Wednesday, July 25, 2018

J/Newsletter- July 25th, 2018- Announcing NEW J/99!

NEW! J/99 Short-handed Offshore Speedster!
(Newport, RI)- J/Boats and J/Composites are pleased to announce the new J/99, a 9.9 meter (32.6’) crew-friendly, offshore-capable speedster currently under development at J/Composites in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

J/99 interiorThe J/99 is the newest addition to the J/Sport range, combining headroom and comfortable interior accommodation with the tiller-driven responsiveness of a sport boat. The sail and deck plan are optimized for easy handling with fewer crew, and incorporate the latest developments from the award-winning J/121 and the new Offshore Sailing World champion J/112E. The interior features twin aft cabins, a proper sit-down forward facing nav station, an L-shaped galley, and a private forward head with sail locker.

Now more than ever, sailors are attracted to adventure-filled, signature events (Fastnet, Middle Sea, Chicago-Mac, etc.) where straight-line speed, sail handling, strategy and weather routing are all equally put to the test. The J/99 is designed to excel in these events (both fully crewed and short-handed) while delivering the exhilarating, family-friendly experience the J Sport range is known for.

“The J/99 opens up a wide range of sailing possibilities,” commented designer Alan Johnstone. “The versatile sail plan, balanced hull form and efficient cockpit will work as well for short-handed offshore sailing as for weekend sailing with friends. The J/99 packs a lot of performance and versatility into a manageable size and budget.” For more J/99 Offshore Speedster sailing information

J/112E sailing 
J/112E & J/97E @ Sydney Boat Show
(Sydney, Australia)- The race-winning sport cruiser- the J/112E- will be on display at the Sydney International Boat Show, which is from 2nd to 6th August at Darling Harbour, in Sydney, Australia. Also on display will be the pocket-rocket J/97E sport cruiser.

J/112E interiorThe J/112E has been on a tear in European offshore sailing circles. It is the 2018 Offshore Sailing World Champion (ORC & IRC), the 2018 IRC European Champion, two-time Round the Island winner (IRC class in 60nm round Isle of Wight race), Cowes Week IRC winner, and two-time SPI OUEST France IRC winner. What is most remarkable about the J/112E’s performance is that she’s a fully-equipped cruising boat, too, with a gorgeous interior fit for a King and Queen; unlike its erstwhile competitors that are virtually stripped-out, full-on racing machines. Learn more about the J/112E and how it can fit not only into your bucket list racing plans, but also how you can enjoy a very comfortable family cruise to your favorite islands and harbours. Learn more about J/112E here.

J/97E sport cruiserSimilarly, the J/97E sport cruiser is a proven winner, having won her class in Cowes Week, SPI OUEST France, La Rochelle Race Week, Warsash Spring Series, Hamble Winter Series, 1st in Class & 2nd Overall in the Chicago-Mackinac Race (289nm), and J/Cup UK twice. Her amazingly commodious, well-appointed interior is perfect for a cruising couple that wants to get away from it all in a mobile, queen-size, suite that includes an office (sit-down nav table) and kitchen (big L-shaped galley)! Learn more about the J/97E here.

Contact Ray Entwistle for more boat show information at Yachtspot- mobile- +61-0406-562262 or email- Visit their site at or on Facebook-

J/70 sailing off Marblehead, MAMarblehead NOOD Regatta Preview
(Marblehead, MA)- The 2018 Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD Regatta is being hosted by the famous triumvirate of yacht clubs in the area- Boston YC, Corinthian YC, and Eastern YC. Primarily hosted on the grounds of EYC as “base camp”, hundreds of sailors will yet again enjoy the tremendously warm reception provided by the membership of the three clubs. The forecast looks promising, with mostly southerly winds in the 8-12 kts range from Thursday through Saturday. Then, a potential front flowing through Saturday night that produces a northwesterly flow that is light in the morning and switching at some point midday to an onshore seabreeze from the southeast in the 5-8 kts range.

Dozens of J/Sailors enjoy this very popular regatta from up and down the New England & Atlantic coast, from Maine down to South Carolina. There are one-design fleets of J/24s, J/70s, and J/105s.

An enormous, record-breaking J/70 fleet of fifty-six boats has registered for this year’s event. No doubt, with several foreign entries participating, many in the fleet are sailing as part of their training program for the upcoming J/70 World Championship that will be hosted by Eastern YC in September 2018.

Many of the top teams that have led the fleet in the past few regattas will be testing their crews and latest sail designs. Amongst those teams are Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT, Jud Smith’s AFRICA, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT, Glenn Darden’s HOSS, Ray & Jenn Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY, Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS, Heather Gregg & Joe Bardenheier’s MUSE, Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY, Brian Keane’s SAVASANA, Will Welles’ SCAMP, Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE, John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES, and Tim Healey’s USA 2; just to name a few of the top boats!

A number of leading foreign teams are showing up, including the 2nd place team in last week’s United Kingdom J/70 Nationals- Martin Dent’s JELVIS (also a J/111 World Champion). In addition, there is Brazil’s Selmo Nissenbaum sailing HIGHLANDERS, Argentina’s Geronimo Galvan skippering JUICY, and Switzerland’s Massimo Soriano.

The dozen-boat J/105 class has amongst its constituency several notable local crews that have led past NOODs. Those teams include Charlie Garrard’s MERLIN, Steve Hollis’ SIROCCO, Mark Lindquist’s STERLING, Mark Masur’s TWO FEATHERS, and Peter Isaacson’s UPROAR.

Finally, in the nine-boat J/24 class, there will be several top teams from past Marblehead NOODs. Those teams include John Denman’s AIRODOODLE, Chris Clancy’s LITTLE MARTHA and John Wells’ SHELDON J. In addition, the J/24 Class Youth Team will be sailing USA 423, skippered by Kira Munger from Newport, NY.
For more Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/105s sailing downwindJ/105 North American Championship Preview
(Harbor Springs, MI)- From the 26th to 29th of July, the J/105 North American Championship will be hosted by Little Traverse Bay YC in Harbor Springs Michigan. The fifteen-boat fleet will be part of their famous Ugotta Regatta that has taken place for over a decade in the spectacular Caribbean-blue-green Little Traverse Bay on the northwest side of the Michigan peninsula. The J/105 teams that are participating from across the USA and Canada and will feature most of the top teams from the past five years.

Two-time J/105 North American Champion, the Canadians Terry McLaughlin & Tod Wilmer, from the Royal Canadian YC in Toronto, Ontario will be hoping to continue their string of winning in their last two events they participated in- Toronto and New York. Furthermore, hoping to upset their goal is also a two-time J/105 North American Champion is Bruce Stone’s GRYPHON from St Francis YC in San Francisco, CA. As usual, it should be an epic battle between the two teams. In addition, after winning their class in the past two Mackinac Races (Bayview and Chicago), Mark Symonds’ PTERODACTYL will shift from offshore mode to round-the-buoys mode and test their skills against some of the world’s best J/105 sailors. For more J/105 North American Championship sailing information

J/35 sailing offshoreJ/35 North American Championship Preview
(Cheboygan, MI)- The North Star Sail Club in Cheboygan, MI will be hosting the fifteen-boat J/35 fleet for their 2018 North American Championship on the beautiful northeast shores of Michigan on the verdant green waters of Lake Huron. The racing promises to be extremely competitive as many teams have had a chance to fine tune their crews in the two classic Great Lakes offshore races- the Bayview Mackinac Race and the Chicago Mackinac Race over the past three weeks- both amongst the most popular offshore events in the worlds.

Past winners of the J/35 N.A.’s that are participating this year, include such Midwest legends like “Wild Bill” (Bill Wildner) sailing his MR BILL’S WILD RIDE from Detroit, MI; Bruce, Eric & Chris Metcalf’s BOZO’S CIRCUS from Chicago, IL; and Larry Schell’s TOUCH OF GREY from Chicago, IL.

