Tuesday, March 20, 2018

CONVICTS Crowned Vic State J/24 Champs!

Australian J/24s- Vic States regatta (Sandringham, VS, Australia)-  Previous National Champion Steve Girdis and his mixed crew of Victorians and New South Welshmen (notionally a Victorian crew) sailing CONVICTS REVENGE are the new 2018 MONJON J/24 Victorian State Champions.  Second was Dave West sailing KAOTIC (NSW) and third was Brendan Lee in BY THE LEE (Vic).

Current National Champion Hugo Ottaway is the winner of the PHS competition from Kaotic and Convicts Revenge.

With hot sunny and light conditions on Saturday and heavier southerlies on Sunday, the regatta had a bit of everything.  Many old faces moved back in the fleet, with new blood coming to the fore. The NSW entries did well in a very competitive fleet of 19 boats. Racing was very close with many races having the bulk of the fleet finishing with a few minutes of each other.

A full report in the next week, stay tuned!!

For more Victorian State J/24 Champs sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Epic Finale @ Bacardi Cup

J/70s sailing Bacardi Cup off MiamiCATAPULT Tops Overall, MUSE Wins Corinthians
(Miami, FL)- No one could have scripted the finale any better for the 2018 edition of the Bacardi Cup J/70 Invitational, hosted by Coral Reef YC.  Going into the final day, four teams had an opportunity to make two races work in their favor mathematically to win in the 47-boat fleet.  All four teams were within ten points of each other at the start of the day, a scenario that would keep them all anxious until the final leg of the eighth and final race.  By sailing consistently in the extremely challenging conditions on Saturday, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT secured the victory with a 4-4 tally to finish with 24 pts net.  As result, it was the third time the fleet leader changed in the three-day event, a remarkable outcome considering the roller-coaster scorelines for the top five teams.  Here is what took place over the three days.

J/70s sailing fast off Miami in BacardiDay 1- Thrills & Spills
The anxiety level rose as the J/70 fleet headed out onto racetrack in a breeze gusting up to 20 knots, shifting 20-30 deg from the northwest across Biscayne Bay.  The puffy conditions saw plenty of thrills and spills, although the heavier breeze eased to lighter shiftier conditions as the day progressed.

Three races produced three different winners for the J/70 fleet. No surprise to see the top players jousting out front with 2016 J/70 World Champion Joel Ronning (USA) on CATAPULT taking race 2, 2017 J/70 Worlds silver Medallist Brian Keane (USA) securing the third and 2017 J/70 World Champion Jud Smith (crewing for Peter Duncan) taking the first.

Onboard dialogue is key between the four-person crew to get the right combination of speed, tactics and race strategy, and in his mix, Ronning has the relentlessly talented John Kostecki. A sailor holding multiple World titles across numerous classes, Kostecki’s victories stretch back to 1982 when he won the Sunfish Worlds and most recently last year’s TP52 Worlds. In between World Championship titles, he has won the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race and the 2010 America’s Cup on BMW Oracle.

Smith did a horizon job in the opening race, winning with a massive margin, and followed up with scores of 2-10.

There were big names at the front of the fleet and further down the pack, too.  A new face to the J/70 class was spotted in the form of two-time Olympian Paige Railey (USA), who found herself at the Bacardi Cup on the invitation of her long-time friend.

“Of course, I said yes,” grinned Railey about the call from best friend Jessica Lombard. “Miami is actually one of my favorite locations to sail in the world. Out of all the World Cups I have always enjoyed coming to this one in the Olympic scene,” she said in reference to her usual Olympic programmed in the Laser Radial.

Aside from multiple successes at the Laser Radial World Championships, Miami has been where Railey has secured most of her successes, winning here an epic six times at Sailing World Cup events. Still Olympic campaigning, for now Railey has turned her attention to supporting her pal Jessica on the J/70.

“When I have sailed here in Miami at the World Cup I have always known about all the guys that stay after and do the Bacardi Cup. So there has always been this ‘mystique’ to this event and it is a really prestige event because all the top sailors around the world come,” Railey continued. Despite her numerous successes around the world the Bacardi Cup remained on her ‘to do’ list.

