(Kiel, Germany)- Considered one of the world’s largest sailing events, Kiel Week will be taking place from June 20th to the 28th and playing host to 1,500+ sailboats and over 5,000 sailors for the week long event. The city of Kiel is also promoting Germany’s application for the Olympics 2024 as Hamburg’s partner for hosting the sailing competitions.
In its 133rd edition, Kieler Woche will once again deliver a massive fireworks display celebrating the sport of sailing. “Sailing in Kiel will be broadcast live at the AUDI- SAP Sailing Arena at the Olympic marina Schilksee, including a stage for interviews and prize giving ceremonies,” says Johannes Polgar, project leader for sailing on the sports marketing team at AUDI AG. Being a partner of the Kieler Woche in the sixth year, AUDI furthermore supports the TV channel "Kieler Woche.TV", which is bringing the sailing action to the fans with modern camera technology and GPS tracking.
Another partner of the Kieler Woche, SAP, is making another step in presenting the sailing sport to the spectators ashore. "With the Race Committee App, fans can view the official race results from all race courses almost in real-time in the SAP LiveCenter. Maybe one of the most interesting innovations will be the display of the perfect course, SAP Sailing Analytic,” stated Milan Cerny (SAP Sailing). The design was optimized and navigation for the user is now easier. At the daily debriefing session, sailing experts and TV presenters will provide a summary of what happened on the water- the SAP Sail Cube, which is normally following the Extreme 40 series around the world, will be located in Kiel.
Three J classes will be featured at Kieler Woche- the J/24, J/70 and J/80. For the J/80s, the event is considered by most of the participants as their J/80 “Pre-Worlds”, as they will be sailing the J/80 Worlds at the same venue two weeks later. Twenty-four J/80s from Germany and Denmark are registered, including most of the top German teams; such as Andreas Rose’s TRUE GRIT, Bjorn Beilken’s PROCEDES DIVA, Inken Braunschmidt’s JOY TOY, Martin Menzner’s PIKE, Sven Vagt’s BOOTSWERFT WINKLER and Torsten Voss’ FRIDA.
The J/70 fleet has a fantastic turnout of thirty-one boats with teams participating from Russia, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. The Russian teams include Alexander Markarov’s MOJO and Dmitrii Zaritckii’s JUNO. The Spanish team is the Olympic Medallist Hugo Rocha on NEW TERRITORIES. The top Swedish team is Oscar Lundqvist sailing THE PURE CIRCLE and the Netherlands crew is led by Wouter Kollman sailing NED 293. The balance of the teams are comprised of German crews from around the country, many of whom have been sailing in the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga over the past two years. Some of those skippers include Carsten Kemmling, Class Lehmann on TRE MAKRELLER, Fabian Gielen on FRITZ, Frank Schonfeldt on DER GERAT, Frank Uwe Fuchs on DUFTe DJUDJU, Gerd Knospe on TOKIO, Jens Ahlgrimm on GRUN SOFTWARE, Max Nickel on JUKEBOX and Uwe Barthel on ROSAROTER PENGUIN.
The biggest J fleet happens to be the thirty-four J/24s vying for class honors, with teams participating from Germany, Monaco, Sweden, The Netherlands, Hungary and Great Britain. Leading German teams include Andreas Dillmann’s ALICE, Frank Schonfeldt’s HENK, Frithjof Schade’s JJONE, Jan Kahler’s UNITED 5, Johann Huhn’s HUNGRIGER WOLF, Manfred Konig’s VITESSE, Peer Kock’s GISCHT & GLUT, Stefan Karsunke’s SULLBERG and the women’s team led by Stephanie Kopcke’s VEGA RAGAZZA. The top visiting crews are Ian Southworth’s IL RICCIO from Great Britain, Liselotte Sjoberg’s FOR FUN from Hungary, Mathias Sonnemans’ J-STRIPE from The Netherlands, Per-Hakan Persson’s FRONT RUNNER from Sweden and Peter Langhans’ OSTE STROLCH from Monaco. For more Kiel Week sailing information
Round Island Race Preview
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The annual JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organized by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island situated off the south coast of England. The race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.