There are many aspirants to the N.A. Champion throne, including Rick Stage’s ALPHA PUPPY from Chicago, IL; Larry Taunt’s BAD DOG from Muskegon, MI; Mitch Weisman’s successful FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER from Chicago, IL; and Cheryl Miller’s DEAN’S LIST from East Tawas, MI. Should be incredibly fun and close racing amongst this “glitterati illuminati” of the Great Lakes J/35 world. For more J/35 North American Championship sailing information

J/70s sailing off Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara to King Harbor Race Preview
(Santa Barbara, CA)- The 2018 edition of the Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race is shaping up to be another notable event in the southern California offshore season. With eighty-nine boats registered in the giant PHRF division, it will be a “who’s who” of the SoCal offshore fraternity that will be vying for both class and overall honors. Hosted by Santa Barbara YC as the starting point and the King Harbor YC as the finishing point off the gorgeous Point Loma peninsula off Los Angeles, the fleet will always be engaged in the classic elemental battle of how to win, what appears on paper, to be a very simple race.

The standard “formula”, if there is one, breaks down into four basic strategies: (1) sail the first part from Santa Barbara to the Anacapa Passage as low as possible on starboard tack, as the wind that funnels down Santa Cruz Island from the northwest favors those coming in “hot” from further east/ southeast; a distance of roughly 30.0nm at 154 degrees. (2) rounding Anacapa Island is always a challenge, the decision to go offshore vs. inshore causes all kinds of anxiety and consternation for any navigator/ tactician. In short, the goal is to get around it as efficiently as possible and if often includes elements of both. (3) Anacapa Island to Point Dume on the Malibu Riviera is the “classic play”, a distance of 32.0nm at 92 degrees. The reason why it “works” is because any northwesterly flow of any type down the Santa Barbara Channel at all accelerates like crazy against the 3,000 ft tall mountains just inshore and then gets curved around the point. However, the effect lasts for about 10.0nm going into Point Dume on port tack, then as the NW flows gets “bent” around the headland, it’s often best to simply head straight for the King Harbor entrance on starboard tack about 26.0nm distant at a bearing of 113 degrees. Why? Because, for most boats that get to Point Dume before sunset, the thermal onshore breezes are still strong that are getting sucked into the greater Los Angeles regional basin off to the east (with 5,000 ft mountains still hot and drawing in the cool ocean breeze late into the night). This year’s will be light, so those effects coming into the L.A. Basin may be even more pronounced than in past races.

Starting on July 27th will be a strong fleet of J/crews, representing most of the top sailing clubs across the Southern California region. Those teams include twin J/125s (Dr Laura Schlessinger’s WARRIOR and Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER); Glenn Griley’s J/122 TKO; three J/111s (Bernie Girod’s ROCK & ROLL, Doug & Jack Jorgensen’s PICOSA, & Ken Kieding/ John Vincent’s ARGO 3); two J/120s (Tom & Teri Manok’s POLE DANCER & Jack Rose’s PRIVATEER); two J/124s (Seth Hall’s MARISOL & Scott Torrance’s FORGIVENESS); Jack Mayer’s J/109 ZEPHYR; David Gorney’s J/105 NO COMPROMISE; Eric & Steve McClure’s J/35 MACS; Doug Stelck’s J/100 JIB & TONIC; Fred & Suzanne Cottrell’s J/33 TIGGER; two more J/105s (Chuck Spear’s TWELVE BAR BLUES & Dan Murphy’s CUCHULAINN); Brian Kerr’s J/92 DOUBLE DOWN; and Tom Hinkle’s J/40 WHITE LIGHT. That is quite the J/Tribe headed down the SoCal coast from Santa Barbara to LA! For more Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race sailing information

J/70s sailing Little Traverse BayUgotta Regatta Preview
(Harbor Springs, MI)- The most popular sailing event to attend on an annual basis has to be Little Traverse YC’s famous “Ugotta Regatta” that is sailed on the pristine Caribbean-blue Little Traverse Bay on the upper northwest part of the Michigan peninsula. The regatta is host to a J/70 fleet (popular with the local youth sailors) as well as fleets of offshore boats sailing ORR and PHRF that have been refugees and survivors from the two equally famous Mackinac Races that took place in the previous three weeks (Bayview and Chicago). The regatta takes place from July 27th to 29th and features a combination of round-the-cans as well as random-leg courses for the fleets. Not surprisingly, the most popular one is the “Round the Bay Race”.

Sailing in the nine-boat ORR C fleet are five J’s, including Jack & Jim Toliver’s J/109 VANDA III, Geoff Brieden & Jeff Clark’s J/120 SCOUT (recent Mac Race winner), Matt Songer’s J/122 EVVAI, Bob Mampe’s J/122 GOTTA WANTA, and Bob Klairmont’s J/133 SCIROCCO 3.

J/70s sailing off Harbor Springs, MIThere are six J/crews sailing in the eleven-boat PHRF B fleet, including four J/88s (Andy Graff’s EXILE, Rich Stearns’ HOKEY SMOKE, Scott & Jim Sorbie’s LEGACY, & Ben Wilson’s RAMBLER). In addition, they will be up against the famous long-distance cruising couple and local hotshots- Bill & Judy Stellin- on their J/42 JAYWALKER and Gary & Susan Stewart’s J/32 ZONE.

By far the largest fleet in the regatta is the popular J/70 class, with twenty-one boats having made the trek from across the Midwest and farther; in fact, as far as Chicago, IL; Kansas City, KS; Atlanta, GA; and Larkspur, CA! Several boats should be near the top of the leaderboard, such as Sarah Renz’s BERTEAU GROUP from Chicago, IL; Bill McKinley’s DENALI 0.5 from Harbor Springs, MI; Scott Sellers’ TRES BURRITOS from Larkspur, CA; and Dick Lehmann’s WIND CZAR from Paradise Valley, AZ.

Finally, a very talented fleet of five J/111s is racing as a one-design class, including the Chicago-Mackinac Race class winner- local hero Dave Irish and his team on NO SURPRISE. In addition, attending are past J/111 Great Lakes Champions- KASHMIR (Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson, & Mike Mayer). For more LTYC Ugotta Regatta sailing information

J/88 sailing off Youngstown, NYJ/88 Great Lakes & CanAm Regatta Preview
Youngstown, NY- The Youngstown YC will be again hosting one of the most enjoyable regattas in western Lake Ontario. The fun and games include an “impromptu” (but, very serious) hockey game along the waterfront parking lot between Canadian and American sailing teams; bragging rights for North American supremacy in this department has flipped back and forth over time. Nevertheless, the sailing offshore just east of the famous Niagara Falls is every bit as intense and, perhaps even more fun on the water!

The event features the J/88 Great Lakes Championship as well as one-design classes for J/22s, J/70s, and a fleet of PHRF handicap racing sailboats.

The seven boat J/88 Great Lakes includes an unprecedented three woman skippers leading top teams that could easily sweep the leaderboard, which is how good their performances have been in the past. In no particular order, those woman skippers include Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, Laura Weyler’s HIJINKS, and Cindy Goodin’s QUIXY.

J/22 sailing at CanAm RegattaWith a half-dozen boats in the J/22 class, the racing will be tight, but watch for the leaderboard to include Mark Sertl’s MONEY FOR NOTHING and Vic Snyder’s MO’MONEY.

The largest fleet in the event is the dozen boats sailing the J/70 class. For sure the leading crews include the famous Travis Odenbach leading his USA 40 crew as well as Tod Sackett’s FM. There will be four Canadians taking on the Americans, hoping to bring on an upset of epic proportions; such as Rick Veale’s EL JEFE, Rich Jones’ MAVERICK, and Mark Wolff’s JAM.

