Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fiesta Cup Regatta Preview

J/70 sailing off Santa Barbara, CA (Santa Barbara, CA)- In what has become a new tradition for the SoCal J/70 fleet, a number of good crews will be participating in the extremely fun Santa Barbara YC Fiesta Cup over the July 22nd to 23rd weekend.  It’s not hard to see why the event attracts so many good crews, Santa Barbara is regarded as “America’s Riviera”, with beautiful Spanish mission-style buildings, a spectacular waterfront that features beaches for miles and the famous Stearns Wharf with lots of seafood, the famous Santa Barbara Zoo, lots of shopping and excellent restaurants downtown, and spectacular vistas and hiking up in the mountains that rim the bay.

In addition to all the local attractions, the amazing venue for the SBYC allows nearly stadium-style racing to take place.  Situated high on a sandy bluff next to the harbor, sailors can enjoy spectacular views from the second story bar, restaurant and balcony; the sweeping 270 degree views permitting everyone to see the sailing taking place before them on the ocean.  The SBYC members make sure everyone has fun; especially on Saturday night when the famous Fiesta Cup party takes place with an excellent band or DJ and gallons of margaritas and Mexican beer flow along with delicious tacos, salsa, chips and guacamole.

Looking forward to great sailing offshore by SBYC’s expert RC and PRO teams will be eight crews that range from San Francisco to the Los Angeles/ San Diego areas.  Amongst the leading teams should be local hero Pat Toole and his 3 BIG DOGS crew, famous for having won the J/24 North Americans in recent years.  Challenging him on his home turf will be renegade outsiders like Chris Raab’s SUGOI from Newport Beach, CA; Steve Wyman’s NUNUHUNU from Dana Point, CA; Curt Johnson’s AVET 2.01 from California YC in Marina del Rey, CA; and Tony Collis’ FLY from Kings Harbor YC and Redondo Beach, CA.  For more J/70 Fiesta Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Preview

J/120s sailing off Michigan (Port Huron, MI)- When it comes to send-offs for distance races, nobody does it better than Bayview Yacht Club with their Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, which starts Saturday, July 22nd for 229 teams. Friday is “Boat Night,” when entries line up their boats along both banks of the Black River for some last-minute frolicking with friends and fans during the coinciding Blue Water Fest in Port Huron. The next morning, the fleet will motor to the starting line in a parade that passes under the Bluewater Bridge and past more fans that set up lawn chairs on the shore and cheer on their favorites. Then, after logging either 259 or 204 nautical miles on their choice of two courses (Cove Island Course and Shore Course, respectively), all “Bayview Mac” sailors will be welcomed on Michigan’s magical horse-and-carriage island of Mackinac with more celebrations, including a giant awards party at the Grand Hotel’s Woodfill Park on the Tuesday after the start.

“It’s like no other race in this country,” said Greg Thomas (Gross Pointe Park, Mich.), who is set to sail the Cove Island Course. “The fun factor is huge, but more important, it’s a 92-year-old tradition where whole families live 12 months for the next race.”  Moreover, while the race is a platform for family fun, it’s also a true test of fortitude, says Thomas.

“First of all Lake Huron is a big lake. You’re alone, it’s cold and there are no cities along the way (as opposed to Chicago Mac where you are passing towns with hundreds of thousands of people). Then, on the Cove Island Course you are near the Canadian shore, so you are very alone – there weren’t even cell phone towers until five years ago. You experience this significant challenge of survival instincts and your sailing abilities, so when you finish the race you feel like you’ve really done something: you’ve met a challenge and prevailed.”

And because the race happens at the height of July and finishes at a fairy tale destination, there’s a migration of families and friends to Mackinac Island, instead of sailors getting on a plane to get out of there as fast as they can.

Bayview Mac Race“It’s truly out of a postcard, with the clop, clop, clop of horses everywhere, no cars, the fudge, the cannons going off…it’s a place turned back in time,” said Thomas.  “It’s no wonder Bayview Mac racers who get there Sunday night and Monday morning want to stay through to the awards party on Tuesday and then head back on Wednesday. It’s a great challenge followed by a great festival.”