Competitors come from all over the UK, other parts of Europe and as far away as the USA to follow the 50 nautical mile course round the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, the fleet races westabout, to The Needles, round St Catherine's Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.
This year’s race starts on Saturday, June 27th at the crack of dawn. The weather forecast is for the high pressure to move south, providing good weather that follows the typical summer pattern of light variable winds early in the morning and a sea breeze developing in the afternoon. There is however a low 600nm west of Ireland and this will change weather fronts cross the country on Friday. These will push the high to the SE but as the fronts come up against it they will lose some of their intensity and what will be a heavy rainband in Cornwall and will be showers by the time the front reaches the Isle of Wight.
The last of these showers should clear the Solent late on Friday afternoon or early evening and Saturday will be a mainly sunny day as the high pushes back in and we get a moderate south westerly wind. As the land heats it will help to enhance the gradient wind which will increase to 15-20 knots and a little stronger around St Catherine's and where the wind is funnelled in the western Solent.
Looking forward to the wonderfully benign conditions are a variety of J teams that range from J/70s and J/24s up to J/133s. The J/80s are sailing as a class with 13 entries that include top boats like AQUA J (Terence O’Neill) and MOJO (Jim White). In the J/70 sportboat class, there are sixteen entries that have notable teams like Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8, Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY, and David Mcleman’s OFFBEAT in the mix.
In IRC 1A Class, there are six J/111s like Martin Dent’s JELVIS, Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBURG, and Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II. In addition, six J/122s are in the mix including Sergey Senchenko’s JOLOU, David Cule’s MINT JULEP, and William Avery’s JACOBS LADDER. The J/133s include Eric Gicquel’s BLACK JACK from France and David Ballantyne’s JINGS!
In IRC 1C Division class there is a variety of boats, including the J/120s ASSARAIN III sailed by Chris Masterson and Richard Bagnall’s NUNATAK, the trio of J/88s such as Dirk Van Beek’s SABRIEL JR, Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR, and Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT.
The IRC 2A Class includes J/109s such as Jean Lockett & Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX and Mark Hollis RED ARROW from the Royal Air Force. Also in the class are David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J/88 J-DREAM and the famous J/35 KNIGHT BUILD Ltd from Ireland. Several other J/109s are sailing in IRC 2B class, such as Christopher Palmer’s J’TAIME, Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB, David Richards’ JUMPING JELLYFISH, and RUAG WHITE KNIGHT 7 sailed by Major Rob Hammond, owned and sailed by the soldiers of the Royal Armoured Corps of the British Army.
In the IRC 2B Class are a number of J/105s, like William Newton’s JELLY BABY and Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe’s KING LOUIE. Joining them is James Bedford’s J/92S BOJANGLES.
The IRC 2D Class has a raft of J/97s that include Andy Howe & Annie Kelly’s BLACKJACK II, Rob Orr’s JACKAROO, James & John Owen’s JET, and Nick Angel’s ROCK LOBSTER. For more Round Island Race sailing information
The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing WorldwideThe past week saw the first J/111 World Championship to be hosted in North America, thanks to Ida Lewis YC and partner Sail Newport at the Fort Adams facility. With a fleet of twenty-five boats, it was the largest one-design class of offshore 35 keelboats to be hosted in Newport in history.
In the meantime, on the European side of the world, many of Ireland’s top offshore racers sailed the Dun-Laogherie to Dingle Race in Ireland. Within that race was a wonderful story of a family racing their J/109. Also, in the same region was the Royal Southern J/24 Regatta. Across the Irish Sea in Great Britain, the RORC hosted their Morgan Cup Race offshore that included a range of Js from the J/105 to J/133.
Read on! The J/Community and Cruising section below has many entertaining stories and news about J/Sailors as well as cruising blogs about those who continue to enjoy the Caribbean and the South Pacific, staying warm while others are trying to stay warm up north. Check them out! More importantly, if you have more J/Regatta News, please email it or upload onto our J/Boats Facebook page! Below are the summaries.
