Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Breault Goes Bananas in Isolation Series II

J/70 virtual regatta San Francisco
(San Francisco, CA)- St. Francis Yacht Club has been running their so-called "Isolation Series" sailing virtual J/70s around a virtual San Francisco Bay race track. They are now into Round 2 of the series and there have been some amusing developments along the way. Without a doubt, the learning curve has been steep for "virgin virtual skippers."  Starting techniques and mark roundings are particularly challenging; especially when hoisting or dowsing the J/70's asymmetric spinnaker. When to go into "planing mode" is also a key differentiator for the many virtual skippers, just as it is in the real world!  Here is the latest report from StFYC:

Did you know that bananas float? In the flotsam of some shipwrecks were found floating stalks of bananas.

Did you know that bananas emit ethylene gas, causing other fruit to ripen quickly?

Did you know that bananas are favored hideouts for tarantulas and other spiders, which then travel around the ship infesting other food stores (and bedding)?

Is it any wonder that sailors are so wary of the yellow fruit coming aboard their vessels, for fear of bad luck? Legend has it that this superstition was even recorded long, long ago in an ancient Sanskrit text.

Nicole Breault brazenly puts that superstition to the test every time she races in the Virtual Regatta Inshore game by brandishing a giant banana on the mainsail of her yellow boat (nbsailor).

Last Wednesday evening, going into the final session of the StFYC Spring Invitational Series Round 2, Breault sat two points behind VR master Philipp Berner (philippdk), the champion of Round 1. Nerves were on edge as the competitive cauldron of our Club racers cranked up the heat on the series leaders.

Race 1 of the night was won by David James (LedaSailor), and Berner added another point to his lead over Breault by finishing 3rd to her 4th place. Race 2 saw both Berner and Breault completely falter off the starting line, and thus became a contest of who might better fight their way back through the fleet.

Breault bailed right and found a clear lane, pressure and a favorable shift, and by Mark 1 was at the front of the pack! Much to his dismay, Berner couldn’t shake the tenacious fleet around him. Breault nabbed the bullet in the end, while Berner finished 10th.

Race 3 brought sporty play at the front of the fleet for both racers, and Berner rallied to win. It was not enough to retake the overall series lead, however, as Breault crossed the line in 4th and secured the Round 2 title.

So back to the humble banana lore… more recent research has shown that authors of ancient Sanskrit texts sometimes use double negatives, as in the case of the banana citation: “Do not fail to bring bananas as they are healthy for your crew!” 

Our virtual racers are back to their daily race at noon. Interested in joining? Newcomers to the Virtual Regatta Inshore game can access play and spectating on VR’s website. Join our StFYC WhatsApp group to get synced up.

Editor's note: the two protagonists in this fierce battle for virtual J/70 regatta supremacy both sail on the same boat in the St. Francis YC J/105 class- Bruce Stone's ARBITRAGE.  Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, June 29, 2020

J/70 Silvers St Maarten Series

J/70 sailing off St Maarten
(Simpson Bay, St. Maarten)- There will be many stories of the challenges of dealing with the global pandemic from the sailing community. Some sad, some hopeful, some inspiring. Down in the Caribbean, as the "wave" of the Covid-19 virus spread from China to Europe to the USA and elsewhere, the Caribbean islands remained somewhat isolated from what was ravaging the rest of the world. Early measures to stop travel and self-quarantine appears to have paid off, so far. However, the cost of those conservative measures has certainly been economic; the lifeblood of island economies for the most part relying on the enormous tourism industry.

J/70 sailing start off Simpson Bay, St Maarten
Like elsewhere, there are "sprouts" of hope and for those living "down island", there are glimmers of "normal" activity beginning to take place.

For example, Garth Steyn, owner of the J/70 IGY MARINAS in Simpson Bay, St Maarten, had this to say of their recent foray onto the Caribbean Sea...

"We are happy to report that our new normal life is returning in small increments. We have been able to get back onto the water. Our J/70 IGY MARINAS finished second overall in the St Maarten Keelboat Series, a nineteen-race series that started in November 2019 and just finished now in June 2020! The longest one ever, of course, due to pandemic delays.  We sailed against a fleet of M24s, an M32, a J/105, and Esse 850. Tough competition they all are! Fortunately, we sailed consistently and have made huge strides in learning the boat and we are enjoying it thoroughly!" 

J/70 sailing upwind off St Maarten
Garth wished everyone well in the J/70 community worldwide and hopes that fellow J/70 sailors might join them one day on the spectacular azure blue waters and amazing trade winds of the Caribbean!  Sailing Photo credits- Michele Korteweg 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

J/145 Takes MEXORC Silver!

J/145 Katara sailing team
(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- The MEXORC Trophy 2020 took place over a three-race series that starts with the famous Puerto Vallarta Race from San Diego, CA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It has proven to be a popular event over the years since the series ends with an amazing awards ceremony in Puerto Vallarta.

It is not hard to see why the MEXORC Trophy continues to attract sailors from around the world. Fun racing. Amazing hospitality. Sailing on the azure waters of Bahia de Banderas with whales, sharks, sunfish, flying fish, wahoo, dorado, tuna, lobster, and good Lord knows what else. It's a seafood fiesta, sailing fiesta to excite the senses.

