was especially clear to me, and I felt it whole-heartedly at this one…we are all family. We all have these experiences together, we all face the same elements and challenges together, we all laugh and play together, and we all compete with and against each other. Whether we are related or not…that sounds like family to me. All these people I see at every regatta I go to in any number of states throughout the country, these people are my family…always have been, and always will be…and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world! Thanks for contribution from US Sailing and Josh Toso

Saturday, September 21, 2019

J/105 wins Cleveland Cup

J/105 family team in Cleveland
(Cleveland, OH)- Edgewater Yacht Club hosted their final offshore race of the Cleveland Sailing Association season- The Cleveland Cup. The J/105 FALL LINE, skippered by Chip Schaffner, took an early lead and extended against the rest of the J/105 Fleet and PHRF overall to take home the trophy for four-peat!
J/105 family sailing team
The win also secured the 2019 Boat of the Year Award for Schaffner’s FALL LINE. Counting towards their overall series win and BOTY Award was winning both the Funday Pursuit Race and the Green Islands Race. Thanks for this contribution from our cheerleader for #MoreKidsOnSailboats- Brett Langolf from the J/34 KNEE DEEP. Add to Flipboard Magazine.