“Of course when invited to come sail the Bacardi Cup, I jumped at the opportunity, because just to be a part of it and say that I did it is pretty cool in itself. The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta has always been this famous event.”

“Growing up in the Olympic role is obviously very intense all the time, and the social aspect after the sailing is – not like this!” Railey laughed. “So, to come in and you know the mood is really relaxed, you’re opening with talking about things, how you can improve and help each other, and then the social scene is the best. In intense sailing you can forget that sailing is really important, but also the aspect onshore too. The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta is one of the best in the world for providing that.”

At the close of sailing on Thursday, Ronning’s CATAPULT was leading with a 2-1-4 for 7 pts.  Second was Keane’s SAVASANA with a 4-4-1 for 9 pts and third was Smith’s AFRICA with a 1-2-10 for 13 pts. Current J/70 World Champion, Peter Duncan on RELATIVE OBSCURITY, was just hanging on to the top five with a 5-10-6 tally for 21 pts.

Leading the Corinthians Division was Heather Gregg’s MUSE from Newport, RI and New York YC with a 13-7-14.

J/70s sailing off Miami in Bacardi at markDay 2- Light, Tricky Winds
Friday’s racing produced another day of perfect conditions, but a few upsets on the leader board as the overnight leaders in both fleets were knocked down the leaderboard a peg or two.

So far, Biscayne Bay has thrown up a complete mix of weather conditions, pushing teams to deliver their best across light to moderate breezes from the north to northeast and under a scorching sun to cloud cover. No day has been the same and so far no one team has dominated.

Three races were completed for a total of six so far, with one race discard. The leaderboard continued to have the same three top teams, just in a different order.

Keane’s SAVASANA now shifted into the lead, with Smith’s AFRICA moving up to second, while overnight leader Ronning’s CATAPULT dropped to third. There was just 4 points between these leading teams and plenty of talent close behind.

Three races and three different winners, with Peter Duncan showing the fleet how to win with panache, as he walked away from the fleet after amassing a massive gain on the pack in the day’s opening race. Keane took the win in the second race of the day, with Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth, TX claiming victory in the third.

Meanwhile, in the Corinthians Division, Heather Gregg’s MUSE continued to lead despite a horrific fourth race and surviving races 5 & 6 to capture two 16ths to remain in the lead.

J/70s planing fast- sailing off Miami in BacardiDay #3- Epic, Drama-filled Finale
The final day produced a wildly gyrating up and down, very streaky, southeast breeze of 10-17 kts in a choppy sea and tropical temperatures on Biscayne Bay.

Despite the insane, anxiety-ridden beats, and especially crazy downwind runs (varying between planing and soak modes), the victory went to Ronning’s CATAPULT team of Chris Stokey, Patrick Wilson, and John Kostecki.

Entering the day in third overall, Ronning’s super consistent scores of 4-4 enabled them to win while their closest rivals notched up double-digit results. Going into the decisive race, Ronning held a 5-point lead with Jud Smith and Brian Keane tied for second and third place on 25 points each.

The teams knew exactly how close the final day would be for them.  Commenting before the racing, Keane said, “It’s very tight. To win, there is one throw-out and you’ve got to be out there and aggressive. You can’t sail to lose, you have to go out there to win and we intend to be aggressive right from the start. We feel confident in our boat speed and if we can get off the line, we should do well. It’s a tremendous regatta, I haven’t seen competition like this in a long time.”

Unfortunately, this time, Keane’s strategy did not quite unfold as planned, as he and his crew on SAVASANA were knocked out of the lead they held before race 7 to end the series in third overall, closing with scores of 13-7.

Smith, who sailed with Peter Duncan to win the 2017 J/70 World Championship, and his team on Africa, held onto second overall despite also having double-digit scores, with an 11-5 on the day.

“Going into today there were four teams who were all phenomenal and anyone could have got it,” said Patrick Wilson, trimmer on CATAPULT. “It was cut-throat out there and somehow we ended up winning. It came down to the last shift in the last race. It was amazingly close, very competitive sailing.”

Talking about their solid performance, Wilson continued, “We just sort of ground it out and stayed in good spots, did well and the whole team sailed really well together.”

