Thursday, April 30, 2020

The view from the J/42 Jaywalker- our pandemic world

J/42 at anchor(Harbor Springs, MI)- Bill & Judy Stellin's perspectives on living our current "pandemic" world.

Commented Bill, "I especially enjoyed the latest Newsletter. The virus pandemic has upset our lives in untold ways. The Newsletter gave me a chance to think peacefully. We still own JAYWALKER, J/42 hull# 6, and love every moment spent on it.

Some Perspectives for the J/Community
For several years this Newsletter had a small section devoted to J/Boat cruisers. It was discontinued recently, so I sent the editor- Stu Johnstone- a letter thanking him for including us. He asked for some thoughts and perspectives about couple cruising.

It’s easy to talk about, because 48 years of sailing, our two Atlantic crossings, and 8 years in the Mediterranean, was an adventure many just dream about and is almost too spectacular to describe.

Stellins- J/42First off, JAYWALKER our 1996 J/42, is safe, fast, easily handled under all conditions (by just the two of us), comfortable in big winds and seas on passage, as well as at anchor, and lastly drop-dead gorgeous. Where ever we were in Europe, passerby’s would want to come aboard to see her up close.

Secondly, we have very understanding children who gave us encouragement to make a dream come true. Fortunately, we had four years of sailing the boat before we retired at age 65 in 2000. This gave us the opportunity to really understand the boat through a combination of racing and Lake Michigan cruising. There is no substitute for time on the water in all kinds of conditions and racing hones skills faster than anything I know of.

I am lucky Judy loves all aspects of sailing, as I do. It’s a lifestyle. As such, we live on the boat 3-4 days each week during our short Michigan season.

One unexpected result of big-time cruising is the realization lots of people want to hear about it. I put together a PowerPoint show years ago which we’ve presented to countless groups. Colleges, library’s, senior centers, civic clubs, yacht clubs, Power Squadron’s. It’s been a great deal of fun for us, because we get to share and relive what was, unquestionably, one of the best periods of our lives.

I encourage all to sail, sail ,sail! It’s one of the best ways to clear your minds, relieve stress, be competitive and just plain have fun. Judy has a t-shirt which sums it all up: "Keep Calm and Sail On"!

Our best wishes to the entire J/Boat family and sailing friends!  Cheers, Bill & Judy Stellin- Grand Rapids, MI"

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

J/99: Join the Experts Live with Jeff Johnstone

J/99 Interview- Jeff Johnstone
(Hamble, England)- Since 1977, over 15,000 J/Boats have been launched. The J/99 is the latest design and, in many respects, truly innovative as a J/Boat. Hull #40 is in the process of being delivered to J/Boats co-founder Rod Johnstone (if readers recall, it was mentioned in last week's J/News), and over 60 have been commissioned worldwide.

Join us for a LIVE Facebook hosted interview with J/Boats' President Jeff Johnstone, and Key Yachting Sales Director Hannah Le Prevost, for a detailed discussion on the J/99. The live feed will have detailed pictures, videos and the latest updates on the J/99.

This will be an open discussion, with viewers able to comment and ask questions.

When: Thursday, 30 April 1400 UTC (10:00 am Rhode Island, 3:00 pm United Kingdom)


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

J/One-Design Class Updates- J/24 Worlds

J/24s sailing Midwinters
(Newport, RI)- The International J/24 Class Association (IJCA) has confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 J/24 World Championship, which was to be held September 12-18 at Parkstone Yacht Club in Poole, United Kingdom.

“With the current COVID-19 situation, it is looking very likely that the lockdown in the UK is going to carry on for some time yet, and at this time no indication has been given on how an exit policy will work,” commented Bryan Drake, Regatta Chair. In addition to health and safety concerns, travel restrictions are likely to remain for some time as well as limited access to yacht clubs and marinas.

“The IJCA is extremely fortunate to have incredible World Championship hosts committed to the next four years that allow for this scheduling change,” said Nancy Zangerle, IJCA Chair. “We hope this approach will allow our Class members and our hosts to plan accordingly. At this time, of greatest importance is the health and well-being of our J/24 family. We all long for the time when we can return to the water.”

Future Schedule for J/24 World Championship title: 
  • 2021 World Championship- September 24- October 2, Parkstone Yacht Club, Poole, UK
  • 2022 World Championship- March (exact dates To Be Announced), Mendoza, Argentina
  • 2023 World Championship- July 16-23, Corpus Christi, Texas USA
  • 2024 World Championship- TBD, Greece
For more International J/24 Class Association information

Monday, April 27, 2020

Exciting News- J/Net Brokerage is LIVE!

J/112E for sale
(Newport, RI)- Here is some exciting news from our network of J/Boats dealers around the world. J/Net Brokerage is now live on J/ with a main menu link to dozens of quality used J/Boat listings from authorized J/Dealers.

Over twenty of our top J/Dealers are onboard and more are getting aboard each week. Browse dozens of listings that range from J/22s up to J/160s! It is an amazing array of your favorite J's from across the spectrum of daysailers, offshore cruisers, to race boats.  Day dream a little. Imagine where you could be now on your dream boat!

For those J/Owners that do not see their boat listed, be sure to contact your nearest J/Boats dealer to be listed on J/Net. 

Be sure to click here on J/Net and dream a bit more when we all have the freedom to explore the world... someday soon!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Who is that masked man Sailing Round the Pond?

