Saturday, March 28, 2020

Ken Read and Doublehanded Racing Perspectives

Ken Read sailing offshore doublehanded
(Newport, RI)- an interview by Dave Reed from Sailing World

Ken Read, one of the ­biggest names in sailing, admits he’s seen the light. Looking out from his ivory tower at the top of the sport, the 58-year-old ­yachtsman’s view has been clouded by the ease of his grand-prix lifestyle. Jetting into super yacht regattas in the Med and tearing across open oceans on a 100-footer was easy for this guy.

In the distant past are the experiences that made him the natural sailor he is today. Back when he was ­making a name for himself in the J/24 class and racking up five J/24 World Championships and scoring a Rolex Yachtsman of the Year or two, he and his buddies had to do things themselves.

Then, came America’s Cup gigs, big-boat programs, two Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, and his ascent to the top of the food chain at North Sails. Charmed life and all, Read is now back in the trenches, among the mere mortals of shorthanded sailing, feet-first into the next big thing. With a stock 33-footer on loan, Read teamed up with professional navigator Suzy Leech to give coed doublehanded racing a shot in Florida during January’s Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. They won their two-boat division, but more important, Read says, they had fun. The sailing was the easy part. Getting to the start—not so much.

J/100 ComancheHow do you go from maxis and super yachts to this double­handed offshore thing—a 100-footer to a pint-size 30-footer for two?

KR: When it comes to projects that I think are good for the sport, I like to get involved, especially if it can help build a little bit of momentum in a sport that’s in desperate need of renewed momentum. Time is a prohibitive factor in sailing today; the amount of time it takes to go racing is just too much. It’s not only the time to participate. It’s all the preparation. If there’s one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that putting together a two-­person team in a semi-stock boat is way easier than recruiting eight or 10 of my buddies and hoping like hell they show up. Not to mention the flights and food and logistics and hotels and the personalities and the WhatsApp group ­messages—it is bloody hard.

Is it really that much harder today to go racing? Back when you were campaigning big IMS boats, you didn’t have the tools that simplify things today.

KR: Yes, that’s true, but I think there’s more competition for our time now. Also, there’s been an interesting by-product for me from this whole doublehanded experiment. I started in dinghies, then went to college and sailed in little boats, and then I graduated to J/24s. I did everything myself. I bought the boats, I rigged the boats, I faired the keels— half the time at least. We did everything ourselves, and we figured it out. I got the van, made sure it was full of gas, paid the entry, got the hotel rooms, or found people’s couches to sleep on. Whatever it took, I was in charge. Then, I got very good at delegating. We graduated to the next level, and all of a sudden, I’ve got a couple of people helping. By the time we got to the America’s Cup, the Volvo, the Comanche and the big programs like that—I got a staff. To enter a regatta and get support, I’ve got staff. And I mean staff. Now, with the doublehanded stuff, all of a ­sudden, I have no staff.

It’s been a real wake-up call for me to try to enter an event, to get a boat measured, get it to the starting line. To figure out how to get it all together to do a short, little distance race—it’s too hard. And we wonder why more people aren’t signing up for events. I’m ready to sit down with anybody who wants to talk and figure out how to make signing up and getting to and participating in a sailboat race way easier.

Read jumping off Volvo 65 Brunei off Newport, RI startBut it’s all online and ­paperless nowadays. What exactly is so hard?

KR: Yes, getting a certificate is probably as easy as you can get, but the fact that there’s still IRC, ORR, ORC, ORC Club and PHRF is obscene. Someone with common sense needs to stop the madness. We should all be sailing under one rule and get over it. Until rating rules are not-for-profit, we’re going to continue with too many rules, and it’s going to be wild frustration for everyone. I mean, I have to get multiple sail certificates because a code-zero “tweener” doesn’t measure in for IRC, but it does for ORR? It goes on and on.

The fact that the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race (which is only 150 miles and within the sight of land the entire way) has an ocean-race classification is simply crazy. It adds another layer of onboard safety equipment that isn’t even close to being needed. I know there’s a great reason for all of this stuff, but it is too hard, and until we can simplify everything, it’s not going to improve. It’s been a great lesson learned for me to not actually have staff and have to do it myself.
I want to be seen as the latest person who finally woke up one morning and said: ‘Hey, you know what? These people aren’t crazy. This is a lot of fun.’ I’m excited, and this is something completely different for me.

The volunteers who are ­putting these races together are doing a phenomenal job, by the way. They’re not making the rules, but common sense has to prevail at some stage. Shame on me for not doing this sooner and realizing how good I had it. I give a ton of credit to all these volunteers for knowing what they’re getting themselves into, which is probably months and months of complaints and questions from people like me trying to figure out how to ­register for the race.

Read Sailors of the Sea PledgeThis discussion of having too many rating rules has been on-going— for a long time.

KR: Yes, but in the Key West race, for example, there are 35 boats registered, sailing under ORCA, ORCB, PHRFA, PHRFB, ORC double­handed, ECRA Performance Cruiser. I don’t even know what that is. So, there are essentially four rules for 35 boats. That’s crazy. If we’re going to get people to want to do this more, we’ve got to make it easier for everybody. Make it easier to sign up and get measured—and don’t get me started on the required equipment. For a 150-mile race, it just seems like overkill to me.

