Wednesday, January 9, 2019

J/Newsletter- January 9th, 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

It was an exciting first week of sailing in the New Year for those participants in the J/70 Winter Series hosted by Davis Island YC in Tampa, Florida.  Starting out with storms and a cold front, the fleet of fifty-six boats enjoyed a gorgeous weekend of racing in northern Tampa Bay. Next up for the J/70 fleet are the Bacardi Miami J/70 Winter Series in Miami, Florida and the YC Monaco J/70 Winter Sportsboat Series in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Then, in the middle of next week, the USA offshore season kicks-off with the famous 160.0nm dash around the Florida Keys to Key West, Florida- the Storm Trysail Club’s annual Lauderdale to Key West Race.  A half-dozen offshore J/Teams ranging from a J/92 up to a J/44 are participating in this iconic classic.

Finally, in the J/Community section below, read about the latest update on the newly launched J/99 offshore doublehanded speedster; Paul Heys from J/U.K. gives us an insider’s perspective on what it is like to sail the newest J/Design off the drawing board.  Also, learn more about sailing J/24s in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, as well as a remarkable husband-wife J/105 team that just swept “Yachtsmen & Yachtswoman Sailor of the Year Awards” at St. Francis YC!
 

J/70s sailing Monaco Winter Sportboat seriesJ/70 Monaco Winter Series Act III Preview
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- A total of forty-plus teams will be participating in Act III of the J/70 Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, from January 17th to 20th, sailed on Hercules Bay just off the fabulous, majestic, mountainous setting off Monte Carlo. Hosted by the Yacht Club de Monaco, the international contingent of teams from Finland, Denmark, Russia, Brazil, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, Ireland, and France are looking forward to yet another amazing weekend of racing off the famous Principality of Monaco.

Will the all-Monegasque podium hold together like they did in the first two regattas?  Or, will there be more intense battles for the top of the leaderboard? In the previous event, it was an intense battle between Nico Poons’ CHARISMA (winner of Act II in December), Roberto Stefani’s PICCININA and Ludovico Fassitelli’s JUNDA (winner of Act 1 in November). Perhaps there will be other protagonists that step into the field of battle to tip the results in another direction?!

In the all-amateur Corinthian J/70 class, it was Swiss sailor Bruno Zeltner’s QUARTER2ELEVEN, a regular at the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, that pipped Monegasque Cesare Gabasio’s TINN J70 for the win.  Can the Swiss sailors do it again after a massive New Year’s Celebration and skiing with too much kirsch and delicious cheese fondue in the Swiss Alps?  Time will tell.

The next events in the five Act J/70 Winter Sportboat Series are:
  • Feb 7-10- Act IV PRIMO Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse XXXV
  • Mar 14-17- Act V Finale
For more J/70 Monaco Winter Series sailing information
 

J/70s sailing Bacardi Miami Winter seriesJ/70 Bacardi Miami Winter Series Act II Preview
(Miami, FL)- The first Bacardi Invitational Winter Series took place December 1-2, 2018, on the sparkling aqua-blue waters of Biscayne Bay. A talented fleet of eighteen boats raced the first of the major J/70 Winter Series down in Florida. For Act II of the Bacardi Winter Series, sailing from January 19th to 20th, a slightly larger fleet will be assembled on the Bay, twenty-two boats from across the USA, Great Britain, Cayman Islands, Monaco, Canada, Netherlands, and Italy will be participating in this international regatta.

Leading contenders for this event will be teams like Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT (1st 2016 J/70 Worlds San Francisco), Henry Brauer’s RASCAL, Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD, Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY (1st 2017 J/70 Worlds Sardinia), Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY from the Cayman Islands, Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS from California, Martin Dent’s JELVIS from the United Kingdom, Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth Boat Club in Texas, and Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio’s G-SPOTTINO from YC Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com.  For more Bacardi Winter Series II sailing information
 

J/44 Kenai sailing fast with spinnakerFt Lauderdale- Key West Race Preview
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)- The third week of January has traditionally marked the start of the American offshore sailing season. That event is the infamous Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, a 160.0nm dash down the eastern Florida coastline, bound by the Florida Keys reefs to starboard and the swift-moving 4-6 kt Gulf Stream off to port. The Storm Trysail Club and Fort Lauderdale YC host the event. The fleet will start on Thursday, January 17th, at 1000 hrs.

It is always a challenging race in light or strong breezes as teams are forced to sail in a narrow band of water to avoid the adverse, northerly-flowing, Gulf Stream currents and the precipitous walls of coral on the northern side of the course that are the Florida Keys.

Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race courseThe race track is simple enough, start off the Ft Lauderdale inlet, then head south to several key turning marks to be left to starboard- 68.0nm to Elbow Key Light, 12.0nm more to Molasses Reef Light, 53.0nm more to Sombrero Key Light, 45.0nm more to Key West Channel buoy #2, then a short 6.0nm sprint north up the channel to the finish off Truman Annex Navy base.  Because of the current off Key West (a channel that seemingly has half the Gulf of Mexico empty through it), the last 6.0nm can often be the most frustrating in the race in an ebb tide and light winds!

After the first two races, the Nassau Cup Race (from Miami, FL to Nassau, Bahamas) and the Wirth Munroe Memorial Race (from Miami, FL to Palm Beach, FL), the leaderboard has three J/Teams in the top four! Leading is Chris Lewis’ J/44 KENAI from Lakewood YC in Seabrook, TX. They are followed by the J/92 HILLBILLY in 3rd place, sailed by Brad Stowers from Melbourne YC in Melbourne, FL. And then, lying in fourth position, is the J/109 HARM’S WAY, sailed by Andy Wescoat from Galveston Bay Cruising Association in Spring, TX!