A standout performance came from the first J/70 World Champion held in Newport, RI- Tim Healy; he won both races to move up from 8th overall to 5th.

J/70 MUSE- Heather Gregg- sailing off MiamiIn the Corinthians Division, Heather Gregg’s MUSE and her team of Stuart Johnstone, Patrick Powell, and Patrick Norris won and also placed 10th overall in the Open category.  In fact, MUSE had the 4th best record of all teams on the final day with a 7-2 (even leading the final race for awhile!).  Taking second was DIME from Seattle, WA, with skipper Andrew Loe and family crew of Mallory Loe, Jennifer Glass, and Benjamin Glass.  Third was Nancy Glover’s team on WINTERWIND that consisted of Marc Foster, Kevin Kendall, and Donald Myers.

Heather Gregg, owner/skipper of MUSE had this to say about the event, “What an amazing regatta, 3 days of breeze with even more competition in the J/70 Class than ever! Conditions were tough, a lot of chop so you had to be very focused driving upwind and dialing in your mode. Downwind there were some big gains to be made and those teams that transitioned well between planing and soaking and back again gained big. That's what I love about the 70, transitioning is key and making those decisions downwind are critical.“   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com  Follow the Bacardi Cup on FB here   For more Bacardi Cup J/70 Invitational sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Gorgeous MEXORC Regatta on Banderas Bay!

J/125 sailing MEXORC on Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico)- This year’s MEXORC 2018 commemorated the Centennial Festivities of Puerto Vallarta. Based out of Marina Vallarta BVG and hosted by the Vallarta YC, the fleet enjoyed an awesome five days of racing on beautiful Banderas Bay from March 9th to 14th.

The sailing consisted of four Windward/Leeward races and three long distance races around Bahia de Banderas.  Those consisted of:
  • the Centennial Cup Puerto Vallarta- 18.0 nm.
  • the Islas Marietta Race- 25.0 nm.
  • the Copa Vallarta Adventures/ Las Caletas Race- a 26.0+ nm “pursuit race” that ended up on the southern side of the bay to the famous Las Caletas Resort in Cabo Corrientes.  Immediately after the race was a dinner and awards ceremony in the beautiful outdoors, natural amphitheater.
The first two days of the regatta were comprised of two windward-leewards, then the Centennial Cup Puerto Vallarta, a relatively short distance race for the fleet.  The sailors were blessed with classic conditions on Banderas Bay- sun, 10-15 kt westerlies, a gorgeous sailing.

J/105 sailing MEXORC off Puerto Vallarta, MexicoOn the third day, race #4 was the “Las Marietta Race”, the marathon long distance race of MEXORC.  Clear skies and smooth seas greeted the racers in the morning.  The famous Banderas Bay “wind machine” did not disappoint. It was lots of fun in the sun!  There were big wind shifts and big breeze for the beat and run back to the finish.  It was a very mixed bag of conditions.

For the fourth day, it was two more windward-leeward races for the fleet.  The first race started in 8-10 kt winds from 210 to 250 deg.  The wind kept shifting right (like it always does!), leaving not too many passing lanes on the right favored beats.  The runs were the same, having to simply gybe once and fetch the leeward gate in a building breeze. In the second race, the winds built to 15-18 kts from 265 degrees and settled in- it was a wild, fun, fast race for all.  Mark Surber’s J/125 DERIVATIVE looked stellar, winning both races in ORR Class B.

Las Caletas Race- finale in MEXORCOn the fifth and final day, the fleet was treated to the “Caletas Pursuit” Race, the 7th race of the series.  As a pursuit race, the slowest boats start first, the fastest last.  The idea being that everyone finishes together!  Started midday, the course was upwind toward Punta Mita and then a spinnaker run/ reach across to the south side of Banderas Bay to the finish Line at Las Caletas.  Taking third overall was the J/133 VELOCES II.

In the ORR Class B, it was Surber’s J/125 DERIVATIVE that nearly ran the table- posting four 1sts and two 2nds to easily win their class.  Taking fourth was the J/133 VELOCES II with a record 4-6-4-4-2-3.  Then, in fifth position was the J/145 DOUBLETAKE.

