Wednesday, March 21, 2018

J/Newsletter- March 21st, 2018

J/121 Apollo sailing off St MaartenNew J/121 Offshore Speedster Update
APOLLO Crushes Heineken St Maarten Long Distance Race
(Simpson Bay, St Maarten)- During the Heineken St Maarten Regatta, a newly launched J/121 named APOLLO created quite a stir amongst the offshore cognoscenti that were present in the 100-boat fleet.

The occasion was the traditional opening day race- the Round the Island Race.  Normally a 30.0nm picturesque circumnavigation of St Maarten, the course was changed for CHS Offshore classes due to lighter than normal winds in the 8-13 kts range from the East-Southeast.  The shortened course was approximately 23.6nm, starting in Simpson Bay heading west for 4.5nm under spinnaker to Point Basse Terre leaving it to starboard, a short reach north for 1.3nm around Point Plum, then a long 6.5nm beat up the Anguilla Channel to a turning mark off Bell Point leaving it to port, then a spinnaker run of 6.5nm back to Point Plum to port, around Pt Basse Terre for 1.3nm, then a 4.5nm beat to the infamous “Heineken Gate” and finish line in Simpson Bay.

It was a race course where no one could “hide”, you simply sailed it fast, clean, make smart sail choices, and have good boathandling.  Not much to pick for windshifts upwind or downwind, just sail fast and have fun.

That is precisely what Don Nicholson’s crew did aboard his J/121 APOLLO. They sailed away from their CHS 3 fleet that had the fastest, winningest J/122 in the Caribbean- EL OCASO- and the proven, winning offshore speedster- the J/111 SPIKE from the British Virgin Islands.  In other words, in a gold-plater division full of the best crews in the Caribbean, the J/121 sped away like a horse running for the roses and the barn door!

J/121 Apollo sailing fast off St MaartenLeading at the first mark by well over 2 minutes, APOLLO powered away upwind to open up a substantial lead.  At the top turning mark, they gybe set their large A2 asymmetric spinnaker, and flew downwind.  By the time she crossed the finish line in 2 hrs 50 min 28 secs elapsed time (an 8.34 kts course average), they beat the 2nd place J/122 EL OCASO by 16 min 23 secs across the water and 9 min 11 secs on corrected time.  Needless to say, Nicholson and his crew were overjoyed to have proven in a simple point-to-point race that the J/121 lived up to its billing as an easy-to-sail, fast, shorthanded boat for six crew.

Nicholson commented on their performance with his new J/121 APOLLO after the regatta:

“I’m extremely pleased with our first regatta in APOLLO (J/121 hull #2).  We placed 3rd in CSA 3 Class of both the Gill Commodore's Cup and the Heineken Regatta in diverse and challenging conditions against a fleet of extremely well-sailed boats.

Being scratch boat in the class and crossing the line first in most races was a thrill.  The J/121 handles extremely well, with dinghy-like responsiveness and quick acceleration.  She pointed higher to weather than I expected and we routinely found ourselves both higher and faster than the other boats in the fleet, giving us many tactical opportunities, especially in close quarters at the start.

Downwind she was delightfully fast and competently handled all the sail area we put up.

My crew was awesome and the J/121 provided them a great opportunity to experiment with trim, weight distribution and boat handling so that we got up the learning curve quickly.

Our next regatta will be the St Thomas International Regatta in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the adjacent British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta, where we hope to hone our skills and push the boat to its full potential.

After that, Apollo will return to her homeport of Newport, RI in preparation for the Newport-Bermuda race.  I’m a big fan of the J/121 already and it’s great to be able to reduce our crew numbers and simplify the logistics of the Apollo program.”  Sailing photo credits- Laurens Morel. For more J/121 Offshore Speedster sailing information

J/122 El Ocaso sailing St ThomasSt Thomas International Regatta Preview
(Cowpet Bay, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- If your bucket list includes having a drink at the 2017 Favorite Yachting Bar in the Caribbean, then tick that box with for March 23 to 25 at the St. Thomas International Regatta. Announced on January 3, 50° North, creators of Wight Vodka and Scuttlebutt Europe announced that the STIR-host St. Thomas Yacht Club won its annual contest in a special Caribbean category to recognize bars that were hard hit by the hurricanes last fall.

“It’s an honor to have received this recognition, especially as the Club is still recovering from the after effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield. “As a result, this will not be our biggest STIR, but we can guarantee everyone a special time. For those who have never visited, Cowpet Bay is a beautiful place to finish a race and the Club and its bar are located beachfront here. Plus, for those that are long timers, think back to your first Caribbean regatta and what a great experience it was. We are offering this same vibe this year with an emphasis on ‘simple fun and great sailing’. That’s why we love it here!”

There is no question many sailors are answering that siren call!  For those that enjoyed Caribbean racing in the 1970s and 1980s – or heard the stories and wished you were there – this year’s St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 23-25, 2018, is the place to be!

J/122 El Ocaso sailing St ThomasA dozen boats are registered for the third annual Round the Rocks (RTR) race on Thursday. This one-day event, whose course is a 19 mile circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John, is a great way for teams to tune up for the main event starting on Friday. Boats sailing in the Round the Rocks race will start off St. Thomas’ east end off Cowpet Bay, sail counterclockwise around St. John, and finish off St. Thomas.

“By popular demand, we brought back the Round the Rocks race this year. This sprint around St John is both scenic and tactical. It’s a great way to kick-off STIR, especially with Rock City Brewing Company sponsoring the race and after-racing Happy Hour,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield.

The twelve-boat race fleet is split into two groups: CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Spinnaker and CSA Non-Spinnaker classes.  Sailing in CSA Spinnaker is Don Nicholson’s J/121 APOLLO.  Nicholson commented;

“This is the third ‘big boat’ in our program; Apollo replaced my custom 42 footer. We have been racing as a core crew for about 15 years; the core crew being myself, Denise Bienvenu, Paul White and David Malkin, including two Newport-Bermuda races, a Chicago-Mackinac race, and numerous other regattas on both coasts of the USA. But, we have never raced as a team in the Caribbean. So, we are extremely excited to be honing our skills with this exciting new boat in such a wonderful venue. We also have Jeff Johnstone from J/Boats on board for the RTR and STIR.”

Amongst the fleet of forty-five boats for STIR are two very quick J/crews racing the preeminent class in the event- CSA 1.  Continuing their battle offshore and around the buoys during the Heineken St Maarten Regatta will be Nicholson’s J/121 APOLLO and the famous J/122 EL OCASO.  Interestingly, both boats will have mostly new crews!  Robin Team’s crew from North Carolina (winners of multiple Key West Race Weeks and Ft Lauderdale-Key West Races on board their own J/122 TEAMWORK) have chartered EL OCASO and will be vying for class honors in their very tough eight-boat division.  For more S.T.I.R. sailing information

J70 Women's sailing leagueWomen’s J/70 Sailing League Announcement
(Hamburg, Germany)- After the last general assembly of ISLA (International Sailing League Association) in December 2017, the date and the location of the first event of Women’s SAILING Champions League are now set. Kiel Week will host the first Women’s SAILING Champions League from June 16 to 18 in Kiel, Germany.

The first battle of all-women teams takes the stage at the world’s biggest sailing regatta in Kiel, Germany (1,600+ boats!). Up to 24 teams from more than 17 nations will compete in the kick-off event of Women’s SAILING Champions League.

Each of the 17 European National Sailing Leagues gets the chance to send up to two club teams to the event. The organizing authorities, ISLA and SAILING Champions League GmbH, leave the decision which clubs to nominate for the event to the national leagues. Additional spots will be granted as wild cards by ISLA and SCL.

J/70 Women's sailing leagueEach club sends a team of four or five women sailors to Kiel. The familiar format with six to eight J/70 one-design boats, a pairing list and short, spectator and media-friendly races will be used. The races will be broadcast live with SAP Tracking and SAP Sailing Analytics as part of KielerWoche.TV.

Peter Wolsing, President of ISLA says, “We are very excited that the league sailing format is growing so fast. We are happy and honored that our best women’s teams will compete during Kiel Week in June and our best youth teams during Travemünde Week in July.”

Hosting clubs are the four organizing clubs of Kiel Week: Kieler Yacht-Club, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, Hamburger Segel-Club and Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee. The latter club from Berlin will be responsible for the race management.   Sailing Photo Credit- Lars Wehrmann  For more Kiel Week sailing information  For more Women’s SAILING Champions League regatta information

Farallones islands/ rocksBAMA Doublehanded Farallones Race Preview
(San Francisco, CA)- Fifty boats are entered for the 2018 edition of the infamous Doublehanded Farallones Race, hosted by the Bay Area Multihull Association (BAMA).  It can be a thrilling 58.0nm race, a “pea soup” foggy drifter, a challenging marathon, or a benign cruise.

The course could not be simpler, start in San Francisco Bay in front of Alcatraz Island, go west out underneath the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, around the Farallones Rocks to port (teaming with monstrous great white sharks, thousands of seals, a few zillion birds creating too much guano), then back into SF Bay to the finish line just off the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory along the waterfront.  What can go wrong with this picture? Well, in a matter of words, plenty.

J/120 sailing doublehanded Farallones raceMost times, the race takes on multiple personalities, going from sunny & gorgeous, to 20-30 kts offshore with terrifying breaking waves, back to an cold wet blanket of pea soup fog with 50 ft visibility, then finishing with a flourish in nuking 20-30 kts wind conditions inside the Golden Gate Bridge.

Because it is such a challenge, it marks the beginning of the season for many sailors on SF Bay.  It is certainly a very popular event for the short-handed sailing crowd after racing their cherished, insane, Three Bridge Fiasco earlier in the year.

