J/Boats

Sønderborg Wins Danish J/70 Sailing League Act II

30 Jun
J/70s racing Danish Sailing League(Juelsminde, Denmark)- Never before it has been closer than it was in Juelsminde at the June 17-19 Danish J/70 Sailing League Division 2 event. Sønderborg Yacht Club kept their cool and won the event ahead of the Sejlklubben Sundet and the Yachtklubben Furesøen. Yachtklubben Furesøen still leads the overall leaderboard in the second division.

Five clubs were within two points of each other before the last race.  The entire outcome of the regatta, therefore, was based on “who beat who” in the third FINAL 6 race.  Sailing like a boat possessed, the Sejlklubben Sundet team posted a 2-1-2 in the finale to nearly steal the event from Sonderborg.  For their part, Sonderborg seemingly wilted under the pressure after an initial 5-4, but won the last race to clinch the win overall.

Danish J/70 sailing league winnersPerhaps the biggest “choke” of the regatta was by the previous winner's mistakes on the last day’s finale. Yachtklubben Furesøen impressed their competitors with five straight bullets in a row in the last six races before the FINAL 6 sail-off.  However, a shrimping of their gennaker in the 10-12 m/s wind totally ruined the Furesoen team’s second FINAL 6 sail-off.  So, the four young skiff sailors for YF sailed to a 3-6-3 to settle for third place.  Fourth was Silkeborg Sejlklub and fifth Struer Sejlklub. 

Since YK Furesøen won the season's first event in Lundeborg, they now lead the overall second division with 34 points - ahead of Sønderborg with 33 points and with Sejlklubben Sound and Silkeborg Yacht Club on a shared third place with 31 points.  For more Danish J/70 Sailing League information
Read More

Regattaclub Bodensee Leads Swiss J/70 Sailing League Act V

30 Jun
J/70s racing Swiss Sailing League(Kreuzlingen, Switzerland)- The Regatta Club Bodensee won the fifth round of the Swiss Sailing National League (first division) in Kreuzlingen, hosted by the Société Nautique Rolloise and the Regatta Club Oberhofen. With this victory, the Regatta Club Bodensee also assumes the lead in the overall leader board and is now two points ahead of the Société Nautique de Genève.

Strong westerly winds allowed seventeen races per team (34 races total) of fast and exciting sailing for the fifth round of the Swiss Sailing Super League in Kreuzlingen. The team of the Regattaclub Bodensee with Julian Flessati, Tobias Rüdlinger, Stephan Ammann and Stephan Zurfluh used their home advantage and took the victory.

Swiss J/70 Sailing League- podium winnersFor the top three teams, it was actually incredibly tight racing.  While RCB won, it was only by two points over Societe Nautique Rolloise and just three points over Regattaclub Oberhofen!  The overall lead changed several times over the weekend. The many wind shifts and gusts demanded high concentration and perfect maneuvers. A misread wind shift or bad set of the large asym spinnaker meant even more places were lost!  The crews were on edge all the time as each foot gained or lost meant 3 to 4 positions per race!

After sailing Friday and Saturday in beautiful winds and sunshine, Sunday started rainy, cloudy. The Regatta Club Bodensee (RCB) had lost its leadership role in the intermediate standings after Saturday’s racing.

Nevertheless, after a few match-racing tactics with both SNR and RCO, the RCB team closed with a 1-1-2 in the final three races to just squeak out a thrilling finish for their team.  The Oberhofen crew sailed nearly as well, closing with a 1-2-2.  However, that was not the case for the somewhat frazzled crew on SNR, the leader before the start of racing on Sunday.  SNR sailed to a 3-2-5 and nearly threw away a podium finish.  Rounding out the top five after RCB, SNR and RCO were Societe Nautique de Geneve in 4th and Yachtklub Bielersee in 5th position.  For more Swiss J/70 Sailing League information
Read More

Ballard Cup Series II Update

29 Jun
J/109 sailing off Seattle(Seattle, WA)- Ethereal fog. Dazzling sun. Leaping orcas. Playful porpoises. Sexy sasquatches. Salacious salmon sushi.  Alien Alaska king crabs crawling onto boats at night (huh?).  Lens clouds on 14,000 ft Cascade Peaks. Smelly pine cones creating aromatic wisps of gentle breeze at dawn.  All form the canvas on which many a painter have interpreted the random beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Not for the bright lights, big city stilleto crowd, that's for sure.  That is just how those who live and love the life in Seattle like it.  Adding in some wind helps, of course. Not too much, not too little.  Unfortunately, when Neptune decides which version of the knotmeter to choose in these parts, it’s often the extremes!  Ouch!

The Sloop Tavern YC, a notoriously fun place, is enjoying hosting yet another of their famous Ballard Cup Series.  There are three of them.  The first one is cold, foggy and messy. The second one is less cold, less foggy and less messy.  The third one is perfect, warm and windy according to the Chamber of Commerce weather forecast!

The Ballard Cup Series is all about having fun.  No drama.  No pretense.  Just sailing. That is the way it should be.  And, J/Teams are loving it!  Note to all- the women owners and skippers are fast learners and are creating some great teams in the Pacific Northwest!

J/105 sailing off SeattleAt this stage, a J/105 is leading overall with 10 of the top 25 overall are J/Teams. Three of the top six are J/teams and, significantly, two are women-owned and skippered boats!  That is a wonderful development in offshore sailing, not just for the Pacific Northwest, but for the rest of offshore sailing in general.  That is a trend that continues to accelerate since a vast majority of new women sailboat owners happen to be J/Boats sailors!

