Wednesday, June 27, 2018

J/Newsletter- June 27th, 2018

J/121 sailing Bermuda Race start off Newport, RIJ/121 APOLLO - Bermuda Race Winner Report
How the West Was Won, Point @ Bermuda!
(Hamilton, Bermuda)- Don Nicholson’s new J/121 APOLLO sailed its first major ocean race last week, the famous 635nm Newport to Bermuda Race.  Blessed with good fortune, solid navigation and well-executed strategy, they managed to win their Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division class and finish 6th overall.  An amazing performance considering the magnitude of variables and weather decisions necessary to stand atop the podium in the professional GHL Division.

From onboard APOLLO, we get the report from Kerry Klingler, the J/Boats Team Leader at Quantum Sails, on how they managed to get their first big offshore win.

“Great team, great boat, great sails combined for a super finish.  When racing programs emerge, it is rare that the individual elements align in a way that makes the whole program perform at a high level.  In this year’s Bermuda race, the APOLLO team realized this rare alignment.

The program started with Don Nicholson searching for a new boat for his racing program with the help of team organizer Denise Bienvenu and Annapolis yacht broker David Malkin. They narrowed their focused to the new J/121, liking the idea of a water-ballasted performance boat, with well laid-out sail handling features that could be distance-raced and be very competitive.

At that point, I became part of the program for Quantum Sails.  I looked at the proposed sail inventory set by J/Boats and made smart adjustments to suit our racing needs better.

The first adjustment was a twin-groove headstay, with full hoist sails that were battened.  It was my feeling that we needed a full complement of jibs, with a J1, J2, J3 set on the forestay, and a J4 set on the inner forestay.  These jibs were all designed with horizontal battens for maximum efficiency.  With twin grooves, we could change headsails and keep the boat moving at top performance.

J/121 Apollo sailing fast under A2 spinnakerFor the spinnaker inventory, we sought to make the most out of the boat’s inherent performance capabilities.  With that in mind, we made the A2 larger than the proposed one-design size and added an A3.5 asymmetrical.  This sail was an in-between step, between the A2 and the Code 0.  It would double as heavy air runner, but would also be able to reach well.  Overall, the goal was to have a complete racing inventory, without having too many sails on board.

We entered the boat in the GHL pro division to be able to make the most out of Al Johnstone’s water-ballasted design.

In the last day and a half, the design made a huge difference in boat speed.  We were power-reaching at 8 to 10 knots. When racing J/122’s, we had never been able to hit that kind of speed.  Also, for most of the race, we had only four people on deck; the ballast made up the difference.

In addition, the inner forestay for the J4 Jib worked great.  We were able to slot the J4 under the Code 0 and add considerable additional speed to the boat.  For distance racing, this set up makes a lot of sense.

A lot of work goes into putting together a great well-meshed crew for a distance race like Newport to Bermuda.  Here are some of the keys to our success:

First, you have to handle the boat well, so the bow and sail handlers come into play.

Second, ideal trim is needed to keep the boat fast at all times. Everyone has to be vigilant, so that you’re trimmed fast all the time.

Third, you need good helms, people who can push the boat to its fullest potential.  The APOLLO team had that fine mesh of talent to make the most of the boat’s capabilities and the race’s challenges.  We formed two efficient watches that married the best of the talent.  The first watch consisted of Don Nicholson, Kerry Klingler, Mike Levy, and David Malkin.  The second watch consisted of Denise Bienvenu, Paul White, William Pritz, and Jack McGuire.

Fourth, you gotta have a good navigator that knows the weather, GRIB files, and routing software like Expedition.  To fill the role of navigator, we had Scott Adler.

J/121 Apollo team at Royal Bermuda YC awardsFifth, any distance race requires sound tactical & strategic decisions.  Most top programs knew the target for entering and exiting the Gulf Stream. The difference was what happened south of the stream.  For us, the idea was simple: keep the boat moving as fast as possible towards Bermuda.  Given how surprisingly big the wind shifts were, keeping the boat moving towards the goal was the best solution.  I remembered sailing with John Kolius.  He always sailed the boat as fast as possible, never put the boat hard on the wind, but speed was the key and let the wind do what it wants to do– there will always be future wind shifts!!  For the last two and a half days, that is exactly what we did.  We didn’t chase shifts or wind predictions, but sailed with what we had.  We pointed the boat as close as possible headed towards Bermuda; in other words, we took the closest tack or gybe to the mark!

In the end, the two watches did a great job.  Within the groups, we switched roles, having different people steering and trimming, who kept the crew fresh, and kept the boat moving.  The bond created working with such a fine group of sailors made the trip and the experience unforgettable.  It reminds me of why we do this unique and great sport!”  Thanks again for this contribution from APOLLO team member- Kerry Klingler.  For more J/121 Offshore speedster sailing information

J/70s sailing NYYC One-Design RegattaNYYC One-Design Regatta Preview
(Newport, RI)- Thirty-five J/70s will be plying the waters of Narragansett Bay this coming weekend in the annual New York YC One-Design Regatta.  The fleet is comprised of numerous one-design class National, North American, and World Champions, most of whom are sailing the regatta as part of their training programs leading up to the J/70 World Championship, hosted by Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA later in September 2018.

The headline crews include such class leaders as Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT from Excelsior, MN; Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT from Lakewood, TX; Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth, TX; Martie Kullman’s HYDRA from St Petersburg, FL; Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY from Annapolis, MD; Jim Cunningham’s LIFTED from San Francisco, CA; Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY from Cayman Islands; John Brim’s RIMETTE from Fishers Island, NY; Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD from Chicago, IL; Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE from Fort Worth, TX; John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES from Riverside, CT; and Tim Healy’s famous USA 2 HELLEY HANSEN.

There is a strong presence of Japanese teams, as they are conducting their three-regatta “Japanese National Championship” in order to qualify one of their teams for the J/70 Worlds in September.  For those in the TP52, Farr 40 and M32 world, you will recognize some of the leading crews.  Makoto Uematsu’s ESMERALDA from Tokyo hardly needs any introduction, he helped create the TP52 class with the support of Newport’s own Ken Read at North Sails.  In addition, there is the famous “SLED” team, composed of a number of boats- Hideyuki Miyagawa’s IT’S SLED from Hyogo; Takashi Okura’s SLED from Alpine, NJ; and Eichiro Hamazaki’s THE SLED from Kanagawa.  In addition, there is Yasutaka Funazawa’s NATSUKO from Tottori.  That should be an interesting competition to watch!  For more New York YC One-Design Regatta sailing information

Sail Newport RegattaSAIL NEWPORT Regatta Update
(Newport, RI)- Register for the best multi-class regatta of the season. Invited classes include J/24s and J/70s.

Our motto: "Fast Racing, Cold Beer" will continue in 2018, as it has for the past three decades!

Shoreside after-race socials are planned for both Saturday and Sunday. On July 7th, you will be able to make your own at our famous “taco bar!”  Enjoy Heineken and Mt. Gay and Whispering Angel wine and live music. Sunday's awards party will include food, drinks, and prizes.

Regatta Manager Matt Duggan and Event Manager Emily Greagori have announced the first annual Sail Newport Corn Hole Championship (SNCHC) on Saturday, July 7 at the tent. Start training now.

All parties will be at the new building this year!!  Come on down ad check it out!  Not too late to hop aboard and enjoy a fun weekend of sailing off Newport!  Register here and learn more about THE Newport Regatta at SAIL Newport

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

It almost seemed like the end of June was cause for celebration for the ubiquitous concept of “race weeks”!  They were going on everywhere in the Americas, East, West, and in the Middle!  For starters, there was the fun-loving Block Island Race Week sailed on that pretty island off of Rhode Island- the J/111s seemed to have a blast in that event.  Then, in the Midwest, there was Cleveland Race Week held off Cleveland, Ohio on Lake Erie; and again J/111s had a wonderful time, so did a fleet of J/22s, J/70s, and J/105s. Out on the Left Coast, there were two events at opposite ends of the Pacific coast.  One was the popular J/FEST Northwest Regatta- hosted by Corinthian YC of Seattle on Puget Sound for one-design fleets of J/24s, J/97E’s, J/105s, J/109s, J/80s, and a PHRF fleet.  Then, in decidedly warmer climates (but with lots of “June Gloom”), was the Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, hosted by Long Beach YC for one-design fleets of J/70s and J/120s and a PHRF fleet.  So much for all those race weeks/ weekends!

In addition to those activities in the Pacific Northwest, the Race to Alaska finished on Monday for the top six boats, including the J/88 BLUE FLASH.  Read the conclusion to their epic 750nm adventure up the “inside passage” from Seattle, WA to Ketchikan, Alaska- it's amazing their average age was 19.8 yrs old, including a recent high-school graduate that made the trek north!

Going further on the long-distance race theme, the South Shore YC hosted their annual “pilgrimage” across Lake Michigan, a.k.a. the famous “Queen’s Cup Race” for big boats.  A big fleet assembled south of Milwaukee, WI at SSYC for their pre-race beer, brats, hotdogs, burgers- the smell and tastes were unbelievably good- after all, transplanted Germans in Milwaukee know how to cook that stuff good!  The 65nm race across was nothing to write home about, a pretty light air affair.

Speaking of the light air theme, that is what defined the RORC’s Morgan Cup Race last weekend for a flock of J’s doing their best to make forward progress both along the shore and offshore without kedging!

Finally, across the European continent and down to that little jewel in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea- Sardinia!  As they are known to do so incredibly well, the YC Costa Smeralda rolled out the red carpet for the AUDI Invitational Team Racing Challenge. It is a 2x2 team race on J/70 one-design sailboats, sailed off Porto Cervo in their gorgeous aquamarine waters- rough life for those seven participating teams from Sweden (1), United Kingdom (2), USA (3), and Italy (1).

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:

Jun 28- Jul 1- Norwegian J/70 National Championship- Hanko, Norway
Jun 29- Jul 1- New York YC One-Design Regatta- Newport, RI
Jun 30- Vic-Maui International Yacht Race- Victoria, BC, Canada
Jul 7-14- J/80 World Championship- Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Jul 7- Round the Island Race- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Jul 7-8- Sail Newport Regatta- Newport, RI
Jul 12-15- Italian J/70 Cup- Malcesine, Italy
Jul 12-14- Canadian J/70 National Championship- Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Jul 12-20- Offshore Sailing Worlds- The Hague, The Netherlands
Jul 12-15- Vineyard Cup- Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Jul 13- Lake Ontario 300 Challenge Race- Port Credit, ONT, Canada
Jul 13- RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race- St Malo, France
Jul 14- Belles Beer Bayview Mackinac Race- Port Huron, MI
Jul 16-21- New York YC Race Week- Newport, RI
Jul 19-20- Edgartown Race Week- Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Jul 19-22- Whidbey Island Race Week- Whidbey Island, WA
Jul 20-29- Travemunde Race Week- Travemunde, Germany
Jul 21- Chicago to Mackinac Race- Chicago, IL
Jul 21- Edgartown Round Island Race- Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Jul 21-22- Fiesta Cup- Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 23-28- J/24 European Championship- Glucksburg, Germany
Jul 26-29- Marblehead NOOD Regatta- Marblehead, MA
Jul 26-29- J/105 North American Championship- Harbor Springs, MI
Jul 26-29- J/35 North American Championship- Cheboygan, MI
Jul 27-29- J/88 Great Lakes Championship- Youngstown, NY
Jul 27- New England Solo-Twin- Newport, RI
Jul 27- Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race- Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 27-29- Ugotta Regatta- Harbor Springs, MI
Jul 28-29- CanAm Regatta- Youngstown, NY
Jul 28- RORC Channel Race- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England

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

J/105 sailing off Seattle, WAFun J/FEST Northwest Regatta
(Seattle, WA)- Hosted by Corinthian YC Seattle and J/Boats Northwest, the 2018 edition of J/FEST Northwest was a great success for the forty-seven teams that participated in the two-day regatta.  Racing took place for a PHRF class and one-design for J/24s, J/80s, J/97E’s, J/105s, and J/109s. There was no question the Saturday evening dinner and extravaganza took its toll on some of the crews, a number of them waking up a bit “foggy” on Sunday morning.  Most classes had at least three races, and others up to five in total.

The eight-boat PHRF Division had an eclectic mix of J’s from across the design spectrum of time. In the end, it was twin J/30s leading the way!  Winning was Jim Bottles’ CELEBRATION with a 1-1-2 for 4 pts, followed by Cindy Gossett’s OUTLAW with a 2-2-1 for 5 pts.  Seems to have been a nip-and-tuck battle between them all weekend-long.  Third was Jamie Thomas & Kyle Caldwell’s J/44 ASYLUM.

There was a surprising win in the eleven-boat J/24 class.  Taking the honors was Lydia Volberding’s JAILBREAK with a remarkably consistent 1-3-3-3-1 for 11 pts total.  The balance of the podium was determined by a tie-breaker on 18 pts each- taking second was Jacob Lichtenberg’s HAIR OF THE DOG with a 9-1-4-1-3 over Scott Milne’s TREMENDOUS SLOUCH with a 2-8-1-2-5.