Having a fantastic time in ORR Class C was the J/105 SINFONIA NAUTICA, posting an overall score of 7-5-4-3-9-6-5 and taking 3rd in class.

For some perspective on what happened to Viggo Torbensen’s J/125 TIMESHAVER, read about their mis-adventures from Keith Magnussen from Ullman Sails Newport Beach (thanks to SailingAnarchy.com):

J/125 sailing Bahia de Banderas, Mexico“Well, that escalated quickly!! MEXORC was a roller coaster of emotions for me this year. After coming off our success in the PV Race, we went into MEXORC a little tired and bruised. The last push (200 miles) to the finish took a lot out of the crew. The first race was a “random” leg course in front of the old town. This created a beautiful backdrop for the racing and a challenging light air course. We ended up getting bounced around by the fleet and got a bit frustrated. We ended up with a disappointing finish and some questions to ask ourselves.

Day 2 was back to the old race course and classic W/L in good wind. We had two races for the day and we got off to a good start buy rounding second with our sistership firmly behind us. Good going, let’s jibe away and pass this Swan in front of us. The kite went up and I thought to myself, that looks strange.

Not going to go into details but lets say we had to take it down and re-arrange it. Spent a good 1/4 of the downwind with no spinnaker. Fought back to a second but overall disappointment. Race 2 for the day we had incredible boat speed, solid tactics and no F-Ups. Finished the day 2,1 so back in it.

Third day of racing was out to the Murrietta Islands and back. This is a good one and we had confidence back. After a poor start and bad air we found ourselves behind again. We took the low road and sailed around the other 125 and close to the speedy Swan. The lead boats in our class were approaching Punta Mita and the three of us made the final tack towards the islands.

The wind was about 18 and we had the three up and the other J/125 below us and back. Great, let’s settle in for bit and go fast….

What is the loudest bang you have ever heard on board? For me. it was not the sound of the crane breaking off a J/125. The backstay went limp and as we looked up to the top of the rig, we were in shock. The crane was dangling by the wires for the tri-color and what not. Immediately, we go head to wind, sails down, and all that jazz. Erik went up to get the crane before it came down and killed someone and now we are working out how to get the boat home. Talk about a weird way to end this one…”   Follow MEXORC on FB here   For more MEXORC 2018 sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

ARTTUBE Crowned Monaco J/70 Winter Series Champ

J/70s sailing off Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The 5th Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series of monthly regattas from October to March ended last weekend. Organized by the Yacht Club de Monaco, in collaboration with technical clothing supplier SLAM, the meetings offer international teams an opportunity to establish their winter base in the Principality before the main summer season starts each year.

Monaco, a veritable capital of yachting worldwide, attracts talent from all walks of life as evidenced by the 260-plus sailors from 11 nationalities on 180 boats, who descended upon Monaco over the winter to compete in a total of 58 races (that is not a typo- yes, it was fifty-eight races!).

J/70 Monaco winnersLike a diesel engine, the Russian team on the J/70 ARTTUBE tempered their starts, remaining in contact with the fleet without ever taking the lead at the start of a race. Led by the talented Valeriya Kovalenko from Moscow, Russia, the boat obeys a golden rule: don’t take anything for granted until the finish line. Constantly alert, eyes riveted on their opponents and the course, the team is like a well-oiled machine, nibbling away at their competitors with each maneuver.

Valeriya strikes an imposing figure with her blonde hair and bright blue eyes and has certainly set the bar high as the indisputable queen of sailing J/70s in Monaco, winning all Acts in the 5th edition to win the series by an 84 points margin!

“I want to thank my crew- Victor Serezhkin, Alexander Bozhko, and Igor Lisovenko- from the bottom of my heart for helping me win here in Monaco, and the YC Monaco, whose superb facilities are ideal for organizing this type of event,” said Ms Kovalenko.

Stefano Roberti’s PICCININA finished in a well-deserved 2nd, an enormous satisfaction for the YC Monaco sailor. “I am really delighted with this result, which I owe to my team,” he said.

The Italian, Germano Scarpa, and his SPORT CUBE team completed the podium in third place.