Going for it are five J/crews from various Bay area sailing clubs.  Hoping to lead the entire fleet home will be Rich Pipkin’s J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS with a mind-numbing -18 PHRF rating.  Chasing him hard will be Reuben Rocci’s J/111 SWIFT NESS.  Then, a trio of J/120s with a number of class wins in this event will be tough to beat, including Timo Bruck’s TWIST, Ludovic Millin’s SAETTA, and Sean Mulvihill’s JAMANI.   For more BAMA Doublehanded Farallones Race sailing information

J/80s sailing off startJ/80 North Americans Announcement
(Forth Worth, TX)- For all ‘ye J/80 sailors across America, Mexico, and Canada, be sure to mark your dance calendar now and get organized for the 2018 edition of the J/80 North American Championship.  The regatta is being held from September 7th to 9th, 2018 and it is being hosted by the Beverly YC in Marion, MA. Sailing will take place on the famous Buzzards Bay, notorious for lots of current, enormous choppy waves and 15-25 kts of west to southwest sea breezes every day!  A perfect venue for the fast, easy, robust J/80 to have a romp around the buoys!  Register NOW - click here!  For more J/80 North American Championship sailing information.

J/80s sailing downwind1st annual J/80 West Coast Championship
The J/80 class continues to steadily grow in the Pacific Northwest region.  In fact, the class is now large enough to warrant creating the first ever 2018 West Coast Championship.  The regatta will take place from April 21st to 22nd, 2018 and the host will be the friendly members of Corinthian YC Seattle in Seattle, WA.  Racing will take place on the always-challenging Puget Sound where you can expect just about any weather condition imaginable in late spring!  Register NOW and get more J/80 West Coast Championship sailing information here.

If you have any questions whatsoever about either event in terms of possible charter boats, accommodation, traveling information, local contacts, then do not hesitate to contact the J/80 North American Class President Ramzi Bannura- email-

J/109 sailing Block IslandEdgartown Race Weekend Adds 'Round-Sound Race
(Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard)- Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend, a Martha’s Vineyard tradition anchored by its ’Round-the-Island Race (’RTI) of eight decades, is adding a new ’Round-the-Sound Race (‘RTS) option for teams wanting to sail a shorter course of approximately 20.0nm around government marks on Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds. The ’RTS adds yet another dimension to Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend and is an attractive alternative for those wanting to go a bit easier on Saturday or just even try short-distance racing for the first time.

The ’RTS will start at 0900 on Saturday, July 21, soon after the final start for all classes entered in the 56.0nm ’RTI, which never ceases to challenge even the best of sailors while simultaneously wowing them with “The Vineyard’s” scenic splendor.

The Saturday of short-distance racing follows two days of popular ’Round-the-Buoy Races (’RTB) in Edgartown’s Outer Harbor. The ’RTB Races were added several years ago to add diversity to its format and extend the fun of Race Weekend on its front end.

Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend traditionally attracts entrants from the Eastern Seaboard and beyond, delivering superb racing action for boats 28 feet and longer in classes for IRC, ORC, ORR, PHRF (spinnaker and non-spinnaker divisions), Double-Handed, and Classic yachts. Professional teams as well as amateurs enter, and the mix is what keeps the atmosphere upbeat and adventurous.

The deadline for signing up for the ’Round-the-Island or ’Round-the Sound is Wednesday, July 18, 2018. The registration fee for ’RTS is $125 before July 6 and $175 after that date. The registration fee for the ’RTI has been decreased to $250.00 before July 6 and $325 thereafter.

The ’Round-the-Buoy Races registration fee for all classes will be $50 each day. The deadline for each of the two days that those races are held is Tuesday, July 17, 2018. The distance races for each day of ‘RTB are scored separately. Prizes will be awarded for all qualifying classes, including one-design, for those boats that participate in both Thursday and Friday races.

A Mount Gay-sponsored “Jump-Up” party on Friday night (July 20); and prize givings on both Friday and Sunday (July 22) round out the social on/shore schedule for competitors entered in one or more of the racing sessions.  Follow Edgartown Yacht Club Racing on Facebook  For more Edgartown YC Race Weekend sailing information or email contact-

J/Gear special 
J/Gear Winter-Spring Special- 20% Off!
(Newport, RI)- J/Boats’ sailing gear licensee V-Sport is pleased to offer all J/Boats owners and crew their 2018 Winter-Spring Special.

The Special Offer is good from now until April 4th, 2018 (please note 1/2 models, J/Photo Prints and J/Battleflags are excluded from the offer).  To place your order and enter the 20% discount code- “JB2018SP”- please visit the J/Gear website.

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Last week produced rather hair-raising weather patterns in various parts of the world.  In the USA, the wildly meandering jet stream has either created little wind or overwhelming low pressure systems that smash the West Coast with big winds, massive waves, and torrential rains that create enormous mudslides.  Then, in Europe, they were hit by another “beast from the east part 2”!

In southern California, it always seems that San Diego escapes the worst of the weather.  In this case, the San Diego YC managed to hold their three-day Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta for one-design fleets of J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s. For the most part, they were blessed with good winds, mostly sunny days, and were able to run ten races for the J/70s in South Bay and six races for the 105s/ 120s offshore of Point Loma.  Further north, the annual J/105 Spring One-Design Regatta in San Francisco, CA was hosted by St Francis YC; they were not fortunate, having to contend with strong spring tides and light winds.  Nevertheless, the StFYC PRO persevered and knocked out 4 quick races.  In the mid-south, the J/22 Midwinters were sailed on Galveston Bay, hosted by the Houston YC in Houston, TX.

Hopping across the Atlantic Ocean, the Warsash Sailing Club had to cancel the start of their popular Winter Series on the Southampton Water and the Solent due to insanely crazy weather and high winds.  Meanwhile, farther south in lovely sunny Spain, two J/70 winter series were completed.  Club Nautico de Vigo, the site of the 2018 J/70 European Championship, hosted the Vigo J/70 Winter Series in Vigo.  Then, the Barcelona J/70 Winter Series in Barcelona hosted by Club Nautico de Barcelona, completing 29 races in five events!

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 pag  Below are the summaries.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Mar 22-25- St Thomas International Regatta- Red Hook Bay, St Thomas, USVI
Mar 28-Apr 1- J/24 South Americans- Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina
Mar 29- Apr 2- SPI Ouest France Regatta- La Trinite sur Mer, France
Mar 29- Apr 1- Easter Regatta- Columbia, SC
Apr 6-8- ALCATEL J/70 Cup- San Remo, Italy
Apr 7-8- J/FEST San Francisco- San Francisco, CA
Apr 12-15- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 8-14- Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta- Gustavia, St Barth
Apr 21-22- J/80 West Coast Championship- Seattle, WA
Apr 21-22- Van Uden Reco Regatta- Medemblik, The Netherlands
Apr 26-29- J/70 Corinthian Nationals- Ft Worth, TX
Apr 27-29- Newport to Ensenada Race- Newport Beach, CA
Apr 28-May 1- Grand Prix de Saint Cast- Saint Cast, France
Apr 28- May 4- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua
May 2-6- J/24 North American Championship- Charleston, SC
May 4-6- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis, MD
May 4-6- Yachting Cup- San Diego, CA
May 8-12- J/22 European Championship- Laveoc, France
May 11-13- ALCATEL J/70 Cup- Porto Ercole, Italy
May 14-19- J/70 North American Championship- Valle de Bravo, Mexico
May 18-20- North Sea Regatta- The Hague, The Netherlands
May 24-28- J/Cup United Kingdom- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
May 25- Storm Trysail Block Island Race- Larchmont, NY
May 25-28- The FIGAWI Race- Hyannisport, MA
May 26- Spinnaker Cup Offshore Race- Belvedere, CA
May 26-28- Swiftsure International Yacht Race- Victoria, BC, Canada
May 26-28- U.K. J/24 National Championship- Poole, England
May 28-29- Coastal Cup Race- Santa Barbara, CA
May 31- SoCal 300 Race- San Diego, CA

For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar.

J/70 sailing San DiegoGorgeous, Sunny, San Diego NOOD Regatta
Close Racing for J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s!
(San Diego, CA)- The 2018 edition of the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta took place from March 16th to 18th, hosted by the famous San Diego Yacht Club on Point Loma.  The promising weather forecasts for the weekend were fulfilled, providing the racers great sailing, both offshore south of Point Loma and also in the flat waters of South Bay in the eastern part of San Diego Harbor beyond Coronado Bridge.

Winning the J/70s on the final day was Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE.  Stew Cannon’s J-OK nearly swept the J/105 class.  And, John Laun’s J/120 CAPER kept it consistent to top their class. Here is how it all went down over the three-day weekend.

J/120s sailing San DiegoFriday- Postcard Perfect!
Optimal conditions on San Diego Bay made for a solid first day of racing. This was the second of five stops in the nation's largest and longest-running sailboat racing circuit, now in its 30th season.

Nearly half of the regatta’s entrants participated on the first day of racing and the rest join them for races Saturday and Sunday. In the J/70 fleet, the largest of the weekend, local sailmaker and professional sailor Chris Snow and the crew aboard COOL STORY BRO lead the fleet with 11 points after three races.

Snow credits a conservative approach and good boatspeed to his team's early success in a traditionally competitive fleet.

"The rule of thumb is you can't win the regatta on the first day, but you can lose it," Snow said. "Sailboat racing is a game of risk versus rewards, and the best strategy is to not take a big risk at the start [of each race] and let your boat speed do the work for you. So our strategy was to have a good solid day and not make any mistakes."

Despite shifty conditions for the first race of the day, team COOL STORY BRO placed first. The wind strengthened for the following two races. Snow said the favorable conditions made it easier for his team to “to get out in front, which takes a little bit of the stress out."

With seventh- and third-place finishes in the following races, Snow led the class by a single point. The J/70s are laden with top sailors and, according to Snow, it's still anyone's game.

"This fleet is very competitive, and that makes it fun for everybody. If you finish in the top 10, it's an accomplishment."  Tied for 2nd were Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE with a 9-2-1 and Chris Raab’s SUGOI with a 6-1-5.

The Santa Barbara Yacht Club (SBYC) Youth Team, a crew of high school-aged sailors participating in the regatta, shared Snow’s perspective. The youth team is currently placed ninth in a class full of veterans and pros. Echoing Snow's strategic insight, SBYC's tactician Payne Donaldson, 16, said his team's game plan is to "go fast, sail conservatively and start well."