It was another very close battle for the top of the leaderboard in the eight-boat J/80 class.  In the end, it was a classic “last race/ last leg” that determined the ultimate outcome.  Taking the class win was Bryan Rhodes’ CRAZY IVAN with a 1-7-1-1-2 for 12 pts total.  Second was Emre Sezer’s RECKLESS with a consistent 2-4-2-2-3 for 13 pts.  Third was Phil Dean’s RUSH with a 6-3-3-3-1 for 16 pts.

Rocky Smith’s INDIGO HORIZONTAL dominated the J/97E class with straight bullets.  Following in second was Scott McConnell’s ROCKET J SQUIRREL and third was Eric Barlow’s IRIE.

The always-popular J/105 class of eleven teams saw a familiar face at the top of the podium- Chris Phoenix’s JADED winning with a 2-1-3-3-1 for 10 pts.  Grabbing the silver were the “Soupers” from Portland- Eric Hopper, Matt Davis, Doug Schenk’s FREE BOWL OF SOUP- posting a respectable 3-2-4-2-2 for 13 pts.  Third just one point back was Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM with a 5-3-2-1-3 for 14 pts.  Two locally famous names in the local PNW circuit rounded out the top five- Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO in 4th and Tom Kerr’s CORVO 105 in 5th.

Winning the Pacific NW J/109 Championship Trophy was Stu Burnell’s TANTIVY with a complete blitzkrieg of the fleet, posting just five bullets for a massive total of only 5 pts. Ouch.  Jerry Woodfield’s SHADA nearly pulled off a win, but had to hang tough just to get the silver by a mere one point with a 4-4-2-2-2 tally for 14 pts.  Third was Tolga Cezik’s LODOS with a reasonably consistent record of 2-2-3-5-3 for 15 pts.  For more J/Fest Northwest Regatta sailing information

J/70s enjoying Long Beach Race WeekJ/Sailors Love Long Beach Race Week
Campbell Tops 70s, CAPER Clobbers 120s
(Long Beach, CA)- Sunny, southerly conditions were forecast for the Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week that took place from June 22nd to 24th last weekend. The popular annual regatta, hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) and Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), featured three days of fair winds and friendship for all.

Chuck Clay, long-time LBRW Regatta Co-chair and ABYC staff commodore, said, "I really enjoy the social side of the event and the camaraderie between the sailors. They travel from up and down the coast to compete, and are fierce on the race course! But, when they get ashore, it's all about having a good time and telling 'war stories' with old friends. Mix that in with a little rum from one of our sponsors (Mount Gay Rum) and you have a perfect recipe for great times, great stories and a few shenanigans!"  Indeed, all of that became true over the weekend!

Over 130 boats sailed in the regatta, featuring a huge one-design fleet of J/70s with some of the world’s top competitors participating. In addition, the ever-popular J/120 fleet had their usual knock-out, drag-em-out-fight for supremacy offshore.

J/120s sailing off Long Beach, CADay 1- June Gloom
Despite a gloomy morning and weather forecast, "Long Beach delivered!" said Co-chair Chuck Clay.  By the start of the first race, the marine layer (a.k.a. June Gloom Fog) had burnt off and the modest southerly flow began shifting right. Soaring inland temperatures drew in the ocean breeze, swiftly ratcheting to a 14-knot wind from 230-degrees.

Day 2- June Gloom + Big Lump
Was that Long Beach? Or, was that the laundromat?  Choppy, lumpy, 'washing machine' conditions on San Pedro Bay, with hearty 10 to 14 knot breezes, gave sailors a day to remember.  Again, seasonal 'June gloom' conditions dominated the sky, with steady breeze and sloppy seas, giving Random Leg (RL) racers a scenic and invigorating ride.

Random leg racing has grown in popularity over recent years, according to regatta co-chair John Busch. "What's kept this regatta going strong is we offer both buoy and random leg racing. A lot of the old-timer boats don't necessarily want to do the buoy racing, but still want to come out and play."

"We have four random-leg divisions, based on the size and age of the boats, and really fine tune the course for each group," said Busch, who is also PRO on Charlie course. The regatta ran races on three separate courses, each with its own expert Race Committee.

Saturday's racing capped off with the legendary Mount Gay Rum party, with music and dancing around the pool at LBYC.

J/70 winners- Argyle Campbell on SOXDay 3- No more June Gloom! Classic Sunny LA Day!
It all came together on the final day. The wind blew, the sun shone, dolphins leapt, and racers smiled.  On the last of three days of highly competitive racing, sailors got “the whole enchilada.”

A gentle breeze from the south filled in, bringing with it a mild sea state– nothing like Saturday's churning grey waters. Marine life came out to play, and sunny skies warmed the sailors. And, from the standpoint of the sport of sailing, the heat was on!

As title sponsor, Bruce Cooper (Ullman Sails Newport Beach) spent several years driving the media boat, visiting the three courses each day, and checking on clients and friends along the way. When he became active in the J/70 fleet though, he added another hat – joining the fray as competitor.

"Moving from a sponsor-spectator, to competitor, I'm definitely burning the candle at both ends– racing during the day (on his J/70 USA 32) and handling sail repairs at night! But, it is worth it. It's like Christmas morning, when you know you're going to get to do race week. Whether there's a lot of wind, or not, it's always some of the best racing you'll have all year."

There was no question the J/70 class saw some fearsome, close racing around the race track all weekend long.  After seven races, the surprise winner was a guy named Argyle Campbell from Newport Harbor YC sailing SOX.  Well, not so much of surprise when you realize who his team included- a fellow Etchells 22 World Champion- Bill Hardesty on main/ tactics and also J/22 World Champion- Allen Terhune on trim. Not exactly your crew of happy weekend warriors! In fact, more like a bunch of bloodthirsty mercenaries!

Despite that kind of intellectual, tactical firepower on board the mighty SOX, Bruce Golison’s team on MIDLIFE CRISIS (a pretty laid-back crew by comparison) nearly pulled off the overall win!  Both teams know the SoCal weather conditions like it’s their backyard, having grown up in the LA area for decades.  Golison’s crew threw down the gauntlet in the first race with a bullet, but then suffered in races 3 to 5.  However, they got their “mojo” going to close with two bullets while Campbell’s crew were suffering a bit of brain fade (or, speed)- remarkable, considering it was Hardesty and Terhune.  In the end, great competition amongst SoCal sailing legends.  Taking third was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT from California YC, fourth was Ignacio Perez’s ZAGUERO from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and fifth place went to the Corinthians Division winner- Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS from Santa Barbara YC.  Second in Corinthians was Chris Raab’s SUGOI and third was Tony Collins’ FLY.

In the J/120 class, it was John Laun’s CAPER that took class honors with five 1sts in seven races for a total of 12 pts!  Second was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER with 16 pts and third was John Snook’s JIM with 22 pts.

In the PHRF handicap world, Doug & Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA took 2nd place in PHRF B class, narrowly missing the overall win by just one point. Their team was winning going into the last race, averaging just over a 2nd, but a last race miscalculation saw them score a 5th to the winner’s 2nd to lose the event. They were sailing in a very high-powered fleet that included three 1D35s, three M32s, and Farr 30, all high-performance light-medium air boats that do not like any heavy weather!

Then, in PHRF RL-D class, Jack Mayer’s J/109 ZEPHYR took third. In PHRF RL-C class, Paul Stemler’s J/44 PATRIOT was 5th and Tim Harmon’s J/124 CIRRUS was 6th.

In PHRF D Racing, with seven buoy races to the count, David Boatner’s J/35 RIVAL crushed the competition with four 1sts and three 3rds for 13 pts total.  Second was Heinz Butner’s J/109 RAPTOR with 21 pts.  And, fourth was Scott McDaniel’s J/105 OFF THE PORCH with 30 pts.  For more Long Beach Race Week sailing information

J/145 Main Street sailing Queen's CupLight Air Queen’s Cup Race
J/145 MAIN STREET Tops Class, J/110 Eclipses Doublehanders
(Milwaukee, WI)- The 80th running of the Queen’s Cup, one of the most storied yacht races on the Great Lakes hosted by the South Shore Yacht Club will certainly not go down as one of the fastest in history.  When TP52s take an average of 7.5 kts to cross a distance of 68.5nm from Milwaukee, WI across Lake Michigan at a course of approximately 89 degrees to Grand Haven, MI, you know it was not going to be one of those famous Midwestern “barn burners”, for sure.

Nearly 200 boats participated, with over 1,200 sailors enjoying great parties both pre-race and post-race at each venue.

The Queen's Cup is one of the oldest cups in the yachting world yachting that is still offered for competition every year. Its history dates back to an age when both British Victorian silverwork and sailing yachts were without rival anywhere.

American shipyards of this era were turning out very fast sailing vessels called “clipper ships”. These craft were extreme designs built to out-perform the fast new breed of ships powered by steam. The American racing sloop Silvia was built during this era using this radical new technology.

On August 19, 1853, she won second place in a regatta scheduled by the Royal Yacht Squadron that was raced off Cowes, England.

First prize- the 100 Guineas Cup - was won by the English yacht Gaily, six minutes and 38 seconds ahead of Silvie. This outstanding performance by the American Silvie led the RYS to award a special prize to her, the 50 Guineas Cup, now known as the Queen's Cup.  Notably, this took place exactly two years after the yacht America won the first 100 Guineas Cup in 1851!

The cup was brought back to the New York Yacht Club, Silvia's home port, and went into obscurity until 1874, when a Mr. J.H. Godwin, of Kingsbridge, New York, gave the Cup to his friend Kirkland C. Barker, Commodore of the International Yacht Club of Detroit. The Cup was to be offered as an international challenge called the Godwin Cup.

Queen's Cup race courseBut, as it turned out there was only one challenge, Annie Cuthbert of Hamilton, Ontario. Barker's yacht Cora won the first race, with the Canadians winning the second, but forfeiting the final race. This gave Barker his victory, but left very strained relations between the Detroit and Hamilton yachtsmen. The Cup was never offered for competition again, probably due to the sudden death of Commodore Barker. He and two other crewmembers drowned while shifting ballast in Cora in preparation for the 1875 racing season.

Nothing more is known about the Queen’s Cup until about the turn of the century, when a young lad, while cleaning out a family storeroom, discovered an exquisite rosewood box holding the Cup. The lad was Walter Hull, whose father was Charles Hull, son-in-law of Commodore Barker, to whom the Cup had been given.

Walter Hull treasured the Cup for the rest of his life and kept it in his possession until September 1, 1938. At that time, his good friend William Lawrie (late Commodore of South Shore Yacht Club in 1944) persuaded him to deed it to South Shore Yacht Club, "for an annual race across Lake Michigan, always starting off South Shore Yacht Club, and ending at a point in Michigan, open to all yachts of a recognized yacht club on the Great Lakes."

Of note, the silversmith firm of Robert Garrard, 29 Panton Street, St. Martins, England, created the Queen’s Cup in 1847-1848 (the official silversmith of the British Royalty).  Interesting history, how “son of America’s Cup” ended up at one of the most laid-back, unassuming sailing clubs on Planet Earth- and, at that, in the Great Lakes!

Given that cool history behind the how the Queens’ Cup ended up in Milwaukee, here’s how it all went down for this year’s race.

Winning PHRF 1 Class was Bill Schanen’s elegant, bright fire-engine red J/145 MAIN STREET, a fixture in big boat offshore events for over a decade on Lake Michigan. As usual, it was a “family affair” with many Schanen generations enjoying a benign cruise across the lake.

J/Crews nearly swept PHRF 2 class. Taking second was Doug Petter’s J/130 WILLIE J, fourth was Bob Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3, fifth Jim Richter’s J/44 CHEEP-N-DEEP II, and sixth Bob McManus’ J/130 EDGE.

PHRF 3 was the J/111 Division.  Winning that incredibly competitive class was Mark Caliban’s NO QUARTER, followed by Brad Faber’s UTAH in second and Richard Hobbs’ HOBGOBLIN holding on for the bronze.

Hanging in for fourth place in the PHRF 4 class was Doug Evans’ J/109 TIME OUT.  Then, in PHRF 8 Class also taking fourth was Dennis Dryer’s J/30 FRANK LLLOYD STARBOARD.

Sailing like a dynamic-duo possessed in the PHRF Shorthanded was Ron Otto’s J/110 TAKEDOWN 2, taking home the gold by a fairly decent margin!   For more Queen’s Cup Race sailing information

J/133 Pintia drifting offshoreDrift-a-thon RORC Morgan Cup Race
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Although light winds were predicted for the race, the fleet experienced the remnants of a westerly sea breeze for the Squadron Line start, lasting long enough for a twilight exit from the Solent.

Calms and complex local effects during the night, made observation and experience of light airs racing paramount. As night fell, the breeze dropped significantly, resulting in somewhat of a park-up off Portland Bill, giving an advantage to the higher rated IRC boats that had made the tidal gate. However, close to Midsummer the night was short, dawn broke before 0500hrs and the lower IRC rated yachts enjoyed longer daylight racing with enhanced breeze.