The results for the final Act V saw Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE topping the ranking with just 7 pts, followed by Federico Leproux’s Italian crew on ALICE with 15 points in second position and the Swiss crew of Jean-Marc Monnand on CDE.CH in third place with 23 points.

J/70s sailing off MonacoThe J/70 class remains very dynamic in the Principality, with 20 boats flying the YC Monaco burgee.  Perhaps most exciting of all, an eye to the future.

“In 2021, we will be hosting the J/70 World Championship,” announced Monaco J/70 Class President Michel Boussard. “From today, until the 2021 J/70 Worlds, we will continue to organize regattas, training sessions and clinics run by professionals in order to be ready for J/70 sailors around the world.”

In the Corinthian category for the final regatta, competitors pulled out all the stops and managed to upset some of the best teams. The Swiss on Alain Stettler’s QUARTER2ELEVEN won and finished 4th in the overall ranking, all categories combined. Taking second was Tom Studer’s crew on JERRY, also from Switzerland, with 30 pts, a scant one point back from his countrymen.  Third was Mario Rabbio’s Italian team on CAIM2, with 38 pts total.

For Corinthians Overall for the five regattas, it was Rémi Piazza, a youth sailor from the Sports Section in YC Monaco that made excellent progress, but is now a loyal fan of the Monaco J/70 Winter Series. He won the season in the “Corinthian” and the “Youth” category with a team comprising of all YC Monaco youth sailors.  Second overall was Pawel Tarnowski’s Polish team on APOTEX and third was Loïc Pompée’s crew on ALLO 3.

The Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series returns November 8th to 11th, 2018 for the first Act of the sixth season.  For more Monaco J/70 Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Warsash Spring Series Preview

J/112E sailing Solent series(Warsash, United Kingdom)- The Warsash Sailing Club is about to undertake its annual rite of spring- two events that run from mid-March to the end of April.  The first is the Helly Hansen Spring Series that starts March 18th and runs every Sunday until April 29th.  During the mid-series break, the Warsash SC hosts the Crewsaver Spring Championship that runs over two weekends from April 21-22 to April 28-29.  It is a hugely popular event for J/sailors to get themselves tuned-up for the major summertime events on the Solent and for the RORC Offshore events that run all summer.

The larger J’s are sailing on the Black Group/ Championship course; that includes one-design classes of J/88s and J/109s and a large IRC contingent of J/teams sailing J/111s, J/112E, J/122, J/92, and J/97s.

In the J/88 class, there are four very competitive teams aiming to get a good start on the season.  Those teams include David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM, Tim Tolcher’s RAGING BULL, Dirk van Beek’s SABRIEL JR, and Gavin Howe’s TIGRIS.

The half-dozen J/109s will be contending with top crews like Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE, Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN, and Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN’.
J/111 sailing Warsash seriesFive J/crews that have won events, one way or another, on the Solent, will fill the IRC 1 Class.  So, no secrets amongst this bunch of mercenaries the know the vagaries of the capricious Solent waters and winds quite well.  The three J/111s are Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB, Chris Jones’ JOURNEYMAKER II, and Simon Bamford’s KESTREL.  Joining them are Chaz Ivill’s J/112E DAVANTI TYRES and Chris Daniel’s J/122 JUNO.  All familiar boats, all famously fast!  Should be an interesting class to watch.

Similarly, in IRC 2 Class are the 30 footers. Past multi-Spring Series winner, David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO will be battling with two J/97s for class honors- Helen Hofmann’s JASLAN and the Hunt family (Rachel, David, Robert) on JUMBLESAIL 2.

The smaller J’s race on the White Group/ Championship course; including J/70s and J/80s.  The 70s have a nice turnout with ten boats.  Amongst the leaderboard should be Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY, Doug Struth’s DSP, Paul Ward’s new EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, David Mcleman’s OFFBEAT and Jon Powell’s PEGGY.  The J/80s may end up match racing for their class win between Terry O’Neill’s AQUA-J and Mike Lewis’ JESTER.  For more Helly Hansen Spring Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

3 Tips from J/70 Circuit

J/70 sailing off Newport Beach, CA (Tampa, FL)- Three Take Aways from the Florida J/70 Circuit- by Alex Curtiss/ Ullman Sails Newport Beach

Every year J/70’s from around the United States descend upon the “Sunshine State” of Florida for highly competitive J/70 racing. This winter I was fortunate to attend several of the events and learned several lessons on how to be competitive in one of the deepest, most talented classes in the world.