In the world of PHRF handicap racing, the PHRF Spinnaker division includes two of those potent PHRF weapons- the J/35s CRIME SCENE (Paul Angus Bark) and LOYALIST (Andrew Koolman). They will be joined by the J/124 FUTURES (John Reinhold), the J/80 LIFTED (Ed Berkhout), and the J/24 SQUIRMY (Alex O’Brien). In addition, the PHRF Non-Spinnaker division includes the J/35C ROGUE WAVE (Doug Clarke) and the J/34 SOUND WAVE (Fred White). For more J/88 Great Lakes and CanAm Regatta sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Last week, there were a number of popular race weeks and classic offshore races taking place around Europe and the Americas. The 110th annual Chicago to Mackinac race will go down into the books as yet another grueling challenge over the 289nm course. Hosted by the Chicago YC, this year’s edition started off with near-gale conditions on the nose for forty-eight hours. Then, even though the storm passed by, a vast majority of the fleet still had to contend with moderate breezes, still going upwind, then drifting conditions in the channel to the finish, still upwind! In addition to the large ORR fleets, there were one-design classes for J/105s, J/35s, J/111s, J/109s, and J/120s. Out West, the 2,275nm Pacific Cup Race from San Francisco, CA to Hawaii also started off in near-gale conditions, and as the boats continued across the Pacific, it went very light, then only in the last quarter of the race did the sailors finally experience classic surfing to Hawaii conditions under spinnakers. Also out West, the J/70s enjoyed nice sailing off Santa Barbara, CA in the Santa Barbara YC Fiesta Cup. North up the Pacific coastline, the incredibly popular Whidbey Island Race Week took place on Whidbey Island, WA for fleets of J/105s, J/109s, J/80s, and PHRF handicap classes. Then, out East, the New York YC hosted their annual Queen’s Cup Race and the Race Weekend that included a one-design class of J/109s.

Up in Canada, in the far northeast corner of Prince Edward Island, the annual Charlottetown Race Week took place, hosted by Charlottetown YC, for one-design fleets of J/29s, J/70s and also a PHRF class. It also marked the occasion as the Canadian J/70 Nationals.

In Ireland, the biennial Volvo Cork Week was hosted in Cork for a fleet of J/109s and also IRC classes, with a J/122 and J/133 having good performances offshore. Over in the United Kingdom, the annual Scottish Series was sailed off Tarbert, Scotland, with great performances by J/109s, J/133 and J/24s. Farther southeast, the U.K. J/70 Nationals were hosted by Royal Southern YC in Hamble, England.

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:

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/145 sailing Mac RaceJ/Teams Love Chicago Mackinac Race
J/105 & J/122 Get “Mac Double”, J/111 Two-peats!
(Chicago, IL)- This year’s 110th edition of the Chicago to Mackinac Race was truly the “Tale of Two Cities”, the beginning and the end. The Chicago YC warned the sailors to play it safe off the Chicago city-front starting line as the fleet took off in 20-30 kt northerly winds and steep 5-9 foot “breaking chop” (no such thing as “waves” in the traditional sense of the word). It was boat-breaking and people-breaking stuff as the boats pounded to weather off the starting line. Virtually 100% of the fleet took off on port tack headed out into the middle of southern Lake Michigan in a NNW winds, it was the closest tack to the rhumbline of 19 degrees. By early light on Sunday morning, the wind had moved into the NNE quadrant, prompting most of the fleet, again, to tack nearly in unison onto starboard as closest fetch to Point Betsie. Thereafter, the most successful strategy was continuing to tack on the shifts up the middle of the lake. Perversely, by the time the teams hit Point Betsie late Sunday, they continued to sail to windward through the Manitou Passage to Grey’s Reef, albeit in 8-14 kts of breeze. Even then, there was no reprieve as the wind kept swinging East and the boats that rounded the reef were sailing with wind on the nose!!

J/111 sailing Mac RaceThe huge eighteen-boat J/111 class saw, yet again, Dave Irish’s NO SURPRISE win class by nearly 45 minutes over the second place ROWDY skippered by Rich Witzel. Third was a newcomer on the Chicago-Mac J/111 podium, Tom Dickson’s WARLOCK. Rounding out the top five were John Kalanik’s PURA VIDA in fourth and Len Siegel’s LUCKY DUBIE in 5th place.

There was a relative newcomer that stood atop the podium in the nine-boat J/120 class; winning was Mike Fozo & Robin Kendrick’s PROOF from Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. A familiar team took the silver, Chuck Hess’ FUNTECH Racing, and in third place was John Harvey & Rick Titsworth’s SLEEPING TIGER. The balance of the top five was Curtis Kime’s VICTRIX in 4th and long-time class leaders, Mike & Bob Kirkman’s HOT TICKET in 5th position

Racing in the J/109 has often produced some of the closest racing the Chicago-Mackinac Race sees year to year. This year was no exception. After nearly sixty-hours of sailing, the top five boats finished only 20 minutes apart- in other words, they could all see each other! Winning by a mere 43 seconds (!!) was Bob Evans’ GOAT RODEO over Jim Murray’s CALLISTO. These two teams have been going at it “hammer & tong” for the last two years, trading off the top spots. Just 8min 40sec later, David Gustman’s NORTHSTAR took the third spot. Another 1min 40sec back in fourth place was Chuck Schroder’s CHASE. Then, just 7min 38sec further back in fifth place was Chris Mallet’s SYNCHRONICITY!

J/105 sailing Mac RaceThe fourteen-boats in the J/105 class saw one of those rare events in long-distance races, back-to-back wins in both Mackinac Races in the same year (Bayview and Chicago)! That honor goes to Mark Symonds’ famous PTERODACTYL, clawing their way north like a raptor for 48 hours upwind and persevering until the end! Congratulations, an amazing achievement in yacht racing! A half-hour behind them at the finish was Clark Pellet’s SEALARK to take the silver and the bronze spot on the podium went to another familiar crew- Gyt Petkus’ VYTIS. The rest of the top five included Ross & Judith McLean’s ESPRIT d’ECOSSE in 4th and Mark Gannon’s GANGBUSTERS in 5th place.

Mackinac Cup Division
Section 2 saw the famous bright-red J/145 MAIN STREET sailed by Bill Schanen’s family from Port Washington, WI race to a fourth place in a very tough big-boat class.

The fourteen-boat Section 3 saw great performances from two J/133s; Bob Klairmont’s SIROCCO 3 from Lake Forest, IL took the silver while Tom & Beth-Ann Papoutsis’ RENEGADE took the bronze! Doug Petter’s J/130 WILLIE J finished sixth.

The performance by J/teams in Section 4 was simply a tour’d’force! It was a sweep of the Top Five! Leading the way were three J/122s dominating the podium. Yet another “Mac Double” was recorded, with Matt Schaedler’s BLITZKRIEG again blitzing their second Mac Race for a win (the first was Bayview-Mac class & overall win). The silver went to Bob Mampe’s GOTTA WANTA and the bronze went to Matt Songer’s EVVAI. Fourth was the J/44 CHEEP’N’DEEP II sailed by Randy Kuhn & Jim Richter from Lake Forest, IL. Fifth went to Bruce Pierce’s J/122 HOLLIGAN II from Toronto, Ontario. In short, all five J’s sailing in the section cleaned house!

Chicago Mackinac Trophy Division
Last year’s Section 7 class winner and Overall Chicago Mackinac Trophy winner sailed fast and smart, yet again, but this year it was not enough. A bit of luck may have helped their good fortunes in this year’s tough race, but Jim Mitchell & Bruce Danly’s J/109 TOA had to settle for the silver in class this year.

Like their colleagues in Section 4, nine J/crews (three J/88s and six J/35s) nearly swept their podium, too, taking four of the top five. Second went to Ricky, Bobby, & Kelly Jean Reed on their J/35 OB LA DI; third was Ben & Mandy Wilson’s J/88 RAMBLER, fourth was Larry Taunt’s J/35 BAD DOG, and fifth went to Mitch Weisman & Vanessa Gates’ J/35 THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER.

Finally, in Section 9, David Hughes’ J/100 BARRACUDA from Chicago, IL took fourth place.

Sailing on the J/109 TOA was Richie Stearns from Chicago, IL. Here is Richie’s dramatic report on what happened in this year’s Mac Race.

“The flags on Mackinac Island are at half-mast again. Another sailor has died from the fury of Lake Michigan. Five years ago, a squall packing winds over 100 knots ripped though the fleet, killing two sailors. This time it was just the raw power of Lake Michigan.

There are so many ways to enjoy the sport of sailboat racing. Big boat, little boat, Buoy racing and more. Unlike many sports that want to tell everyone they are extreme, sailing is just the opposite. We revel in the beauty of working with and against Mother Nature and marveling of the beauty of it all. Sailing is often a serene, almost boring sport. But, distance racing always has the possibility of being one of the most extreme sports in the world. The fact that you don’t know exactly when it is going to turn extreme compounds the danger.