Imagine these scenes each year of the Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race (from top left: Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, camaraderie after racing, overall winner Il Mostro near the finish, the fleet at Mackinac Island. (Photo Credit: Martin Chumiecki/Bayview Yacht Club)

The weather forecast for the race is intimidating from a tactical point of view, and a challenge for the crews based on the recent experiences of the Chicago-Mackinac racers from the previous weekend.  Shown here, the forecast wind direction (streamlines) and wind speed (color contours) 0200 hrs on Sunday morning is from the GEFS forecast model. The GEFS is the ensemble version of the GFS, a long-standing global model used by the Bayview Mac Race weather forecastNational Weather Service. The image shows the center of the low passing over southern Lake Huron and its counterclockwise wind field (red arrows have been added for clarity).  Check out the dramatic differences in wind direction based on low's quadrants along with the very weak winds associated with the low's center (1.7 knots). As mentioned above, modest differences in the timing and low's track across Lake Huron will have a dramatic impact on the wind forecast; and to adopt the correct strategy to play the wind field as it moves over the lake and switches from N/NE to SE/SW and around the clock, FAST, to W/NW!

Most of the J/Teams are sailing on the longer Cove Island course that takes the teams up to the Canadian shoreline “turn left” to head to the famous Mackinac Island finish line with the candy red and white lighthouse marking the offshore end of the line.  In Class D there is an eclectic mix of J/35s, J/109s and J/111s- all about 35 to 36 feet in length, representing nearly the entire history of offshore racing J/designs in one class!

The J/111 crews include Don Hudak’s CAPERS, Jim Cooper’s FREEDOM, Dave Irish’s NO SURPRISE, Jeff Schaeffer’s SHMOKIN JOE, and Dan Kitchen’s SKULL CRACKER.  Amongst the J/105s, top teams will include Mark Denuyl’s GOOD LOOKIN, Mark Symonds’ PTERODACTYL (recent J/105 class winner in the Chicago to Mackinac Race and hoping to complete a class double!), Doug Livermore’s VENOM, and Jim Murphy’s WINDSHADOW. The leading J/109 teams include Jim Murray’s CALLISTO, Bob Evan’s GOAT RODEO (recent winner of the J/109 class in the Chicago-Mac and also hoping for a class double!), Bill Hamilton’s PHOENIX, and Chris Mallett’s SYNCHRONICITY.  Finally, thrown into the mix for good measure will be John Stromberg’s J/92 KOHATSU and Bob Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3!

J/120 J-Hawker Detroit, MIClass C, a.k.a. the ten-boat one-design J/120 class, will have a number of the top dogs competing, such as Frank Kern’s CARINTHIA, Charlie Hess’ FUNTECH RACING, Mike & Bob Kirkman’s HOT TICKET, and Dave Sandin’s J-HAWKER.

Class F will have only one competitor from the J/stable, Dick & Dan Synowiec’s very fast and well-sailed J/33 SHENANIGAN.

The Level 35 Class G will have a record-setting participation of ELEVEN J/35s in the race (at least a recent 20 year record!).  So many new owners and faces on the J/35s, but for sure some of the veterans will be teaching the “newbies” a thing or two about the race.  These crews have done well and won class or overall Bayview Macs more than once!  They include Tim & Amie Ross’ BLACKHAWK, Ed & John Bayer’s FALCON (his 50th Mac??) and, of course, perhaps the most famous J/35 of all time in the Great Lakes- Bill Wildner’s MR BILL’s WILD RIDE!

Finally, in the Class I- Cruising division, Gary Gonzalez’s J/42 DOS MAS will be looking to cruise faster than everyone else for the coveted class win— something J/42s are known to do with relative ease!

J/34 IOR Knee DeepSailing the shorter “Shore Course” that goes from the start and straight up the Michigan shoreline to Mackinac Island are two J/crews.  In Class K is the J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP sailed fast and smart by Brett & Katie Langolf from Lake Erie- hoping to add another class win! Then, in Class N is another famous J/classic, Donald King’s J/30 CONUNDRUM.  For more Bayview Mackinac Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/FEST Great Lakes Preview

J/Fest Great Lakes (Toronto, ONT, Canada)- The first Lake Ontario J/FEST regatta will be held July 21st to 23rd at Ashbridges Bay YC, just west of downtown Toronto, sailing on the beautiful, but way, way too full Lake Ontario!  That has been the big story of the year for sailors on the lake.  As of July 11, almost all of the ABYC docks were above water. The water level is likely to go down by another couple of inches by the regatta weekend and the club was hard at work getting ready to accommodate all competing boats. Most classes will be rafting and a small number of slips will be available for larger boats.