Model sailboats on Charleston pond
(Charleston, SC)- Like his brother, Bob Johnstone has also been dreaming, wondering, when it would be possible to escape onto the water again? In the meantime, here are some of his thoughts on "pandemic life":

It seems the boatyards and boat trucking operations are carrying on with “Business as Usual”.  Just arranged for a June 10th hauling our new triple-outboard powered MJM 43z BREEZE from the City Marina here in Charleston to truck to Newport Shipyard in Newport, RI.  We have a condo rented there on Coddington Wharf, overlooking the harbor, from June 15 to September 15… with a 3-week cruise to Northeast Harbor in late July.  Booked at the Northeast Town Docks.

Bob Johnstone with his model sailboatWe had been planning to put BREEZE on our mooring off New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, but looks like their launch service won’t start until the end of June… so, we may be rowing an inflatable back and forth as “registered” dinghies can be kept at the HC floats.

The other option during the last half of June, particularly if the 14-day R.I. quarantine for "foreigners" still exists, we could keep the boat on the dock and either live on the boat at Newport Shipyard, which is offering deliveries to deal with the situation… or move into isolation in the condo.  After all, we spent a month aboard (the longest period we’ve ever stayed aboard any boat), cruising BREEZE from Naples FL back up the ICW (intra-coastal waterway) to Charleston and had a great time.

In the meantime, doing what comes naturally! Back to one-design sailboat racing… actually coming back full circle to model sailboats. 

My first one-design efforts, preceding J/Boats by 15 years, was when we were living in Cali, Colombia.  Got a dozen of my ex-pat friends to invest in Dumas model Star class wooden boat kits. I imported them.  It was a complete disaster. I was the only one who built one.  Guess we were going to take them out to our local golf/tennis- Club Campestre- and sail them on the pond, run around, pushing them back on course with our putters… as they weren’t radio controlled! LOL!

Good news is that I learned something in the past 58 years. “Build it and they will come!”  If I put all the kits together and handed a fully-tuned, completed boat to the owner, the program will take off (or, so I hoped). That story and some nice coverage by Craig Leweck in Sailing Scuttlebutt apparently got Tom Babbitt and Ben Hall psyched about starting fleets in ME and FL… and Rod’s been thinking about the same thing from his new house on an extension of Stonington harbor north of the RR bridge.

DF-95's sailing on Charleston pond
You can see my #24 (my official US Sailing Offshore number having the obvious J/24 connection) above along with half the new fleet one-design of DF-95s, each boat being a different color… trying to match the appeal of Nantucket’s Rainbow Fleet of catboats.  The dining room table of our cottage is now the local boatyard, as am rigging every boat for the new owners from a very complete “ready to race” kit. And, I thought we had one-design nailed down with the J/24! These are like mini-Volvo 70s. Of the 5-lbs total weight with carbon keel and unstayed carbon rig, the keel is 3 lbs.! Stiff boats! 

They anointed me Commodore of the Bishop Gadsden Yacht Club here on the campus. We are restricted to only 4 person groups with masks and social distancing… SC Governor says no more than 3.  But, the croquet people talked management into 4… so it was extended to sailing! With 16 sailors, we’ve had to split up into two hourly sessions, 11am and 3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with one group of 4 on the North side of the pond and a second group of 4 on the East side of one of two ponds. So, everyone gets two days of racing a week.

What is the best part? Unlimited solo sailing… because sailing is more than just racing. It can be quite therapeutic.

We’re probably one of the few yacht clubs in the country, active, with a full regatta schedule.  The racing is fun.  Haven’t ever hear the word, “protest!”  Mark rounding jam-ups are causes for laughter and we don’t publicize a running daily score, but I keep a tally. It’s crazy enough sailing on these ponds with swirling winds. For example, yesterday afternoon every sailor had at least a podium 3rd place finish and can go home happy.

Reminds me of the movie, 'King of Hearts'… where the only sane people were those in the asylum, the insanity being the war around them.  Is there a lesson here for the sport?" 

Cheers and pray everyone is OK and doing well,

Friday, April 24, 2020

Where the heck is my J/99?

J/99 arriving Bristol, RI
(Stonington, CT)- Rod Johnstone's trials & tribulations in the past few weeks dealing with the new reality of home sheltering and restricted travel is compounded by trying to figure out how to commission and get his new J/99! Like many of us, dreaming of how to go sailing! Here is Rod's ruminations:

"So..... Lucia and I are riding out this storm here at anchor at our house in Stonington. We are both well. We plan to go sailing as soon as it gets warmer. I am sitting here in my office doing what I know best........ designing the next great sailboat!

Our new J/99 “Jazz” is being bottom painted now and will be ready to launch soon. The challenge will be how to get to the boat to go sailing. As of now, I might need to borrow a family car with Rhode Island plates, so I do not get stopped by the RI State Police at the border. We intend to go sailing soon.

J/99 sailing with Rod Johnstone family
Last summer sailing the J/99 AGENT 99- Rod with sons Jeff and Al (left to right)

Sailing is the best example of social distancing; our own household having been in quarantine together for over a month already. it is easier to do that on a boat like the J/99 for the two of us.

So, why does the Governor of RI now prevent boaters from other States, who can easily self-quarantine on their own boats flying the “Q” flag? A visitor by boat should be able to follow the same rules and enjoy the Rod & Lucia Johnstonesame rights as Rhode Island residents while in Rhode Island. Right now, they have got the RI police patrolling marinas to get rid of the likes of CT'ers, like me. Seems like RI needs higher intelligence to find a more effective approach to the crisis!