The forecast for the race was rough. The Coast Guard and weather people at the skippers meeting warned that conditions were bad and suggested it may be worth each boat considering if it would be too much for their boat and crew. Many people in the world and even the U.S. don’t understand how big the Great Lakes are and how violent the lakes can be. It is hard for many to imagine a fresh water lake such as Lake Michigan that is over 300 miles long, 90 miles wide, and a thousand feet deep in some areas, with 1,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water in it (that is 1 quadrillion gallons). Shipping gets shut down in the winter partly by ice, but partly because of the rough conditions.

To attest to the fury they can bring, there are thousands of sunken ships scattered in the bottom of the Great Lakes. A 12-foot wave on the ocean is big, but they are spread apart, they are swells. On the lake, the 12-foot waves come at you and they are spaced roughly 100 to 120 feet apart. They were not all 12 to 15 feet, but they were relentless. Remember, the 730-foot Edmond Fitzgerald got broken in half by Lake Superior.

On Saturday morning, the gale was building and near gale force winds would continue for 18 hours and even when it dropped to below 20 knots the next day, the conditions were tough and 18 knots seemed light.

I sailed a modified J/109 “TOA” for the second year. Last year we were the overall winner of the race. We started with a reefed main and a #3 jib. Our start was at noon; it was a beat with port tack favored and the fleet headed Northeast towards the Michigan shore. The rhumbline is 200 miles at 18 degrees to Point Betsie on the Michigan shore. Then, you continue to the Manitou passage. We had three crew that got sick for a while and one that would stay sick for the next 48 hours. However, other boats had many more. I estimate 1/2 of the sailors got sea sick of varying severity and over 60 boats dropped out. The wind was over 20 Knots at the start and the 109 did very well in the waves. Every so often, a good load of blue water would pound he boat and soak the crew, but the water was warm and, of course, being fresh made it slightly less miserable. There was intermittent rain just to make sure we didn’t get too comfy.

By nightfall, we were in first place in our section and 3rd overall. By that time we were over half way across the lake, there was a small wind shift, so boats started tacking to starboard into the middle towards the Wisconsin shore. With all the crew on the rail (less one) we pounded our way north. At night, it is easy to go slow and not realize it. In those conditions, you are reefed and the jib is on an outboard lead to keep the helm under control. It is hard enough to sail in big seas, but at night with 30 knots and rain and no boats to steer off in front, it is easy to sail the boat slow. When I sailed it was useful to light up the tell tale on the stay to make sure I didn’t steer way to low. When you steer high you luff, but steering too low, you don’t get the power sensation since you are so de-powered. We did not have good apparent wind numbers and that could have been our downfall.

Sometime during the night, we lost our 2-mile lead and lost another 3 miles. In hindsight, we sailed a persistent knock for too long and missed a 15-degree wind shift. We sailed the starboard tack until 4:30 in the morning. Then, we tacked towards the Michigan shore again. By watching the tracker, something happened around sunrise. TOA had a big lead and started pointing 5 to 10 degrees lower than Mad Cap the second-place boat. New driver? Bad trim? We will never know, but for 6 ours we lost a lot of ground and by 10 in the morning, our 2-mile lead was now 3 miles behind.

There is a bit of a distance-racing lesson here. Make sure your instruments show apparent wind angle and know what your target speed is. If you don’t have that apparent wind at night, you need a telltale on the stay illuminated to make sure you are in the ball game. Also, when you change helmsman, sit with the new person for a while to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Twenty-four hours into the race, it was still a beat. We were on the Michigan shore near Big Sable point and we had dropped to third. The reef was out, it seemed like we were sailing well, but we were falling further behind the two leaders. Winds continued to diminish throughout the night, but we remained on a beat. We were treated to a spectacular rainbow/moon combination before sunset, which lasted for over an hour before the sun finally disappeared.

At 2:30 am Monday, we entered the Manitou Passage. By that time, the wind had lightened up considerably to around 13 knots. We were still on a beat and in the passage, but you are well protected from the waves by the Manitou Islands. Earlier in the race, we knew we were behind because we had had cell phone coverage. We were able to check again and found out we were back in second.

It is about 80 miles from the entrance of the Manitou Passage to Grey’s Reef lighthouse. Given the change in angle of the course we thought we might have more of a reach. Sadly, the wind shifted and we were still on a beat. The winds continued to lighten as we approached daybreak. We were entertained by a spectacular fog show. The fog just rolled in near land and as we left it, you could see tops of the sails of our competitors above it looking like shark fins.

By the time we got to the lighthouse at Grey’s Reef, the wind had died. We had a Code 0 up to “beat” to the lighthouse. In the Grey’s Reef passage, you have Islands to port and Michigan to starboard. It opens up to fairly big area maybe 15 miles wide. It would just be our luck to have the light air turn into a beat to get around “can 3” which is a few miles up the reef. After the can, you take a 90-degree turn into the Straights of Mackinac. Once again, the wind shifted and it turned into a light air beat. The straights are 20 miles to the Mackinac Bridge. It was light and boats played both shorelines. We chose the North side, it turned out a northerly came in, and we could put a spinnaker up and creep to the Bridge. With a mile to go to the bridge, the wind stopped again, and we used the wind seeker to get under the bridge. The wind seeker is a cool sail, it goes up the forestay and is super light, and it is fully battened with really light battens. It is amazing how well it takes shape in no air. The beating continued under the bridge to the finish line. After 60 hours, the race was over.

There were parties and seeing friends at the bars, but the fact a fellow sailor had died in the race, and the flags were at half-mast, subdued the celebration, as we all realized it could have been any of us.”
For more Chicago-Mackinac Race sailing information

J/70 sailing UK NationalsSERIOUS FUN Is J/70 U.K. National Champion
(Hamble, United Kingdom)- Mark Lees' SERIOUS FUN (Royal Southern YC) is the 2018 Open J/70 UK National Champion. Doug Struth's DSP (Royal Southern YC) is the 2018 Corinthian J/70 UK National Champion.

Glorious conditions prevailed over three days of racing in the Solent, typically a gentle start built during the day with afternoon sea breeze piping up the wind speed to 17 knots by the final race.

Mark Lees' young team (Toby Mumford, Annabel Vose, Hannah Peters), racing SERIOUS FUN, only splashed their brand new boat on the first day of the championship with virtually no pre-regatta preparation. The Serious Fun J/70 winnersteam scored four wins out of ten races 'straight out of the bubble wrap, to claim the National Open Title. In a fleet of 35 boats including sailors from the Olympics, America's Cup, and World Champions, the young team took a victory that they will always remember.

“A big thank you to Stu Childerley and his race team for organizing ten really good races, and to Robert Vose and the team at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, for hosting such a lovely regatta. And, finally, thank you to my team, it is rare to get to sail with some of my very favourite people, we had so much fun,” commented SERIOUS FUN’s Mark Lees.

Doug Struth's DSP Corinthians J/70 winnersDoug Struth's DSP (Royal Southern YC), helmed by Geoff Carveth with crew of Christian Birrell, Dan Schieber, Lauren Mead, were the top Corinthian team, winning the 2018 Corinthian J/70 UK National title.

“Really good racing - a fantastic weekend,” commented Doug Struth. “All of our races went very well except one, so we are happy with our consistency, and we sailed the best on the last day, which was a great way to finish the championship.”

“As a team we have definitely made some progress,” commented Geoff Carveth. “The UK Class still has some way to go to beat the top teams from Italy and America but this championship has put us closer to our goal of getting on the podium for the Worlds at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club in 2019.”

Martin Dent's JELVIS (Island SC) scored a bullet in the last race to take second in the Open Class, having been seventh overnight. DSP was third in the Open Class. The 2017 Open J/70 UK National Champions, Ian Wilson & Marshall King's SOAK RACING (Royal Southern YC) was fourth, and Calascione & Ripard's CALYPSO (Royal Yacht Squadron) was fifth.