Geoff Moore of North Sails will conduct on-water and on-shore workshops on Friday afternoon and evening. Practice starts on the water and sessions on rules and protest hearings are also planned.

JAUNTY J, a J/88 family speedster, will be on display on Friday July 21 from about 11am to 7pm.  Check out the electric motor, available as standard from J/Boats, enjoy a demo sail, and see what makes this 29 footer such a fun speedster for the whole family!

The inaugural Lake Ontario J/FEST Regatta is off to a great start with forty boats registered and strong fleets of J/105s, J/27s, and J/80s.  Plus, J/33, J/35, J/109, and J/120 crews will be racing in the PHRF division.

With seventeen boats, the J/105 fleet on the lake has turned out in force with most of the top teams from the Toronto region looking forward to a fun weekend of racing and the gracious hospitality of ABYC!  Amongst the top boats are two past J/105 North American Champions; Jim Rathbun’s HEY JUDE and Terry McLaughlin & Rod Wilmer’s MANDATE!  Giving them a good run-for-the-money will be Mike Mountford’s LIVE EDGE, Mike Champman’s SENTIENT, Ian Farquharson’s SONIC BOOM, and Allan Megarry’s STARCROSS.

The J/27s have enjoyed a bit of resurgence on the western end of the lake, seven boats have registered to compete for class honors.  Familiar faces in the top teams include Andrew Riem’s CURVED AIR (a past J/27 NA Champion), Robert Kelly’s LINE DRIVE, Andre Beese’s MESSING ABOUT and Christian Greenfield’s MISS TRIXIE.

Similarly, the six J/80s will enjoy some nice racing, led by their class cheerleader Lawrence Alexander on the mighty JIGGERS!  Chasing them will be Dave Doyle’s INNOCENT BYSTANDER, Owen Schneider’s ENIGMA, and Trudy Murphy’s FEISTY!

In the PHRF class will be a mix of teams from J/24s up to the J/120s.  Those teams include Bob Eckersley’s winning J/109 BLUE STREAK, Murray Gainer’s champion J/109 LIVELY, the two J/120s that are fast offshore (Matt Emerson’s RED LEAF and Graham Toms’ THE CAT CAME BACK), Sean Matthews’ famous J/33 WEE BEASTIE, and four smoking-hot classic masthead J/35s (Paul Cavanaugh’s TOP GUN, Geoff Roulet’s JEANNIE, Chris Cumming’s BATTLEWAGON, & Paul-Angus Bark’s CRIME SCENE).  For more J/Fest Great Lakes sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fabulous Women's J/22 Match Race Clinic!

Women's J/22 Match Race training- San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)- A J/22 Women’s Match Race clinic was hosted last weekend by women all-stars in match-racing, all managed and coached by U.S. Sailing’s top ranked women’s match racer- Nicole Breault from San Francisco, CA.  Here is the report of this pioneering event to get women more engaged in all kinds of sailing, and get an introduction into the craziness of the tactics associated with rules and the exciting, heart-thumping elements of match-racing “mano-a-mano” against your competitors.

Over the past weekend, from Friday through Sunday, Nicole Breault and members of her Team Vela Racing led over three-dozen women in their “San Francisco Bay Match Race Clinegatta”.  This was the first of its kind event on the West Coast. Inspired by a format that was first pioneered by match-race guru Dave Perry, Nicole was excited to welcome 36 women sailors to St. Francis Yacht Club to learn and compete on their fleet of J/22s. These ladies spent Friday and Saturday in sailing clinics on and off the water on StFYC’s fleet of J/22s; then culminated with a regatta on Sunday.