Regatta & Show Schedules:Jun 26-Jul 5- Delta Week 2015- Grevelingen, The Netherlands
Jun 26-28- Long Beach Race Week- Long Beach, CA
Jun 27- JP Morgan Round Island Race- Cowes, IOW- England
Jun 26-28- J/70 West Coast Championship- Long Beach, CA
Jun 27- JP Morgan Round Island Race- Cowes, IOW- England
Jun 27-29- J/80 Pornic Cup- Pornic, France
Jun 28- Rolex Trans-Atlantic Race- Newport, RI
Jul 4-10- J/80 World Championship- Kiel, Germany
Jul 5- Marblehead- Halifax Race- Marblehead, MA
Jul 6-11- J/70 World Championship- La Rochelle, France
Jul 9-12- J/24 Irish Easterns- Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
Jul 10-26- J/24 Pan Am Games- Toronto, ONT, Canada
Jul 10-12- J/70 Pacific Coast Championship- San Francisco, CA
Jul 10- RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race- Cowes, England
Jul 11- Chicago-Mackinac Island Race- Chicago, IL
Jul 11-19- Larchmont Race Week- Larchmont, NY
Jul 11-12- Fiesta Cup Regatta (J70, J105)- Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 11-14- Lake Ontario 300 Race- Mississauga, ONT, Canada
Jul 13- Transpac Race- Los Angeles, CA
For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar.
MY SHARONA Crowned J/111 World Champion!
(Newport, RI)- According to skipper George Gamble of MY SHARONA, “the most nervous day of preparation we have had was for the last day of racing of the J/111 Worlds. The sailing conditions were so variable, we felt anything could happen. And, with so many boats so close in a breeze that was unpredictable even for local sailors, we knew it was going to be a difficult last day.”
In the end, Gamble and his crew on MY SHARONA demonstrated yet again why they are such a good team. Never taking any flyers and trying to stay in the hunt, they managed to take a 3rd place in the first race of the last day to seal the deal and win the 2015 J/111 World Championship off Newport. They did not have to sail the last race.
The weather forecast for the finale on Friday was unusual as a weak frontal system was approaching Newport offering up WSW winds in the 8-12 kts range with the expectation of afternoon showers or thundershowers. Typically, such forecasts can be way off. With skies clearing for a period of time, the Newport seabreeze machine asserted itself for a period of time fighting the frontal gradient over the land and nearshore waters.
Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard setup the course east of the R4 red bell and sent the fleet off on their first race on an upwind course of 235 degrees for a 1.8nm first leg- four times around. The starts were not without a bit of drama and after several general recalls, the final start went off with an “I” and “Z” flag. Leading the fleet right after the start was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF and after rounding the first weather mark first, they managed to maintain their lead to the finish. Second was Richard Lehman’s WIND CZAR and third was Gamble’s MY SHARONA.
The final race of the series was even more complex than the first race. The impending frontal system played games with the winds and an enormous black cloud kept diminishing and reforming over the western end of the course. Winds varied from 7 to 12 kts and from 235 to 255 degrees. With an outgoing ebb tide from Narragansett Bay, it was anyone’s guess how any strategy would play out. Ultimately, it was the Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer team on KASHMIR that rounded the windward mark first and led the fleet wire-to-wire to win race 9 in impressive fashion. Taking second was Marty Roesch’s crew on VELOCITY and third was Carl Desgagnes’ VOLTEFACE from Quebec City, Quebec.
In the end, Gamble’s MY SHARONA won with a 31 pts score followed by the KASHMIR crew from Chicago YC in second place. Third was Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT from Rochester, New York that normally races on Lake Ontario. Fourth was Richard Lehmann’s WIND CZAR from Harbor Springs, Michigan and fifth was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, Ohio. There’s no question there was a bit of a “theme” here, many of the top J/111 teams were all Midwest/ Great Lakes boats from J/111 Fleet #1 in Chicago and the surrounding area.
It didn’t start that way. After the exciting first day, it was the British team JELVIS that led the way. With twenty-five boats on the line, it was anyone’s guess what would happen when you mixed the current J/111 World Champion and leading UK teams lined up against the top American, Canadian, Australian and Caribbean teams from across the world.