Joining them for the this overnight blast around the Keys will be Matt Schaedler’s J/122 BLITZKRIEG from North Cape YC in Toledo, OH and also Matt Self’s J/105 RUCKUS from Charleston YC in Daniel Island, SC.
Follow the SORC Series on Facebook here  For more SORC Key West Race sailing information
 

January Boat Show Announcements!
(Newport, RI)- The first of the new year’s boat shows will be taking place in two widely disparate locations across the world.
J/99 offshore doublehanded speedster
Chicago Boat Show
The first event is the Chicago Boat Show in Chicago, Illinois that is running from January 9th to 13th at the famous McCormick Place Pavilions on the south side of the city.  Please make sure to stop by and chat with Midwest J/Dealer Stearns Boating about their plans for the exciting J/99 this summer season on the Great Lakes.  Richie Stearns will be at Booth- S719.  To make an appointment to see him, please contact Richie at phone- (847) 404-2209  or email- rich@stearnsboating.com.  For more Chicago Boat Show information

Dusseldorf Boat Show- Germany
The next event is the world-famous Dusseldorf Boot Boat Show taking place from January 19th to 27th in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Renowned as one of the major “arts” centers in Europe, it is both a cultural attraction along the gorgeous Rhine River as well as an amazing boat show to attend- the world’s largest by far!

On-site in Hall 15/ Booth B21 will be J/Composites and the European J/Boats team, presenting the latest J/99 offshore speedster, the world champion J/112E sports cruiser, and the world’s most successful sportsboat- the International J/70.  For more 2019 Boot Dusseldorf boat show information
 

2020 J/80 World Championship in Newport, RIAnnouncing The 2020 J/80 World Championship!
(Newport, RI)- The J/80 North American Class Association is pleased to announce that Sail Newport, Newport RI has been selected to host the J/80 2020 World Championships, September 28th to October 3rd, 2020.

The regatta will be the 10th year anniversary of the epic J/80 Worlds that was held in Newport 2010 and almost 20 years since the very first J/80 Worlds that were also hosted in Newport.

Mark your calendars now in what is once again expected to be yet another epic, open, J/80 World Championship! Anyone and everyone are welcome to participate in one of the world’s greatest venues for sailing!  Stay tuned for further details announcements on the J/80 North American Class site
 

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Jan 19-20- Bacardi J/70 Winter Series II- Miami, FL
Jan 24-27- J/Fest St Petersburg- St Petersburg, FL
Jan 26-28- Festival of Sails- Geelong, Vic, Australia
Feb 9-10-  Davis Island J/70 Series III- Tampa, FL
Feb 15-17- Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 21-24- J/70 Midwinter Championship- Miami, FL
Mar 6-9- Bacardi Cup- J/70 Winter Series III- Miami, FL

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

J/70s sailing Tampa BayCATAPULT Wins J/70 Davis Island Winter Series II
(Tampa, FL)- Fifty-five J/70 teams traveled to Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida for the middle weekend of the 2018-2019 J/70 Winter Series. Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT took the victory with 24 points in five races over the two days.

The weekend started off with great promise from a weather perspective.  Friday was the SAIL22 “Off the Porch Series” that never fully materialized.  An impending frontal system with forecasts for rain, thunder, squalls and gusts to 35 kts did, in fact, roll in around 2:00pm, upsetting the scheduled clinic. Anticipating the storms, many teams opted to get out early to get in some practice.

Saturday dawned with clearing skies and strong, puffy, northwest winds of 12 to 23 kts, just as forecast.  Not wasting any time, the DIYC Race Committee, PRO, and mark boat teams set out to get racing rolling on time at 10:00am.  After a few general recalls, racing commenced for what turned out to be a glorious day of sailing on northern Tampa Bay (a.k.a. Henderson Bay) just south of the pretty skyline of Tampa. The RC/PRO team managed to run four races in very tactically challenging conditions.  With 20-30 degree windshifts on each leg of the course and massive wind holes and wind streaks, it was easy for teams to gain/lose 10-15 boats per leg!

J/70s sailing off start line- Tampa Bay Winter SeriersAt the end of Saturday’s racing, Travis Odenbach’s B-SQUARED team led the fleet with scores of 1-3-1-4 for 9 pts.  Just one point back on the leaderboard were two heavyweight J/70 teams tied at 10 pts each, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT with a 5-2-3-1 record, while Brian Keane’s SAVASANA posted a 3-1-5-2 tally. Interestingly, Ronning fell ill with food poisoning on Saturday morning and did not skipper his boat. Instead, the team scrambled quickly and recruited crewman Chris Stocke’s fiancé from St Petersburg- Wendy Reuss- to step in and skipper the boat for the day; she guided them to a remarkable outcome for someone that had never sailed, much less skippered, a J/70 before!

Sunday dawned light and fluky from the northeast, again as forecast. After several aborted attempts to get a race going, the DIYC RC/PRO team managed to get a race off that will simply go down in the record books as perhaps the worst light air race imaginable. With winds ranging from 0 to 5 kts (e.g. below the J/70 Class minimum recommended wind speed), and shifting 30 to 60 degrees, and very spotty and very streaky (teams were often seen sailing downwind, at the same angle, on opposite gybes); it was not surprising to see dramatic swings in the final race standings.