J/145 Katara sailing offshore
Notably, Roger Gatewood's J/145 KATARA took 2nd in the ORR 5 Class in the Puerto Vallarta Race, then managed to post an overall record of 5-5-2 for the MEXORC Trophy to take 3rd overall! Job well done...and, notably, just about a week before Mexico went into "shutdown/ lockdown" mode in Mexico as well. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, June 26, 2020

J/88 North Americans to be Sailed in 2021

J/88 one-design sailing offshore
(San Francisco, CA)- The J/88 Class Association and St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, CA have determined, because of the varying levels of infection and disruption across the world, that the 2020 J/88 North American Championship scheduled for September 17-20 will be raced in 2021 as part of the 2021 Rolex Big Boat Series. The regional J/88 Fleet still plans to race at the 2020 Rolex Big Boat Series; however, their Championship will now be the West Coast Championship.

The J/88 Class Officers have been closely monitoring the worldwide developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. They understand the commitment of time and money required to participate in a Continental Championship, as well as the enormous resources that our hosts dedicate to such events.

Gary Panariello, J/88 Class Officer from Sausalito, CA, says, “The regional Fleet looks forward to the Rolex Big Boat Series each year, as it is known for great competition, camaraderie, and an unbeatable venue. The Class wants to make sure the North American Championship is a great competition, and in the current circumstances, participants from the North American fleet cannot fairly compete due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Postponing the North American Championship until 2021 is the right thing to do to make sure all competitors can compete safely.”

In the meantime, the Class wishes all J/88 sailors and their families the best in these difficult times. We look forward to resuming sailing as soon as we can.  For more J/88 offshore speedster and one-design information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Throwback Thursday- Sending It Around Island!

J/99 sailing offshore
(Newport, RI)- At this time last year, many sailors from the northeastern seaboard of the USA and, indeed, from around the world, were sailing in the NYYC Annual Regatta and the famous Around Island Race.

Remember this photo? Jeff Johnstone and his team of former J/24 crew in Newport were having a blast winning their class in the NYYC Around Island Race, that fun and always challenging 21.0nm circumnavigation of Jamestown (Conanicut) Island in the middle of Narragansett Bay.

In this particular part of the race, gusts were hitting 25 kts and it was "round-up" city for a whole slew of boats. Jeff reported hitting 16 kts boat speed in one of the puffs, cruising along in full planing-mode under the big pink kite.  Fun and games!  To learn more about the J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Supporting Doublehanded Sailing Growth

J/99 sailing doublehanded offshore
(London, United Kingdom)- World Sailing has established a dedicated section for doublehanded offshore sailing to support the growth and interest in this segment of the sport.

Following the selection of a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event at Paris 2024, event numbers for doublehanded offshore events in One-Design boats and handicap racing have increased.

The dedicated section on Sailing.org provides information on Paris 2024, as well as a list of doublehanded offshore events that will be regularly updated. A section on equipment is also included.

To encourage focus on the discipline of offshore sailing itself rather than on specific equipment, the Paris 2024 Olympic Equipment will be selected relatively close to the event.

The broad discipline of doublehanded offshore sailing, which includes all doublehanded events over 50 miles in length, with no gender restrictions, and sailed one-design or under any rating system (e.g. ORC, IRC, or regional systems) can guide sailors to focus their preparation efforts on the required skills to succeed. Skills such as seamanship, navigation, weather prediction, route selection, boat-handling and, of course, fast sailing.

The 2024 Mixed Keelboat Offshore Event will be a representation of this discipline. A very specific, one-race, mixed-gender, one-design, supplied-equipment, event with a specified duration.

In recent weeks and months, a 2024 Offshore Equipment Working Party, that brings together members of the Equipment Committee and Oceanic and Offshore Committee, have been in consultation with manufacturers of offshore boats. The Working Party is developing a set of criteria in consultation with the industry both for the Paris 2024 Olympic event and for the qualification events.

An initial draft of the criteria will be made public and accessible when available here.

Towards the end of 2019, World Sailing issued a Request for Information to engage manufacturers and classes in the discussions around the equipment. World Sailing received 12 responses from manufacturers and designers who provided information on initial proposals. The principal brand represented, fully one-fourth of the dozen recommended, were J/Boats- the J/88, J/99, and J/105.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the manufacturers all met World Sailing collectively via a video conference. Discussions centered around opportunities for all fleets, how World Sailing can help all manufacturers thrive and increase events, as well as emphasizing the importance of equipment equalization and the one-design aspect for the Paris 2024 Olympic event to ensure the focus remains on the skills of the sailor.

The discussion was positively received by all manufacturers as they underlined their commitment to ensuring the continued growth of the discipline. The criteria for suitable Equipment for the Olympic Offshore Event will be published no later than 31 December 2020 and the Equipment will be selected no later than 31 December 2023.

Promoters of sailing circuits, training camps, and event organizers seeking to incorporate doublehanded offshore events are invited to contact World Sailing to contribute to the promotion of this exciting and fast-growing discipline. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

J/22 "Household Racing" is HUGE Hit in Newport!

J/22 one-design sailboat- sailing off Newport, RI
Recently, the Executive Director of SAIL NEWPORT- Brad Read- provided an update on their experience "opening up" their facility at Fort Adams in Newport, RI. In summary, here is what Brad had to say:

"Our staff has been working overtime to ensure that all of our services are available for all of our sailors!