J/70 Santa Barbara YC Youth TeamAfter an impressive second-place finish during the first race, Donaldson’s teammates faced a few "communication and boat set-up" issues in the day’s second race. "But we came back with sixth place during the third race, so it was a good day. We sorted out the problems we needed to."

As one of three youth teams in the J/70 fleet, the young sailors were sailing to qualify for the US J/70 Youth Championship this fall, defending the club's 2017 title.

"We picked this event because it's one of the closest qualifying events and one of the first," said crew member Caden Schivlauer, 16. "The team was here last year and we know this venue pretty well, so it just felt natural to come back."

Photo L to R: Payne Donaldson (captain, tactician), Paul Harteck (Skipper), Chris Kayda, Caden Scheiblauer, Kyla Murphy. Note- Payne and Chris were part of the Santa Barbara YC 2017 championship team at the first U.S. J/70 Youth Championship in Newport, RI.

J/70s sailing San Diego South BaySaturday- Shifty, Rough Day Offshore
Saturday was a challenging day on the water for the hundreds of sailors competing in the eleven classes. Sailors faced shifty winds and rough seas on two race courses set on the ocean off Coronado Island.

San Diego-native John Laun, the 2015 Helly Hansen NOOD San Diego Overall Winner, found the conditions demanding, but he and his crew aboard CAPER established a comfortable lead in the J/120 class, which saw four different boats win each of four races.

“It was a great day,” Laun said. “The sea state was very confused for the first couple of races in particular. There were big wind shifts and big changes in wind direction, so it was very challenging.”

Those big shifts resulted in an abandoned race. But, the wind eventually shifted westerly and held steady with more reasonable oscillations,

Behind Laun’s CAPER with a 2-1-2-2 tally for 7 pts, it was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER in second with a 5-2-1-4 scoreline for 12 pts and sitting in third was Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE with a 3-3-4-5 score for 15 pts.

The ten-boat J/105 fleet got rolling on Saturday as well.  It has been tight racing, as illustrated by the roller-coaster scorelines of the top three boats.  Leading was Stew Cannon’s J-OK with a 1-5-2 for 8 pts, followed by Rick Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR in second with a 4-3-4 tally for 11 pts.  After an awful first race, Tom Hurlburt & Chuck Driscoll’s crew on JUICED re-grouped and, ultimately, posted a 10-2-1 for 13 pts to sit in third for the day.

Meanwhile, the large J/70 class produced a few more winners and a few luckless outcomes, too.  Leapfrogging into first place was Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, adding a 1-8-3-2 to their record to close with 26 pts total.  Dropping down to second was Snow’s COOL STORY BRO after posting a 4-5-12-1 for the day for 33 pts total.  Then, top woman helm- Pamela Rose from Chicago, IL- guided her ROSEBUD team to a 5-4-8-3 tally for 35 pts total.  Dropping off the face of the Earth was Raab’s SUGOI team scoring a dubious 3-13-13-13 on the day to drop them out of second and, in fact, out of the top five- rough day for the Newport Beach crowd!

J/120s sailing offshore San DiegoDay 3- Sunny, Gentle Breezes for Finale
Continuing to maintain their composure on the last day was Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE.  They maintained their lead with a 12-2-4 to win the J/70 class with 44 pts total.

“The J/70s are always tough,” Greenwald said, touting that the fleet this weekend boasted several world champions. “South Bay is really fun because it’s flat water but the shifts come quick. It was a very exciting weekend. It feels good to win, but just being here is a privilege.”

The Snow/Brigden duo on COOL STORY BRO closed with an 8-5-7 to finish with 53 pts.  Just one point back in the bronze position on the podium was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT; it was quite a comeback to hop on the podium for Janov’s team, closing fast with a 1-4-1 for 54 pts in total!  Climbing like a Phoenix arising from the ashes of defeat and destruction the previous day was Raab’s SUGOI, clearly going for redemption and blitzing the fleet with a smokin’ hot 2-1-2 tally the final day for a total of 59 pts- good enough for 4th place!  Rounding out the top five was Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO from Mexico with a total of 66 pts.

In the J/70 Corinthians Division, it was Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO team that won the title; followed by Craig Tallman’s JAYA in second, and taking third was the incredibly well-sailed Santa Barbara YC Youth Team, skippered by Paul Harteck.

In a somewhat unusual scenario, after scoring just the three Youth teams participating in the regatta, it was the King Harbor YC FLY Team skippered by Kyle Collins that scored as top Youth team for the event by just one point over the Santa Barbara YC Youth Team.  Third was the Newport Youth Team skippered by Max Mayol from Newport Beach, CA.  As a result, the King Harbor YC youth team qualifies to go to the U.S. J/70 Youth Championship to be held in November 2018 at St Petersburg YC in Florida.

In the J/105 class, the standings for the three lead boats from the previous day did not change.  Stew Cannon’s crew on J-OK kept up the pressure on the fleet and closed with a 1-2 to take the J/105 title.  Also, closing with a 2-1 was the Hurlburt/ Driscoll duo on JUICED to take the silver.  Finally, Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR had a good regatta to close with a 5-6 and secure the bronze.

Laun’s team on CAPER ran away with the J/120 class, sailing very consistently to close with a 2-3-2 to win with just 12 pts.  Nichol’s CC RIDER team also hung in there with a 4-4-1 to hold on to their second place.  However, third place was up for grabs all day long, with a new team looking ready to grab the bronze.  Nevertheless, those efforts proved elusive for most boats, with Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN sailing like “mad men”, taking a 3-1-4 tally straight to the podium to seize the bronze for the regatta.  Coincidentally, it was anyone’s guess who would get that final medal as only 2 pts separated the three boats from 3rd to 5th. Tim Hogan’s SHAMROCK took 4th and Hasl’s HASL FREE must have fallen from grace with the sea, dropping down to 5th place.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ and JOY Sailing/ Bronny Daniels.   For more Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/22s starting MidwintersFoster Crowned J/22 Midwinter Champion
(Houston, TX)- Four J/22 World Champions finished in the top five of the 2018 J/22 Midwinter Championship, an event hosted by Houston YC and sailed on the muddy waters of Galveston Bay.  However, it was 1999 Champion Mark Foster on PRESSURE DROP who edged out fellow Texan Terry Flynn on TEJAS to earn the title on a tie-breaker.

Both teams had 23 points net, but Foster’s bullets secured the top spot. Fellow past World Champions Mike Marshall on BAD NEWS and Chris Doyle on THE JUG 4 1 finished third and fifth, respectively, with Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER in fourth.

Thirty-nine teams completed eight races on Friday and Saturday, however light winds today did not allow the final scheduled contest. With 39 boats on the line, this attendance matched the highest for a J/22 Midwinter Championship since 2008.  Here is what transpired on those first two days.

J/22 Midwinters off Houston, TXDay 1- Light and shifty
Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER led the field after day one. Four races were completed in a smorgasbord of conditions from overcast clouds to sun and winds from light and shifty to solid breeze between off and on rain showers.

Doug Weakly’s HNL opened the regatta with a bullet, ahead of HONEYBADGER Flynn’s TEJAS. Marshall’s BAD NEWS earned the next victory, with the two Doyle’s behind him— Kevin’s MO’MONEY and Chris’s THE JUG 4 1. Chris Doyle took race 3 followed by Odenbach and Marshall. Race 4 saw some new names with Foster’s PRESSURE DROP at the top followed by Danny Pletsch’s SKETCHY and Chris Doyle in third.

As a result, Odenbach’s team of Justin Damore and Kris Werner were leading with a 2-4-27 for 15 pts.  Following in second was Chris Doyle’s crew of Will Harris and Adam Burns from Youngstown YC with a 9-3-1-3 for 16 pts.  Sitting in third was Marshall’s crew with a 5-1-3-8 for 17 pts.

J/22 crew sailing at chute setDay 2- More Light stuff
On what was the penultimate, then final day of racing, the luck of the Irish on St Patrick’s Day was with Foster’s PRESSURE DROP. Posting a line of 1-3-4-3, Foster won the day and moved to the top of the leader board tied with his old friend and Texas neighbor Terry Flynn on TEJAS.

After a postponement ashore, racing started just before noon. In light but steady winds, race five was won by Foster’s PRESSURE DROP, with Flynn’s TEJAS and Alexander Hanna following in second and third. Pletch’s SKETCHY jumped to the top spot in race six followed by Kevin Orff’s TROUBLEMAKER and then Foster. Then, Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER took race seven followed by Flynn and Doyle’s MO’MONEY. As the conditions continued to improve, the RC squeezed in an eighth race that was won by Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1, followed by Flynn and Foster, respectively.

J/22 spinnakersAs a result, with no winds on Sunday, Foster’s team of Brian Babbit and Matt Romberg on PRESSURE DROP were declared the J/22 Midwinter Champions!  Flynn’s crew on TEJAS- Brett Allred and Bryan Clark lost the tie-breaker to secure the silver, while Marshall’s BAD NEWS rounded out the podium in third position.  Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER team of Justin Damore and Kris Werner took 4th and Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 took 5th place.

Foster enjoyed battling it out with friend Flynn, who he has known more than 30 years. “We have sailed together in many Championships,” said Foster. “Terry was sailing the boat I won the Worlds in (hull 707), and I was sailing the boat Terry won the Worlds in (hull 1501)!”  What a coincidence!

Top woman skipper at 7th overall was Nataleigh Perez’s crew on FORGET ME NOT from Fort Worth Boat Club- Alex Crowell and Blake Billman.  Second women’s skipper was Anne Lee’s HELMS A LEE from the host Houston YC, and third was Jessica Lombard’s FOLKA from Hudson YC in Quebec, Canada.  For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information

J/70s sailing off BarcelonaBarcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Series Finale
(Barcelona, Spain)- This past weekend marked the fifth and final act of the Barcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Sportboat Series in Barcelona, Spain.  In the end, the Real Çlub Nautico de Barcelona managed to run twenty-nine races, much to the delight of the sailors that looked forward to their monthly races.