Here is what is happening to date on a class-by-class basis.  In Class 3 Flying Sails, Scott Galbraith’s J/24 FLYER is 3rd class and 9th overall.  In Class 4 Flying Sails, David Jade’s J/35c SHADOWFAX is 7th class and 47th overall.

There are a lot of J/crews in Class 5 Flying Sails. Laurie Ann Kaplan’s J/29 WINGS is 1st class and 5th overall followed by Jacob Kemp’s J/80 FEARFUL SYMMETRY in second and 14th overall, then Dulnath Wijayratne’s J/80 JOLLY GREEN in third and 22nd overall, J Aguilar & J Kazaras’ J/29 RUBY in 4th and 19th overall, Thomas’ J/29 JOYRIDE in 6th and 26th overall, Cindy Gossett’s J/30 OUTLAW 7th and 32nd overall, Dave Revell’s J/80 UNDERDOG 8th and 35th overall, Rodolphe Destouches’ J/80 TAJ MAHAL 9th and 36th overall.

The current rockstar is in Class 6 Flying Sails- John Aitchison’s J/105 MOOSE UNKNOWN is 1st class and 1st overall.  Lloyd Fogg’s J/105 AVALANCHE 3rd and 21st overall, Tom Kerr’s J/33 CORVO 5th and 20th overall.  Margaret Pommert’s J/105 PUFF 6th and 39th overall.  Jim Geros’ J/105 LAST TANGO in 8th and 44th overall.

Finally, in Class 7 Flying Sails, Jenny Heins’ J/35 THOSE GUYS is 3rd class and 6th overall; Ken Jones’ J/120 WITH GRACE 5th class and 10th overall.

The PHRF Cruising Spinnaker Class saw the modified J/30 HURON skippered by Karl von Schwarz take fourth.   For more Annapolis YC Regatta sailing information
Read More

Newport Harbor YC Eclipses YCCS J/70 International Team Race Challenge

29 Jun
J/70s sailing YC Costa Smeralda team race(Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy)- The second edition of the YC Costa Smeralda Invitational Team Racing Challenge regatta in Porto Cervo concluded with a resounding victory for California's Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Over the course of three day's racing the six participating teams completed a total of 62 matches in varied sea and wind conditions!

Newport Harbor YC wins J/70 YC Costa Smeralda team raceThe team flying the Newport Harbor burgee (skippers Justin Law and Mac Mace with crew of Dan Geissman, Whit Batchelor, Rod Rader and Bill Menninger), together with the crews from New York Yacht Club and Marblehead's Eastern Yacht Club, proved to be strong contenders from the beginning of the series. While New York YC racked up a perfect scorecard in the first day's Round Robin, winning 5 out 5 races, Newport Harbor YC managed to consistently win each one of their races in the Round Robins of days two and three. The battle to attain second position overall, and consequently a place in the final knock-out round, was fought between New York YC (consisting of skippers Stu Saffer and Senet Bischoff with crew of Carrie Saffer, Ned Glenn, Monique Singer and Roland Singer) and Eastern Yacht Club (consisting of skippers Matt Hook and Doug Sabin with crew of Chris Remelka, Sinan Kunt, Peter Lynn and Callie Naughton). However, after a lackluster performance in the final Round Robin from the New York team, it was Eastern that pipped their New York YC counterparts to the post by just one point.

The final, which took place in 15 knots of Mistral breeze accompanied by warm sunshine, once again saw Newport Harbor dominate as they immediately tucked away two wins in the best-of-three competition. The final leaderboard, therefore, saw an all-American top three with Newport Harbor YC followed by Eastern YC in second and New York Yacht Club in third place. The team representing host club YCCS claimed fourth place ahead of Royal Thames Yacht Club and Gamla Stans YC of Sweden.

J/70s sailing off Sardinia- YC Costa Smeralda team raceThe J/70 fleet provided by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for the event proved to be agile even in Friday’s light airs and the Race Committee had no problem fitting in the full programme of flights scheduled for the day. The New York Yacht Club enjoyed a perfect scorecard so far, with Newport Harbour Yacht Club in second place with three wins and two defeats.  While racing Friday was fast and fun, teams were looking forward to a stronger breeze Saturday as the infamous Sardinian Mistral moves in. Forecasts had it blowing at 15-20 knots on the course. Fortunately, staff from both Quantum Sails, technical partner of the event, and J/Boats Italy were on hand on the race course for any technical tweaking that may be required.

In the meantime all concerned relaxed and took in the stunning views from the YCCS Pool terrace at the evening's Team Barbecue!  Tough duty to be team-racing J/70s in Sardinia watching the sun set over the Aga Khan’s empire!

Day two saw the Stars & Stripes flying from the top of all three flagpoles at YC Costa Smeralda at the end of the day.  At the same time, everyone discovered how devastating the teamwork was from Newport Harbor YC’s skippers and crew- wiping the table clean by winning every single race with supreme confidence.  In fact, all three American yacht clubs showed a clean pair of heels to all their European counterparts.

With three round robins and a total of 45 matches completed, Newport Harbour YC sat atop the leaderboard followed by New York YC and Eastern YC.  Fourth was YC Costa Smeralda.  The event would then turn to fourth round-robin, a semi-finals and finals on the last day.

