Thursday, June 18, 2009

J/Newsletter- June 17th, 2009

J/95 on eve of starting Off SoundingsJ/95 BANJO Wins Off-Soundings

Shoal-draft Speedster dominates Around Block Is Race/ Regatta

(Stonington, CT- June 13-14th)- Rod J and a family crew sailed the J/95 BANJO to victory in the Sprit Boat Class C-3. A class, by the way, that included three J/105s; three J/109s; and a J/92. The event starts in Watch Hill, RI then sails direct to the Great Salt Pond Harbor on Block Island. Then, on Saturday is the traditional, famous Around Block Island Race.

As Rodney reports- "Friday was a real drag race – a 12 mile beam reach from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Block Island to a set mark just North of the entrance to New Harbor followed by a 3 mile run to Buoy 1 BI North of the Island and a 3.5 mile beat to the finish at the Harbor entrance. BANJO nailed the jib reaching start. At 1BI we were ahead of everyone except the J/105 DRAGONFLY who rounded just ahead of us and finished first.  We were second and third boat-for boat behind us was Hugh McLean’s J/109 SHEARWATER.

Saturday’s race was counter-clockwise around Block Island. We sailed the long course with the larger, faster classes which meant we had to go out to the Southwest Ledge Whistle buoy about three miles SW of the island, then East to Southeast Point, then NNE to the NE Whistle buoy a mile off Clay Head, then to the NW to 1BI, then finish off the harbor entrance. The wind was light NE at the start with the flood current starting. It was a set-up for us to showcase our shallow draft all the way down the island –in the breeze and out of the foul current- and kick some serious butt.

We started, then skimmed past the end of the breakwater by a boathook length in about 4-5’ of water and kept going. Needless to say the J/105 and J109 right on our tail had to jibe back out into the murky calm for a few boatlengths in order to avoid running aground. We rounded SW Ledge Whistle a quarter mile ahead of the next boat. The next leg to the NE Whistle Buoy was a light, tight spinnaker reach and lost ground (again) to everyone ahead of us.  The leg from the NE Whistle to 1BI was a light air run at the very end of the flood current. We gained back all of what we had lost on the boats ahead of us on the previous leg – maybe three or four minutes. We could sail lower than everyone if not faster. The final beat was a port tack fetch to the finish in about 10-12 knots of wind. The J/109 SHEARWATER was first over the line, but we corrected out to first place on time, winning both days and won the series with 2 points.

All in all, Banjo is fun and easy to sail. Now we know it is fast, too. Oh yes, and we could park it in among the powerboats close to shore at the Oar Restaurant."

J/105 Taking on the World Across the North AtlanticJ/Regatta News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

With summer solstice just around the corner, the J calendar saw our intrepid J adventurers (like 18 year old Oscare Meade at right) finish this year's OSTAR with some epic stories. On the American circuit the Rolex New York YC Regatta had a record turnout. The Europeans hosted the J/22 Worlds on gorgeous Lago di Garda, Italy. Read on! More importantly, if you have more J Regatta News, please email it or upload onto our J/Boats Facebook page!  Below are the summaries.

J/122 Class at New York YC RegattaROLEX NYYC 155th Annual Regatta

Keane's J/105 SAVASANA and Weiss's J/122 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON Win Strong Classes

(Newport, RI- June 12-14,) – The three-day regatta, the longest running in America's history, attracted a record turnout of 105 boats. The event served up weather challenges that, while perhaps disappointing to beach-goers, delighted the 1000 plus sailors competing on Rhode Island Sound over three days.

With fog shrouding the first part of Friday’s 19-mile Around Jamestown Island Race, crews had to navigate with their instruments and keep themselves out of trouble from the capricious currents and wind eddies that swirl around the Island. Amongst the J/122s racing this legendary race, it was Mike Bruno and team aboard WINGS that won the race.

For the weekend racing offshore in Rhode Island Sound for Saturday and Sunday it was classic June conditions for Newport. With a combination of weather systems and the ubiquitous thermal engine trying to kick into higher gear, the tacticians had their crystal balls going full tilt trying to divine the next wind shift to streak to victory over their erstwhile rivals.

For the J/122 class, it was their inaugural event to race as a one-design class in the NYYC Annual Regatta. A ten boat turn-out saw some incredibly tight racing with tremendous changes amongst the leaders for every race. After the three races Saturday, five boats were within five points of eachother. However, it was Andrew Weiss on-board CHRISTOPHER DRAGON from Mamaroneck, NY that sailed consistently well in the three races on Sunday to stretch out their lead to win by four points over Doug Shaffer's GAMBLER from Bayview, TX and David Askew's Annapolis-Newport winner FLYING JENNY VI.