J/70s sailing on Tampa BayFor the one and only race sailed on Sunday, the runaway winner was Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING, sailing with a star-studded crew of Tim Healy, and brothers Jay & Jody Lutz (all three are World Champions in various classes). They started at the port end of the line, hooked into a private wind streak, and simply sailed away from the fleet to win by a Texas mile! Not far behind them in 2nd place was Kevin Downey’s MR PITIFUL from Seattle, WA- also sailing with a star-studded crew that included World Champion and North American Champions in his crew- Brian Thomas and Willem van Waay.

As a result of the last race, the now happy and healthy Joel Ronning skippered CATAPULT into a “come from behind” victory on the last downwind leg to post a 13th and win the regatta with 24 points.  The final run, with 0-3 kts of wind, was so sketchy, so streaky, so full of holes, that it was anyone’s game to win. Rounding the last mark, Keane’s SAVASANA was at the top of the fleet, winning the regatta, and leading both B-SQUARED and CATAPULT by over 20 boats. However, “lady luck” was not on their side, falling into a giant hole (more like a vacuum), while his erstwhile competitors gybed away in the middle of the course and sailed around them. In the final tally, CATAPULT won, then Odenbach’s B-SQUARED finished 20th to take 2nd with 29 pts, while the hapless crew on SAVASANA posted a gut-wrenching 22nd to drop into 3rd place on the podium with 33 pts total.

J/70s under spinnaker on Tampa BayRounding out the top five were Downey’s MR PITIFUL in 4th place and Greiner Hobbs’ DARK HORSE in 5th place.

In the Corinthians Division, Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY won, followed by Eddie Keller’s and Billy Lynn’s KEY PLAYER in second, and Bob Willis’ RIP RULLAH in third place. Sailing photo credits- Phil Pape Photography
For more J/70 Davis Island Winter Series II sailing information.
 

J/24 Italy Winter SeriesLA SUPERBA Crowned Winter J/24 Champion
(Anzio & Nettuno (Rome), Italy)- This past weekend, the fiercely competitive J/24 Fleet of Rome had a regatta full of fun and lots of racing (eight races in total!) The fleet of twenty-two boats was sailing in their 44th Winter Championship of Anzio-Nettuno, racing for the Lozzi Trophy.  Winning the regatta was the famous Italian Navy crew on LA SUPERBA, skippered by Ignazio Bonanno with crew of Vincenzo Vano, Francesco Picaro, Alfredo Branciforte, and Francesco Linares; they dominated the regatta with six 1sts and two 4ths.

“On Saturday, a mistral of 22 knots and a flat sea provided the sailors fabulous conditions for racing,” explained Federico Miccio. “The crews did not seem at all intimidated by the strong wind and, indeed, had fun sailing three demanding races on the first day."

J/24 sailing off Anzio & Nettuno, Italy (near Rome)"On the following day, the scenario was decidedly different. The light wind between 4 and 5 knots oscillated between the Levante and the Sirocco, and then stabilized at Ostro. This allowed the Race Committee to start the racing,” explained Miccio. “A large part of the fleet chose the left-hand side, while the wind was shifting to the right, and very spotty along the race course. It was a challenging day for us and the rest of the fleet.”

After eight races and two discards, is was Bonanno’s LA SUPERBA crew that eclipsed the fleet with blistering pace and very sharp tactics and boathandling.  Taking second place was the young crew on J-GIUDITTA, skippered by Riccardo Aleandri, Antimo Bruno on tactics, Fulvio Marchionni on bow, and Fabio Di Bartolomeo, Vito Esposito, & Fabiana Onori in the middle. Closing out the podium was Paolo Cecamore’s PELLE NERA.  Rounding out the top five were Michele Potenza’s ARPION (also top woman helm) in fourth position and Massimo Mariotti’s AVOLTORE in fifth place.  For more Italian J/24 class sailing information
 

J/Community
What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
-----------
J/99 sailing upwind off Hamble, England
* J/99 Update from Paul Heys of J/UK

“J/99 #1 is here in Hamble. The boat has the standard single rudder and fixed bowsprit. We took the "all lead" IRC keel option as we like the effect of this keel design on our J/112E GP "Davanti Tyres”. The keel is heavier, deeper, with less drag and more lift.

We have now sailed the 99 five times, the most breeze was on the launch day.  Offshore on the Solent in 23-25 knots of wind, Dave Lenz on the helm, heated her up and had her sailing at 14 knots under the A2 kite. We were not in race mode, no weight on the rail, with a cockpit full of people fiddling with ropes. So, we know now the new hull shape developed from the 112E, does allow her to get up and go in a manner that just cannot happen on a J/97 in flat water. The loads are a lot less than the J/109.

The boat is definitely stiff enough; the wider stern boosts the form stability.  The cockpit works well and it feels much more spacious than any of our other J's under 40 feet.

The boat is definitely targeted at regaining our position on the doublehanded circuit, as well as working with a full crew of six.

It seems that the optimum set up for doublehanded demands the following:
  • Spacious cockpit
  • Tiller steering
  • Comfortable side deck benches with great cockpit sole footrests
  • Great stability
  • A rudder (or twin rudders) with great grip, with a light balanced feel
  • -ufficient sail area to have decent light weather performance
  • The ability to lead all controls to the helm position including the jib/zero/spinnaker sheet.
The J/99 gives all of these in a package that is well-mannered and wrapped in a hull shape that has neither excessive beam nor a fat stern with chines. It is no secret that boats with chines are effective in a breeze off-the-wind, but can be very sticky in the light stuff. To win a series, an all-round good performance is very helpful.