Have a starting routine
With over sixty boats on some of the starting lines, it was easy to get spit out the back of a start.  Having a starting routine will ensure consistency in your starts, which will lead to better overall results. There are many things that go into a starting routine including wind shots, bearing on the line, what side you want to go to, but maybe one of the most important things is pinging the line.

At the Miami, Midwinters regatta there was a midline boat to help sailors find where the line was. It was conflicting because you had to start on one side or the other of that boat. In the J/70, you use a Velocitek to help know your distance away from the line. You do this by pinging each end. But what happens when there is a mid-line boat? Well, part of your routine is determining where you want to go on the race course. On our boat, we felt as though the lowest density start was on either end of the mid-line boat. We also felt that starting and holding straight was the best option for our team. So what we did was we decided after the 10 minute (orange flag up) horn, on which side we would start on. From there, we would either use the mid-line boat as a pin ping or a boat ping. To do that you need to hover around the midline boat for most of your routine and then go ping the mid-line boat first.

With mid-line boats becoming more prevalent in J/70 class racing keep this tip in mind the next time you come across the question: which side do we want to start on?

J/70s sailing off Long Beach, CAKnow your sweet spot
One of the interesting parts of the J/70 is each boat is slightly different from one another. The rigs especially all have different spreader sweeps, even from side to side! Before you go sailing lay your rig flat, with the spreaders on (see photo). Tie a piece of string from one spreader to the other. Then measure it against something that is perfectly flat. This will tell you if your spreaders are symmetric; and or how much spreader sweep you actually have.

In our case, we had an asymmetric rig where our port spreader was swept slightly further back. This meant that we needed to be more creative with our rig set up. We first tried to set the rig up the same side to side. We really struggled on port getting back up to the similar speed on the starboard board. I tried everything, different main setups, different jib leads, etc. Then I tried to take one turn off the port lower and instantly took off. Our skipper even exclaimed, “wow that feels way better”.

We also tried to set up our base settings to the tuning guide, and what we found was our rig liked the looser base setting and so we changed our base. My point being that use the tuning guide as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to play around with your settings during practice sessions before the event.

Know Your Target Speeds
One thing that I have been trying to be more cognizant of knowing exactly how fast is fast enough. It’s a funny statement but, you could be going 6.4 knots on the speedo, but against other boats, you are pointing 20 degrees lower. Then you could be going 5.4 knots and sailing higher than other boats, but then your competitors are going fast and at a better VMG.

What we did on our boat is during our pre-start line up with other boats, as the main trimmer, I would call out our speed and someone on the rail would call out our relative speed and height against other boats that were around us. From there, we would determine what our target speed was in the puffs and lulls.

We would then record them at the end of days and try to use it as a base for another day that had similar conditions. This would give the driver something to aim for, he would also start to develop feel, and would be able to make adjustments without anyone telling him a relative speed.

The next time you go to a big J/70 regatta, try these three tips to improve your performance. Knowing your set up will allow you to mess with target speeds. Knowing where you want to start relative to the mid-line boat will help you decide your pings. Do all of these things well, and you and your team will find yourselves in the mix more often than not. If anyone has any questions feel free to call the loft and ask for Alex. Thank you to the J/70 Class for great picture of the start."  Thanks for this article from Alex Curtiss at Ullman Sails Newport Beach. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/22 Midwinters Preview

J/22 sailing Midwinters (Houston, TX)- The 2018 edition of the J/22 Midwinters is being sailed from March 16th to 18th and is being hosted by the Houston Yacht Club in Houston, TX; a club famous for rolling out the red carpet for J/Crews in their regattas!  That being said, it is amazing to see how positively the J/22 class has responded, with forty-four teams from across America and Canada escaping the clutches of winter to enjoy some fun, casual, but closely-fought, racing on the muddy, choppy waters of Galveston Bay.