J/70s sailing YC Costa Smeralda team race- Sardinia, ItalyIn two-on-two team racing, easily one of the most exciting formats in this game, each Club takes to the starting line with two boats, the objective is to ensure that one of the opposing Club's boats crosses the line last - thereby decreeing the losing team. Tactics play an important role, as does seamless synergy between the two crews, and the sailors from Newport Harbour YC clearly had their routine down pat as they triumphed in 10 out of 10 races on the second day. Their competitors at New York YC were not far behind, with  7 of 10 wins on the board.

In the finale on Sunday, Newport Harbor YC’s team simply ran the table to take their inaugural YCCS International Team Race Challenge Trophy home to Newport Beach, CA.  Second was Eastern YC from Marblehead, MA and third was New York YC from Newport, RI.

YC Costa Smeralda Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo commented during the prize giving: "Team racing is a fantastic discipline, it really underlines the fundamental values of sailing: teamwork, concentration and tactical ability. This week we were lucky enough to have three American Clubs who have a great deal of experience in this specialty, from whom we can only learn. Conditions were varied but today everyone had the real "Costa Smeralda" experience, with ideal wind and sea conditions and sunshine making for a perfect day's racing. My thanks go to all the teams who travelled here from near and far and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2018."

To round off the event, which combined competitive racing with first-rate social events since day one, the teams were invited to a gala dinner and prize giving at the YC Costa Smeralda Clubhouse overlooking Porto Cervo Marina.  For more YC Costa Smeralda International Team Racing Challenge sailing information
Read More

KNS Wins Norway J/70 Sailing League Act II

29 Jun
J/70s racing Norway sailing league(Sandefjord, Norway)- Sandefjord Sailing Association was ready and looking forward to hosting the 1st Division in the Norwegian Sailing League, racing J/70s in their beautiful fjord.  The weather forecasts promised sunshine and light winds from the north-northeast for the June 17th to 19th regatta.

Fifteen teams were sailing the second round and all were hoping they could challenge Åsgårdstrand SF, the league leader after the Oslo regatta.  The regatta’s PRO, Karl Kjørstad, was hoping to get in fifteen races in total for the teams.

Friday’s racing had the wind go through a complete 360 degrees from beginning to end of the day.  The shifty winds, coming from all sides of the race course, meant teams had to vigilant and not hit corners.  In fact, freedom to tack and play a shift was critical.  Nevertheless, Åsgårdstrand SF showed their conservative tactics led to four out of five victories to start off the series quickly in the lead.

J/70 Norway sailing league winners podiumSaturday dawned with much more stable winds and by 12 noon three flights had already been carried out.  After a very lackluster start on Saturday, Kongelig Norsk Seilforening (KNS) felt that enough was enough. It was time to make a change. “We had a little meeting aboard during the midday break when the course was reset to account for a 180 deg shift. For 90 percent of the meeting, we talked about our starts. If you win the start, you are first at the weather mark. After the talk, everything was so much better for us,” says Kristoffer Spone, the skipper for KNS.

At the end of Saturday KNS remained in second place, behind the increasingly bigger lead being created by Åsgårdstrand SF.  KNS was tied at the conclusion of Saturday’s racing with Larvik SF. Larvik SF had shown they have speed, smarts and great boat-handling in Sandefjord.

Several of the other teams had also shown they got a better grip on league sailing in general and, especially, how to sail the J/70s faster.  The volunteers from Sandefjord SF, the regatta organizers, were widely praised for their efforts on Saturday night during the evening cookout and party for the sailors.

The final day was truly epic.  Good winds, lots of racing and an enormous upset was in the making.  KNS continued to be labeled as the “comeback kids” and managed to get past Åsgårdstrand SF by just one point after winning the last race!  A tie-breaker was not good enough for KNS to win, they simply had to beat ASF by a point and they did it! Kristoffer Spone and his KNS team had to fight hard for every point!

The battle for third place was equally hard and it was the RAN Club that triumphed with yet another single point win over Larvik SF.  Fifth place went to Brevik SF.  For more Norwegian J/70 Sailing League sailing information
Read More

J/Teams Lead Bermuda Race!

29 Jun
J/44 sailing to BermudaJ/Cruisers Sweep Class 5! J/46 Crushes Giants!
(Newport RI)– Despite the foreboding weather forecasts, virtually every J/Crew registered for the Newport Bermuda Race went sailing, confident their fast and seaworthy boats would make the most of whatever Mother Nature threw at them.  As it turned out, the forecasts were nowhere close to being accurate, with many boats reporting winds that never exceeded 25 kts, even in minor squalls crossing the notoriously fickle and monstrously choppy Gulf Stream.  In fact, because of an unusual high pressure ridge, the one that the superyacht COMANCHE blew through to establish a new race record of 35+ hours, the 130-odd teams that ventured forth into the unknown had a basic choice- breeze or current.  The divergent strategies meant the overall outcome quickly became a “two-track” race; those who stayed close to rhumbline and east of the fleet, or those who strayed way west and lost out on a lot of breeze.  You can see the results of those choices by re-running the race on Yellow Brick Tracker here- http://yb.tl/nb2016.

Storm Trysail- AJ Evans on J/44 VampThe Storm Trysail Club Chair for the Bermuda Race, AJ Evans, was sailing aboard Len Sitar’s beautiful J/44 VAMP.  His commentary on Tuesday was, “we had a spectacular evening of sailing here on a gentle sea with a decent breeze under a full moon and stars. Nights like these sell the next race.  A most excellent sail so far, especially this year. Following last night, it’s been a typically beautiful morning with sun and those puffy soft yellow/purple/gray clouds dancing across the skies, breeze just a gentle 10-15kts from the WSW.  Sure glad we went for it!”