A large part of the doublehanded fleet is sailing with symmetrical spinnakers. Thus, the boat is designed without the normal J retracting sprit. Boats that are equipped with the optional symmetric pole will also have a short fixed prodder to carry a zero or A-sail. I think that of the 34 orders to date, the split is pretty even between the two spinnaker types.

The length of the standard sprit is sufficient for us to sail down to 168 TWA in 12 knots of breeze and, on a reach, it is long enough to keep the boat balanced.

There is an option for twin rudders that some folk are very keen to have, having sailed her I am completely happy with the single rudder.  And, in fact, I prefer it for slow speed handling; whether on a light weather start line or docking under power in strong tide or breeze. Blasting across the ocean on autopilot offshore in huge swells in the Trade Winds might be another matter....

SPI Ouest France on Easter Weekend will be a great opportunity to see how the boat fares in both fully crewed and doublehanded mode.

We have from North Sails UK a fluoro-yellow A2 of 100M, black A3 of around 90M, and a cable-less code zero.

Interestingly, we find that the range of the cable-less sail is greater than the one with a cable that we have on the J/112E Davanti Tyres. We were sailing at 145 TWA yesterday in 8 knots of wind. We can see that at times of fluctuating wind speed and direction, this sail might get more use when sailing shorthanded than we had envisaged. We have added a second eye on the sprit and a rope clutch near the bow for the Code Zero tack line. Our second spin halyard will be super low stretch to be used primarily for the Code Zero.

We have a loaner main and jib from France, made by Technique Voile in La Trinite. They were a perfect fit the first time hoisted. The jib has a very neat soft hank system, which is used by the Figaro fleet, of which Technique Voile boss Fred Duthil is a leading light.

The alloy mast is a new custom extrusion from AG+. It is designed to have more stiffness than off-the-shelf extrusions. The mast stands up very well, supported by Dyform wire rigging. Neat details include the fact that, as part of the extrusion, there is a combination mainsail luff track that will handle either a boltrope or Antal 40 slides. Mast wiring cables exit above deck which allows a 100% waterproof internal dam to be installed.

The next public viewing will be at Dusseldorf Boot show in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Swing by and see us at the stand if you want to chat face-to-face!”


J/24 Yucatan, Mexico sailors* Local J/24 Knowledge Pays Dividends in Mexico’s Yucatan!

“Until the 1950’s and 60’s when Yucatán was linked by rail and road, respectively, with the rest of Mexico, it traded by sea more with the USA, Cuba, Caribbean, and even Europe. It is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico, the Mayan people. Mérida is its capital city, and it is part of the Yucatán peninsula. This is all to say yes, Yucatán is part of Mexico, but it is a world unto its own.

I made my way back to Yucatán Friday for my second year documenting (and sailing with) this enthusiastic new fleet which began just a few years ago, when El Capitan Jorge Ojeda convinced his friends to start racing one-design. They have captured my imagination for their casual determination to grow a fleet without scholastic programming or access to competitors. New to the fleet this year was Janko, a club boat named in memory of Jacobo Sosa, an active fleet member who died this spring. She was crewed by school-aged kids representing the youngest group of Yucatán sailors. The fleet is looking to add another club boat in 2019.

Current J/24 US class president Chip Till flew in to lead a rules and tuning clinic preceding the regatta. In its second year, the format consists of a clinic on Saturday, a Christmas boat parade of lights, and the regatta on Sunday.

With average December temperatures of 82°/ 69° F, it makes for a very good J/24 winter weekend. While Till stayed closer to the front of the pack and one of the fleets leaders Tomás Dutton, I sailed with the crew of X’kau (Mayan for blackbird), who kept yelling “perro” to my confusion as I connected the associated following action.

They later explained they took this term from the Hobie class that once thrived there, who used it because a cam cleat “bites” like a dog. Applied linguistics will never stop being the most fun part of intercultural sailing to me. When he wasn’t expertly trimming, Till had fun with it, too.

My other favorite part outside of the sailing is the food.

Homemade horchata is one of the million gastronomic perks of Yucatan casual dining. No better way to put back a fresh cochinita roll for a pre-regatta breakfast of champions. I also ate grasshopper doused in hot sauce and lime from a beach vendor bought by one of our hosts- Ignacio “Nacho” Ponce Manzanilla, the man behind Yucatán’s yachting growth, although Nacho said grasshopper wasn’t local. On a weekend with shifty, often low, and challenging winds, it was great to enjoy the delicious local cuisine.

Sailing took place off Progreso, a port originally planned for fishing and tourism and now the largest exporter of octopus and scaled fish in Mexico.  As a result, the J/24 Yucatán class is geographically isolated from the nation’s only other J/24 fleet, the established and skilled sailors in Valle de Bravo. The J/24 sailors of Yucatán could just as easily reach Miami to compete, which is to say they can’t reach either place easily. This creates national level friction as they work to create competitive opportunities outside themselves. J/24 Yucatán cannot easily come to its competitors, but urge its competitors to come enjoy racing in Yucatán.