What is refreshing to see is the many new faces in the crowd that have picked up good used J/22s, “dolled” them up, and are looking forward to honest-to-goodness fun one-design racing in the “little-est” J in the family.

Featured amongst the veterans are some past Midwinter, North American, and World Champions; such as Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP from Corpus Christi YC, Kevin Doyle’s MO’MONEY from Youngstown YC, Terry Flynn’s TEJAS from Fort Worth Boat Club, Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 from Youngstown YC, Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS from New York YC (Jamestown, RI), and Travis Odenbach’s infamous HONEYBADGER from Rochester YC New York.

Perhaps the most exciting development is the number of J/22s owned and skippered by women.  This year there are five boats (11% of the fleet!), including Anne Lee’s HELMS A LEE from the host Houston YC, Nataleigh Perez’s FORGET ME NOT from Fort Worth BC, Andrea Zalte’s WOO HOO from Houston YC, Lynn Simpson’s BLING from New Braunfels, TX, and Jessica Lombard’s FOLKA from Hudson YC in Quebec, Canada.  For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Hanavan’s New York City Maritime History- J/24!

J/24 sailboat (New York, NY)- What can we learn about New York City and its waterfront from its boats? Waterwire is inviting those across the maritime world and beyond— historians, planners, artists, business people, and scientists to share their perspectives on New York City History in 10 Boats. The third installment comes from Frank Hanavan.

Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, artist Frank Hanavan moved to New York City in 1990 and has lived in Jersey City since 2001. That same year Frank began volunteering on the historic ships at the South Street Seaport Museum. Over time, he incorporated his love for ships into his art, building miniature ship models and painting seascapes. His History of New York in 10 Boats includes which J/Boat? The J/24, of course.

#10- The J/24 sloop, 1977
Returning to Stonington, Connecticut, the ubiquitous J/24 fiberglass sailboat was invented there in 1977 by Rodney Johnstone. Now, virtually every sailing school in New York uses this design.
http://waterfrontalliance.org/2018/03/02/frank-hanavans-nyc-history-in-10-boats/ Add to Flipboard Magazine.

San Diego NOOD Regatta Preview

J/70s sailing San Diego(San Diego, CA)- The 2018 edition of the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta will be taking place this coming weekend from March 16th to 18th, hosted by the famous San Diego Yacht Club on Point Loma.  The regatta has become synonymous with the start of the sailing season for most teams involved in one-design and round-the-cans racing in the San Diego region.  In fact, it has to a large degree replaced the SCYA Midwinters, held two weeks earlier, as the premiere event to start the season for various J’s; including the J/70s, the J/105s, and the J/120s.

The forecast is promising, with temperatures ranging from mid 60s F in the day, with predominantly sunny skies and winds varying from 8 to 15 kts from the West to Northwest.  Perhaps postcard-perfect conditions ordered up by the  San Diego Chamber of Commerce?!

Looking forward to such “shorts and shades” weather, not surprisingly, is the largest class at the event- the 25-boat strong J/70 fleet.  That is a healthy turnout and there are a number of new faces in the crowd, along with wily veterans from SoCal one-design battles in the past.  Teams to look for on the leaderboard should be Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS from Santa Barbara YC and fellow club member Scott Deardorff sailing CAKE (a boat that survived the big fires and mudslides in Santa Barbara). From California YC are Curt Johnson’s AVET 2.01 and Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT.  Top San Diego YC crews include Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE and the Snow/Brigden duo on COOL STORY BRO 2.1.4.  King Harbor YC is fielding several teams including Craig Tallman’s JAVA.  Representing Newport Harbor YC will be Chris Raab’s SUGOI.  Perhaps the “long-distance” traveler award is a toss-up between Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO crew from Coronado, Mexico and Pamela Rose’s ROSEBUD from Chicago YC.

In addition to the “open” fleet competition, there are three Corinthian “youth” teams vying to qualify for a spot in the 2nd US J/70 Youth Championship to be held at St Petersburg YC in November 2018.  Those teams include San Diego YC’s “Helly Hansen Jr Crew” skippered by Jack Egan, Santa Barbara YC’s Youth Team helmed by Paul Harteck and the “Newport Youth Team” led by Max Mayol from Newport Beach.