The weather forecast was not promising. An overcast day with a dying northerly that was supposed to see a gradient/ seabreeze combination develop in the middle of the day into the 6-10 kts range with the breeze filling in at 200 degrees and veering to the 230 range. As it turned out, it was not that far off. After a postponement, the Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard fired off the first race in a 6-9 kts breeze in the 210 range. By the time the second race took place at 1600 hrs, the wind had veered further right into the 220 to 240 deg range and from 9 to 12 kts TWS.
Leading after the first day was the British team of Martin Dent sailing JELVIS from Cowes, Isle of Wight with a 1-6 tally for 7 pts total. Second was Richard Lehmann’s crew on WIND CZAR with an 8-3 scoreline for 11 pts (the current J/111 North American champion). And, third was David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP with a 3-10 score for 13 pts.
So close was the racing that an average of a 10th was good enough to place your team in the top ten. Even more remarkably, only ten points (well within a mid-fleet finish) separated teams from 3rd place to 15th place! It’s quite possibly the tightest regatta that anyone has seen amongst the top teams after the first day of racing.
By the end of Day Two, a new leader emerged in the form of George Gamble’s MY SHARONA. The teams were treated to a “Newport Chamber of Commerce” day for their second day on the race track. Starting off with the captain’s meeting at 9am Wednesday morning, the Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard announced to the fleet that it was going to be an “inside the Bay Day” and to be prepared to sail two races, a first race windward-leeward followed by the long distance race “Bay Tour”.
The morning dawned with a gorgeous sunrise, winds howling out of the north at 20-30 kts. The forecast was for winds to ultimately diminish into the 10-18 kts range by the start at 11am from 30-40 degrees and veer to the east, in an oscillating-persistent shift to 90 degrees or so by late afternoon. As it turned out, the forecast was not far off and it made for a spectacular day of sailing on Narragansett Bay.
The starting area for the first race was immediately west of the northern end of Gould Island and the famous “US Navy torpedo range” buildings. Fast off the start was Chris Jones’ WILD CHILD, nailing the starboard end start and covering the fleet going off on starboard tack. One of the first boats to flip onto port tack was Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF. Ultimately, it was the right move as they led the fleet off to the right hand corner of the first weather leg to lead the fleet around the first mark and win the race. Second was George Gamble’s MY SHARONA and third was Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT.
The second race was the Navigator’s Long Distance Race. The fleet was given a long 3.5nm windward leg to the green gong in the straits formed by the southern end of Prudence Island and Dyer Island on the northeastern part of the Bay. This was followed by a reach to the red bell of the NE corner of Jamestown (Conanicut Island), then a spinnaker reach, then a fetch east across the Bay, then a long run down to the green Clingstone Rock bell and to the finish off Fort Adams. The race was such that the first beat determined the pecking order for most of the fleet. It also meant choosing which side of the Bay to hit a corner, go left up along Conanicut Island and play shifts into the green buoy or go right to the Portsmouth shoreline for current relief and perhaps large right hand shifts off the shore. Off the start, the British team on WILD CHILD skippered by Chris Jones again nailed the RC committee boat start and took off to the right leading the fleet. Another pack of boats started towards the left end of the line (including Gamble’s MY SHARONA, Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT and David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP) and played a completely different wind/current strategy to the far left hand side of the race course. At the first windward mark, that pack remarkably led the fleet around the first mark. First in from the right hand side grouping was Jones’ WILD CHILD. From there on end it was essentially a parade around the marks to the finish line.
Gamble’s MY SHARONA won the last race and became the new leader of the J/111 Worlds with a 9-8-2-1 for 20 pts and the only boat with all single digit finishes. Taking 5th in that race and lying second overall was Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF with an 18-1-1-5 tally for 25 pts. By virtue of their second in the last race, Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT was now third overall with a 10-12-3-2 for 27 pts. Jumping into 4th overall was the Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP with a 3-10-10-4 for 27 pts and in 5th was Martin Dent’s JELVIS with a 1-6-14-7 for 28 pts.