After 25 years of a yacht club with no facility, Club de Yates de Yucatán has a home a block from the beach now, surrounded by marinas, and is at work to secure a hoist and ideal water access. The world’s longest pier creates an artificial harbor for their course, buffering prevailing northeast winds to create year round ideal conditions. That’s not to say it never blows from the northwest. Once a month or so, including this weekend for the final in the annual Regata de Amigos series, a “chikinic” (Mayan for “northwestern wind”) blows in and challenges the sailors on the race course.

J/24 Yucatán are organizing a team for 2019 Charleston Race Week, and planning other efforts to connect with the international J/24 community. Proof that being isolated does not have to mean being alone.” Thanks for contribution from SailingAnarchy.com- Anarchist Heather.  Learn more about J/24 Yucatan here

St Francis YC Yachtsman & Yachtswoman Sailors of the Year- Stone and Breault* St Francis YC Sailors of the Year- Two J/105 Sailors!

The St. Francis Yacht Club Sailor of the Year is a member who, through dedication and persistence, achieved excellence as an amateur skipper and/or crew in the sport of yacht racing.  For 2018, the award went to Bruce Stone, a past Rolex Big Boat Series winner, Rolex Block Island Race Week winner, and J/105 North American Champion.

In addition to a busy season racking up wins sailing J/105s across the USA, Bruce Stone also chaired the US Match Racing Championship Committee, organized the 2019 Nations Cup Match Racing finals to be held at St Francis YC in April 2019, and continues to chair multiple StFYC regattas. Congratulations Bruce Stone!

Coincidentally, it was Bruce’s crew and wife- Nicole Breault- that was awarded the StFYC Yachtswoman of the Year, recognizing her for a woman member’s contribution to the sport of yachting!

Nicole continues to be an amazing sailor and supporter of the Club, running learn-to-sail and learn-to-match-race clinics that are getting more women out on the water.  In addition to adding to her own podium moments in both match racing and J/105 fleet racing, she’s been an important role model in motivating women to improve their skills and lose their fear of taking responsibility on board. She’s the #1 Woman Match Racer in the USA for the third year in a row, and #6 in the Women’s World Match Racing rankings! She’ll be representing the Club at the 2019 Nations Cup, which will be held at StFYC in April 2019. Congratulations Nicole Breault!
Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

J/Newsletter- January 2nd 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Happy New Year to “J” sailors, owners, family, and friends!  May you all enjoy a fun, joyous, and successful 2019! Time to go sailing!

The New Year is starting off quickly for members of the “J” community on a number of fronts.  The new J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster was launched at Hamble Yacht Services on the Hamble River in England over the holidays. The latest report indicates that she’s a beauty, sails extremely fast off the wind, and is quite powerful upwind. After an enormously successful debut in the Paris Boat Show in December, she will also be present at the Dusseldorf boot Boat show in January.

The J/70 class is starting off quickly, with a large turnout for the Davis Island Winter Series Act II this coming weekend. Then, the following weekend, two more take place; the YC Monaco J/70 Winter Series ACT IV in Monte Carlo, Monaco and the Bacardi Winter Series Act II in Miami, FL. Many of those teams participating are hoping to participate in the 2019 J/70 World Championship that will be sailed in Torquay, England- check out which U.K. team won their season-long series to get an idea of how serious they are taking the event as hosts!

In the J/Community section below, read about the amazing journey that led an American J/122E from the Pacific Northwest to sail in the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Race after Christmas, starting on Boxing Day off Sydney, Australia.
 

J/99 surfing on the Solent, England 
J/99 Speedster Launched!
(Hamble, England)- After the Paris Boat Show in December, the brand new J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster was transported to the United Kingdom where she was commissioned and launched by Hamble Yacht Services in Hamble, England over the holidays.
J/99 sailing upwind off England
J/99 #1 will be sailing on the Southampton Water and the Solent for the next few months. So far, her debut has impressed all those who have sailed her to date! She is a very powerful, fast boat upwind, according to Fred Bouvier from J/Composites in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. And, Paul Heys from J/U.K. remarked on her amazing turn of speed downwind under the big screaming yellow A2 asymmetric spinnaker shown here- hitting 11.7 kts on a reach in 18.9 kts of TWS while sailing as double-handed team; should be quick offshore!
J/99 reaching on Solent, England
Meanwhile, hull #2 splashed over the holidays in Brittany, France for some end-of-the-year sailing. To kick off 2019, the J/99 will be displayed at the Dusseldorf “boot” Show in Germany from January 19-27.

The first boat to North America will arrive in Rhode Island in February and be commissioned for an early season (March) launch. The J/99 will make its North American boat show debut at the Pacific Sail Show in Richmond, CA, April 4-17, 2019.
J/99 reaching with Code Zero and jib off Hamble, England
Please contact Paul Heys at J/U.K. for an opportunity to take her for a demo sail on the Solent (United Kingdom)- phone- +44-23-8045-5669 or email- paul@keyyachting.com.  Learn more about the J/99 Offshore Speedster here
 

January Boat Show Announcements!
(Newport, RI)- The first of the new year’s boat shows will be taking place in two widely disparate locations across the world.

The first event is the Chicago Boat Show in Chicago, Illinois that is running from January 9th to 13th at the famous McCormick Place Pavilions on the south side of the city.  Please make sure to stop by and chat with Midwest J/Dealer Stearns Boating about their plans for the exciting J/99 this summer season on the Great Lakes.  Richie Stearns will be at Booth- S719.  To make an appointment to see him, please contact Richie at phone- (847) 404-2209  or email- rich@stearnsboating.com.  For more Chicago Boat Show information
J/99 sailing off England
The next event is the world-famous Dusseldorf Boot Boat Show taking place from January 19th to 27th in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Renowned as one of the major “arts” centers in Europe, it is both a cultural attraction along the gorgeous Rhine River as well as an amazing boat show to attend- the world’s largest by far!