Second in the Corinthian Class was SOAK RACING. Fiona Hampshire's ELIZABETH (Royal Thames YC) was third. The 2017 Corinthian J/70 UK National Champion, Patrick Liardet's COSMIC (Royal Southern YC) was fourth, and Jack Davies YETI (Royal Solent YC) was fifth. J/70 UK Nationals sailing video highlights For more J/70 U.K. Nationals sailing information

J/44 Maxine sailing NYYC Race WeekJ/44 MAXINE Wins NYYC Queen’s Cup!
(Newport, RI)- For two hours, New York Yacht Club Vice Commodore Bill Ketcham (Greenwich, CT) and his team watched as the bulk of the fleet participating in the 63rd edition of the Queen's Cup sailed away from them. It was inevitable; Ketcham's J/44 MAXINE was one of the slowest boats, according to rating, in a 14-boat grouping than ranged in size from 41 to 74 feet. Still it's not easy seeing so many competitors’ transoms gradually disappear into the horizon.

"You know it's going to happen," says Ketcham, who has sails Maxine with an all-amateur crew that includes his son, Saunders, and daughter, Liza. "But you've no feel for how fast it happens. It's pretty discouraging."

But the team shelved any disappointment, focused on the task at hand, and when all the boats had crossed the line and the IRC handicaps were applied, Maxine was at the top of the standings, a minute and two seconds ahead of Tony Langley's TP52 Gladiator and 1:23 ahead of Columbia, the 60-year-old 12 Metre skippered by Anthony Chiurco and Kevin Hegarty.

The Queen's Cup trophy was given to the New York Yacht Club by Queen Elizabeth II and officially presented to the Club by the British Ambassador in November 1953. It's a perpetual trophy that is raced for annually under the same conditions as the King's Cup that preceded it and was retired after the passing of King George VI in 1952. Each skipper must be a World Sailing Group 1 (amateur) sailor. The trophy is always decided by a single race, often longer than most modern buoy races, and utilizes a unique 2-minute starting window.

Ketcham and his team opted to wait until the end of the starting window, crossing the line 1:49 after the gun sounded. With many of the faster boats well up the course, this helped to limit the amount of time they spent sailing in disturbed air, though it's still never easy racing against longer, faster yachts.

J/44 MAXINE- Bill Ketcham- Queens Cup winners"There's no way to avoid getting wailed on during that first leg," he says. "Even if you start right at the gun, the big boats are going to be on [your air] right away. If you wait, everybody is already on you, so there's no way to get around suffering on that first weather leg. So you just suffer through it, which is what we did."

While the breeze wasn't particularly strong, Ketcham went with one of his smaller headsails.

"We were smart to sail with a [No. 3 jib] even through the breeze was bouncing from 13 to 18 knots," he says "In flat water with a three, the boat is really quick. You point a little higher and you can tack easily. It's like tacking a dinghy."

As one of the few boats flying a symmetric spinnaker off a pole— the bulk of the fleet was flying asymmetric spinnakers off a bow sprit— Ketcham also thinks he had an advantage on the one downwind leg, when he can sail very close to the rhumb line.

A final key decision came during the long upwind leg to the finish off Fort Adams. Ketcham's team was one of the few that opted to go to the east side of Gould Island.

"There was a huge lefty up there with a ton of pressure," he said. "We missed it on the first weather leg, so we said we're not missing it this time. That really helped."

While happy with their performance, the team on MAXINE had no idea how they'd done until a fellow competitor called to congratulate them.

"It was a complete surprise," Ketcham says. "We were just hoping we beat some boats. We just didn't know because the boats got so spread out and we were pretty far back. A huge surprise. There was a lot of elation on the boat when we heard that. We just couldn't believe it." Sailing photo credits- Dan Nerney Learn more about the J/44 here. For more Queens Cup Race sailing information

J/109s sailing NYYC Race WeekJ/109 RUSH Wins @ NYYC Race Week
J/121 Third in PHRF Navigators
(Newport, RI)- On the eve of the 11th edition of Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, J/109 RUSH skipper Bill Sweetser was faced with a tough decision. It wasn't about how to tune his rig or organize his crew. But, it nonetheless would have a huge impact on his regatta. He'd entered his boat, a popular one-design in the Northeast, to race under IRC. But, he also had the option of racing one-design in class built by class president Bill Kneller.

"I’ve come to at least six or seven Race Weeks since I've had the 109 and I’ve mostly raced IRC and we've done pretty darn well," he says, "[NYYC sailing director] Lynn Lynch mentioned to me a day or two before the race that I should consider changing [to a one-design class]. I’m so glad that we did class racing, because we had some of the best competition we’ve ever had in the J/109 fleet. The people out there know how to sail the boat and they kept us on our toes."

J/121 sailing New York YC Race WeekThe New York Yacht Club’s Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex was first run in 1998, and took place this year from July 17 to 21 out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, in Newport. R.I. The biennial summer classic has established itself as one of the premier summer race weeks in the Northeast thanks to its attractive combination of great racing conditions off Newport and the superlative shoreside hospitality at the Club’s waterfront Clubhouse overlooking Newport Harbor. Partners for the 2018 edition of Race Week at Newport include presenting sponsor Rolex, regatta sponsor BMW and regatta supporter Helly Hansen.

In fact, the competition in the J/109 class was so tough that halfway through the regatta, Sweetser's team on RUSH was looking like they'd be lucky to break into the top three. They'd won the first race, but also had two sixths, in an eight-boat fleet, in the first four races.

"It was a lot of little things," he said. "We had a lot of discussion about it. Sometimes we didn’t catch the wind shifts our competitors caught. Sometimes we weren't sure our rig tune was where it should've been, so we made some adjustments. Sometimes I didn’t drive as effectively as I could have.

"By the middle of the third day we were feeling that if we put ourselves in the right place [we could do well]. We knew we had the boat speed."

J/109 RUSH- Bill Sweetser- winners NYYC Race WeekSweetser and his crew won all three races on the third day of the event to move into contention. But they still needed to make up four points in the final two races to overtake Albrecht Goethe's HAMBURG, which had displayed remarkable consistency to that point in the regatta, finishing eight of 10 races in either second or third. RUSH picked up one point in Race 11, then went on to a comfortable win in Race 12. When HAMBURG struggled to its worst score of the regatta, a sixth, Sweetser and his crew earned the overall victory and one of three Rolex timepieces being awarded at the regatta.

"After the first couple of days, we weren’t sure we’d even end up in the top three," he says. "Winning the three races on Friday gave us a lot of confidence. With the winds today, we had a lot more confidence. It’s just like any sport; luck has something to do with it. I’d like to say it was all skill. But we did happen to be in the right place at the right time today."

In the end, behind RUSH and HAMBURG, it was Tom Sutton’s bright red LEADING EDGE from Houston, TX that took bronze to round out the podium

In the IRC 4 Class, the Queen’s Cup winner, Bill Ketcham’s J/44 MAXINE, took more even more silverware, winning the bronze; an elated Ketcham, Vice Commodore of New York YC, was pleased with their good fortune and taking silver in both events!

In the IRC 4 IRC/ ORC Combined scores class, Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION grabbed third place.

Finally, in the PHRF Navigator Class that was sailing random-leg courses inside Narragansett Bay, it was Chris Brito’s J/121 INCOGNITO also taking the bronze, winning their last race around the island with an emphatic 1st place win! Sailing photo credits- ROLEX/Daniel Forster For more New York YC Race Week sailing information

J/109 sailing Whidbey Island Race WeekJ/Crews Love Whidbey Island “Summer Camp”!
(Whidbey Island, WA)- Over the course of time, J/sailors from the Pacific Northwest have dreamed of sailing one of their favorite regattas of all time in Whidbey Island, the annual “race week” hosted by Oak Harbor YC.

From Canada and California, Oregon and Idaho, and even Hawaii, sixty-eight boats made the pilgrimage to sailing mecca for Whidbey Island Race Week (WIRW). What counts is a glorious opportunity to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, race hard, hone sailing skills, dance, eat and take deep gulps of fresh, clean Pacific Northwest air. New this year was a NFS cruising class, a J/80 one-design fleet, and for a fifth or so of the fleet, this is their first WIRW. There were twenty-eight J’s racing, one-third of the fleet. Here is how it all went down, enjoy the daily reports.