On the third day of racing, MY SHARONA extended their lead with solid, conservative sailing. The weather forecast for Thursday’s racing was benign enough- winds of 6-9 kts from the SSW all day with skies clearing in the afternoon. After about an hour postponement, the seabreeze filled in from the classic southerly direction offshore. Once the winds averaged 5 kts, Ida Lewis YC PRO Peter Gerard sent off the fleet on the first of three windward-leeward races. By the late afternoon, the breeze had built into the 8-12 kts TWS range, making for excellent, incredibly tightly-packed racing.
Sailing the best record of the day was none other than Gamble’s MY SHARONA, extending their lead with a 4-3-1 scoreline for a total of 19 pts overall and a seemingly unassailable 15 point lead over the rest of the fleet. Behind them, it became a war of attrition for many teams hoping to crack the top five overall. By virtue of their 3-4-20 finishes, Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT had now taken over second overall with 34 pts. However, only one point back was the Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP; their first race horizon job drove them into contention with a 1-7-11 score for the day. Sitting in fourth was the trio of Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer on KASHMIR, posting the second best scores for the day with a 5-6-3 for a total score of 39 pts. After being in striking distance for the lead after the first two days, Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF had a rough go of it on Rhode Island Sound with a 19-10-5 scoreline to drop into fifth overall with 40 pts total. Only ten points separated 5th from 10th place in this close-quarters racing.
Thanks to the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Commodore Gary Lash, Event Chair Pat Connerney, PRO Peter Gerard and their amazing team of volunteers that helped make the J/111 World Championship a resounding success. Finally, thanks go out to all the sponsors that helped support the event, including Gold Sponsors North Sails and B&G electronics and also Industry Sponsors that included Bacardi, J/Boats, MJM Yachts, SEABlade, Quantum Sails, V Sport and RaceQs.com. Sailing photo credits- Cate Brown. For more J/111 Worlds sailing information
J/Teams Sweep Dun Laoghaire- Dingle Race
(Dun Laoghaire, Ireland)- This is the Irish offshore race that ticks all the boxes. You start conveniently on a Friday night from a harbour which – despite everything that has been done to it in the name of modern architecture – continues to present the classically smooth granite façade of official Dublin-on-Sea. The race is on southward through the night down the east coast, past murky sandbanks that contrast with the luxuriance of the Garden of Ireland beyond the nearby shore. After that, it's round the tricky rock-strewn southeast corner and into the Atlantic, seeking a course between southwest and west along a green and purple coastline with fine mountains beyond, until your next major turn is the Fastnet Rock itself.
Then it's on Round Ireland's most spectacularly beautiful southwestern coastline, past one great headland after another, each more impressive than the last. The final turning mark is reached, a rock so spectacular it's first choice for location shooting on sci-fi blockbusters. Thus is the mighty and mystical Skellig Michael put astern. And then, with the majestic scenery of the great mountains of Kerry setting the style, you head up a splendid inlet and sail through a small and almost hidden gap in its rugged northern coastline.
You've suddenly entered a secret yet commodious natural harbour, and may find yourself being welcomed by the amiable yet often spectacular resident dolphin. But far from finding you've arrived at a sparse little village which is appropriately dwarfed by the big country about it, on the contrary there's a proper little port town with an air of confidence and cosmopolitan chic, and the aromas of good cooking in the breeze off the land. But the contrast with the smooth metropolitan harbour town you left a couple of days earlier simply couldn't be greater. For you have just finished the 280-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, and all is very well with the world at one of Ireland's best destination ports.
As the fleet sailed into the night, some were doing better than others almost regardless of the wind they found. And the D2D Race Tracker began its work on Afloat.ie to such good effect that within a couple of days its visitor hits had knocked "James Bond in Dun Laoghaire" off the top of the popularity sidebar on their website.
However, through the remainder of the short June night, the two leaders were powering away, and by 0530 they had broken past the Tuskar Rock while the fleet astern found the new flood tide piling up against them to enable Antix to start to assert her position at the top of the leaderboard on IRC. This was what had been expected with the weather forecasts on Thursday morning, when predictions had been that a favorable wind pattern - briskly from the north - might enable Antix to get to Dingle within the 24 hours, with the stratospherically-rated Lee Overlay Partners doing even better.