On-site in Hall 15/ Booth B21 will be J/Composites and the European J/Boats team, presenting the latest J/99 offshore speedster, the world champion J/112E sports cruiser, and the world’s most successful sportsboat- the International J/70.  For more 2019 Boot Dusseldorf boat show information
 

J/70s sailing on Tampa BayJ/70 Davis Island Winter Series II Preview
(Tampa, FL)- Will the Russian BOGATYRS be coming back again to defend their title after winning the first event back in December? Or, will the prospect of elevated levels of competition in the new year spook them as they beat a retreat back to less competitive classes?  Time will tell!

Forty-seven teams competed in the first event in early December.  It was gorgeous the first day, but a massive frontal system rolled through on the Sunday and eliminated any chances of sailing.  The forecast for this weekend’s event looks significantly more promising.  While a front is scheduled to move through from Friday to Saturday, the southerly winds shifting into the northerly quadrants on Sunday at least promise a full slate of racing for both days.

While Igor Rytov's Russian BOGATYRS earned the overall victory, Greiner Hobbs' DARK HORSE was second, and Doug Strebel's BLACK RIVER RACING was third. In the face of daunting new competition, can they repeat that performance?  Or, will a new “dark horse” emerge and beat everyone round the track to the finish?

On that note, several new teams will be in the mix, like World Champion Joel Ronning on CATAPULT from Wayzata, MN; Bill Draheim’s PONY from Rush Creek YC in Dallas, TX; Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Boston, MA; and Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE from Fort Worth Boat Club in Ft Worth, TX.   For more J/70 Davis Island Winter Series II sailing information
 

Harken J/70 SnubbAIR winchIntroducing J/70 Harken SnubbAIR!
(Pewaukee, WI)- Yes, the rumors you hear are true.  The new Harken SnubbAIR for the J/70 has become class legal worldwide and you may order it today from Harken dealers in the USA or Europe.

At first glance, the new J/70 Harken SnubbAIR looks like a smaller, more efficient and comfortable version of the winch it replaces. That’s true. Plus, SnubbAIR weighs less than half of the Harken B8A plain top it is designed to replace and is 30% lower to the deck.

If you elect to install the available insert, you can crank it with any winch handle.  There’s just one thing: It’s not technically a winch.

SnubbAIR is designed to function like an aggressive ratcheting deck-mounted block. Its wide drum provides lots of line-holding power- much like the monster “air drums” you see on Maxi 100s. And, mechanical advantage can come from the winch handle. But, SnubbAIR trades the height and the weight of a traditional winch gearing for two races of Delrin® ball bearings, which assure that it operates with very little friction, and ratchet mechanics for sheet control. Like a block, it requires no maintenance beyond washing its bearings with soap and water.

Harken J/70 SnubbAIR winch profile“Give credit to J/Boats. They wanted to keep the winches to maintain the ability for mixed and different sized crews to continue to sail the boat at a high level. They recognized that some form of load holding assistance was necessary. They requested we look into alternatives. Ultimately that brought us to SnubbAIR,” commented Harken’s Jim Anderson.

SnubbAIR comes complete with four integral pre-mounted threaded studs to match the bolt pattern of the B8A winch on the J/70 deck. An installation test proved that, start-to-finish, swapping out both winches for SnubbAIR takes less than 10 minutes. All washers and Nylok® nuts required for mounting are included.   Watch Harken’s J/70 SnubbAIR install video here

“We sailed with a test batch of SnubbAIR late last summer. Our initial reaction was, great!” said Ed Furry, President of SAIL22 and an active J/70 class participant as an owner and supplier to the class. “Getting over the SnubbAIR in a tack is much easier. It’s significantly lower. And then you notice the nice, rounded lip on top. It’s going to make a big difference to the cockpit crews.”  See Ed’s J/70 SnubbAIR video review here
 

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Jan 5-6- Davis Island J/70 Winter Series II- Tampa, FL
Jan 19-20- Bacardi J/70 Winter Series II- Miami, FL
Jan 24-27- J/Fest St Petersburg- St Petersburg, FL
Jan 26-28- Festival of Sails- Geelong, Vic, Australia
Feb 9-10-  Davis Island J/70 Series III- Tampa, FL
Feb 15-17- Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 21-24- J/70 Midwinter Championship- Miami, FL
Mar 6-9- Bacardi Cup- J/70 Winter Series III- Miami, FL

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

2018 J/70 UK Grand Slam Champion is DSP!
J/70 DSP UK team
DSP was presented with both trophies at the J/70 UK Class Dinner that was held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London. L-R Doug Struth, Lauren Mead, Dan Schieber (J/70 UK Class/Louay Habib)