There were 36 women, nine J/22s, four to a boat. Two days of classroom work plus on-the-water drills, followed by a full day on the water, completing a round-robin, fully-umpired, Grade 5 match-racing regatta, with Bartz Schneider as PRO and Rob Overton as Chief Umpire, and Nicole Breault as Head Coach. Here is Nicole’s report below:

“Those who participated would say that the 2017 SF Bay Women’s Match Race Clinic and Grade 5 Regatta was an absolute success! 36 female sailors from the Bay Area, Southern California, the East Coast, and even St. Petersburg, Russia, assembled at the St. Francis Yacht Club on the San Francisco City Front this past weekend to take part in a 2-day learn-to-match race clinic and 1-day grade 5 match race regatta and our VELA RACING Team (Molly Carapiet, Dana Riley, and Karen Loutzenheiser).

Women's J/22 Match Race clinic participantsThe Club offered its matched set of J/22s for the Clinic and Regatta.  Some of the sailors entered as teams, but more than half entered as individuals, willing to join forces with one another to tackle learning a new game.  Adding to the challenge was that many were dinghy sailors, while others had spent years on larger boats, and they were jumping onto a small keelboat for the first time and doing so in the often-humbling winds and waters just East of the Golden Gate Bridge in July.

It really took brave hearts and open minds to take on such an intensive task. In the end, we were amazed by the progress every sailor made. It is a testament to what women can do in this sport when they get a chance and go all-in.

After two days of classroom work and on-the-water drills, the teams raced a single round-robin, fully-umpired grade five match racing regatta on Sunday, with Bartz Schneider as PRO and Rob Overton as Chief Umpire. Only a few skippers had ever match raced previously. The objective was to expose experienced women sailors to match racing and instill further interest. Quite a few participants said they would take the extensive course materials and bring them back to their home clubs to use as a template for training.

J/22s sailing women's match race clinicFriday’s instruction focused on boat-handling as a fundamental aspect of match racing. This afforded sailors the chance to get to know one another and the J/22. The 4 coaches, who comprise a team that regularly match races J/22’s, gave specific instruction on their individual tasks in getting the boat efficiently through maneuvers, how they support one another in these efforts, and the importance of clear communication roles. Friday evening shifted the discussion toward the match-racing game and Saturday’s drills exercised tactical thinking and execution in the pre-start and around the course. Members of the StFYC volunteer RC corps and several of Overton’s umpire team supported clinic sessions with mark set, flag work and a taste of how umpiring works. The sailors fully engaged their brains and their bodies in the learning. Blustery 15-20 knot winds and afternoon full of ebb chop did not stop them from trying out aggressive boat-on-boat moves and pushing for improvement each time.

On Sunday morning, racing was delayed briefly while an armada of support boats and kayaks escorted the Golden River Swim from the Golden Gate Bridge, through the race course, to McCovey Cove at AT&T Park. Once underway, the course was visited by a couple of the humpback whales that have been enjoying the Bay waters these last few weeks. In spite of all these fantastic distractions, the organizers rolled through 9 flights of match racing in west-southwesterly winds that built from 10 to 18 kts through the afternoon.

Katie Ananina of St. Petersburg, Russia (currently a student based near Miami, FL) and her crew of Bethanie Maples, Lisa Anderson, and Linda Molnar (all Bay Area sailors) swept all of their matches (8-0) to win top honors. Katie was one of the few participants who came in with match-racing experience, which proved immensely valuable for both her team and the others. According to Bethanie Maples, Katie was “laser-focused on winning, her competitive vibe was infectious… [she was] a best friend to these other crews, not a new friend. A new friend is nice and non-confrontational. A best friend pushes you past your comfort zone so you can learn more and be the best sailor you can be.”

Claiming second on the tie-breaker (6-2), was StFYC member Krysia Pohl and her teammates Susannah Carr (Seattle, WA), Johanna Altorfer and Nehal Gajjar (both from the Bay Area). Finishing third was skipper Marilyn Cassedy along with Patricia Lapadula, Jennifer Arrington, and Britney Belcher, all from Cal Yacht Club, Marina Del Rey, CA.”  Sailing photo credits- Karen Loutzenheiser (  For more Women’s J/22 Match Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/22 North American Championship Preview

J/22s sailing downwind (Buffalo, NY)- The 2017 J/22 North American Championship will be hosted from July 20th to 23rd at Buffalo YC in Buffalo, New York.  Thirty-two boats are registered to compete for one of the most coveted titles in the J/22 class worldwide, after all the top USA team is often a World Champion.