In the J/70 fleet, it was Javier Scherk on GUNTER that won the final weekend, setting a blistering pace with a 1-1-2-6-1 tally to win by a large margin.  Finishing second for the weekend and winning the overall series was Luis Albert Solana skippering PATAKIN from Club de Mar Palma Mallorca.  Second for the winter series was Massimo Rama’s JENIALE EUROSYSTEM, an Italian skipper and crew that had been Italy’s J/80 National Champion.  Then, rounding out the podium overall was David Marco’s REBUFF from RCN Barcelona.

Barcelona Winter series winners in J/80 and J/70The clear, runaway winner of the finale and the overall J/80 Winter Series was Gonzalo Morales’ BRIBON MOVISTAR with top skipper Marc de Antonio; they managed seventeen 1sts and seven 2nds out of 29 races!  Finishing a comfortable second overall was top Spanish woman skipper Silvia Ravetllat on AKEWELE from Club Nautico de Balis.  Taking the bronze was another top leading woman skipper, Rosa Artigas, sailing Luis Corbella-Jordi’s MIKAKU from RCN Barcelona.  For more Barcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Series sailing information

J/70s sailing off Vigo, SpainEl NOTICIA Repeats in Vigo J/70 Winter Series
(Vigo, Spain)- After seven weekends of racing from October 2017 to March 2018, hosted by Real Club Nautico Vigo, the Vigo J/70 Winter Series saw a repeat winner in the form of El NOTICIA, sailed the Cantabrian Pichu Torcida (past J/80 World Champion) and Luis Martín Cabiedes from Madrid. They started off by winning the first weekend and never looked back, dominating the series from beginning to end and winning four of the J/70 Noticia winnersseven acts.  As a result, they were declared winners of the Linde Sogacsa Trophy.

"We are very satisfied with the result in the Linde-Sogacsa Trophy winter series, especially since this season has been very windy; a weather condition where we were weakest last year.

Thanks to the changes we have made, we have improved a lot in the big breeze! We want to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate our sponsor and RCN Vigo and all those who have worked hard to organize this event of such high level,” commented Pichu Torcida.  “We hope to see you all again soon for the Spring Series and, even, the J/70 Europeans in June!”

J/70 sailing off SpainSecond place overall went to Luís Bugallo’s MARNATURA, skippered by José Luís Freire.  They were one of the few boats that could give “los amigos” on NOTICIA a run-for-the-money during the entire series.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the series was the performance by ABRIL VERDE sailed by Luis Pérez Canal from the host Real Club Náutico de Vigo.  They sailed all seven events and were clearly the top Corinthian team as well.  They are looking forward to the Europeans being sailed in the same waters in June.

Rounding out the top five were Juan Deben’s LAGUARDA & MOREIRA (skippered by Gonzalo Araújo’s) in fourth place and Manuel Bermudez De Castro’s SOLVENTIS taking fifth place.

J/70 rounding weather markAfter the Linde Sogacsa Trophy Winter Series, the Vigo fleet will begin their "Spring Series" in two weeks.  That event will be great training leading up to the 2018 J/70 European Championship being held from June 9th to 16th. If you have not yet done so, please be sure to REGISTER here for the J/70 Europeans- 62 boats from 15 countries are already registered!

Follow the Spanish Vigo J/70 Fleet here on Facebook  For more RCN Vigo J/70 Fleet sailing information

J/105s sailing San FranciscoARBITRAGE Wins J/105 Spring One-Design Regatta
(San Francisco, CA)- The San Francisco J/105 Fleet is alive and growing with 25 teams on the starting line for each mid-winter race and 25 boats competing this past weekend in the St. Francis Yacht Club’s Spring One Design, its opening fleet racing regatta of the 2018 season.

It was an uncharacteristically light wind regatta due to little gradient, as the Central Valley has not yet heated up. Despite the resultant light winds and strong, building tides, the race committee managed to pull off three races on Saturday and one on Sunday.

J105 winners- ArbitrageThe fleet welcomed returning owners Tim Russell and Ian Charles, both highly experienced skippers who had sold their J/105s a few years ago while attending to growing families.  In the past few months each of them bought a well-prepared used J/105, shipped them to San Francisco, and jumped right into the front row for each race.  Nevertheless, Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault on ARBITRAGE #116 turned in a consistent score line of 4-2-3-3 to win convincingly with a total of 12 points.  They were followed by Tim on NE*NE #3 (Lowell North’s and Dennis Conner’s old “superboat”) with 20 points and Ian on MAVERICK #385 with 22 points, with Shannon Ryan and Rolf Kaiser on DONKEY JACK #26 in fourth with 26 points.  Completing the top five was Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION with 27 pts.   Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray
For more J/105 Spring One Design Regatta sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/24 women's Seabags sailing team*  Erica Beck Spencer created the SEA BAGS WOMENS SAILING TEAM several years ago to give women a greater chance to experience top-level competition in the J/24 class.  Based out of Portland, Maine, she has traveled thousands of miles and had several dozen women from all over America sail on her team. Here is here latest update after she sailed the J/24 Midwinters in Miami, Florida:

“The Sea Bags Women’s Sailing Team Kicks Off Their Fourth season at the J/24 2018 Midwinter Championship in Miami!!

It is astonishing how much there is to learn in the sport of sailboat racing. Before, throughout, and following an event there are new things to consider, things to tweak, and other people to watch and learn from. We analyze video and photos following the event to see how we should better trim our sails the next time we see those same conditions. We capitalize on every opportunity to improve our practice: be it talking to each other about what we could do better, getting to know the pros in the fleet, and asking them as many questions as they’ll allow, learning from our fellow Corinthian sailors who are better than us and getting advice from them, and we attend every dock talk with notebook in hand, questions at the ready.

As the skipper for an all-women’s team I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in just over three years. In fact, the recent 2018 J/24 Midwinter Championship in Miami marked the beginning of our fourth season together.

Exactly four midwinters ago we picked up Jess Harris’s new boat in Annapolis, towed her to Davis Island, named her “Wait For It…”, rigged her, tuned her, and got her in the water. So much was new to us, or at least new to us being the ones in charge of the finer points of putting all this together. It’s easy to not really learn something when someone else is in charge. Just getting on the water was an accomplishment to be proud of.

But, finally in the very first race, with all the excitement and anticipation, we started aggressively and slowly one by one, boats passed us and we came in dead last. I was not expecting to do well, but last?! I was not expecting that either.

J/24 women's teamThe next day I got to the club early and got some help from Will Welles.  Hands down he is one of the greatest J/24 sailors of this era.  He helped tuning the boat, and that day we improved, dramatically! In one race, we rounded the windward mark right behind Will. It was one leg, but it filled us with some hope of the promise to come. We had a fast boat, and some skill on our team, we just needed lots of time to figure out how to get it all together. At this first event, we finished 24th out of 27th if memory serves me correctly. Not last!

I believe some of the reasons we’ve been able to improve as much as we have includes the fact that I am never ashamed to ask for help with tuning. I’ve improved tremendously in this essential task, but only because I’ve asked for help over and over again. Some guy friends have teased me about this fact, but I think more guys who have skill levels equal or less than mine, should ask for help. When a male friend from Portland, our home, got a new-to-him J/24, I was able to give back by sharing some tuning advice with him.

Is this a difference between men and women- that women are more willing to ask for help? I don’t know, but I think all newbies should ask for help. Why the hell not!? I am honored when someone asks me questions. Maybe it is unique to the J/24 fleet, but everyone is very helpful.

One friend we’ve made along the team’s journey is Alain Vranderick from Canada, a Star sailor.  We fondly call him “coach”.  He said to me somewhere in the beginning of our campaign, “first you put together a good leg, then a good race, then a good day on the water, and finally you put together a good event.”

Our progress feels slow because we all want to be doing better- but, what we’re doing is no easy task. We’re bringing a team of six women together, all of whom have day jobs, and some have families- none are professional sailors. Many of us are sailing in relatively new positions on a J/24.  Plus, I am relatively new to skippering keelboats. Our tactician is new to being in this role. We’re competing against teams who have been doing this a lot longer and the great teams typically have sailed together for over six years.

Every event we go to we’re learning and growing as a team. At midwinters this year, we struggled, and I was disappointed with our results- but a lot of learning happened.

women J/24 sailors downwindGeoff Becker (World J/24 and Lightning Champion), another person who I’ve asked approximately a zillion questions to, was able to watch us come down wind (we won’t say why he was able to do this…) and took some photos of our team.

He found me post racing and talked about our speed downwind. He pulled up this photo on his phone (IMG 3294) and talked about how the shoulders of our spinnaker were too high and compared them to the other boats around us.

He said, “We’re all taught that the clews should be matched, because that is a nice way to teach kids, but you actually want the leading edge to be a little tighter than the back edge. The pole end will be slightly lower than the clew. This will keep the front edge more stable and keep the boat from bouncing around as much.”

He added, “The wind flows from luff to leach of spinnaker so you want the back edge more open than the front edge. Certainly, the spinnaker end should never be higher than the other side.” He also shared these rules:
  •  Keep pole flat (play around with upper and lower ring to find that level spot)
  • Clew never past the head stay
Finally, he challenged us that in roll gybes you can actually hook the clew on the forestay and have that anchor the spinnaker as you roll, until you get the pole back on, but I’m not sure I totally get how to do that. We may need to have Geoff on board for some coaching to see how that one works!

For more information about improving spinnaker trim check out this great article, Spinnaker Trim for Speed Sailing by Mike Toppa and Gary Jobson.

As part of our commitment to give back to the sailing community, especially to those who want to go from being good racers (most of us) to better ones, we write about what we’re learning along the way on our From Good to Great  blog.

We’d love you to follow along at website or on the Seabags Sailing Team Facebook page.

