Wednesday, June 21, 2017

J’s Sweep Epic Chicago NOOD Regatta

J/111s sailing in Chicago (Chicago, IL)- “If there ever was a perfect weekend for sailing in the world, it was in Chicago for the NOOD regatta! Nearly half the boats entered were J/Boats. And, if there was a J/Boat in a section, the J/Boat won. Day One saw shifting conditions with wind 6-12 kts, sunny, warm, and a bit of fresh water spray just a bit refreshing. The Southwest breeze shifted to North, but the timing on the shifts was such that for many of the classes it came between races. Day Two was a windy day, 20-30 kts out of the Southwest. The offshore, gusty breeze was just fun to sail in. Then, Day Three, it was back to moderate Southwest breezes of 8-14 kts on a perfectly sunny day on Lake Michigan,” reported Richie Stearns.

The HELLY HANSEN Chicago NOOD Regatta, presented by SAILING WORLD magazine, featured over 140 boats and at least 1,000+ sailors that raced on four racing “circles” across the magnificent Chicago waterfront, the site of the 2016 America’s Cup AC45 Regatta series.  Fifty-seven J/Crews (about 43% of the fleet) reveled in the fabulous sailing conditions all weekend-long.

J/70s sailing off ChicagoIn the twenty-boat J/70 class, it was Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE team that compiled an incredible record of 5 bullets in seven races to win by just two points over Bob Hughes’ HEARTBREAKER team. Third place went to Martin Johnsson’s crew on AQUAHOLIKS and they were first place as well in the Corinthians Division. Rounding out the top five were John Heaton’s EMPEIRIA in 4th and Mark Teborek’s NORBY in 5th position (and 2nd in Corinthians).

The J/70 Corinthians Division was rounded out by Dave Dennison’s PIRANHA in third, Ian Beckley’s youth team from Little Traverse YC in fourth, and Adam Bowen’s BLACK PEARL in fifth place.  Here is a summary of the sailing from Corinthians top dog, Martin Johnsson:

“For the regatta, our pre-game strategy was simply to avoid mistakes; over early, caught outside in roundings, protests, going for too much leverage, etc.  In hindsight, this proved to be an effective strategy.

On Friday, we set up for a conservative midline start as we are confident in our speed and point in light to mid-range breeze.  For Saturday, we were a bit off the pace, but with height, and tried to maintain position upwind.  We were able to make gains downwind.  This worked well in race 3 and 4, however, in race 5 our spin halyard slipped on two separate occasions that caused an "auto-broach”!!  That proved to be quite costly.  On Sunday, we were very aggressive in the start and felt fast.  By sailing to reduce risk we made gains on each leg and took a bullet in race 6 and a 3rd in race 7. It was a tricky regatta considering the range in conditions.  A key point for me is that we stayed calm and talked through our boat-handling and speed concerns or positioning.  That calmness is what I attribute our ability to make the podium.”

Roesch's J/111 Velocity crew- winnersIt was epic racing for the fourteen crews in the J/111 class.  For the first time, an “outsider” from the Great Lakes won a regatta on Lake Michigan!  Kudos go to Martie Roesch’s fast crew from Annapolis, MD sailing their familiar VELOCITY; posting a two bullets in their seven-race tally to win with 16 pts.  Not surprisingly, their battles came from leading Chicago area teams in the form of Brad Faber’s UTHA and the three musketeers on KASHMIR (Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson, Mike Mayer).  Faber’s crew sailed consistently, winning three races themselves to post 24 pts and take the silver.  Rounding out the podium was KASHMIR, also winning two races, but suffering a DSQ in race two in a tussle with SHAMROCK, to toss out the door their chances for the overall lead. The balance of the top five was Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK in 4th and John Kalanik’s PURA VIDA in 5th.

Here is the report on the J/109 class from the perspective of Peter Priede’s winning crew on FULL TILT:
“The Chicago NOOD regatta had an incredibly close J/109 fleet this year.  Friday was a perfect sailing day. 6 to 12 knots wind but big shifts all day that kept everyone on their toes. It was easy to slip from first to forth on any given leg. After 3 races Jim Mitchel and Bruce Danly’s TOA had a one point lead over us and Dave Gustman’s NORTHSTAR. Day two brought on the big breeze, 18 to 30 all day on the southern course but the 109’s seem to be made for the wind and all spinnakers up except the last run of the day when the wind topped 30, only half the fleet set. The final day saw moderate winds and a perfect sailing day. NORTHSTAR and TOA got tangled up on the first start and were over the line. NORTHSTAR was thrown out and TOA didn’t realize they were over and got a OCS.”

FULL TILT sailed away with the regatta scoring two first on the final day for 18 pts total. The silver went to the Danly/Mitchell duo on TOA and the bronze to Gustman’s NORTHSTAR.  Fourth was Keith Eickenberg’s BLACKFIN and fifth Jim Murray’s CALLISTO.