Is this what you’re hearing from customers as well?

KR: All the time. I know I’m going to get a lot of grief for saying stuff like this by the many people who’ve been working on these systems over the years, but I don’t think anybody would disagree with the fact that it’s just bloody hard. We, as a sport, need to figure out how to make it all easier.

What makes you so certain doublehanded sailing will catch on in the United States, with or without Olympic appeal?

KR: There have been plenty of ­people doing doublehanded racing and preaching about it for a long time, and maybe we’re all finally starting to listen. There are a lot of people who may be interested in this, and the more the merrier. If boats like the J/Boats and others are fun to sail and safe offshore, then even more regular sailors will get involved.

My reason to do this really has nothing to do with the Olympics. It has to do with trying to grow an aspect of our sport here in the United States that I think has real potential. Maybe I can use my name a little bit in order to gain a little more momentum. It takes people like us to stand up and shout from the rafters and hope somebody is listening. I want to be seen as the latest person who finally woke up one morning and said: “Hey, you know what? These people aren’t crazy. This is a lot of fun.” I’m excited, and this is something completely different for me. Remember, you’re talking to a person who got so sick of windward and leeward sailing, he sailed around the world twice. I’m not afraid to switch it up. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, March 27, 2020

New Year, Better Racing @ Edgartown Regatta

J/111 sailing Edgartown Race Week(Edgartown, MA)— ’Round-the-Buoys and ’Round-the-Island or ’Round-the-Sound – there's  something for everyone at Edgartown Yacht Club’s (EYC) 2020 Edgartown Race Weekend, and sailors from across the region and the country are advised to get a jump on planning for the July 30-August 1 event.

“Edgartown Race Weekend is a popular tradition on Martha’s Vineyard and across the Northeast. We’re lucky to have one of the best venues for in-shore and coastal racing on the East Coast, which has helped make Edgartown Race Weekend one of the most appealing events on the summer racing circuit for everyone from grand-prix racers to cruising sailors,” said Event Co-chair Alex Nugent.  “Our team here at EYC has made a tangible effort to deliver what the sailors want and are enjoying working with participants to create an even stronger event.”

The event starts with two days of handicap ’Round-the-Buoys (‘RTB) racing on Thursday and concludes with a choice of two distance races on Saturday: the 20 nm ’Round-the-Sound Race (‘RTS) and the 56 nm ’Round-the-Island Race (‘RTI), which is in its 82nd running and counts as one of America’s oldest distance races.
“This year, EYC is excited to be offering free moorings for two nights, included in the registration fee for the first 50 paid ’RTI entrants,” said Edgartown Race Weekend Co-Chair Hal Findlay. “As well, we are allowing teams to switch their entries to the shorter ’RTS up until 12 noon on Friday. This gives them flexibility to decide what makes the most sense for their crews in the event of heavy wind or adverse conditions.”

J/122 sailing Edgartown Race Weekend off Martha's Vineyard
In the event the ’RTI must be sailed in light air, three “gates” give the Race Committee options for shortening course. Said EYC Race Committee Chair Bob Hurst: “We don’t like DNFs!” (DNF is the scoring designation for a yacht that did not finish.)

As for more choices, competitors have the option to sail all three days or just in Saturday’s ’RTI or ’RTS. Edgartown Yacht Club started offering the shorter ’Round-the-Sound Race in 2018 as encouragement for smaller yachts to join the fun.  Since, smaller racing boats that don’t meet the offshore safety requirements to race the ’RTI (such as J/70s) have comprised at least half of the ’RTS fleet.

“The combination of coastal/offshore racing and buoy racing allows teams of all experience levels and yachts of all sizes to utilize their full arsenal of sails and equipment,” said Nugent. “It’s a rare opportunity these days, and this optionality continues to draw sailors to Edgartown Race Weekend year after year.”

Divisional scoring will include IRC, ORR eZ, PHRF, and Multi-hull, and potentially One-Design class scoring (depending on fleet numbers). Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, and Double-Handed classes will also be featured.

Edgartown Race Weekend’s ’RTI/’RTS and ’RTB races are scored separately, with top-three prizes awarded in each class. Sailors enjoy various new on-shore activities, including a welcome party, post-racing gatherings, a Mount Gay-sponsored rum tasting, and more.

Awards for the ’RTB are scheduled for Friday afternoon and the ’RTI and ’RTS for Sunday morning. Sailing photo credits- Stephen "Block Island Steve" Cloutier.

For more information, go to www.rtirace.org or contact Margaret Passafiume, raceadministrator@edgartownyc.org, (508) 627-4364 x18. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

J/Gear March 20% OFF Special!

J/Gear- J Marmot shirt special
(Newport, RI)- The "J" Marmot Zip Layer brings quality and performance to a zip-top that can be worn alone or under a protective shell. It is a sleek and handy long-sleeved jersey when the breeze kicks in.

The "J" Marmot Zip Layer comes with the J/Class logo of your choice and can be customized with your boat name and or sail number for the entire crew!

Available in Black, Marine, or Red in sizes from Small to XXL.   Check it out here on the J/Gear website. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

New J/80s Arrive in Bristol USA!