Doug Struth & Geoff Carveth's DSP is the 2018 J/70 UK Grand Slam Champion scoring the best result in both the Corinthian and Open Divisions for the season. The total score for the nine-regatta championship was calculated by the best five results, including the J/70 UK Nationals that was non-discardable. DSP scored the best net points from any team in both the Corinthian and Open Divisions by the finest of margins. Clive Bush's Darcey was the top team in the Open Division, just a single point behind DSP. Ian Wilson & Marshall King's Soak Racing was the runner up in the Corinthian Division, also just one point behind DSP. Martin Dent's Jelvis made the podium for the Open Class, and Fiona Hampshire's Elizabeth was third in the Corinthian Class.
J/70 teams united in UK
“The racing has been so close all season, and we got the rub of the green with the weather especially in the last regatta. We have a relatively light weight team, so we tend to do well in light airs, which was quite often during the season,” commented Doug Struth. “We are absolutely delighted to win the Grand Slam, but the J/70 UK Class has a lot of work to do if we are going to be successful at the J/70 World Championship in Tor Bay next summer. We know that the teams coming from abroad will be extremely strong.”   UK Nationals J/70 sailing video action from VR Sport Media.
J/70s sailing UK Nationals
The J/70 UK Class will continue to train during the winter months, with organized clinics in the Solent and overseas. 2019 will be a massive year for the J/70 UK Class. The Royal Torbay Yacht Club is looking forward to welcoming the J/70 Class to Torquay for the 2019 J/70 World Championship: August 29th to September 6th 2019. The 2018 J/70 UK Grand Slam series provided qualification slots for the first 20 UK teams.  For more details about the J/70 UK Class.   Like & Share the J/70 Worlds Facebook page here   For more 2019 J/70 World Championship sailing information
 

J/Community
What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
-----------
J/122E Joyride sailing off Seattle, WA 
* The J/122E JOYRIDE Goes for the ride of a lifetime!

Considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world, the 628.0nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. A total of eighty-nine yachts participated in the 74th edition of the race.

A trio of J/crews sailed in this year’s event, including the J/133 PATRIOT (Jason Close from Sandringham YC with crew of Lex O’Connor, Jack Fullerton, Jordan Sunkel-Lozell, Marissa Chalkley, Pete Chalkley, Stuart Moseley, Graeme Smith, Alister Greenwood, Cath Furey, & Greg Coutts.  In addition, the J/122 JACKPOT from Sydney was also sailing with crew of Robert Hale, Matt Gooden, Antoine Martin, Michael Westaway, Piergiorgio Merli, Robert Watson, Harry Atkinson, Antonio Zanin, and Mark Goode.

And, then there were the Americans(!).  Sailing in a “bucket list” event for the entire crew, the J/122E JOYRIDE from Seattle, WA was sailed by her owner John Murkowski from Seattle YC, with navigator Bron Miller, and crew of Quill Goldman, Alexander Fox, Maaike Pen, Robin Slieker, Byron Meseroll, Erik Sjogren.

JOY RIDE has been sailing the Pacific Northwest for the past three seasons in both buoy and long distance races. The team consists of US and Canadian sailors. The crew is dedicated to the adventure of sailing, sharing the same passions and race by the catch phrase: “be safe, have fun and go fast!”
J/122E sailing offshore
When one thinks of serious Corinthian-level offshore ocean racing, four signature events come to mind, namely the Newport Bermuda Race, the Fastnet Race, the Transpac Race and the Sydney Hobart. While these races vary in length from roughly 600 to 2,000-plus nautical miles, they are all time-honored contests that test skippers’ and crews’ abilities to prepare, train and execute as a team, usually in the face of challenging offshore conditions. And, while all four of these races have delivered their share of nasty weather over the years, the Sydney Hobart Race unfurls on the historically roughest patch of water and, as a result, has developed a bit of a matching reputation for nastiness.

That said, it’s tough to beat “The Hobart” when it comes to dramatic race courses, beginning with the race’s iconic Boxing Day start (December 26th) in Sydney Harbor, followed by the long run south along the coast and the crossing of Bass Straight, a place where the seafloor rises much closer to ocean surface, often creating big waves.

Once across Bass Straight, racers pass the iconic “Organ Pipes” at Tasmania’s Cape Raoul, and then make a final push up the Derwent River to the finish line and, depending on when one finishes racing, the start of some well-deserved New Year’s celebrations.

While all participating sailors must negotiate these same conditions and race course challenges, North American sailors have a significantly higher hill to climb, given their antipodean position relative to the starting line. This, in turn, requires a significantly higher level of planning, boat preparation and crew commitment, as well as the confidence to take on an entirely new course and challenge the Aussies at a game that they invented, and which they play at an incredibly high level.

Enter John Murkowski, the owner and skipper of the well-sailed, Seattle-based J/122E JOY RIDE, and the lone American-flagged entry in the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. While Murkowski and JOY RIDE are no strangers on Puget Sound’s sailing scene, they first made international news by winning the Vic-Maui 2018 race on corrected time. Impressive, yes, but even more so given this was Murkowski’s and JOY RIDE’s first Vic-Maui race.

Sound like a familiar challenge?  SAIL-WORLD.com caught up with John prior to the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.
J/122E Joyride off Seattle, WA
Joy Ride on her home waters of Puget Sound - photo © Nick Callanan

What was your impetus to travel Down Under and compete in the Sydney-Hobart?

Three years ago, we sat down and outlined a race plan for the program. In addition to our normal local races, we wanted to add a significant challenge event to each year.

Two years ago, that event was the Van Isle 360. The Van Isle is a two-week stage race with a mix of one-day races and multi-day races around Vancouver Island. It has every challenge you would want from racing, with inland island-driven wind, huge currents associated with the meeting of flows around the island and a huge offshore component with three multi-day races on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

After winning the Van Isle, we set our sights on the Vic Maui race from Victoria Canada, to Maui, Hawaii this last July. The spacing of the races allowed us to upgrade the boat to new safety requirements, train the crew and optimize our sailing plan.