J/88 sailing Chicago NOODThe J/88 Chicago fleet report contribution comes from Andy Graff on EXILE:
“Five J/88s raced at the Chicago NOODs, including Ben Wilson's RAMBLER, which took first place in a the 15-boat distance racing section. Three J/88s competed all three days in a 10-boat PHRF section for course racing. On Friday, J/88s EXILE and Tim Wade’s WINDSONG ended the day in the top two spots after two races in medium-light, shifty breeze. Saturday was a completely different story, with steady breeze building to 30 knots by the end of racing. At 29 feet, the J/88s were five feet shorter than anyone else in the fleet and lost a bit of ground upwind, but not so much as to fall out of contention. Tod Patton's BLONDIE 2 had the best boat speed uphill in the higher winds and improved their standing with a 4-4-3. EXILE was the only boat to fly a running kite in the last race and promptly broached a few times after the set in 27 knots. However, this proved to be worth the risk as EXILE still made large gains on the downwind despite the delay and ended the day with a 3-3-2. Sunday featured some match racing at the start between EXILE and the J/35 NOMATA, which entered the day with a two-point lead. NOMATA went on to win the regatta, while the J/88s EXILE, WINDSONG and BLONDIE 2 took 2nd, 3rd and 5th, respectively.”

Ben Wilson’s report about their adventures offshore on the J/88 RAMBLER indicated they had a scream racing in the EPIC sailing conditions on Saturday:
“RAMBLER had another fun day in big-breeze racing in the ORR 2 Section of the NOOD Distance Race. Conditions were nice for the Blue Course of roughly 32 miles in SSW breezes of 25-30 knots. Staying patient in the first 17 miles upwind, it came time for the 15-mile downwind leg bearing 349 degrees to the Wilson Intake Crib. RAMBLER followed the polar chart that had them hoisting the Doyle A3 Spinnaker. After popping the A3 kit, RAMBLER was sending it at 16.5 knots boat speed virtually the entire leg!! And like that…RAMBLER was gone!! Never saw anyone again!!  Team RAMBLER MVP was 12 year old Danielle Ewing, a student at Columbia Yacht Club Sailing School- Danielle enjoyed the big breeze, the excitement of ripping along at 16 knots, and the experience of winning her first bullet in a J/88!”

J/105 Striking- sailed by woman skipper Vanessa GatesThe J/105 class saw near total domination take place in their fleet of eight boats.  In other words, a “schooling” on how to sail consistent, fast, with few mistakes.  That would be the SEALARK crew, skippered by Clark Pellet, posting three bullets in a row and coasting to the class win with 16 pts.  Second was Mark Gurney’s BUZZ with 21 pts and third was Chicago class stalwart Gyt Petkus on VYTIS.  The rest of the top five included Vanessa Gates’ STRIKING in 4th (a first for her crew to finish in the top five!) and Robert Amos’ SOUTHBOUND in 5th.

Finally, to round out the clean sweep of every single class that had a J/Boats participating, it was Arne Fliflet’s J/120 MAZAL TOV that won PHRF NS Rally Offshore class.  Similarly, it was Jay Burler’s J/44 CHEEP’N’DEEP 2 that took class honors in the ORR 1 Offshore class. That rounds out a most amazing weekend for J/Crews on the Chicago waterfront!  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outsideimages.com.
For more Chicago NOOD sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CV Saint-Aubin-Elbeuf Win French J/80 Sailing League

French J/80 sailing league winners (Le Havre, France)- After La Rochelle last year, it was Le Havre that hosted, from 8 to 11 June, fourteen French clubs for the 2nd edition of the National Sailing League. This unique event was created to determine which French clubs would qualify for the Sailing Champions League semi-final event that will be sailing J/70s in St Petersburg, Russia. The top 50% of the teams at St Petersburg will qualify to participate in the Sailing Champions League finals in Porto Cervo, Sardinia at YC Costa Smeralda.

Nicolas Hénard, President of the French Sailing Federation (FFV), commented that, “the concept of the National Sailing League brings a new dynamic in the way we must consider and design our competitions. The Test Event in La Rochelle last year made it possible to validate the concept and we are delighted that Le Havre hosted the 2017 edition. It was a great occasion to discuss our work in progress and understand their expectations vis-à-vis the FFVoile and how we can expand the exciting National Sailing League throughout France.”

Edward Russo, President of the French National Sailing League Committee, said, "La Rochelle was a great success, it allowed us to select the four sailing clubs for the 2017 Sailing Champions League. The Le Havre event promised an exciting competition between the clubs from all across France, and SR Le Havre delivered.“

J/80 women's sailing team at French Sailing LeagueAs host of this year’s event, Société des Régates du Havre provided a fleet of matched J/80 one-design class sailboats for the fourteen teams. What distinguished the 2017 edition from last year is that eleven different provinces in France were represented, from the “Maritimes” on the north, west and south coasts as well as sailing clubs from the lakes in the French Alps!  It was truly the first national sailing club championship ever held in the history of French sailing!  The supporting partners in the event included MARINEPOOL (the global clothing brand), SAP (the global leader in enterprise technology) and the City of Le Havre.

The hard work put in by the FFV and the French National Sailing League committee paid off in big dividends in terms of the high-quality teams they attracted.  World Champions, Olympic Medallists, European Champions, offshore champions in IMOCA 60s/ Mini 6.5s, all were present!  For example, there was a 100% all women team from CNTL Marseille! Team tactician Marie Duvignac explained their mission, “we are proud to be the only all-women crew in the event. We compete as sailors, not girls, so although there may be some disadvantages in terms of strength, the wonderful part about sailing is that it is mostly skill and brains!  We have plenty of that on our team!  And, we’re not afraid to take on the world’s best, we know the J/80 sailboat quite well.”

J/80 sailing league off Le Havre, FranceOther top French Olympic sailors were also present.  Sofian Bouvet sailed with SR Antibes; he was European champion in 470s in 2013 and 2016 with Jérémie Mion, bronze medalist in 470 at the 2016 World Championships and 7th at the Rio Olympic Games. In addition, Camille Lecointre sailed with SR Brest; he was bronze medalist at the Rio Olympic Games in 470s!  Talk about hauling in “the ringers” to help your club sail fast!  That ain’t whistling Dixie!