J/80 one-design sailboat
(Bristol, RI)- The first of several new J/80's on the way from France has arrived in Bristol, Rhode Island. The J/80 Class is enjoying a resurgence in North America.

The J/80 North Americans are in Annapolis, MD in mid-May and then this September the J/80 World Championship returns to Newport, Rhode Island. Newport was the site of the inaugural 2001 J/80 Worlds and the epic 2010 J/80 World Championship.

A few late-summer delivery slots are still available in time for the Newport J/80 World Championship!

For more International J/80 sailboat information. For more information, please call J/Boats (+1-401-846-8410) or email- info@jboats.com Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Big Breeze for Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series Opening Weekend

J/112E sailing Warsash, England
(Warsash, England)- Brisk conditions of force 5-6 from the SSW greeted the hardy people who ventured out on Sunday 15 March for the start of the new season. Having reviewed the forecast, an early decision was taken to postpone the Combined Sportboat Class by an hour to allow the expected wind to moderate a little from the early morning predicted 20 gusting 30 knots, but still give everyone a chance for three races.

The conditions clearly suited Simon Cavy in the J/70 JUST4PLAY who took line honours in all three races, as well as winning them on IRC corrected time in the IRC Sportboat Class.

J/70 sailing Warsash Spring Series- England
As it turned out, the wind stayed at 18-20 knots with regular gusts well into the mid-20s, which gave lots of opportunity for exciting downwind legs, but surprisingly few entertaining broaches.

Black Group enjoyed some long beats and runs or reached from the start near Goodall Roofing buoy. The windward mark for most classes was the newly named Team O Marine mark on the Ryde Middle bank, and from there the boats surfed down to Lee-on-the-Solent and back to the Ryde Middle a couple of times, before finishing just NE of the North Channel at Hamble Yacht Services buoy. Race Officer Peter Bateson noted that at 10-12 miles, the races were deliberately set a little shorter than usual, as seemed right for the blustery conditions in the first race of the season. Elapsed times ranged from 1.5 to just under 2 hours.

J/109 sailing Warsash Spring Series- England
In IRC 2 Class, Chas Ivill's J/112E DAVANTI TYRES was the winner, baulked slightly by shipping on the last run across the North Channel, but holding her lead nevertheless. Gavin Howe's J/88 TIGRIS pulled off a fourth place in the demanding conditions.

As a precaution in view of the spread of Covid-19 virus, the daily prize-giving was postponed to avoid a gathering at Warsash Sailing Club. The prizes for the day's winners have been put aside for handing over later on.

The Series continues next Sunday 22nd March, so long as the RYA and government advice continues to be that it is sensible to do so; and the two Spring Championship weekends are on 18-19th and 25-26th April.

For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Silverware for J/Crews @ Puerto Vallarta Race

J/125 sailing Puerto Vallarta Race offshore of Mexico
 (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- Traditionally, the 1,020.0nm race from San Diego, CA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has been blessed with at least 4-5 days of amazing downwind sleigh-rides offshore of the famous Baja Peninsula, with breezes often in the 15-20 kts range from the northerly quadrants. Not surprisingly, with the advent of various forms of climate change, the "new normal" was anything but a downwind sleigh-ride blasting around the end of the Baja Peninsula with a long, fast, port gybe into the finish line into the Bahia de Banderas.  In fact, it was one of the lighter races on record.

There were two J/Teams sailing in what had become a "drift-fest" for the first half of the race. Breezes built a bit more for the latter half of the race, but nothing like what the fleet had seen in past years.

J/145 sailing Puerto Vallarta Race offshore of Mexico
To get a better feel of what was happening during the race, be sure to read the KATARA team's very good PV Race blog each day.  Here is their link:  https://pvrace.com/news/article/j_145_katara_race_blog

In the end, despite the challenging conditions, both boats ended up in the silverware in their respective classes. In the ORR 3 Class, Mark Surber's southern California team on the J/125 SNOOPY took 2nd in class and 13th overall. Then, in the ORR 5 Class, Roger Gatewood's Florida-based crew on the J/145 KATARA also managed to take a 2nd in class and 12th overall; beating their J/125 stablemate overall by just 30 minutes ORR handicap time after six-plus days of racing!  Sailing photo credits- Bronny Daniels/ JOY Sailing.com.  For more Puerto Vallarta Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

J/Crews Silver in SORC Eleuthera Race

J/44 Kenai sailing SORC Eleuthera Race
J/120 KAIROS Wins Class & ORC Overall
(Miami, FL)- The inaugural 300.0nm Eleuthera Race was the final race of the 2019-2020 SORC Islands in the Stream Series. The race provided a challenging course to an exciting tropical destination with warm temperatures, crystal clear waters, and a perfect location to wrap up the season series.

The race started on March 11th off of South Beach, Miami in easterly breezes, proceeding across the Gulf Stream, leaving Great Isaac, Great Stirrup and Eleuthera to starboard, rounding the southern tip of Eleuthera, and proceeding up the west side of the island to the finish near Powell Point.

J/121 Incognito sailing SORC Eleuthera Race to Bahamas
Enjoying the conditions and finishing in just over 46 hours of sailing were three very well-sailed J/Teams.  Winning ORC B Class and ORC Overall was the duo of Hanson Bratton & Tom Anderson on their J/120 KAIROS. Then, in ORC A Class, Chris Lewis's J/44 KENAI took the silver while Joe Brito's J/121 INCOGNITO took the bronze on the podium! That was a great outcome to see all three boats garner silverware on the podium!