This year’s Newport Bermuda Race was the 50th running of the biennial offshore race and had one of the largest entry lists it had seen in history.  However, over 50 boats dropped out before the start, including all the “hot boats” in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division- like Maxi 72s, TP 52s, Ker 47s, etc- in fact there was no award since nobody sailed- a first for the race!!  Imagine that, now that’s a serious footnote to consider, isn’t it?!  Presumably, the owners felt their boats may not be seaworthy enough to sail through a gale!??

The action started on-time at 3:00PM EDT Friday, June 17 from Newport, Rhode Island. The 635nm adventure “is not a race for novices,” that is certain.  The race demands good seamanship, great care, and a boat that is both well-built and properly equipped. To that end, most of the J/Teams sailed with confidence, sailed fast and were top contenders in many classes!

Most noteworthy was the complete sweep of SDL Class 5 by three J/Teams.  Winning was the J/37 CARINA skippered by Will Passano from Gibson Island Yacht Squadron; winning by just 5 minutes on corrected time over Eliot Merrill’s J/42 FINESSE.  Taking third was yet another J/42- Roger Gatewood’s SHAZAAM from Davis Island YC about an hour further back on corrected. While most of this class virtually all went due south, west of rhumb for the first 48 hours, it was CARINA and SHAZAAM that stayed much further east along the rhumbline, with SHAZAAM hanging furthest east.

The only “one-design” division in the entire event was the J/120s in SDL Class 6.  Needless to say, as a class, they all pushed each other quite hard and there were few “strays” on the race course.  Seemingly, all six boats that raced (out of the nine originally registered) were all strung out on a rope, virtually tied together, for the first half of the race.  At that point on Monday 1400 hrs, Stephen Besse’s APRES from Vineyard Haven YC was leading with Jim Chen’s CHAOTIC FLUX running neck-and-neck with them down the race course, Greg Leonard’s HERON just astern.  Sitting in the “cheap seats” were VAMOOSE, HERON and DEVIATION.  However, the next 24 hours must have produced a lot of drama and consternation for the various J/120 navigators.  Either no one believed their “grib” downloads, or they weren’t getting them. In either case, Richard Born’s WINDBORN from Annapolis YC and Canadian Stu McCrea’s DEVIATION from Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron made a significant gamble (“calculated risk”) and headed much further east, across rhumb relative to the rest of the fleet.  Ultimately, it was a brilliant move in their 635nm chess match.  Both boats closed rapidly on the race leader APRES, moving DEVIATION and WINDBORN into 2nd and 3rd, respectively just 50nm from the finish.  Then, it was “game-on” all over again Tuesday at 1530 hrs as the fleet experienced a big windshift from the SSE and all bets were off as the boats started beating to windward for several hours.  APRES anticipated the change nicely and became windward boat while HERON slid back into second place astern and to leeward. By Tuesday midnight the breeze had swung quickly into the SW, so it was a quick fetch into the finish for the westward boats.  APRES won her class, followed by HERON in second. However, behind them there was a wholesale re-ordering of positions again, with Bob Manchester’s VAMOOSE roaring in from the west on power beat/tight reach while others caught east of rhumb (DEVIATION, CHAOTIC FLUX, WINDBORN) got caught outside on the shift and having to tack to make the finish!

The three J/122s had strikingly diverse strategies for the race in SDL Class 7.  For the first 24 hours into Saturday evening, John Gregg’s TARAHUMARA from Corinthian YC inn Boston, MA simply took off from the start and doggedly headed south and west from the rhumb.  Dan Heun’s MOXIEE took a left turn instead and held east of rhumb until late Saturday.  Then, Jim Shachoy’s AUGUST WEST started just left of rhumb then slowly meandered back just west of rhumb, leading the entire class boat-for-boat at that point.  From Saturday night to Sunday midday, the “wheels fell off that shopping trolley” fast, like lightning quick!  TARAHUMARA persevered on staying west.  After moments of indecision, MOXIEE made a radical move back west and surely regretted that move from that point forward.  AUGUST WEST was flipping and flopping just west of rhumb but never made the winning move back east that so many other boats had done in other classes.  As a result, both the F40 ZOE and the F44.7 VALKYRIE headed much further east of the J/122s, and flew down rhumbline to beat their class.  Consequently, Shachoy’s AUGUST WEST settled for 4th in class and MOXIEE 8th and TARAHUMARA 9th.

Again, it was a tale of two cities in SDL Class 8 for the one-design fleet of J/44s and the lone J/111.  However, in this case it turned into group suicide by most everyone in the class; virtually every boat except, that is, for Chris Lewis’ J/44 KENAI from Lakewood YC in Seabrook, TX.  After taking a southerly routing after the start, just about the entire class was well west of rhumb.  The first boat to make a break for it to the east was the F395 OLD SCHOOL, around 24 hours into the race on Saturday evening.  At the time, KENAI was leading the class boat-for-boat.  However, 24 hours later the OLD SCHOOL crew had sailed much farther east but were still around 30nm west of rhumb, but steering directly at Bermuda at 145 deg and built an unassailable 90nm lead over the class!  Meanwhile, KENAI made a prophetic move east themselves, first 30nm, then 50nm, further east than their colleagues.  For this class, virtually everyone that stayed west of rhumb got hammered overall.  However, relative to one another, you could just about assign your place in class based on how far west you were of rhumbline between 24-48 hours into the race.  Lewis’ KENIA took second followed by Len Sitar’s VAMP in 4th, Dan Kitchens’ J/111 SKULL CRACKER from Chicago YC in 8th and the Noahs (Shanghai) Sailing Club on SPIRIT OF NOAHS in 9th place.