How did the winners of this event- CV Saint-Aubin-Elbeuf overcome all this talent and, on top of that, call their home a tiny lake in the French Alps??  Here is how it all went down.

Day One- Friday
The first day saw seven races completed for the fleet.  It was a very intense day for all the teammates who had to work on their maneuvers on the short courses set by the Race Committee. The standings at the end of the day saw SR Antibes in the lead, followed by CVSAE and APCC Nantes.

Day Two- Saturday
The wind conditions on the Le Havre bay did not allow the organizing team to launch as many races as the program foresaw. In the morning, only one race per crew could be completed. It was not until around 5 pm, after a return to shore for the whole fleet, that the crews were able to return to the water to compete for one or two more races.

On the eve of the final day, the podium was identical to the ranking on Friday. But, thanks to their victory in the last race of the day, the CVSAE was tied on equal points with SR Antibes. A duel that was reminiscent of that of last year in La Rochelle between the CVSQ and the CVSAE. In third place, was APCC Nantes and hot on their heels giving them a lot of pressure was the crew from Granville.

French J/80 sailing league winnersDay Three- Sunday
While the first day of racing on Friday took place with 12 knots of wind, then all but disappeared on Saturday, but fortunately, returned on Sunday with 4 to 8 kt winds.  As a result, sail handling and boat handling were at a premium as one meter lost was a hard meter to earn back!  It was incredibly tight competition.  Starting off the day, the two leaders were tied on points, so it was “all or nothing” for them to win the regatta between Antibes Regatta Society (SR Antibes) and the lakes sailors from CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf.  The delicious irony for the team on CVSAE was that Sunday’s conditions exactly mirrored the type of conditions they see on their lake, flat waters, light streaky breezes; it was clear they felt more at home in these conditions than many of the other teams.

The battle on the high seas was intense.  Nevertheless, in the final tally it was CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf that was crowned regatta winners.  That means the final four qualifiers from France to go to the Sailing Champions League in either St Petersburg, Russia or St Moritz, Switzerland will be CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf, SR Antibes, APCC Voiles Sportive Nantes and CV Saint Quentin.

The winning skipper on CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf, Cédric Château, said, "It was a bit complicated this morning because we did not sail very well, we had our three worst races of the regatta. Then we had a little debrief and we recovered ourselves. We were able to get back into the game and it ended rather well for us! We are very pleased, we were sailing against many of the best sailors in France, so we are very proud of this victory.”  Follow the French National Sailing League on Facebook here   For more French National Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE Two-peats J/70 Europeans!

Claudia Rossi- J/70 Europeans winner Royal Thames YC Academy Students Are Corinthians Winners!
(Hamble, England)- This year’s J/70 European Championship, hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, promised a feast of big-breeze racing for forty-two teams from eleven countries. After nine scintillating races on the Hill Head Plateau, Central Solent, the J/70 European Championship saw a rare “two-peat” unfold before their collective eyes. Claudia Rossi's Italian team, racing PETITE TERRIBLE, retained her title in a thrilling final day of high-speed action in the Central Solent; her all Italian crew included Michele Paoletti, Matteo Mason, Simone Spangard, and Verena Webe.

In a field boasting Olympic Medallists and numerous World Champions from other classes, one third of the teams had mixed or full women teams and both the Open and Corinthian European Champions featured women at the helm- the Corinthian Champion skipper on the RTYC Academy team was Fiona Hampshire. Notably, there were THREE women skippers in the top ten, including top Russian women keelboat skipper- Valerya Kovalenko; her crew managed tenth overall on RUS 1 ARTTUBE. Here is how the thrilling racing on the Solent unfolded over the course of four days.

J/70 planing at finishDay 1- Blown Out!
The weather won the first battle on the opening day of the Europeans!  The RSYC Principal Race Officer, Stuart Childerley, and his Race Committee team, braved the conditions to monitor the situation on the racecourse and relayed their updates to competitors ashore, using a closed user group via cell phone. However at 13:30 BST, they called off racing for the day since it was gusting up to 40 kts at times!

Day 2- Baptism By Fire!
The weather conditions did not change much for the second day of racing.  It started windy and just got windier.  Two races were completed, but only just. While the first race was conducted in a lively 18 knots of westerly wind. By the second race, the wind had veered northwest and strengthened to survival conditions of 25 knots, and at times gusts of 30 kts. PRO Stu Childerley, again, wisely stopped the action after a brutal last race, which had plenty of competitors spinning out downwind, with a few spectacular broaches, and plenty of shredded nylon blowing across the race course.  Despite the physically demanding conditions, it was a women helm at the top of the leaderboard.  Claudia Rossi's PETITE TERRIBLE posted a 1-2, while in second place was the Spanish J/70 NOTICIA, skippered by José María Torcida (a past two-time J/80 World Champion) that posted 3-1, then Martin Dent's British team racing JELVIS 7 posted 4-4 to claim third at the end of the day’s racing.

Watch this ballistic video action from Day Two of the J/70 European Championship (VRSport.tv)
https://vrsport.tv/vr-media/2017-j70-european-championship-day-one-stormy-weather/

J/70 planing downwind“It was an exciting day, very fast conditions and I love to drive the boat when it is like this,” smiled Claudia Rossi. “We have only completed two races, so it is early in the regatta, but we had two good races, so it was a good day for us. Our tactician made some good calls today.” She was referring to Olympic Finn Medallist and TP52 tactician- Michele Paoletti.