With excellent communication with Rhode Island's Department of Environmental Management (DEM), we have received approval to run:

  • Our summer youth and racing programs have been approved and will start on June 29th!!  
  • Household racing in J/22s has been a HUGE hit! 
  • Household rentals and lessons on the J/22s have slowly increased since the start of Phase II.
SAIL NEWPORT has received these approvals due to the trust that the state has put in us to monitor the areas of the park that are within our lease. These actions include health checks for staff and patrons, parking, face coverings, ensuring compliance with hygiene regiments in bathrooms/on boats /on surfaces /hand washing/PPE, contact tracing, and other protocols.

Thank you to all of the sailors in our facility for their understanding of the new guidelines that we must live under. I am super proud of our entire team, which includes staff, Executive Board, Board of Directors and Advisory Council!

Our sailing/racing schedule continues to be robust and is working daily with the state to find ways to get more people safely on the water. Stay tuned for our July and August schedule."  For more J/22 Family Racing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Newport YC Shorthanded Races Announcement

J/105 sailing offshore shorthanded
(Newport, RI)- Shorthanded events in Rhode Island on Narragansett Bay remain on schedule despite the COVID-19 environment, with the Offshore 160 (singlehanded) on July 10 and the New England Solo/Twin (singlehanded/doublehanded) on July 24.

Held annually, the New England Solo/Twin has courses of ocean triangles from 60 to 103 nm which begin and end in Narragansett Bay. The race will vary in length, depending on weather, for the Monohulls, Multihulls, and Cruising Canvas divisions.

The biennial Offshore 160 is held in the off-year from the Bermuda One-Two, and is a low-keyed, bare-bones event designed to potentially get new skippers’ singlehanded qualifying passage out of the way in the off-year, and to provide past competitors with a long-distance racing “fix.”  Registration is open for both at the Newport Yacht Club Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Four "Crazy" Sailors Go on Rescue Mission

J/99 in Bermuda
Four sailors launched an unusual rescue mission from the US to retrieve a sailboat stranded in Bermuda.

They did so in a 33 ft boat, Rodney Johnstone's brand-new J/99 JAZZ. It was a choice that made some people declare they were “crazy” to attempt such a trip.

However, this was no ordinary quartet of sailors, for among them was boat designer Rod Johnstone, an iconic figure in the sailing world. The other three also had extensive sailing credentials.

Their goal was to reunite Jean de Fontenay with his 67ft sailboat Baraka. It was moored in St George’s Harbour for the winter, but Mr de Fontenay had been in the US when travel restrictions were put in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and he had not been able to return to collect it before the start of the hurricane season on June 1st.

J/99 rescue team
Rescue team on deck: Andy Williams, left, Rod Johnstone, Clay Burkhalter, and owner Jean de Fontenay help to get Baraka back to the USA after being stranded in Bermuda.

With no commercial flights to the island, he searched for another way to reach Bermuda and retrieve Baraka.

One of his friends, Clay Burkhalter, said: “I know Jean well. He called and asked if I knew anyone who could sail him to Bermuda. I asked around, but could not find anyone.

“Finally, it dawned on me, my uncle, who is a designer of J-Boats — a whole series of sailboats produced over 45 years — had a new design J-99 that he had just taken delivery of. We’d planned to do the Newport Bermuda Race in it, but the race was cancelled.”

He called his uncle Rodney and asked if he wanted to do the trip to Bermuda anyway, taking Mr de Fontenay and another friend to collect Baraka.

“I said we can’t go on land, we can tie up and rest and then turn around and leave. He said yes, let’s do it,” said Clay.

Before embarking on the trip, they checked with the authorities in the US and Bermuda to make sure they could do the trip without being required to go into quarantine. They took Covid-19 tests before leaving the US and were all negative.

It took them 4½ days to sail from Connecticut to Bermuda.

Arriving in St George’s Harbour, they tied up against Baraka and cleared Customs. They had to remain on the two boats at all times.

Food supplies were placed in Baraka’s dinghy, which was on land. It was towed out to the boats by Steve Hollis, of Ocean Sails, in St George’s.

He said: “Jean’s been a customer of ours for a long time.”

After a day and night of rest, the crew, whose ages range from 62 to 83, split with Mr de Fontenay and Alan Williams on Baraka for the return trip, and Mr Burkhalter and his uncle on the J-99.

Mr Burkhalter said: “This rescue mission for Jean’s 67-footer was pretty unusual.

“Most people at home thought we were crazy. What! You are doing that in a 33-footer? But, when we got going we had a tracking link so friends and family could see where we were. Once we got going everyone was enthusiastic.”

J/99 off Bermuda
Mr Hollis said: “You’re rescuing your boat, you can’t fly there, so you have to sail there to get it— what a great adventure to do that.”

He added that many people bring their boats to Bermuda in the winter and stay for a few months, putting money into the local economy while here. He believes it is something that Bermuda could expand on.
Thanks for this contribution from Scott Neil, Assistant Business Editor/ Royal Gazette Bermuda

J/Sailors Enjoy SORC "Covid Shakedown Race"

J/88 sailing singlehanded in Solent, England
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Thirty-four Solo & Doublehanded yachts enjoyed champagne racing on the Solent on Sunday, 7th June 2020. SORC (Singlehanded Offshore Racing Club) staged the largest yacht race since the start of the Covid Lockdown for socially distant compliant solo and duo teams.

Unusually for SORC, which is the United Kingdom's only yacht club dedicated to solo yacht racing, the club also staged a Doublehanded class...it proved to be a wildly popular, prescient decision. Commented the Commodore of SORC, "with the Covid pandemic starving us of yacht racing generally, and Doublehanded racing gaining real traction at the moment, it seemed only fair to share our resources and have them join us in a race. It was a well-received, successful initiative."