In what amounted to a wildly variable and complex race, it appeared that hitting corners was working best.  However, while inshore boats that were way inshore faired better than those who were hedging their bets, it was the offshore boats that stood quite a ways offshore that ended up winning most divisions.  In short, the pre-race strategy Plan 1, devolved to scenario option C or D for most boats.  "C’est la vie, c’est la guerre".

The net results were as follows for some of the J/Teams that were participating in a quasi-drifting match.  In IRC 1 Class, Nick Angel’s J/121 ROCK LOBSTER took 4th place. In IRC 2 Class Andy Theobald’s J/122 R&W was 4th and Gilles Fournier/ Corinne Migraine’s J/133 PINTIA 5th place (e.g. notable that one of the winningest teams offshore in RORC and French racing circles also had a tough race!).  Finally, in IRC 3 Class, Chris Preston’s J/109 JUBILEE was 4th and Rob Cotterill’s J/109 MOJO RISIN’ placed 5th.
For more RORC Morgan Cup Race sailing information

J/70s team racing off SardiniaNewport Harbor YC Two-Peats 2x2 Team Race
(Porto Cervo, Sardinia)- The AUDI Invitational Team Racing Challenge kicked-off on June 21st- the Summer Solstice- for four days of racing on the emerald green and blue waters off Porto Cervo. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, with the support of title sponsor AUDI, hosted the event.

The biennial regatta took place aboard the YCCS fleet of J/70 one-design sailboats using the "team racing" formula in which a total of four boats race at one time- two boats representing each team with 3 crew on board.  The teams compete in a series of short, fast races that emphasize teamwork between the crews. Most importantly, in the 2x2 format, last loses!  Making for some incredibly dramatic attempts at “pass-backs” in the absolute latest stages of any race!

Seven teams sailed the third edition of the event, including the Newport Harbor YC from California, winner of the 2016 edition. Also sailing were teams from Gamla Stans Yacht Sallskap from Sweden; Eastern Yacht Club, Newport Harbor YC, and the New York Yacht Club from the USA; and the United Kingdom’s Royal Yacht Squadron and Royal Thames YC. The YC Costa Smeralda Team Racing crew represented the home team.

YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo commented on the inter-club event, "I am particularly pleased to welcome these teams who have travelled from countries as far away as Sweden, the United States and England to come to Porto Cervo for three days of thrilling racing. We are looking forward to seeing some great sportsmanship with crews competing to defend the honours of their respective Clubs. And finally, I would like to thank our home team flying the YCCS colors, led by Antonio Sodo Migliori and Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti."

J/70s team racingDay One- YCCS Takes Early Lead
The first day was characterized by light wind. The host team from YCCS sat atop the fleet, followed by Newport Harbor Yacht Club and in third place, tied on points, were the two American teams- Eastern Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club.

After an initial postponement of the first starting signal due to light winds, the Race Committee got racing started at approximately 13.30 on the regatta course in front of Porto Cervo Marina. The seven teams managed to complete the first round robin.

Opening racing was the YCCS team, headed, respectively, by Antonio Sodo Migliori and Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti. They sailed fast and smart, claiming victory in all six of the races they sailed. The Americans dominated second and third place in the standings; with Newport Harbor YC (skippers Justin Law and Mac Mace) leading Eastern YC (skippers Spencer Powers and Stein Skaane) and New York YC (captained by Brian Doyle and Will Graves).

Filippo Maria Molinari, Team Captain of YCCS, commented, "We've given all the participating teams a good welcome. We were able to win all our races today and we are, of course, pleased. There is a little more wind forecast for tomorrow. Today, we had very light conditions, 7-8 knots up to 10, but the day was very pleasant. Most likely, we are at an advantage because we have a light crew, we'll see what happens in the next few days with stronger wind."  A somewhat prophetic point of view from Sr. Molinari!

J/70s team racing off Sardinia, ItalyDay Two- Newport Harbor YC Take Lead
The second day of racing started as scheduled. Accompanied by a westerly wind of varying intensity, racing started as scheduled at 1130 hrs. At approximately 1500 hrs, as the breeze dropped out, racing was halted for an hour until the westerly wind built back up to 12-15 knots. This allowed the teams to complete the second round robin of the regatta with a total of 50 races run so far.

With a perfect scorecard of 8 wins out of 8 races, the Newport Harbor YC team led by Justin Law and Mac Mace took control of the provisional classification.  The host team from YCCS (skippers Antonio Sodo Migliori and Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti) posted 6 wins out of a possible 8, now sat in second place. The New York YC team pulled away from Eastern YC by a delta of two points, and now sits in third place in the standings.

Dave Clark, Commodore of Newport Harbor YC, who was participating as a crew member on their team, commented,  "The event has exceeded our expectations, the organization, the race committee, sponsors and all the staff have been perfect. We're having fun and we're also racing well!"

Skipper Justin Law added, "It was a fantastic day, we started at 1130 hrs on the dot and apart from the drop in wind in the middle of the day, everything was perfect. We can't wait to race again tomorrow!"

J/70 team race- Newport Harbor YC winsDay Three- NHYC Victorious, Again!
The final day saw Newport Harbor YC clinch victory ahead of the YC Costa Smeralda (YCCS).

After the morning briefing at 0900 hrs, the YCCS Race Committee went out on the water to assess whether conditions would permit the scheduled start for the day. After observing conditions of 1.5 meter waves and 18-25 knots of westerly wind, the YCCS PRO postponed sailing until the breeze settled around 1500 hrs. The finalists then proceeded with racing to decide the top podium finishers.

Newport Harbor YC (Justin Law and Mac Mace) faced the home team from YCCS (Antonio Sodo Migliori and Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti) to do battle for first and second place. Winning two of their three races earned the Americans the championship. Eastern YC (Spencer Powers and Stein Skaane) then sailed against the New York YC (Brian Doyle and Will Graves) in a fight for third place, with NYYC taking the third on countback to their earlier round robin results.

Newport Harbor YC wins J/70 team race- Porto Cervo, SardiniaJustin Law, skipper of Newport Harbor YC, commented on his team's victory, "A fantastic day, the YC Costa Smeralda Race Committee did a great job, they were patient and waited for the wind to die down and made the regatta happen. A big THANK YOU goes to my team mates for making this victory possible!"

All teams received the YCCS Burgee as a memento of the event and the winners from Newport Harbor Yacht Club were also awarded a Garmin inReach Explorer+ that can be used to send and receive text messages and e-mails in any part of the globe.  For more information on the YC Costa Smeralda 2x2 J/70 Team Race event, please contact - Marialisa Panu- Tel. +39 0789 902223/ email- / website-

J/111 Spaceman Spiff- Ruhlman family rejoiceJ/Crews Lead Cleveland Race Week
J/111 SPACEMAN SPIFF Picket Fences PHRF B!
(Cleveland, OH)- The ever-popular Cleveland Race Week started off the weekend before with one-design classes of J/22s, J/70s, and J/105s.  Subsequently, midweek was the Women’s and Doublehanded Races.  Then, it closed with PHRF handicap classes and more J/105 one-design class racing.

Topping out PHRF B class was a legendary family crew that has supported sailing at every conceivable level one can imagine- from Opti’s to J/70s, to J/88s and J/111s, to anything else that floats!  Yes, in Cleveland that would be the Ruhlman family.  In what can only be described as a “family affair”, it was the Ruhlman family on their beloved J/111 SPACEMAN SPIFF that won class honors with straight bullets in six races!  On board were at least five (?) Ruhlman’s?  The team had at least the following crew members- Meagan Ruhlman-Cross, Michael Sheehan, Pat Sheehan, Rob Ruhlman, Abby Ruhlman, Tesse Ruhlman and Ryan Ruhlman.

The balance of the podium in PHRF B was Chris Mallet’s J/109 SYNCHRONICITY in 2nd, followed by another J/111- Don Hudak’s CAPERS.

Paul Matthew’s J/35 WHITEHAWK sailed fast and managed silver in PHRF C class, followed by Kevin Young’s J/39 BLACK SEAL in third place.

PHRF D was the battle of the pretty J/34 IOR boats.  Winning that shootout was Dave Krotseng’s BONAFIDE with a 3rd in class, followed by the familiar Cleveland crew of KNEE DEEP (Brett & Katie Langolf) just two points back in 4th position.

The fleet of seven J/105s enjoyed close racing over the weekend.  In fact, it was a strong performance on Bob Mock’s UNBRIDLED that kept them in the lead, winning two races and adding two deuces to take the class win.  Just two points in arrears was the Uhlir Brothers TRIO, the rounding out the podium with the bronze was Stephen Mitcham’s BREEZIN BAYOU.

On Wednesday, it was Women’s PHRF Racing Day.  The two J/105s sailed fast and both took podium honors. Winning was Lucinda Einhouse’s crew on OVATION and hoisting the bronze medal was Angela Mazzolini’s SLINGSHOT.

In addition, on the same day, it was Tim Vining’s J/22 DEUCE that won the Doublehanded JAM division (just jibs & mains).  For more Cleveland Race Week sailing information

J/111s sailing Block Island Race WeekFun-Loving Block Island Race Week
(Block Island, RI)- The Duck Island Yacht Club in Westbrook, Connecticut and the Block Island Yacht Club teamed up to co-host Block Island Race Week 2018. The sailors were blessed with five good days of racing on Block Island Sound from June 17th to the 22nd.  In addition to random leg races, there was the famous Round Island Race, too.

In the PHRF Spinnaker division, a half-dozen boats sailed he entire week.  The highlight was the three-way “match race” taking place within the PHRF division all week long, all vying for “class” bragging rights.  In the end, topping the J/111s was Sedge & Andy Ward’s BRAVO.  Greg Slamowitz’s MANITOU, then Kenn Fischburg’s WILD CHILD followed them in succession.

In the PHRF Non-Spinnaker class, Peter Hilgendorff’s J/29 MEDDLER ended up taking fourth in class after not sailing the last two races.   Sailing results here  For more Block Island Race Week sailing information

J/88 Blue Flash Race to Alaska teamJ/88 Race 2 Alaska Done!
(Port Townsend, WA)- On Saturday, June 16th, the infamous Race to Alaska started off Port Townsend, WA for the first leg of 40nm.  Then, on Monday, June 18th, the “real race” took off to Ketchikan, Alaska for over 750nm up fearsome straits with currents up to 15 kts, tornado-puffs pealing down hillsides in 40 kt microbursts, and even midsummer snow off the Canadian maritime provinces of British Columbia and the “inside passage” north to Alaska.  The weather can be fearsome.  A race not for the faint of heart, that is for sure.

When the 2015 Race to Alaska was first announced, the premise was so absurd it woke up sailors far and wide with a wake-up call. No engine or support along 750 miles.  What reasonable person would tackle that challenge? Sure, the $10,000 first prize literally nailed to a piece of wood got everyone’s attention.  But, there’s no free lunch in life, and the cost of that ten grand was high.

J/88 Blue Flash sailing Race 2 Alaska raceThree years later, our over-wired, over-stressed, over-politicized planet remains in need of some pain and suffering to remind ourselves that, as John Maxwell notes, “You cannot overestimate the un-importance of practically everything.”

The 2018 edition of the R2AK delivered. Here’s the June 25 report from Ketchikan, Alaska:

Even for those who lack calloused fingertips and strained tendons commonly associated with “tracker finger,” just watching the dock in Ketchikan provides all the cues needed to predict the imminent arrival of another Race to Alaska team.

Regardless of the time of day (usually late) or amount of rain (usually a lot), the procession down the docks starts with people, then the cameras and microphones of local press plus the R2AK media team, then a bell on a stand from the Ketchikan Yacht Club, a six-pack or two of congratulatory beer, and a uniformed customs officer.

Sometimes, there’s also a guy playing bagpipes. Sometimes, someone brings a shotgun. To date, these two have remained peacefully unrelated.

Women crew Sail Like A Girl win Race 2 AlaskaFans crowd the docks, line the piers and breakwater, and wait for the first hoot from the first sighting to break the damn of pent-up enthusiasm and respect and what follows is a rolling wave of joyous elation that brings people together, lifting their voices, bagpipes, and the occasional shotgun blast to a heart-warming cacophony that serves as encouragement and an audible navigational aid for their final 500 feet.

On Monday June 25th, that scene played out six times as the first echelon of finishers touched the dock, rang the bell, drank the beer, cleared customs, and had one reaction or another to the bagpipes.  First to finish at 12:17 AM with a champagne shower was Team Sail Like A Girl- it was a joyous celebration for the all-women crew of seven, first to ring the bell, and immediately announcing that all $10,000 nailed to the board would go to the women’s Breast Cancer research- kudos to them for a job well done!  

Several hours later, J/88 Team BLUE FLASH hove into view, much to the delight of many on the crowded dock.  Scott Grealish’s son Sean and five other crewmembers, all under-25, sailed their J/88 BLUE FLASH into the Ketchikan finish line as the sixth boat overall around 1635 hours.  That they even finished was a reward in itself as the youngest adventurers ever to accomplish that feat.