J/105s racing at New York YC RegattaIn the J/105 class, Brian Keane from Boston, MA continued his command over the J/105s to take his SAVASANA to first by four points over Wilson Pollock's SEA SHADOW from Bonita Springs, FL. In third was Dennis Seyhaeve racing his MOPELIA from Annapolis, MD.

Over on the IRC-5 course the J/109s simply dominated their class, going 1-2-3. Leading the charge was Bill Sweetser's RUSH from Annapolis, MD. Only one point back was Ted Herlihy's GUT FEELING from S. Dartmouth, MA. In third was STORM being sailed by Rick Lyall from Wilton, CT.

Of note was Jim Bishop's perennial champion J/44 GOLD DIGGER giving fits to the large IRC-3 class. Jim and crew finished a highly commendable second in class!  For more info.

J/22s racing on Lago di Garda, ItalyJ/22 World Championship

Netherlanders Crush the Competition

(Riva del Garda, Lago di Garda, Italy- June 10-14)- Joe McCorkell on USA 1577 offers his report from the J/22 World Championship in Italy: Tuesday was the first day of the J/22 World Championship. The boats struggled out of the harbor as the shore and sea breeze fought, then like a brick wall we were hit with 15-20 knots, and we are off! There are 36 boats, with the largest fleet coming from The Netherlands. The Netherlands teams showed their skills in heavy air today with all top 10 boats coming from there. Marvin Beckman's team and ours struggled from time to time downwind in the 25-30 knot breeze with both teams wiping out at least once and looking at their keels. Every day there are different morning conditions, and we think, "hey maybe there will be no breeze today. At noon, we are proven wrong every day as the switch is flipped, and 15-20 knots are piping down the lake. These are definitely some tough conditions, but for the most part, we (the 2 American teams) have switched to European driving mode and ride high and plane all the way down, as opposed to the low and soak mode we are used to back in the States

Predictions regarding Gaston Loos winning would definitely come true! Hailing from the strongly competitive contingent from the Netherlands, Loos won followed by fellow countrymen Kasper Kieft in second and Ronald Veraar in third. Meanwhile, Jeroen Den Boer, the 2006 World Champion, finished in fourth position. The American teams could fair no better than tenth for Marvin Beckman and twelfth for Joey McCorkell. For more info.

J/105 King of Shaves Crossing OSTAR finish line2009 OSTAR

Plymouth to Newport Classic Finishes with J/122 2nd Overall, Wins IRC-1 Class!

(Newport, RI- June 17)- For starters, congratulations to Oscar Mead for being the youngest OSTAR finisher ever at the ripe old age of 18 years old racing his J/105 KING OF SHAVES. Furthermore, he was 2nd overall in Gypsy Moth Class and 7th overall on IRC corrected times.

Kudos must also go for an epic journey and very strong showing by Rob Craigie to finish 2nd overall boat-for-boat and 3rd corrected overall on his J/122 J-BELLINO. Rob in fact won IRC-1 Class on corrected time, too!

After 21 days of racing Oscar, aboard his J/105 KING OF SHAVES, has just completed the race goal and set a record as the youngest ever finisher in the Original Singlehanded Transatlantic race. He sailed closest to the rhumb line of all competitors, battling through the ice fields of Newfoundland and led the Gypsy Moth class for most of the race. In a titanic struggle with Irishman Barry Hurley, he just lost out by 2.5 hours on the water and by just 30 minutes on handicap.

Oscar has been sailing since he was 8, he grew up in Hong Kong but sailing videos of Ellen Macarthur going round the world, combined with his innate desire to tinker led him to building models of what "his" Open 60 would look like.

From there it was a one way trip towards bigger boats and longer courses. His lucky break was a chance to sail the China Sea Race with Hong Kong sailor, Frank Pong, on Pong's RP76 "Jelik". Oscar ended up doing the 600 mile China Sea Race and the follow up inshore series on with "Jelik", which by his own admission was a great introduction to big boat racing, As Oscar said "what's not to like about sailing at 20 knots with the spinnaker up on a 76 footer in the sunshine!"

Oscar then managed to persuade his father that they ought to try 2-handed racing together and a J/105 was acquired in early 2008. The two Mead's then sailed the Royal Southampton 2-handed series, winning 5 of 7 starts over the season and totally dominating Class 1.