J/120 sailing SORC Eleuthera Race to Bahamas Islands
Incredibly, the entire outcome of the SORC Islands of the Stream Series came down not only to the final race, but to the last several hours of the race! In the end, both the J/121 INCOGNITO and the J/44 KENAI had a shot at winning the overall series. It all came down to the final few tactical moves at the end of the race. Both boats had been "in-the-money" on the overall leaderboard, but ended up dropping to fourth and fifth, respectively, for INCOGNITO and KENAI.  For more SORC Eleuthera Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 Heavy Air Tuning and Sailing Tips

When the breeze increases, a different set of skills are required. North Sails expert Allan Terhune, who called tactics on the winning TEAM VINEYARD VINES at the J/70 Midwinters in Miami, explains some lessons learned from a windy weekend.

J/70 Team Vineyard Vines wins J/70 Midwinters
Sailing in Breeze – Upwind
The key to speed upwind is keeping the boat flat and balanced. This is achieved two ways: rig tune and trim.

Rig Tune
We were at the top of our tuning guide most of the weekend to keep our headstay tight. One key factor is the backstay gross tune; make it TIGHT. You need to have enough throw to pull backstay on, in order to flatten out the main. Many teams took the slack out of their gross tune but didn’t make it tight. Also, I heard many people did not go to the top of the tuning guide. If this was not the weekend to go there, I don’t know what would be!

Trim
Once the rig is tuned, the goal is to keep the helm balanced, and also to be able to burp the main in the puffs to eliminate heel. The key to this is the jib sheet. If you have the sail max in-hauled like you would in lighter conditions, the main would immediately luff in puffs, forcing the bow to go down. To compensate for this, we sailed with less inhaul, and moved the lead forward one hole. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it keeps the leech correct and makes the foot powerful enough to get through the chop. We made sure the leech was close to the middle band on the spreader at all times.

We then played the in-hauler to get through waves and puffs. Our main luffed very few times, and we talked all the time about keeping the boat balanced.

As for mainsail trim, it was easy to over-tighten the outhaul and not have enough power through waves. We found that having max backstay was always faster and having enough vang on made it easy to play the sheet. We tried to NEVER let the main luff or flog. You have to be using both sails to be balanced and fast.

Sailing in Breeze – Downwind
Wow was that fun or what! Seriously though, it was HARD work!

A few things to remember off the wind in big breeze:
  • Keep a constant angle of heel of 10-15 degrees. Too much heel and you wipe out, too little and you slow down and bear off too much. You have to keep the apparent wind forward.
  • Jib trim is crucial. Molly did a great job of always keeping the jib full, but also knew when to blow it if I lost the kite.
  • Jibing: Speed is your friend. The worst thing you can do is bear off and slow down and load the boat up right before a jibe. That is when you wipe out.
  • Steer around waves and surf whenever possible. Finding a good rhythm with the trimmer and talking about the angles is the best way to identify the path of least resistance.
  • Stay in the puff. We all work so hard upwind to go .1 or .2 knots faster, but if you miss a puff downwind you will be 2-5 knots slower. The tacticians who keep their eyes out for the next puff make HUGE gains.
This regatta was a great reminder that the J/70 is truly a team boat. Everyone has a role, and if one person is not carrying their weight, the boat does not succeed. For success in heavy air, you need to develop a different set of skills. And practicing with your team when it’s windy is the only way to get better.

John and Molly Baxter's TEAM VINEYARD VINES crew of Ben Lamb and Allan Terhune were the 2020 J/70 Midwinter Champs after a relentless eight-race battle in a variety of very windy, testing conditions with gusts up to 30 knots! For more information on J/70 heavy air sailing Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Breault Leading California Dreamin J/22 Match Race Series

J/22 match racing off St Francis Yacht Club
(San Francisco, CA)- San Diego Yacht Club and Long Beach Yacht Club have again joined forces with St Francis Yacht Club to continue another year of the popular California Dreamin’ Series. A three-stop regatta designed to provide more opportunities for West Coast match racers, this series helps competitors gain experience in fully-umpired competition. The overall winner will be invited by Long Beach Yacht Club to its prestigious Ficker Cup 2021, itself a qualifier for its Congressional Cup, a stop on the professional World Match Racing Tour.

Nicole Breault of St Francis YC and her team of Molly Carapiet, Hannah Burroughs and Karen Loutzenheiser won all of their matches to win the second stop of the three event California Dreamin’ Series match racing sailed at the St. Francis YC in its matched fleet of J/22s.  Also from the St. Francis, Dominic Bove finished second with the support of Cassedy Lynch, Isabelle du Moulin and Nolan Van Dine. Matt Whitfield of Penarth YC (Wales, United Kingdom) finished third.