But by Friday morning the wind expectations and the betting had softened. It seemed there were going to be at least two significant flat patches that would have to be negotiated before they could breathe the Kerry air. In those circumstances, the smart money shifted to boats with middle ratings in the fleet, and where better to settle than on the half dozen ever-reliable J/109s? And within those ever-reliable J/109s, where safer than the Shanahan family with RUTH, the 2014 ISORA Champion?
It has to be admitted that with POWDER MONKEY leading the charge for glory in the J/109s in the early stages, RUTH had her backers worried. But by the time they were out past the Coningbeg at 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, the money was looking a little bit safer, for although Antix was still reaching along in glorious style and fine weather with the Old Head of Kinsale the next mark in mind and her still on top of the handicap lead, RUTH was now emerging from the pack and was picking at the lead in the J/109s which had been taken over by the Welsh boat MOJITO (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), while early sprinter POWDER MONKEY had run out of steam and was now well back.
While the northerly breeze lasted, Lee Overlay Partners and Antix were in a race of their own. Horizon job doesn't even begin to describe it. And when the wind did go soft and then drew locally from ahead on Saturday afternoon during an otherwise perfect summer's day, they were better able to cope in clear conditions. But many miles astern, the most of the rest of the fleet were in those messy waters south of the Hook, where head winds in the usual lumpy sea make any progress difficult, and some took desperate tactical gambles.
Yet such is the nature of this race that the more optimistic continued to hope that their time might yet come, and so it proved through Saturday night. The underlying northerly breeze had returned as forecast, reinforced by being the night breeze off the land right along the south coast of West Cork. But for the two leaders ploughing along approaching the Fastnet Rock at midnight, they were sailing into another calm. The Fastnet Rock, legendary emblem of rough water, was no more than a great big pussy cat sitting serenely in its own bed of almost windless sea. Antix came as near as dammit to a halt.
Yet the rest of the fleet, led by the offshore-course-favouring J/122 Aurelia (Chris & Patanne Power Smith), were coming down from the Old Head of Kinsale through the velvet night in considerable style and at a very fine speed. Then through that night, as each cohort in turn came to the Fastnet and found it calm and then had some very slow progress towards the next bit of a reasonably moving air out by Mizzen Head, the corrected time leadership changed almost by the minute, and certainly by the hour.
In such circumstances, with all the benefit of hindsight, we can see a trend emerging. The close racing between MOJITO and RUTH had developed into an exhausting duel. But their heightened performance for that one-on-one challenge meant they in turn were out-performing all others. Oh for sure, from time to time other boats appeared at the top of the leaderboard. But thanks to the MOJITO/ RUTH contest - "a dogfight" was how Liam Shanahan later laconically described it - when anything remotely like reasonable sailing emerged, the two top J/109s were poised to take the lead.
It was at Cape Clear and heading on towards the Fastnet at 6 o'clock on Sunday morning that RUTH for the first time started to show ahead, though only just, when they were only 80 metres apart. But she stayed ahead of MOJITO thereafter, even though like everyone else they spent a considerable time – three hours in the case of some boats – becalmed at the mouth of Bantry Bay. Yet all the time RUTH was somehow nibbling away, and as the northerly returned to give a summer day's beat out past Dursey Head and on towards the big turn at the Skellig, RUTH was building towards having two miles in hand on MOJITO.
She never lost it thereafter, and as the chips were falling exactly the right way for whoever was leading the J/109s, they were able to get round the Skellig and up to the finish at Dingle carrying the port tack all the way, albeit hard on the wind, while those ahead had found things flukey towards Dingle, and those far astern were to find the wind veering to give a beat, and then falling away.
The early overall leader Antix was no longer in a commanding position when she finally finished the D2D 2015 shortly after 2pm on Sunday, having to contend with a local south to east breeze to get across the line. But in the end, she did very well to correct to 8th place overall after a race in which conditions were against her.