The J/133s acquitted themselves in SDL Class 9 after starting off on the wrong foot, like the stories above- headed more south and west than their class.  Both Mike & Dale Mcivor’s MATADOR from Pequot YC and the Nova Scotians, Ray & Andrea Rhinelander’s BELLA J, clawed there way back into contention for their class and it took until late Tuesday afternoon where they were able to play the new southwesterly correctly to take 3rd and 5th in class, respectively.  Like a bad movie for those navigators caught on the wrong side of the coin flip, the class winner, the XP44 WARRIOR WON, split from their class on Saturday morning and from 8:30am to 11:30am sailed at right angles, literally, to the rhumbline course to Bermuda.  Prior to that tactical move, the two J/133s were neck-and-neck for the class lead on elapsed time!  However, the move paid off big time for WARRIOR WON, sailing down rhumbline for 75% of the race and finishing 17 hours earlier than either J/133, winning the coveted St Davids Lighthouse Trophy overall. 

For Brian Prinz’s J/125 SPECTRE, the same scenario played out as it had for many other J/Teams.  The class winner HIGH NOON, sailed by the American YC Young American Junior Big Boat Sailing Team, started out on the eastern side of their class, stayed there and split further east towards rhumbline late Saturday evening and simply aimed their boat at 145 deg towards Bermuda— not deviating much at all from rhumb all the way into the finish line off St David’s Light.  Meanwhile, the J/125 SPECTRE sailed off to the south and west of rhumb and not until Monday night did they make their way into better breeze just on the west side of rhumb on Monday afternoon.  Despite that self-imposed handicap, SPECTRE still took 4th in class.

In Double-handed I Class, the class winner KIVA sailed east of the rhumbline for two/thirds of the race and hardly deviated, other than going a bit westabout in the first 48 hours in the race, crossing east over the rhumb Sunday noontime.  Taking 2nd and 3rd, respectively, were Steve Berlack’s J/42 ARROWHEAD and Hewitt Gaynor’s J/120 MIREILLE; both stayed west, sometimes way west of rhumb and paid the price.  Conversely, Sharon Winkler & Noel Sterrett’s J/130 SOLARUS sailed 15-20nm west of rhumb until halfway through the race and was leading the entire division boat-for-boat until late Monday afternoon; at that point KIVA overtook them in the stronger breezes to the east.  Unfortunately, SOLARUS got too far east coming into the finish and had to tack back to the finish line in the new sou’wester breeze to take 5th in class.

In the Cruiser Division, Brad Willauer’s J/46 BREEZING UP from Prouts Neck YC simply crushed it!  They had the winning formula right from the start, were east-most boat of their class when it mattered most in the first 24-36 hours of the race.  From there on end, it was a game of chase by giant 55 to 84 footers trying to catch the “little” J/46 leading their class boat-for-boat by a substantial margin for the first 72 hours.  The big Frers 84 finally caught them on Monday evening, then the Alden 63 by Tuesday morning.  As the smallest boat in a class of giants, it was an impressive race for the Willauer family- very experienced long-distance sailors in their own right!    For more Storm Trysail Club Newport to Bermuda Race sailing information
Read More

J/Teams Lead Bermuda Race!

29 Jun
J/44 sailing to BermudaJ/Cruisers Sweep Class 5! J/46 Crushes Giants!
(Newport RI)– Despite the foreboding weather forecasts, virtually every J/Crew registered for the Newport Bermuda Race went sailing, confident their fast and seaworthy boats would make the most of whatever Mother Nature threw at them.  As it turned out, the forecasts were nowhere close to being accurate, with many boats reporting winds that never exceeded 25 kts, even in minor squalls crossing the notoriously fickle and monstrously choppy Gulf Stream.  In fact, because of an unusual high pressure ridge, the one that the superyacht COMANCHE blew through to establish a new race record of 35+ hours, the 130-odd teams that ventured forth into the unknown had a basic choice- breeze or current.  The divergent strategies meant the overall outcome quickly became a “two-track” race; those who stayed close to rhumbline and east of the fleet, or those who strayed way west and lost out on a lot of breeze.  You can see the results of those choices by re-running the race on Yellow Brick Tracker here- http://yb.tl/nb2016.

Storm Trysail- AJ Evans on J/44 VampThe Storm Trysail Club Chair for the Bermuda Race, AJ Evans, was sailing aboard Len Sitar’s beautiful J/44 VAMP.  His commentary on Tuesday was, “we had a spectacular evening of sailing here on a gentle sea with a decent breeze under a full moon and stars. Nights like these sell the next race.  A most excellent sail so far, especially this year. Following last night, it’s been a typically beautiful morning with sun and those puffy soft yellow/purple/gray clouds dancing across the skies, breeze just a gentle 10-15kts from the WSW.  Sure glad we went for it!”

This year’s Newport Bermuda Race was the 50th running of the biennial offshore race and had one of the largest entry lists it had seen in history.  However, over 50 boats dropped out before the start, including all the “hot boats” in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division- like Maxi 72s, TP 52s, Ker 47s, etc- in fact there was no award since nobody sailed- a first for the race!!  Imagine that, now that’s a serious footnote to consider, isn’t it?!  Presumably, the owners felt their boats may not be seaworthy enough to sail through a gale!??