In the Corinthian Class, Tim Gratton's Royal Thames YC Academy Team with woman skipper Fiona Hampshire guiding them around the course, led from Patrick Liardet's COSMIC. The 2015 Corinthian J/70 World Champion, Simon Ling's SPITFIRE, scored well in the first race but spun out and destroyed their spinnaker in the second race, to end the day third in the Corinthian Class. “I know it sounds cheesy but that was full-on today,” commented Simon Ling. “I have raced J/70s since they first came out and that was a first; we blew out both kites. We dug out an old kite and got it measured, so SPITFIRE will be back fighting tomorrow!!”

Day 3- Spanish Conquistadores Take Lead!
After four races on day three, there were aching limbs and bloodshot eyes among the sailors, but plenty of smiling faces after another fantastic day on the water. José María Torcida's Spanish NOTICIA team cracked the Italian defense, with a 1-2-1-2 tally, taking the lead in the championship by a single point, from current J/70 European Champion, Rossi's Petite Terrible.

Peter Duncan's American RELATIVE OBSCURITY team, including past Etchells World Champion Jud Smith, scored three keepers with their 3-1-23-4 tallies to move into third. Martin Dent's British team, including past J/80 World Champion Ruairidh Scott, had the same points as the Americans, but placed fourth on countback.

J/70s sailing off starting line“Pichu” Torcida and his Spanish NOTICIA team are new to the J/70 Class. However, Torcida has won the J/80 World Championship on two occasions. "Balance is so important, in any wind strength, but especially in surfing conditions,” explained Torcida. "You need to get all of the crew to the back and then you will fly faster, and when you need to change direction, you will have more control. My team are from all over Spain, from the Canary Islands to the very North, and I am not the only world champion on the boat: Rayco (Tabares) has won the J/80 World Championship three times, including the last two years!!”  Indeed, a very, very talented and competitive crew!

With the wind initially from the southwest, PRO Stuart Childerley positioned the racetrack further to the east, with a top mark in the vicinity of Osbourne Bay, giving the J/70 fleet some relief from the easterly going tide and the 20 knots plus of wind. The tide turned later in the morning, as did the wind. Giving the opportunity to move back to the preferred Hill Head Plateau - Brambles Bank runway.  With a slight moderation in wind speed, the penultimate day of the J/70 European Championship was a more tactical affair, and after close to five hours on the racecourse, stamina and tenacity were also keys to success.

One of the day’s top performers was past Etchells 22 European Champion, Jeremy Thorp, racing the J/70 PHAN. "Starts are always important, but especially, in big one design fleets. If you manage to just get your bow ahead, and hold your lane, you can break out of the pack into the leading boats and clear air. If you don't, you don't start well, you have to tack away and take so many sterns that you end up over 100 metres behind. In this fleet, you can never expect to make that back. We are a new team to the class and it is exciting to be racing at such high speeds. On the helm, I find concentration to be the biggest challenge, I have quite a young crew, they put in the huge physical effort."

In the Corinthian Class, the Royal Thames YC Academy Team, helmed by Fiona Hampshire continued to impress. However, after two top-ten finishes, Jack Davies Team YETI, from the Isle of Wight, closed the gap on the Corinthian Class leaders. Simon Ling's Team SPITFIRE remained in third.

Claudia Rossi and Petite Terrible crewDay 4- Epic Finale
The last day of racing was full of drama; PETITE TERRIBLE won the first race, putting pressure on overnight leader, NOTICIA. The Spanish team fought back in the penultimate race, to get ahead of PETITE TERRIBLE at the crucial first top mark, only to see their spinnaker explode in a gybe. NOTICIA quickly hoisted their second kite, but in a high caliber fleet, they could not recover. PETITE TERRIBLE held their nerve in the last race to win the J/70 Open European Championship for the second year running.

As the Italian team went up to collect their award, a huge cheer went up from the J/70 crowd. “I want to say ‘Thank You’ to everyone, the standard of the competition and the regatta was very high,” smiled Claudia Rossi. “I also want to say ‘Thank You’ to my team, without them I could not have done this.”

Peter Duncan's Relative Obscurity crewTorcida's World Championship caliber Spanish team on NOTICIA was second. Peter Duncan's American team on RELATIVE OBSCURITY scored an impressive 2-1-1 to snatch third place, just two pts back from the Spanish crew. The top British boat was the Maltese/British alliance of Calascione & Ripard on CALYPSO, finishing the regatta in fourth place.

In the Corinthians Division, it was the young team from the Royal Thames YC Academy helmed by Fiona Hampshire, that was the top Corinthian J/70, placing an impressive 5th overall! Another young team, Jack Davies' J/70 YETI, from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, was second in the Corinthians class, and Simon Ling's Team SPITFIRE was third.

Peter Duncan's team finished third, behind Noticia, winning the last two races to finish the regatta in style. “We put it together today, and this is a new team, so we are pleased to end this regatta on a high. We have plenty more to do, and having seen the standard of racing in the European fleet is very high. The Worlds in Sardinia will be a very tough competition. Many thanks to the organizers of the regatta. The standard of race management, and the hospitality of the Royal Southern Yacht Club, has been absolutely first class."