Yet not so far behind the two big glamour girls, RUTH took the win with style, finishing at 1945 hrs still that crucial two miles ahead of MOJIYO, which in turn came in twenty minutes later to move into second on corrected time.
It was fairly clearcut in terms of time for the first three places, but fourth slot was a very close run thing. If there was a prize for the most inappropriately-named boat in the race, it would have been no contest for Jay Bourke's J/109 DEAR PRUDENCE. She seemed to be crewed mostly by some of the most colourful characters on the Irish sailing scene. And in those difficult stages to the west of the Coningbeg and Saltees, DEAR PRUDENCE seemed to be taking unsuccessful flyers that belied her name. But as the race progressed, her motley crew – sorry about the cliché, but nothing else will do – began to get their act together, and they fairly milled their way through the fleet.
By the time DEAR PRUDENCE got out of the Bantry Bay calm, she was becoming a contender. Thereafter, the motley crew sailed like men possessed. To get to Dingle as quickly as possible, they made some inspired tactical decisions in the beat up to the Skellig. And then, on the final leg to the finish, they didn't sail an inch further than was absolutely necessary, skirting Valentia Island close inshore with a splendidly cavalier disregard for the supposed perils of doing so, and hounding down boats in front of them like a very hungry lion after his prey.
Thus from being an also ran going nowhere, DEAR PRUDENCE came in a commendable fourth, albeit by just 50 seconds ahead of Alchimiste. It was an astounding performance. And it added yet further lustre to the J/Boat sweep of the results, as they now took five of the first six places. Overall is was the Shanahan’s J/109 RUTH in first followed by Peter Dunlop & Vicki Cox’s J/109 MOJITO in second, Chris & Patanne Power Smith’s J/122 AURELIA in third, Jonathan Bourke’s J/109 DEAR PRUDENCE in fourth, and James & Sheila Tyrrell J/122 AQUELINA in sixth.
The Shanahan’s J/109 Story:
The offshore racing story of the Shanahan family of the National Yacht Club goes back at least three generations, and while Liam Shanahan Jnr and two of his sons were racing the family's J/109 RUTH (which is named for his wife, the mother of their five children), father and grandfather Liam Senior.
When you're from stock like that, offshore racing runs in the blood. Yet it was only within the past five years that Liam bought the new J/109 RUTH. But then he literally decided to spend more time with his family, and as much of it as possible sailing. In looking analytically with his oldest sons Ben and William at the sailing scene in Dun Laoghaire, they reckoned that the J/109 provided the best all round value, as there'd be One Design racing in Dublin Bay, there'd also be the scope to renew the Shanahan involvement with ISORA racing which their friend Peter Ryan in the National YC was promoting with vigor, and while the boat was clearly a genuine contender in the offshore racing scene, she provided the third option of real cruising potential.
They decided to go for the total racing version, with the biggest steering wheel possible, and while Liam admits it takes a little bit of gymnastics for the helmsman to take up his position astern of it, the result is an easily controlled boat with very responsive steering – "you feel close to the feel of the water when you're on the wheel, it's finger-tip control".
His approach to the offshore racing game was that it should first help to bind his family together in a shared enterprise which they all enjoyed, but as well the demands of crewing a J/109 meant they happily had to reinforce old friendships and create new ones in order to provide the necessary amateur crew panel to enable an active season which can go on for twelve months – this past winter is the first one in which Ruth has been ashore for eight weeks, the previous three winters she was raced all year round.
You get some idea of the scale of family ties and sailing friendships involved when you learn that at last year's ISORA Prize-Giving Dinner when Ruth was hailed as overall champion, the Shanahan group included no less than 28 people who had all raced on the boat since the stellar career of racing the J/109 began, all of whom regularly renewed their involvement as crew panel allocations and personal time availability required. For the race to Dingle, the crew lineup was typical, as it included Liam, Ben and William Shanahan, backed up by Kevin Daly, Simon Digby, Conall O'Halloran and Fiachra Etchingham.