The action started on-time at 3:00PM EDT Friday, June 17 from Newport, Rhode Island. The 635nm adventure “is not a race for novices,” that is certain.  The race demands good seamanship, great care, and a boat that is both well-built and properly equipped. To that end, most of the J/Teams sailed with confidence, sailed fast and were top contenders in many classes!

Most noteworthy was the complete sweep of SDL Class 5 by three J/Teams.  Winning was the J/37 CARINA skippered by Will Passano from Gibson Island Yacht Squadron; winning by just 5 minutes on corrected time over Eliot Merrill’s J/42 FINESSE.  Taking third was yet another J/42- Roger Gatewood’s SHAZAAM from Davis Island YC about an hour further back on corrected. While most of this class virtually all went due south, west of rhumb for the first 48 hours, it was CARINA and SHAZAAM that stayed much further east along the rhumbline, with SHAZAAM hanging furthest east.

The only “one-design” division in the entire event was the J/120s in SDL Class 6.  Needless to say, as a class, they all pushed each other quite hard and there were few “strays” on the race course.  Seemingly, all six boats that raced (out of the nine originally registered) were all strung out on a rope, virtually tied together, for the first half of the race.  At that point on Monday 1400 hrs, Stephen Besse’s APRES from Vineyard Haven YC was leading with Jim Chen’s CHAOTIC FLUX running neck-and-neck with them down the race course, Greg Leonard’s HERON just astern.  Sitting in the “cheap seats” were VAMOOSE, HERON and DEVIATION.  However, the next 24 hours must have produced a lot of drama and consternation for the various J/120 navigators.  Either no one believed their “grib” downloads, or they weren’t getting them. In either case, Richard Born’s WINDBORN from Annapolis YC and Canadian Stu McCrea’s DEVIATION from Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron made a significant gamble (“calculated risk”) and headed much further east, across rhumb relative to the rest of the fleet.  Ultimately, it was a brilliant move in their 635nm chess match.  Both boats closed rapidly on the race leader APRES, moving DEVIATION and WINDBORN into 2nd and 3rd, respectively just 50nm from the finish.  Then, it was “game-on” all over again Tuesday at 1530 hrs as the fleet experienced a big windshift from the SSE and all bets were off as the boats started beating to windward for several hours.  APRES anticipated the change nicely and became windward boat while HERON slid back into second place astern and to leeward. By Tuesday midnight the breeze had swung quickly into the SW, so it was a quick fetch into the finish for the westward boats.  APRES won her class, followed by HERON in second. However, behind them there was a wholesale re-ordering of positions again, with Bob Manchester’s VAMOOSE roaring in from the west on power beat/tight reach while others caught east of rhumb (DEVIATION, CHAOTIC FLUX, WINDBORN) got caught outside on the shift and having to tack to make the finish!

The three J/122s had strikingly diverse strategies for the race in SDL Class 7.  For the first 24 hours into Saturday evening, John Gregg’s TARAHUMARA from Corinthian YC inn Boston, MA simply took off from the start and doggedly headed south and west from the rhumb.  Dan Heun’s MOXIEE took a left turn instead and held east of rhumb until late Saturday.  Then, Jim Shachoy’s AUGUST WEST started just left of rhumb then slowly meandered back just west of rhumb, leading the entire class boat-for-boat at that point.  From Saturday night to Sunday midday, the “wheels fell off that shopping trolley” fast, like lightning quick!  TARAHUMARA persevered on staying west.  After moments of indecision, MOXIEE made a radical move back west and surely regretted that move from that point forward.  AUGUST WEST was flipping and flopping just west of rhumb but never made the winning move back east that so many other boats had done in other classes.  As a result, both the F40 ZOE and the F44.7 VALKYRIE headed much further east of the J/122s, and flew down rhumbline to beat their class.  Consequently, Shachoy’s AUGUST WEST settled for 4th in class and MOXIEE 8th and TARAHUMARA 9th.

Again, it was a tale of two cities in SDL Class 8 for the one-design fleet of J/44s and the lone J/111.  However, in this case it turned into group suicide by most everyone in the class; virtually every boat except, that is, for Chris Lewis’ J/44 KENAI from Lakewood YC in Seabrook, TX.  After taking a southerly routing after the start, just about the entire class was well west of rhumb.  The first boat to make a break for it to the east was the F395 OLD SCHOOL, around 24 hours into the race on Saturday evening.  At the time, KENAI was leading the class boat-for-boat.  However, 24 hours later the OLD SCHOOL crew had sailed much farther east but were still around 30nm west of rhumb, but steering directly at Bermuda at 145 deg and built an unassailable 90nm lead over the class!  Meanwhile, KENAI made a prophetic move east themselves, first 30nm, then 50nm, further east than their colleagues.  For this class, virtually everyone that stayed west of rhumb got hammered overall.  However, relative to one another, you could just about assign your place in class based on how far west you were of rhumbline between 24-48 hours into the race.  Lewis’ KENIA took second followed by Len Sitar’s VAMP in 4th, Dan Kitchens’ J/111 SKULL CRACKER from Chicago YC in 8th and the Noahs (Shanghai) Sailing Club on SPIRIT OF NOAHS in 9th place.