Caliornia Dreamin J/22 winners
From left to right: Karen Loutzenheiser, Nicole Breault, Hannah Burroughs, Dominic Bove, Isabelle Dumouline, Cassedy Lynch, Nolan Van Dine

The 2020 California Dreamin’ Series Race dates are:
  • February 1–2 (J/22s): San Diego Yacht Club
  • March 7–8 (J/22s): St. Francis Yacht Club
  • April 18–19 Ficker Cup: Long Beach Yacht Club
  • May 9–10 (J/22s): StFYC will host the USMRC Qualifier, a Grade 3 event open to anyone who wishes to participate.
For more California Dreamin' J/22 Match Race Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, March 20, 2020

#MoreKidsOnSailboats

That is the "hashtag" created by J/34 IOR owner of KNEE DEEP IV in Cleveland, Ohio- Brett Langolf. Brett and his wife and kids were asked by the U.S. Sailing Leadership Forum 2020 to do a presentation on "How to get more kids sailors involved in sailing" during their annual conference in San Diego, CA.

The Langolf family has been instrumental in getting dozens of kids sailing offshore from their local community, sailing both evening "beer-can races", as well as sailing larger weekend regattas and offshore races up to 290.0nm- the Bayview Mackinac Race on Lake Huron.

According to Langolf, "we had a great sailing industry presentation. What a huge success! And, THANK YOU for the J/Calendars and J/Stickers, they were fantastic....very popular! Here are a couple of videos from the presentation and an overall report. We are working on a written article about key takeaways from the conference."

#kidsonsailboats
#MoreKidsOnSailboats @ Sailing Leadership Forum 2020 highlights video

#kidsonsailboats
Watch "Getting more kids on board - what every sailboat skipper should know!" Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/145s Dominate Cabrillo Offshore Series

J/145 Palaemon sailing offshore
(San Diego, CA)- Sponsored by Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego, CA, a fleet of two-dozen offshore racing thoroughbreds enjoyed a three-weekend series of long offshore day races called the Cabrillo Ocean Series.  The racing included both PHRF and ORR handicap divisions.

J/145 Palaemon- Hasl family
In the end, the J/145 PALAEMON sailed by Rudy and Philip Hasl (above) won both the ORR and PHRF Divisions. The Hasl team on PALAEMON narrowly edged out another J/145- Robert Pace's ANDIAMO 2. In fact, PALAEMON took their victory due to their 1st place finish in the final PHRF race on Saturday, March 7th.  In the ORR Division, PALAEMON came out ahead of the custom Nelson-Marek 50 Blue Blazes and the custom Davidson 52 Pendragon.Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Aweome J/70 IGY Marinas sailing video

J/70 IGY Marinas sailing at St Maarten Heineken Regatta
* The J/70 IGY MARINAS sailed in this year's 40th anniversary St Maarten Heineken Regatta. The regatta was blessed with four-straight days of post-card perfect sailing conditions.

J/70 IGY Marinas sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
The J/70 was sailed by Garth Steyn and his island crew of:
  • Rien Korteknie- tactician/ mainsail, he's 72 years old sailed with Garth for 20 years)
  • Brian Deher- spinnaker and jib trim, has been sailing 4 months, did sailing with Garth through the sailing school, he is also regional director of IGY Marinas)
  • Kippy Guilders- foredeck, been sailing with Garth for four years
Commented Garth, "I have owned the J/70 for 9 months more or less and love it! I have done a lot of sailing on the Melges 24 that I owned for years. However, I love sailing the J/70 much more!"

J/70 IGY Marinas video
Watch their awesome highlights reel of sailing their J/70 at St Maarten Heineken Regatta.

J/111 SCARLETT RUNNER Wins Lincoln Race Week

J/111 Scarlett Runner sailing off Australia
(Adelaide, South Australia)- The end of February saw the start of the 70th "Teakle Classic" offshore race from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. Following the offshore "feeder race", the fleet enjoyed Lincoln Race Week; comprising six races over four days on the waters of St Vincent’s and Spencer Gulfs in South Australia.

The event starts with the 160nm Adelaide to Port Lincoln Race which starts off Outer Harbour in the Gulf St Vincent. Once in Port Lincoln, the teams race on the waters of Boston Bay and Spencer Gulf for a four-day regatta run by Port Lincoln Yacht Club.

Established in 1931, Port Lincoln YC, today, operates very much by its foundation principle-- "To Foster a Love of the Sea".  PLYC members enjoy sailing and racing on one of Australia's best natural harbours. With consistent breezes, Mediterranean-style climate, minimal shipping traffic and only an hour's sail to an aquatic playground of spectacular islands. It’s no wonder the annual event is always a success.

Rob Date trucked his J/111 SCARLETT RUNNER from Sandringham, Victoria to Adelaide for the event.

J/122 Joss winners
Rob said, "It was a great regatta. The race to Port Lincoln was close to typical conditions, although a little windier at the start.  We struggled with our reefing system soon after the start and dropped 30 minutes on our competitors in the 40.0nm upwind section."

Unfortunately, the J/111 then also struggled to set her Code Zero at the start of the next 40.0nm section (needed a Jib top), but along the bottom of York Peninsula the wind gradually went left and the angles improved as the wind freshened.

According to Rob, "Eventually, we set the Black A3 asymmetric, with the crew mantra “Never Go Back From The Black!” In 20-25 knots of pressure and travelling at 14-18 knots, we rode the 4-meter swells throughout the night in pitch black, no moon.  It was a wild ride until dawn, and we had our J/111 back in the hunt. With good navigation, we avoided the fish farms (though some did not).  80.0nm VMG running in 10-14 kts of wind, resulted in a respectable non-podium finish.”