The party for top boats at Race 2 Alaska in Ketchikan Yacht ClubThe team of six had an average age of 19.4 when they started the race (one just graduated high school a few weeks ago). Their race was one of competent prudence that outpaced their age. They arrived unscathed, boat intact, and other than burgers on the mind, none the worse for wear and tear.  An amazingly mature group of kids.

Team BlueFlash: “In the R2AK spirit we’d like to start a tradition for the youngest team in the race. In this bag are our sporks— we’ve all signed them. We’d like the youngest team in the next R2AK to carry them for good luck.”

Race Boss: “Did you wash them?”

Team BlueFlash: “No.”

Proud Dad- Scott: “You guys sailed 218 miles in the last 24 hours!”

Everyone else: “WOOOHOOOOO!”

Race 2 Alaska finish line crowdsTeam Sail Like a Girl: “So, what was it like sailing with a boat full of boys?”

Maisey (the only girl on Team BlueFlash): "Ha ha! (lots of laughter)

Team BlueFlash: “I think we’ve proved that a bunch of young and stupid people could sail a really good race!”

Tim Penhallow- Team Boatyard Boys (Winners in 2015): “Well, thanks for coming and joining the old stupid people!” (laughing).

As the sun set on the official awards ceremony and the block party that mixed Ketchikan regulars with R2AK’s temporary residents, old and young, stupid and stupid alike. The celebrations continued into the long Alaskan night (really more like an extended twilight!).  Here is the “live video” of the J/88 BLUE FLASH arrival in Ketchikan, Alaska- on Facebook   Follow J/88 Blue Flash on Instagram   Follow the Race 2 Alaska on Facebook here  For more Race 2 Alaska sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
Warrior Sailing teams on J/22s* J/22 San Diego YC- Warrior Sailing Returns to the Waters of San Diego

The Warrior Sailing program will introduce twenty-one new wounded veterans to an intense three-day sailing course using their most natural abilities, teamwork and competitive drive, despite their physical injuries.

Through a partnership with the Armed Services YMCA and the San Diego Yacht Cub, Warrior Sailing returns to San Diego, a beautiful setting to learn how to sail. The program was founded with a mission to introduce active military and veterans with disabilities to the sport of sailing, with opportunities ranging from introductory level sailing to world championship competition.

The program offers the Basic Training Camp at no cost to participants. They come from all branches of the military and have varying injuries that range from limb loss, traumatic brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to name a few.

“We value our partnerships in the San Diego community and always look forward to this event as a highlight of our training calendar.” says Cory Kapes, Warrior Sailing Program Manager. “It is only by working together can we provide an unbelievable experience for the wounded service members who have given so much to us.”

Participants will sail together in teams of three on J-22 one-design sailboats, with an on-board professional coach. Instruction and equipment is adapted to meet the needs of the participants. The sailboats and facilities are provided by SDYC.

“SDYC is honored to host the warrior sailing event for the fifth year in a row. We’re hosting 21 wounded warriors from around the U.S., and this week in an extension of our military appreciation night series that runs all summer long. SDYC has many members who are also veterans like me, and supporting this event is another way of giving back to the military community,” expressed SDYC Liaison Pete Whitby.

Sailing is the platform to help these wounded veterans reunite with their fellow service members, feel the camaraderie they found in service, and help with integration into civilian life.

Warrior Sailing is an amazing way to support our warriors from the Naval Medical Center– Balboa and across our nation,” says Tim Ney, Executive Director of the Armed Services YMCA. “We are very excited to be a partner with two great organizations.”

Graduates from the Basic Training Camp will learn about local sailing opportunities and those in their hometowns. Graduates may continue training to earn a keelboat certification, advanced racing skills and compete in open and disabled racing events both across the country and around the world.   More information on the Warrior Sailing Program can be found here

J/36 Paladin sailing Caribbean circuit* Stanford Joines, from St Croix, US Virgin Islands- lost his lovingly maintained J/36 PALADIN in the hurricanes of 2017. 

For years he plied the waters of the Caribbean, sailing many of the major winter regattas on the racing circuit with a crew consisting ONLY of high-school age kids from the islands (mostly St Croix).

For the kids, it was a dream come true, and an opportunity to see a world they never knew existed. Here is his latest progress report on hoping to find a lovable J/105 to be donated to their cause for youth development in St Croix and the Caribbean islands.

J/36 Paladin sailing with St Croix High School sailing teamCommented Stanford, “we finally have our fiduciary account open at the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development.  As a result, we have a 501c3# for any potential donor (Team Paladin Youth Sailing), learn more about us here.

St. Croix Foundation is in no way a traditional community foundation. While our portfolio does include strategic grant making, the core of our programmatic format is as an operating foundation.  You can learn more about the St. Croix Foundation here.

Also, my book is out on Amazon- “Eighth Flag- the untold story of the Caribbean and the mystery of St. Croix’s Pirate Legacy- 1493 to 1750”!

It is #14 for Caribbean History on Kindle so far, all 5 star ratings!! It is a great summer read.

Stanford Joines' book- The Eighth Flag- Pirates of the Caribbean and St CroixI found a famous pirate shipwreck, which then took me on journey of discovery, finding many fascinating stories of a Caribbean long forgotten.  As soon as Netflix buys the rights, we'll get a new J/112e!”

You can get Stanford’s book here on Amazon (Kindle or Paperback).

Here is the description of the book:

“Cannibals.  Conquistadors.  Buccaneers.  Pirates.  Visions of cartoon characters dancing around a cauldron with an explorer tied inside. Balboa gazing on the Pacific Ocean.  De Leon and the fountain of youth. Pizarro conquering the Incas. Henry Morgan, in red, drinking spiced rum.  Smoke curling around Blackbeard as his cutlass slashes through the air. … all children's tales that mean nothing.

Today, we do not know who any of these people were, how they came to do what they did, or why they did it.  The struggle for power, freedom, and wealth that shaped the Caribbean for two and a half centuries has, since John Barrie created Peter Pan, been relegated to the same literary section as Barney the Dinosaur; yet, underneath the soil of the modern world, the roots are still there.  I started pulling them up on St. Croix, and the roots led to more roots, and more.  Islands connected, nations connected, and legends came to life.

Officially, St. Croix has flown seven flags over the last 500 years.  Before the American flag and the Danebrog, the Spanish came for gold, the Dutch to trade, the English to raid, and the Knights of St. John to be in charge. The French built a colony only to watch it die of fever.  During all of those years, Pirates, Conquistadors, Freebooters, Filibustiers, Corsairs, Buccaneers- whatever you call them- ruled the Caribbean and called St. Croix home, stealing at sea whether they had 'permission' to do so or not, and paying no attention at all to whatever European flag was flying.  It is time to recognize our eighth flag.  It was black.  This is the untold story of St. Croix and a Caribbean long forgotten.  Come. Sail with me.”  Stan

J/100 sailing off Northeast Harbor, ME* J/100 FLEETWING report from way, way Downeast- thanks for this update from Henry Brauer.

“Five boats came out to race on Sunday under mostly overcast skies, with better breeze outside the Great Harbor.

The PHRF Fleet was tight on a beat out around South Bunker Ledge and westward towards Long Ledge. Ranger jumped out to an early lead but was rolled by Dreadnought and Lynnette on the long leeward legs to Baker Island and across to Seal Harbor.

Fleetwing stayed close to the leaders and made some gains by going south of Sutton’s Island on the second beat up towards Wonderland and Mark L. Lynnette had the lead but gave it all back by favoring the north side of Sutton’s Island on the second beat.

In the end, it was Dreadnought that crossed the line first, but our J/100 FLEETWING stayed close and kept the gap very narrow, which proved enough to grasp the first victory of 2018!” Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

J/Newsletter- June 20th, 2018

J/Fest Northwest regattaJ/FEST Northwest Regatta Preview
(Seattle, WA)- The 2018 edition of the J/FEST Northwest Regatta will be hosted by Corinthian YC Seattle and J/Boats Northwest for forty-seven teams that include a PHRF class, and one-design fleets of J/24s, J/80s, J/30s, J/97E’s, J/105s, and J/109s.

For 26 years, J/Fest NW produced some of the best racing and after-race socializing available on the planet.  This year it is a two-day regatta (with a Friday night PHRF fun race) open to all J/Boats owners and crew.  The on-the-water activities are hosted by Sail Northwest and CYC Seattle.  Shoreside activities will be at the CYC Seattle Shilshole clubhouse Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday evening’s dinner and door prize extravaganza is always a sellout.  So, come on down and join us for what Northwest Yachting Magazine called “the most looked forward to regatta of the year”- J/FEST Northwest.

J/46 cruiser racer sailboat off Seattle, WAThe eight-boat PHRF Division includes a fun, eclectic mix of J’s from across the spectrum of time.  At the top end of the spectrum are the sisterships, the J/46 CLAYMORE (Michael Johnston) and the J/44 ASYLYM (Kyle Caldwell and Jamie Thomas).  At the other end of the scale is the J/32 DRAGONFLY (Anice & Alan Flesher).

The eleven-boat J/24 class includes some local, notable, celebrities, like TREMENDOUS SLOUCH (Scott Milne) and TUNDRA ROSE (Carl Sheath).

With eight J/80s, it is the largest turnout ever for this class in the PNW.  Some notable teams are Bryan Rhodes’ CRAZY IVAN and Mike Poole’s JOLLY GREEN (J/80 #1!!).

J/109 sailing J/Fest Northwest off Seattle, WAThe J/97E class has Rocky Smith’s INDIGO HORIZONTAL and Eric Barlow’s IRIE. The J/30 class includes Cindy Gossett’s OUTLAW and Jim Bottle’s CELEBRATION.

The always-popular J/105 class of eleven teams has just about all the movers and shakers in the PNW participating. In fact, it’s like a class reunion for 105-lovers!  Amongst the 105 cognoscenti are Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO; Tom Kerr’s CORVO 105; Eric Hopper, Matt Davis, Doug Scherk’s FREE BOWL OF SOUP from Portland, Oregon; Chris Phoenix’s JADED; Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM; and Ryan Porter’s AVALANCHE.

Similarly, the five J/109s will be sure to have spirited racing for the Pacific NW Championship Trophy!  Top contenders will certainly include Stu Burnell’s TANTIVY and Jerry Woodfield’s SHADA.  For more J/Fest Northwest Regatta sailing information

J/120s sailing off Long BeachUllman Sails Long Beach Race Week Preview
(Long Beach, CA)- Having one of its best turnouts in years is the annual Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, hosted by Alamitos Bay and Long Beach YC’s.  With three race areas to manage, the club’s PRO’s have their hands full with large dinghy classes, one-design keelboats (J/70s and J/120s) and large PHRF handicap classes.

At this time of year, just about anything goes; from the classic “June Gloom” of early morning fog, ultimately burning off to provide decent sailing conditions in the local seabreeze, or the brisk “Santa Ana” conditions that whistle in from the northeast dry and hot and blowing dogs off chains- often well into the 20-30 kts range.  To date, the forecast looks positively like Long Beach Chamber of Commerce conditions- sunny, moderate 6-12 kts winds from the SSE.

J/120 Jim sailing Long Beach, CALooking forward to classic SoCal weather will be the half-dozen boat J/120 class.  The usual suspects will be in attendance from the region. As was the case for the earlier San Diego NOOD Regatta, this class can be hard to handicap since they are all well-prepared, with good sails, and the only variables seem to be trimmers and tacticians!  At San Diego, John Laun’s CAPER set the pace early, fast, and never relinquished their lead.  Similarly, Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER challenged them but could only manage 2nd place.  Third was Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN.  Planning on upsetting that apple cart will be John Snook’s JIM, Tim Hogan’s SHAMROCK, and Rudy Hasl’s HASL FREE.

J/70s sailing off Long Beach, CAThe J/70s from across California have showed up “en masse”, with twenty-nine boats on the starting line from as far afield as Valle de Bravo, Mexico; San Francisco, CA; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and even Arizona YC in Arizona!  The entire top five from the San Diego NOODs will be striving to maintain their performance.  Winning was Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, 2nd was Chris Snow’s/ Jeff Brigden’s COOL STORY BRO, 3rd was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT, 4th Chris Raab’s SUGOI, and 5th Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO from Mexico.

Looming like a raptor ready to pounce on a kill are several top teams that have notable sailors on board that were not sailing the SD NOOD event.  For starters, there is West Coast J/70 Champion Bruce Golison on MIDLIFE CRISIS, then there’s Argyle Campbell (world famous sailor from Newport Harbor YC that needs no introduction), and, finally, down from San Francisco is Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER (a top 3 contender J/111 sailing off Long Beach, CAat the 2016 J/70 Worlds on the Bay).  Fun and games it will be to see how the dust settles after the long weekend in this class!