There is no question this year’s event is deep with talent for a modest-sized fleet.  There are a number of local “hotshots” that will be defending home turf from the various upstate New York fleets that range from Rochester to Youngstown and Buffalo to Lake George.  Amongst those teams hoping to top the leaderboard are Tim Finkle’s TOOTS, Kevin Doyle’s MO’MONEY, Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1, and Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER.

Taking the local mafia head-on will be past J/22 World Champion, Terry Flynn’s TEJAS from Houston, Texas.  Another Texan team to be reckoned with will be Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP from Corpus Christi, a place famous for super hot, super windy conditions!  From the formidable Annapolis fleet is Zeke Horowitz’s UNCLE FLUFFY and Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY.  Yet another J/22 Champion will be sailing from the Newport, RI fleet- Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS; indeed “bad news” for those who know how fast and smart they can be!  Then, the visiting Canadian team is Johan Koppernaes’ RAISED J from Ottawa, Ontario.  Finally, from Tawas Bay, MI is Chris Princing’s EVIL DR PORK CHOP!

The teams will most certainly be challenged by the weekend’s weather forecast.  For Thursday there are thunderstorms forecast with a frontal passage, blowing 10-20 kts from the WSW.  Friday looks to be the nicest with lighter, variable winds from the NW but swinging around the clock.  Then, Saturday’s forecast is partly sunny, turning to rain, with variable winds.  And, Sunday yet another frontal passage with a lot more thunderstorms!  Hold on to your hats, may need to bring along the old trusty fisherman’s hat to keep the rain from soaking down through your neck!  For more J/22 North American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Vineyard Cup Regatta Fun & Games!

J/120 sailing Vineyard Cup Regatta J/Teams Garner Gold, Silver and Bronze! 
(Vineyard Haven, MA)- The host for the annual Vineyard Cup Regatta was Sail Martha’s Vineyard, based in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  The regatta is managed like the FIGAWI Race, a PHRF “pursuit style” event that has your starting time based on the distance of the race sailed and your handicap rating.  The goal is “fun & games” and not at all based on serious racing, although based on the tenacity that some boats fought to trim sails, sit on people’s wind, and cross-tacks, would have you thinking otherwise!!

The PHRF Non-spinnaker Class 2 saw two J/100s have a blast.  Taking second in class was Phil & Rob Hale’s TANGO, while taking 5th place after the two races (one on each day) was Tom Welch’s ESCAPE.

Their colleagues in the PHRF Spinnaker Racing class, it was Stephen Besse’s J/120 APRES that took class honors by a wide margin- two bullets in two races!  Third was Matt & Lisa Schmitt’s J/105 HARDTACK with a 4-4.  Sixth place was Ed Lobo’s J/105 WATERWOLF with an 8-5.  Then, sitting in ninth was John Ryder’s J/70 AMONINI with a 7-8.  For more Vineyard Cup Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

J/70 Stadium Sailing Takes off in Moscow!

J/70 Moscow stadium sailing at The Royal Yacht Club (Moscow, Russia)- The legendary Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin and the leading Russian sailing project- PROyachting- partnered again for the 2017 stadium sailing series that is taking place on the “Water Stadium” in front of Royal Yacht Club in Moscow, Russia.  The main prize for the winner of popular Wednesday Night Races will be a brand new Marine Chronograph series from Ulysse Nardin (that’s one of only 150 units made in the world- priceless!!).

J/70 sailors in Moscow, Russia- at Royal Yacht ClubFor over 170 years, the Swiss watch maker has created models that embody the latest technological developments and impeccable style. Director General of Ulysse Nardin Russia, Maxim Andrianov, commented on their partnership, "This is a very interesting partnership for both sides. First, the history of the Ulysse Nardin brand is closely connected with the sea, and we participated with the Artemis Racing team in the America's Cup, the oldest competition in the world that has been held since 1851. Of course, for us it is very important that our brand is associated with watchmaking, advanced technologies in the manufacture of watches, but also with the rich history that we possess associated with sailing and the Seven Seas. And, the cooperation with PROyachting gives us this opportunity in Russia."