It's a huge challenge maintaining such a network, yet it's one which Liam Shanahan clearly relishes, as he has a generous and continually developing philosophy of family, friends and community as expressed through sailing. And in ISORA especially, with like-minded people such as Peter Ryan on the Irish side and Stephen Tudor on the Welsh side, he has found a remarkably congenial atmosphere in which to express his approach to life, and his enthusiasm in bringing his family with him.
But in fact, when you see the Shanahan family in full flight, whether sailing together or socialising at something like last November's Round Ireland Awards Dinner in Wicklow, you could begin to wonder just who is encouraging whom, as the younger generation interact with the seniors in a mutually beneficial display of enjoyment of their own and their non-family shipmates' company, with private jokes, shared enthusiasm, and an almost telepathic in-family sense of communication and shared values.
In other words, they move as quickly and effectively ashore as they do afloat. It's impressive. And while there is this well thought out thinking behind it, it's not something that's shouted too much from the rooftops, but rather it is expressed through the shared purpose of doing well in racing, and doing it in an amateur capacity.
But in line with it, a few months ago Liam took the very definite step of formally transferring the ownership of RUTH to the five children – Ben (22), William (20), Alice (19), Tom (16) and Peter (14). For as he says himself, everything happens so quickly in a busy family, and soon they'll be moving out and going their various ways on all their different projects. But if they continue to have this shared responsibility for running a boat in all its complex aspects of logistics and personnel and decision-making, they'll have something which regularly gets them all round a table together discussing topics which are at least at one remove from the other sometimes tedious demands of modern life.
So in looking at RUTH’s success in the D2D 2015, we find ourselves contemplating a very interesting exercise and experiment in family dynamic. Just so. For those who are interested simply in what boats are doing, the word is that RUTH was due back in Dun Laoghaire before this weekend, as the universal family challenge of exams is top of the agenda for the current few days or so. Then she resumes racing next weekend with the hundred mile Royal Dee/ISORA Lyver Trophy Race between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire which, as part of the Royal Dee YC's Bicentenary celebrations, will bring the ISORA fleet to Dun Laoghaire for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015. In that, a healthy turnout of J/109s racing as a One Design class will be keen to show Ruth and her five family owners that she won't necessarily have it all her own way. For more Dun-laoghaire to Dingle Race sailing information
RORC Morgan Cup Report
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- 108 yachts crossed the start line for the 2015 Morgan Cup Race, the seventh race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's season points championship. Although the race started at 7pm on Friday evening, due to the Summer Solstice, the fleet barely sailed more than a few hours in darkness. The gentle northerly wind, which eventually backed to the west, gave a spinnaker run for most of the 125 mile course. The majority of the fleet finished the race on Saturday afternoon, perfect timing to enjoy the hospitality of the Guernsey Yacht Club. Tide always plays a part in races to the Channel Islands and this year's Morgan Cup Race was no exception.
IRC 1 Class saw David Ballantyne’s J/133 JINGS! take fourth place. It was Andy Hunt’s J/120 ASSARAIN II that took fifth in IRC 2 Class followed by fellow J/120 NUNATAK sailed by Elin Haf Davies in 8th place. In the IRC 3 Class chock full of J/109s, it was Phillip Nelson’s JOLENE II that took 5th place as the top J team followed by Trevor Sainty’s J/109 JELENKO in 8th and Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J. In the IRC Double-handed Class, it was the J/120 NUNATAK in 5th and DIABLO-J in 6th. For more RORC Morgan Cup sailing information
Royal Southern J/24 Regatta
(Dun Laoghaire, Ireland)- With four race wins from six races sailed, the furthest travelled J/24 won the class southern championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) today. Lough Erne's JP McCALDIN from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland beat the Royal St.George's HARD ON PORT skippered by Flor O'Driscoll. Third was Howth Yacht Club's KILCULLEN skippered by Gordon Stirling. For more Royal Southern J/24 Regatta sailing information
What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
* JP Deage from France provided a brief update on his family’s recent evolution in sailing.
According to JP Deage, “we bought the J/111 BLACK BULL from Italy and it will be parked in Toulon, France and participate in races in the Mediterranean.
We have sailed previous J’s like the J/92 and the J/97 DIABLOTIN MAJIC.
We look forward racing our new boat offshore!”