In the PHRF handicap world, we find Doug & Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA racing in PHRF B class.  Then, in PHRF D class there are three J/105s (Scott McDaniel’s OFF THE PORCH, Juan Lois’ ROCINANTE, & Bill Quealy’s J-RABBIT SLIM), Heinz Butner’s J/109 RAPTOR, and David Boatner’s J/35 RIVAL.  In the PHRF Random Leg C class is Paul Stemier’s J/44 PATRIOT, as well as Seth Hall’s J/124 MARISOL. Sailing PHRF Random Leg D class will be Jack Mayer’s J/109 ZEPHYR.  Sailing photo credits- Erin Rustigian and  For more Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week sailing information

J/70s sailing on Lake Garda, ItalyJ/70 EURO CUP V Regatta Preview
(Riva del Garda, Italy)- The first pan-European J/70 event took place on the spectacular waters of Lago di Garda in 2014.  As usual, the host club in Riva del Garda- the famous Fraglia de la Riva- played host to a fleet of nearly 50 boats that first year.  In the 4th edition for the 2018 Euro Cup Regatta, a new record fleet of seventy-three entries will be vying for the prestigious trophy.

J/70s from fourteen nations across the pantheon of Europe (Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, & Turkey) and two international countries (Brazil & Cayman Islands) will be looking forward to three-days of sailing fantasia.

The famous Lake Garda “wind machine” during the summertime can be scheduled for racing like clockwork.  After a lazy morning breakfast and stroll along the waterfront, the teams assemble at the yacht club and begin to saunter out to the starting area between 12 and 1 pm.  As the breeze builds up to 15-20 kts from the south, the PRO simply sets the standard course and can, generally, conduct three races per day.

J/70s sailing in ItalyWatch for some of these teams to be factors on the leaderboard over the weekend, Austrian Klaus Diem’s PFANDER, Belgian Patrick Van Heurck’s JAXX, two Brazilians (Mauricio Santa Cruz’s MANDACHUVA and Marcos Soares’ CAPIM CANELA), Cayman Islander Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY, Spaniard Jose Maria “Pichu” Torcida’s NOTICIA, British Jeremy Thorp’s PHAN, German Tobias Feuerherdt’s HANDWERKER, six Italians (Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK, Claudia Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE, Luca Domenici’s NOTARO TEAM, Vittorio Di Mauro’s TCL TEAM, Gianfranco Noe’s WHITEHAWK, & Alessandro Zampori’s MAGIE DAS TEAM), Maltese Sebastian Ripard’s CALYPSO, two Monegasques (Ludovic Fassitelli’s JUNDA- BANCA DEL SEMPIONE & Stefano Roberti’s PICCININA), Dutchman Wouter Kollmann’s PLAJ, two Polish (Krzysztof Krempec’s EWA & Pawel Tarnowski’s APOTEX), three Russians (Valerya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE RUS1, Denis Cherevatenko’s JOYFUL, & Petr Nosov’s JESSIE TANTA), two Swiss (Ruedi Corbelli’s JIM & Julian Flessati’s JILL), and the Turkish Emir Icgoren’s AMEERA JET.  For more J/70 EURO CUP sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

It has been a fascinating week of big offshore and round-the-cans events around the world.  For starters, the famous biennial offshore 635nm “thrash to the onion patch” took place this past week.  Co-hosted by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda YC, over 170 boats took off on Friday, June 15th to test their mettle crossing the infamously capricious Gulf Stream on their way to the garden of paradise in the mid-Atlantic- Hamilton, Bermuda and its pink beaches.  Most notably, all four J/121’s sailed well, all finishing in the top five in their respective classes, as well as one winning in “the pro division”- their Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division class.

In Europe, three major events were all taking place at the same time.  For starters, the J/70 Europeans took place in Vigo, Spain for sixty-nine boats, hosted by Real Club Nautico de Vigo.  Then, just north of them on the famous Solent, the IRC Europeans was hosted by RORC’s Cowes clubhouse on the Isle of Wight in Great Britain; the J/112E put on a command performance!  If that were not enough excitement for the week, the inaugural Women’s SAILING Champions League kicked off as part of Kieler Woche (Kiel Week) in Kiel, Germany for ten women’s crews from seven nations across Europe.

Meanwhile, in the Americas, the craziest offshore sailing adventure yet just started off Port Townsend, WA, the 755nm Race 2 Alaska up the “inside passage” to Ketchikan, Alaska!  Anything goes!  Pedal power, oars, sails, swimming, anything so long as it’s wind, solar, or human-powered.  A souped-up J/88 called BLUE FLASH is sailing and the updates are fun reading below.  Then, there is the “laid-back” edition of Block Island Race Week taking place with an update.  In addition, taking place on the same Saturday as the start of the R2AK was Sloop Tavern YC’s Three Buoy Fiasco, sailed on Puget Sound, off Seattle, WA.

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:

Jun 16-24- Kiel Week/ Kieler Woche- Kiel, Germany
Jun 17-22- Block Island Race Week- Block Island, RI
Jun 20-23- J/22 North American Championship- Wayzata, MN
Jun 22-24- J/FEST Seattle- Seattle, WA
Jun 22- RORC Morgan Cup Race- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Jun 22-24- Long Beach Race Week- Long Beach, CA
Jun 23-25- J/70 EURO CUP V- Riva del Garda, Italy
Jun 28- Jul 1- Norwegian J/70 National Championship- Hanko, Norway
Jun 29- Jul 1- New York YC One-Design Regatta- Newport, RI
Jun 30- Vic-Maui International Yacht Race- Victoria, BC, Canada
Jul 7-14- J/80 World Championship- Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Jul 7- Round the Island Race- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Jul 7-8- Sail Newport Regatta- Newport, RI

For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar. Win for ENFANT TERRIBLE @ J/70 Europeans
(Vigo, Spain)- Final day, final race, final leg.  The dueling leaders fought a titanic struggle right to the finish line.  The protagonists were Alberto Rossi’s ENFANT TERRIBLE and Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY.  Tied going into the final race, who-beat-who would win the championship.  On the final run to the finish, it was Rossi’s ENFANT TERRIBLE crew that proved their toughness, winning the race, with Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY taking second.  One could not conceivably write such an insane script to this Hollywood ending.  Needless to say, it will be “party-time” back in Ancona, Italy at the Rossi family household!

J/70 European winner- Alberto Rossia and daughter Claudia celebrating with a swimSixty-nine teams from fifteen countries sailed the 2018 J/70 Class Open European Championship and 2018 J/70 Corinthian Class European Championship. The Real Club Náutico de Vigo in conjunction with the International J/70 Class Association, and J/70 Spanish Class Association organized the event.  Thirteen races were sailed over five days, racing in the stunning Ria de Vigo on the Atlantic coast of Northwest Spain. The Real Club Náutico de Vigo rose to the occasion and rolled out the red carpet for all sailors; it was a fabulous week of sailing and socializing on the western Spanish Riviera!

J/70 Europeans winners- Enfant Terrible- Alberto Rossi“We sailed well as a team and technically speaking and we had a lot of fun, which is the best way to win,” commented Alberto Rossi. “We made a good recovery and we realized the win was possible only in the last race. We are thrilled that the trophy will be going back home with us. Enfant Terrible has won the TP52 Worlds and the Farr 40 Worlds. Both Claudia's team and mine will be in Marblehead, USA trying to win the 2018 J/70 World Championships, we are father and daughter, but we are very competitive with each other. I will also be competing in the Farr 40 Worlds in Chicago this year. I still love the Farr 40 Class and it has many similarities with the J/70; great racing, highly competitive, and a lot of fun,” commented Alberto Rossi- skipper of ENFANT TERRIBLE.

“Congratulations to Alberto and his team, they sailed very well,” commented RELATIVE OBSCURITY’s Peter Duncan. “We did not perform well towards the end of the regatta and we paid the price. I must say, a big THANK YOU to the organizers, this was a well-organized event both on and off the water, and we have been made very welcome. I am sure we will see some of the top European teams in Marblehead for the Worlds. It is a venue that can give a big variety of conditions, and there will be some very competitive American teams racing.”

J/70 Europeans Corinthians winnersLuis Bugallo's “Marnatura” (ESP) is the 2018 J/70 European Corinthian champion. Bugallo's team (Enrique Freire Faria, Gerardo Prego Menor, Alberto Basadre López, Jorge Lorenzo Romás) representing the host club, Real Club Nautico de Vigo was third in the Open Class. Luis is just 22 years old and is born and bred in Vigo.

“The team has been fantastic, nearly all of us are under 25. In the last race we had to take a big risk, and it paid off, we are so very happy to win the Corinthian Class in our home Vigo!”

Runner-up for the Corinthian Class was Paolo Tomsic's Società Nautica Grignano (ITA) and completing the podium was Luis Pérez Canal's Abril Verde (ESP) from the host club, Real Club Nautico de Vigo.   Final day- YouTube sailing video highlights   Follow and share the J/70 Europeans here on Facebook   For more J/70 European Championship sailing information

J/112E J-LANCE 12 wins IRC EuropeansJ/112E J-LANCE 12 Crushes IRC Europeans!
J-LANCE 12 Wins Class & declared Overall IRC European Champion!
(Cowes, England)- The Royal Ocean Racing Club hosted a stellar fleet of thirty-three offshore IRC racing teams from nine countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, USA) at their Cowes, Isle of Wight station for the 2018 IRC European Championship. 

The immaculately sailed J-LANCE 12 was crowned IRC European champion for 2018. The French J/112E skippered by Didier le Moal seemed never to put a foot wrong in the latter stages of this week-long regatta run from Cowes by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

"It's great, I didn't expect that," said le Moal of claiming the IRC Europeans title. "First of all, we wanted to win our class. But, this is fabulous to win overall! It concludes the wonderful week we've had. If you enjoy racing, we have been in paradise. The weather, sun, light winds, heavy winds, big tides, everything you could expect to enjoy from racing, we've had it all!”

Winning Saturday’s first windward-leeward race, held in 15-20 knot winds, was the French team's sixth bullet out of ten races. For the final big breeze, double-points scoring, round-the-cans, cannot discard race, the French had the class win secured, but played it safe.

"The wind was increasing a bit, so we preferred to sail safely, because we had a big lead. We just wanted to finish well," explained J-LANCE 12's navigator and team secret weapon Nicolas Lunven, the reigning Solitaire du Figaro champion. With the wind gusting into the 30 kts-plus range, they avoided gybing the spinnaker, to avoid breakage.

In addition to Lunven, le Moal and Fred Bouvier, the J-LANCE 12 crew of Christophe and Cyrille Cremades, Jean Francois Nevo, Jean-Michel Roux and Cyrille Teston are all friends who have sailed with le Moal for years.

"It is our third season sailing on the J/112E, so we know exactly how it works," continued le Moal. "We had a very, very good navigator - to be fast is one thing, but to be fast on the right side is a good thing! Upwind the boat is so fast, it helps you recover if you had a bad leg someplace!”

J/112E J-Lance 12- IRC Europeans winnersIn the final race in IRC Three, J-LANCE 12 placed fourth, simply dominating their fleet with a 20.5 pts total, winning with a 30+ points margin.  As the Queen once asked about how the British Royalty’s yachts did in the first race against the yacht AMERICA in the 100 Guinea Cup Race (now the America’s Cup), the reply was “your Highness, there was no second place.”  That would have been an appropriate response for how the IRC 3 felt after being eclipsed by the French crew on J-LANCE 12.

What may have really opened up everyone’s eyes was the performance of the J/112E in the windy, blustery 60nm Round Island Race (the original America’s Cup course around the Isle of Wight).  In that race, J-LANCE 12 finished 3rd boat-for-boat in the IRC 2 fleet! A commanding performance it was for the ages. In fact, in what was easily a “big-boat” race for currents and winds, J-LANCE 12 was 3rd overall on handicap time to the first two boats in IRC 1- all full-on stripped-out racing Fast 40s.

Here is a summary report from Fred Bouvier on their experience sailing J-LANCE 12 in the regatta.

“The key to our success was the following: good boat, good crew- all friends, and a lot of fun and parties ashore.  While we were extremely focused while sailing, it was the great fun ashore that, for sure, was an important part of our performance.

In some way, we were amazed by our results and how we performed against very good professional teams and IRC-optimized, stripped-out racing boats.

Day One- Sunday
We had light winds and only one windward-leeward race.  Our start was not good!  The room at the RC boat was closed at the gun, so we had to a turnaround in just 5 knots of wind and come back to the start line. There was a very nervous feeling on board, as this was not the best way to start the IRC European Championship.

Nevertheless, we fully concentrated on our speed and we crossed most of the fleet to round the first windward mark in fifth place!  We were still nervous, as we were not thinking that light wind was our best conditions. But, despite this concern, we were second at the next windward mark and, in fact, passing several IRC Class 2 back-marker boats that started ahead of us!

Then, we crossed the line just before the wind shut down, thank goodness! Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet was partially parked on the last downwind leg near the finish line, some of them anchoring/ kedging to stay in place because of the current.  With no more wind, the RORC PRO wisely cancelled racing for the day.

J/112E sailing fast upwindDay Two- Monday
We had medium to light winds all day and very shifty- 15-25 degree wind shifts and very streaky.  It was “round-the-cans” random leg courses.

The first race was a reaching start, again not best positioning for first leg, rounding the bottom mark around 9th place.  Then, we recovered to 6th at the second mark.  Then, the next leg gave us a long upwind where we could play wind shifts and we jumped into second place at the 2nd to last mark.  Finally, we passed the Danish X-37 Helly Hansen team to finish first.