Corinthians winner- Academy crewCorinthian J/70 European Champion, Tim Gratton is from  Royal Thames YC Academy, and the crew are all still at university or recently graduated. Fiona Hampshire on the helm was quick to point out that the victory was very much a team effort. “Really, I am just the crew that steers the boat, the rest of the team perform the maneuvers, and decide which way to go. I was very much concentrating on keeping the boat driving forwards upwind and as fast as possible downwind. A big thank you to the Royal Thames for giving us the opportunity!”

Royal Southern Yacht Club Vice Commodore, Graham Nixon, welcomed the competitors to the J/70 European Championship Final Prize Giving and thanked the race team, Club volunteers and especially Event Director and Royal Southern Yacht Club Rear Commodore, Robert Vose, for putting on an excellent regatta in difficult conditions. He also profusely thanked PRO Stu Childerley for his highly professional and polished Race Committee crew for managing nine races in very challenging sailing conditions. Raymarine sponsored the final Prize Giving with winners taking away some fantastic prizes.

Raymarine's U.K. OEM Sales Manager, Greg Wells, himself a Flying Fifteen European Champion, explained why Raymarine decided to support the regatta: “It was an easy decision, every J/70 made has our equipment, and the class is the fastest growing one-design keelboat class ever, and incredibly exciting to sail. We are very proud that the teams use Raymarine products, and by supporting the regatta, Raymarine are showing our appreciation.”

Alfa Romeo proudly sponsored the championship. The new SUV model, the Alfa Romeo “Stelvio,” was on display at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, and all competitors had an opportunity to take the first ever SUV by Alfa Romeo for a test drive! Thanks for report contribution by Louay Habib.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth

AMAZING J/70 sailing videos- check them out!!
https://vrsport.tv/vr-media/2017-j70-european-championship-day-two/
https://vrsport.tv/vr-media/2017-j70-european-championship-final-day/

For more J/70 European Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, June 19, 2017

J/Crews Sweep New York YC Annual Regatta

J/122 Teamwork sailing New York YC Annual RegattaEpic, Sunny, Fast Round Island Race!
(Newport, RI)- After three days of racing in excellent Narragansett Bay sailing conditions, it was hard for participants to name their favorite day, that’s how beautiful the weather was for this year’s 163rd edition of the New York YC Annual Regatta.  The three-day festival of sailing started with the highly popular 21.0 nm Around Island Race (Jamestown) on Friday.  Then, Saturday/Sunday the various fleets spread across four sailing areas from offshore on Rhode Island Sound, to a “stadium sailing” course next to Fort Adams, to round the buoys and random-leg courses set in Narragansett Bay.  There is a little of something for everyone in this format and it was clear that most sailors in the fleet of ninety offshore keelboats had a blast sailing in IRC, ORC, PHRF and J/44 classes. Twenty J/Boats participated (25% of the total) and many walked off with a fair amount of silverware for their trophy rooms!

J/44 Gold Digger wins Around Island RaceFor the Around Island Race on Friday, the winds started out slowly, forcing an initial one-hour postponement.  However, the breeze finally filled in from the west at 8-15 kts, as forecast, and the fleet enjoyed basically a super-fast “reach around” the track.  The only opportunity to not go white sail reaching was on the short 2nm segment at the north end of Jamestown, going from Green Can #4 to Bell #8.  At the very end of the race, the smaller boats experienced a building seabreeze that shifted the breeze further south, creating a beat for the bottom half of the fleet.  As a result, it was a “big boat” race for overall handicap scoring.

In IRC 3 Class, Tom Sutton’s J/35 LEADING EDGE demonstrated why the love the Round Island Race so much, taking the bronze for the class to add to their Overall Class/Title awards from the 2016 event.  Bringing his amazing offshore crew from Lexington, NC up to the northeast to do battle with the top crews this summer was Robin Team’s J/122 TEAMWORK; this time managing a 5th in class despite not having a lot of local knowledge aboard.  Sixth went to Bill Sweetser’s J/109 RUSH.

A sweet victory was savored by local Jamestown hero, Jim Bishop’s famous ocean green J/44 GOLD DIGGER, taking the J/44 class after a pitched battle with the US Coast Guard Academy’s J/44 GLORY.  Third was Chris Lewis’ KENIA from Houston, TX.

J/109 sailing Around Jamestown RaceIn PHRF 1 division, John Greifzu’s J/109 GROWTH SPURT placed 5th, Steve McManus and Brad Boston’s J/120 SAYKADOO took 8th, Brian Kiley’s J/109 GAMBIT was 10th and Abhijeet Lele’s J/111 VARUNA was 12th.

The PHRF 2 division saw a J/sweep of the top five!  Winning was Don Santa’s J/105 SANTA’S REIGN-DEAR, 2nd was Doug Newhouse’ J/88 YONDER, third was another J/88- Dave Malkin’s MI-2, fourth saw John Krediet’s J/97 PARTICIPANT enjoy their 1st Round Island, and fifth place went to EC Helme’s J/92S SPIRIT.

For the Annual Regatta racing that took place on Saturday and Sunday, there were several impressive performances by J/teams.  Notably, it was Robin Team’s J/122 TEAMWORK that simply smoked IRC 3 Division, posting three bullets enroute to a dominating class win with just 12 pts.  In fact, they led yet another J/sweep of the podium, as they were followed by Tom Sutton’s J/35 LEADING EDGE in 2nd place, and Bill Sweetser’s J/109 RUSH in the bronze position.