Hard to be positive about this, but it makes sailing all the more desirable as an escape from the overreach of authority; something safe to be enjoyed with others from the same household, or at a safe distance. Most of us don’t need to be treated like idiots.

Lucia and I plan to go cruising on our J/99 every chance we get and will try to overcome any obstacles placed in our way while we are medically protecting ourselves and others in our vicinity. I would urge other sailors to do the same.

Rodney's dingy
I have my home-built, balanced lug rig, daysailer in front of the garage, ready to go! Easy to launch anywhere, single-hand or double-handed.

Love to all and stay safe!
Rod & Lucia

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Themes and Memes from Day-to-Day

J/122 sailing Voiles St Barth

(Newport, RI)- Considering that spring sailing in the northern hemisphere and the amazing fall sailing usually associated with our Down Under compatriots in the Antipodes is now "toast", perhaps it would be fun to share our collective experiences across the spectrum of the following themes/ categories:

Nikki Beach Club rose wine and champagneMonday Morning Quarterbacks- why I didn't win or why I screwed up, amongst many other things, that happened this past weekend...anytime, anywhere. Recall why the weekend outcome may have been better, or worse.

J/Day Tuesday- featuring a J/Crew and their love and passion for sailing on their boat. Share family experiences that you have treasured in recent memory.

Hump Day Wednesday- should I stay, or should I go? What am I doing this weekend, or not? In other words, what I wished for the coming weekend, but may or may have not happened.

Throwback Thursday- sharing wonderful memories of sailing experiences in the past of any kind; daysailing, cruising, racing, or just messing about with boats.

St Barth's famous beach club- Nikki Beach!For example, a number of J/Sailors are probably wishing they were enjoying the spectacular sailing during the Voiles St. Barth Regatta this week!  Remember pics like the ones above and here (the famous Nikki Beach Club)?

Friday Funnies- anything that was amusing that took place in the past week, at home, at work, on the water, that may or may not be related to sailing.

Please send us whatever comes to mind at:!  All stories welcome!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Perspectives from Rev. Mary Johnstone "sheltering"

(Charleston, SC)- "Bob & I are counting the days 'til Bishop Gadsden issues an 'all clear', or 'clear with precautions' for its independent living residents. We have lived in a CCRC (continuing-care retirement community) in Charleston, SC  since October 2018.

Great people, beautiful campus, wonderful cottage, good food.

Since Wednesday, March 18th, all residents & most Staff have been under strict quarantine - no one is to leave campus, no visitors allowed. Each resident is provided a "care package" every day to cover lunch, dinner & breakfast. BG provides a once a week food shop for max 15 items at BiLo & we can also order (for a price) from Harris Teeter or Publix. Pharmacy items are available for delivery from a few pharmacies we've never heard of. A wonderful woman named "Heidi" did a huge shop for us at Walgreen's. My car is 'running on empty', so it is sitting in the garage until its driver is freed up to come & go.

On the flip side, the pace of life is noticeably slower. More time to think, reflect & write, which I enjoy. More time to exercise - I take a daily walk around the grounds 1-3 miles. Always look forward to this! I am focusing on domestic stuff & also on connecting with friends from near & far via phone, text, Facetime or email, especially with the 3 generations of our family. ❤️

On Easter day, Bob & I watched & participated in the 11:15am service from Washington National Cathedral, standing to sing all the hymns, including one accompanied by 1,000's of Episcopalians from around the USA, generated by miraculous technology: Facetime? Zoom? Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached (from his home) - it was an uplifting & hopeful message.

When we are collecting mail, or strolling around campus, we wear face masks, & wash our hands & keep our 6' distance from others. Dedicated to cooperating for the good of all, while inside our heads asking, "When & how will these behaviors end??"

Bob & Mary Johnstone boating off Naples, FL
This photo was taken on "Breeze", our 43z, during a February outing in Naples, Florida. Breeze sits patiently at Safe Harbor Charleston City Marina awaiting our return!

Warm greetings and love to all! Stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

J/One-Design Schedule Updates- J/22 & J/24

J/24 Sea Bags Women's Sailing Team(Newport, RI)- At this time, the J/22 and J/24 classes have the following updates for their members.

J/24 North American Championship
The Good Samaritan Hospital J/24 North American Championship, hosted by Sayville Yacht Club in Blue Point, NY is postponed to August 11th to 16th, 2020. All competitors already registered will be allowed to maintain their slots for the new August dates. If a competitor decides to withdraw for any reason, a full refund will be returned as long as it has been done before June 30. (Any withdrawals after June 30 will be returned less a $75.00 processing fee.) The special hotel rates at the Hyatt Regency Long Island have been rescheduled for August 9-16. All other questions should be sent via email to Regatta Chairperson/Rear Commodore Joe Buonasera at We hope to see you in August!

J/22s sailing off Montego Bay, Jamaica

J/22 World Championship
Over the past several weeks, the International J/22 Class Association in coordination with the South African J/22 Class have been closely monitoring the current pandemic. It has been decided that it would not be in anyone’s interests to continue to hold the World Championship in July. Even if the virus has been contained by then, there are concerns about South African businesses, the economy and participation. Plans for the 2021 J/22 World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas USA are well underway, so South Africa will host the J/22 World Championship in 2022. Please be sure to reference the International J/22 Class Association website-

Monday, April 20, 2020

Contemplating Life from Newport Amid a Pandemic

(Newport, RI)- As we all continue to experience yet another week of "home sheltering" to hopefully stem the expansion of the pandemic, we continue to see and hear about various ways in which our sailing friends are coping with "close encounters of the home-kind"; for nearly a month-plus in some places.