J/80 sailing Whidbey Island Race WeekDay One- Friday
The clock said 2:20pm when the westerly finally settled in Penn Cove, but who’s counting? Race Week runs on island time. The wind’s delay meant more time for making a run into Coupeville for a Bloody Caesar at the Front Street Grill, a hoppy IPA and fresh steamed mussels at Toby’s, or a triple scoop from Kapaw’s Ice Creamery. Or, perhaps a catnap on the bow, far away from the work world’s worries, listening to the “chi-kee” of a Kingfisher diving for its meal, or the sneaky splish of a curious sea lion. Or maybe gazing at the fire-red trunks of the Madrona trees circling the west end of the cove like a ruby necklace. However, one chose to bide the time waiting for Charley Rathkopf’s CYC race committee to signal the start of the first day’s first race, after 36 years it’s a wait that never gets old.

After a week or so of hottish temperatures, Thursday’s cooler weather reminded the racers why they’re pros at layering, bundling up in foulies only to strip down to shorts when blue finally appeared in the north sky later in the day. On the race course, a swift ebb tide, beach currents and flukey wind shifts combined to make leads swap like cards in a fast-paced game of Go Fish. The first hand has been dealt, three more to go!

J/33 sailing Whidbey Island Race WeekDay Two- Saturday
After 36 years you might think you’ve seen it all at WIRW. Charley Rathkopf’s race committee set a bizarro course that sent the fleet into the mussel beds at the west end of Penn Cove, which they’ve done before, but for the first time ever, they finished the race. Sure there were a few classes that saw their courses shortened (the prudent thing to do) but it still qualifies as a WIRW first. Winds had been forecast oh, somewhere between 5 and 12, and with the RC calling for a start one hour later than usual, Friday was NOT a lay day. Yay! Adding to the challenge of playing chess with Mother Nature, the ebb tide saw nearly 2 knots at various places on the course, causing some boats to overrun their sails. Unfortunately, a couple of the classes did see some DNFs (so here’s hoping for a throwout). Regardless, it was a fun day under the sun and on the water, with a stop at the Coupeville dock for a crew or three, so in the grand scheme of things, who’s complaining?

Back at the marina, it was Pink Boat Regatta night, with donations gladly given for the chance to play Bra Pong next to the refreshment station, then dancing to crowd favorite Gertrude’s Hearse. They get better each year, and it’s always fun to see fellow sailors out of their foulies and into their top hats. After tucking into burgers or ribs (yours truly got the last of ’em), the good-natured revelers continued into the wee hours back at Tent City, though the laughter did eventually die down, only to be replaced by the constant clanging of the porta-pottie doors and the plaintive hoo, hoo-hoo of a lonely owl

J/109 sailing upwind- Whidbey Island Race WeekDay Three- Sunday
Sunday seemed more like the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Too little wind, too much current, cold weather, free hot showers (what?!?), new faces picking up awards, old regulars wondering who tied cement blocks to their keels.

Saturday’s weather wasn’t as favorable for others, however. Plenty went from hero to zero, albeit it painfully slowly, as the pseudo-westerly clocked to a southerly, sending the fleet on a scavenger hunt for a river of anything in Saratoga Passage.

Courses were shortened, and some boats didn’t finish, whimpering while limping back to the marina, hoping to nurse their unfulfilled racing needs with hefty doses of freshly caught and cooked Dungeness crabs. The ensuing scene was like some sort of primitive offering, the racers holding claws aloft, mouths full of juicy meat, bribing and begging the Northwest wind Gods for more breeze on Sunday. For all the frustrations that light air days bring, back on terra firma, where the laws of nature seemed at least a little less collusional, comments ranged from NSFW to “We had a blast!”. A rich feast of memories was made regardless of the lack of a stiff breeze, and will get embellished with each re-telling.

The ten-boat J/105 Class saw Jerry Diercks’s DELIRIUM take the class by just one point over Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE. Third was Chris Phoenix’s JADED. The balance of the top five saw John Aitchison’s MOOSE UNKNOWN take fourth and Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO in fifth.

The J/80 class continued to expand and this year’s fleet of six boats saw very competitive racing for the top three boats. Winning was David Schutte’s TAJ MAHAL, second was Lek Dimarucot’s UNDERDOG, third was Emre Sezer’s RECKLESS.

In PHRF 2, it was Stu Burnell’s J/109 TANTIVY that won class closing with three bullets. Then, David & Vernice Cohen’s J/90 EYE EYE won PHRF 3 Sport Class. And, in PHRF 5 class, Pat Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW took an easy silver. Finally, in PHRF 9 Cruising enjoying the festivities was Steve Kirsch’s J/35C WILDFLOWER, finishing in 4th.

Speaking of memories, be sure to check out all the photos of this year’s Whidbey Island Race Week at — all proceeds benefit Kids Camp (thanks, Jan!).
Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson For more Whidbey Island Race Week sailing information

J/70 sailing Fiesta CupMINOR THREAT Tops Fiesta Cup
(Santa Barbara, CA)- The annual Fiesta Cup Regatta took place in the “Riviera of America”- the famous crescent shaped miles long beach that forms the waterfront for Santa Barbara, California. Hosting the event was the Santa Barbara Yacht Club for the fleet of a dozen highly competitive boats.

Winning his first major event in awhile was Jeff Janov’s crew on MINOR THREAT from California YC in Marina del Rey, CA. After a slow start of a 4-4-2, they threw down the gauntlet, closing with four 1sts in a row to win with just 10 pts net.

Second was Chris Snow’s COOL STORY BRO from San Diego YC, third Scott Deardorff’s CAKE from Santa Barbara YC, fourth Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS also from SBYC, and fifth Bruce Cooper’s USA 32 from Long Beach YC. For more Santa Barbara Fiesta Cup sailing information

J/109s sailing Cork weekJ/Crews Lead Volvo Cork Week
J/109 JOKER II Wins Beaufort Cup, J’s Sweep IRC 2
(Cork, Ireland)- After over 40 hours of intense racing, Barry Byrne's Irish Defence Forces team, racing J/109 JOKER 2, have successfully defended the Beaufort Cup. Youen Jacob's Baltimore RNLI team, racing J/109 JUGGERKNOT, put the defending champions under serious pressure, taking the gun for the first race on the last day, but finished runner-up by just two points. Simon Coveney's Irish Defence Forces Team, racing JEDI, recovered from a starting penalty in the first race of the day to make a tenacious comeback taking the final podium spot for the Beaufort Cup.

“We’re over the moon, it’s more than we ever dreamed of,” said Byrne. “It’s a tough event to win, especially against the caliber of people we were up against – Olympians, All-Ireland champions and people like Tim Goodbody and other great sailors.”

Watch the Cork Week sailing video highlights here

J/109 sailing Cork Week, Ireland120 teams from eight different nations competed at Volvo Cork Week, enjoying six days of racing in the Celtic Sea and Cork Harbour on a variety of courses. This year, the biennial regatta organized by the Royal Cork Yacht Club, celebrated 40 years and Volvo Cork Week continued to provide fantastic racing, superb award wining facilities and great fun ashore.

The Beaufort Cup started with the challenging Fastnet Race on Monday 16th July, followed by three days of short-course racing to test the all round ability of the teams. Beaufort Cup entries feature 50% of the crew coming from active personnel in the Armed Forces and Emergency Services. 17 teams were racing from Ireland, Great Britain and the United States of America. The inaugural Beaufort Cup was held as part of the 2016 edition of Volvo Cork Week, Commandant Barry Byrne skippered the Irish Defence Forces to victory, and the team successfully defended their title. As a result, they once again nominate a charity to win €10,000.

Barry Byrne interview“The Beaufort Cup is part of Volvo Cork Week, and any team competing is eligible for the boat of the week,” commented Barry Byrne, the two-time winner. “The Beaufort Cup is challenging, and a test in a real environment of leadership, team work and resilience, which are all values of the services we represent. The inter-services rivalry is very exciting; something special that raises the level of the competition, whilst still keeping the friendly rivalry and banter, which is brilliant. The field really toughened up this year, everyone competing had done their best to raise their game. It is a great fleet and the fastest growing element of Volvo Cork Week.”

Watch the interview of Commandant Barry Byrne on Facebook here.

After five days of racing, the fleet was treated to a thrilling finale for the Beaufort Cup title. After winning the final race to take the title. So what more can we say about Commandant Barry Byrne’s achievement in retaining the trophy?