The J/105s are fielding a talented fleet of ten boats with many familiar faces hoping to get a jump on their friendly competitors in their first regatta of the year.  Many past SDYC NOOD champions and podium finishers are in the mix, including Jon Dekker’s AIR BOSS, Steve Howell’s BLINK, Stew Cannon’s J-OK, Chuck Driscoll & Tom Hurlburt’s JUICED and Jeff Brown’s new boat- SWEET KAREN.

With a half-dozen boats, the J/120s are all about consistency and who’s showing up for the party with a well-oiled machine in the form of crew- trimmers and tactician!  It is never easy to handicap this fleet.  Nevertheless, watch for the usual suspects like John Laun’s CAPER, Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER, Ruddy Hasl’s HASL FREE and Tom & Terri Manok’s POLE DANCER to be somewhere near the top of the leaderboard.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images.  For more Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Gorgeous Blakely Rock Benefit Race

J/122E Joyride cruiser racer (Seattle, WA)- This past weekend marked the completion of the first of the Center Sound Series; a total of three events that start spring-time sailing on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, with the start and finishing lines in Shilshole Bay:
  • Blakely Rock Race- March 3
  • Scatchet Head Race- March 10
  • Three Tree Point Race- March 24
According to Jan Anderson, the famous Pacific Northwest sailing photographer from Seattle, WA, “at long last, it was a GORGEOUS day for sailing the Blakely Rock Benefit Race.  And, the action on the water reflected that.

But, great weather alone doesn’t come close to describing what this sport is really about- - it’s more about the people with whom we share our experiences, and the relationships we’ll cherish for all time.

blakeley benefit race flowersEach year, this day, this race, this moment rounding Blakely Rock, is about celebrating the life of Kelly O’Neil, the photographer that impacted all of Pacific NW sailing, forever. Neither I nor my Boat Boy Skip had ever met Kelly, but fate would have it that Skip and I met the same year she passed. To this day, literally this day, Skip and I are both deeply moved with the fleet’s expression of love for Kelly, by casting daffodils into the water. Above all others, this is a day where everyone wins. From the bottoms of our hearts, we thank you, Kelly.”

Dozens of passionate J/sailors turned out for the 21.0nm race and, in many cases, enjoyed the spectacular day and took home some silverware to commemorate their contribution to the causes the race benefits.

In the Overall category, John Murkowski’s jet-black J/122E JOY RIDE took third overall, while Jimi Geros’ well-known J/105 LAST TANGO took 8th overall.

J/160 cruiser racer sailboatIn what amounts to the full-on racing boat fleet, with three TP52s and a Fox 44 in the mix, the J/160 JAM sailed by Bill Fox acquitted herself quite nicely, taking third in Class 9; not bad for a fully-equipped cruiser/racer with heating, air conditioning, freezers, refrigerators, hot & cold running water with two enclosed heads.  It would be safe to say the only creature comfort on the other race boats was a carbon toilet on centerline! Meanwhile, Murkowski’s crew on the beautifully appointed J/122E JOYRIDE took second place in Class 7, while Shawn Dougherty & Jason Andrews’ J/125 HAMACHI finished sixth.

Class 6 had a flock of J/109s and a J/120.  Taking 5th place was Chris Johnson’s J/120 WITH GRACE, with the top J/109 finishing two places back- Stu Burnell’s TANTIVY, then Jerry Woodfield’s SHADA sitting in eighth place.  Two J/35s and a J/92S sailed in Class 5, with Don & George Leighton’s J/35 TAHLEQUAH snagging 5th place.

The J/105 One-Design Class 4 had one of their largest turnuts in years, with nine boats on the starting line.  Winning was Geros’ LAST TANGO, followed by Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILE in second, Chuck Stephens’ PANIC in third, Chris Phoenix’s JADED sitting fourth, and John Atchison’s MOOSE UNKNOWN rounding out the top five.  For Class 3, Pat Denny’s J/29 HERE & NOW walked off with class honors. In Class 2, John Sezer’s J/80 RECKLESS was 5th place.   Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson/ Jan Pix  For more CYC Blakely Rock Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.