By mid summer Oscar was desperate to go singlehanded so he entered the Petite Bateau Channel Week, 7 days of racing across the Chanel and back in which he was "Top Rookie". He only turned 18 the week before the series started to even be eligible to enter. After that he set his goal of sailing the OSTAR and did his 500 mile solo qualifier in late summer 2008.

J/122 J-Bellino racing in the OSTAR 2009As for Rob Craigie aboard his J/122 J-BELLINO he narrowly missed winning the entire event overall on corrected time for IRC handicap. Rob was beaten on IRC corrected time by two much smaller boats that finished 3 days 5 hours behind (Tamarind) and 4 days 1 hour behind (Elmarleen). Neverthless, Rob only was 3 minutes 33 seconds behind second place and just 45 minutes behind the corrected time winner Elmarleen. Considering the fact Rob blew out his main spinnaker and destroyed part of his jib (e.g. sailing under a severe handicap in terms of the J/122s normal performance) it's amazing he achieved the feat he did to finish 2nd overall and 3rd on corrected.  For more info.

Oscar's OSTAR 2009 Blog Entries

You have to read some of them! Here's an excerpt below:

"Hello Everybody- We have made great progress through Friday towards the finish line. I had the A5 chute up but as planned dropped it and have switched to the jib top while I sailed into this header. I am starting to worry a little that I might not have used the last 48 hours to get south enough, the latest weather says that the northerly after tonight’s light air patch is going to be more easterly than previously suggested and that will make the wind angle very square on Saturday, I will be dead upwind (better that then dead downwind!) of Nantucket Lighthouse. Its hard to be sure, there is still 280 miles to go to the lighthouse so lots of time to get south but it’s on my radar.

Nothing new to report on the boat front. King of Shaves may be small but the J105 is a pretty awesome little boat really. Very seaworthy and other than upwind in the light she’s pretty fast as well. With the chute up nothing much is faster rating for rating. I don’t know this for a fact but I would guess this is the first J105 to cross the Atlantic and I can recommend it, other than the fact that the living quarters down below are smaller than the bathroom of a modern semi detached house…..Oh, plus the fact that the only real way to go to the toilet is “bucket-and-chuck it”!

Absolutely no viz out here today. I can only see the front of the boat, misty and chilly. I have spent a lot of time today hiding in my conservatory (home built solid sprayhood) as that allows me to see all the sails and stay warm and dry at the same time, but other than recently its been cold enough to want to keep the hatch closed, so that whatever warmth there is down below stays there. My sail repair on the A5 held so that was satisfying.

Race wise its me and Barry on Dinah fighting for the lead in the Gypsy Moth class. We have a pretty good lead on the rest but I think I am about 10 miles in front of Barry today so that is going to go down to the wire. We are also fighting for 5th place across the finish line which is pretty good as we are in the smaller class. I think I might get there early Monday at this rate….keep your fingers crossed and thanks for all your emails.  Cheers, Osc       For more entertaining reading


What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide

PUMA heading for Davey Jones' locker* Ken Read- the comeback kid, from DFL to 2nd in Leg 8- Ireland to Sweden. Yes, these guys were all probably sleepless and shattered. It was a tough race, particularly in the waning hours. The relentless conditions, from gales to flat calms, shipping to shallows and ferocious currents, have rendered the crews physically and mentally exhausted. After blowing up their big chute, wrapping on the head of the main and having to take a left turn around a low, PUMA had their work cut out for them. While the world focused on Green Dragon and race leader Ericsson 4 fighting it out off the Danish coast, less than a mile off the beach of Thybor√łn, a fishing village in Jutland, famous for being the site of Ken and Team celebrate PUMA's Leg 9 Victorynumerous shipwrecks, Ken and the boys began to stage a mind-blowing, pedal-to-the-metal comeback from the left field green monster wall of Fenway Park (well not really, but figuratively anyways). PUMA streaked in from the left and in a dramatic finish passed Green Dragon to finish second!

As if this drama wasn't enough, Ken and PUMA Team were so stoked they finally decided such adrenalin rushes were "cool". So, Ken and gang took off to win Leg 9! Well, seems that hope, perseverance and luck won't go unrewarded for this tenacious team-- looks like PUMA Racing will get second overall for the whole bloody VOR race!! Hats off to you guys from the "J/World". Kathy- are you happy about this?? Or, are you ready to go do this again next year-- shopping is good I hear.  For more info.