In PHRF 2 Division, it was yet another J/sweep, led by Fred Darlington’s J/105 TONTO.  In a tie-breaker, it was Jack McGuire’s J/29 DIRTY HARRY over Doug Newhouse’s YONDER, for 2nd and 3rd, respectively. In fourth was SANTA’S REIGN-DEAR and fifth went to Malkin’s J/88 MI-2.  Krediet’s J/97 PARTICIPANT II was 7th overall.

There were six J/44s sailing in their one-design class configuration; including the US Coast Guard Academy’s GLORY, Bill Ketcham’s MAXINE, Bill Mooney’s KATANA, Willets Meyer’s BEAGLE, Jim Bishop’s GOLD DIGGER, and Chris Lewis’ KENAI.

J/44 Maxine- Vice Commodore New York YC Bill KetchamFor Lewis’ KENAI, the issue wasn't coming into the event with low expectations, it was not having anything on which to base expectations. While Lewis has owned his boat for 21 years, he'd never raced against other J/44s utilizing the class one-design sails until this weekend.

"We normally race with a sprit and asymmetric spinnakers," said Lewis, from Houston, Texas. "We've been doing distance races in that format. We spent three days converting the boat to the one-design format to compete in this regatta and the J/44 North American championship at Block Island Race Week. We had really no idea how we would perform. We've never lined up against these guys."

The early returns were promising, with KENAI notching a first and two seconds on Saturday. But that still left Lewis and his team a point in arrears of NYYC Vice Commodore Bill Ketcham’s MAXINE. In Sunday’s fresher breeze, KENAI was the class of the fleet with a second and two firsts and a three-point overall win.

"We sailed very consistently and my tactician, Mike McGagh, made some good calls on the race course," said Lewis. "We were pretty much always able to match the other boat's speed. We had a very good battle with Bill’s MAXINE and the outcome was decided in the last two races. We're based in Texas, and so we're the dark horse of the J/44 fleet. But, I guess the dark horse did well this weekend!”  For more NYYC Annual Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Block Island Race Week Preview

Block Island (Block Island, RI)- One of the highlights of summer sailing in northeast America is Storm Trysail Club’s bi-annual bacchanalian sailing festival known as Block Island Race Week.  Sailing from June 18th to 23rd, thousands of sailors migrate to the beautiful island five miles offshore of Rhode Island.  It’s a bit of a pilgrimage for many sailors, some are veterans of more than two dozen BIRW’s; it’s a time to reconnect with old friends, a time to relax and socialize with hundreds of other sailors, enjoy the camaraderie of a shared love for the water, for sailing and for celebrations.

Not surprisingly, by far the largest contingent at Block Island are J/Boats sailors.  Of the 145-keelboat entries, 73 are J/Teams (50% of the fleet)! In addition to the PHRF and IRC handicap fleets, the event is co-hosting several championships for J/One-design classes; including the J/88 East Coast Championship, the J/109 North American Championship, the J/105 New England Championship, and the J/44 North American Championship.

The seven-boat J/88 class includes many of the top teams that have won or placed in a J/88 event in the past year. Those teams should enjoy spirited competition, including Mike Bruno’s WINGS, Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, Doug Newhouse’s YONDER, Ken & Drew Hall’s NEVERMORE, and Doug McKeige’s JAZZ.

J/109s sailing Block IslandThe J/109s have an enormous turnout, with 21 teams from across the Northeast corridor of America.  Many leading teams are present, including past North American champions, like Carl Olsson’s MORNING GLORY, Robert Schwartz’s NORDLYS, Bill Rogers’ BIG BOAT, Jon Rechtschaffer’s EMOTICON, Ted Herlihy’s GUT FEELING, David Rosow’s LOKI, Bill Sweetser’s RUSH, and Bill Kneller’s VENTO SOLARE.

The fourteen-boat J/105 class will have teams from Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, and Rhode Island.  Amongst the top crews will be J/105 North American Champion Bruce Stone and his wife Nicole Breault sailing GOOD TRADE.  Giving them a run-for-the-money include crews like Andrew Kennedy’s BAT IV, Damian Emery’s ECLIPSE, OJ Young’s LOULOU, Don Santa’s SANTAS REIGN-DEAR, Mark Masur’s TWO FEATHERS and John Koten’s PLANET CLAIRE.

With one of their largest turnout in years, the seven-boat J/44 class will have very close competition.  Not only are most boats well practiced and well sailed, they all share an identical one-design class inventory of main, jibs and chutes.  The outcome truly comes down to the skills of the teams.  Don’t be surprised to see all 7 crews post top 3 finishes on their scorecards!  Those teams include Don & Dick Rave’s RESOLUTE, the US Coast Guard Academy’s GLORY, Jim Bishop’s GOLD DIGGER, Bill Ketcham’s MAXINE, Jeff Willis’ CHALLENGE IV, Chris Lewis’ KENIA and Len Sitar’s VAMP.

In the world of handicap racing, the event is considered the IRC North American Championship.  In the IRC 3 class are three J/122s (Tom Mager’s GIGI, Dan Heun’s MOXIEE, Robin Team’s TEAMWORK) and Peter Hein’s J/120 VAREKAI.  Depending on how this class is scored, you can bet all fireworks will arise from this grouping of J/crews as they vie for the overall IRC title!!