The race team behind SORC wisely delayed their inaugural 2020 race from a 30 knot, grey Saturday to a sparkly, sunny, 12 knot Sunday. Given the enthusiasm to get afloat, the epic 27 boat solo fleet extended the race invitation to include double handers, increasing the entry field by a further 9 boats on the start line.

The numerous shoreside observers, perambulators, cyclists, and the generally curious were treated to a mixed fleet apparently aimlessly sailing in random directions, whilst awaiting the start sequence. The DH fleet were planned to start at 1100, but SORC's PRO Steve Cole wisely decided to delay starting the sequence until 1130 to allow the wind to fill in. Perfect timing because the first wind ripples soon arrived, with a steady 10-12 knot westerly propelling the DH start. All starts were “stealth” starts [radio only], so along with obviously only solo or two person yachts, any adverse comments from shore regarding yachts racing would be completely negated. The reverse being true, that the Solent coming alive again was welcomed.

J/99 JET sailing Solent doublehanded race
General Race Report
"The race....should I give a blow-by-blow account of who went where and when? Or, perhaps not! Sufficient to say that from the start, the place to be was in the west flowing back-eddy along the Gurnard shore. Most yachts headed this way, but the art was in gauging when to tack across the easterly flow towards Beaulieu and the first mark. Here, fortunes changed, the leading boats off the line who stayed on the island shore lost out. A group of five boats led by the J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS popped out in a favorable position.

It was evident that course-setter and long-term SORC race official Dave Giddings with Steve Cole had used the crystal ball to great effect; the course was enjoyable with true windward legs and downwind legs that were actually downwind. The course mainly featured navigation buoys rather than racing marks, giving the solo/DH sailor a fighting chance of finding them!

Heading off to East Bramble, symmetric spinnaker boats were able to lay the mark, whilst the rest zigzagged their way there allowing for much gybing practice. Two tight fetches to S Ryde Middle then NW to Hillhead caused us in Mzungu to decide that we could use the code zero; no we can`t. Yes, we should have done. Presumably everyone else had the same discussion, because I didn`t see one hoisted.  Perhaps the solo sailors didn`t have a crew discussion. Those that did can get appropriate help once the NHS is less busy. A beat back to East Lepe with the now strongly ebbing spring tide was quick, the port turn around the mark into the tide punished slow spinnaker work as SOG dwindled for those with no power. The fleet closed up considerably and had a great, sunny run to finish, Cowes Week style, at Gurnard [many close inshore out of the tide] where competitors took their own times. The J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS, sailed by the duo of Natalie Jobling and Tom Hayhoe took line honors and IRC Overall.

The weather was kind, the wind was just right, the course was spot on and it was a "free race". Thanks SORC!" Thanks for this report from Tony White.

Class 1 Solo Class
It was a game of "snakes and ladders" in a closely-fought race. Fifteen boats on the starting line with solo skippers can make for interesting incidents, to say the least. After zigging and zagging across the Solent, it was the J/88 TIGRIS, skippered by Sam Cooper that took line honors with an elapsed time of 2 hrs 36 min. However, TIGRIS was closely followed by a bunch of other boats in less than 1 min 12 secs, dropping him down to 4th place on IRC handicap time.  Jerry Freeman's J/105 JULIETTE finished in 5th place about a minute off the pace of the top boats.

J/105 sailing doublehanded on Solent, England
Class 4 Doublehanded IRC Class
While it may have been a closely fought duel in the Solo I class, it was anything but that in the Class 4 Doublehanded class of nine boats. Starting off fast, going the right direction off the start, the team of Natalie Jobling and Tom Hayhoe on their J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS led the lead pack to the first mark and simply kept expanding their lead. By the end, the "classic J/105" beat some of the newest boats off competitor's drawing boards, taking line honors by over 4 minutes on the next boat and also taking IRC handicap honors by 1 min 33 secs! Unfortunately, their stablemates on the J/99 JET made a few too many "wrong turns" tactically in the swift-moving Solent currents. At one point JET was a top three contender, but fell back again towards the end, so the JET team of James & Charlie Owen crossed the line 8 minutes behind the J/105 to take sixth on their first outing of the year.

A bonus for all sailors was the fact that North offshore expert Ronan Grealish was on the water in the North Sails RIB, offering coaching, sail trim tips, and support to all. Based on their experience last weekend, Ronan came up with three key tips for shorthanded sailing:

Sail Trim:
Optimize your sail controls so you can control the mainsail and headsail from the same position. Cross-sheeting the headsails are a good option to allow both sails to be trimmed from the windward side. It is important to have your sheets marked for average upwind trim so you can quickly pull them to the mark before fine-tuning, once settled on your new tack.

Planning Ahead:
Thinking two steps ahead will mean you are always ready and anticipating the next maneuver, reducing the likelihood of sailing past a turning mark. Sailing the shortest distance will pay more than keeping the sail up until the last moment.

Having an Autopilot:
A good autopilot is crucial, allowing you to concentrate on sail trim which powers the boat and gives you the best speed. Keeping your head out of the boat to look for changing conditions and tactical decisions will pay dividends when paired with effective sail trimming.

Did you miss our doublehanded webinar with renowned offshore sailor Armel Le Cléac’h and phenom Clarisse sur l’Atlantique? The duo joined North Sails President Ken Read for an inside look into the trials of doublehanded sailing and the grit it takes to race shorthanded.