So, we didn’t finish as well as we’d like in Miami, 19th out of 35. There is so much more to learn and yet we had fun. How could we not? It was 85 degrees, some of us swam, we sailed near dolphins, the location was stunning, and we shook off the winter months of not racing together. Looking forward to a great season with much learning and growth. We hope you’ll follow along on the journey.”  Sailing photo credits- Connie Bischoff/ Geoff Becker/ Chris Howell
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

J/Newsletter- March 14th, 2018

J/70s sailing San DiegoSan Diego NOOD Regatta Preview
(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

J/22 sailing MidwintersJ/22 Midwinters Preview
(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

J/112E sailing Solent seriesWarsash Spring Series Preview
(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

J/70s sailing Corinthians in TexasUSA J/70 Corinthian Nationals Update
(Fort Worth, TX)- The 2nd J/70 Corinthian Nationals will be hosted by Fort Worth Boat Club from April 26th to 29th on Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth, TX.  Come one, come all!  It is a venue unlike you have ever seen in your life!  Huge lake, lots of shifts, flat water, great sailing!  But, then there is the famous Fort Worth BC hospitality, starting with their notoriously friendly bar and restaurant that overlooks the lake and “the pool” (enough said).  There is no question FWBC club members know how to host a regatta and throw a party; many legendary stories abound that can only be told on the hallowed grounds of the club- just ask Glenn Darden, Reese Hillard, or John Kolius, for starters.

For those not inclined to trailer their boats to Texas, there are charter boats available for $2,000.  Please be sure to contact Scott Spurlin at J/Boats Southwest- (512)-423-2179 or email-  For more J/70 Corinthian Nationals sailing information

J/70s sailing off Corpus Christi, TXSouthwest J/70 Circuit Announcement
(Corpus Christi, TX)- The 2018 Southwest J/70 Circuit is still in its formative stages, but so far here are two events that are to die for since they are on two of the more incredible places to sail in Texas- Corpus Christi and Austin.

Surfin Safari Regatta
Corpus Christi YC invites all J/70s to come join them to celebrate spring and the start of the 2018 sailing season at the 2018 Surfin Safari Regatta sponsored by Republic Distributing. Of note, this is also one of the MOST popular events in the J/24 Texas Circuit.

Why? Simple.  There will be beer, rum, nuking winds and good times had by all (or most).  Please note- this is not a statement of fact, but one of hope; the only thing they can actually promise is the beer and rum. Plus, the CCYC pool will be heated by then so you don’t have to miss the traditional CCYC after race pool party!  But, trust them, it blows like hell in Corpus Christi Bay and the sailing is amazing- shorts, shades, blowing hot at 20-25 kts every day. If there was ever a “perfect” venue for a J/70, this place is it! For any questions, please direct them to Josh Richline- CCYC Race Chair -

Southwest Circuit Stop #1- Austin
The first Southwest Circuit Stop in Austin is coming up! Lake Travis is beautiful and ready for J/70 racing.  Beautiful fresh water racing and the same format as last year.  Lots of races!  For those that did not attend, your organizing committee- Bruce McDonald- requested that many races be held.  Everyone in attendance loved the format!  J/Boats Southwest is buying a keg from the local brewpub “Shiner Beer” for Saturday night refreshments!  Plus, as the home of the University of Texas, Austin’s nightlife, restaurants, bars and entertainment is truly world-class (maybe beyond world-class, like in a class of its own!   Be sure to sign up now! Go here and get'er done!

For more Southwestern J/70 sailing information, please be sure to contact Scott Spurlin- cell- 512-423-2179 or email-

J/Gear special 
J/Gear Winter-Spring Special- 20% Off!
(Newport, RI)- J/Boats’ sailing gear licensee V-Sport is pleased to offer all J/Boats owners and crew their 2018 Winter-Spring Special.

The Special Offer is good from now until April 4th, 2018 (please note 1/2 models, J/Photo Prints and J/Battleflags are excluded from the offer).  To place your order and enter the 20% discount code- “JB2018SP”- please visit the J/Gear website.

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

It was a busy week in Europe, for J/70s in particular.  YC Monaco completed Act V of their famous Monaco J/70 Winter Sportboat Series in Monte Carlo and sailed in the wavy waters of Hercules Bay.  Just prior to that event, the Radio Monte Carlo J/70 Winter Series in Sochi, Russia also concluded in gorgeous weather on the Black Sea.

Heading west, there was an incredibly competitive Bacardi Cup J/70 Invitational hosted by Coral Reef YC in Miami  (Coconut Grove), Florida.  The sailing on Biscayne Bay could not have been nicer, nor more challenging.  Heading to the “left coast” we find the Corinthian YC Seattle hosting the second of their Center Sound Series events- the Scatchet Head Race; a 26nm offshore race on Puget Sound for a range of J/teams from J/80s, J/29s up to J/145 and J/160.  Down south along the coast of California, the Richmond YC on the northeastern part of San Francisco Bay hosted their annual Big Daddy Regatta in what was a foggy and abnormally light weekend for the Bay.

Headed down towards Central America, the Vallarta YC in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico hosted their very popular MEXORC on the spectacular Banderas Bay off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Several J/crews enjoyed the event, like a J/125, J/133 and J/145.  The famous “wind machine” on the Bay did not disappoint all week long!

Going way, way “down under”, the J/24s in South America held two events recently. One was the PIMMS CUP at YC Olivos in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with sailing taking place on the Rio de la Plata.  Earlier, the Campeonato del Oeste in Potrerillos was sailed on Lago Potrerillos (a.k.a. “la casa del viento”/ the house of wind), a spectacular lake created by a massive dam/ hydroelectric facility in the foothills of the impressive Andes Mountain range.  With 14,000 ft snow-capped peaks as a backdrop (see and the famous town of Mendoza just to the east, one can enjoy the “home” of fabulous “malbec” red wines and watch beautiful sunsets over the towering peaks to the west.  Going west across the Pacific, we find more J/24 action in Australia, with the Victorian State Championship taking place at Sandringham YC in Melbourne.

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 pag  Below are the summaries.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Mar 16-18- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 22-25- St Thomas International Regatta- Red Hook Bay, St Thomas, USVI
Mar 29- Apr 1- Easter Regatta- Columbia, SC
Apr 12-15- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 8-14- Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta- Gustavia, St Barth
Apr 26-29- J/70 Corinthian Nationals- Ft Worth, TX
Apr 28- May 4- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua

For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar.

J/70s sailing off MonacoARTTUBE Crowned Monaco J/70 Winter Series Champ
(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

J/70s sailing Bacardi Cup off MiamiEpic Finale @ Bacardi Cup
CATAPULT 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  Follow the Bacardi Cup on FB here   For more Bacardi Cup J/70 Invitational sailing information

J/70s sailing off Sochi, RussiaARTTUBE Wins Radio Monte Carlo J/70 Winter Series
(Sochi, Russia)- As if winning the Monaco J/70 Winter Sportsboat series was not enough, Valeriya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE RUS-1 team also won the Russian National Sailing League winter series in Sochi, Russia on the Black Sea!

The primary condition for qualifying for the final was the team's participation in at least three stages of the Winter Series. In total, six qualifying regattas were held for the Winter Series finale. The final regatta took place from March 2nd to 4th with the sponsorship support of SFGB YUG SPORT and RADIO MONTE CARLO.

J/70 planing off Sochi, RussiaDespite the vicissitudes of the weather, one can safely say that participants in the Winter Series finale were lucky regards the conditions. On Friday it was sunny, with 7-8 kt winds, seven races were held. On Saturday, the wind was much greater, perhaps, too much for some crews- by the end of the third race of the day, wind speeds reached 21+ knots, and gusts over 25-27 kts! As a result, the organizers decided to end the race day. The start of races on the closing day was scheduled for 8:00 am. In 3.5 hours, six more races were held. Thus, in the final tabulation of 16 starts, each team had 11 races.

Thirteen teams from across Russia, from St Petersburg to the west (on the Baltic Sea) to Vladivostok (on the edge of the Pacific) and all points in between participated in the event.  The teams included: Art Tube RUS-1 (Valeriya Kovalenko); "Sail Lord- ASIA" (Sergei Musikhin); Zid Art Sailing Team (Zoran Paunovich); Calipso (Vladimir Shishkin); Fireball (Yuri Morozov); Navigator Sailing Team (Igor Rytov); DC Team (Denis Cherevatenko); Trem Sailing 2 (Alexander Peterson); Valentine’s Angels (Valentin Uvarkin); Parma Lukomorye (Vitaly Tarakanov); Region 23 ( Evgeny Nikiforov); “Seven Yachts" (Karina Teliants), and ”East-West" (Ivan Batrakov).

On the first day of racing, seven races were held.  Therefore, 11 teams had 5 starts and two teams (Fireball and Navigator Sailing) had just 4 starts.  The leader after the first day was Valeriya Kovalenko’s ArtTube RUS-1. Second was Sergey Musikhin’s "Lord of the Sail- ASIA". Third place, tied on points with Musikhin’s team was the crew of Zid Art Sailing Team, helmed by Zoran Paunovich.

J/70 ARTTUBE RUS-1 Team winners- KovalenkoAs if on cue, Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE RUS-1 crew continued to dominate the event on the final day.  They accumulated a staggering scoreline of three 1sts, six 2nds, and one 3rd to win with just 18 pts net.  It was a stunning display of consistency from such a talented crew.  For Lera’s team, it was a repeat win from last year.

"We are very happy for our winter season and are happy to race again in Sochi," said Ms. Kovalenko. “The success of our team is based on the guys from Taganrog!”

Taking second in the final regatta was the Navigator Sailing Team skippered by Igor Rytov. Then, rounding out the podium in third place was Team Fireball, helmed by Yuri Morozov.