Quantum Team at MedCup* Terry Hutchinson- the comeback kid story part II. As if Ken's exploits in the closing days of the VOR weren't enough, another friend and J/24 World Champion, Terry Hutchinson has continued to steadily gain momentum to again challenge the leaders in the Audi MedCup Circuit. Defending champions Quantum Racing won an exciting, stamina-sapping 39.7 miles coastal return race east to Cassis. With northwesterly winds blowing anything between 12 knots in the bay to 22-24 knots offshore on a long, fast sleigh ride downwind to the easternmost, leeward turning mark, this was a race which was doubly fulfilling, close and exciting to the end, with five boats finishing within two minutes after the long beat home, but the backdrop – the stunning limestone calanque cliffs and sheer valleys – is the most awesome of the Circuit. Four different boats lead the race, but it was Quantum Racing’s afterguard who were able to take advantage, seizing the initiative to use the additional pressure in under the cliffs and the consistent favourable lift, to take the lead early on the beat which they were able to hold to win by 33 seconds from the Russian boat Valars III.   For more info

* HOW TO PROMOTE THE SPORT- Celebrity Media Regatta in San Francisco supported by J/105 and J/120 fleets along with J/Boats dealer Sail California and J/World San Francisco.

“We need to get more people in the sport.” This statement has probably been made as many times as there have been questions on how we can grow the sport. Up in San Francisco, they have hit on a theme I have long championed, that is the convergence of sailing with media-friendly entities. Here is their event

“The first ever Celebrity Media Regatta will be held on Sunday, June 14th, in conjunction with the Giants-A’s baseball game, with the sailing event held next to AT&T Park in McCovey Cove. Local broadcast personalities will join local sailors for a parade and fun races to benefit BAADS (Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors). The event is organized by Marine Media Alliance, hosted by South Beach YC, presented by Summer Sailstice, instruction by Spinnaker Sailing, boats lent by the Catalina 34, J/105 and J/120 fleets,
with assistance from lots of volunteers including, and contributions by Sail California and J/World.”

Holding the event during this cross-town rivalry, at a site where home runs over right field may hit one of the boats, crewing the boats with celebrities that will attract local television and print media, doing it for a worthy cause, and supported by numerous groups that will benefit from the publicity… win, win, win. This is a pretty damn good way to promote the sport! --   For more info see Scuttleblog.

J/105 One-Design classFeatured Boat

New J/105 Incentive Available

There’s plenty of new J/105 talk these days, thanks to the great reviews of the 2009 model J/105 built by US Watercraft of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Introduced in 1992 as the world’s first modern day keelboat with a bow sprit, the J/105 continues to thrive around the world - whether one-design racing on San Francisco Bay or sailing non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean in the OSTAR Race. There are now over 676 boats sailing in 16+ countries. While the racing successes get the headlines, the real story is that the J/105 meets the needs of today’s active sailing families perhaps better than any other design on the market. Daysailing, weekending, distance sailing, one-design racing – the J/105 does it all.

J Boats is pleased to announce that US Watercraft is offering a complimentary Waterline Systems “Club Racer” bottom job (in epoxy or anti-fouling) for the first three J/105 orders placed between June 18th and August 1, 2009. This is a $6k+ value and provides you with a boat ready to launch out of the box. Please contact J/Boats or your nearest J dealer for details.

About J/Boats

Started in 1977, J/Boats continues to lead the world in designing fun-to-sail, easy-to-handle, performance sailboats that can be enjoyed by a broad spectrum of sailors. The International J/24 has become the most popular recreational offshore keelboat in the world with over 5,400 J/24s cruising the waves. Today, there are 13,000+ J/Boats, ranging from the International J/22 to the J/65 and ranging in style from one-designs to racers, cruisers to daysailers and, of course, the ubiquitous J sprit boats- J/Boats' innovation in 1992 for easy-to-use asymmetric spinnakers and retractable carbon bowsprits (J/80, J/92, J/95, J/105, J/109, J/120, J/122, J/130, J/133, J/125, J/145, J/160).

J/Boats has the best track record in sailing for innovation and design as evidenced by: 11 Sailing World/ Cruising World Boat of the Year Awards in 14 years; 2 SAIL Awards for Industry Leadership; 2 American Sailboat Hall of Fame Designs (J/24 & J/35); and the three largest ISAF International One-Design keelboat classes (J/22, J/24, J/80).

Counting crew, every year there are over 100,000 friends to meet sailing J's, populating the most beautiful sailing harbors in 35+ countries around the world. Sailing is all about friends. Come join us and expand your social network everywhere!   For background info.