Here in Rhode Island, Newport life has ground to a halt, as it has in many other places around the world. It is strange to see the emptiness on America' Cup Avenue and Thames Street, normally packed with weekend warriors enjoying the beautiful springs days we have been experiencing recently. It is downright eerie, as if some apocalyptic movie became reality and a neutron bomb wiped everyone off the face of Planet Earth. One is reminded of our friends at The Black Pearl, "Ricky" (Five-O) at the Candy Store/ Clarke Cooke House, Zelda's, and good Lord knows how many other famous and wonderful restaurants that sailors from around the world have enjoyed in Newport for generations.

Even more bizarre is driving across the Newport Bridge on a spectacular sunny day, southwest 10-15 kts breeze blowing, a near perfect 60 F degrees, and not a soul on the water. No signs of any sails glistening on the sunlight seas, carving a languid course across the water, enjoying yet another gorgeous late afternoon, sunset sail across Narragansett Bay.

Yet, the heartbeat of Newport is still alive and kicking. Family and friends persevering against an unseen enemy that is perverse in its treatment of human-kind, sadly having an adverse effect on some of our older veterans of offshore battles and one-design "mano-a-mano" battles around-the-cans. We will miss them.

One imagines how our sailing friends miss such experiences on the Solent/ Cowes, the Baltic, Baie de Morbihan, Porto Cervo, Punta del Este, San Francisco Bay, Lago di Garda, Chesapeake Bay, St Moritz, Valle de Bravo, Lago Panguipulli, the Great Lakes, Biscayne Bay, Puget Sound, Penobscot Bay, the Caribbean, and all of our many favorite places to enjoy a fresh breeze on our face, and the sound of waves lapping against the topsides at sunset.... someday.....hopefully, soon.

John F Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy sailing offshore
President John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie sailing offshore on his beloved Wianno Sr- "Victura"

The scenario we live in today reminds me of another poem regarding our collective journey over the past few weeks.... one from another famous American poet, Robert Frost. Many sailors share Frost’s perspective; including one of the most famous sailing families in America- the Kennedy's.

President John F. Kennedy sailing Biscayne Bay, Florida
President John F. Kennedy practicing "social distancing" in 1963- sailing singlehanded on Biscayne Bay!

In October 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at the dedication of the Robert Frost Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. “In honoring Robert Frost,” the President said, “we therefore can pay honor to the deepest source of our national strength. That strength takes many forms and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant. ... Our national strength matters; but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost.”

Robert Frost- The Road Not Taken 
     The Road Not Taken
     Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
     And sorry I could not travel both
     And be one traveler, long I stood
     And looked down one as far as I could
     To where it bent in the undergrowth;

     Then took the other, as just as fair,
     And having perhaps the better claim,
     Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
     Though as for that the passing there
     Had worn them really about the same,

     And both that morning equally lay
     In leaves no step had trodden black.
     Oh, I kept the first for another day!
     Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
     I doubted if I should ever come back.

     I shall be telling this with a sigh
     Somewhere ages and ages hence:
     Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
     I took the one less traveled by,
     And that has made all the difference.

Learn more about Frost's impact on the world of poetry in a crossing of generations and centuries in his time.

Pablo Neruda sailing in proper gentleman's dresss
Similarly, the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, was famously credited for motivating the Chilean people themselves to take their own "road not taken", to overthrow the oppressive military regime and fulfill their hope for dreams of national self-determination.

Pablo Neruda's Isla Negra house
President John F. Kennedy's love for sailing and the sea was also shared by Neruda. As a young man, Neruda wrote "In Veinte Poemas" (Twenty Poems), an imaginary journey across the sea, symbolically in search of an ideal port. In 1927, he embarked on a real journey, when he sailed from Buenos Aires, Argentina for Lisbon, Portugal, ultimately bound for Rangoon. Later in life, Neruda made his way back to Chile in 1937 to settle in Isla Negra on a beautiful, famously rugged section of the Chilean coastline south of Algarrobo. There, he continued to walk the coastline, watching the enormous swells crashing on the shoreline from massive Roaring Forties storms swirling around the bottom of the world... inspired by the raw power of nature... dreaming... wondering.... writing.

Pablo Neruda's sailboat at Isla Negra, Chile
Neruda's house in Isla Negra features an open sailboat parked in front, facing symbolically towards the sea.

"His poetry of love, equated women with nature. He raised that comparison to a cosmic level, making women into a veritable force of the universe," commented Rene de Costa. Visit Neruda's beautiful, wildly fun, eclectic home, full of nautical treasures that would delight any sailor on the shores of Chile's Isla Negra. It is well-worth the trip...a soulful journey back into time.   Learn more about Neruda as one of Chile's most influential poet/philosophers.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Eight Bells: Dayton Carr

Dayton CarrThe sailing community lost a great friend, sailor, and champion as Dayton Thomas Carr passed peacefully at his New York City home on April 7, 2020. He was 78 years. Dayton was a great friend of the Johnstone family and a great supporter of J/Boats starting way back in 1977.