Doublehanded Webinar
Watch a "Doublehanded Master Class" on YouTube video here.   Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson   For more SORC Offshore series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Celebrating J/99 Offshore Speedster #50!

J/99 #50 in France
(Les Sables'd'Olonne, France)- The challenging world events in the past few months have not been kind to humans, sailing, and the boating industry. To say the least, it has been devastating in terms of human cost as well as economic costs. Fortunately, in France, building has resumed after a brief period of "lockdown" and boat builders/ manufacturers were permitted to get back to work.

J/99 sailing doublehanded
As a result, the momentum continues for the "doublehander's boat of choice" in France for many of the top French offshore sailors. While many competitors are offering "free boats" to top French sailing professionals that have an eye on the 2024 Paris Olympics sailed in the Mediterranean, the "smart money" sailors are working with their sponsors to purchase their own J/99s for training and racing offshore. Not surprising, considering that J/99s crushed all of their competition in the famous Duo Cat-Amania Doublehanded Offshore Championship in France against its competitors in the 29 to 33 foot size range.

J/99 sailing off Australia
The most exciting news is celebrating the fact that J/99 #50 has rolled off the production line at J/Composites in Les Sables'd'Olonne, France and she is looking forward to doing some offshore sailing this summer!  Learn more about the J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Beautiful, graceful J/124 For Sale in Maine!

J/Net Brokerage Specials! Check out our exciting new site for lovingly-owned J/Boats from around the world.

J/124 sailing offshore

If you wish to become an "escapee" from this challenging world we are living in today, here is a yacht that can comfortably cruise across the Seven Seas in style and comfort. A gorgeous, fast sailing yacht designed to be sailed short-handed with ease by a couple.

From its large carbon wheel to the fine cherry and teak joiner work and Ultra-Suede upholstery below, or simply by the smooth, graceful way it slides through the water, the J/124 is every bit a sailing yacht in the best sense of the word. One that is a joy to sail in all conditions with minimal crew and with rare need to employ the auxiliary diesel engine.

"Sea Loft" is a one-owner yacht and a rare find. She is in like-new condition, exceptionally well-equipped, and maintained to a discerning standard. In indoor heated storage for every winter season, other than re-commissioning, this boat needs nothing. The many custom options and specifications will astound you. Come take a look at Eastern Yachts Sales in Maine, you will not be disappointed.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Eight Bells- Howie McMichael

Howie McMichael - sailor extraordinaire(Larchmont, NY)- Howard McMichael, Jr. died at the age of 82 on June 2, 2020 in White Plains, NY. Howie, as he was known to family and friends, suffered a stroke on May 28 from which he never recovered.

Howie was the longtime leader of and inspiration for McMichael Yacht Yards & Brokers, having taken over the company from his father, Howard Sr., upon Howie’s return from serving in the U.S. Army in 1962.

Having grown up in the boat yard, Howie started selling boats, managing purchasing and marketing for the company. Under his leadership, McMichael grew to one of the country’s major yacht brokerages and yacht servicing companies.

Howie served as President of McMichael through 2019 at which time he became the company’s Chairman. Under his watchful eye, the leadership of the company transitioned to its current President, Steve Leicht, a McMichael family member.

The company continues to be fully family-owned with a board comprised of his sister Susan McMichael Robertson, his sister Joan’s son-in-law Steve Leicht, and his son-in-law H.L. DeVore.

Nothing pleased Howie more than being out on the water. You could find him on his beloved boat “Puff” setting the weather mark with his best friends Joe Fontanella and perpetual PRO Butch Ulmer. If he wasn’t at that perfectly set weather mark, then he was off cruising on the family J/44 HONAHLEE with his grandchildren.

Howie was a yachtsman in the truest sense of the word. An active sailboat racer his entire life, he was a former Commodore of Larchmont Yacht Club and active member of the Storm Trysail Club.

His love and dedication to the yachting and boating communities was demonstrated in many ways, including countless hours volunteering for Storm Trysail’s Safety-at-Sea programs and Intercollegiate Offshore Regattas, as well as recently supporting the Newport-to-Bermuda Race and the youth sailors of the MudRatz and the Young American Sailing Academy.

Howie will be missed for those and his many other contributions to the sport he loved. More so, he will be missed by all to whom he was a friend. Gregarious and willing to share his vast knowledge about sail and power boats, Howie was always willing to stop whatever he was doing to help answer a question or address a concern. For those and his other inspiring characteristics, his legacy as a leader and crew mate will continue for generations.

Howie is survived by his wife Carolyn of 56 years; children James McMichael (Kirsten), Heather Conner (Steve), and Catherine DeVore (HL); seven grandchildren JB, Jack, and Teddy Conner; Katie, Jackie, Lindsey, and Daisy DeVore; and sisters Joan McMichael Kelly and Susan McMichael Robertson.

Plans for a celebration of Howie’s life will be forthcoming. In the meantime, fair winds and following seas, Howie. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, June 19, 2020

2020 J/22 North Americans Cancelled

J/22s sailing off Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Kingston, Ontario, Canada)– The International J/22 Class Association (IJ22CA) and CORK in Kingston, Ontario Canada have determined, because of the varying levels of infection and disruption across the world, that the 2020 J/22 North American Championship scheduled for August 6-9 is cancelled. The Executive Committee has been closely monitoring the worldwide developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. They understand the huge commitment of time and money it takes to participate in a major Championship, as well as the enormous resources that our hosts dedicate to such events.