PROyachting- Ekaterina Skudina- Moscow, RussiaEkaterina Skudina, a World and European sailing champion and partner in the PROyachting project, commented that “we are very glad to continue cooperation with the legendary Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin. This year is very symbolic, because Artemis Racing Team, sponsored by Ulysse Nardin, reached the final of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoffs and showed excellent skills. We are pleased that Ulysse Nardin is so close to the sport of sailing, and we hope their partnership with PROyachting will bring the expected result this season here in Russia. For our part, we continue to develop Russian sailing and set higher standards for our yachting events."

PROyachting is a leader in attracting and integrating the world's leading brands into Russian yachting. The creative team at PROyachting continues to come up with new formats and develop numerous projects in Russia and abroad. The popular series of evening regattas- the “Wednesday Night Races on J/70s” by PROyachting- was the most notable development for yachting life and activity around Moscow. And, watches from the Swiss brand Ulysse Nardin provide an honorary trophy. That will increase the competitive nature of the sailors for winning the Wednesday Night season series on J/70s!

During the summer season, PROyachting plans to conduct 24 days of racing, which will determine the winner of the unique Marine Chronograph watch from Ulysse Nardin. The ceremony presenting the main prize for the season will be held in November and it will be awarded as the "PROyachting- Sailor of the Year!"

J/70s sailing in Moscow, Russia at Royal Yacht ClubIn the 2016 sailing season, it was the ALEX Team that won the valuable trophy- the Marine Diver watch from Ulysse Nardin. The prize was presented personally by Maxim Andrianov from the Ulysse Nardin Russia. In total, the Wednesday Night Race series in 2016 was attended by 45 teams!

This year, the event has grown even further in popularity! At least 45 teams have registered to compete and they participate in the round-robin style format as the teams rotate in and out of boats each evening.

For example, on June 27 was the seventh day of racing for the series for the “Tuesday Training Series”. A good wind allowed the organizers to hold 5 races. The leader of the evening was Team HURRICANE, having won three races in a row; they finally broke into first place in the standings. So, the top three were Team HURRICANE (Elena Buyanova, Pavel Ovanesyan, Alexey Sikirin, & Pavel Kiriluk), then in second place was Team BIG FISH (Inna Ozhogina, Polga Selezneva, Ivan Bodyagin, & Igor Puzanov), third step on the podium went to Team MOSCOW 24 (Denis Elahovsky, Ivan Lozovoy, Eugene Sutyrin, & Valentin Uvarkin).

J/70 sailing at Royal Yacht Club- Moscow, RussiaFor the next day of racing on June 28th, the 8th evening of racing for the Ulysses Nardin Wednesday Night Races, three races were sailed in a very complex and changeable wind by top Muscovite-based teams.  The results swung wildly for many boats.  However, for those who follow J/70 sailing on a European level, a familiar face was at the top of the leaderboard.  Winning the evening was none other than Russia’s top women keelboat skipper, Valeriya Kovalenko, leading her SSA-9 team to victory (Nikolai Chernikov, Alexey Tarasov, & Sergey Avdonin).  Second for the evening was NO PASARAN (Mikhail Loskov, Nikolay Khlystov, Igor Manshin, & Valentin Uvarkin).  Third for the night was TREM (Alexandra Peterson, Andrey Dmitriev, Pavel Kirilyuk, & Andrey Novikov).  At this rate, Valeriya’s SSA-9 Team may be on track for that fancy watch!  Follow the PROyachting/ Ulysse Nardin J/70 Wednesday night series on Facebook

To learn more about the PROyachting Wednesday Night Ulysse Nardin J/70 series, please call +7 499 393 31 33, + 7 988 143 17 57 or email / website- Add to Flipboard Magazine.

NEK SPORT Wins Russian J/70 Sailing League Act IV

J/70s sailing Russian Sailing League (Pskov, Russia)- The fourth act of the 2017 Russian J/70 Sailing League had challenging weather conditions at Pskov, Russia; the teams were sailing on the beautiful Lake Pihkva that borders Estonia at the far western end of Russia (just to the north is the famous historical city of St Petersburg on the Baltic Sea).