Dayton established the Venture Capital Fund of America Group (VCFA Group) in 1982 and is credited as being the founder of the secondary private equity industry. He was a visionary who was the first to recognize the opportunity to buy illiquid investments from the original investors in venture capital funds.

Dayton was a storyteller who often enjoyed re-telling the origins of his firm, the benefits of secondaries, and the many adventures he had through his life-long love of sailing.

Dayton began sailing as a 7–year old child in the San Francisco Bay area. His first boat was an El Toro dinghy which he raced in the Small Boat Racing Association in Northern California. Moving up to a Blue Jay, Dayton also raced a Rhodes 33 and crewed on a large racing schooner on San Francisco Bay.

At 15, he won the Pacific Coast Lightning Championship in Victoria, British Columbia and placed second in the West Coast Sears Cup Eliminations to Allen Holt who went on to win the Sears Cup.

Dayton’s family moved to Winnetka, Illinois soon after, where he was a member of the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club and a junior member of the Chicago Yacht Club. Aboard his 110 Class sailboat, he won the fleet championship on a number of occasions, won the Southern Lake Michigan Championships and the District Championships.

He also placed third in the World Championships held in San Diego, California, and sailed in two Chicago Mackinac races. During his youth he spent several summers teaching sailing on Lake Merritt in Oakland, California and spent one summer as the sailing instructor for the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club in Wilmette, Illinois.

While at Brown University, Dayton became captain of the sailing team, Commodore of the Brown University Yacht Club, and was active in intercollegiate racing for several years. After receiving his MBA from Harvard Business School, he moved to New York City and bought an International One Design class (the first in a long line of Gunga Din’s) which he kept at Larchmont Yacht Club.

With the IOD class, he won the fleet championship, the YRA of Long Island Sound Championship, and the King Edward VII Gold Cup for match racing in Bermuda in 1971 with his friend and crew Corny Shields, Sr.

In the same year, Dayton purchased the prototype Chance 30–30 which he named Ragtime and raced and cruised on Long Island Sound until about 1976 when he acquired a Tartan–10 Mandalay which he raced in PHRF races in the same.

Not content to race just his own boats, Dayton joined with a friend who had purchased one of the first New York 36s, Drive, and won the first New York 36 National Championship and many other races over the next several years.

Throughout the 1980s, Dayton chartered a number of boats with which he had great success, winning (among other races), the cruising division of several New York Yacht Club Cruises. Racing throughout New England and the Caribbean brought Dayton triumph on the race course and a camaraderie with his fellow sailors that he would tell stories about for years to come.

In May of 1993, Dayton purchased a Sweden Yachts–41, his final Gunga Din. He raced and cruised extensively up through this last year, racking up a host of high finishes in events hosted by New York Yacht Club.

In addition to racing Gunga Din, Dayton was a regular participant in superyacht events across the Caribbean, his most recent victory aboard Sojana with friend Sir Peter Harrison at the 2019 St. Barths Bucket Regatta, where they won the Les Mademoiselles del Mers Class.

While much of his sailing activity was related to racing, he enjoyed cruising under sail and power, the latter inspired by the twin-screw powerboat his family owned during his childhood in San Francisco. With his friends, Dayton cruised both Eastern and Western seaboards, the Great Lakes, Caribbean, Canada, and much of Europe.

But he declared his favorite sailing in recent years was in late fall aboard his meticulously kept yellow sloop Gunga Din on the waters of Narragansett Bay. He was known to recite the poem that inspired his boats’ name, raising his voice at the end to exclaim, “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”

Dayton was a larger-than-life figure who made an impression on everyone that he met. Known for a mischievous streak, his antics often elicited raucous laughter (and sometimes ended with him in a pickle). A gentleman through and through, Dayton brightened every room he entered and was a master of meaningful introductions between people he thought shared common interests.

Generous of time and spirit, he was a champion and ambassador for the causes he supported.

He served on the Board of Directors of the National Sailing Hall of Fame for many years and played a vital role in bringing it to Newport, RI. Other organizations dear to him were US Sailing, Sail Newport, Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Brown University and the Sailing Team, Harvard University, The Preservation Society of Newport County, Redwood Library & Athenaeum, Childfund International and many others.

The National Sailing Hall of Fame will hold a memorial event at its new home in Newport, RI on a future date when conditions permit so that his many friends may come together to share their memories of this extraordinary man.

Fair winds and following seas, Dayton. You will be missed. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Helly Hansen NOOD Regattas Update

J/70s at Sailing World NOOD Regatta
(Newport, RI)- Each year Sailing World magazine presents North America’s largest sailing regatta series, the National Offshore One Design Regattas. This incredibly popular regatta is broadly enjoyed by J/Sailors from around America, Canada, and Mexico. The only regatta that went off without a hitch so far in 2020 was the Helly Hansen St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta in St Petersburg, FL in early February.

At this time, the following Helly Hansen NOOD Regattas are scheduled to be held, two have been rescheduled. 
  • Chicago NOOD- Chicago, IL- June 12-14
  • Marblehead NOOD- Marblehead, MA- July 23-26
  • Annapolis NOOD- Annapolis, MD- August 28-30 
  • San Diego NOOD- San Diego, CA- September 4-6
For more Helly Hansen NOOD Regattas sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Virtual Racing: Better coffee, Less salt spray!

J/70s sailing Virtual Regatta
(Newport, RI)- During the coronavirus shutdown, Sail Newport has launched a series of virtual races in partnership with, a non-profit online platform which uses real-time weather and designs simulated courses for virtual racing.