The official sponsoring partner of the Winter Series was the drinking water "Shishkin Les".  The principal media/ press partner- Radio Monte Carlo, and the host yacht club was SFBG Yug Sport.  Sailing Photo credits- Roman Chugunov and Elena Razina   For more Russian National J/70 Sailing League information

J/125 sailing MEXORC on Puerto Vallarta, MexicoGorgeous MEXORC Regatta on Banderas Bay!
(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

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

J/160 sailing off SeattleTough Scatchet Head Race
(Seattle, WA)- The second race of the Center Sound Series is now on the books, a three-race even hosted by Corinthian YC of Seattle.  The start on Saturday was at 10:00 AM.  The 26.0nm course left the starting mark buoy to port, round Scatchet Head Lighted Gong Buoy (LL#16555) to port, and finish by leaving the finishing mark buoy to port.

In Class 2, John Sezer’s J/80 RECKLESS has a 4-6 so far and sits in 4th place, followed by the J/80 TAJ MAHAL in 5th and Leo Morales’ J/27 WIZARD in 7th.

Crushing Class 3 was Pat Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW, counting two 1sts in their scoreline for the series.

Class 4 was comprised of the J/105 one-design class.  At this time, Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE is leading with a 2-1 for 3 pts, followed by Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO with a 1-4 for 5 pts and Chris Phoenix’s JADED with a 4-3 for 7 pts.  It is tight racing amongst these tenacious competitors!

In Class 5, Don & George Leighton’s J/35 TAHLEQUAH sits in 5th place with a 5-4 and just behind them is Natalie Pryde’s J/92S SHIVA with an 8-6 tally.

In general, the J/109s normally rule their Class 6, but they had a rough go of it this time around.  Top J/109 was Stu Burnell’s TANTIVY in 3rd place with a 6-3.  Chris Johnson’s J/120 WITH GRACE sits in 4th with a 4-5.  Then, Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA was 5th with a 7-6.

By far the most “loaded” class for talent was Class 7, with some of the Pacific Northwest’s top sailors in their ranks.  Nevertheless, John Murkowski’s J/122E JOY RIDE sits in 2nd place with a 2-4, just one point off the leader Carl Buchan (he’s an Olympic Gold Medallist!). Sitting in 6th place is Shawn Dougherty & Jason Andrews’ J/125 HAMACHI with a 6-5.

In the “big boat” class, we find Bill Fox sailing the redoubtable J/160 JAM into 3rd place so far, with a 3-4 tally.  Not bad for a “cruising/ racing” boat racing against a trio of TP52s, and a custom RP55!  Sailing photo credits- Jan's Pics/ Jan Anderson.  For more Corinthian YC Seattle Center Sound Series sailing information

Big Daddy- Richmond YC raceLight Air Big Daddy Regatta
J/111 Smokes Class, J/105s Battle!
(Richmond, CA)- The Big Daddy 2018 Regatta marks the 33rd year of mark racing on Saturday and a Pursuit race on Sunday for the host by Richmond YC.  All mono-hulled keelboats with a Northern California PHRF rating of 280 and below were invited. Fleets over 5 boats may be given one-design starts on Saturday. The Sunday Pursuit Race is always a scream.  Then, après’ racing is perhaps the most popular part of the regatta; a great dinner and party with live band on Saturday night and breakfast for all on Sunday morning!

The sailing on San Francisco Bay in the late winter/ early spring is often not something to write home about.  It can be light, foggy, drifty, cloudy, ugly, rainy.  Or, it can be simply a spectacular 10-15 kts sunny day at 70 degrees!  Such is the rights of spring-time weather on the infamous Bay, where “summer” in July can be 52 deg on the water blowing 30 kts (e.g. windchill way, way lower than light air cool days in the spring!).

J/105 sailing off Richmond YC, Big Daddy RegattaEnduring the challenging scenarios were a flock of J/crews ranging from J/24s up to J/111s.  In the PHRF F “big boat” class, it was Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS from Richmond YC that took home the honors with a 1-2-2 for 5 pts total.  John Wimer’s J/109 LA VIAJERA from San Francisco YC posted a 6-5-5 for 16 pts to finish 5th overall.

In the J/105 one-design class, Justin Hersh’s crew on “007” took the victory with a 4-1-1 for 6 pts.  Just one point back was Chris Kim’s VUJA STAR from Richmond YC with a very steady 3-2-2 for 7 pts.  Third place went to Richard Butts’ crew on MELLIANI from Sequoia YC with a 2-5-3 tally for 10 pts.

In PHRF G Class, Tim Stapleton’s J/80 “PK” managed a 2-4-4 for 10 pts to secure 4th overall.  And, in PHRF E class, it was Richard Stockdale’s J/24 FROG LIPS that posted a 5-3-3 for 11 pts to also take a 4th overall, just one point off the podium!  For more Big Daddy Regatta sailing information

J/24s sailing Argentina- Potrerillos LakeArgentina J/24 Fall Report
Campeonato del Oeste & PIMMS CUP
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)- It is the fall in South America and all parts “down under”.  In Argentina, that means there are three highly competitive events taking place over very short period of time.

For starters, there is the famous Campeonato del Oeste that takes place in Potrerillos, Mendoza in the far southwestern part of Argentina, at the base of the Andes Mountains in a fresh water reservoir so pure, you can drink it right out of the lake.  Then, the second event is the PIMMS CUP hosted by Club Nautico Olivos in Buenos Aires on the Rio de La Plata on its famously choppy muddy brackish waters.  The third event is the J/24 South American Championship taking place on yet another gorgeous mountain lake- Lago San Roque- at the base of the Andes Mountain range; the town of Villa Carlos Paz in Cordoba is perhaps more famous for its amazing skiing and training for the USA Olympic Ski Racing team.

For the first event, of what is known as “the Triple Crown” in Argentina, seventeen teams participated from across country; including the Salta, Córdoba, Buenos Aires and Mendoza fleets and some boats from Punta del Este, Uruguay.

J/24s sailing PIMMS CUP- ArgentinaAmong the giants of Argentinian sailing that was racing was Matías Pereira and his crew on CARRERA from Buenos Aires. Last year, he won his fifth consecutive Argentine J/24 title, a record unbroken in the history of the J/24 class for Argentina.  Perrera’s crew included Guillermo Bellinotto, Juan Ignacio Pereyra and Andrés Guerra, also winners of the Gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Hosting the event was the Mendocina Windsurf Association (AMW). Juan Barquero, President of the AMW, said: “As part of the organization for the J/24 Potrerillos regatta, this was an important step for us; we want to continue supporting any sailing and boating activity on this magnificent lake.”

Winning the event was Matias Pereira’s CARRERA with a record of 2-4-1-4-4–7-4-2 for 22 pts net in nine races.  Just three points back was Ezequil Despontin’s INDIGO with a 1-7-7-1-1-4-13-3-1 for 25 pts net.  Then, securing the final spot on the podium was Pablo Despontin’s CAMBURY with a 4-5-2-2-3-6-1-7-10 for 30 pts net. 

In Spanish are two articles from the Los Andes Newspaper in Mendoza
Day one-

J/24 PIMMS CUP- YC Olivos, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaFor the PIMMS CUP, there were just eight entries due to the fact that many teams trailered their best boats to Potrerillos, then north to Villa Carlos Paz for the J/24 South American Championship.

Nevertheless, many top teams borrowed/ chartered boats from their own fleet so that they could sail locally in Buenos Aires.  Winning the PIMMS CUP was the HAIK/ THOMPSON REUTERS team skippered by Rodrigo Benedeto with a 3-1-1-2-1 tally for 5 pts net.  Second was Hernan & Nico Cubria’s MENDIETA with a 1-2-3-3-DNC for 9 pts.  Then, taking the bronze was Guille Aporszegui’s SHARK with a 2-3-6-5-3 scoreline for 13 pts net.

As everyone anticipated, the social gathering on Saturday, as is tradition, was a smashing success; it lasted until 0400 hrs Sunday morning!! Thank you Ken Johnson the PRO, thanks to Club Nautico Olivos!

The 2018 South American J/24 Championship starts March 28, 2018 in Villa Carlos Paz, Cordoba, with racing taking place on Lago San Roque. Learn more about it here.   For more Argentina J/24 Class sailing information

Australian J/24s- Vic States regattaCONVICTS Crowned Vic State J/24 Champs!
(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

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/111 sailing Australia*  What do the J/111, the Military, and Statisticians Share in Common?
The answer would be- a fascination with “clusters”. Now our point of interest would be J/Boats sailing teams, and specifically, the collection of five J/111s that are racing pretty competitively in Port Phillip today. In and of itself, five is a good nest, but when it is five from the seven in the country, and also of the 120 around the globe, it is even more important to investigate.

So, yes, it is a very interesting little cluster for many a reason, not the least of which are the varied paths that the owner's took to get into the armada, but also their varied pedigrees, when it comes to sailing.

One common theme amongst the owners is the appreciation of One-Design, and the removal of the handicap arms race. Another very clear component for them all was that they did not want to take all the furniture around with them, nor grade the oceans flat in a full displacement craft!

All of which are terribly pertinent facts on their own, yet possibly, even more over-archingly they all described their 36-foot boats passionately, saying almost in unison, '...they are fun, affordable, and you don't have to run the navy to crew them'. The latter is also a critical comment, for the Alan Johnstone penned boats are being raced successfully around the globe; both short handed and fully crewed, for passage racing, and also around the cans.

J/111 fleet at Geelong Festival of Sails- AustraliaWe were fortunate enough to get to speak at length with three of the Melbourne Armada, and get a complete picture of why their J/111s are held in such high regard. Rod Warren owns JOUST. The J/111 is Rod's first performance keelboat, for he was originally a Laser sailor. His crew have competed at three J/111 Worlds already – Rhode Island, Cowes and then San Francisco last year. Importantly, they were only two points off the money and landed third place in San Francisco, collecting four bullets from nine races in the process!

Note, the 2018 J/111 World Championship is in Holland. It is to be held from WV Breskens, near Utrecht, Netherlands from 22-26 August. Rod and the crew cannot get to that one, but are looking very seriously at Chicago in 2019, as indeed are one of the other Melbourne crews.