The Class intends to hold the 2023 J/22 North American Championship at CORK in Kingston, following the 2021 J/22 World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas (July 18-24) and the 2022 J/22 North American Championship in Tawas Bay, Michigan (September 13-17). In the meantime, the Class wishes all J/22 sailors and their families the best in these difficult times. We look forward to resuming sailing as soon as we can.

Trevor Collins, J/22 Canadian Class President, said, “It was important to the organizing group that we would be able to offer competitors an event complete, memorable and worthy of a North American Championship title. We hope all J/22 sailors get on the water soon, and we look forward to inviting you all back to CORK in the near future.”  Learnmore about the J/22 and the class here. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

RORC Offshore Series Updates

J/122 sailing RORC offshore series
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- As with other major offshore events, the window of opportunity to get back to racing on the Seven Seas depends on jurisdiction and where the races start and end. For the race management team at RORC, the varying rules and jurisdictions are particularly vexing when conducting races between the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, and The Netherlands.  Here are some of the latest updates.

IRC National Championship - move to September confirmed
The RORC Committee have confirmed the move of the IRC National Championships from its scheduled June time slot to September 11th to13th, Friday to Sunday. The move sees the IRC Nationals being run together with the IRC Double-Handed National Championship scheduled for the same weekend.

IRC Rating Director Dr Jason Smithwick commented, "The later schedule is a good result for the IRC fleet and allows us the best chance of giving them a top-level event with sailing in good conditions."

Channel Race & L'Île d'Ouessant Race
The Club now turns its attention to August and the traditional Channel Race and the quadrennial favorite of the L'Île d'Ouessant Race (or Ushant race), where it is hoped club racing can begin again.

RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone discusses some of the complexities and considerations in getting racing under way, "we are working to provide information as early as possible for all races, with a view to giving members and competitors an update about races no later than 30 days (4 weeks) before the scheduled race date. We will continue to ensure these updates come as early as possible to limit the disruption to those competing. There are many areas to monitor and consider, including the safety of the RORC staff and volunteers before we simply set off and go racing."

"With the cancellation of the July events, we now look more seriously at the Channel Race and the L'Île d'Ouessant Race," continues Stone. "Will Government regulations allow yachts to sail fully crewed? Current social distancing measures make it difficult for that to happen safely. Regulations also currently don't permit people to stay away from their primary residence, so we eagerly await some changes before overnight races can return to normal. There is also more serious border and immigration issues that need to be resolved. At present, sailing into foreign waters in a recreational capacity is against regulations. But, potentially, there may also be some quarantine issues to consider going forward. And lastly, we need to be extremely aware of the situation with our search and rescue authorities and examine their willingness to have events start up again. They are, after all, crucial to our sport, especially in maintaining the safety of all those competing."

Stone further noted, "we appreciate that it must be terribly frustrating watching the season go by from land. We feel the same and would like to ensure all our competitors that we are doing everything within our power to get us back to racing as quickly and as safely as possible."  Sailing Photo Credits- Paul Wyeth/ PWPictures.com.  For more RORC Offshore event sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Shorthanded Sailing J/111 Across Lake Michigan!

J/111 Shorthanded ready to sail on Lake Michigan!
* J/111 SHORTHANDED- we recently got a report from the new owner of the famous J/111 LUCKY DUBIE. Now renamed SHORTHANDED, Bob Hughes of Macatawa, MI was excited about getting her ready for sailing this summer on Lake Michigan.  

Bob had this to report, "our J/111 Shorthanded is now home in Macatawa, MI after a safe crossing from Waukegan, IL in mid-May. The trip was actually quite pleasant considering the chilly air temperature. The sun was shining, and we motor sailed with the main up, with the autopilot in charge, while we (Bob Hughes and Jeff Deyoung) took shelter from the wind under the dodger. We had a southerly wind around 15 knots and averaged over 8 knots for the trip. When we checked the water temp, it was a chilly 39 degrees. Shorthanded will participate in the usual distance races on Lake Michigan, both fully crewed and double handed, as well as mixing it up with the other Lake Michigan J/111s in one-design racing. We cannot wait to get back on the water again with family and friends!"

SORC Social Distance Race Announcement

Social Distance Sailing
(Miami, Florida)- As event organizers navigate their local health restrictions, for some areas that means participation is permitted only with same household crew while other areas focus on group size.

On June 27, the SORC Social Distance Race will offer rating racing along a 21.0nm course around Key Biscayne in Miami, FL. A pursuit start will meet the mandate that boats must remain more than 50 feet apart, and participants must follow the crew capacity limits based on boat length:

• Boats less than 25 feet: 4 adults max. plus children 17 and under; max. of 8 people.
• Boats 25 to 36 feet: 6 adults max. plus children 17 and under; max. of 8 people.
• Boats greater than 36 feet: 8 adults max. plus children 17 and under; max. of 10 people.

Initially scheduled for May 24, the storm that became Tropical Storm Arthur caused a postponement to the week after Father’s Day. We look forward to seeing as many of you on the water as possible! For more SORC Social Distance Race sailing information

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

DEJA VU Wins 10th edition of J/Boats Portugal VR Series

J/70 Virtual Regatta
(Planet Earth)- Over time, the popularity of J/Boats Portugal's Virtual Regatta program using the popular J/70 has continued to grow and this past weekend it had its largest participation yet. 169 entries from around the world participated in the 10th edition of the J/Boats Portugal VR Series, a three-day event! After the qualifiers, 20 boats sailed in the Grand Finale on Sunday, the racing was exciting, fast & furious, with many lead changes!  Teams hailed from over 14+ countries, including United Kingdom, Turkey, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Argentina, Spain, France, Denmark, Croatia, United States, Italy, Belgium, and Slovenia. 