Lincoln Race Week consisted of a total of four windward-leeward races on Monday and Thursday inside Boston Bay in flat water. On Tuesday, the fleet sailed a 40.0nm offshore race and then a 15.0nm inshore fixed mark race on Wednesday.

In the end, winning was SCARLETT RUNNER with five 1sts and one 2nd, discarding the 2nd to win with a perfect scoreline racing under the AMS (Australian Measurement System).

Race Week is just as much about the social side of sailing, with Port Lincoln being home to the country’s largest commercial fishing fleet, a diverse aquaculture industry, and undoubtedly a seafood lover’s paradise, with some of the freshest and most sought-after seafood in the world. Additionally, there are award-winning wineries, local goodies, and an incredible diversity of coastal activities and ocean experiences such as shark cage diving, swimming with sea lions, rugged coastlines, breathtaking coastal views, perfect beaches, native wildlife and so much more.

Evening events included the Teakle Winery Skipper's Dinner on Monday. Clean Seas, Kingfish, Yamaha Generators, Boston Bay Winery sponsored the entertainment and BBQ on Tuesday.  Scarlet Runner and Shark House sponsored the dinner on Wednesday, with thanks to Kim Clark, Ralph Czabayski (Shark Diving), and Coffin Bay Oysters for their generous donations. Then, on Thursday's Awards Presentation Dinner, Port Lincoln Hotel was both host and sponsor of the event.

On Friday Scarlet Runner sailed back to Adelaide on a joyous 10-12 knot beam reach, all be it in 3-5m rolling seas from the south pole! Rob is now planning to truck Scarlet Runner 2500km up to Queensland ready for Hamilton Island Race Week! Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

J/111s Dominate Big Daddy Regatta

J/111 Skeleton Key sailing upwind
(Richmond, CA)- Richmond Yacht Club in Richmond, CA hosts one of the more entertaining regattas on San Francisco Bay every spring- the Big Daddy Regatta. The event has a unique format and great entertainment on both Friday and, especially, Saturday evening. On Saturday, the various PHRF handicap and one-design fleets enjoy up to three quick windward-leeward races. Then, on Sunday the famous "pursuit race" takes place with the smallest, slowest boats starting first in the morning and the fastest boats starting much later.

For Saturday's buoy-racing, the fleet enjoyed good breezes and the Richmond YC PRO managed to run three races.

Winning PHRF A Division of seven boats was Peter Wagner's J/111 SKELETON KEY with an eviscerating 2-1-1 tally for 4 pts. Six points back with a 6-2-2 for 10 pts was Nesrin Basoz's J/111 SWIFT NESS.

Enjoying a similar dominating performance in PHRF E Division was Peter Cameron's J/70 KANGAROO JOCKEY with a 2-2.5-1 scoreline for 5.5 pts total.

The J/105s enjoyed a duel between two boats with Dick Maclay's YELLOWFIN taking class honors with a 1-1-2 for 4 pts over Chris Kim's VUJA STAR that posted a 2-2-1 for 5 pts.

For Sunday's Pursuit Race, the two J/111s sailed well to both finish in the top ten in a fleet of seventy-four boats! Top J/Crew was, again, Wagner's SKELETON KEY in fourth place, followed by Basoz's SWIFT NESS in seventh place.  For Big Daddy race results   For more Richmond YC Big Daddy Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/122 JOSS Tops Bunbury Return Offshore Race

J/122 sailing off Perth, Australia
(Perth, Western Australia)- The 170.0nm 72nd Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club’s Bunbury Return Race was recently held off the western shores of Perth, Australia. The fleet started at 5:30pm off Port Beach in North Fremantle. Sixteen yachts raced down the coast, past Garden Island, Mandurah and into Koombana Beach just north of Bunbury before heading north for the finish off South Mole in Fremantle.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast indicated the winds would be turning to the north and reducing in strength throughout the evening and staying from that direction until the Saturday afternoon sea breezes.

J/122 Joss sailing offshore
Ian Clyne’s J/122 JOSS was ecstatic to place first in Division 1.  “On the water we were neck-and-neck the whole race with the higher rated yachts liked Checkmate, Obsession, and Al Fresco," commented Clyne.

"JOSS was 3rd around the Bunbury return mark with Indian leading the fleet, followed by Weapon of Choice. On the way home the battle continued with numerous sail changes and extremely tight racing.  Fantastic crew effort as we gave it our all,” said Clyne.  Photo credit: RFBYC Media and Sailsonswan Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

J/Crews Sweep Two Classes @ St Maarten Heineken Regatta

J/111 sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
(Simpson Bay, Saint Maarten)- Over 100 yachts from thirty-five countries competed in the 40th St Maarten Heineken Regatta. A key event on the Caribbean race schedule, the regatta attracted some of the world’s elite sailors and crews, with fast and furious racing in monohulls, maxis and multihulls.

There was no question that it was a glorious four days of "Serious Fun" from March 4th to the 8th. Crystal clear waters and east-northeast trade winds provided fantastic conditions for spectacular racing just off the coast of St. Maarten. And with Heineken as title sponsor, the racing days blended seamlessly into four nights of exceptional parties and even better concerts from top acts across the Caribbean. The surprise performer at the Awards Finale on Sunday was none other than the famous pop rock rapper "Flo-Ri-Da”.