Rod quickly comments that appearing at the World Championships has been a 'baptism of fire', but he along with some of his fellow ex-Laser sailor mates who moved up to the J/111, they're also clear that this has improved their overall performance significantly. "There is a learning process with the keelboat over the dinghy. The extra competition has served us well as the local fleet has expanded. The new guys here have experience and good crew work, so we had to up the anti to match them. Our standard has improved in each year, no doubt in due partly to making the trips overseas."

Australian J/111 sailing San Francisco Bay"San Francisco had breeze and lumps, so we were used to that from Port Phillip. Hopefully the J/111 becomes THE OD fleet, taking over from Sydney 38, as the Farr 40 is too localized, and thus far, the Fast40 has not taken hold. The J/111 is not too expensive, and I think this is why it is working out well."

"I had never been on a keelboat since about five years ago. We had a go at Safety Beach on the Mornington Peninsula, and had an absolute ball. It seemed a great thing, so here we are. It is a nice combination of a solid boat, with a little bit of speed. She will plane in over 20 knots of breeze. We sailed in Cowes with over 30 knots and had no problems." You can see the video of Big Tuesday below where it was blowing 30-35 and the boats were planing under full main and the A2l!!! It was a CVD for sure, with six kites blown that day.

"The J/111 is good in the light and good in heavy weather too. It is relatively easy to sail, and we do it mostly with eight POB. Our best so far is 22 knots of boat speed off the lumps of Port Phillip in a 30-knot Sou'wester. It might be all gung ho out on the water, but it is not an arms race. There is only one pro sailor per crew allowed, and this keeps it realistic, lowers costs too, which in turns means you sail with friends and enjoy the company of the others", said Warren.

"Sharing is caring and our esprit d corps is alive a well. You only get better if you push yourself. We are an open group and aware that we do not have sheep stations on the table. Stuart Lyon was the first with, Jake. The Adelaide boat is presently for sale, and there is one more J/111 in Queensland. Getting three or four more into Melbourne would work out well. The Farr 40s could stay in Sydney and the J/111s here in Melbourne, and we'd save on the trucking."

"So yes, 10 in the fleet would be good and very enjoyable. Momentum gets the next, and the one after that, and in doing so the critical mass is achieved", Warren said in closing.

J/111 sailing off Melbourne, AustraliaRob Date is up to his tenth iteration of, Scarlet Runner, so don't be fooled by it being called Scarlet Runner 11, he simply wanted to keep his Sm11 sail number. His is definitely the newest, having only hit the water mid-November, 2017. He was keen for there were already three at Sandringham when he ordered his, and he knew of another that was already on its way as well.

Whilst very much for taking his RP52 around the globe to compete in many of the great races, like the Cape2Rio, Date has also had Corsairs, S80s and a Sydney 38, so he knows both the arms race and OD quite well. "The last boat was an Adams 10 that was a wreck and we tricked it up. My daughter and her partner got into sailing on that, so we decided to step it up a little, hence the J/111."

"They are a great boat, that is nicely built and goes uphill well. They are quirky with car positions and also the in-haulers, but this makes it all good fun. Having the six J/111s here over Christmas was certainly a good and enjoyable thing, too."

"I'm not entirely ruling out offshore, seeing as I just bought a panel main (Cat 3) for the trip to Hamilton Island Race Week this year, and then also Lincoln Week next year. She'll go by truck to both of those locales, by the way, and in the meantime we will have some OD races at Geelong and Blairgowrie to keep having fun with these craft."

J/111 Scarlet Runner sailing off Australia"Interestingly, they will do the same speed and depth as Sydney 38, First 40 when it is lighter, but then get up and boogie downhill at 20+. My original intention was a 40-foot race boat, but with the J/111, we discovered that we could enjoy sailing, and that they were not too much money, unlike a Fast 40. The J/111 is a robust piece of equipment, and after all we have done over the years having fun is the key! We are all family or friends and having a blast. We have three female sailors on board and the loads are all inside their strength level. We also pick up a few kilos for crew weight, and we can sail with eight and still be inside the 650kg limit."

"In terms of polars, we are doing 165 to 168 degrees at 14+ TWS, which is similar to all the 36-40 footers. We'll hot it up to 150AWA doing 12 knots from 20, and in 25 knots TWS you'll easily get 16-18 knots of boat speed. We have not broken a thing so far, but yes, we have gone fishing for a krill a few times with the kite, but it is all good!"

"Uphill we'll make 7.1 to 7.3 in the flat at 38 to 40 AWA, and it drops to about 6.7 to 6.9 knots in the bumps of Port Phillip. It is a good boat, and I ordered the barest possible version, except for the carbon fiber wheel. I ticked no other boxes, so there is no extra aft quarter bunk, or a stove. I went for boat speed, TWA, TWS and a plotter to help with fixed marks, and of course, all the bricks around Hamilton Island."

The irrepressible character that is Rob Date went on to say, "Look I might get serious about a Worlds! We'll see about next year in Chicago. It does get me enthused, as I have not been on the water there. My Daughter, Bridgette, is off to do the J/24 World Championship soon, and she did not even sail a few years ago. Right now, however, it is more about some training days for Hammo (Hamilton Island), where a few old school mates are going to do the Passage Division, or Cruising with Spinnakers. The boat really lends itself to that with the lighter loads and it is very easy to handle."

J/111 sailing off Australia- downwind chutesOur final J/111 under review here is Playlist. It is important to pause (yes, pun fully intended) on the name for a second, because it reveals so much. Matt Powell, together with Glenn Chesser and John Cox own the boat, and Matt drives. Powell tells the story of the name; "We had a night out at Whitehaven Beach for the Hamilton Island Race Week lay day. Sitting on our charter cruising boat, drinking beer and having turns playing our iTunes playlists, we decided that when we finally get our own yacht together we would call her Playlist."

Ah yes. Never underestimate the power of a plan, for that is exactly what happened to the crew affectionately dubbed, 'The Rookies'. They saw an article in 2013 article on the J/111, and had eyes on it from then, buying in April of 2017. They previously had a cruising boat that they only used for racing, so the step up to the J/111 was significant, but also very much welcomed. The quorum is also motorcycle enthusiasts and has known each other for at least 12 years.

Now whilst John and Glenn are fairly new to it all, Matt actually has a history at Safety Beach dating back to cats and Fireballs, so that will give some idea as to the timeframe involved. He had a break to raise a family and so forth, but has been back into it for a little over five years now.

Playlist and her crew very much enjoyed being part of the six boat fleet of J/111s that attended the Australian Yachting Championship and then Festival of Sails at Geelong, where the crew nearly got up on the podium in the Super 11s Division.

Australian J/111 ownersMatt drives for the Windward/Leewards, John does the twilights, and Glenn does the trimming. They sail mostly eight up, which is a good number in a blow, but can do six, or four and even just two. "It is one of the reasons we chose the boat. It is fantastic boat to sail, for it feels more like a dinghy, rather than a barge. It is nippy, responsive on the helm, and you can feel the boat take off in a puff, planing in 18 to 20 knots, doing 16 knots from 23 @140 degrees. Even in the light you can still feel it." "We are still learning about the sweet spot, but enjoying flat water and 10-12 knots. In one of the inter-club races, Scarlet Runner and Playlist were right beside each other, with an Adams 10 just behind us. The breeze then sprung up and both of us put half a leg on her."

"It is a comfortable boat uphill in 10-15, and downhill in 20-25, without being a wet boat as such. We all love planing and taking the wave in front, so if we are taking a bit of water, the boys and girls (we have one permanent female crew and others sometimes) are happy, because we are going fast! We can get well deep at 172 degrees."

"I could not speak highly enough of this boat. It is fantastic, and having the seasoned campaigners like Rob Date and Phil Simpfendorfer as part of the fleet speaks for itself. They do handle the Port Phillip chop really well. We do like the one-design element, which is pretty significant from a crew that cannot beat the crowd above us all the time (yet)", said Powell. Playlist could well be another to pop up for South Australia's famous Lincoln Week, so wait and see on that one."  By John Curnow, and as originally published in (with the hyperlink)

J/121 at mark- St Maarten Heineken Regatta* As the Caribbean Rebuilds, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Helps Re-open Tourism
Caribbean winters are famous for their regattas. Sailors from all over the world come to soak up the sun, feel the trade winds in their sails and, admittedly, do a bit of partying. It has been like this for fifty years. One of the biggest on the Caribbean calendar is the Heineken Regatta, hosted on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Last week was the 38th gathering, and the first one after Irma, a mammoth epochal hurricane, with 200 mile-an-hour winds, erased or damaged most of the island’s buildings, making this year’s regatta a profoundly different experience, and causing the community to refocus the event.

The airport is the first clue something is wrong…there is no airport. The terminal is a gutted shell, replaced by a makeshift tent. Immigration and customs are “al fresco.”

J/122 sailing St Maarten Heineken RegattaBut continuing to hold the Regatta this year was, according to St. Maarten’s director of tourism Rolando Brison, “absolutely crucial.” The tourism dollars it brought were essential, but also, he knew it served as an important announcement to the world. “From an image perspective, not holding the regatta would have solidified the belief that St. Maarten is fatally damaged.”

Paul Miller, who organized the event, wasn’t about to let that happen. “The day after the hurricane, calls came from all over the world asking what they could do.” He told them: “Come sail the regatta with us. Make it happen as it always has.”

With 100 boats and sailors from 25 countries, it looks like Paul’s request was followed. This, despite the destruction of 80 percent of the bareboat fleet by Irma.

J/105 sailing St Maarten Heineken regattaThe first day of sailing was the Gill Commodore’s Cup, a non-scored event. The round-the-buoys race starts just off Simpson Bay sailing east to Point Blanche. The warm winds were in the 10-13kt range, the water deep blue, and the sky as well. St. Maarten sparkled. When such considerable challenges had been presented for this regatta—but with the payoff firmly in sight—the sense of excitement was palpable as these boats kicked off the event.

Day 2 marked the official start of the regatta with a round-the-island race. The forecast was for light winds (12kts) decreasing as the day went on. Fortunately, the breeze refused to die. The fleet was sent clockwise. The first leg to Pt. Canonier was downwind so up went the kites. From the deck of the J/105 Solstice, looking astern were scores of multi-colored spinnakers. The sailors had delivered a counterpunch to Irma.