To get a feel for how the event was staged, you can watch an hour-long highlights video with live commentary, live analysis, and replay of the principal races. The entire program was produced by eSailing.TV with passionate and knowledgeable sailors providing the blow-by-blow of each race.

Here is that link on YouTube.com.

In the end, it was clear the top British boat DEJA VU, skippered by Mike O'Donovan from Stokes Bay Sailing Club in Aberdeen, Scotland was setting a hot pace throughout the three-day event. However, it was a trio of Turkish sailors from Istanbul, Turkey that were giving him a run-for-the-money! In fact, in the final "Gold Medal" race (modeled after the Olympics where it's winner-take-all) the ultimate outcome literally came down to the last gybe into the finish!

J/70 eSailing virtual regatta
Here is how it all finally played out.  Winning was O'Donovan's DEJA VU from Aberdeen, Scotland. Just losing the finale by a hair's breadth to take home the silver was Turkey's Umut Efe Alpkoçak from the eSailing Club Turkey. Rounding out the podium taking the bronze was fellow Turkish countryman Kaan Mazlunca sailing for Istanbul Yelken Kulübü.

Rounding out the top five and not that far off the pace were Oguz Er in 4th position, sailing for Istanbul Sailing Club and in 5th position was John Kok from the Thessaloniki Sailing Club in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The links to the live stream of the Finals and Medal Race. 
For more information about the J/Boats Portugal VR Series.

Monday, June 15, 2020

J/133 Freshwater Beauty for sale!

* J/Net Brokerage Specials! Check out our exciting new site for lovingly-owned J/Boats from around the world.

J/133 Scirocco 3 for sale
A very pretty 2006 J/133 is available on Lake Michigan. Having sailed most of her life in fresh water for about five months per season, this boat is in impeccable condition. SIROCCO 3 was originally customized with the help of Butch Ulmer (of the famous Ulmer-Kolius Sailmakers). SIROCCO 3 has many custom features such as aft pilot berths. Sails and electronics updated. Beautiful condition!  Learn more about the J/133 SIROCCO 3 here Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Muhlenberger Segel-Club Crowned Champions of e-Sailing Bundesliga!

German J/70 eSailing League winners
(Hamburg, Germany)- On Friday evening, the Hamburg club confidently prevailed against its eleven competitors in the heartbeat final of the e-Sailing Bundesliga powered by BAY. As the top-ranked sailing club in Germany, the Mühlenberger Sailing Club can call itself "e-Sailing Master of the Sailing Clubs". The runner-up was the Lake Constance Yacht Club Überlingen. Third place went to the Düsseldorf Yacht Club.

Over seven days of matches, a total of 68 clubs qualified for the final. Then, during the finale, the top twelve finalists competed against each other in three races to determine the four teams that ultimately fought for overall victory in the Final Series.

The duo of Philipp Schrader and Timon Treichel from the Düsseldorf Yacht Club dominated the first races and confidently secured a place for the Final Series alongside Tim Federspiel and Lukas Ammon from the Württemberg Yacht Club and Jonathan Koch from the Bodensee Yacht Club Überlingen. Hamburg-based Till Krüger from the Mühlenberger Segel-Club was the only one of seven northern clubs represented in the final.

In the final series, Mühlenberg and Überlingen each won their third race to qualify for the heartbeat final. With another win, Mühlenberg, Überlingen and Düsseldorf could have won the overall victory. However, after a tough and exciting duel with Überlingen, the Mühlenberg sailing club finally prevailed and became the first club to become the "e-Sailing Master of the Sailing Clubs."

“It's an extremely cool format. We loved the eSailing Bundesliga series event and proud for our home club," said Till Krüger.

The races were broadcast live on YouTube, Facebook and Segelbundesliga.de and followed by eSailing and league fans across Germany.

"The success of the series, both in terms of the number of participating clubs and the media attention, has shown great interest in the virtual version of the Bundesliga. There will certainly be a continuation at the national level,” said Oliver Schwall, Managing Director of the Segel-Bundesliga. "Other countries such as Italy and Denmark have already adapted the format. So, implementation at the international level is conceivable as a counterpart to the SAILING Champions League."

After the e-Sailing season is over, the league clubs are now fully concentrated on preparing for their first on-the-water racing for the 2020 sailing season. The season start of the German J/70 Segel-Bundesliga will take place on July 17th at the Chiemsee Yacht Club in Prien, Germany.  Sailing Photo credits: DSBL/ Lars Wehrmann.  For more Deutsche J/70 Segel-Bundesliga information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

J/133 Patriot Rolex Sydney Hobart Highlights Video

J/133 sailing Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
* Australian Jason Close, owner of the J/133 PATRIOT, won his division in the Rolex Sydney Hobart last year- starting on Boxing Day, December 26th, 2019.

Jason's first attempt didn't go so well. However, he saw no alternative but to come back for the 75th race after PATRIOT broke her rudder (a submerged object broke it clean off) and retired from last year’s race.