Well, for one, Byrne and his Irish Defence Force’s team sailing John Maybury’s J/109 JOKER 2 carried off the “Houdini act” more than once. For starters, their campaign to win the Cup started with a come from behind win in the Fastnet Race. Then, they went on through the week to fight off challenges from Youen Jacob with the Baltimore RNLI in Andrew Alegeo’s J/109 JUGGERKNOT, Tanaiste Simon Coveney and his Irish Defence Forces crew on the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 JEDI.

The pressure was kept up to the very end. With three race sailed yesterday (Friday), Youen Jacob gained a point with a first to Byrne’s second in the first race. But, then Barry Byrne got back in the saddle with first in the second race, while Jacob was fourth.

J/109 JOKER 2 win Beaufort CupWhile the Byrne crew were ninth in the final race, which was won by Tim Goodbody with Simon Coveney second, Youen Jacob was held back to sixth, and Commandant Barry Byrne and his crew had retained the Beaufort Cup only a fortnight after winning the Corinthian Division and taking second overall in the Volvo Round Ireland Race!

So there it goes, Volvo Cork Week 2018. Nail-biting finish to the Beaufort Cup with victory again for Barry Byrne. Roll on 2020 and the Tricentenary!

In the IRC 1 Class, Jonathan Anderson's J/122 El Gran Senor (Clyde Cruising Club) was third. It was a good regatta for the team from the northern waters of Scotland!

J/122 wins class at Cork WeekThree J/Crews lead a sweep of the IRC 2 Class. Dunlop & Cox's J/109 MOJITO (Pwllheli SC) won the last two races to climb from third to first for a dramatic class win by a single point from Ronan Harris' J/109 JIGAMAREE (Royal Irish YC). Brian & Mary Jones J/109 JELLY BABY (Royal Cork YC) could well have won the class, save a steering problem in the penultimate race, which put the local team back to third, just two points away from victory.

So much attention was focused on the many J/109s in the Beaufort Cup series (with which we conclude this report) that it’s easy to overlook the fact that several others sister-ships were racing as standard entrants in Class 2. This series concluded with a battle for the class overall win between two of them, Ronan Harris’s JIGAMAREE from the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire, and the 2017 ISORA Champion MOJITO (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop, Pwllheli SC). In the end, MOJITO got it by a whisker, 14 pts to JIGAMREE’s 15 pts, which in turn was just one point ahead of sister ship JELLY BABY (Brian & Mary Jones, Royal Cork YC).
Sailing photo credits- David Branigan/Oceansport For more pictures and videos from Volvo Cork Week, follow on Facebook here For more CORK Week sailing information

J/70 sailing offshoreREX Crowned Canadian J/70 Champion
J/29s & J/100s Cruise @ Charlottetown Race Week
(Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)- The annual Charlottetown Race Week was recently held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island over the July 12th to 14th weekend. The event feature a J/29 one-design class, a PHRF class, as well as the Canadian J/70 class hosting their Canadian Nationals.

Starting out with just five bullets, Scott Weakley’s team on REX simply put the hammer down and never looked back, winning the Nationals with a mere 8 pts net after seven races! However, the balance of the podium was a dogfight the entire weekend between Graeme Carr’s JOYRIDIN’ and Stu McCrea’s CAN 550. In the last two races, these two boats traded off 1st and 2nd, but neither could get enough boats in between them to gain further separation. As a result, Carr’s team took the silver with 12 pts net over McCrea’s team with 14 pts net.

In the J/29 division, it was Randy Johnston’s SATISFACTION that walked off with the class honors, winning easily with six 1sts in seven races. Second was David McInnis’ GEORGIA GIRL with 12 pts and third was Jason Aspin’s ONE 4 SURPRISE.

Leading a near sweep of the PHRF Spinnaker division were two J/100s. With three 1sts and three 2nds, it was not an easy win for Larry Creaser’s YOUNG BLOOD, finishing with 9 pts. Just one point back with four 1sts and three 3rds was Terry McKenna’s DOG PARTY with 10 pts! Other J’s in the top five were John Rankin’s J/35 PEPPER in 4th and Brandon Forbes’ J/30 ENDEAVOUR in 5th place. For more Charlottetown Race Week and Canadian J/70 Nationals sailing information

J/35 wins Pacific CupJ/Teams Win @ Pacific Cup
Crushing Class Wins for J/35 & J/92
(San Francisco, CA)- This year’s 2,275nm Pacific Cup Race from San Francisco, CA to Hawaii started out fast, in particular for the smaller boats. The fresh high 20 kt winds on the beam made for a demanding first night for the 29 original starters of the Pacific Cup to Hawaii- a.k.a. the “fun race to Hawaii”! Race veterans compare last night’s conditions to the 2002 and 2016 races that were marked by unusually stiff breezes.

Thereafter, the fleet was besieged by a combination of light winds and a hurricane pushing northwest from Mexico that upset the traditional balance of the Pacific High’s tradewinds. However, for the last five days of racing, the fleet was blessed by the regular tradewinds blowing from the east-northeast at 15-20 kts plus all day long.

J/92 Zaff wins Pacific CupIn PHRF Class B (Weems & Plath), Karl Haflinger’s J/35 SHEARWATER, racing with his crew of Jim Ianelli (Navigator), Stewart Putnam, David Smullin, and Alan Johnson, won their class by a 10-hour margin.

Then, in PHRF Class C (Alaska Airlines), Phil Wampold’s J/92 ZAFF, racing with his Canadian crew of Kieran Horsburgh (Watch Captain), Ansel Koehn (Foredeck), and Paul Mais (Navigator), won their class by the amazing margin of nearly two days on corrected time! Follow the news on the Pacific Cup Facebook page here. For more Pacific Cup Race sailing information

J/109 sailing offshoreJ/Crews Love Scottish Series
J/109 Crowned Overall Champion
(Loch Fyne, Scotland)- Congratulations to David Kelly and the crew of the J/109 STORM that won the coveted overall Clyde Cruising Club's Scottish Series Trophy. Having won their class the previous year, to come back and do so again, is an outstanding achievement by STORM’s crew sailing their boat perfectly.

As well as the overall trophy, David Kelly walked away with the Rose Bowl Trophy for best boat in the Luddon IRC fleet and The McIver Salver Trophy (owned by the Mudhook Yacht Club).

In a very competitive Makars Mash RC35 Class, Kelly was pushed by fellow countrymen Brian and John Hall sailing their J/109 SOMETHING ELSE, finishing only 4 points STORM.

David Kelly was absolutely delighted with the crews' performance at this year's Scottish Series with the class and the overall win. "This is probably some of the best racing around. I've been coming here for the last twelve years and will be back again next year; we have been targeting this event for a while and are really chuffed to win it overall; this crew has done an amazing job."

Team STORM had one simple quote to sum up there Scottish Series victory, "we're not here to win, we're here to take over."

Scottish Series Event Chairman, David Denholm, commented, "The Clyde Cruising Club Scottish Series enjoyed some brilliant sailing in stunning Loch Fyne off Tarbert with superb Bank holiday weather. David Kelly's STORM crew are, without a doubt, worthy winners of CCC Scottish Series 2018 and the IRC Scottish Championship. The crew looked particularly pleased to have won a gallon of Bruichladdich whisky!”

The CAUSEWAY CUP- awarded to the boat from Scotland that has given the best performance of all boats in the IRC 1 Series- went to Alan, Bruce and James Douglas in their Irish-based J/133 SPIRIT OF JACANA.

Other J/crews also had outstanding performances. Winning IRC 3 with no scores worse than third was the J/92 SAMURAI J. Then, the J/24 AYESHA took third in IRC Class 4. A great series for J/Crews overall!

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/111 Wicked 2.0* J/111 Wins Round Island Race (Martha’s Vineyard)- here’s the story on how they did it from Gary Leduc at Quantum Sails Bristol.

“The race started at 8:00 am in 11-13 kts true from the East. We had a short port tack favored beat out to a drop mark, then a jib reach down Muskegett Channel to the sea buoy. The second leg was pretty much dead downwind, but the starboard jibe was a little favored.