While most sailors, and everyone else, are either stuck somewhere or self-imposed at home, the race was welcomed entertainment for the sailing-obsessed globally, but especially for sailors in Newport, RI!

The inaugural race, The Quahog Cup, was held March 22 and received a monumental response as over 600 sailors registered for the Newport-area race.

On April 4 at 1700 (2100 UTC), Sail Newport started the second in their racing series titled “The Captain Bartholomew Gosnold Memorial Race” from Castle Hill in Newport.

This overnighter attracted over 300 sailors from the U.S., Croatia, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Portugal, Brazil, Bulgaria, Togo, France, and other countries.

The course was sailed on virtual TP52s, with the course beginning at Castle Hill Light and took online sailors along a tricky course around No Man’s Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, through Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds, in and out of the Elizabeth Islands, and then back to Newport for the finish.

Rufus Van Gruisen, avid sailor and owner of Cay Electronics, Inc (Portsmouth, RI) which equips sail and power boats with marine navigation and electronic systems, was one of the top US finishers of the 137.5nm course. As a new online racer, he shares his view of the genre:

How did you get ready for the race?
RVG: I prepared by looking at the weather forecast and studied polars and sailing angles for the boat, but other than that I didn’t do very much.

Did you provision?
RVG: No, I forgot and had no food. I had a pot of coffee on in the middle of the night, so I was well hyped-up.

How did you manage “on your own” with no crew?
RVG: I’m a bit geeky. In my home office I had the race up on a 24” screen, used a laptop for a zoomed-out view of the race and my iPad, so that I could lie on the couch for a while and take the race with me. Maybe I was taking it too seriously.

How do you mean?
RVG: I stayed up all night, probably had 1.5 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

Did other family members participate?
RVG: No, they thought I was totally nuts and went to bed.

What were the conditions?
RVG: The first four hours were tedious. There was little opportunity to pass other boats because of the reach out to Nantucket as the wind was just east of north. We had about 15 knots at the start but early on day two it died down to nothing. Around 6 a.m. it came back up out of the south.

Are you familiar with those waters? Anything particularly challenging?
RVG: Yes, I have done a couple of races in those areas. It was a bit challenging through the Elizabeth Islands. Quicks Hole was tight, and I remember sailing there before GPS, hoping you got all the flashing lights right on the buoys to get through. It felt a bit like doing the overnight Ida Lewis Distance Race; similar length but better coffee and less salt spray!

Without crew, participants admit they are crouched over monitors, using laptops and other devices to gather information usually fed to them by navigators and tacticians onboard. How did you find that factor?
RVG: I can see how singlehanded racing has become more popular. There’s no crew to contradict you!

Will you continue racing online?
RVG: Yes, I loved it. There are remarkable similarities with real racing, highly active, beating up wind, and some tedious sections on the run. It’s a lot of fun to race with so many boats, it doesn’t matter where you are in the race there’s always boats to compete with. It’s especially fun to race against people you know in your home waters. The chat rooms are quite active with comments. LOL! For example, some entrant asked if I was “having a barbecue on the island” on a slow leg around Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Hahaha, yes, I was "parked up" for a while there!

How was the last leg, any close maneuvering?
RVG: Yes, coming out of Woods Hole I was side-by-side with Brad Read (Sail Newport's Executive Director). I came up so close to his boat, I think he could smell the virtual coffee I was having. I almost had to put out some virtual fenders. It was a cat-and-mouse race from Cuttyhunk all the way back to the Castle Hill finish.

Brad Read, who designed the race with, finished 4th in the race and was the top US finisher (though recused himself from the trophies).

Van Gruisen is a lifelong sailor and has most recently served as navigator in Bermuda Races and New York Yacht Club regattas.

He is also an active racer on Sail Newport’s J/22s for Newport Yacht Club's Tuesday and Wednesday night racing summer series. In the winter, he frostbites on Newport Yacht Club’s Turnabouts (no navigation required in the 8 foot "turn-a-tubs").

As for the race name, Captain Bartholomew Gosnold was an English barrister, explorer, and privateer. He led the first recorded English expedition to the Elizabeth Islands. Gosnold named Cape Cod for the plentiful fish supply he found there and named Martha’s Vineyard for his daughter.  Thanks to Scuttlebutt USA for the interview. Learn more about SAIL NEWPORT here Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

International J/70 Class Announcements

J/70s sailing off Miami on Biscayne Bay
(Newport, RI)- Given that major regattas like European, North American, and World Championships take an enormous amount of planning and logistical coordination between the regatta organizers/ hosts and the hundreds of people sailing or involved in the events, it is not surprising that events scheduled even mid-summer are getting postponed later in the year or simply moved back an entire year.

J/70 Worlds
The International J/70 Class Association has been closely monitoring the worldwide developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 2, the International J/70 Executive Committee met specifically in regard to the upcoming World Championship to be held July 25-August 1 (in Los Angeles, USA). The Executive Committee understands the huge commitment of time and money it takes to participate in a major Championship, as well as the enormous resources that our host clubs and their volunteers and sponsors dedicate to such events.

The Executive Committee has determined that, because of the varying levels of infection and disruption across the world and the reality that any return to normal sailing activity will also vary across the world, it is impossible to assure every Class member will have a fair chance to prepare for the commitment of a World Championship during 2020. Therefore, the Executive Committee, working with the Organizing Authority, has postponed the J/70 World Championship to be hosted by California Yacht Club to August 7-15, 2021. There will be no 2020 J/70 World Championship.