Originally owned and raced in the USA, this J/133 was the second USA-built boat to be imported into Australia. Her only other Rolex Sydney Hobart was 2010, when owned by Queenslander Tony Love. Their successful outing enabled them to finish 25th overall for second in Division 3. Otherwise, PATRIOT has been lightly raced, used more for cruising.

For our 2019 race, the crew consisted mainly of members of Sandringham Yacht Club members, with four of the sailors either current or ex-international 14-foot skiff sailors.

"We were all very disappointed after striking an object and breaking our rudder last year and we are all keen to see the finish line at Hobart this year," said Close.

Here is a well-done sailing video documentary of that Rolex Sydney Hobart Race victory, giving insights into the race preparation, the importance of crew management, and the crucial process of on-going race navigation and strategies.Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Keeping Sailing Healthy and Well

J/22s sailing off Park City, UT
(Park City, UT)- We admit to having digital fatigue. During the coronavirus pandemic, the go-to solution to remain connected was to create video content, but there are only so many how-to topics we can consume. Enough already!

Sailors want to sail, and while most regions have some form of health restriction impacting the sport, making adjustments to activate participation is the function of every sailing organization.

For those waiting to return to their normal competition schedule, they will be waiting too long as the season is on and people want to get on the water. Sailing is about reacting to the conditions, so let’s react!

That’s the game plan at Park City Sailing Association (https://sailpc.org/), located 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City at an elevation of 7,000 feet (yes, over a mile high!) amid some of Utah’s great ski resorts.

Ken Block provides the update:
"So much of today’s sailing news is either stories of the past or an announcement of a regatta cancellation. Here on the Jordanelle Reservoir, just outside of Park City, sailing is growing at a record rate. This is our 13th season and 13 may be our lucky number.

As the month of May started, members began to use the club’s J/22s the moment the boats hit the frigid mountain water. Families that had been quarantined at home since mid- March found an opportunity to have a safe family activity under the ski slopes of Deer Valley. The club boats are each equipped with “Sani-Kits” to allow members to sanitize the cockpits to adhere to County regulations.

The entire team at Park City Sailing offers encouragement to the countless clubs that are facing some difficult challenges this year. Let us all work to keeping sailing healthy and well."  Thanks for contribution from Scuttlebutt Sailing News Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, June 12, 2020

College Sailors in the Virtual World

J/70 Virtual Regatta
(Philadelphia, PA)- The Drexel University Club Sailing Team had a pretty good fall season, qualifying for the Mid-Atlantic Fall Championship and putting in a solid team effort in challenging conditions there. The team was really looking good going into the spring season, and then March happened…

COVID-19 hit the US hard. Soon travel was canceled, followed swiftly by, well – everything else, including the entire spring college sailing season. The students were held off campus on an extended spring break, and the team never rigged boats for the year before campus was shut down and the student athletes became digital distance learners.

That could have been the end of the story, but as people were learning all sorts of way to suddenly be digitally social, an idea was formed. What if the Drexel sailors combined video conference hangouts and online virtual sailing?

“At first I thought it would be a good social outlet for my sailors, but as soon as we started, I learned it was actually a valuable teaching tool,” said Coach Craig Priniski.

The team used Virtual Regatta Inshore since it was an established platform with an eSailing World Sailing sanction. The app and website-based eSport also allowed for private races to be held with only the team participating.

“I found out that teaching strategy and tactics using the live video feed and interactive one design fleets was very effective,” noted Priniski. “The platform offered a better way to demonstrate topics like persistent and oscillating shifts, effects of wind shadows from competitors, and even the importance of finding dark water for pressure up the race course.”

virtual J/70 sailing regatta
The now-scattered team enjoyed the virtual practice sessions, too.

“As a graduating senior, I was very disappointed to have been left out of my last season,” admitted Haley Clemson. “Though it definitely is not the same, and I still wish for the ability to sail a physical boat every day of social distancing, the practices and regatta that we planned through VR inshore are a great way for us to connect as a team and through MAISA when we can’t in person.

“It is very cool that there is a platform where we can still ‘practice’ our sport through all of this, and is a cool way to have the semblance of practice with the team when a real practice is not possible”

The virtual season culminated with the first ever eSailing college regatta, at least that the team has heard of!

The Drexel Open Regatta, which is traditionally sailed on the team’s home waters of the Delaware River, was instead moved to a virtual experience.

A notice was sent out to the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s email list to invite other teams and recent grads to come together for one college regatta on May 16. The regatta was held in various simulated venues around the world and the sailors got to try sailing Stars, J/70s, and even 49ers over a six-race series. A Zoom skippers’ meeting was held, and all participants were invited to ‘stand by’ on Zoom or even chat with their competitors, as appropriate.

The Drexel Open succeeded beyond the original intent of uniting a few local teams. Instead, there were more sailors than the 20 boat races could accommodate. Several Drexel sailors opted to spectate so all could participate. In the end, 26 sailors were in a 20-boat fleet spanning two continents, three countries, and 10 colleges. Patrick Modin, sailing for Kings Point, took top honors for the regatta.

International Drexel student Paula Cabot commented, “I had to move back home to Spain to finish the quarter. It was hard to adjust, but it has been fun to be able to video call with the whole team and play Virtual Regatta. I am really happy that we were able to do the Drexel Open Regatta and hangout with the other teams!”

Drexel Sailing still has a few practices left…. look for them in the Virtual Regatta Inshore custom races around 7 pm ET on Mondays and Thursdays.   Thanks for contribution from Scuttlebutt Sailing News Add to Flipboard Magazine.