J/109 sailing St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Day 1- Perfect Trade Winds
The regatta started on Thursday and the PRO's managed to get in two long races for the fleet. The ENE trades settled in around 10-20 kts on a simply spectacular day of sailing, sunny, warm, with puffy white tropical clouds scudding across the sky. The J/Teams all sailed Course #13 of 17.5 nm, basically a 1.5nm beat, then a tour around the west/ southwest point of the island.

In the CSA 3 Class, Sam Talbot's J/111 SPIKE sailed two excellent races and posted a 1-2 for 3 pts to lead their class. Tied for second was Pamela Baldwin's J/122 LIQUID with a 2-3 tally for 5 pts. Then, Peter Lewis' J/121 WHISTLER posted a 5-6 for 11 pts to be tied for fifth.

The CSA 4 Class commenced with an epic battle for the top of the leaderboard. Just two point off the leaders that are both tied with 4 pts each were Jordan Mindich's J/105 SOLSTICE and Tristan Marmousez's J/109 SANG NEUG, each with identical 2-4 records.

Finally, in CSA 5 Class, Tanner Jones' J/30 has a 1.5-2 for 3.5 pts total to sit in second place.

J/122 Liquid sailing St Maarten Regatta
Day 2- More Perfect Round the Island Weather
It’s an annual highlight not only of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, but of the entire Caribbean yacht-racing circuit. The Round St. Maarten race has something for everyone; challenging currents and geographical features; wildly varying wind speeds and directions; inshore and offshore seaways; and this year, 148 competing yachts, all of which at times seem to be rounding the same mark at the same instant. The round-the-island race has something for every sailor, and appropriately, this year’s running, under sunny skies and ideal 14- to 18-knot breeze, was nothing less than an instant classic.

For such a seemingly complicated set of circumstances, the basic premise for the top racing classes competing on the 39-nautical-mile course decreed for the Race Committee A circle were deceptively simple: keep the islands of St. Maarten and Tintamarre on your right.

For the A fleets, the race was actually like a theatre production or play staged in four acts. The first was from the starting line in Cole Bay, with a short windward leg of less than a mile, and then a spinnaker run down to a turning mark at the island’s southwest corner. From there, Act II was the long beat to weather up the Anguilla Channel and around Tintamarre. The third stanza involved easing sheets and setting reaching sails for the windy stretch down St. Maarten’s east coast. Finally, the fourth and final act commenced after jibing and negotiating a pair of turning marks down the southern flank of the island to the finish.

From the very outset, one thing was immediately clear. "Local knowledge" (the phrase sailors use when describing the home waters they know like the back of their hand) would play a huge role in the outcome. It was a day tailor-made for the formidable crews from St. Maarten and the Caribbean, who regularly ply this liquid territory, to play to their considerable strengths. And play to them they did.

For the Day 2 round-the-island contest, Race Committee A reversed the starting order from Day 1, when the Grand Prix Ocean Racing and Multihull 1 classes kicked off the proceedings, followed by the smaller CSA 1-4 race boats.

Today, CSA 4 was the first to go, and a pair of J/Boats (Jordan Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE and Tristan Marmousez’s J/109 SANG NEUF from Martinique) showed excellent pace from the outset.

CSA 3 was next, and Antiguan Pamala Baldwin’s flashy J/122 LIQUID; Sam Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE; and Peter Lewis’s J/121 WHISTLER, immediately mixed it up. LIQUID and SPIKE were locked in some of the regatta’s closest competition, as SPIKE won both races over LIQUID on Day 1 by an aggregate time of less than 25 seconds. Already, an early pattern was emerging: all the leading boats played the shore aggressively, with multiple short tacks up the beach; and it looked like it would be a very, very good day for both Caribbean sailors with that priceless local knowledge, and those sailing J/Boats.

At the first major turning mark, the wind had eased considerably as the fleet dropped their kites and began the long slog up the Anguilla Channel. Soon, however, the breeze was back on. And it was readily apparent that there were two very clear, and different, approaches to negotiating the channel. The Ocean Racing 1 boats chose to stay outside, in the bigger wind and seas, opting for clear air and straight-line speed while limiting maneuvers. Meanwhile, the smaller boats like LIQUID and SPIKE played a more tactical game, short tacking up the shoreline by the French beachfront towns of Marigot and Grand Case.

As the fleet emerged from the lee of St. Maarten into the open waters surrounding Tintamarre, it was true, blue-water ocean sailing and a stern test for all the competitors. Yachts including the X-402 MYXY and Whistler continued to hold an inshore route, tacking near the breakers off the pristine and empty wilderness of St. Maarten’s northwestern shoreline, far removed from the resorts and cruise ships. Meanwhile, powerful competitors like the Swan 80 Umiko shredded their way past the barren northern flank of Tintamarre. It was all a visual feast.

Once past Tintamarre, it was time to turn-and-burn down the east coast, with spinnakers and reachers once again the sail call for the blazing final legs of the eventful race. When the spray had settled, the day’s big winner was J/122 LIQUID, with a decisive victory in CSA 3 and a third overall in fleet, behind the Ocean Racing 1 yachts I Love Poland and the pesky Cookson 50, Grace O’Malley.