J/70 sailing off Miami, FL
J/70 Europeans
The J/70 I.J.C.A. Executive Committee, working with the Organizing Authority of the 2020 European Championship to be held in Copenhagen Denmark, has also determined to postpone the J/70 European Championship hosted by the Royal Danish Yacht Club to June 4-12, 2021 next year.

With respect to other major J/70 Class events that remain on the schedule for 2020, the Executive Committee remains in constant discussions with these Organizing Authorities and expects to make decisions no less than 75 days prior to the scheduled date for those events.

We hope this approach will help clarify the way the Class is addressing this evolving situation and allow our Class members to plan accordingly. The Executive Committee plans to meet regularly in the coming months and will provide regular updates as needed. In the meantime, the Class wishes all J/70 sailors and their families the best in these difficult times. We look forward to resuming sailing as soon as we can.

Learn more about the International J/70 one-design class here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, April 13, 2020

J/99 Arrives in the Swiss Alps!

J/99 Switzerland arrival
(Lucerne, Switzerland)- In these difficult times, there are still glimmers of hope of what the future may portend for some sailors around the world. 

Our friends in Switzerland were happy to see a brand-new J/99 arrive from J/Composites in Les Sables d'Olonne, France. It was the last boat shipped before they suspended building operations in France due to the pandemic. The J/99 took an amazing, long winding, 1,000-kilometer tour over and around the French and Swiss Alps to get to Switzerland.

J/99 trucking route to Switzerland
The report from J/Boats dealer Damian Weiss and his team at Dyna Sportsboats AG was that the boat arrived in excellent condition and was immediately unloaded inside their large boat house. The team is excited to get the boat commissioned and in the water by June for some events that are still on this summer's sailing schedule!  Learn more about the J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Model yachting/ sailing on a pond
Grow Sailing in a Socially Responsible Way?
(Charleston, SC)- Why not? Try model sailboat racing! National Sailing Hall of Fame inductee Bob Johnstone is transitioning again. From Sunfish to 470 to J/24 to J/44 to MJM Yachts and now to one-design, radio-controlled sailboat racing. Here, Bob provides some good news from James Island in Charleston, SC and an interesting point of view to consider:

"Located on the Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community campus is the Bishop Gadsden Yacht Club, which may be one of few yacht clubs still conducting races in America. Radio-controlled sailing just happens to be the perfect option in these trying times, particularly if you are in a gated residential community with a pond (yes, we do have security).

Following current Covid-19 coronavirus guidelines, skippers can keep their social 6 ft. distance seated in “soccer-mom” chairs. There’s no bumping one another aboard, since there is no crew. And, there’s a ready group of lifetime boaters and sailboat racers among those emerging 77 million aging Baby Boomers. BGYC could be setting a national trend.

Our 11-boat turnout last weekend was the local pond record, and there will be three more to come next week. NOTE- please do not be alarmed, we are living in a gated community with a security guard!! Excitement is building as our fleet of Dragon Flite 95s are blossoming in all colors like a spring Charleston garden!

DF-95 sailing modelAlong with my wife Mary, our BG cottage dining room table is the DF-95 kit assembly area. We’re up to a fleet of 10 of these mini Volvo 70 look-a-likes to compete with several Lasers and Nirvanas. Speak about a one-design program!

With $425, a race-ready DF-95 kit and tuning guide ( arrives by FedEx within the week. Just add 8-AA batteries, controller neck strap, and sail numbers. Takes a day to assemble.

Radio-controlled sailboats could dramatically grow the sport of sailing… anywhere there’s a pond or pool. Not just in nice large harbors or lakes. A superb teaching tool for young kids, without having to invest significant funds to buy and maintain fleets of junior boats.

Think of an elementary school that supports the S.T.E.A.M. curriculum! Skills of assembling the DF-95 or smaller DF-65 kits, tying knots, learning the physics of sailing, the complexity of electronic controls, learning how to sail without having instructors on the boat, or yelling with megaphones, and learning a lifetime sport of yacht racing.

With the smaller DF-65, it’s been done in swimming pools with big fans at one end. It is a natural outlet to motivate video game fanatics (e.g. see Virtual Regatta above). And, it’s a sport that can involve parents participating with their kids in the same events. You know there’s nothing more motivating to a kid than beating the old folks on the race course!

Sailing on these small ponds with winds coming from every direction really teaches racing tactics. It must be how Buddy Melges got so good, being on Lake Zenda with winds going everywhere.

And, in terms of helping a kid deal with life: racing sailboats teaches decisiveness/ judgement; taking action without knowing all the facts; training the mind to assign probabilities to a number of possible outcomes; like the Harvard Business School Decision Tree.

DF-95- Reverend Mary JohnstoneBishop Gadsden is one of two radio-controlled sailing fleets still conducting regattas in the Charleston area. Gordon MacDonald, past-Commodore of the Noroton Yacht Club, captains a fleet of 10 radio-control Lasers out of Wild Dunes. Lynn Comfort just picked one up. They race on a pond at Sewee Preserve, east of Charleston.

A major center of radio-controlled model yacht racing has been Grove Pond at James Island’s County Park; which is currently shutdown (understandably). The Charleston Model Yacht Club has about 40 members. Their active schedule included Monday and Wednesday mornings and Sunday afternoon with three RC classes: DF-95s, Soling 1Ms, and larger EC-12s (a model 12 meter).