For the second race, it was much shorter, with less upwind.  This time, we finished fourth on corrected time after missing a shift and streak on the final downwind run to the finish.  Halfway down the run it appeared we were winning the race, but the boats to the windward and right of rhumbline passed us.

Our conclusion was that Danish X-37 Helly Hansen team would be very strong competitors.

Day Three- Tuesday
The RORC PRO attempted the classic Round Isle of Wight Race.  However, it was never going to happen, even in our own estimation.  We started upwind heading west down the Solent towards the Needles, after beating for two hours against the tide in very light winds, it was clear it was not going to happen. For the first time on our navigation software, we could see that it was predicting an arrival time at the finish line as "infinite”…ha-ha! Not surprisingly, the race was then canceled!

The fleet then waited for several hours in the Solent, hoping a seabreeze or gradient breeze would fill in. Finally, late in the afternoon, a streaky wind that kept oscillating from northeast to southeast filled in, blowing 6-12 kts.

The first race was another long round-the-cans affair.  It was a great one for us!  We beat the Danish X-37 Helly Hansen and the French First 40.7 Pen Koent; winning both on elapsed and corrected time!

The final race was a very short windward-leeward in light, dying winds. There were a lot of issues playing with the bigger IRC 2 Class in front of us to avoid bad air from their ‘back-markers’.  The X-37 was still fighting hard, but we succeeded in passing them right at the finish line, so we won another race on corrected time.

That evening, we had an amusing discussion with a JPK 10.10 owner who seemed to be interested in our boat.  Since J-LANCE 12 was for sale, we made an appointment for a meeting on Friday after the races.

J/112E sailing IRC Europeans- winnersDay Four- Wednesday
We had one long and intense round-the-cans race all over the Solent in medium winds of 12-17 kts.  It was yet another reaching start (which we did not like, of course).  We spent the entire race working hard to beat the two French teams- the JPK 10.80 Shaitan and the First 40.7 Pen Koent. Surprisingly for us, the Danish X-37 Helly Hansen did not appear to sail as well in the breezier conditions.  As a result, we started to think that maybe it was optimized for light winds and the ORC rule.

Later, after dinner, I did some research on the Internet and I found the Danish X-37 was 2nd at the ORC Worlds in 2016 and was also rated lower than us in ORC!  Interesting!

Day Five- Thursday- the Round Island Race!
This was an amazing day for us!  Finally, we were able to sail the Round the Island clockwise in proper yachting conditions- 20 knots average wind speed, gusting to 27 kts, beating against the strong foul tide for almost three hours!  The fleet split off the starting line, one group of six boats went the north shore route up to Lymington, the other short-tacking along the south shore beneath the Isle of Wight cliffs.

It was a brilliant windward leg for us- three hours to exit the Solent upwind against the tide, except for the last 30 minutes when it changed. We rounded the Needles mark first in Class 3, but as well first in Class 2 in front of the First 40 and the King 40- they were clearly shocked we were that far in front of our IRC 3 Class!

The interesting point on the long upwind leg is that we had a small failure in our outhaul purchase system.  So, while we were beating in the middle of class 2 and 3 after having a not so good start, we were tacking every 5 minutes to gain places.  Meanwhile, to fix the outhaul problem, I was working on the aft face of the boom, while we were passing one after another of our competitors that had all crew hiking very hard. I did see some faces on several crews, looking amazed by our performance, especially with me standing to leeward of the boom and wheel doing the repair!

Then, it was a long downwind run against the tide (again!) where a JPK 10.80 and Sunfast 3600 took the inside line below us for less tide going to St. Catherines Point.  The wind against tide at the St. Catherines “overfalls” made for enormous, steep, breaking waves.  As we passed the point, their position inside was a good gain for them, so we dropped to third place on elapsed.

However, from that point down to the next turning mark, we stayed within a few boats length of them for the remaining downwind run, as well as the short reaching leg, before heading back west down the Solent for the last long upwind leg.  We were very fast on this leg, going higher and faster than the JPK 10.90 Shaitan and the Sunfast 3600 Redshift Reloaded.

We were just caught by one Class 2 boat by the finish line.  And, we were fighting the battle to gain back first place in our class, which we did! We crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron line off Cowes about the same time as the Sunfast 3600 and the 3rd place IRC 2 class boat!  Another huge win for the J-LANCE 12 team!

Our doubts about the Danish X-37 Helly Hansen were true, in more breeze the performance of the boat really dropped off compared to the whole fleet, always looking overpowered or not stable on any point of sail, they finished last in IRC 3 Class.

J/112E J-Lance 12 winners of IRC Europeans overall!Day Six- Friday
We had two more identical windward-leeeward races in medium winds of 12-17 kts.  In both races, the same scenario played out for us.  We started conservatively and were leading by the first windward mark each time, sailing ahead of the fleet to secure two bullets.

Day Seven- Saturday Finale
We had two more races on the final day.  The first one was yet another windward-leeward race.  Just like the day before, in 17-23 kts of breeze, it was a conservative start, and then we led all the way around the course for another bullet.

Then, the final race was a double-counter that could not be discarded!  It was a long round-the-cans “Solent Tour”, with wind forecast to 25 knots and gusting over 28 knots. With such a big lead on points, we decided to sail conservatively and avoid any wipeouts or breaking something that would force us to retire. On top of that, the previous night saw an even longer and fun party than the previous one!  So, several crew were quite tired and not at full capacity!

Despite sailing one reaching leg without spinnaker, while everyone on board was feeling a bit embarrassed, we finished 4th to secure the win with a 30 points ahead of the French First 40.7 Penn Koent.

It was a fantastic week and the highlight was for sure the boat and its performance.  I am still astonished by how she achieved this performance, while being a pure cruiser-racer and carrying a lot of comfort inside.

The other success factor was the crew; we know each other quite well, and we had a good experience sailing the J/112E.

Nevertheless, most importantly, we had what I called the “fun factor”- spending good times ashore all together and not taking this too seriously.  We know the other professional crews went to sleep early and were up at sunrise each day.  Not us! We would enjoy our morning coffees and croissants and stroll back down to the boat again in time to leave the docks each day.

Finally, the RORC Race Committee and their PRO- Stewart Childerley- deserve a strong congratulations as they ran the event better than everyone could imagine.”

Chris Stone, Racing Manager of the Royal Ocean Racing Club commented, "The IRC Europeans and Commodores' Cup have been an overriding success and all the competitors are happy. The racing has been a complete test with the full range of strong tides, heavy weather, light conditions and sun and rain. There were a couple of standout performances and I congratulate J-LANCE 12 crew as worthy winners. Otherwise, the racing was incredibly close at this third European Championship, showing that IRC remains in great health."  For more IRC European Championship sailing information

J/121 Apollo wings Bermuda Race- Gibbs Hill division/ classJ/121 APOLLO Wins Bermuda Race
1st Gibbs Hill Class, 6th Overall!  15 of 29 J’s Finish Top 5 in Class!
(Newport, RI)- The 51st running of the biennial offshore classic- the Newport to Bermuda Race was a relatively benign affair, with maximum winds barely pushing 15 kts and most of the time chasing zephyrs and wind-streaks across the Atlantic Ocean.  No speed records, for sure in the Maxi class. Famous bowman on George David’s R88 RAMBLER, Newport’s Jerry Kirby, was overhead saying on the bow as they approached Bermuda, “I’ve never done a race with George where we had no water over the bow! That’s crazy! What ‘thrash to the patch’? More like a mid-summer night’s cruise to paradise- Bermuda shorts, Gosling’s dark’n’stormies, and pink beaches here we come!”

And, with 75% of the fleet finishing between midnight Tuesday and Wednesday morning Bermuda time, it was more like a giant “raft-up in company” kind of race.  There were no outliers either east or west that did well.  Just about everyone could see each other the whole race and if you launched a drone up to 5,000 ft (easy to do), you would have captured half the fleet in one shot!

J/121 Apollo winning at Bermuda Race startThe action started at 1300 hrs EDT Friday, June 15 from Newport, Rhode Island, just beneath the famous Castle Hill Inn & Lighthouse at the port end of the starting line. It was not the “thrilla from Manila”, more like a slow and steady progression, trudging slowly through Chicago O’Hare’s security line, all heading somewhere along the 162-degree rhumbline to Bermuda.

The forecasts held true, the light northerly dying and the SSE winds building slowly from 4-6 kts at the start to SSW winds offshore overnight.  Thank goodness it was a strong ebb-tide at the first starting gun at 1305 hrs.  Had that not been the case, the start would’ve been chaotic.  As the final Maxi Class and Superyacht Class’s started, the fleet was well on its way to the Onion Patch with SSW winds of 7-12 kts.

The vast majority of the fleet endured a rather bizarre scenario offshore.  The big, fast boats basically rode the remnants of a micro-Low, then micro-High to whisk them along most downwind/ reaching to Bermuda; specifically, the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse division maxis- Rambler 88, the Maxi 72 Proteus, and the two Volvo 70s.  That group separated quickly into a separate system with a moderate northerly flow and rode it to Bermuda to make up the top five overall in the Gibbs Hill division. Behind them, the weather systems simply deteriorated into nothingness, with wind veering back into the northerly quadrants and dying, with numerous “park-ups” from east to west across the rhumbline for the main body of the fleet.  Ultimately, the forecasted southwesterlies and westerlies from an approaching front materialized and those that held to the west of rhumbline faired better than their colleagues off to the east.

Benefitting from that unfolding scenario was Don Nicholson’s J/121 APOLLO, finishing at twilight on Wednesday at 0322 hrs for a corrected time class win of 62:21:35 hrs (elapsed of 108:12:52) in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division Class 14.  Taking third in class the Leonid Vasiliev’s custom J/120 DESPERADO correcting out just 30 minutes back. As a result, overall under ORR Handicap, the J/121 APOLLO was 6th corrected time behind the obvious winners in the “breakaway” group in front of the fleet- the two Volvo 70s, Maxi 72, Rambler 88, and a TP52.  Fast company, indeed!  A great debut offshore for the APOLLO team!

J/121 Jackhammer sailing to BermudaSimilarly, the two J/121’s sailing in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division Class 9 (Joe Brito’s INCOGNITO & David Southwell’s ALCHEMY) sailed fast, but ultimately made a fateful decision around 1400 hrs Monday afternoon, gybing east nearly tangential to rhumbline to head further east.  It was a move that would seal their fate after leading for much of the race.  They were caught a bit too far to the east as the forecasted SW to W winds filled in.  As a result, despite alternating provisional leadership of their class halfway through the race, both boats ended up finishing nearly at the same time as their sistership APOLLO.  Joe Brito’s INCOGNITO finished at 0246 hrs Wednesday to take 4th in class, and David Southwell’s ALCHEMY finished at 0336 hrs to take 5th.

In the St David’s Lighthouse Division Class 6, Andrew Hall’s J/121 JACKHAMMER suffered a similar fate as INCOGNITO and ALCHEMY, getting just a bit too far to the east Monday afternoon as the southwest/west winds started to drift across the race course and power everyone in the big pack on starboard tack towards Bermuda on fast-reaching angles. As a result, they took the bronze in their class, missing the class win by just over 40 minutes- easily the distance they gave up going too far east.

In the Double-handed Division Class 3, Steve Berlack’s J/42 ARROWHEAD sailed a strong race, working their way to the west of rhumbline at the appropriate time on Monday afternoon and reaped the benefits to take the bronze!  Taking 5th place was Gardner Grant’s J/120 ALIBI.

In the SDL Class 5, Fred Allardyce’s J/40 MISTY managed a 3rd, while Eliot Merrill’s J/42 FINESSE placed 5th.

J/122 sailing off Bermuda Race start in Newport, RIWhat was tantamount to being the sole “J/Boats” division was SDL Class 7- six J/120s and four J/122s in a class of fourteen boats!  The very experienced J/120 teams (many whom have multiple Bermuda Races to their credit) swept the first four spots; leading was Rick Oricchio’s ROCKET SCIENCE, 2nd Richard Born’s WINDBORN, 3rd, John Harvey & Rick Titsworth’s SLEEPING TIGER, and 4th Brian Spears’ MADISON.  All went west of rhumbline at the critical juncture of 1600 hrs on Monday afternoon heading for the southwesterlies.  The first J/120 beat the first J/122 into the island finish line by over one hour.

With a number of Bermuda veterans, it was going to be interesting to see how the SDL Class 8 would unfold.  In the end, it was Mike McIvor’s J/133 MATADOR that salvaged (believe it or not) a third place on the podium after leading boat-for-boat of all J’s for the first 2/3 of the race.  Yes, it was the same SW/W gradient that nearly did them in too by getting a bit too far east.  Taking fifth was Len Sitar’s J/44 VAMP and sixth was Chris Lewis’ KENAI.

In the Finisterre Division (cruising class) Class 13, Howie Hodgson’s J/160 BLUE took fifth place.