The J/133s acquitted themselves in SDL Class 9 after starting off on the wrong foot, like the stories above- headed more south and west than their class.  Both Mike & Dale Mcivor’s MATADOR from Pequot YC and the Nova Scotians, Ray & Andrea Rhinelander’s BELLA J, clawed there way back into contention for their class and it took until late Tuesday afternoon where they were able to play the new southwesterly correctly to take 3rd and 5th in class, respectively.  Like a bad movie for those navigators caught on the wrong side of the coin flip, the class winner, the XP44 WARRIOR WON, split from their class on Saturday morning and from 8:30am to 11:30am sailed at right angles, literally, to the rhumbline course to Bermuda.  Prior to that tactical move, the two J/133s were neck-and-neck for the class lead on elapsed time!  However, the move paid off big time for WARRIOR WON, sailing down rhumbline for 75% of the race and finishing 17 hours earlier than either J/133, winning the coveted St Davids Lighthouse Trophy overall. 

For Brian Prinz’s J/125 SPECTRE, the same scenario played out as it had for many other J/Teams.  The class winner HIGH NOON, sailed by the American YC Young American Junior Big Boat Sailing Team, started out on the eastern side of their class, stayed there and split further east towards rhumbline late Saturday evening and simply aimed their boat at 145 deg towards Bermuda— not deviating much at all from rhumb all the way into the finish line off St David’s Light.  Meanwhile, the J/125 SPECTRE sailed off to the south and west of rhumb and not until Monday night did they make their way into better breeze just on the west side of rhumb on Monday afternoon.  Despite that self-imposed handicap, SPECTRE still took 4th in class.

In Double-handed I Class, the class winner KIVA sailed east of the rhumbline for two/thirds of the race and hardly deviated, other than going a bit westabout in the first 48 hours in the race, crossing east over the rhumb Sunday noontime.  Taking 2nd and 3rd, respectively, were Steve Berlack’s J/42 ARROWHEAD and Hewitt Gaynor’s J/120 MIREILLE; both stayed west, sometimes way west of rhumb and paid the price.  Conversely, Sharon Winkler & Noel Sterrett’s J/130 SOLARUS sailed 15-20nm west of rhumb until halfway through the race and was leading the entire division boat-for-boat until late Monday afternoon; at that point KIVA overtook them in the stronger breezes to the east.  Unfortunately, SOLARUS got too far east coming into the finish and had to tack back to the finish line in the new sou’wester breeze to take 5th in class.

In the Cruiser Division, Brad Willauer’s J/46 BREEZING UP from Prouts Neck YC simply crushed it!  They had the winning formula right from the start, were east-most boat of their class when it mattered most in the first 24-36 hours of the race.  From there on end, it was a game of chase by giant 55 to 84 footers trying to catch the “little” J/46 leading their class boat-for-boat by a substantial margin for the first 72 hours.  The big Frers 84 finally caught them on Monday evening, then the Alden 63 by Tuesday morning.  As the smallest boat in a class of giants, it was an impressive race for the Willauer family- very experienced long-distance sailors in their own right!    For more Storm Trysail Club Newport to Bermuda Race sailing information
Read More

Three Buoy Fiasco Report

28 Jun
J/105 sailing off Seattle(Seattle, WA)- The Sloop Tavern YC in Seattle, WA held their annual version of the Three Buoy Fiasco this past weekend to much fanfare and aplomb from the masses aligning the shore at daybreak.  OK, well a few happy dogs being taken for a walk in the morning along the seawall enjoyed the spectacle.  The STYC got the ball rolling on time for the enthusiastic sailors and all took off on their prescribed 13.515nm course around the three buoys either clockwise or counter-clockwise.  It was a relatively quick race with the top boats getting around in an elapsed time of just over 2 hours!

The Three Buoy Fiasco courseIn Class 1 No-Flying Sails (e.g. just the white triangle stuff), Tom Kerr’s J/33 CORVO took second with Bill Daniel’s J/100 TOURIST in third.  In Class 3 Flying Sails, we saw Mark Daniel’s J/24 ROSHAMBO haul off the silver- good going!  Then, Class 5 Flying Sails there was a virtual sweep of the class, with Leo’s J/27 WIZARD winning with Geoff Wolf’s J/30 CONRAD J in second, Walker Lockhart’s J/80 JOLLY GREEN in third and Ulf George Gwildis’ J/30 IMPULSIVE in fifth.  Finally, in the Class 6 Flying Sails it was Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA that won and also took third overall!  Taking second was the most famous Pacific NW J/105, Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO, also securing sixth overall!

Yes, it was quite an eclectic fleet of “classic” J’s, hauling the mail around the 13+nm course had to make for a great weekend of sailing with the Cascade Mountains towering off to the East and the mighty Olympics thrusting skyward to the west as a pretty little tapestry in the background of every selfie taken in the race!!  Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson/ Janpix.com For more Three Buoy Fiasco sailing information
Read More

Junior J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga Announced!

28 Jun
German J/70 Junior Sailing LeagueSegel-Club Munster Juniors Win Inaugural Event
(Sorpesee, Germany)- Germany is a pioneer in sailing and invented the idea of league sailing four years ago. Because the concept has become attractive to so many enthusiastic followers, the format has now been extended to younger sailors. The "Deutsche Junioren Segel-Lega" (DJSL) was born in June; the young crews will also get to enjoy great fun sailing on the DSBL matched-fleet of J/70 class sailboats this summer!