The Vic Maui was a 13+ day race for us with unique conditions comprising 10 days of upwind beating (highly unusual wind conditions), large winds and sea states as a tropical storm collided with the normal Pacific high, days of light-wind frustration and a final three days of riding the trade-wind craziness.

We corrected over our competition and became the first boat to ever win both the Van Isle 360 and the Vic Maui races (and hold both titles at the same time as they run in off years). With the boat in Hawaii already it seemed like the best opportunity we would ever have to enter the Sydney Hobart.

Sailing is a big part of the Pacific Northwest [experience] and it feels great to be only the fourth boat from [Seattle] to ever make the effort to get to the Sydney Hobart. It felt like a shame to just sail her back home [from Maui] when there was new water and new adventures waiting farther ahead.

There are other great races to do and we are already to start planning for what will happen after Sydney. We’re beginning to like the idea of shipping the boat to the Atlantic and competing in some of the iconic races available there.

My end goal is to race across the oceans against the best competition available, and to never have to sail the boat back home.

How long have you had the boat, and what other big events have you done with it?

I ordered the boat new four years ago and had it built to my specifications by J/Composites in France. My father and I did the final inspection in their yard and then we had it shipped here to Seattle.

Since then, we have done hundreds of local races with her including the Vic Maui, Van Isle 360, multiple Swiftsures, Southern Straits, Center Sound Series, Winter Sound Series, Around the County etc. We have steadily been able to improve as we have learned the boat, replaced all of the systems with our own and I’m excited to see what this crew can do with her.
J/122E Joyride off Seattle's Olympic Mountains
Joy Ride on her home waters of Puget Sound - photo © Jan's Marine Photography

Can you tell us about your Sydney Hobart preparations? What, if any modifications did you have to do to the boat to get ready? Any new sails? Also, had you already accomplished a lot of this work before the 2018 Vic-Maui, or has the Sydney Hobart race been an entirely new chapter for the boat?

We rode the boat hard in the Vic Maui and had to spend a month in a yard in Hawaii getting her back to pre-start form. The Vic-Maui is a Cat 0 race and, as such, has additional safety requirements than Sydney Hobart, so the boat is very well-prepared for the race.

There are some different versions of requirements than what we have already met, so we are currently getting her back to race form after the sail from Hawaii to Sydney (more damage). Our sail [inventory] has been very extensive from the start. We did add a new main sail for the Vic-Maui and a new A5 but, otherwise, she has been built to race for several years.

Are you sailing with the same crew that you raced to Hawaii with? Also, what kind of training and crew preparations/safety courses have you guys been doing to get ready for the Boxing Day bash?

We have had the same crew for several years, with dozens and dozens of races together. Half the crew did the sail from Hawaii to Sydney and is there now working on the boat. We have all had our safety-at-sea course, multiple first aid certificates etc. We believe we are well prepared for what is coming; but we’ll see.

Has anyone onboard ever done the race before, or will this be a first-time experience for all involved?

Just like Vic-Maui, we do not have any [crewmembers who] have done the race before. We discussed this at length prior to the Vic-Maui as some of competing boats had 30-40 races under their belts when you combined their crew experience. In the end, we decided that the continuity of the crew trumped the addition of a new crew member with prior race experience.
J/122E off Swiftsure Race starting line
Joy Ride on the starting line of the 2018 Swiftsure Race - photo © Image courtesy of John Murkowski/Joy Ride Collection

What aspects of the race are you most looking forward to? The start? Bass Strait? The Organ Pipes?

I love the starts of big races. For us around here, the start of Swiftsure every year is the highlight with over a hundred boats, the Canadian Navy (committee boat), bands and crowds on shore etc. I’ve watched every Sydney Hobart race I can, and I’m most looking forward to the entirety of the start and the excitement that comes with that many people, preparation and energy coming together.

What are your personal and team goals for this race?

Joy Ride has always operated on three goals that I learned long ago as a mountain guide: Be Safe, Go Fast, Have Fun.

As long as we stick to those goals in that order, our individual and collective goals will be accomplished. The results will be what they are.

In the mountains it could never be just about the summit as the mountain didn’t always allow you to get there. It was always about the journey and the people you choose to share it with. I think this race like all of our recent races will also be about the journey and the people we get to share it with.
J/122E Joyride reaching off Seattle, WA
Joy Ride and her bigger J/Boat sister JAM, a J/160, battle for position - photo © Jan's Marine Photography

What are your post-Hobart plans? Will you stick around Oz and do some cruising, or will you and the boat be headed back to Puget Sound?

I have twins due a few weeks after the race and will be flying home ASAP to make sure I’m around for their births. The boat will stay in Sydney until our next race plans are determined. The current plan, assuming the twins are settled down, is to ship the boat [to the UK] in time to compete in the 2019 Fastnet.

Anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?

It has been a great experience already with the local race organization being incredibly helpful and accommodating of our transit from Seattle and welcoming us into Sydney. I wasn’t able to participate with my crew in the delivery to Sydney and, as such, haven’t been on my own boat since finishing the Vic-Maui. I’m very much looking forward to being back on the helm with the crew of Joy Ride.
Thanks for the contribution from SAIL-WORLD News.   A few comments from the owner of J/122 "Joyride" prior to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race   For more Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race sailing information
Add to Flipboard Magazine.