At our Bishop Gadsden pond (protected from the outside world), we are racing twice per week 5 to 6 races per day; it is all very relaxed and informal. Better than sitting in front of the TV set listening to the sobering news about how us seniors may be the most afflicted in a pandemic. Serious port-starboard collisions usually involve a gentlemanly solution of a voluntary 360 turn, but minor bumping and mark rounding pile-ups cause more laughter than screams of “protest”. It’s a race by race event. All fun. Everyone has his or her day. No cumulative scoring. No serious betting (yet) among spectators, like Aussie 18 skiffs on Sydney Harbor.

It takes being immersed in each new phase of sailing to fully understand what its potential might be for the sport.  And, amazingly, I am seeing the massive possibility here. But for now, it is just good to have good news to counterbalance the coronavirus onslaught elsewhere in our sport and on radio/ TV. Sail on!"

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Virtual Sailing J/70s in a World Locked Down
(Lisbon, Portugal)- Here is a fun idea to do with friends, not just in your local sailing community, but with friends around the world in your social online communities. Try the Virtual Regatta, sailing the online version of the J/70 (replete with actual VPP polars from actual J/70 sailing)!

Our friends at J/Boats Portugal have not only done that, they have organized regattas! Frans Wijnveld had this to say about their initiative:

"Due to the coronavirus, all sailing in Portugal is forbidden. So, my business partner- Luis Verissimo- came up with a great idea to start virtual regattas organized by J/Boats Portugal sailing in J/70's.

The idea was so successful, it is now adapted by the Portuguese Sailing Federation! In fact, we now have a number of sponsors for the winners and the last place boat, donated spontaneously! Amazing!

Last weekend, Luis ran the regattas with help of five people and 232 people joined in the regattas, with 20 boats racing at a time!

J/Boats Portugal
Our virtual regattas drew a lot of attention in these times of misery when all sports have come to a standstill! Amazingly, here in Portugal we got a LOT of spontaneous media coverage in major newspapers and TV; both online Internet and traditional print/ TV outlets!

People view this as a very sympathetic initiative of J/Boats Portugal! And one thing is for sure, the whole country of Portugal knows that J/Boats has arrived!"

If you want to learn more about hosting and running a Virtual Regatta using J/70s, please do not hesitate to contact Frans or Luis via email: 
  • Frans Wijnveld-
  • Luis Verissimo-
J/70s sailing Virtual Regatta

Watch a video of how Virtual Regattas work here

J/70s sailing Virtual Regatta
Learn more about Virtual Regatta and J/70s here: Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Was FLYING CLOUD the Inspiration for Sea Fever?

Extreme clipper ship- Flying Cloud
(Boston, MA)- Perhaps. In the early days of the California Gold Rush, it took more than 200 days for a ship to travel from New York to San Francisco. Remember those were the days before the Panama Canal. It was a long hard voyage of more than 16,000 miles.

It was a treacherous voyage that included going around Cape Horn, and subsequently some of the most dangerous waters known to mankind. Yet, in 1851, a clipper called the Flying Cloud made the same journey in only 89 days. It was a headline-grabbing world record which the Flying Cloud itself beat three years later.

The Flying Cloud, America's most famous clipper ship, was the masterpiece of Donald McKay, the foremost marine architect and shipbuilder of his time.

Clipper ship Flying Cloud under full sail
Clipper ships were born in the shipyards of Baltimore around 1820 and represented the zenith of the age of sail. They had completely new and original naval design characteristics, still emulated today by marine designers.

Flying Cloud- Donald Mackay designer
These included a long and narrow hull, a narrow cutting bow, low freeboard, a streamlined stern, and a deep draft. They were especially renowned for carrying large amounts of sail relative to their displacement and were capable of remarkable speed. The Flying Cloud could be seen racing into port before the wind, her acres of sail flashing in the sun.

An ordinary sailing ship would lift her bows and plunge with the seas. But not this one, as her sleek, jet-black hull sliced through the swells, the only visible motion was the white curl at her bow and an occasional toss of spray. She seemed to skim the waves like a gigantic black and white bird.

The Flying Cloud was built in East Boston, Massachusetts, and intended for Enoch Train of Boston, who paid $50,000 for her construction. She was launched in East Boston in 1851, just at the time of the California "Gold Rush", when travel and transport between East Coast ports and California was best undertaken by ship.

famous painting of Flying Cloud- extreme clipper ship
The Flying Cloud acquired a reputation for sailing faster than any other ship of her time. Within six weeks of launch, the Flying Cloud sailed from New York and made San Francisco 'round Cape Horn in 89 days, 21 hours under the command of Captain Josiah Perkins Creesy. Then, in 1853, she beat her own record by 13 hours.

All the more remarkable of her amazing exploits was one oft-forgotten fact....her record setting performance was all the more unusual because her navigator was a woman, Eleanor Creesy, who had been studying oceanic currents, weather phenomena, and astronomy since her girlhood in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She was one of the first navigators to exploit the insights of Matthew Fontaine Maury, most notably the course recommended in his Sailing Directions. With her husband, ship captain Josiah Perkins Cressy, she logged many thousands of miles on the ocean, traveling around the world carrying passengers and goods

Read the entire story here, written by Tom Correa, famous for his blog- The American Cowboy Chronicles.