Last weekend the kick-off event started successfully on Sorpesee Lake in the middle of Germany, hosted by Segel-Club Sorpesee-Iserlohn (SCSI). Ten teams with sailors aged between 12 and 21 years had 20 tough races. It was a perfectly organized event that generated a lot of excitement amongst the competitors and spectators. At the end, it was Segel-Club Munster that won over YC Lister am Biggesee in second and Segler-Clu Dummer in third.

German J/70 Junior sailing league actionThe euphoria surrounding the new Junior Sailing League was palpable, with dozens of spectators cheering the kids on at every start and every mark-rounding.  Forty-five youth sailors participated over the weekend, each team sailing a total of ten races.

"It was a great atmosphere. Sailors, guests, club members and all participants were enthusiastic. We had a lot of luck sailing in front of our club- Sorpesee-Iserlohn. The whole game was visible from the waterfront and we were able to see the sailing at close quarters. Without the substantial support of the Heinz Nixdorf Association for the promotion of sailing this event would not have been possible," said Rüdiger Margale, DJSL Coordinator.

The next event for the DJSL is the kick-off event in Warnemünde- July 2nd to 4th. This is followed by an event in the northern region from 23rd to 25th September in Travemunde.  The East Region is planning their event on August 27th to 28th on the Wansee.  Dates for the Southern Region are still pending. The grand finale takes place on the Alster Lake in Hamburg starting October 30th.  The DJSL finale will be comprised of six teams: the top two teams in the kick-off event in Warnemünde and the four winners of the regional regattas. We look forward to more exciting events of the German Junior Sailing League!  For more Deutsche Junior Segel-Lega sailing information
Read More

KASHMIR Crowned J/111 N.A. Champion

28 Jun
J/111 sailing North Americans(Chicago, IL)- The J/111 North American Championship, hosted by Chicago Yacht Club in Illinois in conjunction with the HELLY HANSEN NOOD Regatta, got underway Thursday in NNE winds of 10-15 knots, allowing two races to be completed. Recording a 3-1 for the day, Bill Smith’s WOOTON gained a two-point lead over Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, with Richard Witzel’s ROWDY another notch back in third.

The fifteen J/111 teams got a jump on their fellow Helly Hansen Chicago NOOD entrants, as the North American Championship began a day earlier than the remainder of the fleets. After a postponement, Bradley Faber’s UTAH took line honors in the opening contest, with Greenwald and Smith hot on his heels. Smith’s bullet in the next battle gave him the day’s overall edge, as Witzel and Kevin Saedi’s MOMENTUS cracked the top three. That is how the third J/111 NA’s started.  From there on end, the players in the regatta had rather extraordinary scenarios confront them over the next three days.

J/111s sailing Chicago North AmericansFor the second day, the teams experienced a postponement that permitted the CYC PRO to run three more races on the Belmont Station course offshore of the cribs.  The conditions on Thursday were essentially duplicated on Friday.  Northerlies produced significant chop and “backwash” off the all steel/concrete Chicago waterfront, notorious conditions that produce near-impossible steering conditions for some skippers on the upwind legs.  Imagine a “washing machine”, then try to steer straight— that only begins the exasperation for both drivers and sail-trimmers.  After the second day, three more races on a spectacular sunny day continued to see Bill Smith’s WOOTON crew in the lead after accumulating a 2-4-4 to head home with just 14 pts after five races.  Climbing quickly up the ladder after a 1-3-2 into the second position were the KASHMIR trio (Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer) for 17 pts total.  Third at the close of the day was Rob Ruhlman’s Cleveland, Ohio team on SPACEMAN SPIFF with a 3-1-1 record (winners on the day) to close with 19 pts total.

Bill Smith- owner of J/111 WootonSaturday morning dawned with hardly a whisper of wind and an onshore postponement that lasted until 11:30am.  At that point, the J/111 fleet had found out that one of their own had passed away overnight- the current regatta leader Bill Smith, the skipper/ owner of WOOTON.  Sadly, as crew of each team passed along their condolences to the WOOTON team members, they all slowly made their way out to the race course.  Perhaps fittingly, the wind never arose enough to start any races and respects were paid by many to the Smith family and the crew later at the docks as the day wound down- a “last race” was performed by the WOOTON crew on the water to commemorate their lost crewmate, with the finish punctuated by horns and teams clapping at the finish.

Sunday morning dawned with the potential for classic racing off Chicago.  The wind flowed in somewhat lazily from the southeast and, ultimately, developed into a nice breeze from the ESE at 7-12 kts.  After two races and two bullets, it was the KASHMIR crew from Chicago YC that won the regatta with just 18 pts.  Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE sailed well to grab two 2nds and take the silver in his first J/111 NA’s.  Third was Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF with 29 pts.  Rounding out the top five was Brad Faber’s J/111 Spaceman Spiff with Wooton spinnakerUTAH with 40 pts and fifth was Smith’s WOOTON with 46 pts, even accounting for two DNC’s (the crew did not sail that last day in honor of their owner).

In fact, Smith’s crew took WOOTON out to spectate on Sunday, when their friends on SPACEMAN SPIFF (the Ruhlman family from Cleveland, Ohio) hoisted Smith’s spinnaker on the final run in a tribute to Smith- a much beloved character in the J/111 fleet. Smith was a self-made man who started as a carpenter and loved Chicago; he ended his life as a highly respected developer and project builder after a career the Chicago Tribune called ‘a towering achievement.’   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ OutsideImages.com.  For more J/111 North American Championship sailing information
Read More

More from the AIM Marine Group