The breeze stayed easterly until the very end of the 16-mile run, when the wind clocked a little SE and freshened. That made for a nice broad reach from Squibnocket to Devil’s Bridge. On the approach to Devil’s Bridge, the breeze slammed back to the East and started to freshen slightly to 14-16 kts. The tide was slack at Devil’s Bridge, but due to start flooding soon.

The key is to get up inside Middle ground in Vineyard Sound for the flood and ride a 2 kt boost all the way past Vineyard Haven.

That did happen for us, and as we came out of middle ground at West Chop, we where doing over 10 kts SOG right into the 14-16 kt Easterly! Those conditions made for very, very close, steep chop.

J/111 Wicked 2.0 sailing upwindOne issue we did have was the Ferry coming out of Vineyard Haven. We could not cross her bow. So, we had to tack onto port. We wanted to continue on starboard, but the ferry altered that plan slightly! Once clear, we tacked back onto port to a layline for the finish line.

We where bottom-rated boat in PHRF Class A, while the highest rating boat was Aurora- a 65 footer. Also, in our class were Chessie Racing and Irie and Crazy Horse- all big fast boats over 55 feet.

Our Corrected Time was 6:38:11, winning by margin of 19min 20sec!

Since 2013, the J/111 WICKED 2.0’s race record in the Around The Vineyard race looks like three 1sts and one 2nd. The TP 52 SPOOKIE won last year.

There was a good J/Boat duel going on in Class B. Ultimately, the J/109 beat out a couple of very well sailed J/120’s! It was a great day for sailing and going around the 60nm course!

J/37 Future Primitive* We recently heard from Ron Mackenzie, the proud owner of the J/37 FUTURE PRIMITIVE. Said Ron, “Hi, Thought that you might find this article interesting. We bought her new from J/Boats in 1988. At that time, I was the J/Boat dealer in Vancouver, and working with Stuart and Drake (and Rod). She still looks like new, and we love her. Enjoy!”

“Scratch the surface of most sailboat racers and you find characters who started sailing on the family boat, signed up for Sea Cadets or caught the bug when a forward-looking parent sent them to sailing school. They started young and racing permeated their lives.

That’s not the track that Ron Mackenzie followed. When he arrived in Victoria from Vancouver to participate in his 43rd Swiftsure International Yacht Race, he told me he hadn’t even set foot on a sailboat until he was well into his 20s. “In 1967, a friend, Mike Howard, invited me aboard his 23-foot, wooden centerboard sailboat,” Ron recalls. “I’d been on a couple of powerboats, but had no experience with sailboats. We cruised in the Gulf Islands, but when the boat heeled, I was really scared.”

He decided once was enough and sailing wasn’t for him. But quickly, second thoughts prevailed and he began gaining experience during the weekly races. Not wanting to be a wimp, he crewed on Doran, an Alberg 37, in his first overnight Southern Straits race in 1970. “I was pretty naive,” he says. “I’d gotten into my pajamas at one point during the night. Talk about a wardrobe malfunction! It got so rough only a quarter of the fleet finished. We didn’t either. When a sailboat was rescued after hitting Alden Reef, the race became known as the gear buster.”

Ron felt he hadn’t really met the challenge during this first big race— and that feeling changed his life. “It made me determined to do it again, so I managed to get a ride on the top boat in those days, Bonar Davis’ Hyak, a Discovery 32. Fortunately for me, there was an opening. We were first overall— nothing new for Bonar and crew, but exciting for me.”

He soon realized he wanted to race his own boat. So he bought a C&C 35 MKII, and with her and his two later boats, he’s completed 47 consecutive Southern Straits, holding the record for most races entered. He also entered his C&C in his first Swiftsure in 1974. Since then, he has entered every Swiftsure for a total of 43 contests— few people have entered more. He built a dependable crew, people who raced with him week after week.

Having moved up to a C&C 37, he expanded his local and regional experience by sailing the Vic-Maui offshore race in 1984. Once in Hawaii, he joined the Canadian team in the Pan-Am Clipper Cup, a 775-mile race from Oahu round the Hawaiian Island chain.

J/37 Future Primitive sailingIn the meantime, when not racing, Ron was building his career as a chartered accountant, articling, then building his expertise, eventually specializing in serving dentists in accounting, management and providing know-how when buying and selling practices. He writes and lectures widely on dental practice management and has provided expertise in legal trials.

Building a team to compete in all those races, Ron’s been fortunate to have consistent crew over the years, an essential ingredient for success. His partner, Joan, has joined him in several Swiftsures and Southern Straits. “And my right hand, night and day, is Werner Kurz,” says Ron. “Big winds, big seas; he’s there for me and us. He’s a rock, with great judgment.”

Another team member is David Sutcliffe, who’s also crewed for Ron for decades, mostly as the foredeck guy. “We’ve had excellent offshore races,” says David. “In sailing, there’s no substitute for experience. You can read books and take courses, but the proof is in the actual sailing. Ron has tremendous experience and he keys in on building a team. His team crews with him for many years, a mark of good leadership. For me an important thing is that even in the heat of the moment, Ron remembers that racing should be fun. If it isn’t fun, why bother?”

Having enjoyed offshore racing, Ron next signed up for the 1987, 1,000-mile Puerto Vallarta Race, sponsored by the San Diego Yacht Club, and the following year, he bought a J/37, “the only one on the West Coast,” he says proudly. “She’s called Future Primitive. My son, Bill, named her after a skateboard video.” It’s the boat he’s kept and continues to race.

Another test came in 2006 aboard Kinetic IV, a Beneteau 47.7 that David Sutcliffe had raced to Hawaii and then brought to Sydney, Australia in stages. The goal? To join the (in)famous 630-mile Sydney-Hobart Race. Ron flew in for the contest, which, afterwards, the Australians termed a “medium” strength event. Sutcliffe described it as, “lots of drama, one boat sank and several were dismasted. The winds come in from the Southern Ocean and the shallow Bass Strait funnels those winds,” he says. “Tricky currents can run several knots, making it among the most challenging race courses in the world.”

“We were able to put together a great crew and had an exciting race,” adds Ron. “We made it to Tasmania and back without mishaps.”

Never daunted, Ron raced in the 2011 Antigua Sailing Week, a series of day races. “I put together crew,” he says, “and chartered a Beneteau 40.7. Five years later, we repeated another Caribbean experience by sailing the RORC Caribbean 600 Challenge, a tortuous, 11-island, 600-mile race from Antigua to Guadeloupe.”

Ron is fit, with a well-trimmed white beard, a shiny head and looks like a guy always in control. He’s now passed the three-quarter century mark, but is definitely not ready to swallow the anchor.

At the Scott Point Royal Vancouver Outstation on Salt Spring Island, he sails Lasers competitively with the “old guys sailing club.”

“I still go into the office, consulting now, several days a week and I bike 45 minutes each way,” he says. “Keeps me in shape.” Although always the skipper, he relies on his crew to share the load.

“We didn’t have the best results,” says Ron, reflecting on the 2017 Swiftsure race. “But we gave it our all. Of my 43 Swiftsures, this is the only one with fog and wind all night all the way back. We gybed in the dark fog through Race Passage in 25 knots, never seeing Race Rocks or land on the left, with David Lloyd calling the minutes for each gybe. And then, as has happened many times before, we spent almost three hours completing the last one-half mile to the finish line. A Driftsure at the end.”

Werner Kurz, Ron’s right-hand for decades adds, “This was the most fog we’ve seen in a Swiftsure. It was a race in which old-fashioned seamanship and the desire to keep the crew safe prevailed over the desire to perform well. When the fog was get- ting really thick at night and we were making 10-plus knots under spinnaker with virtually no visibility, we decided to switch to a jib to reduce speed somewhat but greatly increase the ability to respond instantly to any object that might emerge out of the fog. And having to cross the outbound shipping lane added further motivation.”

Why did Ron take to racing and continue on that same path when many septuagenarians have long abandoned the demanding sport? He has many reasons. “Not many people engage in racing,” he says, “and that means you’re among those who challenge themselves.” He sees racing as a healthy sport, a passion. He loves the competition, the camaraderie, even sharing the trials and the stress. “When you finish a race, no matter what your position, you have a sense of accomplishment,” he says. “So I’ll be back for the 2018 Swiftsure, pleased to help celebrate its 75th anniversary.”
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