Days 3 and 4 returned to round-the-buoys races. Friday’s winds were unusually light for the Caribbean, but the PRO got the races in. The final day there was a strong, but unusual, west wind. The fleet sailed the races they wanted in this brisk breeze.

The Heineken saw the debut of the hottest one-design racing boat in America, the brand spanking new J/121 APOLLO sailed by Don Nicholson. They took third in the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) Division 3 contest. Look for more and more wins from this innovative design from J/Boats.

Reggae superstars at St Maarten Heineken regattaPartying is an important part of every regatta, but this year the organizer’s made sure to keep it all in perspective. Sailors and locals danced to some of the Caribbean’s top acts— Orange Grove, Destra, Onion and the Emmy-award winning "Shaggy"— all musicians donated their time and fees to charitable organizations helping those without homes or work.

The realities of hurricane Irma’s impact have been devastating. Homes are gone and businesses have been destroyed. The wreckage is still keenly visible. Estimates of a total recovery put it anywhere from a few years to a decade away. That, and another upcoming hurricane season, is one everyone’s minds.

But, recovery means rebuilding the social fabric alongside the physical infrastructure. Sailing is part of both. New boats and dockages are being purchased and upgraded. Islanders depend on The Heineken Regatta for income, jobs and future connections.

Professional Race Organizer Paul Miller, who lives on the island, said it best. “With the support of the sailing community the recovery will be faster. Come sail with us.” Sailing photo credits- Laurens Morel.   Thanks for contribution from Jonathan Russo at The Observer.

J/24 sailing Midwinters* Will Welles shares how they won the 2018 J/24 Midwinters on BOGUS on Biscayne Bay @ Miami.
35 teams met at Shake-a-leg Miami for the 2018 Midwinter Championship where sunny skies and beautiful breeze greeted sailors with ideal racing conditions for the three-day event. Each day brought building breeze from the NNW that slowly clocked NNE by the end of each day, keeping sailors on their toes with oscillating shifts that were as high as 30 degrees. As the breeze increased, teams concentrated on maintaining boat speed in the developing chop, which made for some great opportunities to gain both upwind and downwind if you could catch the right shift and make smart decisions.

At the end of day one, Will Welles’ team Bogus was hot as ever, ending the day with snake eyes giving them 4 points total. This would be a precursor to the remaining race days, as Will’s team never scored worse than a 5th place, allowing them to win the race to the dock as the last race would be their victory lap. Consistency paid off the remainder of the weekend, driving Welles to win the overall championship by 18 points, with one discard. In second place was Tony Parker’s North-powered Bangor Packet. Mark Laura’s Baba Louie was unstoppable, stepping up the level of competition in the Corinthian division. Congratulations to our clients on a successful weekend. A great start to the 2018 spring sailing season.

The truth about Bogus, 2018 J/24 Midwinter Champs
We caught up with skipper Will Welles who was driven to success in Miami for the J/24 Midwinter Championship with his team Bogus. Hear the truth, first-hand from Will, on how his team sailed to win the regatta.

What were some of the things you focused on during some of the practice days leading up to the first day of racing?

We had a lot to do in a little time because we borrowed a boat that was already down there, we picked a boat that we knew had good pedigree, but we knew we’d have to spend a day or so changing a couple things to make it the way we wanted it (Thank you Nick Turney!). Once the boat was set and the full team had arrived we were able to head out sailing spending a few hours on Wednesday and then a few more hours on Thursday.

Our main focus was to make sure the boat was up to speed, that it had the straight line speed that we are use to with our own boat. We just set the boat up to our dock tune and then went out and lined up with a few boats and pretty quickly found our speed, straight from the tuning guide!

J/24 sailing Midwinters downwindWhen you get out on the race course, what are some things that your team focuses on? Of course you probably sail upwind a little bit, make sure your rig feels right, your boat speed is good, get the trimmer warmed up- but what else are you doing to get ready for the first race?

The big thing is, we don’t want to rush, so we get out there at least an hour early and spend at least an hour on the race course before the first warning signal.

In Miami, we actually got out there about an hour and a half early each day, and without rushing, your heart rate isn’t too high and you can just focus on getting your homework done. The homework is sailing the course and seeing what the wind is doing. Logging in some compass numbers upwind and checking the rig setting. We like to meet at least another boat out there to sail upwind together to make sure we’re going alright and that our rig set is where we want it to be. We get some numbers and then go back to the line and check in. Note: As far as rig settings go, we were always making sure we weren’t ever caught too tight on the rig, we’re always gearing towards maximum power. There were some big holes (lighter air patches) on the course, and they lasted a long time, so max power was key.

Sometimes we’ll do a split tack where both boats start at the committee boat, one on starboard and one on port and we sail for five or maybe six minutes then tack and see where we are when we come back together. Sometimes this is helpful, but it’s not always helpful. You just have to take it as more data.

You can’t always think that if a boat that sailed the right side crushed the left side, that’s how it’s going to be by the time you get the first race started.

So, we do the split tack and then we go back to the line and take a little water break, maybe eat a granola bar and then start doing our starting line homework. We ping the line at both ends, then log some head to wind compass readings that helps us get an idea of what the shifts are doing. Then the big focus is getting off the line on the favored side of the starting line and getting to the side you want to sail the first beat. We usually discuss all this stuff as a group, and then try to execute our plan.

J/24 class start at MidwintersSo, after the start, you guys are heading up the first beat. Is there a lot of communication between you and the trimmer? And if so, what kind of information is discussed?

Rich and I have sailed together for a bunch of years, so the talking is minimal, but that’s just because we know what to expect with one another and we know what we’re looking for. There’s not a lot of conversation. Depending on sea state, the bigger the waves he might be playing a little bit more sheet than he would if it was flatter water. In conditions like Miami, it wasn’t that wavy, there was some small chop. We’d get out of the tack, he’d get the genoa inside the lifeline then to the rail, I’d put the winch handle in and when the boat was up to speed I’d grind it the rest of the way in.

We pretty much leave it in unless I was flogging the main more than I wanted to in a puff, he listens to that and I might tell him for some waves, burp the genoa (sheet) a little bit. Or if the breeze drops down a little bit, I might tell him to burp the sheet or if I adjust the backstay I’d let him know that too. So there’s little chatter. We’re always talking about the sheet. I do the final winch handle fine trimming, in and he’s doing the easing out of the sheet up wind.

As you approach the downwind leg, rounding the top mark, you crack off and start the pre-feed. Who makes the calls from there?

We have a discussion, soon as we round the top mark, I’m asking the tactician (PJ Schaffer in this case) are we extending or looking to jibe? We’ll have that discussion and I know before we get to the offset what the plan is. It’s my job to get the boat setup so that we can either jibe or continue and extend. I’m watching the boats around close behind us, or close in front to make sure we are clear to make a move if we decide that is the plan. The breezier it is, the less weight you want off the rail from the weather mark to the offset. So we try to keep weight on the rail and trim the sails to the angle we’re sailing to the offset so we can get maximum speed. Making sure the main is trimmed just right, the vang, and the genoa, we go for the pole and pre-feed the guy and be ready to set the kite at the offset when I call for it.

Then once the spinnaker is set we’re always talking about angle and pressure. I’ll ask Rich if he likes the angle out of a jibe if we do execute. I’ve got a good feel from the rudder and the wind on my neck, and he’s got probably the best feel with the pressure in the kite from the sheet. I’m always looking to hear what he’s feeling in the sheet and that kind of helps me plan whether I want to start putting the bow up or start pushing the bow down.

We usually have someone on the boat giving us a heads up on what’s coming big picture pressure wise, whether it’s a long lull or a big puff or just medium pressure. That’s also good information for me to decide where I need to put the boat. It’s just good communication so everyone is on the same page.

The key is that we don’t talk constantly, we talk as needed. I think sometimes people can talk too much, so when you’re communicating less words are usually better than trying to sprinkle lots of extra words in there. Just getting right to the meat of what we’re trying to talk about whether it’s a puff or a lull or good pressure works the best.

What would you say are three things that contributed to your team’s success at the Regatta?

Everyone on the team brought a lot of skills to the team, and so it was almost easy. We all just fit together really well and everyone knew their jobs and did their jobs and it just worked. Having a good boat and a good team is so crucial and it’s a key to success. Once you have that stuff, it’s getting good start, picking some shifts correctly, and having fast sails of course.

Give us three tips that would help a J/24 class sailor get faster on the race course?

The boats have been around for a long time, and the tuning information that we have is pretty solid. You can get a boat, set the rig up right to the tuning guide and have speed straight away, which is really good. That takes one huge thing off the plate. Boat speed is a crucial part; thankfully, the tuning guide and our sail designs offer boat speed to all the teams that use our product. Boat preparation is also key. Making sure you have a good keel, rudder, bottom, mast and rigging, and make sure they won’t fail you on the race course or hold you back. That’s all relatively easy stuff to get sorted. Once you get those things figured out, get sails and needed boat speed then the real difference becomes the crew.

Sailing all you can together in all the conditions and approaching it as a team and all growing as a team is so important.”

Knowing ahead of time you’re going to be doing an event or even back to back events, is there any mental preparation involved to get your mind right?

The key is the people you surround yourself with. It’s a lot of work to get a sailboat to a starting line and if all that work is on one person’s shoulders then that can create some stress, so having a good team with good teammates that all know their strengths and weaknesses and bring what they can to the table to help scratch things off the to do list is kind of what it’s all about.

It’s who you surround yourself with and the teammates you go to battle with.

If you don’t have good teammates, then you get on your heels with the boat work and boat preparation and that creates stress and makes it hard to succeed. Making sure you leave enough time to do everything you need to, be prepared, eating good food, getting good rest, and having good teammates that are helping with the workload is very important in mental preparation not just for the skipper, but for the entire crew."  Thanks for contribution from North Sails One-Design.

J/70 sailing off Newport Beach, CA* 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.
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