The regatta is also considered the PHRF East Coast Championship.  In PHRF 1 class, are five J/111s (Sedgwick Ward’s BRAVO, David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP, Doug Curtiss’ WICKED 2.0, Bill Thomas’ BEAU CHE II, Paul Strauch’s ANDIAMO) and the J/125 SPECTRE sailed by Brian Prinz. The PHRF 2 class includes Tom Sutton’s J/35 LEADING EDGE from Houston, TX. The ten-boat PHRF 3 class has five J/29s (Jack McGuire’s DIRTY HARRY, John Cooper’s COOL BREEZE, Steve Thurston’s MIGHTY PUFFIN, Matt Strand’s STOUT, John Esposito’s HUSTLER- a past 5x BI Week champion) and two J/80s (Jason Viseltear’s UPSETTER, John Storck’s RUMOR) vying for class honors.  The PHRF 4 class has two J/24s (Colby Thim’s NIGHT MOVES and Brian Gibbs USA 4202).

In Performance Cruising Spinnaker Class will be Ben Hodgson’s J/100 GRIMACE, Greg Slamowitz’s J/111 MANITOU, and Jeff Curtin’s J/24 UNCLE AL.  In PHRF Cruising Non-spinnaker class is Peter Hilgendorff’s J/29 MEDDLER.  For more Storm Trysail Block Island Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

J/Fest @ Cedar Point One-Design Regatta!

J/70s sailing on Long Island Sound (Cedar Point, CT)- As usual, the Cedar Point YC were fabulous hosts for the four J/classes for their annual Cedar Point One-Design Regatta.  Racing took place in western Long Island Sound for fleets of J/70s, J/88s, J/105, and J/109s. The fleet experienced a wide variety of weather conditions, from good breeze to near drifters.

The nine-boat J/88 class was a close battle between two top woman skipper/owners- Elizabeth Barry on ESCAPE and Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION.  After taking a first race DNF, Barry’s crew on ESCAPE came roaring back to post a 5-2-1-1-1 for 10 pts net!  An amazing performance by this crew since it was their first appearance in a major J/88 event- essentially the Long Island Sound Championship!  Vogel’s crew took the silver, winning the first two races, but then posting a 3-3-6-3 for 11 pts net.  Doug McKeige’s crew on JAZZ were just off the pace, posting a roller-coaster scoreline of 6-2-1-8-2-2 for 13 pts.  Rounding out the top five was John Pearson’s RED SKY in 4th and Mike Bruno’s WINGS in 5th place.

J/109s sailing off Cedar PointThe winner of the seventeen-boat J/109 East Coast Championship was David Rosow’s LOKI.  It was a stellar performance by Rosow’s team, posting five bullets in just six races, discarding a 2nd place to win with just 5 pts!!  Just behind them, it was an all-out battle for the rest of the podium.  Going neck-and-neck all weekend were Jonathan Rechtschaffer’s EMOTICON and Carl Olsson’s MORNING GLORY. Both boats had pretty roller-coaster-like scorelines and in the end, it was EMOTICON over MORNING GLORY by just one point.  Taking 4th place was Bill Rogers’ BIG BOAT and in 5th position was Bill Sweetser’s RUSH.

The nineteen-boat J/70 class was a battle all the way for six races.  Amongst the top five boats, it was close until the waning hours of the regatta when some boats made good moves and trumped the other teams.  Winning was Doug Clark’s US Coast Guard Academy Sailing Team on POLAR, posting all top five finishes of 1-5-1-1-5-5 for 13 pts net.  Matching them closely all regatta long was Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY, logging a respectable 3-6-5-2-3-1 for 14 pts net.  Third was TEAM VICTURA with a record of 6-2-3-8-1-6 for 18 pts net.  Rounding out the top five were Trevor Roach’s SEMI-CHARMED in 4th with 19 pts and 5th place went to Canadian Louis Donahue’s NIRVANA 7 with 22 pts.

In the J/70 Corinthians Division, it was Roach’s SEMI-CHARMED that won, with Donahue’s NIRVANA 7 in 2nd place and Carrie & Ed Austin’s CHINOOK in 3rd place.

The eleven-boat J/105 class was taken by the dynamic duo of Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault, posting 4 bullets in seven races to comfortably win with just 8 pts net.  Second was George & Alex Wilbanks’ REVELATION with 11 pts net.  Third place was secured by David Willis’ SOLUTION with 18 pts net.  The rest of the top five included Jordan Mindich’s SHAKEDOWN in 4th and Randy Bourne’s STRANGE BREW in 5th place.  For more Cedar Point One-Design Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/22 U.S. Youth Match Racing Preview

J/22 youth sailor (Fort Worth, TX)- The 2017 U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup will be held June 16 to 18 on Eagle Mountain Lake in Ft Worth, Texas. This invitational event for 16 to 20 year olds has served as a training ground for young sailors who are passionate about match racing and focused on competing at the next level.

Ten teams of four, consisting of at least one female crew per boat, will be racing J/22s. Five-time U.S. Match Racing Champion, Dave Perry, will lead a North U Advanced Match Racing Clinic on June 14-15 to jump-start the competition.

J/22 Youth team“I’m really excited to work with the 40 sailors competing this week at the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship,” said Perry. “They are the best youth match racers in the country and will soon be competing at the college level and for the U.S. Match Racing Championship.”

Originally known as the Rose Cup, this event was founded by members of the Balboa Yacht Club and the Newport-Balboa Sailing & Seamanship Association, and was started as an invitational youth match race event in 2010. The mission of the event is to promote youth match racing in the U.S. and improve the skills of racers from around the country in national and international competition. In 2015, US Sailing elevated the Rose Cup to an official US Sailing National Championship.