LIQUID owner Pamala Baldwin was effusive in her praise of her longtime crew, but deflected any strategic questions to tactician Hugh Mills, who said local knowledge gleaned from racing in the recent Caribbean 600, where LIQUID was second overall in their class, played a huge role in the day’s results. “We had basically that same tactical beat up the Anguilla Channel and learned a lot,” he said.

“The first leg was just a matter of keeping our speed and short-tacking up the shore to cover the fleet,” he said. “The long downwind stretch was just staying vigilant. The conditions were quite tough out there around Tintamarre, but we ended up laying it spot on. From there we were trying to hold our line inside of SPIKE, they’re giving us some really good competition.”

“It was beautiful,” said Baldwin, speaking of both the sailing around St. Maarten, and of course of the day’s winning conclusion.

J/105 sailing St Maarten Regatta
Day 3- Perfect Round-the-cans Day of Sailing
There comes a point in every regatta, after several races have been recorded and the top contenders have begun to establish their supremacy, when the competition becomes especially critical. For the crews jockeying for the podium, it’s time to put it on the line and make their move, hopefully up the rankings, though that’s not necessarily always the case. For the 40th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the third day of competition, with a pair of races, was a huge opportunity to either put up…or not.

It was, as racing sailors like to say, “Moving Day.”

From a starting circle off Cole Bay, Race Committee Boat A sent the two CSA Ocean Racing classes and the Multihull 1 division on a pair of 14.2-nautical-mile races around Pelican Rock with a finish in Simpson Bay. CSA Divisions 1-4 and the two CSA Sportboat classes competed in two slightly shorter 10.4-nautical-mile contests that also wrapped up in Simpson Bay.

Meanwhile, the morning’s early sprinkles gave way to clearing skies and fresh breeze topping off in the high teens. The new wind brought lumpy, confused seas, keeping everyone on their toes.

In CSA 3, all the momentum seemed to be on the side of Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID after their dominant winning performance in Friday’s round-the-island race, which put them in a tie with American Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE. But LIQUID got "spiked", as they finished second in both races to Talbot’s team, who maintain a slender two-point lead over the Antiguans with a final day of racing ahead.

A mere two points separated the top three contenders in CSA 4 as the day began— Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE and Speedy Nemo and MaĆ«lia CEPAC Antilles. With a fourth and a third, however, Speedy Nemo was speeding in the wrong direction, sliding into fourth, while the J/105 SOLSTICE moved into a commanding position at the top of the class with a pair of victories.

J/121 sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
Day 4- Sensational Finale
After four sensational days of racing, parties and entertainment and some of the closest competition ever seen in the long history of this storied Caribbean event, the 40th Anniversary Edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta concluded in the same fine fashion with which it started, with the waters south of the isle dotted with tall, white mainsails and billowing, colorful spinnakers of every size and description. With a huge spectator fleet soaking in the visual feast, and a fleet of racing sailboats encompassing everything from Melges 24s to Volvo 70s to cruising catamarans to veteran America’s Cup 12-Meters, it was literally a waterborne Festival of Sail and a fitting way to wrap up the milestone event.

Meanwhile, stationed off Cole Bay, Race Committee A sent the top racing classes on a pair of windward/leeward races south of the island. The folks cramming those spectator craft surely got their money’s worth.

The CSA 3 class consistently engaged in the regatta’s tightest and fiercest competition, and fittingly, it continued on the final day of the event. Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE and Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID traded places on several occasions on the first, twice-around-the-course race. SPIKE's fifth in that race looked to be the death knell to their hopes for overall victory. But, they roared back with a first in the final race, evening the score at 14 points in a tie with LIQUID, who recorded two seconds on the day. The crucial final win gave SPIKE the tiebreaker, in what was easily the event’s closest class!

St Maarten Heineken concert bands
“This regatta was just so much fun,” said Talbot, whose crew is based in the British Virgin Islands. “And it was amazing racing with LIQUID, they’re a really, really good team. This is the first multi-day regatta we’ve sailed with SPIKE. We’ve got a great crew that we’ve put together over the years. It’s been a long, slow process, but we made it happen, and I couldn’t be happier.”

CSA 4 Class had incredibly close-racing as well over the course of the four days. Starting in off the first day in fourth place and climbing steadily to the top was Jordan Mindich's New York-based crew on the J/105 SOLSTICE. They closed the final day with a 2-2 to clinch the title in their class.  Meanwhile, their incredibly competitive stablemate, Tristan Marmousez's J/109 SANG NEUG, closed their day with a pair of bullets to simply smoke the rest of the class to garner the silver on the podium.  Yes, a pair of J/Boats swept both podiums in both CSA 3 and CSA 4 Class, a first ever milestone for the regatta!

Meanwhile, in CSA 5 Class, the venerable J/30 BLUE PETER/ ABSOLUTE PROPERTIES sailed by Tanner Jones podiumed for perhaps their 40th time in the regatta, a record that is unassailable in the Caribbean offshore racing circuit!  Sailing photo creditsTim Wright/ Photoaction.com and Laurens Morel/ SaltyColours.com.  For more St Maarten Heineken Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.