In the final analysis, perhaps the most shocking statistic is that out of the 29 J’s racing Bermuda, fully half of them managed a top five finish in class! As for podium finishes, two Golds, one Silvers, five Bronzes for a total of eight medals- nearly 1/3 of all J/teams entered podiumed.  Pretty good odds/bets in the greater scheme of things!  As J/sailors have learned/ discovered over time, a well-balanced boat that can sail in all-around conditions ultimately prevails, and often wins!

Sailor Girl- Nic Douglass- interview with Brad Willauer- Commodore of the CCA and owner of the J/46 BREEZIN UP   For more Newport to Bermuda Race sailing information

J/70s sailing Women's SAILING Champions League- Kiel, GermanyKDY Tops Women’s SAILING Champions League
(Kiel, Germany)- The inaugural Women’s SAILING Champions League took place at Kieler Woche in northern Germany on the southeastern part of the Baltic Sea. With 10 teams from six nations, the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) and Hellerup Sejlklub made it a one-two victory for Denmark.

J/70 Women's SAILING Champions League winnersKongelig Dansk Yachtclub, aka the Royal Danish Yacht Club, won the inaugural event of the brand-new Women’s SAILING Champions League. Over the three days of the regatta which took place from June 16th to 18th June during Kieler Woche, two Danish crews dominated the league racing in J/70 keelboats. There were all kinds of weather conditions over the three days, but the final day saw spectacular conditions with a southwesterly breeze blowing at 11 to 13 knots.

Each team competed in 20 races across the three days, and the Royal Danish Yacht Club rarely finished out of the top two in any race. Strangely, the final heat proved to be their worst score, although that 4th place didn’t matter because the crew with skipper Henriette Koch, Anne-Sofie Munk-Hansen, Tina Schmidt Gramkov, Helle Ørum Ryhding and Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen had already notched up a commanding lead in the standings.

J/70 Women's SAILING Champions League- roundingKoch, who represented Denmark at the London 2012 Olympic Games, commented, “I think it’s a pleasure we’re starting a new tradition– a new way of sailing. It’s great to be the winning team in the first event. On top of that, I think it’s brilliant to finally have a women’s sailing championship!”

Hellerup Sejlklub (Trine Abrahamsen, Christina Otzen, Katrine Munch Ejlev, Ida Hartvig, & Lærke Marie Sørensen) finished in second place. Both Danish teams were some way ahead of the chasing pack that were focused on who would grab the final podium place going into the last heat of the competition.

J/70s Women's SAILING Champions League- Kiel, GermanyA first place in the last race gave Akademischer Segelverein Warnemünde team (Johanna Meier, Carolin Junker, Pia Sophie Wedemeyer, Andrea Aachenbach, Lisa Schälke) third place overall, just one point ahead of fellow German team from Deutscher Touring Yacht Club (Laura Fischer, Anna Seidl, Mareike Weber, Monika Linder, Linda Weber) that finished on equal points with Dutch entry International Yacht Club Amsterdam (Rikst Dijkstra, Fettje Osinga, Milah Wouters, Irena Doets, Sanne Crum).

Nynne Desirée Ammundsen from ISLA (International Sailing League Association) said, “It’s been a blast! Following 50 competitive women on 10 teams from different nations sailing in Kiel is a really good start. This is only the beginning. We have established a strong base and a solid foundation to make sure the Women’s SAILING Champions League concept goes from strength to strength. Having sailors from different nations, classes, levels and ages is exactly what ISLA is working towards, developing the league format. It’s great to see sailors respond so positively to this format.”

SAP Sailing Analytics provided 24/7 additional statistics and data for sailors, fans, spectators and media like GPS tracking, real-time analysis, and live leaderboard combined with 2D visualization. You can find all results on (!   For more Women’s SAILING Champions League sailing information

J/105s sailing Cleveland Race WeekCleveland Race Week Off To Hot Start!
J/22s, J/70s, J/105s See Dominating Performances
(Cleveland, OH)- The highly-popular Cleveland Race Week started last weekend on the waters of Lake Erie, hosted by the Edgewater Yacht Club for just one-design classes- J/22s, J/70s, and J/105s.

The seven-boat J/22 class saw a near whitewash by Ryan Lashaway’s DEUCE team, posting a 1-2-1-1 tally for 5 pts.  No one else was even close.  It was really a battle for the balance of the podium.  In the end, it was Jason Goscha’s DOUBLE-J that took the silver with a consistent 4-3-4-2 for 13 pts.  Third was Anna Huebschmann’s ESCAPE with an equally consistent scoreline of 3-6-2-6 fro 17 pts.

The thirteen-boat J/70 fleet saw the dynamic duo of Lee Sackett & Dave Kerr simply eviscerate the fleet, starting off with five straight bullets, then backing off on the gas to take a deuce in their last race, closing with just 6 pts total!  Ouch.  Fellow family member Tod Sackett upheld the family honor by taking 2nd place with 21 pts total. Third was the “Jamaican Sailing Team- Sminchak/ Moose” on SPIFFIT with 23 pts.

The seven-boat J/105 class had an insanely inconceivable three-way tie on 4 pts after just two races sailed!!  No one would ever believe this wackiness!  So, Robert Mock’s UNBRIDLED scored a 3-1. Ron Carson’s DARK’N’STORMY posted a 1-3.  And, coincidentally, who got the two 2nds?? Doh! The Uhlir Brothers’ TRIO took the 2-2.  How crazy is that?  So, the countback/ tiebreak worked in Mock’s favor, winning over Carson in 2nd and the Uhlir’s in third!  For more Cleveland Race Week sailing information

J/111 sailing Block Island Race WeekBlock Island Race Week Update
(Block Island, RI)- The Duck Island Yacht Club in Westbrook, Connecticut and the Block Island Yacht Club have teamed up to co-host Block Island Race Week 2018. The event will feature five days of racing (2 per day) on Block Island Sound June 17th to the 22nd.

In a “Bermuda Race” year, the event has always been much more laid back with a smaller fleet of boats.  Nevertheless, the camaraderie is proportionately greater as everyone seems to know everyone sailing in the regatta.  That quaintness, in fact, serves as its appeal for many sailors that simply want a relaxing “sailing vacation.”

J/111s sailing Block Island Race WeekA number of J/crews have answered that call of competitive, but laid-back random leg races, not all that windward-leeward, rest, rinse, repeat, again and again in monotonous fashion kind of stuff.  This year’s DIYC and BIYC PRO’s have promised to make it fun, easy, and not too many sets and takedowns each day!  In the PHRF Spinnaker division, a total of eight boats are sailing, half of it J/teams.  Three J/111s are racing; Sedge & Andy Ward’s BRAVO, Greg Slamowitz’s MANITOU, and Kenn Fischburg’s WILD CHILD.  Joining them is a very fast J/29, John Hammel’s appropriately named SLEEPER from Noroton YC. Sailing in the PHRF Non-Spin Class is Peter Hilgendorff’s J/29 MEDDLER. Should be fun!   BIRW Sailing results here   For more Block Island Race Week sailing information

Three Buoys Fiasco’Twas A 3BF Fiasco Alright!
J/109 Horizon Jobs Class!
(Seattle, WA)- Yes, indeed, the Sloop Tavern YC’s Three Buoys Fiasco race course of NSJMN for a distance of just 13.46nm was a fiasco in the making.  In the end, it seemed like just about every boat from a J/27 up to J/109s completed the course in about 2 to 2.5 hours, such were the conditions, a range of 5.38 kts to 6.73 kts for any boat that floated! LOL.

In the end, it’s supposed to be “fun & games”.  Which it was.  Chalk it up for the notoriously fun-loving Sloop Tavern YC in Seattle, WA to host another laid-back “Three Buoys Fiasco” race!

After a rather “reachy” course setup, even an Optimist dinghy might have covered the course in 2-2.5 hours.  Seems like everyone could do around 6.5 kts on this one.

Organized chaos it was.  In the Class 4 FS division, Ulf Georg Gwildis’ J/30 IMPULSIVE secured a 4th.

The Class 5 FS division had Leo Morales immaculate J/27 WIZARD snatch the silver, while Lek Dimarucot’s J/80 UNDERDOG closed the podium with a bronze.

Class 6 FS had a trio of J/105s.  At best they could manage was a third- with Jeremy Boyne’s’ AVALANCHE landing on the podium.  Fourth was Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO and fifth Phil LeMouel’s LIFTOFF.

Finally, in Class 7 FS it was Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA that won by far with the largest margin of any class winner in the race- over 11 minutes on the short course on corrected time.  That happened to be at the expense of J-colleague Bill Daniel’s pretty J/100 TOURIST that took second!  For more Three Buoy Fiasco sailing information

J/88 Blue Flash sailing Race 2 Alaska
BLUE FLASH- Race 2 Alaska Update
(Port Townsend, WA)- On Saturday, June 16th, the infamous Race to Alaska started off Port Townsend, WA for the first qualifying leg of 40nm.  Then, on Monday, June 18th, the “real race” took off to Ketchikan, Alaska for over 735nm up fearsome straits with currents up to 15 kts, tornado-puffs pealing down hillsides like 40 kts microbursts gales, and even snow midsummer off the Canadian maritime provinces of British Columbia and the “inside passage” north to Alaska.  The weather can be fearsome.  A race not for the faint of heart, that is for sure.

J/88 Blue Flash crewScott Grealish’s son Sean and five other crew members all under-25 are sailing their J/88 BLUE FLASH and hope to be the first boat to finish and win a cash prize of $10,000.  That they even finish will be a reward in itself as the youngest adventurers ever to accomplish that feat. Here are some of Scott’s daily updates on their progress north to Ketchikan.

June 18th- Monday- 2035 hrs Pacific
Quick update for those who didn't stay up half the night watching the tracker :)

The team made an incredible start out of the harbor, and worked really hard to build a lead in super light air and against current in the early going.  Really good stuff.

They had a tough decision to make at Turn point, and in the pre-race briefing, we had discussed going out of Boundary pass if they were late to this point.....but they went inside in a gamble to get up to Active pass before the current turned against them.....and it almost worked!!

Race 2 Alaska wildlife- porpoiseAt that point, with just a few more knots of breeze, they could have punched out into the straights and had a commanding lead.  It wasn't to be.

They made a choice to go north to the next pass, Portlier, which had a 3 am window of slack to allow them through...but they were fighting the ebb current in light air and you can see on the tracker that they bailed out and just hung around Active pass for hours waiting for their chance to get through there instead. I'm pretty sure that was a decision based on fatigue from a long hot day of pedaling and light air sailing.

In reality, if you got to turn point late and elected to go inside, you needed to 100% commit to going up to Portlier (as the race winning PT watercraft did).  That would have put them right where he is now, literally 25 miles at least ahead.

But as luck had it, the outside boats got just enough breeze to creep up north overnight, and the tough luck is that today the southerly boats haven't gotten the wind (as we expected) and so the boats in front will extend the lead and things look pretty grim for now.

BUT, that same idea works both ways, and here is my two cents on what's up next.

So, you guys headed my way?  wazzup??The light air zones in the straights will persist with all this high pressure today....and there may be some southerly even at times and places that could bring them back.  But by late tonight/early am there should be real southerly breeze that could bring the fleet back up towards the leaders.

PLUS, the next big "gate" to get past is Seymour Narrows....and if the leaders get there any time other than slack, they have to wait up to six hours.  So once again, a little luck can either get you way up the course or bring back the fleet to you.

The next wild card is the actual Johnstone Straight.  They can get past the narrows by pedaling (it's short) but all the teams will be very challenged if the light air continues as forecast and they have to manage the entire straight under mostly human power.....  The team knows this, and the pre-race plan was to pack in the sleep today/ tonight so they can power thru.

Once the leaders (whoever they are) clear that hurdle, they will be very hard to catch.  It's been a crazy race so far!

J/88 Blue Flash sailing upwindJune 19th- Tuesday- 0900 hrs Pacific
Wow!  Big gains overnight for Team Blue Flash.  As expected, the southerly breeze came and brought them back into this race.  I'm sure there are smiles onboard this morning, as they are finally getting a chance to show they are good sailors.

They took 10 miles out of almost everyone, sailing away from the Olson 30 Dreamcatcher, and taking time out of the leaders.

I'll reveal my secret weapon now:  It's called the A2PHRF kite.  At 103 sq meters, it's much bigger up top than the typical 89 sqm J/88 kite.  Great for this stuff.  Version one took us to several victories (until Cal Offshore week when it went from 20 to 30 knots quickly and Andrew H (included here so I can tease him yet one more time :)  found out that at 19 knots boat speed even he can't keep the J/88 from wiping out when the rudder cavitates!)  So, we shredded that one.

But version two was cut even better for some reaching, and used only in the Mac race (served us well).  New sails are fast!

The big story:  The girls are nearing the tidal gate at Seymour Narrows, but they are going to miss the 10:30 ebb by a hair!  That means they get their turn to sit while the Blueflash gets until 4:30 to get there.  So, it's race restart at Seymour Narrows!!!

Then they all go thru and guess what?  It's a 10.6kn flood!  So, they all sit on the other side in Brown's bay until 11pm.  Then when they finally get the ebb....there won't  be any real wind!