NEK Sport win Russian J/70 Sailing League eventThe three-day event featured a lot of variable wind conditions, mostly on the lighter side, that kept things interesting as all the top teams had some bad races. As a result, there were significant lead changes all weekend long.  Winning easily was the NEK SPORT Team from Moscow.  However, the final two spots on the podium behind the NEK SPORT Team were determined on a tiebreaker at a race average of 2.733 pts each.  The KOREG Sailing Team from Sochi was awarded the silver based on count-back and taking the bronze was the TRAKTOR Sailing Team from Chelyabinsk.  Rounding out the top five were the CARAMBA Sailing Team from Moscow in 4th place and the CALYPSO Sailing Team from Tuapse in fifth place.

After the final tally from the weekend’s racing on Lake Pihkva, the KOREG Sailing is still leading the overall series points standings with 12.746 points after four regattas (Sochi, Sevastopol, Moscow, & Pskov)- it is a point system based on adding up your average points for races sailed in each regatta.  The winner of the first regatta in Sochi, the QPRO Sailing Team from Moscow continues to hold on to second place in the series with 15.798 pts.  Sitting in third by a very small margin over the fourth place team is the CALYPSO Sailing Team with 18.300 pts; fourth is the CARAMBA team with 18.365 pts! Rounding out the top five is the TRAKTOR Sailing Team with 19.162 pts.  Follow the Russian J/70 Sailing League here  For more Russian J/70 League Sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

J’s Cruz RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race!

J/133 sailing on Solent (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- In excess of 1,500 sailors, from all over the world, competed in the 2017 Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. The largest RORC fleet since the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, comprising of 176 yachts took part for the magnificent King Edward VII Cup.  The hope was for a WSW breeze, warm midsummer air, an almost full moon, and a glorious downwind race for 151nm.  As it turns out, the prognosticators were not that far off the mark for this year’s event.

The racing “form” for the race was interesting for each class.  In IRC 2, Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s J/133 PINTIA was within striking distance of overtaking the lead for both the class and overall lead in the RORC Season's Points Championship. PINTIA also won IRC Two in last year's St Malo Race. Plus, Eric Gicquel's J/133 BLACKJACK is formidable offshore, hoping to win the class back to home base- St Malo!

Similarly, in IRC 4 class with 51 entries, it was an impressive line up as the first to start on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. The largest class racing to St Malo included Robert Nelson's J/105 BIGFOOT and local St Malo teams like Jean Pierre Briand's J/97 L'AMORROSSO.

In the end, it turned out to be a fast race for 151nm from Cowes to St Malo. Eric Gicquel's J/133 BLACK JACK had a victorious return to their home port of St Malo, winning IRC Two. However, that was not the entire story for J/133s!  They fought tooth-and-nail with their fellow J/133 PINTIA and only just beat them home by 9 minutes after 27 hours of racing at the very edge of mental control! Taking 10th in class was Chris Daniel’s gorgeous J/122E JUNO.

In the IRC Doublehanded Division, Jerry Freeman’s J/105 JULIETTE took the bronze on the podium with Nick Martin’s perennial contender, his J/105 DIABLO-J, taking 5th in class.  Not far off the pace in the reachy conditions were Robert Nelson’s J/105 BIGFOOT in 7th and Chris Schram’s J/120 MAVERICK in 8th. Four J/Crews in the top ten, and all 20-year-old designs at that- proving the timeless performance built into the boats from day one!

In the monstrous forty-three boat IRC 3 Class, the top J/crew was a new J/112E called MUSIX, skippered by Phillipe Baetz from France, taking 7th in class.  However, despite the reachy conditions, he led home a train of other J/Crews right behind him.  Next were Trevor Sainty’s J/109 JELENKO in 8th, Jerry Freeman’s J/105 JULIETTE in 9th, David McGough’s J/109 JUST SO in 12th, Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J in 12th and Jean-Baptiste Crepin’s J/105 JOB D’ETE from France in 13th.

The enormous fifty-one boat IRC 4 Class saw Jean-Pierre Briand’s J/97 J L’AMOROSSO take 8th in class.