The top finishing skipper will receive an invitation to the 2017 Governor’s Cup on July 17-22 at the Balboa Yacht Club in Corona del Mar, Calif.  For more J/22 US Youth Match Racing sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Farallones Race Preview

Farallones Islands- rock! (San Francisco, CA)- The famous full-crewed Farallones Islands Race will be taking place this weekend.  The 58nm course goes from inside San Francisco Bay, out around the Farallones Island to port and back to the finish line on the San Francisco city waterfront.  The race is notoriously tough if there is any breeze whistling down the Pacific coast outside the Golden Gate Bridge.  It can be exhilarating as well, producing a fast reach on starboard tack out across the infamous Potato Patch (a shoal outside the Bay that can produce massive breaking waves), around the Farallones, and a fast port tack spinnaker reach on a full-on plane (for some boats) on the return to the Bay that gets you back to the bar to enjoy the fabulous sunset shining through the Bridge.

This year there are seventy keelboat teams participating, fifteen of which are J/crews (21% of the fleet)! There is a great doublehanded fleet registered.  In the twelve-boat Doublehanded Class are Mario Wijtman’s J/105 J-TRIPPER, Sean Mulvihill’s JAMANI, Richard Leute’s J/44 ACEY DEUCY, two J/88s (Jim Hopp’s WHITE SHADOW, Chris Cartwright’s VENTUS), and David Morris’ J/90 RAGTIME.

The biggest class is the thirty-boat PHRF 1 Class that includes two J/105s (Bill Woodruff’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE and Doug Bailey’s AKULA), Jim Goldberg’s J/109 JUNKYARD DOG, two J/120s (Tracy Rogers HOKULANI, Timo Bruck’s TWIST), Graham Ellis’ J/124 ALBION, and Rich Pipkin’s J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS.

The twenty—boat PHRF 2 Class includes Jenny Thompson’s J/30 FRICTION LOSS and Tom Borgstrom’s J/92 HIJINKS.  For more Farallones Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/Crews Lovin’ Cal Race Week

J/70s sailing off CaliforniaJanov Wins 70s, Butner Tops 109s
(Marina del Rey, CA)- The 19th annual Cal Race Week, California YC's signature buoy racing event, took place over the June 3rd to 4th weekend.  No question, everyone enjoyed the amazing red carpet treatment provided by Cal YC’s amazing volunteer team!  How can you possibly argue when CYC's legendary hospitality awaits the crews once you hit the docks at the end of each day. After Saturday’s racing, on the main dock the hosts offered Mount Gay Rum tasting, keg beer, and snacks.  Later on, dinner and cash bar and a famous Santa Monica DJ kept the party going.  Then, for the Sunday Post-Race, there was more keg beer and snacks on the main dock and for the trophy presentation, the most amazing spread (like gigantic!) of hors d'oeuvres along with a cash bar.

The nine-boat J/70 one-design class was quite competitive for the top five.  Winning was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT with a 2-1-1-2-4 record for 10 pts.  Craig Tallman’s JAYA was second with a 1-2-6-3-1 tally for 13 pts.  Then, Chris Raab’s SUGOI was third with a rapidly improving scoreline of 5-4-3-1-3 for 16 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Bruce Coopers USA 32 in 4th and Tony Collins’ FLY in 5th place.

In the J/109 one-design class, Heinz Butner’s RAPTOR took the crown with a 1-2-1-2-1 tally for 7 pts!  Consistent, eh?  The silver was taken by Bryce Benjamin’s PERSISTENCE with a 2-1-3-1-2 for 9 pts.  And, securing the bronze was Jack Mayer’s ZEPHYR with a 3-3-2-4-4 for 16 pts.

Winning PHRF D class by a country mile was none other than Curt Johnson’s J/80 AVET, posting just bullets to eclipse the fleet.  Second was Mike Guthrie’s J/24 CRITTER with a solid record of 2-2-5-3-2 for 14 pts!  For more Cal Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sail Across the Globe and Celebrate Summer Sailstice

Summer Sailstice.com (Newport, RI)- Invite your J/Boat family, neighbors, friends, fleet members and owner's association members to sign up, hoist sails and celebrate sailing “together” on June 24th - wherever they are in the world!!

What is Summer Sailstice??
Summer Sailstice was founded in February 2001 by John Arndt of Latitude38.com fame, as the global, annual celebration of sailing held on the weekend nearest the summer solstice.

JBoats sailorsThe annual Summer Sailstice sailing event is free to all participants and has grown from 200 boats signed up in 2001 to almost 5,000 boats today. Since many sailors join in the fun on many different boats, the actual number of Summer Sailstice sailors participating is estimated at almost 19,000 annually.

The Vision is “To Unite sailors worldwide to celebrate and share their passion for sailing.”

The Mission is to “Host a spectacular weekend uniting and bonding a critical mass of sailors worldwide in a common, publicly visible, inspiring event to demonstrate and celebrate sailing resulting in a significant, positive impact on participation.  And, like sailing, have fun doing it!”

Moreover, in joining with SAILORS FOR THE SEA, Summer Sailstice strives to inform and mobilize sailors, their families and communities to enjoy and conserve the beauty of the oceans and while raising awareness of human impacts on the fragile marine environment and wildlife

Sign up now (it’s FREE!) and hoist your sails and go “day sailing” with the global “J/Boat family”. We can't wait to see J/Boats of all sizes on the water on June 24th or 25th!  Make sure to put your J/Boat “Sailstice-Sailing plans” on the map by posting them here to showcase how you are celebrating Summer Sailstice!  For more Summer Sailstice sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.