So, it's river sailing in light wind and current.  Sean and Grant have been racing in that condition since they were 8!  I like their chances.  Going to be tricky at night too.... This just got interesting.....

J/88 sailors off CanadaJune 20th- Wednesday- 1235 hrs Pacific
Got a great text around noon from the team:  "Team is in really good spirits.  Great trip so far".  After worrying about them half the night getting thru the Seymour Narrows and Johnstone Straits, that was a good text!

Sean started dreaming about this race two years ago, watched every video, analyzed all the tracks, talked to prior participants, and set out with one goal:  Create an all youth team and be the youngest to finish R2AK.

I bring that up because, naturally, in the prep and early stages of this R2AK, they clearly were out there with competitive ambitions. I'm thinking right about now they are stepping back and realizing that R2AK is really all about challenging yourself in the company of like-minded (crazy) people.  And, they are having a great adventure!

For the moment, they look good coming through Johnstone Straits without getting into big headwinds. The leaders are about 30 miles up the course, but considering the team stopped for a few tidal gates on the race so far, it's actually pretty cool there is this much company near the front of the fleet.

I think things could get closer, actually, as the leaders enter back into the channels to Bella Bella and the chasers look like they'll be reaching fast. And, a forecasted gale will slow the others down, while the J/88 can keep sailing!

I think Russell Brown on PT Watercraft (solo guy on a Gougeon catamaran, who stops every night) is sleeping more than I am this week!

Remember, they will lose cell coverage soon, so not likely to hear much until Bella Bella. I'll relay any sat phone updates I receive.

J88 Blue Flash cruising upwindJune 20th- Wednesday- 2335 hrs Pacific
I got a call from Sean. All good.  They tried to get out of Johnstone Strait, but got flushed back. No wind, much more current than charts suggest.

Trying again on this next cycle.

Conditions change quickly and don't reflect what we see online. Talks five minutes, then wind built from dead to over 15 kts. “Gotta go Dad”!

He confirmed they missed Active Pass by 45 minutes, so the ten mile lead turned into a ten mile loss. They tried for Portlier, but couldn't make berthing/ docks against the current. Their pedal drive is not up to the other leaders level- like the “girl power” in front of them.

He said the leaders went thru Seymour Narrows with nearly max ebb in no breeze (up to 15 kts!). Gutsy call. They would have had double that current, so they waited. They skipped the next slack to flood, as they didn't think they could get into Brown's Bay and would get flushed back through Seymour Narrows!

J/88 paddling and bikingIn any event, they timed their Johnstone Straits run perfectly, to get to Helmken Island, as planned, and out of the powerful currents flowing down Johnstone Straits.

They know about the dissolving omega block, approaching Low (depression), gale warning for Johnstone Strait.  That should help them a lot against the leaders- the J/88 can handle that, not so sure about the others!

They are going to need water and battery recharge in Bella Bella and plan to stop.

They are thinking things through and playing it conservative.

They told me to tell Stu Johnstone that you can hit a large floating tree at 5 knots going upwind in a J/88 and it doesn't leave a scratch!

I guess that proves the logs don't go away at night....Go BlueFlash!

More news when it’s fit to print next week!  Or, follow “LIVE” at the links below.  Fascinating race!!

Follow the Race 2 Alaska on Facebook here   For more Race 2 Alaska sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/88 Hokey Smokes women Crew and Richie!* Here is the tale of Rich Stearns, his all-women crew, and how they learned to “Put the Dawg on It”!

Richie sailed the J/88 HOKEY SMOKE in this year’s J/88 class at the Chicago NOOD on Lake Michigan.  His crew was comprised of the following women:
  • Denise Anhurst - first NOODs
  • Annie Baumann- crew chief
  • Kristin Camarda- first NOODs
  • Marcella Grunert
  • Freya Olsen
  • Ann Zeiler
  • Joy Wilson
Following is Richie’s story of sailing with seven (7) women on a J/88:

Chicago, the home of many competitive fleets and active sailing, recently hosted the 30th annual Helly Hansen NOODs, June 8th-10th. A popular and successful event, which many Chicago racers hibernate throughout the arctic winter to rally to enjoy their first sip of summer, the Chicago NOODs is always looked forward to as a hallmark of the beginning of racing season. True to Chicago’s knack for unpredictable weather, this year’s NOODs had its fair spread of conditions including: storms, light and moderate air, rain, and the unusual, but always surprising, fog.

The fog was not the only surprise. This year, J/88 HOKEY SMOKE owner Rich Stearns made the decision to build his program off the strength and fitness of “girl-power”. Bringing various levels of experience together was going to be a challenge, his all-women crew ranged from mid-twenties to mid-fifties. Racing with an all-women crew is not common in the male-dominated sport of sailing.

J/88 Hokey Smokes and women's crewThe J/88 fleet in Chicago continues to grow, and eight teams came out for the Chicago NOODs.  The class in Chicago is competitive and will be hosting the J/88 North Americans come August, with over 20 boats expected on the line. During the NOODs, a few other boats carried one or two women crew, but none were fully crewed with women as HOKEY SMOKE was. With postponements held all three mornings, it made the thirst for competition even stronger, as there would be limited races to test/ train the team. Making efforts more difficult, with only two races a day, HOKEY SMOKE’s newly-assembled crew was under pressure to rapidly improve versus the seasoned J/88 crews on the starting line.

Stearns’ green crew, started at the bottom of the pack, and worked their way together as a team to finish the final race of the regatta with a third in fleet!

But, as with any good result, improvement takes time and focus.

On Day 1, the weather, crew work and maneuvers proved to be challenging and offered lots of opportunity for improvement. The AP was signaled at 08:45 and not dropped until 12:00. As HOKEY SMOKE went out to course, they went through the responsibilities of positions, but with limited time before the first sequence to practice tacks, trim and sets. With the first practice set, and a shakeout of some cobwebs, the chute finally came down. It looked like a cat on a leash. It just did not look right.

Annie, trimmer, commented to her pitman, Freya, and fellow trimmer, Joy, that it just did not fall well. “That’s gonna be a not good for me,” Annie stated in low, stern voice.

Freya quickly replied, “That’s gonna be a no for me, too, dawg!”

And, so the expectation of real crew improvement was born. The team quickly debriefed and checked the kite. With little time before the start sequence, a little more banter was exchanged and the crew agreed there would be no more cats on the leash.

“We gotta put a dawg on it ladies!” the crew chief kept coaching. As the first race would sound off, the HOKEY SMOKE team would see where stood against the rest of the pack.

Placing last in the first race, the boat was moving slow.  But, the crew attitude and spirit was eager to improve their performance. Small communications and adjustments were made. And, trust was being built.

“The secret sauce to competitive sailing is crew mates trusting each other,” commented Denise, first time NOODs competitor. “What is unique to HOKEY SMOKE is Rich and his crew’s commitment to establishing a learning environment whereby each crew member can improve their skills.”

Rich debriefed after each race and encouraged crew participation, both to learn and figure out the key boat mechanics and sail trim that were contributing to our lagging performance.

He communicated in layman's term clearly. Cool as a cucumber, never once did he stress his decibels during a foul or slow maneuver. Ever so patient, he carefully identified and provided insight to teach and support his crew. To which his team responded well and followed suit, each of the teammates respectfully teaching another, never squishing toes.

The biggest challenge for the boat would be the roundings. The leading boats BANTER and EXILE were a guide as we saw their spinnakers wonderfully fill and launch right at the mark. It was clear the HOKEY SMOKE chute was not getting that pop-out like the other boats, and was a failure to launch. The halyard was either too quick on the hoist, filling the chute halfway, or too delayed, the clew catching on the lifeline. The starboard jib sheet was another factor. So was a graceful and clean douse.

The timing of hoisting a spinnaker happens very quickly, and when it is done just right, it’s “Goldie Locks”.

During the first two days, we had switched the positions at the mast; which changed up the tempo and groove. The command to hoist was getting confused with nearby boats hoisting, as well as “get ready to hoist”. The women crew, as great communicators, quickly established key words and lexicon to clarify the timing and the execution of the maneuver. Ironing out any confusion, the term “bang it” was defined as the proper announcement of when to hoist. By the last race of the day, we were in a groove and were able to dance around the weather mark with a good chute set.

Another flaw that we witnessed was that the starboard jib sheet was loaded on the winch at the roundings, not being released when we were furling the jib. The sheet stalled the process, causing some confusion and, more importantly, shadowing the spinnaker from filling and letting the boat take-off. We figured out that the sheet was being loaded from former port lay line tack approaching the rounding. But on a starboard lay line, it had been left on, when there was no need for it.  As a crew, a good team is constantly figuring out the “go fast” tricks, or slips that might be dragging you down, keeping the sheet free while approaching the mark was the solution.

The take down of the chute always requires careful coordination. Although it’s a step-by-step process, part of racing is that not everything goes as planned. Another source of excitement was “just in time” communications from back of the boat regarding the style of douse. From leeward to Mexican, it was important that the front of the boat be ready on the correct side, and that if a last second decision was made, the crew in front was synchronized with the back of the boat. The bowman on the first day, out of sync, began to bring the chute down by the clew and the leech. During a debrief, a crew-mate went up to explain that, collapsing the foot first on the chute during the leeward roundings is the quickest way to decrease the sail area of a spinnaker, making it ineffective as a sail. Making a triangle with her hands, she collapsed her the thumbs (foot), and showed how the head of the sail theoretically collapses easily down.

Although elementary to a veteran racer, there were many small, yet significant maneuvers that were crucial to boat speed and performance against the competition.  The numerous examples of women teaching and trusting each other to create solutions were a wonderful affirmation that sex doesn’t determine skill. To achieve skill is the opportunity to experience, to be given the chance, to improve and become a good racer. A good racer, is eager, willing to learn, and passionate. Over the weekend, there was no lack of passion, good humor, and competitive desire on HOKEY SMOKE. It can be said that some ladies are like cats, but this crew was determined to play with the boys, and “put a dawg on it.”

Over the series, the HOKEY SMOKE crew concluded that whenever beginning something new it is much like, a cat on the leash. But, the effort and motivation to succeed, to do better, to work together, and to have fun while doing it, is what racing is about in any team and sport for that matter. To, “put a dawg on it”, is not only about having a positive humor to improve, but also to do it with a little sass and style, and willingness to identify things that are not working on the boat, and to overcome the obstacles. The phrase became a mantra for the ladies and Stearns, and was a tool that reinforced the new crew skills and communication.

After a few lumps, bumps and a cat’s meow or two, let the record show that HOKEY SMOKE showed up to play, took that cat off the leash, and “put the dawg on it.” They look forward to all the catcalls and barks throughout the season. Congratulations to teams BANTER, EXILE and WINDSONG for their standing on the podium. Thank you to Chicago Yacht Club and Helly Hansen NOODs for running a wonderful, competitive, fun regatta. And greatest thanks to Rich Stearns, for improving and growing the presence of women in sailboat racing.   Watch a fun, amusing video of the HOKEY SMOKE team on Facebook here

J/41 Souay1 sailing Samui Regatta off Thailand* Recently, it was a “life-time” moment on the J/41 SOUAY1 in the Samui Regatta 2018 for Jean Rheault (owner) and his friends.  Here are Jean’s comments:

“The Samui Regatta ( is a major event in the China Sea, located in the Doldrums latitudes, with light winds and a few violent clouds and thunder showers in the mid-afternoons- typical of our climate here.

As a boat owner, I had the great happiness to have my J/41 SOUAY1 sailed singlehanded up to Thailand. I also felt very proud to invite guests for a ride on her after I installed a full teak deck with an integrated elegant and comfortable teak cockpit (all Burma teak, of course, of the best grade possible I could find!).

J/41 sailing fast upwind - Samui Regatta- ThailandBut now, my happiness was to invite offshore sailors to join my team and, hopefully, sail her fast and smart.

To keep weight low, the strategy was to have a limited crew for the Samui Regatta.  We had aboard:
  • Ray Waldron, an Australian wave surfer, who also races his Etchells,
  • Cedric Rimaud, a passionate French owner of three classic 6-meters, and
  • Guido Wedekind, a German professional fighter, who lived for years on his 54 ft wooden sailboat.
The multiple tasks required for around-the-cans racing placed a very high demand for the small crew on our old 41 ft IOR One Tonner- designed by the famous J/Boat co-founder, Rodney Johnstone.

J/41 Souay1 wins Samui Regatta!Nevertheless, I am sure you can imagine the satisfaction of everyone onboard our SOUAY1 after a week of sailing the regatta- winning six of seven races!  We even crossed ahead of several modern IRC designs in some of the races with light wind spots and tidal current.  The old J/41 is quite fast in that light air, flat-water conditions!  She is perfectly suited for those conditions here because we see a lot of it throughout the year (monsoon season, notwithstanding!).

We hope you enjoy some of the photos from our experiences sailing the famous J/41 here in our waters off Thailand and winning the famous Samui Regatta Cup.  Wonderful boat. Fantastic, fun crew!  Thank you all.”  Thanks for the contribution from proud J/41 owner- Jean Rheault.
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