The 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship continues with notoriously simple, but incredibly difficult tactically, Channel Race on Saturday 22 July. The race offers more opportunities for good all-around J/Boats to excel when there is a good mix of beating, reaching, and running in a variety of wind and wave conditions.  At the moment, the J/133 PINTIA is third in the Overall Standings and 2nd her IRC 2 Class, but having sailed one less race than the leader (all bets are off here once the Channel Race takes place!).  The same holds true for the J/105 BIGFOOT currently 2nd in her class for the series.  The most amusing element for the IRC Doublehanded class is that it has become the battle of a 25 yrs old design- the J/105- versus the 4 yrs old design of the SunFast 3600.  With mostly reachy races to date, it’s not surprising the top three are SF3600s.  However, the “tide will change” once races like the Channel Race, the Fastnet Race, and others are factored in that force boats to be less one-dimensional and more multi-dimensional in terms of their performance parameters.  For more RORC Cowes Dinard St Malo Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Fabulous Sail Newport Regatta

J/70s sailing Newport RegattaAwesome Sailing for J/70s & J/24s!
(Newport, RI)- The largest regatta of Newport’s summer sailing for one-design sailboats is the Sail Newport Regatta. The fleet of seventy keelboats had thirty-nine J/crews (55% of keelboats) competing in two of the world’s leading keelboat classes- the J/70 and J/24.

Perhaps the biggest factor in the racing over the three-day weekend was the weather.  On Friday, a pernicious low pressure system was working its way ever, every so slowly east, just south of Long Island Sound and south of Newport.  In the morning until about 2:30pm on Friday it rained, from a persistent drizzle to a sheer monsoon-like downpour.  Everyone was pretty much soaked to the skin and cold with temperatures in the high 60s.  Then, as predicted in several “grib” forecasts, like magic the skies went overcast and a strong northerly filled in behind the front, providing the fleet 10 to 18 kts winds for two quick races.  Saturday and Sunday could not have started out more differently, but ultimately, both days produced simply classic Newport sunny, windy seabreeze conditions at SSW 10-17 kts.

J/70 HOSS sailed by Glennn DardenWith twenty-nine teams, the J/70s were by far the largest and most competitive fleet of the event, with more than half of the total sailors participating in the regatta. For a modest-sized fleet, there was extraordinary depth of talent; from various classes there were Olympic and Pan Am Medallists, plus World, European, North American and National Champions all represented in just half of the teams entered! In the end, it was Peter Duncan’s very talented RELATIVE OBSCURITY team (that included Juddie Smith and Willem van Waay) that won the regatta with just 13 pts net, winning three of the seven races.  Taking second place with 20 pts net was Brian Keane’s SAVASANA team from Beverly YC in Buzzards Bay.  Third on the podium was Oivind Lorentzen’s crew on NINE with 23 pts net.  Rounding out the top five was John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES with 26 pts in fourth and in fifth place was Glenn Darden’s crew on HOSS that included Olympic Gold Medallist Jonathan McKee as tactician and main trimmer.

The Corinthians Division in the J/70s was won by Heather Gregg and Joe Bardenheier’s MUSE team from New York YC with 43 pts, followed by Mallory & Andrew Loe’s crew on DIME in second place with 53 pts, third was Daan Goedkoop’s LOCOMOTION with 68 pts.

In the Youth Teams Division, 1st place was Brendan Read’s SCUBA STEVE, followed by Brad Gibbs’ GLIDE in second and Rachel Bryer’s JUNKANOO in third place.

Not surprisingly, the J/24 class turned into a shoot-out at the OK Corral between three teams that all have North American or Worlds credentials on their collective resumes. After the dust cleared, it was Travis Odenbach’s crew on HONEY BADGER that won with 11 pts net, collecting four 1sts in the six races they counted.  Second were the lethally competitive combination of John Mollicone and Tim Healy on Team HELLY HANSEN, starting out very slowly (a 9-5 in the first two races), but closing fast as they worked out their bugs for a 1-2-2 in the last three races for 15 pts net.  Third only one point back was Rochester YC’s Mike Ingham sailed NAUTALYTICS to 16 pts net and collecting four 2nds along the way.  Fourth place went to Matt Coughlin’s FUDGIE and fifth position to Ted Winston’s PASSAGE EAST.  For more Sail Newport Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.